Unfortunately, this CWers’ (pronounced se‐wers) don’t-worry-be-happy spinning is based not on reality but on a lot of wishful thinking masquerading as a larger‐than‐life Realpolitik axiom, that is, the realist “surge” in Washington is working!
On a macro‐level, this realist faith has helped construct a fairy‐tale‐like narrative in which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pentagon chief Robert Gates have mounted a courageous and effective bureaucratic and political campaign against the neo‐con remnants in the George W Bush administration now that Rummy (Donald Rumsfeld) the matinee idol, Paul “Wolfie” Wolfowitz of Arabia, “The f**ing stupidest guy on the face of earth,” and the man‐with‐the‐bad‐toupee who’d been given the pink slip.
We are being asked to believe that Gates, who, as the former chief spook once upon a Cold War. had pressured the CIA’s analytical division to exaggerate the Soviet menace to fit the ideological perspective of Reagan’s neo‐cons, has been transformed into President Bush’s Elliot Richardson and that “Mushroom Cloud” Condi’s pair of black knee‐high boots are going to walk all over her boss’ Dick Cheney.
How else would you explain the “dramatic” changes in the administration’s policies on North Korea (sending love letters to nutty Kim) and Israel/Palestine (did we say A-N-N-A-P-O-L-I-S?), not to mention the “thaw” in the relationship with those who were once bashed as Old Europe (Germany) and Cheese‐Eating‐Monkeys (the French)?
According to the CWers these are all signs that the so, so Brilliant Condi and Very Cool Bob have gained the upper‐hand in the struggle over Bush’s foreign policy as Cheney has been forced to spend his time gushing over his miracle‐of‐the‐sperm‐bank grandkid instead of, say, nuking someone somewhere or doing regime‐changes around the world.
And then there was of course the piece de resistance in the Realist Resurgence — the historic bureaucratic coup d’etat in during which the Realists struck back — and in the “key judgments” of their US National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) that pulled the rug right out from under President Bushcheney’s scheme to fillet the New Hitler and the rest of the Holocaust Deniers in Tehran. Yep. It’s time for that proverbial collective sigh of relief, for some good old’ shadenfroid as we watch humiliated John Bolton doing his Churchill shtick as he accuses the “appeasers” of perpetrating a new Munich in the name of Peace in Our time, etc.
But let’s be a bit contrarian here. It is possible that what the CWers are celebrating as strategic changes in Bush’s foreign policy — suggesting that the Dubya has decided to abandon his grand designs of Freedom Marching and hegemonizing the Middle East — are really nothing more than tactical maneuvers on the way towards a new age of Pax Americana here (Iraq), there (Iran) and everywhere (watch out Russia and China!). After all, even builders of great world empires — Napoleon and Hitler come to mind — had to suffer many tactical setbacks and adjust to realities on their way to continental and global domination. Not that we — God forbid! — are comparing mini W to the big H. Instead, Bush’s own Truman Narrative seems to project his fantastic mindset. The War against Islamo‐Fascism equals the War against Communism, and Bush like Truman established the foundations for the grand American strategy in dealing with a global menace.
From that perspective, the Rice‐Gates‐led so‐called realist resurgence should be seen for what it really is: taking one step backward so as to prepare for racing full‐speed forward. Hence, an overstretched US military cannot threaten Pyongyang with war, especially after Kim Jong‐il possessed the Bomb; so the Bushies talk with him. Sort of. Try to make a deal. Perhaps. But notice that American troops are still on the Korean Peninsula.