My lovely host should probably fire me. I hope my absence is forgiven. The assassination of Hrant Dink sent this writer into a deep period of introspection and disappointment. I meant to make a post about it; that post turned into a term paper and the last of my undergraduate career.
If you aren't reading Juan Cole, I suggest that you start. He writes clearly and cleverly and he understands the Middle East like a machine. As a Machiavellian, I appreciate people who are precise about political developments. I'm the type of person who gags when we talk in airy manners about "our friends" and who supposedly hates whom. So much emotional talk in American rhetoric. It's unhealthy.
That said, Cole's Informed Comment is a pleasure to read. Today he cuts down a simplistic and comforting analogy (aren't all our errors conveniently comparable to great actions of the past?) uttered by the president. But he doesn't only show President Bush to, indeed, employ small-minded and dishonest logic in his speaking engagements, but he also vindicates another ruling George. It was Washington, wasn't it, who warned of foreign entanglements?
If foreign obligation is the modern form of a royal marriage, our republic's servants now behave like the Roman aristocracy, or the Borgias. Without necessity or hesitation, we find ourselves in bed with not only some of the worst men in the world, but many bitter enemies. And now, the long trail of conquests and compromises are seeing us poised for a strategic disaster. I'll leave you to decide whether this is due to excessive or insufficient complexity in our plotting.
Cole's analysis addresses the myriad ties of the region, but I'll note another theater of this strategic collapse. Are we really pushing Russia away from us at a time like this?