Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Deeper into the 1930s 

In today’s “Australian”, almost half of the opinion page goes to a piece by Christopher Layne, titled “Deeper into the abyss”. The blurb gives out Layne’s warning: “The Shiite uprising should remind the Americans of the adage: when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Layne’s advice for the Americans in Iraq is not just to stop digging but to get out of the hole altogether and let the shaft either collapse or get somebody else to do the shovelling.

“US efforts are certain to fail -- no matter how many more Coalition soldiers die or however many more billions of dollars Washington spends. Iraq is not going to be stabilised any time soon, least of all if the US remains as a colonial power. Iraq is not going to become a Western-style democracy (and, if by some miracle it did, it would be an anti-American, anti-Israeli democracy),” writes Layne.

And: “If the US withdraws, will there be costs? Of course there will. Iraq could fracture, the Middle East - believe it or not - could become less stable than it is presently and some might question US resolve. The truth is, however, that sooner or later the US is going to have to pay these costs.”

In case you were impressed by Layne’s credentials as a contributing editor of “The American Conservative” magazine, and are therefore somewhat unsettled and discomfited that nowadays such defeatist arguments come from people writing for “conservative” publications, take a deep breath.

“The American Conservative” is a flagship publication of Pat Buchanan, the ex-Republican arch-populist who thinks that over the past six or so decades Jews and intellectuals have dastardly hijacked the label “conservative”. Hence Buchanan’s desire to return the American conservatism to what he thinks was its pre-1930s golden age: the glory days of small town and small mind isolationism, protectionism, and xenophobia. Should you want more, you can read all about Buchanan’s charming foreign policy vision in his “A Republic, not an Empire.”

Buchanan thinks that most if not all of US military engagements over the last century were mistakes – no wonder then that Layne goes bananas over Iraq. But Layne seems to be almost a moderate, compared to some of Buchanan’s other acolytes like Justin Raimondo, a San Francisco libertarian who thinks that Japan deserved to win World War Two (and who has also called on the American troops in Iraq to desert). “The American Conservative” itself is mostly financed by Taki Theodoracopoulos, the Greek shipping heir and an international playboy, better known for his weekly jet set column in the London “Spectator”, his cocaine smuggling conviction, and undisguised admiration for Slobodan Milosovic.

It’s an old observation that political spectrum is not a straight line but a circle. There comes a point where the far left and far right meet and embrace each other in their mutually shared delusions, and their common hatred of an open liberal society, free market economy, globalised world and interventionist America.

“Once resistance to their rule reaches a threshold, colonial powers don't win wars of national resistance. If that threshold hasn't quite been reached in Iraq during the past few days, it soon will be,” writes Layne.

Noam Chomsky would be proud.

(For more on Buchanan, Raimondo, Taki and the rest of the sorry quasi-fascist brigade masquerading as conservatives, read the low-downs by Stephen Schwartz and Ronald Radosh).


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