After the Elections
Now that the Democratic Party has taken the House and has an extremely good prospect of taking the Senate it's possible to speculate about its consequences. The Israeli experience probbly provides a good comparison. Faced with the difficulty of a security threat they retreated, some would say, into pacifist fantasy. But the enemy eventually brought parts of Israel under threat and the response, when it came, was still half-hearted. Olmert temporized and another war in Lebanon is expected presently. Is this the fate that awaits America?
Maybe. Not in particulars but in structure. There is now a much smaller chance that the terrorist problem can be resolved at a low level of conflict. There is a greater likelihood that it will be allowed by neglect or paralysis to metastize into a canker which will develop into a catastrophic confrontation in five or ten years time. A likelihood, but not a certainty.
The comparison with Israel fails in that the US is the world's security Central Banker. The sheriff of last resort. Other countries could wobble as long as the Central Banker stood firm. Now the Central Banker itself is wobbling. The UK, Europe, etc could count on America to be the security underwriter of last resort. But where do you go when the reinsurer fails?
If America is lucky then a bipartisan national security consensus can be rebuilt before any catastrophe overtakes. But America's lucky streak has just run out. Two things now have to happen. The Democrats have to start responding to the threats that they will face now that they are in legislative power and they have to resolve the tensions between their left and right wings. In that respect, the election of Lieberman is some kind of proof that not everyone in the Democratic party is a Pelosi-ite. But a whole lot are.
At any rate, it's a new political game. With North Korea, Iran, Iraq on the burner and Nancy Pelosi running the House there will be enormous challenges to simply hold against the threat. The time of easy security is past. Nothing is assured.
The coming months will be ones of great opportunity. Reality provides one very powerful service: it shows what does not work. And it provides clues to what will work. A lot of the effort should consist of thinking out approaches from first principles. One obvious effect will be to shrivel the deadwood -- intellectual and otherwise -- out of the way. We are all free in a way that we couldn't otherwise be without today. That's a good thing and after I finish up for the day, I'm going to drink a beer or maybe have one of Jimmy Joe Shank's mayo and peanut butter sandwiches.