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Sunday, September 21

Pundita's foreign policy advice for 2009

(What is the difference between my publishing a letter and an essay? The former means I can wiggle out of the chore of digging up and adding links.)

From an August 31 email I sent to a fellow blogger:

I guess my foreign policy view at this time can be summed as "scared."

In his two recent posts about the importance of rejecting the Cold War paradigm, Tom Barnett made great use of his background in Soviet affairs. And goodness knows, I agree in principle with his observations about the Dept. of Everything Else.

But he scares the hell out of me, as do all Theoretical Bubbleists -- what I call those analysts who float serenely above the rough terrain of empirical facts while ensconced in the bubble of their theories.

He especially scares me because the military seems to believe that his theories reveal the map to their idea of the Holy Grail. That being the one-page, footnote-free, two-syllabic summary of how the world outside the battlefield operates.

Yet on close inspection the map that Barnett describes turns out to be that great weakness of the male brain, the tinker-toy set.

Enter Mark Steyn ("that ex-disk jockey," as one of his enemies terms him), who in 2005 or early 2006 put boots on the ground in Europe and saw what rafts of academics had been blind to: Europe's civilization was finished, crumbling inexorably from the inside.

Steyn's observations dynamite Barnett's tinker-toy view of the world, with its nice stable Core from which to connect Seam States and Gaps.

The stability of the Core, it turns out, is an illusion born of the spreadsheets of economists.

Steyn was not the first to note the demographic winter settling on the Europeans (and the Japanese and Russians). And it might be argued that he was only carrying Spengler's observations forward (the Asia Times columnist, not the philosopher - lol) and the warnings of anti-Eurabiaists such as Bat Ye'or.

But Steyn's great contribution was to point out that Europe's civilization was already done for and it wasn't coming back; it was not a dissolution that was on its way and so might be staved off. It was something that had already happened, and so whatever still seemed European was like the jerking movements of a corpse undergoing rigor mortis: an illusion of life emanating from the dead.

The RUSI report released earlier this year inadvertently supports that observation. The authors don't breathe a word about the single most important factor in British society, which is that years ago Gordon Brown decided that the only way to save Britain's economy was by turning the country into the Islamic banking capital of the world.

The catch was that British society would have to bend over and grab its ankles for Islam. So the country is now well on its way to becoming a police state because many Britons are chafing at seeing their society Islamicized -- and because unfortunately they never put their Constitution in writing.

The RUSI acknowledges that there is a little problem with the Islamization but peters out with recommendations to set up committees to do studies. X Doctrine, my foot. It's a document of surrender.

Yet it's only this year, I've heard, that the CIA has awakened to Steyn's book, America Alone .... So where has our nation's premier intelligence agency been all this time? Playing with tinker toys?

But my fear of Barnett's theories pales in comparison to what I experience while contemplating John McCain's foreign policy cadre, which "has little use for anyone outside their own tight network of ex-Senate staffers and lobbyists," as you succinctly put it.

As to where all this leaves the War on Terror -- not to worry, the British are solving that problem for us with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of State and Homeland Security.

By simply striking the term "War on Terror" from bureaucratic lexicons and diplomatic exchanges, and by working assiduously to downplay terms such as democracy, liberty, freedom, and jihadism, they are removing the entire edifice upholding the war.

If there is no war and no terrorism in the War on Terror there is simply an "on," which of course doesn't require warfare to deal with.

And just in time for that "on" to be ended, wouldn't you say? Now the decks are cleared for a real war to stop the return of the Russian empire!

So we arrive at Pundita's foreign policy directions for 2009: Run for your life!

2:00 PM ET Update
A reader asked whether the above might be an endorsement for Barack Obama's foreign policy views. The correspondent I addressed the letter to was aware that I don't bother to analyze Obama's views on national security/foreign relations because that would be like trying to nail down smoke.
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