Charles Krauthammer is right to point out that the war against terrorism is metastasizing, as revolt spreads through Africa as well as the Gulf, not to mention Syria. But he is dead wrong when he affirms that America’s inability to shape events is due to a power vacuum under Obama.
A President who personally oversees a kill list whose implementation also eliminates innocent civilians can hardly be called powerless - or do-vish. But years of depicting Democrats as soft on war have left Republican commentators unable to recognize that it no longer matters what Demo-crats and Republicans do or fail to do. Americans are not victims of a power vacuum at home, but - if we really want to stick with the label ‘victims’ - of new foci of power in places where we never imagined it could exist.
Our failure to conceive of American power ever waning (although we have so many enemies!) has led to an inability to recognize the evidence that it already has. Describing statesmen such as John Kerry, France’s Laurent Fabius and Ban ki-Moon who have travelled to Sochi to meet with Vladimir Putin over the Syria crisis as going ‘on bended knee’ shows that spokesmen for American might are reduced to belittling the actions of foreigner leaders because they cannot admit, much less approve of the fact that any leader could believe that war is not the answer in a nuclearized world. Or more tellingly, that the center of power to which other leaders travel is no longer Washing-ton or Camp David, but Moscow or Sochi.
Although Krauthammer continues to be featured on major American op-ed pages, his is a voice from the same past tagged in a new poll by Republican college students. The findings show just how out of touch the Republican party is with educated young voters, all the more so that they are Latinos or other minorities.
Finally, an article posted today by the Cana-dian writer Michel Chossudovsky takes off from an admission by Hillary Clinton that the U.S. created Al Quada to affirm that in essence this was no accident, but a deliberate policy that continues to this day. When we support Sunni extremists fight-ing to overthrow Assad in Syria, it’s not because they are the lesser of two evils and we hope they will morph into obedient client. Chossudovsky believes it’s all about a gas pipeline that would compete with one we’re backing. If that’s the case it confirms my own belief that the United States systematically supports politically conservative re-gimes wherever they may be, who are committed to the defense of the 1%.
The countries that have been targeted for regime change are presented as possessing wea-pons of mass destruction, but their real weapons have been left-leaning secularism: Saddam Hus-sein, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al Assad are or were all committed to some form of socialism. (Gaddafi was famous for his Little Green Book, inspired by Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book, which outlined solutions for overcoming inequality.) The Arab socialist party, the Ba’ath, has been in power in both Iraq and Syria since its founding in 1947, meaning that the successive regimes have actually been secular, with modern education systems and women’s rights. (As for Gaddafi, the West joked about his female military guard.)
So regime is not about saving foreigners from their abusive leaders, it’s still about the same thing the Cold War was about: the determination to press forward with the transformation of the world into a playground for its wealthy minorities of all religions and nationalities.