Clemons vs. Gaffney: Two Quite Divergent Views About the Character and Conduct of American Foreign Policy

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Remember. . .this exchange I had with Center for Security Policy President and leading neocon force in Washington Frank Gaffney was done for charity to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society — probably the only thing that Frank Gaffney and I basically agree on.
If you are inclined to support this cause and the good work of one of our great New America Foundation staff members, Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini, please donate online here.
Some of you will find it interesting, and others will go a bit crazy over it. One person who watched the exchange live online wrote to me that he liked the debate a lot — but wish we had had one genuinely “left” person in the mix. I agree generally — but I think that the distinctions between my views and Frank Gaffney’s are stark enough and capture the differences between pragmatic, progressive realism and ideological fundamentalism.
But it was interesting and a challenge. Our moderator was Foreign Policy executive editor and former Washington Post Outlook page editor Susan Glasser.
I hope you are enjoying a holiday weekend, whether spiritually connected — or just one self-designed.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “Clemons vs. Gaffney: Two Quite Divergent Views About the Character and Conduct of American Foreign Policy

  1. John says:

    I don’t mean to be a picky film buff, but it seems like Gaffers got two of the Godfather scenes mixed up: Luca Brasi was the “big bouncer” that got garroted early on while the chap that gets it in the car was Carlo Rizzi, Connie’s husband; not a bouncer, and not really that big either.

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    “Nowhere is there any consideration of America’s legitimate
    aspirations and ambitions. These are unknown and
    undiscussed”.
    Unknown? For whom?
    Well, according to JohnH, it`s all about oil & gas, legitimate or
    not. He has, in his polemical manner, informed us abut this
    hundreds of times during the last couple of years.
    But according to a dozen of other regular commenters, it is not
    about energy. It`s all about the influence of AIPAC in US foreign
    policy.
    Which inspires half a dozen of commenters to cry: anti-
    semitism. Again and again.
    And which also inspires “questions” to say that the world is way
    too complicated to assume ANYTHING, and that the least you
    could do before assuming that AIPAC has too much influence is
    to ask – as Descartes once (probably) did (if he existed) –
    whether you possess any self-evident truth pointing in the
    direction that you actually exist.
    If not, you run the regrettable risk of being a non-existing
    entity, a ghost, dreaming the existence and influence of AIPAC.
    Although I often agree with Dan Kervick, and a bit less with
    Steve Clemons; and mostly disagree with WigWag, those three
    commenters seem to have in common a rare and precious
    ability to have two or three important thoughts in their head
    simultaneously – and even the capability to express those
    thoughts in a clear language, occasionally even in unpredictable
    manners.
    Why don`t most of you fellow commenters make an effort to
    follow their example, combining reflections, insights, and facts
    in ways that once in a while may come as a surprise – even for
    yourselves?
    Yeah, I exaggerate. And occasionally some of you surprise me –
    and some more than others. But more often these comments
    are becoming a predictable ritual – currently demonstrated by
    Kathleen G`s rants in this thread about the fate of Norman
    Finkelstein, an issue that is not related to the issue of this
    thread – or related to every thread, if you wish, since Finkelstein
    and AIPAC is, after all, related to US foreign policy, and thus to
    the debate between Steve and Frank Gaffney.
    In any case, my challenge is this: surprise your readers once in
    a while!

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  3. JohnH says:

