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THE LONG VIEW

If you have time, take a look at John Lewis Gaddis' Foreign Affairs essay on George W. Bush's second term. Gaddis's cool overview is an antidote to the Bush-bashers: he doesn't think Iraq is Vietnam, he supports preventive wars and he thinks US policy is essentially on the right track. But he's still worried about the lack of attention to detail and the neglect of potential allies ("It is always a bad idea to confuse power with wisdom: muscles are not brains.")

Here he is on the problem with too much shock-and-awe and not enough diplomacy:

"It was free-market thinking applied to geopolitics: that just as the removal of economic constraints allows the pursuit of self-interest automatically to advance a collective interest, so the breaking up of an old international order would encourage a new one to emerge, more or less spontaneously, based on a universal desire for security, prosperity, and liberty. Shock therapy would produce a safer, saner world.

"Some such therapy was probably necessary in the aftermath of September 11, but the assumption that things would fall neatly into place after the shock was administered was the single greatest misjudgment of the first Bush administration."

Gaddis suggests that the White House should look to the Iron Chancellor (no, not Gordon Brown) as a role-model. Fascinating:


"...The most skillful practitioner ever of shock and awe, Otto von Bismarck, shattered the post-1815 European settlement in order to unify Germany in 1871. Having done so, however, he did not assume that the pieces would simply fall into place as he wished them to: he made sure that they did through the careful, patient construction of a new European order that offered benefits to all who were included within it. Bismarck's system survived for almost half a century."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/long-view-if-you-have-time-take-look.html|||1/06/2005 10:01:00 am|||||||||
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