Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Post-Iraq America

Sooner more likely than later, Iraq will be largely a thing of our past. Even if troops remain there long-term, they will come to be like our troops in Korea or Germany -- there in every sense but our conscious sense.

The Shiites and Sunnis will sort themselves out, after either a lot of blood or little blood. Saner heads will prevail, and Islam will not kill itself, even if many of its most radical believers martyr each other in the name of the god of the Religion of Peace.

Even if Iran and North Korea get a bomb, it's not likely to impact America much. Worst case: Some million or so die, but America does not die. If they use a bomb on us or an ally like Israel or Japan, our Iranian or North Korean problem will be quickly dispensed with. It's ugly, but it's true.

So despite all the pessimism, an era of relative peace is indeed possible before too long, and given the strong global economy, it will last a while before we lose it again. Everything cycles, everything balances out, self-correction defines our planet and our humanity.

What should we be doing now to prepare for this opportunity?

Iraq. Most importantly, we shouldn't try to force peace onto Iraq in the name of peace, as the Dems and some Republicans are doing. Peace will come faster if we stay in Iraq than if we leave it. If, as the Libs believe, we have created a center for terrorists in Iraq, why on earth would we leave it before dispensing them to their virgin-laden fates?

Our policy in Iraq should become more driven by what will be after we leave. It's obvious that our earlier hopes for an American-styled Democracy didn't acknowledge the tensions and hates that are not yet resolved, but our policy going forward should have its eyes wide open in this regard.

Suppressing the in-country militia is half the job; cutting off outside support is the other, and I haven't heard much talk of it. Think of the border debate, and the Boeing contract to install electronic measures to protect our Southern border. Have you heard this discussed with Iiraq's borders with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria? Why not?

Military Restructuring. Thinking forward regarding US foreign policy, I'm finding somewhat to my surprise that my head was nodding while reading Francis Fukuyama in today's LATimes:
But there is good reason to think that we have consistently overestimated threats to stability since 9/11 and that it is our reaction to this overestimation that has created special dangers. At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, there were probably no more than a few dozen people in the world with the motivation and potential means to cause catastrophic harm to the United States. Once our mighty national security apparatus was turned to focus on this problem, the likelihood of a successful attack dropped dramatically.
I'm not sure where he got his "few dozen people in the world" idea, but the point is valid, and future risks need to be evaluated from a position of strength, not weakness. Measured responses internationally can be effective, and will help us avoid the paralyzing sort of debate Iraq has smothered America with.

This speaks to the need for a recast American military. The carrier fleets are nice but vulnerable to missiles. The subs are fantastic but increasingly useless. Better would be a global swift action force employed through a global network of smaller forward bases, swift fleets with improved landing capabilities, and force projection capabilities designed for speed, both in getting there and getting out.

Such a structure would allow the US military to frequently be the first international responder on relief missions, as we were after the Southeast Asia tsunami. Our goal in a post-Iraq world must be to have a military that can consistently outperform the UN -- and certainly the Islamist and Socialist states -- at humanitarianism and peacekeeping.

Energy. We can use the post-Iraq era to change world political dynamics, starting with stripping the evangelistic oil nations of their power. Saudi Arabia and Iran use oil wealth to preach radical Islam. Russia and Venezuela use it to preach resurgent socialism. Who knows what Iraq will ultimately use it for?

We have the power to weaken these states by deflating the value of oil by driving down demand. We're doing that already with our heightened energy consciousness, but there's a global play here too. By supporting large-scale ethanol production in Africa, Latin America and Asia, we can build a new collection of nations with positive foreign trade with the US, and through that seed new capitalist, free-market, not Islamofascist nations that are adept at growing sugar cane and sugar beets.

This leads to a larger opportunity to use the global warming hysteria to our advantage by continuing to reject the controlled market "solutions" to warming, and showing the world how the free market works better. We can already do this by showing our trends vs. trends in the controlled market states. Our market is shifting dramatically: Look at the sales of tankless water heaters, hybrids and high mpg cars. Look at the embracing of green construction in commercial and residential development -- all by choice and market incentives.

Next summer, when California electricity prices soar because Arnold has forced a controlled market on the utilities by declaring we can no longer go to out-of-state coal-fired plants for the 20% or so of our total power consumption we now buy from them. When this happens, Californians will have an opportunity to reject another controlled market governor and set a better course. And as they say, California leads the nation in political trends.

The UN. In public affairs, there's a golden rule: Don't give the crazies the soapbox. That's not the UN model, and we don't need an organization where the crazies can keep the sane from doing good things, and the good can't keep the crazies from doing bad things.

America should continue to fund UN humanitarian programs until there is an alternative, but cease funding and participating in all other programs. It should join the dozen or so nations that would qualify in forming a Union of Free Nations. Rules of admission: Free speech, free elections, free markets, free religion. If you don't have 'em, the door is closed. If you have them but lose them, sorry, there's no grandfathering and no guarantees of continuing membership.

This structure would make it easier for the UFN to conduct diplomacy as a unified block with unprecedented clout. Since it would represent the wealthiest and most caring nations (funny how that works), it would have the right motivation and more than enough money and power to improve the world and prolong the peace by determining which nations get aid, which nations get incentives to push forward, which get slapped down, and which need a dose of regime change.

All the other nations of the world would have to organize under some other moniker or monikers that wouldn't include "Free" in it. Their citizens would understand the implications of this, and would not be happy that their nation can't achieve UFN membership.

George Bush's greatness has been his ability to focus on a threat. The next great president will be the one who relegates the threat to a new, lesser position and focuses on the opportunities.

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