…here’s why I think they’re dangerous—they’re acting like we’re still in Vietnam when we’re in a real war of civilizations.
and says in reply:
Look, guys: if you think we ought to use military force to fight terrorism, I’m with you. But if you think we ought to use that same military force as part of a war of civilizations, count me out. Way, way out. That’s not any kind of liberalism I’m familiar with.
First, Kevin (and Matt) it’s not a schtick, it’s a movement. And the fact that the Democratic leadership, like you, doesn’t see that is why I won’t be booking big bets against Bush in 04.
That’s not the only place where Kevin and I part company.
I don’t think we are in a war of civilizations…yet. I don’t doubt that the other side thinks and hopes that we are, and that our response to them, over the last few decades, has been mistaken on a number of fronts.
A real war of civilizations, as I have pointed out over and over again, only has one result. We’ll be here, they won’t.
I believe there is still time to avert that war, through a balance of force, diplomacy, self-sacrifice in a number of arenas, and careful consideration of our relationships with the Islamic and Arab world.I’m not thrilled with a lot of what GWB has done on the front of diplomacy, self-sacrifice, and careful consideration. I think he has done the right thing in making it clear that we are serious and that we are willing to use force; up until now our response to the threats and acts of the Islamists was best summed up as “Isn’t that cute!!”
Sadly, I don’t yet see a better plan from the Democrats – one that would lead me to choose one of them over GWB. I’m not endorsing Bush (that would be hard for me to do) – but I’m certainly going to push the Dems to come up with something better.
Here’s a couple of off-the-cuff suggestions:
First, we’re not going anywhere in Afghanistan or Iraq until we’re done. Afghanistan will not turn into Vermont any time soon, but we will make sure that the power of the warlords is checked, and that it doesn’t collapse again. Iraq could be the leader of the Middle east, and we intend to help build it into that;
Second, we’re too dependent on ME oil. We’re going to do something about it, both by pushing conservation, expanding alternative energy, and expanding exploration. We’re going to build the damn windmills off of Cape Cod;
Third, we’re going to stop Israel from building new settlements and push them to dismantle existing illegal ones;
Fourth, we’re going to work to expand the ground-fighting capabilities of our military by adding at least one division to the Army, and looking carefully at the allocation of all our assets to make sure that we have the resources to deal with the kind of wars that we are going to realistically face;
Fifth, we’re going to sit with the Arab countries we are supporting and make it clear that they cannot buy internal stability by fomenting hate against Jews and the West and still expect our financial and military support. We will also talk about what kinds of support would be forthcoming if they did stop;
Sixth, we’re going to develop security mechanisms based on the theory that fine-grained systems that bring information and communications to the existing public safety community, as well as the public at large are better than huge, centralized bureaucratic solutions;
That’d be a start…
* Matthew Yglesias joins a respectful cross-blog debate in a way that’s less than respectful. He gets this return volley, plus a proposed bet. Wonder if he’ll take it?