September 08, 2004

Letter to the Paper XXXI

David Ignatius writes that the US pays too little respect to the opinions of others, that we feel ourselves the center of the universe and unwisely antagonize our potential partners and allies. Our "Ptolmaic" foreign policy needs to become "Copernican" recognizing we are but one of a number of nations. This will allow us to be more accurate in our foreign policy calculations. I emailed him an alternate view:

The continental army started off with some odd ideas about wartime leadership. Officers were elected and had to persuade their troops to do their tasks. There was little order and popularity was essential for officers to function at all. Recall your history and you will find the episode an unmitigated disaster. We've never done that again and good riddance to the idea of leadership via popularity contest.

Here's another way to look at our situation. We've announced to the world's collected elites that just about all their dirty deals, their undemocratic arrangements, the very base they use to keep themselves above the "plebes" and the "proles" is inevitably going to be adjusted so the world will be free, generally egalitarian, and their societies will be strong and truly stable because all factions will get a hearing and moderates will be secure in their lives and able to beat extremists in debate. All these elites are, by turns, panicked, angry, outraged, and nervous. These elites control the high ground of media, academia, of economies all over the world and they are making their displeasure known.

But the changes we are advertising are needed to create societies that can root out extremists instead of directing their anger at the US. These changes will be extremely popular with the broad population all over the dysfunctional disconnected societies that Dr. Barnett calls "the Gap" in "The Pentagon's New Map" a must read if you haven't gone through it already. These people have heard all sorts of expansive US promises to support freedom before. If we mean it this time, we will enjoy a long-term popularity that will make any temporary hatred well worth it.

Posted by TMLutas at September 8, 2004 11:14 PM