Wednesday, October 11, 2006
American Military Interventionism: A Handy Primer For The Political Now
In these troubled times, everyone wants to know: what are the Bad Guys thinking?
The good news is that we know who the Bad Guys are. Thank God we're free of that fuzzy era of the Clinton Administration, after the Cold War but before 9/11 where we were all sort of paralyzed and confused by the runny moral and geo-political relativism personified by Clinton himself. It got so bad at one point, some of us seemed to be pretty strongly convinced that the enemy was the President of the United States. All that ire and anxiety we had so carefully and lovingly set aside for the Soviet Union and their comforting, constant threat of instant nuclear annihilation re-focused on one man and his sexual peccadillos. The scales didn't quite match up, but you have to remember, we were a people adrift. World peace is a nasty inconvenience; it can really fuck with a nation's sense of purpose. It was as though we as a nation had just graduated college with a liberal arts degree and decided to take some time waiting tables at TGI Friday's until we figured out what it was we were supposed to do with ourselves.
But in our defense, he did totally let that girl blow him.
But then 9/11 happened and we all grew up. Time to stand up straight and get a job that didn't involve pushing mozzarella sticks on people who we know deep down really just came for the flair. We need good jobs to do our part in the American War on Terror so that we might make a decent living and buy stuff. Because there's nothing a terrorist hates more than a President's Day All-Denim Blowout Sale at the Anchor Blue. Not only are we conspicuously consuming, but it's got "President" right in the title. In your face, Osama.
The shades of gray are gone now (I'm talking about world politics again, not so much the denim) and the world is once again in helpful black and white.
And yet somehow, despite the clarity, things still get complicated. It's not gray so much as a lot of swirly blackwhite--or, alternately, whiteblack depending on the pigmentational leanings of those involved--that we have to shake like a wire sieve so we might sift out the pure fluffy cake-rising wonder of Democracy from the hard knobby gravity-loving granules of Dictatorofascicommuterrorism.
Right now, somewhat embarrassingly, we're all being sort of pushed around by this guy:
I mean, it's clearly a puppet version of Kim Jong Il, but you didn't know that immediately, did you? I didn't. Even when I noticed the strings, I still wasn't 100%.
There are so many questions. What does he want nuclear weapons for? Does he even really have nuclear weapons? And if he does, can they only reach Japan? Because if they can only reach Japan, that's OK with us.
I'll be honest, what this particular Bad Guy is thinking isn't immediately clear to me. I assume he's looking at the example of Pakistan and hoping his nuclear proliferation lark will land him some sweet US basing deal when we decide to invade a neighboring country (probably China).
What we can extrapolate from the Kim Jong Il example is what the other global Bad Guys are thinking AND why we shouldn't worry so much.
Watching Kim Jong Il is:
Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, President of Iran. Death to America! Death to Israel! We will pursue nuclear weapons as we have every right to do so! ...and we'll get to that right after we see what happens to Jumpsuit McSpectacles. Man, people seem pissed at that guy.
All the Bad Guys (North Korea, Iran, Osama, Ellen DeGeneres) we know are keeping a firm eye on Iraq and what is happening there. Emboldening them slightly might be the a) continued demand on US military power, potentially pre-empting any pre-emptive US force in other matters, no matter how border-sharingly close and b) our astounding inability to achieve our stated goals in anything approaching a timely or orderly fashion and c) the erosion of political will on the part of the American people to support internvention with no clear endgame.
But then the downside are stories like 655,000 people dying as a direct result of the invasion despite (perhaps because of?) its characterization as a "failure." This of course does not apply to Kim Jong Il who has been known to build entire showcase model worker cities on foundations made of actual workers. Concrete is expensive.
Further emboldening the Bad Guys is a look back into our recent past in Vietnam and the political, social and military debacle that ended up becoming.
Back further is the Korean War and the stalemate action that lead to Kim Jong Il in the first place. Less our fault than that Vietnam thing entirely, but still not a clear win.
But eventually the bad guys will get back far enough to the Big One. El Guerro Grande. The Deuce. Old Satchmo. Or as history books call it, World War II.
They all get History Channel International. They know. We fucking kicked ass in that war. And they've read Tom Brokaw's books, they know the old guys who routed the Hun are still lingering, ready to rise up and Greatest Generation the a-bomb having midgets and cave-hiding plane-hijackers of the world right out of existence.
From WWII, we know that sooner or later every global enemy makes the same mistake: they invade Russia. It is only a matter of time. We've already got the terrorists leaning that way with the Chechnya thing. Now all we do is sit back and wait for Kim Jong Il to do the same thing and his ass is ours.
America. Fuck yeah.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6