At least Obama's honest – in a way. He hasn't offered an explanation for our attacks on Libya that makes any sense because there is, in fact, no explanation that makes any sense. At least not on the level of public discourse. Of course, there are all kinds of private reasons for the attacks, and they are not unlike the equally private reasons for the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. But those are never going to be set out on the table – so we have to be satisfied with a future of non-stop absurdity when it comes to foreign policy. The president will do stuff with or without the advice and consent of Congress, and offer no reasons... and Congress will go along with it, because what choice do they have? The notion of denying the president unlimited war powers died out decades ago. What we have instead is a quasi-democracy when it comes to domestic policy, and a tyranny when it comes to foreign policy... except that the president is not the tyrant. It is, rather, the Regime... the oligarchy... whatever you want to call it. The president is just its servant. This is why the transition from Bush II to Obama was absolutely seamless, foreign policy-wise... because it has nothing to do with politics or political parties. If certain personages want us to go to war, we'll go to war – period. And you can't blame it on the “three witches” in the administration that allegedly slipped something into Obama's mai tai while he was lounging on the beach in Brazil. They're working for the same outfit, and are no more (or less) in charge than he is. What we have in Washington, in the White House, and in the administration is a pseudo-government. The real government is hidden, operated by people who are, by and large, unknown – at least to the vast majority of the American public. This is the only model that makes sense, when we see that nothing will shake our resolve to destroy ourselves militarily and economically by going to purposeless wars at the drop of a hat.
One thing is certain, however – this Libyan excursion has hit the Republicans and mainstream conservatives right where they live. They're all for a “muscular” foreign policy, right? (That's the kind that involves missiles, bombs, and bullets.) They happily pursued it during the Bush II years, so now they can't say a word about Obama's pursuing the same thing. They have to be for it – or, at least, grow strangely silent on the subject. They won't even be able to use it as a talking point for the 2012 election. And yet they claim to want “limited government”. But as I've pointed out before, you can't have a perpetual-war economy and foreign policy, and have limited government at the same time; it's impossible. And they are so enamored of war that they're willing to leave that piece of government alone in their zeal to give power back to “the people”. But if the president has the power to wage war on anyone, at any time, and anywhere, then the notion of returning any power to the people is totally moot. And those who are in charge know this – which is any portion of the current Republican program that might be influenced by paleoconservatism or libertarianism is doomed. You want to cut “wasteful spending” on hopelessly inept and corrupt domestic programs? Fine, then – we'll pull out of North Africa and the Middle East. “Oh no, don't do that! Please!” -- say the Republicans, conservatives, and Evangelicals. Thus the battle is won.
So in the midst of the absurdity of our actions in Libya lies a remarkable political confluence – the liberals/Democrats and the mainstream conservatives/Republicans are in complete agreement without any sensible explanation having been offered. So the absurd has conquered – and, being absurd, is limitless. We could attack another Arab/Islamic nation tomorrow, and there would be no more serious objections than there are now. We could attack two Arab/Islamic nations... or all of them! Because if you accept the argument for what has gone on so far, why would you not accept an argument for limitless escalation? The diplomatic, political, economic, and military arguments have already been made... and soundly rejected by Congress, and by a sizeable portion of the American people. They approve every military spending bill, and at least tacitly approve every military initiative. So if Obama got on TV tomorrow and announced that he had declared war on the entire Moslem world... well, who could object? Certainly the majority of the American people would be all for it – and, as we know, whatever politicians think Americans will be for, they're for it too. Would even one Congressman lose the next election for supporting an all-out war on Islam? I doubt it. But one could lose an election by opposing it. What's amazing is that it hasn't happened yet... but gradual escalation seems to be the preferred strategy, and, sure enough, it seems to be working. The scenario has become drearily familiar: We feign offense at some act of an Islamic regime, we threaten, we attack, we occupy, and then claim that it would be cowardly to “cut and run”. And there we sit, getting picked off. And the president – whoever it is – gets to add another feather to his war bonnet.
Now, you might say, that's way too crude and simplistic. But it really isn't. You add up all that has happened since 9/11, and this is what you get – a crusade, sure enough, but not by believing Christians this time. (Not that believing Christians don't provide plenty of support, but they're just being duped and exploited by people who are anything but.) You see, our irritation with the Arab world has been building up for decades, and it's based on oil, for certain, but also on political and -- shall we say -- aesthetic considerations. We know that they're all “anti-Semitic”... and many of them were Nazi sympathizers in the old days, right? Plus, they're an alien culture with all sorts of disgusting habits and a very spittle-laden, guttural language. They really are a lower life form – lower even than black Africans, and that's saying something. Clearly the planet would be a much more pleasant place without them hanging around. And yet, there's that oil... so we have had to bow and scrape, and kiss Arab butt, for a very long time. But since 9/11, we've discovered the charms of “regime change”, and of “spreading democracy”, and of “nation building”... and if it happens to coincide with our insatiable thirst for oil, well, so be it. Plus, the more of the Arab/Islamic world we control (I use the term loosely) the happier Israel is. And the rest of the world? Well, they're just having the biggest laugh ever at all of our exertions... and the more on-the-ropes we become economically as a result, the better they like it. We're going to wind up like the Ottomans – with a far-flung empire, but fatally weakened, with tyranny and political decadence on the home front. And eventually we'll collapse from the sheer weight of all of our foreign “obligations”. Well – the Ottoman Empire had “foreign obligations” too... until it collapsed. Ditto the Brits, ditto the Soviets. And there was considerable pain involved in all cases; no one gives up empire readily or easily. And yet, it's part of the inevitable cyclic process of history. No empire lasts forever, and the demise of ours is accelerating with each passing day. This will, perhaps, inconvenience some of our “allies”, and require a bit of adjusting on the part of the global Regime, but, by and large, it will be good news – especially for what we have, for many years, condescendingly called “the third world”. (It will also be good news for the “second world”, whose current members include Russia, China, and India. Throw in Brazil if you like.) But just like Norma Desmond, we won't know, or admit, that it's over, even when the proof is right in front of us. We'll just find ourselves isolated, but pretending that we're still in center stage. It will be sad and pathetic... but think, it's inevitable. It will happen. The only question is when.