Sunday, November 18, 2007


Brian Hayes

Kissinger is no fool. But I warn that he's matured in our world, he's watched what we see, he's built where we now survive, and he's learned to use what we know. Rhetoric is his tool and Game Theory is in his back pocket.

We tease Bush and the billions he spends to promote himself as a branch of the Constitution while we fail to examine the tree. We are the trillions distributed around the world. It is our value that is at stake these days. We are a labor of generations that the "tradition of long-serving senior politicians from both parties" have denied and betrayed.

I don't mean this in the mountain man sense of scorn nor the prairie sense of exclusion, but I mean to say that Henry has wrapped a whip in every phrase, as pandering as he is always, and the better truth that keeps us free of his wit is that we remain unhappy with what he gave us.

I think it's important to study each turn of Henry's moment. There's no gift in it.

Alex Tolley

These two items stuck out for me:

1. Mr. Kissinger agreed with the point that other nations will have to have scope to develop their own identities. But he pointed out that to have world order, "these identities need to be reconciled into some general consensus." An American strategy of benign neglect may, in any case, no longer be realistic in an age of increasing global integration when relatively small transnational networks or failed states can project power against democratic societies with devastating consequences.

2. The nation-state is weakening in Europe, he observed, and has met with mixed success in other parts of the world. "Only in Russia, the United States and Asia can it be found in its classic form."

The former indicates a world view that required ORDER - that there must be an acceptable (to the US?) consensus on how states and other actors must behave. Given the inevitable rise of technologies of mass destruction, this could result in an ever more authoritarian approach to global governance. I don't believe that is either desirable or possible.

The latter comment is more interesting, in that it ironically suggests that the US is behind the times, maintaining a nationalism simply because it needs to in order to project power. If that power fails for any reason, then the US might join Europe is downplaying nationalist tendencies.

It will be interesting to see how some of this plays out - clearly the US is undergoing imperial overstretch today - and might quickly follow Britain as a declining world power. But will a new dominant nation state take over, perhaps China, or will the world move to less nationalistic politics more global belief systems, when religious or otherwise?

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