Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pimps Up, Hos Down

"...the rest of them knew that the real power lay in letting the President come to them; the President could take care of rail strikes, minimum wages and farm prices, and they would take care of national security....a special elite, a certain breed of men whose continuity is among themselves. They are linked to one another rather than to the country; in their minds they become responsible for the country but not responsive to it."
-The Best and the Brightest
by David Halberstam

In the three-card Monte that is popular journalism, it is the underreported story that is of major significance. Just as the current struggle comes into focus, the nation is distracted by the Democratic primary campaign. Last Friday afternoon the Defense Department announced that Air Force awarded a $35 billion contract to Northrup Grumman. In addition to the timing of this release the Air Force minimized mention of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Northrup's senior partner in the venture.

While the current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, to say nothing of Israel's incursion into Lebanon last summer, have shown the limits of air power, the USAF has been asking for more money to ready itself for the challenges of the new century.

Across the board, Democrats and Republicans have declared righteous indignation. But the truth is that this deal was a long time in the making. After a first term marked by bold and provocative unilateral maneuvers, the G.W. Bush administration has worked aggressively to restore the mutual cooperation which has characterized the global North since World War II. An Obama presidency would complete the restoration.

For all his eloquence and charming embrace, Barack Obama has not rejected the Truman legacy of militarism. His list of advisors is a panoply of entrenched establishment figureheads. He does, in all fairness, have Samantha Power, the eminent human rights scholar, on his team. He talks about changing the mindset that led to the Iraq War.

Despite the protests of lawmakers and the good intentions of candidates, a consensus has been reached by shareholders of global power that countries are to be managed like businesses. Even the obstinate French have come around. Now the only ones left to convince are the American people.

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