Thursday, March 1, 2007

Conspiracy Theory Weekend

Hey all, I'm off to Sendai in a little over an hour, but thought I'd give people a chance to respond to spyder's question from comments awhile back, "Who are we actually at war with in Iraq????" I want to broaden the question a bit: can anyone discern any rhyme or reason to Bush administration foreign policy? They seem to be pretending they haven't done a 180 on North Korea or on regional negotiations over the future of Iraq, but they're also amping up the threat posture on Iran. So is this just Condi winning out over WAAGNFNP wannabe Cheney in recent months, or what?

My own personal conspiracy theory is that they want to degrade Iran's military capabilities before their term is out, now that it looks like they won't get the client state they hoped for out of Iraq. And that short of that they want to keep Sunnis and Shiites off balance and at each other's throats, so the Middle East doesn't get its act together like East Asia seems to have done and tell the U.S., "Thanks but we don't need imperial overlords anymore. You can stop trying to Americanize the British Empire." So all the noise and misinformation is not about incompetence or insanity but a way of hiding the real strategy. Which can be summed up as YT's approach to the morning commute in the first chapter of Snow Crash.

Just sayin'.


JP Stormcrow said...

On some guy's blog, I once describe the actions of this admin as:
despicability, wrapped inside of craziness, wrapped inside of despicability.
But there is a "logic" in the despicability.

In this case something along the lines you suggest may be right. At some level I suspect they are playing some manner of external strategy that relies on mistaken notions of American exceptionalism so the true risk to ourselves is underestimated. (And the chaos etc. that ensues alllows good payoffs for them & their backers in the smaller scale economic sense as well. Get control of mideast oil = econ win for the lucky, just create chaos & no one gets control & prices go up = economic win for the lucky.)

A lot of the neocon stuff originated out of U Chicago, which is a place (in parts - esp. those where these guys got their start) infused with the "sterile" kind of game/decision theory Rand-type of stuff, that is quite interesting and useful in the right contexts, but worse than useless if you apply it overconfidently or cluelessly. There is certainly nothing in their payoff matrices to reflect damage to internal instittuion, national sense of decency, etc. etc.

I am just blowing smoke out of my ass here - but it has the right smell.

(Hopefully can get a Cheney post up tomorrow. Good luck at your talk if it hasn't happened yet.)

JP Stormcrow said...

Just a couple of more data points on the WTF? nature of the economic tie-ins to the Bush Foreign Policy.

The first is the insane Free Market delusional nature of the Year Zero policy that the CPA pursued under Bremer way back in '03. It is worth going back and reading this Naomi Klein article from September 2004 to just remind yourself of how truly whacked it was. (And various other details have emerged since as well.) Who actually believed any of this? Who were the opportunists? Ahmed Chalabi was an advocate - I'd love to see a chart of his the value of personal assets through time since the invasion - I think we can safely put him into the opportunist category. (And per my prior comment, he made some of his first ties into the Neocon sorts when he was getting his PhD in Math at U of Chicago. An interestng guy - obviously quite smart - not the usual career trajectory for a Math PhD.)

Second data point. This paragraph from a NY Times article on the upcoming Iraq/Iran/Syria talks.

Iraqi officials had been pushing for such a meeting for several months, but Bush administration officials refused until the Iraqi government reached agreement on pressing domestic matters, including guidelines for nationwide distribution of oil revenue and foreign investment in the country’s immense oil industry, administration officials said. The new government of Iraq maintains regular ties with Iran. [emphasis added]

I'm sure the US Gov't just wanted the task to be done, had no interest whatsoever in the content and winners/losers resulting from those guidelines.

And I do not think there has ever been a real unified policy direction from Bush et al, rather in the policy void of the Rovian "it's all politics" style of governing, many competing groups try to get their hand in. (and I think the back & forth on these talks in Iraq show that.) It was message discipline that they cared about, not the actual execution. And even this message discipline has frayed a bit after the '06 election results.

Anonymous said...

I've always felt the actions of Bush/Cheney follow a tightly scripted pattern.

1. Now What? (statement of problem)
2. Who Knows? (hypothesis)
3. Random Actions That Defy Logical Explanation. (solution)

We are in the presence of a very special sort of incompetence. Patterns of behavior that scion Bush used to navigate first drunkenness then dry-drunkenness are now guiding a once great nation along the same arc of discovery.

Oaktown Girl said...

Cheney - I don't really think he's a WAAGNFNP wannabe - he's too obsessed with making money to want to ever see the Glorious GNF, don't you think? But he could be a wannabe because of all the great show trials and witch hunts and parties we throw. Yeah, that I could see.

My new job has the advantage of being a daytime job, but the disadvantage of being a 99% blog-free zone. My other job was killing me, literally, but at least I got to stay relatively up to date in left blogistan between patient crises. So, sorry I've not been able to chime in lately. What blog time I do have is devoted to ongoing efforts to get our WAAGNFNP blog going, which should speed up a little bit now that some of our MOOAD folks are returning from whence they've been. (Oh, JP - you're in MOOAD now, in case you didn't know). And TC, I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to link to one of your Star Wars posts in my post today. I was at work (lunch break) and had very limited time. If you'd like to link to it via comments, that'd be great. (Esp. the one where you talk about indoctrinating your kid into the Star Wars family of fanatics!)

TC - more golf blogging!! (Maybe if I ask for it...)

Anonymous said...

Hope your paper was mas excellente!! Mine went off quite okay, almost too much so, as at the end it was proposed that i present it at another conference next month. Drat. Now i really have to get the final draft written sooner and better.

Interesting side not regarding the "question." Truthdig, and Scoop, have just published an interview with Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, formerly working for the Pentagon, and The National Security Agency. She is asked the very question of why we are at war in the Middle East. Her responses can be found here: