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The Fate of the World as Intellectual Exercise

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William Kristol and Louis Rene Beres are professional intellectuals. Think-tank guys. Pundits. Gamblers with other people's money (or lives or futures or survival). Fearless and outspoken, as long as it's from behind a desk and their own skins are not at risk.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We are certainly short on intellectual input and long on gut as America makes its largely disastrous entry into the 21st century.

The difficulty with guys like Kristol and Beres is that they are more incarnations of Ann Coulter than Bill Buckley, more loose-horse than midnight rider, far more interested in a world of personal power and military confrontation than one of solid old diplomacy. Diplomacy, that currently out-of-style substitute for war, has three common definitions,

1) Negotiation between nations,

2) Subtle and skillful handling of a situation and

3) Wisdom in the management of public affairs.

That’s not quick enough for these fast-draw pundits. Each fancies himself a solver of international problems by applying other people’s children in force of arms. Each posits solutions from the comfort of a desk, either at a university (Kristol at Harvard; Beres at Purdue) or a think-tank. Wild Bill Kristol is a founder of the Project For the New American Century (PNAC) and Beres a board-member of the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies (nothing to do with this Freeman).

War, which is sometimes defined as the ultimate failure of diplomacy, doesn’t even wait for diplomacy with those who elect themselves to control public dialog. They have elevated it, turned it into (with Dick Cheney's approval) the George Bush preference for pre-emptive attack against those who argue with American or Israeli policy.

The Bush Doctrine.

Kristol and PNAC were prime movers behind the disastrous Iraq policy and Beres continually pimps for a pre-emptive attack on Iran, hailing it as the solution to Israel’s perceived annihilation.

We are up to our eyeballs in Iraq and regretting every moment, with nearly 3,600 and counting American dead, having stirred up a veritable hornet’s nest in the Middle East and the larger world of Muslim radicals. Kristol was a leading voice, daring and misleading us into a death-trap for which the best minds in America have no working solution.

If Kristol ran an American corporation the way he runs his mouth, he’d have been fired for incompetence years ago. But this is an administration that prizes incompetence.

In a Statement of Principles undersigned by the likes of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz (and after a long diatribe about lost American greatness), Kristol's PNAC, on its web site, states;

“Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

We need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and value;

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Jim Freeman's op-ed pieces and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald-Tribune, CNN, The New York Review, The Jon Stewart Daily Show and a number of magazines. His thirteen published books are (more...)
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