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Rudy’s War on Us


It should hardly surprise anyone to learn that the Foreign Affairs piece “authored” by Giuliani is in fact an enormous load of crap, a cut-and-paste job that blends the most discredited neo-conservative banalities with the mindless filler of the average high school commencement speech. Here are two consecutive paragraphs that underscore the point:

America and its allies have made progress since that terrible day. We have responded forcefully to the Terrorists’ War on Us, abandoning a decadelong — and counterproductive — strategy of defensive reaction in favor of a vigorous offense. And we have set in motion changes to the international system that promise a safer and better world for generations to come.

But this war will be long, and we are still in its early stages. Much like at the beginning of the Cold War, we are at the dawn of a new era in global affairs, when old ideas have to be rethought and new ideas have to be devised to meet new challenges.

“New ideas” and “new challenges?” What about the new friends we’ll all make after graduation, the new experiences we’ll have as we head our separate ways? Is that a Journey song I hear in the background?

The rest of the piece offers a pretty faithful recitation of what I’ll call the Neoconservative Romance. According to this narrative, the United States began the Cold War with a vigorous challenge to the Soviet Union that was made all the more pure by virtue of American beliefs in the evangelical power of “liberty.” (The key elements to the romance would include, for example, the Truman Doctrine or the Berlin Airlift.) Over time, however, true believers watched as the nation’s leaders fell into apostasy, drawing the nation farther from its Original Purpose; rather than challenging the Soviets directly, the US reigned itself to an unacceptable status quo that stifled the aspirations of half the planet. At the darkest hour, Ronald Reagan ascended to the presidency and retrieved history from the drainpipe.

These are the historical fantasies on which the Bush administration sought to capitalize after 9-11, positioning Bush himself as three parts Reagan, two parts Truman, and one part Jesus Christ. Since “America’s Mayor,” too, has made a new life for himself on the basis of 9-11 — and fantasized about things he didn’t actually do — it only makes sense that we can look forward to a Giuliani campaign that sounds like an awful parody of everything we’ve heard for the past six years.

And so there he is in the FA piece — ceaselessly invoking the Cold War, mumbling Brokavian absurdities about the “9-11 Generation,” making false historical claims about the American war in Vietnam, bitching about the “international system,” and offering pious observations about the global economy. Substantively, the essay could lead one to think that Giuliani finds nothing wrong with the conduct of the Bush administration that couldn’t be fixed with a larger (and still non-functioning) missile defense system, more clueless invasions, and even greater disregard for the United Nations. He also wants to expand Voice of America for some reason, but I have to suspect he threw that in there just to see if anyone was actually reading.

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