Monday, January 26, 2004

Give Micah the Mic!

Yeah, you know, always lookin' out for those corny headlines that scream 'READ ME!', or in this case, read Joshua Micah Marshall. Today, Joshua has once again taken the opportunity to pimp his own work - the master of the mic and master of self-promotion, apparently. He's told us about an article he just finished that will be in tomorrow's New Yorker. I read it, and as Odd Todd would say, it's Good!

The title of the article is Power Rangers, Did the Bush Administration create a new American empire -- or weaken the old one? With the War on Iraq looming large in the political arena and presidential elections just around the corner, it's a timely and serious question. Joshua, the learned historical scholar-type, methodically dismantles the Neoconservative position on global dominance through use of force by pointing out how Neocons like Richard Perle fundamentally misunderstand the underpinning of America's dominance. Perle & co., Joshua notes, also fail to understand the role that the Cold War had in legitimizing America's power, and how things changed with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Very interesting article.

My favorite part of the article is the last half of the last line of the artilce - which I've bolded. Here's the setup - England has just defeated france in the Seven Years War - a.k.a. the French and Indian War. In its financially wounded state, England leans heavily on the American colonies to restore the Kingdom's economics:

The result was a dozen years of contention over taxes, which exploded into arguments over principle, and the loss of Britain’s most valuable imperial possessions. Britain believed that the reins of monarchical allegiance would keep its colonies secure; but when it pulled back on those reins, they fell apart. The truth is that, once Britain got to the point of holding on to its colonists by force, it had already all but lost them. Vengeful France, using its runner-up navy to such effect at Yorktown, merely provided the coup de grâce. Britain thought it was at its strongest. Yet by knocking out the rival that drove the colonies into its arms, and then changing the rules, Britain had actually become weaker.

Historical analogies are never perfect. America’s power is far too great to be easily or quickly dislodged. But there are lessons to be learned here, and not just about the French gift for making trouble for great nations at the apex of their power.