Tweedledee & Tweedledumb 2

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Slide16_600_scaled_1One of the problems with demonizing W and his band of BushRovers
is that those they themselves demonize start to look angelic.
Bolton, for example, has a personal mission to get rid of Mohamed
ElBaradei, the Director General of the IAEA, the atomic energy agency
within the UN.  (See his IAEA bio,
which features a 6M downloadable picture of himself.)
ArmsControlWonk noted
in late 2004 that Bolton, representing the BushRovers, had mentioned
the problem directly to ElBaradei:

The Nelson Report claims that Undersecretary of State for
Arms Control John Bolton has informed IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei
that “the US will not support his candidacy for a third term, even
though both of his predecessors served four terms (12 years) each”.

Reuters, however, is reporting
that despite having urged ElBaradei to step down, “the Bush
administration may be unwilling to undertake an all-out political
battle to oust him, U.S. officials and diplomats say.” Powell
previously suggested
a third term for any international official was “problematic” in
principle, but declined to be specific about ElBaradei. Instead,
Powell claimed the US would make
our judgment on specific cases
..

The Nelson Report also mentions tension between Bolton
and ElBaradei following revelations from the IAEA and Iraqi Interim
Government that 350-tons of high explosives were looted from a
previously secure site in the early days of the US occupation in
2003. This material is believed to be the primary source of the
lethal car bomb attacks. The failure to secure the explosives will
likely prove a major embarrassment for the Bush Administration.

ElBaradei is not a babe in the woods.  With almost perfect
timing, he very neatly revealed the theft of highex from the
unguarded bunkers, just before the election—Kerry made very good
use of that fiasco.  For me, it’s hard to escape the suspicion
that they’re all players. 

I also know that the UN is a huge bureaucracy, and very likely as
corrupt in its own humble way as W’s BushRover administration.
Does this mean that I should feel really secure with ElBaradei on the
case?  In a larger sense, do I really believe that the UN is an
effective vehicle for multilateral peacemaking?  Do they wear
halos just because John Bolton thinks they are devils?

I can understand the appeal of the unilateralist message W and
his gang are hammering.  On the left, we have to recognize why
this critique has resonance.  I am not asserting for a minute
that W and the BushRovers are consistent with their own philosophy,
if you can call it that.  But during the Iraq debate at the UN,
whatever your position on US policy and options, how could anyone
take the self-righteous posturing of the French, Russian and even
German delegations seriously?  They supplied Saddam just as
thoroughly as the US did, and I couldn’t escape the strong suspicion
that they were more concerned with losing that high-margin custom
than anything else.

So I’ll agree with some of the overt argument.  The UN is
corrupt and clogged up with its own weary process.   Our
"allies" are just as avaricious as us and certainly no more
morally estimable.  There is a hardcore terrorist network in the
world that aims to repeat disruption on at least the scale of 9/11.

How should our government respond to these challenges from a
policy perspective?

I seems to me that the BushRover’s fear is that if they start the
discussion, they will eliminate their options and support for
unilateral action.  But when everyone knows you will do what you
like anyway (and that, in addition, there is no effective domestic
control on your actions) why is it more pragmatic to be an
in-your-face hard-on like Bolton?  They’re
intent on the injury, why the need to also add the insult?

A religious assurance of rectitude leads to a simple, reflexive
implementation.  We know that W gets right with God and then
he’s set—no further doubt is necessary.  I don’t know what
Bolton’s spiritual life is about, but it is easy to see that there
are people, institutions and countries that he doesn’t like, and he
isn’t shy about letting them and everyone else know about it.
As a private person, I suppose this is a consistent kind of
behavior. 

But Bolton is more than a private citizen.  He is an
international diplomat, and he and his boss and his boss’s boss have
the responsibility of protecting the welfare of the rest of the
private citizens.  Here we have the difference between
epistemology and appearance that is so difficult for the BushRovers
to exploit. Whatever they think about multilateral players’ true
motives, to give up the leverage of appearance is pure
self-indulgence.

There are a number of directions to go with this question that I
will explore in further posts.  One is to ask what it tells us
about BushRover-World that this unilateralist extremism is necessary
to them.  Another is to ask what we need to recognize as
resonant and realistic in their analysis.  Finally there are an
important set of questions for the left. How do we avoid the
fruitless converse of W’s Manichean exposition?  How do we
recognize genuine insights and the valuably focused purpose of the
current administration (necessary in a dangerous world—nothing new
about that state of affairs) while building a public understanding
that the implementation are wrongly or even fraudulently conceived?
How do we speak like a Truman (plainly) about something other than
fear itself?

 

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