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Hendrik Hertzberg's analysis of the Bush administration's foreign policy (and its "National Security Strategy of the United States of America" in particular) is, as always. very well done. That is, it's a brilliant political analysis, successfully villifying Bush et al.
The vision laid out in the Bush document is a vision of what used to be called, when we believed it to be the Soviet ambition, world domination. It's a vision of a world in which it is American policy to prevent the emergence of any rival power, whatever it stands forķa world policed and controlled by American military might. This goes much further than the notion of America as the policeman of the world. It's the notion of America as both the policeman and the legislator of the world, and it's where the Bush vision goes seriously, even chillingly, wrong. A police force had better be embedded in and guided by a structure of law and consent. There's a name for the kind of regime in which the cops rule, answering only to themselves. It's called a police state.
A kind of global American military dictatorship may be for the moment something close to an unavoidable reality. But the Bush document seems to embrace it as a final end. It finds room for a denunciation of the International Criminal Court, but not for the slightest suggestion, however theoretical or remote, that a workable, democratic structure of international law might someday be a better, more just guarantor of peace and security than the power and intentions of any single country.
October 10, 2002 12:08 AM
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