Saturday, March 29, 2008

Observations on the Klein/Scahill Guardian article

from The Guardian

While Clinton and Obama denounce the war with great passion, they both have detailed plans to continue it. Both say they intend to maintain the massive green zone, including the monstrous US embassy, and to retain US control of Baghdad airport.

Many liberals are committed to the idea that simply having a Democratic president will reverse the course of destruction that Bush has set, but I think this view is dangerously shortsighted. This is particularly true with foreign policy, which has always been shaped much more by large economic lobbies (multinational business and defense contractors, namely) than the general public, who tend to pay greater attention to the domestic issues that directly affect them. This is why if you look at historical trends in US foreign policy over time, they often remain constant through administrations of either party, because the economic actors who sponsor them operate largely unchallenged.

In other words, if Clinton and Obama can get you to endorse them without making a real commitment to withdrawal we cannot rule out the following sequence:

1. Obama/Clinton gets elected.

2. Liberals go home, leaving the important work of running the country up to someone who is preferable to Bush, in keeping with the theory that the Democrats will set the country straight.

3. The energy industry, defense contractors, etc. show up at the White House and on Capitol Hill everyday, flush with cash and other support for the incumbents, making very persuasive arguments to aides and think tanks and Council on Foreign Relations members as to why it is not in America's strategic interest to "abandon" Iraq.

4. Liberals are at home watching Jon Stewart or playing Xbox -- at any rate, not placing pressure on the administration or Congress to accomplish what they want.

5. Al-qaeda-type groups continue to capitalize on the presence of the world's largest superpower occupying an Arab country.

6. Something gets blown up, again, here at home.

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