Thursday, July 28, 2011

An Overarching Backdrop

The Teabagger-infused acrimony over things domestic has implications beyond our borders. Perhaps this is by design:

In one swoop, Britain has recognized Libya's rebel government, expelled the remaining London diplomatic staff of the Tripoli-based regime, and freed up millions in assets that can now be funneled to the cash-strapped rebel troops.

Amid a weeks-long stalemate, diplomatic activity seems to have stepped up. This is likely partially because Ramadan begins next week, which will force NATO forces to scale down the fighting as most of Libya begins the month-long daily fast. The US and France have already recognized the rebel government.

"This decision reflects the national transitional council's increasing legitimacy, competence and success in reaching out to Libyans across the country," Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday, according to the Guardian.

As the title of the article states, the UK is really taking the lead on the withdrawal from Libya.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's true, the US participation in this NATO exercise has been about as non-existent as a sasquatch (which isreal, by the way) and again, my suspicion is that's by design on the part of the Teabaggers.
Three wars, even with one on a limited scale like Libya and one in a draw-down phase like Iraq, is three wars too many for a peacenik like me and two wars too many for an armed force to fight. So it's a good thing the Teabaggers have played the role of Shadow Ministry for Commiepinkohippiefags this time around. I'm glad for that.
And House Weaker Boener has grasped the Prime Minister for War Opponents like it was a goose for Christmas dinner, rattling the President's cage over the war Powers Act violations, and essentially going nowhere with that tactic. Again, failure is an option for the GOP. Me likey.
It worries me, too. All this fussin' and fightin' over debt limits and War Powers Acts and birth certificates and Messicans has created one overarching backdrop against which any President for the foreseeable future (but in particular, Scary Black Man) will have to contend. The fucking loons of the right wing have managed to turn the once-great America into a joke.
I'm not sure when it started. I mean, you can go all the way back to Joe McCarthy, I suppose. Certainly, Barry Goldwater is worth a look. Ronald Reagan, too.
But somewhere along the thread here, the American right morphed from a set of reasonable people with radical goals into a set of radical asshats with goals best left to Robert Heinlein novels.
In some regards, they fulfill one of the last remaining holes in my theory that Republicans run about a generation behind Democrats.
It goes like this: What Democrats endured as a party in the '60s and '70s, the Republicans only began to experience in the '90s and '00s. And now in the Teens. Party divisions? Democrats saw those flourish in the aftermath of Watergate when it looked like Democrats could maintain a permanent Democratic majority in perpetuity, and everyone wanted a piece of the prize and the squabbling allowed a stealth conservative movement the opportunity to undermine the good works and progress done to that point.
A gradual loss of relevance as a political party, turning into massive jokes during some Presidential campaigns? Look no further than the 1984 Reagan re-election for Dems.. Look no further than the 2008 McCain/Palin campaign for the GOP.
A wresting of the party's center with a jerk to the wing? The Dems in 1968. The Republicans in...well, I'd say 1994, but Newt Gingrich's "revolution" looks moderate and centrist by comparison to today's kamikaze.
All these growing pains-- and we must keep in mind that we are but a stranger in a strange land still, this novel experiment in democracy-- have taken our focus away from what was our purview for decades: our place in international affairs.
Some see this as a good thing and I might concur, but it's the way that we went about it that troubles me. We didn't gracefully exit the world stage, as President Obama put it in his address on Afghanistan, for "nation-building at home." We were dragged away like a mother in a supermarket trying to placate a panicked and tired toddler who demands attention. Or at the very least, candy.