My webmaster, the wondrous Beverly Price, has posted a (semi) final version of the Ostrich Papers at http://www.davidbrin.com/ostrichpolitics.html. It may be long, but tell people it’s a handbook of sorts, for explaining to the perplexed.
I am opening up the Comments Section (below) as an open forum. I do not know if I will be able to check in for a while, so have fun, argue away about anything. I may find some way to say hi, from time to time.
Oh... one very brief thought that I may elaborate upon later. About a really amazing kind of jiu jitsu surprise that the Bushites could pull on us, as we crest toward an election year when the American people will supposedly repudiate all they ever stood for.
The standard paranoid scenario asks this. “Why are they pushing so hard for expanded presidential powers that HILLARY might then inherit? Do they know something we don’t?”
The worry is about some ace in the hole. Some October (or much sooner) surprise. Some reason to expect they’ll get to use the powers, not a democrat. The two top thriller plots are:
(1) another terror attack (oh, how convenient) or
(2) a presidential-ordered Air Force “pippity” bombing, run sent to “intimidate the Iranians (who sacrificed a million men fighting Saddam and would follow us home to Laredo.)
Yes, yes, it’s scary either way. These are maniacs, monsters and traitors, so nothing is beyond them. We must be wary... and help awaken the one group of people who could save us all... the professionals.
And yet, I have long pondered a real historical tragedy... how Condi Rice could have raised herself from Buchanan levels of future contemptibility all the way to Kissinger levels of historical significance - and effectiveness. As I’ve said before, she could have done this early in the administration, simply by putting her boss on a plane to Tehran.
Just like Kissinger performing a spectacular loop-de-loop that smote the KGB in the face and reconfigured everything, by sending Nixon to China.
Oh, what a fantasy that was, when I offered this scenario at CIA in 2002! Like Nixon to China, the effect of a well-orchestrated Bush to Tehran endeavor would likely stun the world, rattle adversaries (both foreign and domestic) boost the administration’s popularity and dramatically re-jigger the entire geopolitical landscape. If done then, it would also have toppled Saddam with nary a shot (ponder how) and put our real enemies over there on warning. As for the Ayatollahs? Ha! A love offensive could not have hurt! And it might have really given the students and people (and expatriates) the oomph they needed to get freedom and recover the ancient Iran-American friendship.
Well, well. Maybe. Maybe not. But it would have cost almost nothing, zilch, to try.
Oh, but forget 2002, when my audience at CIA thought I was crazy for suggesting this. (Well, I am paid to be interesting and think out of the box, hm?)
No, try an update of the scenario, Look at this NOT as clever international realpolitik... but as a stunner that could rock all of our domestic politics at a shot. Shoving the apple cart at a time when the Bushites really need it. Taking advantage of the power of presidential newsmaking initiative. Only NOT by sending a few dozen bombers to provoke a war with Iran, as so many fear. Right target. But wrong weapons!
Dang. It would re-set everything. Force praise even from those now spitting venom. And give W a sudden shot at an Iraq solution while avoiding the ignominy of passing Buchanan on the “worst president” list!
Oh, it’s just a thought experiment. Half wish and half hoping they don’t. But at least I got it down here, on record. I am paid to find the odd scenario. This won’t happen, of course. Because it presupposes they have three neurons to rub together.