    Phrases like the “mystique of power” are perfectly illustrative of the bankruptcy of American foreign policy thinking. To what does the “mystique of power” aspire? “Mystique is nothing more than mystique — an aura of power that helps generate leverage in certain matters when real, or applied, power are not exerted — but there exists a possibility (real or imagined) that power could be.”
    That’s it? Being the baddest boy on the block for the sake of being the baddest boy on the block? It represents nothing more than the blind thinking of a testosterone marinated, middle high school bully obsessed with being king of the mountain.
    Nowhere is there any consideration of America’s legitimate aspirations and ambitions. These are unknown and undiscussed. Any inkling as to America’s overarching goals was lost in the drive to become the baddest.
    It would be nice if all these foreign policy mobsters could recalibrate their thinking–finely honed to deliver propaganda–and once again start to think about what America hopes to accomplish for the well being of its citizens. Simply being the baddest with its “mystique of power” doesn’t do anything for anybody, except the merchants of death.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    I would like to add something to my comment above, regarding
    US` “decline”.
    This decline is evident on the economical, ideological, and
    moral level after the financial meltdown; after Guantanamo and
    Abu Ghraib. It is less evident on the military level (although
    America`s military weaknesses were exposed during the
    invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan), and certainly
    not evident at all with regards to America`s projection in the
    audio-visual mass medias – a crucial part of its “soft power”.
    America is still able to project a convincing moralistic-
    materialistic image of happiness and way of life, of an attractive
    middle- and upper class life (and of the struggle to achieve that
    social, cultural, and material level) that still fascinates the poor
    and not-so-poor people around the world. I can`t see any sign
    that China or any other nation has that trans-national charisma
    and edge with regards to images and music that can attract and
    fascinate people around the globe.
    One aspect of the resentment in the muslim world against USA
    is due to this materialistic Fata Morgana, projected in films,
    advertisements and music videos. It is an essential part of
    Americas “soft power”, that goes against the traditional
    sentiments in muslim countries, but nonetheless attracts,
    fascinates and also triggers a lot of resentments and
    ambivalences.
    Neither the oil rich Arab countries nor the Chinese are likely to
    challenge the United States on this level in the foreseeable
    future, despite their money. As a consequence, a lot of political,
    ideological, and religious enemies, as well as economical
    competitors, will secretly admire the image, charisma, and
    “values” emanated from the USA.
    This is not said as an approval or disapproval of America`s soft
    power, but more as a recognition of the fact that it is still
    superior in it`s capabilities to capture the minds of even the
    millions of people who oppose the world view, as well as the
    moral and political authority of the USA. This will certainly delay
    the decline of America as a superpower.

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    Thanks for you interesting reply, Steve. I`ll try to continue the
    debate with reference to a comment from Don Bacon above.
    A quote:
    “We would see the results of those policies if we were to pay
    attention to people in the places most strongly affected, in
    many forms ranging from research polls to armed resistance. I
    mean, the impacts of US foreign policy on foreigners isn’t
    exactly a secret.
    So we don’t need a “global institutional framework” as much as
    we just need global social and political intercourse.” (Don Bacon)
    Well said, Don – you certainly have a point. But I think you
    underestimate the importance of global institutional frameworks
    in the times ahead.
    We seem to be moving towards a multipolar world that in some
    respects may be compared with the multipolar Europe that
    fought so many wars through the centuries – culminating in
    World War II. This time the multipolarity is transformed to a
    planetary scale – with giants like India, China, USA, Japan, Brasil
    and others replacing entities like Italy, England, Spain, France,
    Germany, Portugal, Sweden.
    In the debate with Gaffney, as well as in his response to my
    comment above, Steve seems to regard the building of
    institutions in the aftermath of WWII as the zenith of of US
    foreign policy. This was achieved not only because America was
    so strong, but also because its allies and enemies were so weak
    in the aftermath of the war. And Steve admits that “as the
    primary architect of the post-WWII period, the US has always
    been able to organize affairs to its own advantage and that this
    contributed to a reality of power.”
    It would be interesting if Steve could elaborate a bit on his
    “inner Nixon” metaphor, and what “Nixon goes to China” could
    possibly imply under the current circumstances.
    At the moment, not only the USA, but also some of the crucial
    global institutions are losing legitimation and credibility in the
    world. The IMF and the World Bank are losing credibility partly
    because they stem from a period when “the US (was) able to
    organize affairs to its own advantage”.
    NATO seems, intentionally or unintentionally, on the verge to
    transform itself into a global police force with scarce resources,
    a lack of political will among disoriented European leaders, and
    a more or less clueless population on both sides of the Atlantic.
    And there is a real risk that the UN, while we are entering a
    multipolar world, becomes as impotent as the League of
    Nations turned out to be in the mid 1930`s. (To avoid
    misunderstandings here: Ahmedinejad is NOT Mussolini; and
    Netanyahu is certainly NOT Haile Selassie, pleading stronger
    nations to defend his country against a far superior enemy
    intended on conquer. I do not approve the inflation in historical
    analogies of this type, where words like “Munich” and
    “appeasement” aggressively show up in randomly chosen
    contemporary contexts where nations go against our will and
    wishes.)
    Spinning on Steve`s metaphor as well as Don Bacon`s
    comment, an American president can only show his “inner
    Nixon” (ahem… I admit having more trouble with this metaphor
    than Steve has!) by going to China AND India AND Brasil AND
    Russia AND Turkey AND Iran. USA will and should play an
    important role, but there can`t be any credible “primary
    architect” in the rebuilding and refurbishing of global
    frameworks.
    A primary architect in global frameworks belongs to the past –
    like vast empires, global hegemons and hedge funds built on
    sub prime loans.
    The global frameworks are important as means to protect the
    world from ascending, but perhaps even more from declining
    powers. We may fear rising powers like China. But there may be
    stronger reasons to fear a USA in decline.
    A weakened America may produce dark forces, desperate in
    their efforts to regain its dominance, its glory, mystique and
    uniqueness. If the world should be confronted with a US in
    decline, it may hope for an American version of Gorbachev.
    But I doubt that he will show up. America should understand
    that global frameworks are not only important to protect
    America from China, but also China from America. Eight years
    with Cheney, Addington, and Bush should have convinced
    Americans that there are times when you even have to protect
    America from America.

