Tuesday, May 16, 2006

America the Titanic

America the Titanic:

"By sheer dumb luck the USS America navigated the Cold War without hitting one of the nuclear icebergs, but the helmsmen credited their own skill while slaphappy passengers celebrated -- again -- a claim to unsinkability. We had ''won' the Cold War, and now we were the ''indispensable nation.' Not even awareness of the dangers posed by unmoored nuclear weapons -- ''loose nukes' -- made America's geniuses see the hazard as applying to them. That alone is why, against reason and law, Washington can maintain its fleet of nuclear icebergs even now. Tragedy, nuclear or otherwise, is a fate awaiting other peoples, not Americans, who remain the last Enlightenment optimists.

Oddly, the blow of 9/11 reinforced this exceptionalism. The anguish of that day was real, but it equaled neither what other nations suffered in the world wars, nor what the earth narrowly survived in the Cold War. Nor does it compare to what lies dead ahead if the captains of our ship hold course -- ''Steady as she goes.'

Looming obstacles include an Islamic world enflamed by American belligerence, Russians feeling pushed into a new Cold War, China in an arms race, and a demonized Iran acting -- no surprise -- like a demon. All of these threats have their stimulus, if not their origins, in the old hubris of the New World."

No comments: