August 5th, 2006

The Ballad of Political Dependency

It's hard to tell which country is pursuing a stupider long-term plan, the United States or Israel. It's hard to tell because the plan seems to consist largely of reciprocal enabling. "I promise not to make a big deal about your snorting lines of coke off the dashboard, honey, since you haven't said a word about my fixation with mail-order au pairs from Moldova." There's no way that Israel would be destroying the infrastructure that made the Lebanese state functional and hundreds of innocent lives along with it if the Americans, conveniently nearby in the portable gated communities of a Road Warrior-esque Iraq, had ordered them to stop. And it's highly unlikely that the Bush Administration would be able to pursue its brand of Surrealpolitik in the Middle East if the Israeli military and intelligence services weren't willing to pretend, out of whatever self-interested motives, that creative destruction is the pathway to regional stability. As much as I hate to admit it, the arrogant Donald Rumsfeld is probably right -- though I love the editorial harshing on him in today's New York Times -- that we can't afford to pull out of Iraq now. Not only will Iraq continue its transformation into the Yugoslavia of the early 1990s, but Israel will probably find itself in a war with an Iran fortified by the Shiite majority in Iraq. And that would be a war that Israel wouldn't be guaranteed of winning, threatening as never before the oil supply that the American lifestyle demands. So I ask you, the voices of Peter, Paul, and Mary rising in my head, "Where have all the hobbits gone?"

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Maybe it's time for an Ayn Rand Brigade:
With all those lovers of The Fountainhead, Anthem, and Atlas Shrugged out there, we should be able to create an impressive corps with plenty of corpses to spare. While it would sadden me to lose Neil Peart's ability to keep the beat in 5/17ths time, he should probably lead a division into the breach, since far too many of our youth were led astray by listening to Rush lyrics under the influence of the crystal-coated bud.