Friday, October 26, 2007

Fatal Weakness

It is tempting to go through Fukuyama's (of "end of history" fame) recent article and detail my disagreements with him in arguing that we have alienated the world because of Iraq (I see friends when I review the world, or foes who predate Iraq), but the end of his article really summarizes the major problem with him and others of his ilk:

But the fundamental problem remains the lopsided distribution of power in the international system. Any country in the same position as the US, even a democracy, would be tempted to exercise its hegemonic power with less and less restraint. America's founding fathers were motivated by a similar belief that unchecked power, even when democratically legitimated, could be dangerous, which is why they created a constitutional system of internally separated powers to limit the executive.

Such a system does not exist on a global scale today, which may explain how America got into such trouble. A smoother international distribution of power, even in a global system that is less than fully democratic, would pose fewer temptations to abandon the prudent exercise of power.

Why on earth would he say that any country other than the US, "even a democracy", would act as we have, as if we aren't a democracy? Is he seriously questioning that we have a democracy?

And what is he talking about when he says we have a lack of restraint? I do believe Congress authorized our wars thus far: one against Afghanistan for hosting the 9/11 attackers and the other against Iraq, a rogue regime that had serially violated the ceasefire that suspended the war that Congress declared and the UN approved in 1991. Who else is Fukuyama talking about when he says we lack restraint to exercise our power? Did I miss the invasion of Norway?

We clearly self restrain under our constitution, which is fine by me. But you see, while Fukuyama recognizes that separation of powers exists at the domestic level in America, he doesn't think that is enough to restrain us.

At the heart of our problem, Fukuyama thinks, is that we are too strong. He doesn't say that, of course. He hides his meaning by advocating a "smoother distribution of power."

If only we were weaker and hamstrung by the rest of the undemocratic world, we wouldn't abandon the "prudent" exercise of power, he thinks.

I think we and the world are better served by an America with the most power, governed by a democratic constitution and led by those who our people elect. Let China or Russia or Iran increase their ability to check our options, and then we'll talk real trouble.

And Fukuyama still hangs on to his ridiculous notion that history could end in the sense that democracy would prevail as the governing model for all the world, claiming that Bush's mistakes are the reason his notion has not come true. Even if an accurate cause and effect model, that any so-called historian could fail to see that history runs on such little things as the actions of nations and their leaders should relegate his works to the bargain bin. Truly, it is the end of credibility.

It's always our fault, for some. That outlook, sadly, will never end.