March 15, 2004
SPAIN: MORE DEEP THOUGHTS FROM THE JINGOS
Bill Quick to the Spanish people: "More Spanish blood will flow, never doubt it. And when you ask what you did to deserve your misery, I will point to this day. Cowards."
Also worth reading at Bill's today is this post, where he (in the seventh comment from the top) spells out, as concisely as you're going to get, exactly what a nontrivial number of Bush-foreign-policy-supporters think a vote for Bush is really going to be a vote for, sotto voce: two to three more dominoes.
Everyone's saying the vote in Spain was all about terrorism, regardless of the no doubt numerous motivations that could have been behind casting votes in either direction; similarly in the rest of the world, the coming American election is being seen, more or less, as entirely a simple referendum on the Bush policy of invasions-without-casus, which if Bush wins, will lead to a lot more of them; but I'm sure many of those same American commenters who are being so reductionist when it comes to the Spaniards now would insist on a greater allowance for complexity and mixed motivations when they cast their own votes next Nov. 2.
But from this perspective, I'd say that Quick is being unusually clear-eyed. A vote for Bush in November, as a stand-in ratification of the Iraq adventure, will almost certainly lead to another by-historic-standards-unjustified military intervention, in Syria and/or Iran, before 2008. That is what the interventionists want. And militarily, once you've got Iraq, it's actually pretty easy; the Brits took all three in 1941 (with a little help from the Russians) after quelling the Iraqi Revolt gave them the centre position to strike west and then east, and they didn't have near the military superiority the Americans do now. Keep Putin on board (and American tolerance for their ludicrous electoral processes will help with that) and there should be no serious problem.
Of course, keeping them for any length of time would be fiscally and militarily unsustainable for the States at the moment, as it has proven in Iraq, but some would say the dual act of bringing the Iranian nuclear aspirations to heel and taking the Iranian-Syrian pressure-by-terrorist-proxy off Israel would be worth it. They might even have a point, at that.
This isn't, as far as people can tell from abroad, an election about the candidates' stands on "fighting terror" or even on staying involved in Iraq. This is an election about affirming the extension of Monroe Doctrine interventionism-without-cause to the entire globe, about the candidates' stands on further pre-pre-emptive war. And it is the fault of the challenger if that has not already been made blindingly obvious to the American electorate. It certainly seems pretty obvious to everyone else on the planet, who, if they don't have the benefit of nuance, may have the benefit of distance in this case.
"endearingly macho" -- Mark Steyn
"wonderfully detailed analysis" -- John Allemang, Globe and Mail
"unusually candid" -- Tom Ricks, Foreignpolicy.com
Bill & Bob
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