Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Right and the Intelligent debate the Baker Commission

Well, the Baker Commission came out with their report, and the land has been abuzz. Naturally, there's no idea that hasn't actually been discussed already, so there's nothing new. But there the Baker Boys (and one girl) did advocate diplomacy, active intervention to settle the Israel-Palestine dispute, milestones in Iraq, and eventual withdrawl. It recognized that despite the right's attempt to always demonize our foreign "enemies" as implacable madmen and little Hitler's in training, they are all actually fairly rational states with wants and needs like everyone else, and it is possible to negotiate.

Naturally, such an assesment causes the right-wing ideologues to freak out about the empending enslavement of the world if we don't show enough "will" by staying in Iraq until the Earth is destroyed by the sun.

From Hugh Hewitt:

Like I told a reporter buddy of mine: War sucks but a world run by
Islamofacists sucks more.

And therein lies the fatal premise.

The problem with the future is that it is essentially unknowable. So we create logical premises to determine how to act. The opererative premise debated right now?
If we leave Iraq then X will happen. If we stay, Y will happen. If X is worse than Y, we stay, if not, we should go.

For most rational people, Y = more dead American soldiers, waseted funds, more anti-americanism, and more loss of prestige and foreign policy ineffectiveness. X usually means continued chaos and civil war in Iraq, with maybe a 25% chance that things will improve once the Iraqis realize it's up to them, a maybe 25% chance of a massive blood-bath and a regional conflict, and maybe 50% chance of years of grinding civil war, de-facto partitian, and an eventual uneasy peace like in Lebanon.

For the right-wingers, Y is the same but X (if we leave) = the entire world will be ruled by Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda! So yes, Y sucks, but X is worse than anything in the history of the world.

It's fair to say that the West has dominated the globe since at least the 1850s, once Britan beat down China in the Opium wars. It has generally stood for some form of capitalism in various guises. There was a challenge after WWII from the Communist Block, which dissolved at the start of the 1990s. All the great powers have now adopted this basic style of societal orentation(US, Britan, France, Germany, Japan, China, India, Russia, etc.), with varying degrees of government intervention and support in their economies. There are varying degrees of civil liberties in these countries, but a modern capitalist society requires at least a certain level of free discourse and movement to function properly, and so you are generally all-right as long as you don't criticize the state.

Al-Queda had support in one country: The Taliban dominated Afghanistan from about 1996 to 2001, and had no real commerce or conventional military power to speak of. Members of Al-Queda launched a terroist attack against the United States, and the Taliban government was toppled and scattered shortly thereafter. This 5 year period, in an incredibly impoverished nation that suffered through decades of civil war, was the extent of the actual political control of Al-Queda approved government.

But if we leave in Iraq, somehow Al-Queda will find a way to defeat the EU, Japan, China, India, all of North and South America, Russia, and everywhere else, and impose their strict, fundamentalist Islamic rule.

Could someone please explain how this is remotely possible? Does the Right actually believe this, or do they just say it because it's the only way they feel they can defend the indefensible?

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