Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NeoCon Predicts US War With Russia, China

When you're pimping for the world's largest war industry, you've got to learn to look beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. You've got to see the bigger picture, a clash of nations that has the potential to be more devastating than even World War II.

Robert Kagan, one of the most insidious NeoCon propagandists for the War On Iraq is flogging his new book, laying out a new NeoCon agenda for their golden child, John McCain, and the UK Observer has a review :

The potential challenge posed by the emergence of China as a great power, the rise of India, the hardening of Iranian anti-Westernism and the rise of Islamicist fundamentalism tend to be seen in Britain as discrete and disconnected dramas. How they might relate to the European Union or Latin America, say, is almost never asked. The overriding British default position in foreign policy - that any proposal for co-operation or collaborative action that comes from the EU is necessarily bad and anti-British - only makes discussion even more cramped.

Americans think differently. Rather as Britain did when it had an empire, the global scale of American commitments and interests forces American thinking on a grander, more joined-up scale. And Kagan, arch neoconservative, adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and influence on Barack Obama, certainly thinks grandly. He sees the 21st century as a battleground between liberal democracies and authoritarian states seeking to avenge injustices and reassert their nationalism. The West has no option but to join battle.

Thus his call to create a league of democracies that would promote 'political liberalisation, support human rights, including the empowerment of women, and use its influence to support a free press and repeated elections that will, if nothing else, continually shift power from the few to the many'. We should never forget that the liberties and international order we enjoy today had to be won by struggle. So it will be again. In a global era, democracy is stronger the more widely it is entrenched and, in any case, our interests, whether combating climate change or fighting Islamicist terror, require more democracy and accountability, not less. Nation states that host terror cells or those that pollute the planet need to know that they risk legitimate intervention from others.

It is controversial stuff. The objections are obvious. The United Nations would be devalued and, whatever its weaknesses, it is surely better to have the great powers as members of one global organisation than dividing into two opposing camps. One, centred on the Shanghai Co-operation Council, would be the authoritarian states of China, Russia and others; the second, under US leadership, would be the European and American democracies, Australasia, Japan and India. Instead of struggling for unachievable UN resolutions blocked by the authoritarians, the democracies would be free to go head to head in ideological and political competition.

The book's description of the strong nationalist forces emerging in China, Russia and Iran, with their visceral desire to avenge injustices together with their governing classes' stranglehold on power, is sobering. And those who would defend today's UN at all costs need to be able to show how Japan, Germany, India and Brazil - all great democracies - are ever going to become members of the security council in the face of the implacable opposition of authoritarian China and Russia.

There is a battle going on. Authoritarianism is on the rise and it is dangerous. Putting some well-judged edge behind the democracies' defence of their principles and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a stupid proposal. Kagan would have made his argument even stronger had he shown how democracy contributes to economic and social strength and thus been more sceptical about the sustainability of Chinese and Russian economic growth without it. But that would have implied that the European approach is more right than American thirst for pitched battles, and there is still something of the neocon night about Kagan's thinking.