    Reply

  6. Kathleen G says:

    Don persistent “propaganda”
    But the “opinions of Americans” is shifting on the middle east. Specifically on the I/P conflict. The last four or so years callers into Cspan’s Washington Journal has really been shifting. Folks far more informed, stating facts etc.
    substantial shit

    Reply

  7. Don Bacon says:

    JohnH,
    I appreciate the endorsement but I didn’t say (negatively) that US foreign depends on the opinions of Americans — in fact it should. I said (perhaps poorly) that determinations of the effectiveness of our policy too often depends on the opinions of Americans w/o consideration of the opinions of others. That’s what I meant to say, anyhow.
    For example, the US has shoveled $23 billion to Egypt in the last thirty years. How do Egyptians regard that? We have research polls that tell us that the US is extremely unpopular in the Muslim world — I’d like to hear more about that, and use those opinions for Americans to shape a more sensible foreign policy. That’s more important to me than listening to the opinions Washington insiders, particularly the ones who, unlike Steve, have isolated themselves from people who may not look favorably upon the US.

    Reply

  8. JohnH says:

    I agree with Don Bacon, “US foreign policy nearly always depends upon the opinions of Americans.” That’s because what passes as enlightened discussion of foreign policy is really nothing more than propaganda.
    If we were to have a real discussion of American foreign policy, the strategic interests and rationale for doing what we’re doing would be front and center. As it is, acceptable discussion is narrowly bounded– adding enough more troops to Afghanistan (for unknown ends), attacking Iran for its fictitious nuclear weapons program, or fighting terr-rrorr-rrism, as the Israelis say.

    Reply

  9. Kathleen G says:

    Gaffney is a nut case
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgeWyxswAFk
    Hardball: Trying To Defend GWB’s Record, Frank Gaffney Blames Saddam For Oklahoma City Bombing
    http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/hardball-trying-defend-gwbs-record-fr
    (crooks and liars allows continuous bashing of Chris matthews but do not challenge their heroes like Rachel Maddow or Jon Stewart you will get smacked down) C&L is not a safe place to share opposing views

    Reply

  10. Kathleen G says:

    I’ll put some money on that Rachel Maddow, Olbermann, Matthews will not even whisper that Norman is under attack AGAIN. Hell Rachel, Keith, Matthews did not even come close to whispering anything about Charles Freeman’s withdrawal. Not a peep.
    Anyone want to be a dollar that they will not touch this story? Although we will hear 5-10 minutes about the new Obama dog.

