Sunday, August 12, 2007

"...nothing had been learned from the past, and official myopia is timeless."

An interesting article by Gabriel Kolko called Mechanistic Destruction: American Foreign Policy at Point Zero .
(My source was Matt Good's page).
The beginning of the piece:

The United States has rarely lost any conventional military battle since at least 1950. Nor has it, at the same time, ever won a war. It has successfully overthrown governments through interventions or subversion but the political results of all its efforts – as in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Iran in 1953 – have often made its subsequent geopolitical position far, far more tenuous. In a word, in international affairs it bumbles very badly and it has made an already highly unstable world far more precarious than it otherwise would be if only the U.S. had left the world alone. No less important, Americans would be far better off thereby. Because – to repeat a critical point – it has failed to attain victory in any of the real wars it has fought since Korea. Its adversaries learned as long ago as the Korean War that decentralization would stymie America's overwhelming firepower, which was designed for concentrated armies, and provided a successful antidote for massive, expensive technology.

All this is very well known. The real issue is why the U.S. makes the identical mistakes over and over again and never learns from its errors.

At the present time it is losing two wars and creating a vast arc of profound strategic and political instability from the Mediterranean Sea to South Asia, it has resumed the arms race in Europe, and it is making Russia an enemy when it could easily have been friendly. Economically, it has run up the biggest deficits in American history, brought on the decline of the dollar, and wherever one turns this administration has been at least as bad as any in two centuries of American history – perhaps even the worst. We now have an unprecedented disaster in the conduct of American power, both overseas and at home, in part because of the people who now rule – ambitious men and women who calculate only what is best for their careers – but also because the imperatives and inexorable logic of past policies and conventional wisdom have brought us to this critical juncture. All the old mistakes have been repeated; nothing had been learned from the past, and official myopia is timeless.


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