Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Wrong Man For The Right Job?

In following the Bolton hearings for U.N. ambassador and the beginning of confirmation hearings for John Negroponte, Arnaud de Borchgrave writes in the Washington Times concerning the historical perspective on the times and the impending restructuring of the Pentagon. Read the de Borchgrave's article here and notice the similar situations in the late 1940's and today.

As we contemplate the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, we must not forget the mistakes and problems of the past. In his piece, de Borchgrave correctly argues that a more nimble and responsive organization is needed at the Pentagon for the United States to pursue its objectives abroad. America was in a different place in the world system in 1947-1949. We faced a comparatively well-defined "enemy" in the nascent expansionism of Stalin's U.S.S.R. Our national intellegence and defense structures and postures were outdated long before 9/11.

We decided to hold out for the peace dividend after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. There was no such time. We staggered through the 1990's and were lucky to have competent commanders such as former Major General and SACEUR Wesley Clark at the helm during the problems in Bosnia (1995) and Kosovo (1999-2000). We need to change things to be agile against what military types call an "asymmetrical threat."

In proposing Negroponte and Bolton, we are showing our confusion on such matters. Negroponte is a fine choice, a career diplomat with a good record in difficult international situations. Bolton, however, is a political hack and party hanger-on who has made problematic remarks about the U.N. Is this the guy we want at the U.N. representing our interests.

These decisions and their after effects may not come soon, but if done wrong again, it will be at our peril. Let us pick agile structures and agile minds to match. We needn't burden the international communities with our bad patronage decisions.


Aaron Cynic said...

I think though, alot of this depends on what angle you're taking it from. Sure, if you're taking for granted that US foreign policy is always in the right, then this is a viable statement. But only if you believe that imperial wars and colonialist actions are correct foreign policy.

We staggered through the 1990's only in fat cat spending habits (in regards to the defense department). We had plenty of "interventions" and various bombing campaigns, including Iraq.

I think it comes down to whether or not you believe in PNAC.

In the end it's no real matter. UN be damned - the US will act the way it wishes to. We have the biggest guns and enough penis envy to go around.

Will Shannon said...

Aaron, I couldn't agree more with the notion that we could not give a damn what the U.N. does. I have always thought that a U.S. rep to the U.N. was somewhat useless.