Wednesday, September 05, 2007

U.S. preparing for next front?

Recently, an opinion piece appeared in the Washington Post written by two established commentators, Ivo Daalder, a former Howard Dean adviser on the left, and conservative Robert Kagan.

Both writers agreed that the next American administration, regardless of which party wins, will follow an aggressive military policy based on intervention, often military in nature, in foreign affairs and a policy of preemption, or striking first. And both writers supported just such a policy.

Though it is clear that many Americans are fed up with war, nearly half didn't support going into Iraq in the first place, policy in Washington continues to be shaped by thinking developed over the last two decades.

The policy was clearly delineated during the administration of George H. W. Bush, and was based on the idea of a "clash of civilizations," in which America was to act preemptively to prevent the rise of threats to Western civilization.

In many details, the policy resembled the doctrine of Manifest Destiny formulated more than a century before. The same ideas of "American exceptionalism," and America as the last, best hope of the Earth are found in both types of thinking. America had the right, if not the obligation, to act with all its might to bring about a "better world."

After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was thought that the primary threats to U.S. and Western interests were found among the animist-Hindu-Buddhist-Muslim peoples of the world and anyone else who did not recognize the superiority of Western ways.

However, Russia and has not been as tractable as hoped. Moscow is cultivating its ties with nations outside of Europe, particularly India and China. It has also shown great interest in Iran. Indeed, both China and Russia have focused their attention on Iran as their key ally in the Middle East.

With U.S. presidential candidates talking tough against Iran, it wouldn't be surprising to see the focus of a highly-aggressive policy placed on that country. Iran and Pakistan are certainly two nations high on the "need to fix" list.

Even the supposed pullout of troops from Iraq in the event of a Democratic administration is looking less likely all the time. The candidates are all saying they'll leave now, but they could change their minds based on 'changes in the situation' faster than a Craig resignation withdrawal.

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