Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When you scratch deeply enough there is a little bit of Dubya in all three of them. . . .

I've already disavowed John McCain because he will not himself disavow the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war.

I'm watching the Democratic debate.

Senator Barack Obama has just said, relative to keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, "I will not take any options off the table." The context of the question, and Obama's former comments make it clear that part of what he's not taking off the table is the option of a first strike against a nuclear-armed Iran.

That's unacceptable. As I wrote before, if the United States survived the Cold War, when a Soviet first strike could have almost instantly immolated 100 million Americans, with a doctrine of no first strike, in the era where the absolute worst a terrorist group or rogue nation can do is represented either in September 11, a tactical nuke, or a dirty bomb, then there is NO moral justification for pre-emptive war today.

Massive retaliation, yes.

A first strike, no.

Senator Hillary Clinton danced around the issue more delicately, but made her own flat, Bush-like declaration, that she would consider an attack on Israel as an attack on the US, and that--moreover--she intended to expand the current American umbrella of deterrence, which sounds eerily like the neo-con fixation on the pell-mell expansion of NATO.

NATO was created as a military alliance specifically for the containment of Soviet aggression and the defense of western Europe from military invasion. It is a Cold War relic that has outlived its original mission, and is now legitimately seen by Russia as a strategic threat capable of re-igniting a new arms race. Do we really want to tell the world than an attack on Romania or Lativa will be considered an attack on American soil? That's what Hillary Clinton has essentially said.

Here's my unfortunate take-away from tonight's debate (aside from the fact that Charlie Gibson and George Stephanapolis wasted the first half hour with really stupid questions):

Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton has any intention of giving up the Bush Doctrine that reserves to the US a unilateral right of military interventionism, nor does either of them--any more than John McCain--have any intention of reducing the vast American empire of bases around the world.

In that sense, despite the failure of his presidency, George W. Bush has actually won the foreign policy debate by so changing the American dialogue on unilateral military action that even his worst critics have adopted his framing of the argument.

We have been dipped in shit.

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