Otto Von Bismarck created the German state through unilateral action. He invaded enemies, he invaded friends. Lacking provocation, he lied, cheated, slandered and screamed his way into war. Rather than resting on the reliable contingency of Prussian strength, Bismarck won every battle through thorough planning and an historically unparalleled ability to exploit domestic and foreign politics. Consider Bismarck the polar opposite of W's merry band of half-cocked flunkies; who relied solely on an unquantified concept of American power to get them to some extravagantly planned Photo Op's.
Today, David Ignatius tried to digest Herman Kahn in his column about a multi-polar world. America is on an inevitable decline. Read:
American power alone is demonstrably unable to achieve world order; we can't even maintain the peace in Baghdad... I listened to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say during a news conference in Tehran last year that the post-1945 world order was ending. All of its institutions, starting with the United Nations, were becoming irrelevant, he argued. A new world would be shaped by rising powers that would create new rules of the international game. At the time, I thought it was more of Ahmadinejad's crazy rhetoric. But I suspect that this vision of a world in transition may be correct: We're all multilateralists now, but we inhabit a world that makes the Cold War seem like the good old days.So I don't get it, Dave. Do we cozy up with the Russians and the new Muslim Caliphate, or do we bury our collective head in the sand and hope no one notices us. I mean, an illiterate jackass leads a half-awake America into a half-cocked war on the grounds that we're All Gonna Fuckin Die, and all of a sudden Pax Americana e Morte? Baghdad doesn't have a Starbucks yet?!? This war is O-V-E-R!
I'm not advocating some blind stay the course strategy, but 'You Lied, I'm taking my toys and going home,' doesn't even constitute a strategy. Ignatius' 'Multi-Polar Heaven' is a nice starting point, but I'm not counting Iran and Russia as an equal. In this vacuum of substance, where Pelosi and Clinton offer up the fast-food policy ('Timetable/Benchmark/Whatever You Wanna Hear America!'), trite is the rule. Afterall, John McCain's grounded vision (Blood, pain, expense, shit) just doesn't have enough High Fructose Corn Syrup to go down as well. Hopefully, by November '08, America remembers it is the Richest, most Powerful nation on earth. Maybe when the grownups come home, we'll get a little more Bismarck, and a little less fluff.