Monday, August 01, 2005


I was off to pick up meds this morning, but just before I left, I heard the news of the Bolton recess appointment. Grand. Stupid. When I got back, I checked Steve Clemons's TNW, where Charles Brown gives an excellent rundown on the consequences. There are some other posts there with hearty threads attached, so go poke around.

However, while away I was able to catch up with Tony Judt in the 7/14 NYRB (it's free online). He closes with these lines:

"If the US ceases to be credible as a force for good, the world will not come to a stop. Others will still protest and undertake good works in the hope of American support. But the world will become that much safer for tyrants and crooks—at home and abroad.
For the US isn't credible today: its reputation and standing are at their lowest point in history and will not soon recover. And there is no substitute on the horizon: the Europeans will not rise to the challenge. The bleak outcome of the recent referendums in France and the Netherlands seems likely to have eliminated the European Union as an effective international political actor for some years to come. The cold war is indeed behind us, but so too is the post–cold war moment of hope. The international anarchy so painstakingly averted by two generations of enlightened American statesmen may soon engulf us again. President Bush sees "freedom" on the march. I wish I shared his optimism. I see a bad moon rising."

It's an excellent piece - depressing but clear-eyed. Dated only six weeks ago, and today's appointment merely reinforces his argument.

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