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Friday, December 01, 2006

We've fallen, and can't get up...

The Iraq Study Group’s final report due for release next week promises to be nothing less than the sheet music Nero fiddled from. Iraq is a lost cause. Truly the only question remaining is how many MORE Iraqis we screw over before totally abandoning our Mesopotamian extreme makeover.

Excuse another classical reference, but we really could’ve used a Hadrian instead of a Nero -- a leader intent on consolidating international gains and refining infrastructure instead of a spoiled delinquent deaf to reason.

If you can’t see the immediate reason why this is so (the death and loss of American credibility being only among the most obvious in a long, glaring list) the future is as clear as wonton soup.

The American model of foreign policy -- of linking international benefits to approved behaviors -- has had its century. The Chinese model -- of striking deals over resources and trade alone, without any regard to political concessions or some eggheaded nicety like human rights -- is ascendant. Bush played usher to this incipient shift.

China’s courtship of Africa, or more particularly African resources, began this fall with a bang. China has begun its sunshine campaign in South America. The world is already orienting itself around a new economic order.

China doesn’t care much who you jail, abuse or deny voting rights to. It only wants to strike a deal for the raw materials your country possesses.

Conveniently enough, the U.S. is utterly dependent on the Chinese to buy American debt and sustain our profligate budgetary habits. As China grows more powerful, we grow more dependent on their bond-buying. The Chinese aren’t stupid -- they’d much rather buy our debt than our goods, no matter how much we beg. Sort of puts Clinton's obsession with the bond market in perspective, doesn't it...

Are Baker, Hamilton and the rest happy to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic? And the nation patiently waits and watches for what kind of arrangement they come up with?

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