    Reply

  11. Kathleen G says:

    So Susan Glaser was one of the reporters at Washington Post who distracted our nation for several years with lies under oath having to do with blowjobs?
    How much time has Glaser spent investigating the WMD lies that were used to convince some of the American people to somewhat support an invasion based on a “pack of lies”
    Was Glaser a reporter at the Post or an operative? If she focused long and hard on the blowjobs sounds like an operative
    Lies under oath about BJ’s= impeachment
    Lies about WMD’s = millions dead, injured and displaced.
    sounds like Glaser has her priorities a bit mixed up

    Reply

  12. JamesL says:

    RE Finkelstein–Israel’s lobby may be going strong and able to suppress single voices, but Israel’s last barbaric foray into Gaza turned a lot of people who had previously, and for years, put up with Israel’s behavior. Finkelstein may be having a tough time, but the load of public opinion is increasingly being placed on Israel’s shoulders, where it belongs. Attacking Finkelstein does not lessen the reality of Israel as a rogue, predatory state.

    Reply

  13. Kathleen G says:

    Amy goodman
    Clark University Cancels Finkelstein Lecture
    In education news, Clark University in Massachusetts has canceled a scheduled speech by Holocaust scholar Norman Finkelstein after the Jewish campus group Hillel objected to his appearance. Finkelstein is known as one of the most prominent academic critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Clark University President John Bassett said Finkelstein’s speech on campus “would invite controversy and not dialogue or understanding.”
    From losing tenure possibilities at DePaul to being banned from Israel to having his website undermined by google Finkelstein has taken some very serious hits for standing up for the truth against much of the I lobby
    Google censuring Norman?
    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/04/11/18587580.php

    Reply

  14. Don Bacon says:

    It’s interesting that the efficacy of US foreign policy nearly always depends upon the opinions of Americans, many of them not well-traveled or otherwise exposed to foreigners, rather than on the opinions of the non-Americans who are most affected by those policies.
    We would see the results of those policies if we were to pay attention to people in the places most strongly affected, in many forms ranging from research polls to armed resistance. I mean, the impacts of US foreign policy on foreigners isn’t exactly a secret.
    So we don’t need a “global institutional framework” as much as we just need global social and political intercourse.
    It’s kind of like if automobile reviews were written by the manufacturers and parts producers — rather useless, and guaranteed to be far from the truth.

    Reply

  15. Kathleen G says:

    Steve all have not listened to the Clemons Gaffney showdown but certainly will.
    this is ot but are you aware thatBut are you aware that Professor Norman Finkelstein is taking some hits again?
    Clark University President John Basset Cancels Finkelstein
    April 12, 2009
    http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/clark-university-president-john-basset-cancels-finkelstein/
    a few folks are covering this. Amy goodman did a blip the other day
    http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/04/the-conference-also-celebrates-the-centennial-of-sigmund-freuds-visit-to-clark-university-the-sole-american-university-where.html
    You used to be able to access Professor Finkelstein’s site by googling it. No longer. The I lobby strikes again. Would make a great post with your kind of punch
    This brave man has sure taken a beating for telling the truth

