Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gregory Djerejian is Back

After half a year's hiatus Belgravia Dispatch is up and running again. Today's provocative post argues that US foreign policy has been so preoccupied with terrorism that other important issues have been and continue to be ignored. As usual, he makes good arguments.

Forgive me for saying it, however, but the capsizing depression in the U.S. housing market, highly worrisome food and energy inflation, massive credit crisis to which bulge brackets banks have been brutally buffeted since July '07, and generally dismal economic milieu (which I believe very likely to get worse, with more regional banks very likely failing shortly) I would suspect is rather unrelated to al-Qaeda and terrorism, with few exceptions like Nigerian militants on occasion impacting oil prices after successful attacks, or the "geopolitical risk premium" as tensions with Iran wax and wane impacting oil prices as well. I take the time to differentiate our economic turmoil from the terror threat as too often terrorism has served as an all-purpose bogey-man these past years, and I think this thinking deeply flawed with unfavorable ramifications for our policy-making process.


...our tottering relations with great powers like Russia, where our policy has veered into incoherence as Putin has effectively reversed democratization there in favor of some variant of state-oligarch-driven capitalist autocracy, as we dilly-dally over missile defense systems on their western borders that are, all told, likely not even necessary, but certainly of huge concern to the Russians. Nowhere in this discussion do we broach the massive challenges posed by a rising China, whether integrating them better into the international economic system, digesting the implications of the largest rural migration into cities I think in history, the environmental challenges China presents to itself, the region and indeed the world, or even, the fact that new political and economic architecture is being cobbled together in the Pacific Rim, too often with not enough U.S. involvement (despite Chris Hill's laudable efforts on North Korea, of which the boos and hisses only crescendoed the closer he came to success, discrediting the arrayed neoconservative nomenklatura disgruntled that diplomats dare deign do their jobs).

Nowhere either is there talk of the future of our relationship with India, where even at this late hour it is far from certain, indeed likelier not, that an agreement on the nuclear issue between Delhi and Washington will be agreed. Nowhere either do we highlight the critical imperative of resuscitating the scandalously moribund Arab-Israeli peace process, which despite the cheap theater of Annapolis, seems to have been sub-contracted out of late--via a combination of gross amateurism and neglect--to countries like France, Turkey and, say, Qatar. Nor even do we mention but perhaps in passing the pressing need for something akin to a Manhattan Project on energy, for greater movement on climate change, for our neglected relations with Central and Sough America (notably that rising BRIC Brazil), or the devastation being wrought through Africa via ongoing chronic conflicts and disease. I could go on, but these challenges matter too, do they not?

Lots more where that came from. More than Washington wants to admit.


Hoots said...

This is a test message to see if the comments are working.
My blog has been locked by a false positive by the spam robots. Very annoying. Not as bad as submitting to the TSA searches at airports but close.

Our national preoccupation with terrorism is bad (as Djerijian points out), but like privacy (FISA) issues, the glitches of the private sector are every bit as problematical. One private sector equivalent of terrorism is the deliberate, capricious and LEGAL manner in which insurance companies redline thosd most in need of health insurance. Or industry's habitual negligence regarding workplace safety issues. Two recent examples in the news are last year's mine collapse that took the lives of rescue workers as well as the first victims... and the sugar plant fire that raged for several days. Investigatioins in both instances blamed these tragic events on negligence on the part of the companies involved.

But hey, this is just a rant in the comments thread. Let's see if it works...

Hoots said...

Okay, then.
Comments are not locked.
I guess I'll be forced to blog from closets.