A new dawn coming when Bush goes
Take heart, America. The end of the Bush nightmare is a mere three years away. And maybe you don’t realize it, but there lurks an unforeseen dawn in the darkness of this nightmare.
The Bush presidency was all about the U.S. standing strong in the world, but the big irony is that it’s done more than any other administration to hasten the end of American power. This is the first administration in U.S. history that has worked – with brutal efficiency and focus, yet unbeknownst to itself – at undermining our power in the world.
Which may be the best thing it’s done.
Since the end of World War Two, U.S. world leadership has been sustained by three key supports: overwhelming military power, economic supremacy, and moral authority. Eight years of Bush leadership have successfully sabotaged all three. Our only leadership left is cultural -- movies and rap music -- and though these two world-dominating exports may be questionable forces for good, they can never cause the harm done by our military and economic power.
At present, the bluster of the Bush administration obscures the loss of our power. But the end of the Bush nightmare will mean the end of these things:
When Bush goes, the idea of another American war will be dead for all time. Since World War II, America has started over thirty wars. After Bush, this nightmare will finally be over. For a start, no other country will ever want to join us in another war again – especially not after our incompetent showing in Iraq. Blair is the last sucker left who's been able to force our last war partner, Britain, to follow us into a war that its people didn’t want.
Besides war partners, we’re also running out of excuses and places to have wars. The fall of the Soviet empire deprived us of our biggest excuse. There’ll be no more Vietnams. There’ll be no more wars in South America either, because our big corporations are successful enough not to need military backup anymore. That war excuse is gone forever, too. South America is now a region of democracies with independent economies, and the leftwing policies to successfully defy us (and perhaps even be role models for us).
Our one noble excuse for war, the humanitarian reason, ended in Kosovo. Africa is still full of humanitarian reasons for war, but we won’t go where we don’t have a strategic interest. If we couldn’t intervene in Rwanda, or now in Darfur, we won’t intervene anywhere else for humanitarian reasons.
That leaves the Middle East as the last place left to have an American war. Here our failure in Iraq very much looks like the end. Never has the difference between original intention and actual outcome been so starkly discordant: we went in there to establish a puppet state under Ahmed Chalabi who’d hand over control of Iraq’s oilfields to U.S. corporations, and allow permanent U.S. military bases in the Middle East. Instead, we’ve ended up with bringing “democracy,” which actually means establishing a Shiite theocracy in alliance with Iran, with the Kurds probably breaking off into their own warlord-controlled state.
We still have a good excuse to have a war in the Middle East – oil – but we’ve run out of places. Iran? They’ll have nuclear weapons within the next five years, and so be inoculated against U.S. attack. If Saddam had gotten himself nuclear arms, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. The reason we keep trying to turn Pakistan into an ally against terrorism is because they’ve got nuclear weapons, so we can’t invade them. Nuclear weapons are the one sure way to scare off the U.S. or any other country. It’s what’s keeping North Korea from being invaded. It’s why Pakistan and India have stopped having wars with each other. The spread of nuclear weapons among smaller nations will protect them from the bigger likes of us.
Another reason that the era of American wars will be over and done with, is that the generation of U.S. politicians who cut their warmongering teeth on the Cold War – the Kissingers, Cheneys, Wolfowitzes, and neocons – are getting old and toothless. After Iraq, expect the mothballing of our military to start.
When Bush goes, the idea of America’s economic supremacy will be over. By transforming America into the biggest debtor nation on earth (through cutting taxes for the wealthy and increasing our debt, doing nothing about our export/import imbalance, and putting corporate interests above our country’s), Bush has ended up selling us out to our global competitors. We owe China billions, for example. They’ve got our dollars, and they’ll use them to start buying us up. In the Engels formulation, Bush is giving China the rope to hang us with. Ironically, our own elite has hastened the end of our economic supremacy. With that power gone, we might start being a more responsible member of the world economy.
When Bush goes, another Bush will not arise. He’s a freak phenomenon: an almost absurd blend of born-again fundamentalist, oil man, East Coast Brahmin brandname, and downhome Texas redneck. For once, the Republican Party got totally lucky: its entire electoral base coalesced into one actual existing guy. They won’t get that lucky again.
When Bush goes, the big cleanup can begin. We’ll need to cut back on war expenditure; cut back on corporate power to help the American middleclass worker; cut back on religious fundamentalism to restore social tolerance and a civil consensus in our republic.
Our biggest job by far will be to reclaim our morality. We can forget about being a shining light on a hill for other nations to look up to. The world will never trust us with its moral leadership again. Bush & Co killed that for good with a combination of bullying unilateralism, warmongering, tolerance for torture, and coddling of the craziness of the religious right.
But if it’s impossible to restore our morality in the eyes of the world, we owe it to ourselves to do it in our own eyes. A new modesty born from our diminished role in the world will undoubtedly help. The essential decency of the average American will have a chance to reassert itself. When Bush goes, we may find ourselves looking back and sighing with relief. Just think of it: an end to all the secrecy, lying, hypocrisy, and all-around BS. Remember the Terri Schiavo circus? No more nonsense like that.
Get ready for it. When Bush goes, we shall be released into a new dawn.