The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
The Projectors
Saturday,  January 27th, 2007
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
Projector:  1.  One who forms a project, who plans or designs some enterprise or undertaking.  2.  A schemer…  a promoter of bubbles;  a speculator;  a cheat.  Oxford Universal Dictionary, 1955

It is year seven of the New American Century, and things are not going well.  When intellectual heavyweights Dan “I’m no John Kennedy” Quayle, Scooter “Loose lips” Libby, Don “Dr. Strangelove” Rumsfeld, Dick “Shooter” Cheney, William “The gambler” Bennett, Paul “Iraq?  Is there a problem?” Wolfowitz and their friends got together in the waning days of the 20th century, they had a plan for the 21st.  The fruits of their combined intellects resulted in four bullet points and a conclusion: 

· Jack up defense spending.
· Reward allies and punish enemies.
· Push “political and economic freedom abroad.”
· Ensure an international order friendly to our interests.

Such “a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity,”* the boys concluded, was vital to the security of the United States.  Thus was history made and the Project for the New American Century born.

Ten years later, the New American Century looks like the beginning of the Old European Century, back in the early 1900s.  Mighty commercial powers aggressively competing for scarce resources, regional conflicts threatening to expand into wider war, and great empires at the height of their powers with no place to go but down.  What with World Wars I and II and the Great Depression, everything got a lot worse before it got better.  And even when the dust settled by mid-century, many nations remained under the rule of nasty totalitarian regimes.  Those that weren’t lived uneasily under the threat of vaporization at the hands of those that were.

The great powers at the beginning of the 20th century had no one to blame but themselves for the way it all turned out.  Arrogance, greed, ignorance, jingoism, and racism were in the air. The British, French, Russians, Austro-Hungarians, Turks, and Germans all thought they were preeminent, each convinced of being destiny’s child, anointed by a higher power to make the world safe for King, President, Emperor, Sultan, or Kaiser, depending.  It was so bad, even the Italians and the Belgians had delusions of imperial grandeur.  All the competing powers ramped up military spending, made alliances with friends and defied enemies, and advanced economic interests abroad at gunpoint.  Armed with “Reaganite moral clarity and military strength,” each was determined to forge a new world order, though of course, not the same one.

Bill Kristol, the New American Century project’s founder, wouldn’t be born for another fifty years or so, but he’d have recognized all the signs.  The world the great powers at the beginning of the 20th century were crafting is the world the New American Centurions want us to have as well:  militarized, jingoistic, arrogant.  A world in which one bully knocks down all the other bullies to straddle, colossus-like, the globe.  The British, Germans, Austro-Hungarians and the others each thought themselves that colossus, just like the New American Centurions are convinced the U.S. is today.

Maybe Kristol and his pals are right.  Maybe their philosophy of blood and iron, adopted by the Bush administration and pursued with vigorous violence by Rumsfeld and Cheney and Wolfowitz, really will bring us a world order molded in our image.  So far it doesn’t look good, but no omelet is ever made without breaking an egg or two.

Still, if it’s truly Reaganite military strength and moral clarity the boys believe will gain them their New American Century, they might think about revisiting the history of the Reagan administration. Reagan did engage in a huge military build-up.  He did hurl defiance at our enemies, denouncing “the evil empire,” and demanding “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”  He did project what some felt was moral clarity, even if others thought it more akin to simple-mindedness.

But what Kristol and his boys don’t seem to understand is that Reagan, for all his tough talk and swagger, never ordered a shot fired in anger.  He never sent his huge military machine into combat, unless you include the raid on Grenada, which was more like swatting a fly than fighting a battle.  He never declared himself a war president and ordered up a major conflagration.  Instead of invading Mr. Gorbachev, he negotiated with him.  Reagan’s approach may not have been that of the New American Century project, but it’s beginning to look a lot like the good old ways.


©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2007
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