Posted to www.marxmail.org on April 20, 2006
This morning my eyes popped out as I was reading Paul Kane's
call for reinstating the draft on the op-ed page of the NY Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/20/opinion/20Kane.html)
Kane is identified as a Marine who served in
Kane states that if Bush starts drafting young men and
Kane takes up the sports analogy and tops it with images
drawn from the world of abnormal pyschology. For him,
the point of reinstituting the draft--a wildly unpopular measure--is not just
to show the Iranians that we mean business, but to show them that the
"President Bush has the perfect credentials overseas to
execute this move, and little political capital at home to lose at this stage.
Polls confirm that a wide majority of people in many countries view him and the
"President Ronald Reagan was the past master of using this strategy during the cold war. Reagan capitalized on his image as the madman at the helm to keep the Russians off balance, using the signs of war to dissuade our foes and avert actual war. President Bush should take a page from Reagan's playbook."
Actually, President Nixon tried out the "madman" theory long before Reagan:
National Security Archive, 23 December 2002 Nixon "Madman Theory" Alert Revealed in Declassified Documents
In late December, 2003
declassified documents published by the National Security Archives disclosed a
worldwide secret nuclear alert Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry
Kissinger, stage-managed from 13 Oct. to 25 Oct., 1969. The alert consisted of
a series of actions to ratchet up the readiness level of nuclear forces hoping
to jar Soviet officials into pressing
The nuclear alert was based on a diplomacy-supporting stratagem Nixon called the Madman Theory, or "the principle of the threat of excessive force." Nixon was convinced that his power would be enhanced if his opponents thought he might use excessive force, even nuclear force. That, coupled with his reputation for ruthlessness, he believed, would suggest that he was dangerously unpredictable.
Although Nixon favored this theory more than most, threatening excessive force was nothing new. In the 1950s President Dwight D. Eisenhower, his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and then-Vice President Nixon, had overtly practiced a version of the Madman Theory by means of the "uncertainty principle" and coercive nuclear "brinkmanship."
Such is the state of the world when
With all proportions guarded, when I read Paul Kane's bloodcurdling prose, I am reminded of what Leon Trotsky wrote in the 1933 article "What is National Socialism" (http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1930-ger/330610.htm):
Fascism has opened up
the depths of society for politics. Today, not only in peasant homes but also
in city skyscrapers, there lives alongside of the twentieth century the tenth
of the thirteenth. A hundred million people use electricity and still believe
in the magic power of signs and exorcisms. The Pope of