Mead is still arguing that the old blue social model is unsustainable (I suppose the red would be too, to some extent, on this view). The government can’t prop up what has been lost with unsustainable spending and a vastly increased Federal project. Mead thinks we need a new liberalism now that the old has diffused itself upon the loss of manufacturing, private sector jobs, globalization etc. He finishes with:
‘We’ve wasted too many years arguing over how to retrieve the irretrievable; can we please now get on with the actual business of this great, liberal, unapologetically forward-looking nation.’
At the same time, perhaps more liberal attitudes are becoming more prevalent in American society, or at least perhaps there is a waning of religious conservatism and religion in the public square.
The Iran terror plot on American soil in Corpus Christi has the air of a ‘caper,’ but is still another attempt inside America to spread terror.
Here’s Mead on Iran and Saudi Arabia, and is worth pointing out:
‘Losing Syria would be Iran’s biggest setback since 1979, not only driving it out of the Mediterranean but threatening its influence in Iraq — a Sunni Syria would be a new channel to help Sunni tribes limit Shi’a and Iranian power there as what could be a new civil war ramps up as the Americans step down.’
‘As US-Pakistan tensions rise, the Pakistanis have looked to China as an alternative great power backer. The Pakistani argument to China is that Pakistan offers an offset to India that makes it harder for India to challenge Chinese influence in southeast Asia and elsewhere.’
So what do we do with a barely functional Pakistani state which has nuclear weapons, a recent swell of Anti-American popular sentiment, a state that looks the other way/harbors/produces terrorism…plays both ends while receiving U.S. aid upon a feudal, tribal land-owning system…and that we still have reasons to support?:
‘The administration is going to have to look at a broad range of options that stretch from adding some new dimensions to US-India relations and engaging more directly with more neighbors about the future of Afghanistan to additional operations like the Abbottabad raid where intelligence suggests appropriately important targets can be found. On the other hand, the administration needs to develop a crystal clear and specific vision for what we want from Pakistan and what we will do if and only if we can secure it.’
Likely worth your time.
Michael Totten did an interview with Hezbollah’s pr guy.
On the possible tensions within the democratic party surrounding military action in Libya, Mead notes:
‘President Obama beware: If US troops are fighting in Libya in 2012 the ‘humanitarian hawks’ will likely be out campaigning against you in New Hampshire.’
Also, waiting for a coalition of international support and the benefits of doing so, while losing valuable time, still leaves the UN sending a mixed message:
‘More, the political objectives of the UN resolution are unclear. The resolution aims to ban Gaddafi attacks on rebels, but doesn’t call for removing him from office. Literally interpreted, this amounts to a call for an informal partition of Libya into pro- and anti-Gaddafi portions with foreign air forces keeping the peace between them.’
‘At this point, we must live in hope: hope that the President and his team know what they are doing, and hope that an international show of force will bring a better future to Libya (which means a future with no Gaddafis in it) without further bloodshed.’
When I think of the choice between McCain and Obama, I still think Obama is the better choice on foreign policy. But even if he has a deeper vision for the Middle-East rooted in liberal internationalism, some broader experience or understanding, and somewhat of a more left and universalist set of Western ideas (if not a clear strategy), he still must be the Commander in Chief and handle many of the same institutions and limitations as the last President. Least of all he’ll have to handle his own party.