Sunday, October 19, 2008

Uncle Sam's Reality Check

My fellow Liverpool FC fan Tony Karon, a senior editor at in New York City, & who also writes the consistently excellent Rootless Cosmopolitan blog ( ), emails an article he's written for the UAE-based newspaper, The National ( ) with a question: "What's the connection between Iraq and Anfield?"
He supplies the answer for me: "Both were acquired by Americans using borrowed money...".
Tony examines how the global financial crisis will affect US foreign policy, noting that the American penchant for leveraged buy-outs, ie., saddling a business with debt & hefty interest charges in order to purchase it, even extended to the Iraqi conflict:
"Iraq wasn't supposed to be a drain on resources. The Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told Congress a month before the invasion that 'to assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong'. The occupation, he said, would be financed by Iraq's own oil revenues.
"The Iraqis, of course, had other ideas, which is why Iraq has long been viewed, even within the US national security establishment, as a catastrophic strategic blunder: it demonstrated the limits on Washington's ability to impose its political will through the deployment of its awesome military power."
Tony mentions the statements of Gordon Brown, Nicholas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, et al , in response to the crisis, stressing the necessity of "global governance" of the world's financial & banking system, as well as the desire for greater transparency & accountability. What it means for the US role in the world is stark:
"The subtext is clear: the US can no longer shape the global financial system on its own terms, and it will be forced to adopt international standards anathema to the conventional wisdom of post-Reagan Washington if it wants to keep playing the global financial game on which its economy depends."
Reality certainly seems to have kicked in with many Americans just a couple of weeks before the election. However, as the frenzied, frothing, NRA afficionados at the McCain/Palin rallies illustrate, there's still no shortage of Americans in denial about the drastically changed circumstances in which the world will have to operate.

No comments: