So this morning I was reading William Safire rant about how France and Turkey will pay, I tell you, pay, and I was reminded of something I intended to note a while ago.
Recently I read “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, a 2000 defense review which has been cited as the neocons’ blueprint to world domination. It isn’t, really; it’s a right-leaning defense review, and doesn’t really provide any evidence (well, new evidence, anyway) that the neocons are tyrants in the making. It does, however, suggest that Rumsfeld may be a cleverer SOB than I realized.
See, one of the points that the document makes (and, I think, validly) is that our troop disposition is obsolete. A massive buildup in Germany makes sense if you expect to fight in Germany and Poland, or maybe as far south as Czechoslovakia. It doesn’t make sense when most of your recent and projected deployments are in the Balkans and the Middle East; in the post-Cold War world, bases in southeastern Europe would make much more sense.
Now we return to the period just before the war, when, among other appalling lapses of tact, Rumsfeld threatened to “punish Germany” by withdrawing our military presence and the massive economic force it represents.
At the time, it seemed petulant and dumb. It’s stupid to make major national security decisions in order to spite sovereign allied nations because they don’t jump to when the Oval Office says hop. But if you were looking to move those troops southeast in the first place, taking advantage of a diplomatic break to do things which would have caused a diplomatic crisis anyway seems a pretty clever thing to do.
It also makes you think that Bulgaria standing with the US and UK during the Security Council flap might be about more than a matter of principle.
And it makes me wonder what else Rumsfeld might be up to with some of the other seemingly boneheaded things he’s said.