Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why Must We Relearn the Obvious?

Fr. Frank's piece today on Obama's Afghanistan-Vietnam made me sad.  It's a typically learned and perceptive reflection on the historical parallels for Obama's increasingly obvious quagmire in foreign policy.  By why does he have to work so hard to lay out what any 8-year old outside the beltway can see? The US in Afghanistan is a way to kill innocent people, piss off absolutely everyone, block economic recovery, throw away whatever money the public has left, destroy his own presidency, and revert the Dims to an imitation of Republican hawkishness that will lose in 2012. 

I felt compelled to write a whole book about failing cultural capacity in the US - the reduced ability to learn quickly, retain what we learn, and apply knowledge when it is actually relevant.  Afghanistan.  Just say the word.  How stupid can we really be?  Where's the bottom of our stupidity?

"White House Near Chosing U.S. Location to Hold Gitmo Detainees" Am I really reading this headline today, and not three years ago when Cheney was Prez and we were winning the war for hearts and minds in Iraq?

I heard multiple interviews this week in English and French from leaders trumpeting the G20 reforms.  But the best analyses were first, from Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch, who pointed out the contradictions between reigning in finance and letting do whatever the hell it wants, i.e. more of what we have; and then a citation in a  John Authers column in the Financial Times, this of one David Bowers of Absolute Strategy Research in London, describing the equity markets right now:
It’s the last game of pass the parcel. When the tech bubble burst, balance sheet problems were passed to the household sector [through mortgages]. This time they are being passed to the public sector [through governments’ assumption of banks’ debts]. There’s nobody left to pass it to in the future.
That's where we are now, with no plan from the top, except for pointless military interventions and additional threats, which utterly undermine Obama One's promises of an era of rebuilding. 

We are going to have to start that work by ourselves.

1 comment:

Gerry Barnett said...

The best lack all conviction...