October 25, 2004

The Nature of Good Cop/Bad Cop

If you watch TV, you've seen it a thousand times, a pair of police interrogate a suspect, one pretends to be off the wall, dangerous (the bad cop) and the other pretends to be in a slowly losing fight to restrain him and follow the rules (the good cop). So who can play bad cop to our good cop on the geopolitical stage?

The answer seems pure simplicity, nobody can because, if we put our mind to it, there is nobody out there that we cannot restrain. OTOH, we are perfect for the bad cop role. So in any coalition in the near to mid-term future, we're going to wear the black hat of the good cop/bad cop tactic whenever we play that gambit. It's just a fact of life that comes from geopolitical unipolarity.

There's only one real problem with this. Americans viscerally hate to wear the black hat. We like to think of ourselves as good guys and strive to create policies that get us what we want while staying on the white hat side of the fence as much as possible.

This uncomfortable facet of unipolarity is going to chafe at the american political psyche. Eventually the results are going to show up in electoral results but there is no real alternative to wearing the black hat that we control other than retreating and losing. So what's the solution? A multipolarity based on other major power centers growing up and gaining stature rather than trying to achieve parity by bringing down the US to their level. Look for the US to embark on campaigns to encourage the EU and other potential powers (think Nigeria in Africa) to grow up, though things will never be put that baldly.

Posted by TMLutas at October 25, 2004 10:47 AM