Democrats & Liberals Archives

"What We Will Do In 2004”

What will we in this most powerful of all nations do in the next year? I will continue to study history in an attempt to understand our conversion from a Republic into an Empire. I will continue to speak out in the debate of whether or not our nation will continue to approach the world as if it were naturally subordinated to the desires of our leaders. Colin Powell asserts that the Bush Administration will continue to utilize our national power and our nation’s resources to dominate the world through the force of arms and the power of our economic engine. The Secretary of State uses some high flying hyperbole in making the Bush Administration’s statement regarding this New Year. He obviously believes that what they are attempting to do in the world is something different that what a lot of us see happening due to their policies that have hastened our rush to Empire. He pulls at our emotions and tweaks our ideals but he serves an Imperial drive that will destroy our Republic. It will destroy us as surely as it destroyed Rome and the recent Soviet Empire that we judged as evil if we continue on our present course.

Being too close to the action can obviously change your perspective dramatically. He sees an Afghanistan where the Taliban have been defeated and the remnants of Al Queda are on the run. I see an Afghanistan trying to find a common basis for governance and doing so at the expense of the vulnerable women and children in its own society. I see a nation so divided and disrupted by nearly two hundred years of internal reactions to colonial governments in our nation and Europe that it is too poor to feed its own children. I see an Afghanistan driven by tribalism and oppressed by the Warlords that are the true power structure there. I see no signs that the degradation imposed on that nation by the oppression of empires like the British, the Soviet and now the American will lift any time in the foreseeable future. I see a nation with a spirit so diminished by that process that it accepts the sacrifice of its women and children to war as an everyday event of little importance. I see a nation there which produces much of the world’s opium and uses it to arm itself against further degradation at the hands of men like Mr. Powell. His appeal to us to accept the Bush “vision” for the world falls falsely on my ears on this cold midwinter’s day.

Mr. Powell as the Secretary of State has presided over the further militarization of our Department of State. This is a Governmental agency which once was the envy of the world for the well educated and competent historical perspective it brought to the effort to find peaceful solutions to the problems of the world. It has become the den of “Cold Warriors” that fear the ability of the outside world to exert its force on our nation through economic and military reactions to our repressive internal government. It sees, through Mr. Powell’s eyes, a world that is better served by our imperial use of military force to impose our will on Iraq and other nations than it would be by the uses and forces of diplomacy. This is a perversion of its vital mission in our constant struggle to balance the forces our own power can easily loose on the world. Our hope for peaceful solutions to the problems in the world outside our borders, our Department of State, has been subordinated to the Pentagon during this Administration’s watch.

The militarization of our nation’s diplomacy is only part of the impact that the militarization of our nation over the duration of the cold war has accomplished. The Bush vision for the world, if such a thing can actually be said to exist, is rife with contradictions between its policies for our nation and the world. It pursues an activist role in the world based on preemptive use of our military force which costs a lot of money. At the same time it is pursuing a tactical approach to shrinking our government at home called Starve the Beast” by its proponents. If “Starve the Beast works it will only diminish our international power in the end. We cannot sustain our military presence everywhere in the world without a healthy national economy and a massive federal budget. If the Beast starts to really shrink won’t that impact our imperial power in the world?

Watching Colin Powell dance on the world stage for George Bush reminds me of a Song written by Randy Newman about a boy and his dancing bear. The real effect of the policies of this Administration on the world has thus far been to unite some of the world against our Imperial posturing for the first time in at least half a century. Amazingly that group included some of our former supporting cast in the “Cold War”. If what passed for diplomacy in the last year of this Administration’s hold on power in the world is the success that Colin Powell presents it as then the world is a stranger place than any that has come before. I fear that Mr. Powell has misconstrued the success of our military force at war as a sign that peace is on the way. This has never been true before, why should I believe it today? God bless and keep you safe in this time of militarization of our diplomatic Corps, it will be a job that only He is up to accomplishing.

Posted by Henri Reynard at January 2, 2004 7:25 AM