by Joe Carducci
Clinton would like to be Left, but it's not his priority. First he wants to feel good. And this ain't so easy with Hillary still around. Bill gets reminded first thing in the morning what a drag the Left can be. So in between launchings of the White House rolling pin and torrents of sea-worthy cursing Hillary sets the policy he would like to be for. Of this totalitarian Big Mother fantasia, wherein we are all 'chuldrin' under their guidance, only one issue can not be sold out by Bill--Abortion rights?! This is Hillary's G-spot--that red button right there, No don't touch it! Women's freedom was born of the pill and abortion goes the 'logic.' (And you thought womyn hated being patronized.) "Chuldrin." "Children." "The Children." "Our Children." All G*d's Children Who Manage to slip past the Provider's knife.
Only the most pointillist Leftists (visibly speaking, say, Alexander Cockburn, Nat Hentoff, Christopher Hitchens, the Chomsk) threaten to countenance the idea of holding Bill accountable for doing fun stuff like bombing and lying and raping and killing. But then, even they are no longer true believers; they have little reason to cling to the former party of the Popular Front which is now too busy loving presidential power to hate Injustice'.
Until Clinton, it had been since the Johnson administration that Democrats had been able to stride the world stage as anything but junior Senators or junketing Congressmen--talk about your ugly Americans. (Carter was a party outsider which was why Ted Kennedy challenged him, though Teddy himself didn't seem to know that.) But since '92 the likes of Federico Pena, Warren Christopher, Hazel O'Leary, Henry Cisneros, Joycelyn Elders, Alexis Herman, Janet Reno, Laura Tyson, Togo West Jr., Robert Reich, Webster Hubbell, Bruce Babbitt, Charlene Barshefsky, Strobe Talbott, Les Aspin, Ira Magaziner, Donna Shalala, David Kessler, Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine Albright, Carol Browner, Ron Brown, Andrew Cuomo, Bill Lann Lee, et. al., have paraded in their French-cut Futurist finest through global-this and global-that conferences grabbing at perqs and power while their actual bureaucratic fiefdoms wobble like 1990 Moscow. (But they sure look like America!) This first generation of sixties-damaged student gov-types were finally handed the keys to a colossus built through the enormous efforts of generations of Americans. All they could think of to do with it was gun it downhill, squealing ecstatically as they inadvertently (though beneath their viability masks, I would argue, intentionally) commenced the unraveling of that power.
The Persian Gulf war, whatever its absolute merits, earned something concrete for America in a world where the Soviet East was deciding whether to go down fighting or not, and the Chi-coms were debating post-Tiananmen whether to reform or repress or attempt both. The demonstrated abilities of American equipment and personnel earned America and the West political capital. (It also isolated the most intransigent of the Arab/Islamist states and improved peace prospects in the area and the chances the US treasury can someday take Israel and Egypt off our dole.) This capital has all been spent now, and worse. There were about a dozen military actions during the Reagan-Bush twelve years; there have been nearly four dozen under seven years of Clinton. And he picks his spots perversely, carefully avoiding any prospect of realpolitik profit; he intends to spend capital in the high-minded quest of the Wilsonians to build a world government. (Oh what a wonderful stage that would be!)
This appeals to a bitter American elite cheated, they feel, out of their destiny to redesign our society and redirect our resources. The U.S. has the most to lose to these multilateralist pipe dreams and our elite hurry to the gaming tables of Europe and Asia to lose it. They wince at the dealers in embarrassment of the power they represent (belly of the beast, you know), while they preen over the ostensibly selfless example they waste on the postmoderns of Europe or the pre-moderns of the third world. Our elite is right to feel cheated, of course, because democracy subverts expertise. The Greeks had had it with experts; so had our founding fathers. America is not run by its elite professions and its Academy; it rather quarantines them with busy-work while exalting the process of free people bettering themselves. We may foolishly recognize Liberal Arts expertise, but we actually reward the skills coming out of the science buildings, business schools and garages for that matter.
A democracy should not have its state apparats running around ceding its popularly legitimatized sovereignty to global organizations wherein its vote is easily overwhelmed by states run along the lines of clan-based mafia. Economic stupidity is its own reward. Any targets for open market progress the WTO round may yield will quickly become new ceilings, and perversely, sanctuaries for tyrannies that would otherwise be exposed to real marketplace pressure. And the Jubilee debt relief scam would be another lifeline for these asshole regimes. Progress in this historical cycle began when the Japanese, then the Chileans, the South Koreans, and the Taiwanese proved the world economy wasn't a rigged white man's game; this let the air out of Marxism's increasingly racist appeal. Progress accelerated when the competition for the chance to develop became a race to avoid missing out. The utility of this race, despite bumps in the road, is cast in high relief by the implosions of Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.
But whither Bill Clinton--the most powerful man on the planet? He'd like to be Left, and stay Left, like Hillary. But after the initial radical indulgences (Gays in Military, Health Care Nationalization) led to Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress, and his personal indulgences led to impeachment and the lowering of the bar for public service into the dirt, he's running downhill too fast to stay on his feet.
So he is stopping and turning around.
And after world-gov pretensions have been stripped bare in the Balkans and after taking money from the Chinese military, waving them through our research labs, selling them the hardware and allowing them to steal the software and data (the Legacy codes!) to perfect their ICBM technology and MIRV their missiles, there is only one avenue left open to him and any hope the Democrats have of securing the presidency for Al Gore: Hawk Avenue. So as they trumpet campaign finance reform after having broken the current laws last time, they will loudly gin up defense spending after having given away the store.
