Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stephen Walt on Obama and NSA

Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy nails it:

This situation gives those in power an obvious incentive to inflate threats. When no significant dangers are apparent, they will conjure them up; when real dangers do emerge, they will blow them out of all proportion. And having assembled a vast clandestine intelligence apparatus to go trolling for threats in every conceivable location, they can quell skeptics with that familiar trump card: "Ah, but if you knew what I know, you'd agree with me."

Boy George and his crew played this to the hilt after 9-11.  It gave us the disaster that was (and truly still is) Iraq, the slow-motion defeat that is Afghanistan, and a blow to American credibility overseas that will likely not be repaired in our lifetimes.

We also hoped for better - indeed, were promised better - by the shiny-bright Mr. Obama in 2008.  Instead, he has proved himself to be largely cast in the same mold as Mr. Bush, if not cut from the same faux-rawhide.  And to embellish the "if you knew what I know" trope to which Walt refers, Obama played the "gee, when I'm done as president, everyone's gonna want to see my emails - but do you see me whining."


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