I had to miss a few days of posting last week, and whenever I need to get back into the swing of things I check out the editorial page of the Washington Post. If you ever want to perform a quick checkup on the revolting state of our national discourse, that landfill is a good place to start.
Fareed Zakaria writes in that space today about Obama’s “cool and calculating” temperament, referring to him as the “anti-Churchill.” Though he avoids using the new catch-all word to describe Obama’s policies–ie, “pragmatic”–he does describe Obama as a “realist” as a way of assuring WaPo’s readers that both our author and our new, hip war president are very serious people.
Zakaria argues that Obama is taking a scaled-back approach to foreign intervention, a claim that can hardly be disputed when compared to Dick “I need to drink the blood of the Brown people to live” Cheney. Zakaria’s thesis, such as it is, appears to be this sentence:
“It is clear that Obama is attempting something quite ambitious — to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward something less extravagant and adversarial.”
It’s unclear in the piece whether Zakaria is praising or criticizing this decision, but what IS clear is that he finds massive escalation of an 8 year imperialist war an approach that’s “less…adversarial.”
Earlier in the Op-Ed, he writes:
“… America is in a war that is not going well, and scaling back now would look like cutting and running.”
Says who?! Who says that immediate withdrawal would look like cutting and running. OH, I don’t know, Fareed Zakaria!?!?!?!
“It’s time to get real about Afghanistan. Withdrawal is not a serious option.”
So here we have a pundit soberly claiming that escalation is the only option, then using that conventional wisdom to praise Obama for donning the mantle of the American Empire, all while assuring the public that this is a new, restrained approach in American foreign policy.
To his credit, Zakaria ends his column by advising Obama to stick to his so-called deadline of July 2011, but when it comes to American Punditry, no one is ever held accountable to statements advocating for peace. He writes:
“By the end of 2011, the United States will have spent 10 years, thousands of lives and $2 trillion trying to create stable, democratic governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the most difficult, divided countries in the world. It will be time to move on.”
The time to “move on,” which is to say stop occupying countries, has come and gone.