Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wrecking the world? Actually yes, but...

David Goldman aka "Spengler" has the latest column on world affairs and America's role in it, as well as the Russian perspective of it. I have to say I'm a bit ambivalent as to it's worth because while it hits the nail on the head on some important points, I believe it dramatically misses it on some others.

In the begining Goldman presents how Fyodor Lukyanov laments what he sees as an overestimation of US capabilities and "conspiracy theories" that emerge from them, and the rest of the article is a littany of blunders America made in the world and their consequences as well as an attempt to see them all from the point of view of the Russian leaders. Spengler is sympathetic to those who reason that these foreign policy blunders can not be that but are in fact smoke-and-mirrors made to cover up a master plan(or rather, sympathetic as to why others might see it that way) but he firmly rejects the possibility that such plan exists and concludes:"I wish it were a conspiracy. The truth is that we really are that dumb."

It is at the word "dumb" that I have to first part company with Mr.Goldman since it definitely is not adequate and does not describe the state of mind of the American establishment. Some time ago a Serbian Orthodox monk taught me that the sin from which all others originate is pride. It is this pride, or rather it's most excessive variety, hubris, that is also fons et origi of every disaster created by US foreign policy. From this hubris came self-absorption and narcissism(and a bit of naivete') that had policy makers believe that "all people have the same desire for freedom that Americans do" and that with the removal of "tyrants" all problems will go away. From this hubris came the cognitive dissonance when it comes to the consequences of the "support for democracy" and with it a complete lack of the ability to learn on one's mistakes(how could they, indeed, when they do not see mistakes as such?). All this gives the average observer the impression of either incredible stupidity or incredible deviousness, depending on the point of view.

Another point where I have to diverge from Goldman is his rejection of the existence of a "master plan". There is one, actually, but it is indeed nowhere near as elaborate and cunning as the "paranoid Russians" believe it is. In fact, it is based on the wishful thinking stemming from the state of mind I described above and which even Goldman himself in his text noted via the exchange between Bush and Putin. As a result, while the actions themselves are planned, their consequences most certainly are not. And herein lies the tragedy, in many senses...

As I wrote already, to most observers American behaviour shows either incredible stupidity or incredible deviousness. Since, as Goldman noted, the first option is scarcely credible, the second comes as natural. And the only logical conclusion that can come out of that is that both US foreign policy actions and consequences of those are planned in advance and that the installation of islamic fundamentalist groups, those who never waste time to show in words and deed that they hate America, Israel, Europe as well as Russia in the place of former secular autocrats is in fact for the benefit of the former three and to the detriment of the latter. It is therefore inconcievable  that in their hubris Americans unleashed forces that they could not control even if they had attempted to and that they can not bring themselves to realize this. 

Tragically, by embracing the misconception of American omnipotence and omniscience the opponents of American foreign policy, are actually making such opposition all the more harder, not only psychologically, but also from a practical point of view since any possible strategy against it will be based on wrong assumptions and thus doomed to fail. And the consequences of such failure will encompass the world at large, including America.

Worst of all, however, is that analysis such as Mr. Goldman's which are close to the mark sound to the average ear like a conspiracy theory in it's own right. 

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