    Reply

  16. JamesL says:

    Some things I cannot bear to do, including watching Neocons re-enact the Great Myth. I simultaneously shudder and admire those who try to engage in a rational conversation with those to whom narcissistic myth is an immoveable object. But one must begin somewhere.
    Clemons: “Since the 1980s, I feel that American mystique, as I call it, has
    been dissipating.” What my way-back machine tells me about the 80’s was that Ronald Reagan was proclaiming greed was good and corporations really did have a heart, while literally disassembling Carter’s White House solar panels. And US auto manufacturers were whining away at full tilt about CAFÉ standards (applying the “it’s just too expensive/unpopular etc” argument used over time for front wheel drive, occupant crash protection, fuel injection, air bags—the things we now take for granted and usually demand. Downstream of the 70’s gas crunch the EPA got haughty about diesels (too dirty, for ever and ever, we say so), and the complex, 5200 pound, 7 foot wide, fuel guzzler Humvee (demonstrated climbing over 4’ walls—why??) was brought into use as the ultimate replacement for the WWII 2000 pound, four cylinder Jeep. At the same time America was automotively regressing, Europe was moving ahead, and a twenty year long curtain descended somewhere over the Atlantic so that genuine surprise met the grumpy realization that 60 mpg cars with clean exhausts did in fact exist, and that they weren’t American. Not satisfied, GM built a reasonably good electric car and then had them all crushed when real operation proved the rest of the Guzzler Machine line might be threatened from within.
    Though I pick on the automotive industry here (it’s so easy to do) my point is that there are lots of reasons beyond Reagan’s American corporate exceptionalism and current Neocon propaganda that America’s “mystique” faded. The effect of America’s aggressive, militaristic push to control oil on local populations around the globe was one. America’s ever growing tubercular energy consumption in the face of probable future energy practicalities was another. Americans’ diet of petty products was another. (As the Chinese worker said, “We just could not believe Americans would buy this junk, and keep buying it.”) And actual growth in the World Other Than America was another. For those who got their head outside US borders, the rest of the world’s middle class was doing comparatively well. Moscow and Prague were “hot”. But American media wishes to keep the myth of America’s high standard of living and doesn’t talk much about how America has been sliding.
    Contrary to popular American beliefs, the rest of the world is not stupid and is not technologically inferior to the US. Americans just like to think so. Even aerospace and computers, the last bastions of the myth of American technological lead, are steadily fading. Outsourcing for-the-corporate-good that never manages to dribble down to America’s middle class has leveraged that trend. One really has to look (too often without success) to find long lasting basic goods that are built in America. For just one example, right now I am looking for a piece of equipment for a friend. The best answer—by far– is a piece that was built in the 1950’s in America. There is nothing modern that will do the job better, will last longer, or be simpler and less expensive to maintain. We can’t even build stuff as good as we used to be able to.
    Every American parent wants and expects their kid to be a professional or a manager and in the process never acquaints them with things like shovels and lathes, indeed the production and upkeep of the basic technology that enables this society. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a young person today who knows how to work, has and uses common sense, is a self starter, and knows our technological base from the ground up? They are a small and shrinking fraction of the number we had fifty years ago. In the face of this, Neocons throw fart-bombs about the wave of illegal immigrants who in fact do the work Americans now won’t or can’t, and offer no answer whatever to the true effects that would ensue should all those illegals get teleported back home.
    So while I admire your pluck Steve, I just don’t see the value in trying to engage with someone so comfortably ensconced on their couch of myth that they cannot see the forest. I think the message to those people needs to come in another form, one they cannot deny on a gut level, that can outweigh the intellectual construct they hold so dear.

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  17. JohnH says:

    Forget the need for someone to represent the “Left.” I’d be happy and totally astonished if someone actually represented the truth.
    Why is it so hard for Clemons or Gaffney to say, “These are America’s strategic interests: A, B, C,.” This is why these interests are so vital. And this is what we have to do to defend them. How hard could that possibly be? The method is known as basic logic. It’s taught in every university in America, except perhaps among foreign policy elites, who must learn obfuscation at an early age.
    But logical, clear thinking just doesn’t happen. American foreign policy propagandists avoid the logical, clear discussion of American foreign policy ambitions as if it were the plague. Instead of honest debate, we’re forced to endure (or ignore) the charade.
    Obviously, some things, including why we spend $Trillions on futile foreign adventures, are too important to be discussed in a democracy.

