Monday, August 7, 2006


I have the feeling that I'm writing the news before it happens, and rather than feeling exhilarated, I'm almost bored: nothing new to report and react to.  I thought my unusual three angle view of the Cold War (knowing the U.S., Western and Eastern Europe) was what gave me the advantage over other political analysts that lallowed me to be the only one to foresee the fall of the Berlin Wall AND the dissolution of the Soviet Union.  Now I'm guessing that a habit of independent thought that began in childhood plays an ever bigger role.  Rereading a collection of essays that impressed me mightily in the seventies, "Patterns of Anarchy", I find much that is still relevant:

"One of the main characteristics of government is their maintenance of what Martin Buber calls the "latent external crisis", the fear of an external enemy, by which they maintain their ascendancy over their own subjects.  This has in our day become the major activity of governments and their biggest field of expenditure and effort."  But when it comes to "summit conferences or the signing of petitions, the petitions go to the wrong address: they should be addressed not to governments but to people."

Today's irony: Hezbullah may be a better organized fighting force than perhaps the Israeli army precisely because it is the people's answer to government compromised by the outcomes of summitry and the like.

The broader picture: in a joint press conference with Condi Rice, President Bush actually says that first the Cuban people ON THE ISLAND have to decide what kind of system they want to live under and then the exiles can "take an interest in that country or not".   He seems to realize that with or without Don Rumsfeld at Defense, he cannot try to reorganize the Middle East AND confront the will of his southern neighbors - as expressed by its people.

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