Thursday, November 26, 2009

Half-heartedness As A Geopolitical Strategy

How’s that for a headline? You’d think we’d know something about geopolitics, tossing around the twenty dollar word like that. But we don’t -- not too much, anyway. We do, however, know more than we’d like to about half-heartedness, as most probably do. And one doesn’t need any specialized education to know what sort of trouble half-heartedness gets everyone into. A little experience in the business of everyday life is sufficient to impart the lessons.

We all know what half-heartedness is – we’ve seen it in ourselves and in those we’d relied upon for something at one time or another. And we usually learn after a time or two of being disappointed by the same person or group or corporation or whatever that it just doesn’t pay to call on them to do anything. So after a few letdowns, we don’t bother with them any more. We find other ways of getting things done, and discount the credibility of the half-hearted one accordingly.

So why would we expect any different an outcome if/when America, under the leadership of its nominal commander-in-chief president Barack Hussein Obama, decides it’s time to “cut and run” from our commitment to Afghanistan. You know he’s going to, don’t you? There is already a democrat surrogate of his in congress bellowing about introducing legislation to tax Americans for the troops deployed there as if, all of a sudden, the cost of anything mattered to anyone in Washington DC (and that any such notion would be taken seriously in any other time and place besides this confused age). Well, it does when they’re trying to ram a regressive revolution in economics and government like “healthcare reform” down our throats.

Well, this is how politics operates: it’s very refined but no less blatantly passive-aggressive. Somebody stirs up some half-baked idea and the press repeats it until it becomes an “issue,” and then, why, the president’s hands are tied. He has to do something, for “the people” have spoken. Of course, they haven’t spoken at all, the media has spoken for them, and the media is simply the oracle of the administration. But that’s the mechanism, anyway.

So, we'd wager that next week the nominal commander-in-chief, from the vaunted campus of West Point, will begin describing the half-hearted geopolitical strategy that he has chosen for America. It will begin, probably, with a promise of fewer troops than necessary, than has been requested by the commanders on the ground who know what it takes to get the job done. And people will get the message. They will conclude that Barack Obama isn’t too high on America’s initiative in Afghanistan, even though he’ll pepper his presentation with lots of American-sounding high and lofty ideals about commitments and allies and liberty but oh, we need to take care of those in need here at home, beginning with healthcare for our veterans, etc. Surely you can come up with some drivel on your own that would be as close to what he’ll say as ours is. Talk is oh, so cheap.

He’ll have us cut-and-run, and we won’t be trustworthy in the eyes of those who might need our help, and we will have lost precious credibility – this from the man who’s self-appointed presidential mandate is “restoring America’s prestige around the world.” The ironies never cease, do they? Only they’re looking less and less like ironies, and more like outright falsehoods, the sorts of things that someone says when he’s saying what he knows you need to hear in order to consider trusting him while he picks your pocket as you’re thinking about it.

But it isn’t mere vanity to lament the loss of credibility and prestige, not in a world such as ours, where there are rogue warriors hell-bent on killing anyone and everyone who stands in between them and the worldwide implementation of their way of seeing things. Even before this was a problem, it wasn’t mere vanity. Credibility and prestige – and the means to back them up – are what prevent warrior rebels from gaining ground anywhere. They are a deterrent to bullies. And a deterrent to the use of force against bullies who assert themselves. But bullies are popping up everywhere, and the deterrent is becoming less deterring, and that only emboldens bullies.


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