Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Great Equalizer: Lessons From Iraq and Lebanon: Gabriel Kolko reflects on the consequences of easily and cheaply available missiles and nuclear weapons. Its a changed world.

"American experts believe that the Iranians compelled [Hezbollah] to keep in reserve the far more powerful and longer range cruise missiles they already possess. Iran itself possesses large quantities of these missiles and American experts believe they may very well be capable of destroying aircraft carrier battle groups. All attempts to devise defenses against these rockets, even the most primitive, have been expensive failures, and anti-missile technology everywhere has remained, after decades of effort and billions of dollars, unreliable."

"The U.S. war in Iraq is a political disaster against the guerrillas -- a half trillion dollars spent there and in Afghanistan have left America on the verge of defeat in both places. The "shock and awe" military strategy has utterly failed save to produce contracts for weapons makers -- indeed, it has also contributed heavily to de facto U.S. economic bankruptcy.

"The Bush Administration has deeply alienated more of America's nominal allies than any government in modern times. The Iraq war and subsequent conflict in Lebanon have left its Middle East policy in shambles and made Iranian strategic predominance even more likely, all of which was predicted before the Iraq invasion. Its coalitions, as Thomas Ricks shows in his wordy but utterly convincing and critical book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, are finished. Its sublime confidence and reliance on the power of its awesome weaponry is a crucial cause of its failure, although we cannot minimize its preemptory hubris and nationalist myopia. The United States, whose costliest political and military adventures since 1950 have ended in failure, now must face the fact that the technology for confronting its power is rapidly becoming widespread and cheap. It is within the reach of not merely states but of relatively small groups of people. Destructive power is now virtually "democratized.""

Perhaps Mr Howard might be asked to comment on the contention that the 'coalition with the US' is finished, and why that is so? Or if is is not finished, does it go all the way to Iran?

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