Monday, September 16, 2002

Atrios linked to an article in the Sunday Herald that shows that "regime change" in Iraq and what amounts to occupation of the Middle East had been a goal of most of the members of the nascent Bush administration long before it had gained power. Atrios pointed out that this wasn't exactly a new revelation, but I think he missed the point laid out by quotations like this :

The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein
I believe this pretty much cements the geopolitical aspect of invading Iraq as the key reason the U.S. is going to war. The WMD argument has more holes than Sonny Corleone's car, but that doesn't actually make any real difference, because it's never been the true reason for invading Iraq and installing a friendly regime. Human Rights isn't even on the radar. It's been about something much larger: "maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests".

(They said it, I didn't. Maybe the loony Left has a point?)

Some of the aspects of this goal are pretty damned disturbing. The Herald notes that the document:

-describes peace-keeping missions as 'demanding American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations'
(Explains a lot about the spectacle of George Bush lecturing the U.N. about its responsibilities and role, doesn't it?)

-reveals worries in the administration that Europe could rival the US
I think anybody who's actually paying attention has thought about this, which is why some people have been writing about the growing split between the regions and some more nationalistic Americans have been taking rather a lot of potshots at Europe lately.

-says 'even should Saddam pass from the scene' bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently -- despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops -- as 'Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has'
Somewhat outdated, obviously; American interests in Iran would probably be best served by staying on the down-low so as not to throttle a made-in-Iran democratization movement. Then again, I wonder whether subtlety and patience is a lost art in foreign policy nowadays, but that's a topic for another day. As for the U.S. permanently stationing personnel in the region, well... all that rhetoric about Muslims (especially Arab Muslims) being hopelessly backwards, ignorant, and murderous has to go somewhere, doesn't it?

-spotlights China for 'regime change' saying 'it is time to increase the presence of American forces in southeast Asia'. This, it says, may lead to 'American and allied power providing the spur to the process of democratisation in China'


This can't be serious. No, really, I know that Perle and Wolfowitz and the like have a rosy view of the power and place of American military might, but there's no way they can be stupid enough to actually try "regime change" in China, could they? I can't even begin to list all the ways that could go horribly wrong, and not a damned thing I've seen this administration do over the past two years has demonstrated that they have the skill or ability to manage something like this without having it blow up in their faces, despite the desperate and duplicious spinning on the part of those who either want the administration to look good or fear the prospect of the administration looking bad.

-calls for the creation of 'US Space Forces', to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent 'enemies' using the internet against the US
Ah, so that explains the Warbloggers. I was wondering.

hints that, despite threatening war against Iraq for developing weapons of mass destruction, the US may consider developing biological weapons -- which the nation has banned -- in decades to come. It says: 'New methods of attack -- electronic, 'non-lethal', biological -- will be more widely available ... combat likely will take place in new dimensions, in space, cyberspace, and perhaps the world of microbes ... advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool'
First off, anybody get MGS flashbacks from reading this? Second, while unsurpising, this is still rather disturbing, unless one is of the charmingly naive opinion that no U.S. government would ever dream of using these bugs for immoral or unethical purposes and no organization that would use them for such purposes would ever get ahold of these kinds of germs.

If nothing else, think of what would happen were some racist group to get some sort of bug that attacked other races. Shiver.

-pinpoints North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes and says their existence justifies the creation of a 'world-wide command-and-control system'.
Well, again, no surprises here, and I've just gotta say I love that term "world-wide command-and-control system". Sun never sets, hmm?

There's no doubt that there are other, saner influences on the Bush administration, and the people who wrote that might not be the same people who are running the show nowadays. Still, it's important to remember that no matter how far-out the accusation, it just might have some sort of basis in fact, which is why we can't quite dismiss the "loony left" so quickly. That, and the already-obvious insight that human rights and weapons of mass destruction (come to think of it, didn't the right coin that term in the first place?) have precious little to do with an invasion of Iraq. It's all part of a larger gameplan, a gameplan that existed long before the war on Terrorism and in actuality doesn't really have that much to do with it. They just dovetail rather nicely.

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