Twofish's Blog

February 7, 2007

Cool website

Filed under: academia, china, iraq, neoconservative — twofish @ 4:56 pm

http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/lawlobbying/3243.html

Also that web site had a link to the think tank run by Arthur Waldron, a person whom I don’t quite see eye-to-eye

http://www.strategycenter.net/

But I was rather impressed by the website.  Once you strip away the “China wants to take over the world” lens that Waldron sees things through, there is actually a lot of clear analysis in it.  The article on what the consequences of Iraq are is quite interesting.

Quite a few of those articles, I started reading through the articles and thinking to myself, “yes I agree with your analysis, I just don’t think that this is a bad thing like you do.”

The thing that I found pleasant in reading the articles that Waldron writes is that it seems like the “blue team” is in disarray about what to do.  There were all these articles about how “China is basically evil and trying to take over the world” (a point that I obviously disagree on), but not a single coherent strategy for how the United States can or should stop it.

The reason for this is that until about six months ago, the “blue team” was under the belief that the Chinese economy was going to collapse, and one thing that I’ve gotten in reading the blue team websites is that they finally figured out that maybe the Chinese economy won’t collapse.

The other reason that the “blue team” is in disarray is that Iraq was the centerpiece of their strategy to make the world safe for democracy, and obvious China was the evil anti-democracy force that they were trying to undermine.  Iraq is now a total mess.  We might be able to salvage a “mere failure” rather than a “total catastrophe” but in any case the vision of democratic change that the neo-conservatives had is dead, and they are struggling to find some sort of new vision.

Another good article in the “I agree with your analysis but unlike you, I think that X is a good thing” is

 http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/5513661.html

November 24, 2006

Hell freezing over

Filed under: china, iraq, neoconservative, taiwan, wikipedia — twofish @ 7:12 am

It tells you how much the world has changed when I end up being one of the strongest supporters of Chen Shui-Bian.  It also tells you how much the world has changed when I up being more optimistic about the neoconservative program than the neoconservatives.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/12/neocons200612

The thing is that I happen to believe in the United States and its fundamental values, and I happen to believe that when you have your basic values right, and you keep fighting, you will win.  Iraq is just the first small parts of a decades-long struggle against barbarism and poverty.

Where I think the neoconservatives got it wrong is that they were infected with arrogance, utopianism, and most importantly an unwillingness to listen.  The basic values of the United States, which I argue are constitutionalism, tolerance, and rule of law, are basic human values.  Consequently when the rest of the world thinks you are wrong, you need to do some soul searching.

I’m finding the pessimism of the neo-conservatives more than a little annoying.  They are finger-pointing about mistakes, not realizing that people are falliable, and any foreign policy program that assumes that people won’t make mistakes and be able to recover from them is basically flawed.  There utopianism is also hurting them.  When times are good, people find me annoyingly pessimistic, but the thing about my pessimism and my faith in Murphy’s Law is that when everything falls apart (and everything will fall apart), I tend not to give up.

For a number of years, I’d been (justifiably) worried that the neo-conservatives would get the US into a war with China.  That hasn’t happen, and that isn’t going to happen.   The fact that we have a functioning trade and economic system that includes the US, China, India, and Europe means that we have a fundamental coalition against the Bin-Ladenists.

The fire of war has burned off a lot of idiocy (like the idea that China is the number one enemy of the United States).  The neo-conservatives can feel miserable about Iraq for a short time, but at the end of the day, things are what they are, and the basic reality is that we are in an epic struggle over the fate of the planet.

We are at war, and we will win……

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