Bacevich – September 2012

How We Became Israel
Peace means dominion for Netanyahu—and now for us.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • September 10, 2012

More subtly, in going after Saddam, Bush was tacitly embracing a longstanding Israeli conception of deterrence. During the Cold War, deterrence had meant conveying a credible threat to dissuade your opponent from hostile action. Israel had never subscribed to that view. Influencing the behavior of potential adversaries required more than signaling what Israel might do if sufficiently aggravated; influence was exerted by punitive action, ideally delivered on a disproportionate scale. Hit the other guy first, if possible; failing that, whack him several times harder than he hit you: not the biblical injunction of an eye for an eye, but both eyes, an ear, and several teeth, with a kick in the nuts thrown in for good measure. The aim was to send a message: screw with us and this will happen to you. This is the message Bush intended to convey when he ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Bacevich: What the Arab Movie Riots Mean for U.S. Foreign Policy
by Andrew J. Bacevich
Sep 17, 2012
The death of a U.S. ambassador raises questions about America’s foreign-policy assumptions.

Yet history is not a good-news story. Its destination and purpose remain indecipherable, even (or especially) to an “intelligence community” that purports to peer into the future, but cannot even provide adequate warning of attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities. Not that our civilian thinkers are doing much better. These days the shelf life of the Big Idea that’s marketed as explaining everything in three words or less—Unipolar Moment, End of History, Clash of Civilizations, Indispensable Nation—is about six months.


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