    Reply

  18. brigid says:

    It’s amazing to me that a cheap propagandist like Frank Gaffney, whose entire “schtick” is based on an irrational and unconscious appeal to a wholly discredited mythology, can have any standing at all in our modern political culture. It’s a tawdry remake of “Manifest Destiny” and wholly contrary to the Christianity that Gaffney claims to espouse, an absurd ideology of domination that he asserts. I do believe there is a healthy form of American “Exceptionalism” that affirms America as an immigrant nation and humanity’s noble and ongoing experiment in pluralistic democracy without asserting that somehow the Divine has made the U.S. a predestined master of world domination, and that any form of violence and military conquest is justified in that pursuit.

    Reply

  19. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Paul:
    Your excellent note deserves more response than I can muster at
    the moment. Part of me basically agrees with nearly every
    aspect your own critique of the exchange and of my views.
    But on the “mystique of power” issue. You are probably right
    that this is rooted in an irrational belief in some degree of
    American exceptionalism run amok (not amok in my case — but
    how America is thought of by others).
    I do believe that as the primary architect of the post-WWII
    period, the US has always been able to organize affairs to its
    own advantage and that this contributed to a reality of power.
    For some time, I believe that America has undermined its global
    leverage, its global real power — particularly by undermining
    the health of its economic balance sheet, but by other means as
    well.
    Mystique is nothing more than mystique — an aura of power
    that helps generate leverage in certain matters when real, or
    applied, power are not exerted — but there exists a possibility
    (real or imagined) that power could be.
    That mystique is gone for the US today, or quickly dissipating.
    And you can’t reacquire global leverage by asserting it, or by
    bombing others, or through other forms of bravado.
    I guess I do see some possibility of the US getting back on track
    by helping to reinvent a global institutional framework that helps
    other nations as well as ourselves to get on a more globally
    collaborative course than the quite destructive one we seem to
    be on now.
    Since the 1980s, I feel that American mystique, as I call it, has
    been dissipating. The Plaza Accord was an early foreshock of
    this in my mind. But I have also not generally been a fan of the
    idea that mystique can be deployed in conflict situations — too
    many tests undermine a sense of a nation’s limitlessness by
    showing limits. And that is what we have done…shown a lot of
    limits.
    I am about to run out of energy — so have to close, but look
    forward to further discussions of this Paul.
    All best,
    Steve

