Long Road to a Post-Bush Administration World

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The Signs Pile Up
StratFor’s George Friedman writes in “Civil Liberties and National Security” (05.16.06):

“The release of the data-mining story to USA Today obviously was intended as a means of shooting down his nomination — which it might. But what is important here is not the fate of Hayden, but the fact that the Bush administration clearly has lost all control of the intelligence community — extended to include congressional oversight processes. That is not a trivial point.

Leaks of information about secret projects to a newspaper is a symptom of the disease: a complete collapse of any consensus as to what this war is, what it means, what it risks, what it will cost and what price Americans are not willing to pay for it. A covert war cannot be won without disciplined covert operations. That is no longer possible in this environment. A serious consensus on the rules is now a national security requirement.” (Emphasis Mine)

Last week on Thomas Barnett’s blog:

“Putin’s backtalking, along with Ahmadinejad’s and all the rest around the world, just signals the growing awareness internationally that the Bush Administration is a spent force. This crew is not inclined to change their spots now, and the world knows it.

So, quite frankly, our debates should focus most on who and what comes next for America. The conversation is basically over with the Bush Administration. So it’s time to focus on the new ideas, the new leaders, and the lifers within the bureaucracy who will both rule–for all practical purposes–in the meantime and be there when the new crew arrives.”(Emphasis Mine)

At a moment the US is facing many critical issues domestically (immigration to domestic intelligence) to challenging foreign policy issues (Iran, Iraq, to Latin America) and overarching issues regarding energy and the environment, the United States is quickly finding itself in a rut with a sitting-duck presidency. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has lost control of any stern party leadership, control over its own agencies and department and directions on policies.

While the “sitting-duck presidency” is a sickness befalling just about every president on his/her last term, its only May, 2006. What happens six-months from now?

Bottom Line:
Will the security environment deteriorate vis-à-vis the US? What power plays will foreign adversaries, competitors and even some allies pursue against the US while we are in this state of flux?

In the coming months, we should expect to see interesting maneuverings from China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran – among others.