Al's already tuning up on the campaign trail, circulating photos of himself in uniform carrying an M-16 and declaring, 'I'm a Viet-nam veteran--one of the lucky ones.' And the reflexive ridicule once dumped on SDI (Reagan's kookie Star Wars delusion) has already spun 'round in environs like New Republic, Washington Monthly, and CBS. This, amazingly, is trumping the left's 'concern' over the U.S. as sole superpower, or what some Frenchie has dubbed, The Hyperpower. Our own Secretary of State Madeline Albright dreams out loud of a counter-power to America's 'frightening dominance,' (Bob Woodward's words). (Help, it's all beginning to make sense!)
The Neo-Hawks' program is raising defense spending on a scale necessary to re-widen the strategic, tactical and technological advantage. It's the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), it's the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), it's heavier military spending on people, weapons, research, overseas bases, intelligence, and it's revamped security relationships with the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Russia, and whatever's left of Indonesia:
The Philippines has already upgraded its defense relationship with the U.S., reversing the sentiment that turned American forces out of Subic Bay and Clark Air base.
Japan's post-war constitution imposed on them by Douglas MacArthur forswore military action; this was accepted by the Japanese people who'd lost faith in their military, but if the American defense umbrella seems full of holes to them they will not be polite about re-militarizing--they are among the most vulnerable to improved Chinese missiles.
Taiwan having reached democracy first, may next vote for independence which the Chi-coms would take as a challenge to their heavenly materialist mandate.
South Korea's former dissident-prisoner President Kim has been forced by missile-happy North Korea and economic circumstances to forego a promised radical redefinition of the American-Korean relationship.
Vietnam is an ancient enemy of China's and they are fighting over islands now; they were alarmed at the eviction of American forces from the Philippines and events may find them inviting American forces back to Cam Ranh Bay.
India's strategic partner against China (and its ally Pakistan) had been the Soviet Union. India and Pakistan are now nuclear equipped and still they skirmish over a cease-fire line in Kashmir which they both claim. India and China both have claims on the other's territory as well, and India has all but seized Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan for use as buffer states along Tibet, which is occupied by China, though it's government-in-exile headed by the Dalai Lama operates from India.
Russia finally climbed down off the suicidal ledge communism had put it on, and this was an enormous comeuppance for its national pride. The bombing of Serbia and the expansion eastward of NATO is driving the debate in Russia back to the unreconstructed premodern slavophiles. Russia was only willing to reduce its nuclear stockpile while the Chinese sat there with twelve missiles and no carriers.
Indonesia better federalize autonomous states under a central defense structure fast or it will find that the People's Republic of has leased basing rights for their nascent blue water navy from one of its thousand islands. (The People's Liberation Army's commercial arm will be administering the Panama Canal come New Year's Eve; they're already running the Port of Long Beach, and look for them to lease Vieques Island from Puerto Rico and commence training, now that the Marines and Navy have been withdrawn by a commander-in-chief who's wife needs Nuyorican votes.)
Jimmy Carter ramped up military spending in 1979 after his soft-headed high-minded gambits exploded in his face in Iran and Afghanistan, but it was too late. Reagan wasn't even considered electable, is how bad Carter blew it. The new militarization is about the Spratlys, the Paracels, Mischief Reef, the Yalu River, Quemoy and Matsu. It's hoping the Japs can remilitarize without wantonly commencing the "hot" exportation of munitions. It's hoping the Russians can use a Chinese missile challenge to get their act together without taking it on the road. It's the Draft!
Our boy Bill has danced through life leaving everyone around him, especially his allies and enablers, covered in mud, blood and sperm. He danced his way out of the old draft and will leave us with a new draft, though it will be dressed up with communitarian pretense, a la the Civilian Conservation Corp (salute here). And this time legal precedent declares it cannot be young men only; all five sexes must serve. As Thomas Sowell suggests, universal draft follows global cop duties, otherwise we "have the elites sending the children of the masses off to get shot at around the world, just so that the elites can feel good about themselves." Clinton escaped money, sex, defense, IRS, personnel, spy, election, and cover-up scandals. He dashed his allies' (and Hillary's) hopes on issues from sexual harassment, campaign finance, welfare, social security, public schools, church-state relations, affirmative action, human rights, gay marriage, various and sundry world trade linkages, etc., and now the crowning glory of his betrayal of the Left: a re-militarization of American culture. There's no-one left to lie to, and there are no more secrets to protect. And our great political dancer has so dizzied up left/right discourse that the laborites, eco-nuts, and street radicals protesting the WTO meeting in Seattle were effectively Pat Buchanan's allies against it, though they want of the WTO everything Clinton intends for it to become.
We are at a ground zero of sorts struggling to avoid being placed at a true ground zero. It's now safe to say that the sixties are truly over.
At the 1992 Presidential Inaugural when the White House was handed back to a Democrat for the first time since 1976 some of the Hollywood rabble come to DC to reflect in someone else's glory for a change, began boo-ing when the jets flew over in formation. Actorvist Ron Silver was heard to counter the boo-ing with, 'No, it's okay; they're our planes now.' In power now since 1992 the Left has had occasion to exercise muscles that had atrophied. In defense of their power they've found things to cheer in a bull market, in tax cuts, a military success, free trade, a B-2 stealth bomber, even a B-1B. This is the principal positive result of the Clinton presidency in terms of the greater political culture. Whether it's positive enough for a net gain will be determined by whether the Clinton Legacy turns out to be a deployed missile defense and a revamped Asian defense structure, or whether it is merely hundreds of MIRVed Chinese missiles targeted accurately on the cities and forces of every nation ringing the Middle Kingdom--that is, the world.
loop back for more "carducci spiel"