Joshua Frank: The Bright Side of Bush’s Reelection

Joshua Frank: The Bright Side of Bush’s Reelection

As historian Gabriel Kolko argues in Dimes Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, Bush may well be the better man to destroy the reaches of the U.S. Empire. He believed that keeping Bush in office could make old alliances such as NATO obsolete, humbling American foreign policy by forcing us to deal with our own arrogance. We cannot pursue a go-it-alone strategy forever. Kerry, as he’s admitted, would have done his best to stop this trend of U.S. isolation in foreign hostilities — and reestablish America as the unequivocal global menace. Bush’s go-it-alone policy is unsustainable. Kerry planed to make the war sustainable by leaning on allies.

Amen.

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    Anonymous

    A similar argument was made in Charles Kupchan’s book, “The End of the American Era,” published in 2002. Here is an excerpt (below) from his interview with Salon. For the full interview see http://www.salon.com/books/int/2002/12/02/kupchan/

    I agree with Kupchan’s thesis that US hegemony is temporary and like all civilizations before it, will come to an end. What I find shocking is how quickly George W. Bush – and the American people – are facilitating their own fall.

    Salon: What mistakes do historians and scholars make when they say that America is different, that for some reason American primacy will last indefinitely?

    Charles Kupchan: Part of it stems from looking at what I would say are the wrong indicators. They look at the GDP and the military capability of the United States vs. other countries. If you do that, it doesn’t look like anybody is going to come close for many decades. I agree with that. But Europe is no longer a group of sovereign countries; it’s coming together just like [the United States] did [in the 18th century]. That’s why you have to talk about Europe as a collective entity and its ability to serve as a counterweight to the United States.

    Also, oftentimes historians and particularly political scientists tend to look at the world structurally. They say, “Forget about what’s going on inside states and just look at the relations among states.” The end of America’s dominance will to some extent be made in America. It will come from America’s domestic politics, its own ambivalence about empire and its own stiff-necked unilateralism, which alienates others. In that sense, a lot of where we go as a country will come from internal factors — demographics, politics, political culture, populism. Those are issues that lots of political scientists don’t pay attention to.

    Salon: Now, is that a trend that you see happening regardless of what political party is in power?

    Charles Kupchan: Yes. That’s a debate that I have with my colleagues here because they say, “Listen. Once the Bushies are gone everything will be fine. If Gore had won, everything would be fine.” I don’t agree. If Gore had won, the changes we are seeing now would have taken longer to come about, but both parties face the same political pressures in the end. If the Democrats win by 2015, it doesn’t matter. We’ll be in the same place.

    -HF

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