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    I was struck by a certain contradiction in this debate, a
    contradiction that probably not only reflects the positions of the
    two opponents, but also of America itself.
    On one side: secularism, division of state and religion,
    rationality, a democratic constitution made by men. On the
    other side: exceptionalism, God`s role in America`s history,
    mystique, and moral superiority.
    Here are a handful of quotes from Frank Gaffney`s comments at
    the end of the program (in his polemic attack on international
    institutions like the UN):
    “Those of us who believe that there is something unique,
    something special, something extraordinary… I dare say
    exceptional about America, recognise that that it is so in at least
    substantial measure because of our constitution.”
    “…by far the most extraordinary society on the planet”
    “and to impute into that organization (the UN) some higher
    moral stature and authority than we have as a result of our… I
    think God given constitution…is… I think a serious mistake.”
    Gaffney`s statements imply that America is not only on a
    historic, but also moral, even metaphysical mission, initiated
    when God gave the constitution to America and the world
    through the founding fathers. On a fundamental level, the
    constitution was not the act of the founding fathers, created
    through their judgement, their analytical and political skills,
    their experience, and their studies of different states, laws, and
    governments through history. The constitution was an act of
    God.
    Perhaps this is not so surprising, coming from the neocon
    ideologue Frank Gaffney.
    But what about Steve Clemons – the “progressive realist”, the
    rationalist with such brilliant analytical skills?
    Well, he started the debate by talking about “the mystique of the
    superpower”…”the mystique of America`s power and place…”
    (just like he before, here at TWN, has mentioned the “enigmatic”
    power of the USA); and he went on lamenting that the Bush
    administration were “puncturing the mystique” – and hoping
    that Obama could show his “inner Nixon” in this time of
    perceived American decline.
    I have no Idea whether Frank Gaffney honestly believes that the
    constitution was given by God or constructed by human beings.
    But I assume that Steve Clemons don`t believe so, and that his
    wish that the USA should be perceived as a mystical, enigmatic
    superpower, a nation with limitless military power, limitless
    economical power, is more rooted in psychological than in
    metaphysical insight.
    In any case, Steve Clemons`view on US power represents a
    tradition that is rooted in an irrational tradition that runs
    contrary to the enlightenment – the tradition that inspired the
    American constitution. The mystique of power, the mystique of
    a superpower, the mystique of Americas power and place, is
    nothing more than a secular (or, if you will: cynical) version of
    the ancient belief that an emperor or king represents an
    almighty god, and possesses powers beyond human limitations.
    As I see it, this “mystique of the superpower” is an essential part
    of the problem. It may (and have often) induced fear in
    America`s enemies. But also America itself has often been a
    victim of this mystique. It generates arrogance. It generates
    hubris. It generates unrealistic expectations, and a dangerous
    sense of exceptionalism among the American people and its
    leaders. And it tends to create the same unrealistic expectations
    among US` allies and friends: That the America can save us,
    save the world, and fix all problems.
    Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Cheney were spectacular victims
    of this irrational belief, and by unintentionally exposing some of
    the limits of the most powerful country on the planet, they did
    us all a favor.
    In the debate between Steve Clemons and Frank Gaffney, the
    similarities between the opponents` views were no less striking
    than their differences. And I am not referring to Steve`s (half
    joking?) comment that he would have been some kind of neocon
    if America could deliver.
    With Steve`s often repeated wish to recreate the mystique of
    American power (by some Nixon-goes-to-China hat trick
    performed by Obama?), he not only undermines his solid
    analytical, rationalistic, enlightenment-inspired credentials. He
    also places himself much closer to the religious right and the
    God-given-constitution-Gaffney than I think he wants to be.
    But he also exposes (together with his opponent) a contradiction
    in America`s understanding of itself that will continue to do
    much harm – domestically as well as in the world – in the
    foreseeable future.
    I agree with him that the perception of the decline of the USA
    may be exaggerated at the moment. But we should all realize
    that human beings, constitutions, economies and superpowers
    are fragile creations and constructions, and that they have
    certain limits. That is a necessary step towards a realistic
    foreign policy. Even a progressive one.

    Reply

  21. Lurker says:

    Very instructive, and ethan, you are quite incorrect.

    Reply

  22. ArtIsRevolution says:

    You know, I looked in the archives PissedoffAmerican was right all along:
    Olmert’s Connection to 9/11
    Christopher Bollyn is one of the few independent journalists and researchers who uncovers new information and adds to the evidence of false flag terror, instead of just continuously rehashing news and other people’s work.
    I would like to bring to attention his two newest works building on his research of evidence of Israeli involvement in the 911 attacks:
    The Likud Criminal Gang Behind 9/11 and the War on Terror and The Israeli Prime Minister’s Connection to 9/11
    In these articles you’ll get a biography of Olmert, his Jabotinsky ideological roots, his corruption, and some anecdotes about his recent tours in Europe. Significantly, you’ll also read about his connections to the security firms responsible for security in the airports the 911 hijacked planes flew from:
    “The Likud fundraising scandal culminated in the March 1996 conviction of three Likudniks, including Menahem Atzmon, Olmert’s co-treasurer. As the party treasurer, Olmert was indicted in the Likud crimes but received special treatment and was acquitted.
    During the 1970s Olmert had worked in the law firm owned by another Atzmon, Uzi Atzmon.
    It’s all coming true.
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001837.php

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