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Department of History Nipissing University North Bay, Ontario, Canada Response to George Rislov: >> >> 1. Signs of "superpatriotism:" >> a. 94% of Americans claim to support the policies of a president whao >was >> unable to win the popular vote a few months ago. >> b. Sales of US flags through the roof. >> c. Inflammatory language by public figures, as in the number of times >they >> have used the phrase "Take him out" or "Take them out." To all of these points I say, what do you expect after such a catastrophe? >> d. Sudden affinity of the President for "nation-building," which he had >> previously opposed. I'm not sure what this has to do with "superpatriotism." But it does indicate a little more reality in the administration's thinking than was evident in the first half of the year. The attitude then was, we don't need anybody, we don't need any of these institutional guarantees that everyone else wants, because we can take care of ourselves, nobody can touch us. I said, a little more reality, but probably not enough. Remember that these are the same people whose great success was the (second) Gulf War. In regard to the issue of nation building, some serious reflection is in order about one of the great foreign policy successes of the 20th century -- the denazification of West Germany and the analagous process in Japan. The methods that worked there are not directly applicable now to any present situation, but if this was not success, what is? And it was not possible without serious thought and long-term commitment. >>2. Present world systems: The roots of this go at least as far back as >the >> peculiar methods the British used to undermine the Ottomans during World >> War I. An extremely good point, and I would feel much happier if present-day policy makers showed any awareness of it. >> The manifest failures of this system were recognized by all in 1945. As the Suez episode showed, not to mention all sorts of more recent fiascos, this is not the case. The US has been acting in the Middle East as the replacement for the British Empire ever since it came down hard on Mossadeq in Iran in the early 1950s. The attacks of September 11 have many causes and many can be blamed for this or that aspect of the situation, but a disastrous American foreign policy is part of the picture. As in the case of nation-building, more thought and admission of past mistakes is needed than is likely to be forthcoming.