One simply has to marvel at the absolute arrogance of Fareed Zakaria’s latest articles. It’s not surprising…just a perfect example of how an intelligent, educated, over-marketed mind can be rendered utterly stupid by political partisanship.
First he wrote an article complaining about Republicans and people who warn that planet Earth is not a civilized place, but rather it is a very dangerous one where evil exists in men-often powerful men with increasing access to dangerous technologies and equally decreasing reluctance to take action due to a lack of deterrence that stems from denialists like Zakaria.
The World Isn’t So Dark
There is some truth to both visions of the world, but in my view the reality is much closer to Obama’s—more so than most American politicians seem willing to admit. We live in remarkably peaceful times. A University of Maryland study shows that deaths from wars of all kinds have been dropping dramatically for 20 years and are lower now than at any point in the last half century. A study from Simon Fraser University finds that casualties from terrorism have been steadily declining since 9/11. It is increasingly clear—look at their voting from Indonesia to Iraq to Pakistan—that very few Muslims anywhere support Islamic fundamentalists. More countries than ever before now embrace capitalism and democracy.
It’s also worth noting that ever since World War II, the United States has tended to make its strategic missteps by exaggerating dangers. During the 1950s, conservatives argued that Dwight Eisenhower was guilty of appeasement because he was willing to contain rather than roll back communism. The paranoia about communism helped fuel McCarthyism at home and support for dubious regimes abroad. John Kennedy chose to outflank Nixon on the right by arguing that there was a dangerous missile gap between the Soviets and the United States (when in fact the United States had almost 20,000 missiles and the Soviets had fewer than 2,000). The 1970s witnessed a frenzied argument that the Soviet Union was surpassing the United States militarily and was about to “Finlandize” Europe. The reality, of course, was that when neoconservatives were arguing that the U.S.S.R. was about to conquer the world, it was on the verge of total collapse.
Since end of the cold war, similar alarms have been sounded several times. In the 1990s, the Cox Commission argued that China was building a military to rival ours, citing numbers that soon proved to be bogus. Then there’s Saddam Hussein, who was described as a powerful and imminent threat to the United States. In fact, the greatest problem that we have faced in Iraq is its weakness, its utter dysfunction as a state and a nation. Rhetoric about transcendent threats and mortal dangers grips the imagination of the American people. But it also twists U.S. foreign policy in ways that can prove to be extremely costly to the country and the world.
One would think that Fareed is telling people the world is not all that dangerous a place, but then the partisan hack for Newsweek turns right around, and he takes Governor Sarah Palin to task over foreign policy claiming (among other things) that Russia’s presence a few miles from her state does not give her foreign policy experience. Gosh, perhaps Russian Bear bombers are flying over Senator Biden’s state of Delaware too? No. Maybe they’re buzzing Obama’s Chi-town? I don’t think so. I think her state IS the nuclear front line for an armageddon standoff that has never really ended, only reduced in scale, and is rising back again.
Of course, one’s neighbors aren’t her only understanding of foreign affairs, and, again-referring back to Fareed’s earlier article which depicted the planet as covered with cotton candy cumulus, rivers of chocolate, and forests of gumdrop trees, we have to recall that the Newsweek foreign policy brainiac-hack doesn’t believe the world is that dangerous. Right? Well, that’s only when it comes to agreeing with Senator Obama. When it comes to the other side of the aisle, if a person has an R next to their title, then they’re obviously underqualified to talk about foreign policy. THOSE people just aren’t prepared enough to deal with the horrors of planet Earth…
Palin Is Ready? Please.
Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.
Domestically, the bailout and reform of the financial industry will take years and hundreds of billions of dollars. Health-care costs, unless curtailed, will bankrupt the federal government. Social Security, immigration, collapsing infrastructure and education are all going to get much worse if they are not handled soon.
And the American government is stretched to the limit. Between the Bush tax cuts, homeland-security needs, Iraq, Afghanistan and the bailout, the budget is looking bleak. Plus, within a few years, the retirement of the baby boomers begins with its massive and rising costs (in the trillions).
Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints.
So there it is Fareed…
When talking about a Senator from Illinois who was only a senator for 150 days before becoming a professional presidential candidate…well, in that case the world is just fine, and there’s really nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if we’re talking about a Governor who runs a state that has nuclear bombers flying over it…fuh ghet uh ’bout it. She’s a clueless moron unable to deal with the vast dangers and challenges of the next administration.
Now, what I found really hillarious about Zakaria’s duplicity was that he himself pointed out that the Obama/Biden campaign and the McCain/Palin campaign aren’t really that different in foreign policy.
Their differences over Iraq policy have shrunk as the place has stabilized somewhat and the Iraqi government looks for a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal. Both candidates oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Russia’s incursion into Georgia. Both support a vigorous fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
So, what’s the problem then? Both sides basically have the same foreign policy-except one campaign has an R next to their name, and a woman, and the other has a D, and an African-American. The source of Fareed’s predjudicial description of the world’s condition depends on one of those factors and not with a foreign policy difference because-as he points out-there really is none.
Maybe it’s time Fareed and Newsweek thought a moment about their little double standard. It’s probably a good idea if for no other reason than to decide if the world is a dangerous place or not for a person with little foreign policy experience: Obama or Palin.