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Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm Having Trouble Naming This One

I'm having trouble coming up with a title for this one. I thought of:

The Neo-Conservative Theory of Creative Destruction, or
The World: America's Geopolitical Guinea Pig, or
Roget's Entry for Meltdown = 2006

The world has some serious, serious problems.

On June 25, militant members of Hamas, a terrorist organization which won control of the Palestinian government in democratic elections in January 2006, kidnapped an Israeli soldier on June 25 as a bargaining chip as part of some larger, unknown, bizarre strategy.

By Friday, June 30, Israel had bombed selected targets in Gaza City and rounded up not only suspected Hamas militants but actual Hamas political players in the Palestinian government.

On July 4, North Korea conducts several ballistic missile tests, publicly confirming their continued desire to at least gain attention if not demonstrate actual aggressive capability and publicly reiterates on July 15 its intent to continue missile testing.

On July 11, terrorist conduct several bombing attacks on trains in Mumbai (Bombay), the largest city in India, the largest democracy in the world and Indian officials have traced participants in the attacks to elements associated with the Pakistani government, a United States ally.

A previous attempted bombing of the Indian parliament in December 2001 has already been traced to elements (the same elements?) associated with the Pakistani government, a United States ally.

Both Pakistan and India posses actual, tested nuclear weapons.

On July 12, militant members of the ruling Hezbollah party of the democratically elected government in Lebanon crossed a boundary into Israel and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, reflecting a nearly identical strategy as the Hamas attack.

Israel responds to the Hezbollah kidnapping with targeted attacks on the Beirut airport, other key public infrastructure and several towns housing Hezbollah supporters, killing dozens of women and children used as protective cover by the Hezbollah terrorists.

On July 14, Hezbollah attacks an Israeli warship with a rocket that Israel subsequently identifies as an Iranian-made C802 radar-guided rocket but Iran denies any link to the weapon or the attack.

The majority of representatives in the newly elected Iraqi parliament are Shia Muslims who are religiously, culturally and politically aligned with the Shia rulers of Iran.

Shia members of the democratically elected government of Iraq have publicly spoken in support of both the Hamas and Hezbollah attacks and subsequent counter-counter attacks against Israel.

In short, we are at a crisis point in the world where virtually every move the United States has initiated, regardless of the intent or motivations of those doing the planning, has failed to improve our security and has had the unintended result of strengthening Iran, which at this point truly is the biggest challenge to world peace. Unless, of course, you consider the United States for making so many strategic errors that have aided their mischief.

A theme I have seen raised subliminally, if not directly, by remaining supporters of the current "war on terror" is that prior strategies for eliminating terrorism in the 1990s not only failed to work but encouraged terrorists by showing we were "weak" and unwilling to muster a true response. When confronted with the cost in lives and treasure of our current war in Iraq, WOT supporters often counter with arguments that boil down to the following: "Well, we had to do SOMETHING. The status quo wasn't fixing anything. We have to start stirring the pot to come up with SOME other strategies."

Another theme in policies of ultra-conservative thinkers is that many management concepts from business can be used effectively in government to do more for less or do the same for far less. Well, one of the concepts often discussed in business management is that of "creative destruction" which expresses the idea that long-term economic results can be improved via "radical innovation" by "entrepreneurs" who develop new products and technologies at the expense of current, entrenched industries / players.

Given that definition, it doesn't take much imagination to see that concept lurking behind the United States' policies for the past 6 years. Current strategies aren't working to solve a long term problem, so let's get some "entrepreneurs" (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld) with ideas for "radical innovation" (a "transformed high-tech military", toppling a dictator to produce an instant democracy and US ally) to hasten the demise of entrenched players (Iraq, Iran, Syria) who are our enemies to foster long term growth of "democracy."

The problem with this approach is that we're not talking about a better mousetrap, a new semiconductor manufacturing technology or a "new and improved" Tide detergent. This theory is being tested on the world stage in an arena that affects the LIVES of millions of people. In effect, United States policies have been devised with the idea of using THE ENTIRE WORLD as our geopolitical guinea pig.

The result? An complete geopolitical meltdown. An increase in world terrorism, a prolonged US military commitment in Iraq that's further inflaming anti-American sentiment and a growing ring of military conflict around our deployment in a region upon which we depend for oil with oil above $78 per barrel and headed higher. Democracy may be on the march but many of its majority-winning players are active agents of terrorism, active supporters of terrorism or aligned with others completely at odds with our long term goals for peace, safety and stability.

But hey, not all is lost. Our leader, President Bush, the most physically fit American President ever, managed to get in TWO bike rides through scenic St. Petersburg, Russia while taking in a few meetings with the G8 members. I certainly hope he can maintain his exercise regimen. I want him to live a looooooong time after he leaves office so he has some chance of comprehending his role in worsening nearly every problem we face.