18 May 2007

Where Uncle Sam Goes, Must Australia Follow?

Chalmers Johnson argues that unless the USA can face up to the tremendous strain of empirical ambitions, US citizens will lose their democracy, and then "it will not matter much" what else they lose:
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released on April 26, 2007, some 78% of Americans believe their country to be headed in the wrong direction. Only 22% think the Bush administration's policies make sense, the lowest number on this question since October 1992, when George H. W. Bush was running for a second term -- and lost. What people don't agree on are the reasons for their doubts and, above all, what the remedy -- or remedies -- ought to be.

The range of opinions on this is immense. Even though large numbers of voters vaguely suspect that the failings of the political system itself led the country into its current crisis, most evidently expect the system to perform a course correction more or less automatically. As Adam Nagourney of the New York Times reported, by the end of March 2007, at least 280,000 American citizens had already contributed some $113.6 million to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, or John McCain.

If these people actually believe a presidential election a year-and-a-half from now will significantly alter how the country is run, they have almost surely wasted their money.
Australians should be starting to consider what happens to our country if the USA becomes something akin to a 21st Century Fascist dictatorship, or a failed state hurtling towards anarchy. Particularly if John Winston Howard is still in charge.

Of particular note:
According to Andrew Bacevich, "Next to nothing can be done to salvage Iraq. It no longer lies within the capacity of the United States to determine the outcome of events there."
Bacevich's article has not received the attention it deserves:
Iraqis will decide their own fate. We are spectators, witnesses, bystanders caught in a conflagration that we ourselves, in an act of monumental folly, touched off...

Baghdad has become a cul-de-sac. Having plunged into a war he cannot win, Bush will not relent. Iraq consumes his presidency because the president wills that it should. He has become Captain Ahab: His identification with his war is absolute...

“What’s your plan for Iraq?” was the right question back in 2002 and 2003 - although it went largely unasked and almost completely unanswered then. But as we approach the 2008 presidential election, though the tragedy of Iraq continues to unfold, that question is moot.

The one that matters is this: As President Bush departs and leaves the United States bereft of a coherent strategy, what should fill that void?
With Blair and (very soon) Bush off the world stage, what is Australia's plan for the future? How do we fill the void that Howard's departure will leave?