Monday, September 10, 2007

The Imperfect (And Perfect) Colin Powell

I just read the rest of the Colin Powell interview over lunch and found it fascinating. For one thing, it's another bit of 'insider' information on what really happened in that train wreck we call Iraq. Also, the contrast between Powell and the rest of the Bushies is, well... pronounced. It makes me wonder how things might have been different if he hadn't been cast aside (and later discarded) in favor of the Bush-alikes. Finally, Powell and I seem to share a very similar view on the GWOT and what the US can (and can't do) to affect it.

Some interview snippets regarding the GWOT:
What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.


We are taking too much counsel of our fears.


Yes, there are a few dangerous nuts in Brooklyn and New Jersey who want to blow up Kennedy Airport and Fort Dix. These are dangerous criminals, and we must deal with them. But come on, this is not a threat to our survival! The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn’t do it to ourselves, and we shouldn’t use fear for political purposes—scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex.
There's a few things he says elsewhere in the interview that I don't know that I agree with. I'm all for immigration, for example, but let's make it a controlled immigration. Also, as we know, I'm not very in love with China and the House of Saud so would tend to have less patience with them than Powell seems to be advocating. But his statements about Democracy are spot on and, in general (no pun intended), I found the whole thing well worth the read.


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