The grown-ups are back?

I totally agree with Justin Raimondo that the Baker Commission is unlikely to salvage the disaster in Iraq. Baker and the guys who run this operation are the proponents of what I call the "Empire lite" project and are responsible for this mess (I believe that one day historians will be discussing the Gulf Wars which started when the Bush-Baker and not Bush-Cheney attacked Iraq. But...if you read Dr. Strauss and David Sanger it's becoming clear that the grown-ups or The Man is returning to set some order in the place. If you're into conspiracy theories, it means that the cabal of CFR/Davos,etc. is going to replace the neocon cabal. Basically it seems that in the struggle for power in the bureaucracy, institutions, interest groups, etc. the neocons are losing. Now... what all of this will mean in practicaly terms, I'm not sure. Probably most of the efforts of Baker and his colleagues is to find a way that would allow Bush to "safe face" as the U.S. takes steps to talk with Iran and Syria, withdraw from Iraq, put pressure on Israel and so on.

Audio and video of my debate with David Frum in the event sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation is available now here. Also paperback edition of my book has been published in Arabic.


Anonymous said…
Here's what Baker will probably do - He will recommend something that seems solid, like the Commonwealth of Ind. States or Yugoslav Federal autonomy, that will serve the purpose of seeming to have a solution.

Think of Kissinger's "decent interval" - which was a way to pull out of Vietnam while pretending it was over, so when the inevitable collapse occured , the next administration / congress gets the blame.

Baker will help Bush put togther something that will help aide in portraying the inevitable disasters to follow look as if they were due to Congress and/or the Dems failing to follow up on Bush's freedom agenda/
A.E. said…
I certainly hope whatever Baker does works, but I agree that it probably will come to no good.

Also, doesn't Baker look a lot like the Irish consigliere from The Godfather? I always associated him with Hagen.
Anonymous said…
Adam - Baker - Hagen comparisons were all the rage a few years back, but do you see an actual resemblence?

Leon seems to be suggesting Baker is "The Man" ( the personification of establishment power - oil companies. money center banks, Bilderbergers/Davosians/Aspen-types/ the 'City' of London/ favored Arab tribes/ etc) not just The Man's lawyer.

So once again, it's back to grad school for the neocons? Np more fun for them?

Iran is their only hope now - N. Korea is an actual threat, so maybe they'll take a brief break.
A.E. said…
I meant he had more of a facial resemblence to the actor playing Hagen.

His real-life role right now is pretty much closer to the suave guy who memorably disposed of the body in Pulp Fiction.
I think that these scenarios make a lot of sense. I can't believe that I'm actually feeling nostalgic for Baker... On a more serious note, it's quite depressing that so many U.S. soldiers are going to get killed in the next months so as to help coreograph U.S. withdrawal in a way that fits with Bush's interests.
A.E. said…
Exactly. It's death to help window-dress the worst foreign policy disaster in thirty years.

What I wonder is who will triumph after a withdrawal. The Turks and Iranians both have interests inside, the Kurds want their own state, the Shia want dominance, and the Sunni/old Baath want to avoid all of the above. Then there's the oil...
Anonymous said…
Leon , you find it odd to find yourself feeling nostalgic for Baker and you are correct, it is odd. Baker is not a libertarian. He does not share your views about much, right?

Yet - it makes sense that you feel that way. Why? Because our current public figures, political figures do not sound like normal people.

With Baker it's refreshing to hear a statesman speak somewhat like a normal human being - not just endless code words or poll tested phrases or bizarre narrative constructs.

It harkens back to a different era - when conservatives spoke somewhat conservatively and you didn't have to translate everything he says thru some kind of filter.

Have you ever listened to WH officials or spokesman prattle on about the President's commitement to education or freedom or his respect for noble Arab history or how much he wishes his opponents had as much faith in Arab possibilities as he does, etc?

After a while, it's no longer funny, but numbing - So a dose of Baker normalcy or realism suddenly seems refreshing. You can read or listen to him and agree with parts and disagree with other parts - but you don't have to deal with all of that Rovian weirdness or neo-speak.
Anonymous said…
Consider Baker's recent TV appearances promoting his book - from PBS to Comedy Central.

When he appears and answeres questions or makes statements, he comes accross as far more credible than Condi Rice. Rice always sounds like less than the sum of the parts of her resume - so people are always hyping her resume, not herself or her words.

When Powell spoke - there was always the subtext drowning out his text. Does he believe this? Is he telling the truth? Is he just being a 'loyal' ass to his leader? Etc.

Go back to M. Albright - She makes these horrible statements, callous statements about Iraqis = She calls us indispensible (rendering others dispensible by implication) and for a variety of reasons she is always given a pass even though she was not above board about her Balkan diplomacy. Before her you had Warren Christopher.

Baker cleaned Cristopher's clock in every respect , in every round of that recound battle. You had to respect how he handled that situation even if you disagreed.

Baker also was willing to take risks to help bring about a peace agreement in the mid east. The Madrid meeting was progress in itself because all attendees , in effect, recognized Israel - even though they still did not do so officially.

When a peace settlement occurs - sometime in the future - the Madrid moment will be seen as a valuable step.

Condi, it seems, does not garner the kind of respect that is needed. She can't make anyone do anything.
Anonymous said…
So your nostalgia for Baker, Doctor, is not really that surprisng. In no way does it imply any agreement with Baker or concurrance with his worldview.

Baker just benefits by comparison with Condi and other recent public officials.

In Russia there was nostalgia for the Tsar after years of Bolshivik tyranny and deprivation. That did not mean everyone suddenly agreed with the Tsarist program.
You're all right and perhaps all this "nostalgia" that I/we have had to do with the fact that -- let's admit it -- the way statesmen/"wise man" are supposed to look. I mean, if you needed someone to play a Senator in a movie. He is your guy. On some level, I think that this is probably not very rational, a search for some sense of security after Bush, Condi and the rest made such a mess. But... then doesn't Rumsfeld look like a "statesman?" Or Cheney? or Powell? And look where they got us.
Anonymous said…
Rumsfeld looks part statesmen/part mad man, Powell looks defeated - like he's seen his better says, while Cheney has taken on the aspect of a white collar villian in 1970s conspriracy movie - like "The Conversation" or "Parallex View" - you can easily imagine Cheney staring out the sealed in window in some corporate office park watching his henchmen helocopter off somewhere to do who knows what.

Condi - consistantly makes people nervous - because she seems unequal to her resume and cannot come close to measuring up to the very formidible figures she has to deal with overseas. She's always speaking in meaningless:

'Clearly, it was not without forthwithness that we do not go without .........' (Condispeak)

It's just hard to imagine her doing some consequential diplomacy, unless another country did the work for her.

Image isn't all - but it is factor - Think of Lloyd Bensten V Quayle

NB - Rumsefeld - Have you noticed he's begun to resemble McNamara a bit - and also the Pol-Intel guy in that 1998 movie - the name escapes. Jon Voigt plays an Intelligence official who 'takes out' Jason Robards (a Senator who does not support a surveillance legislation) - pretty good movie, the name will come to me soon.
Anonymous said…
Why then does it insist on "staying the course" at a casualty rate of more than one thousand Americans per month? The answer is breathtaking in its cynicism: so the retreat from Iraq happens on the next president's watch. That is why we still fight.

"Yep, it's now all about George. Anyone who thinks that is too low, too mean, too despicable even for this bunch does not understand the meaning of the adjective "Rovian." Would they let thousands more young Americans get killed or wounded just so George W. does not have to face the consequences of his own folly? In a heartbeat."

Conservative military writer William Lind

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