" HOW TO DEFEAT AMERICA" PART I - REVERSE CONTAINMENT,IT’S LIMITATIONS AND HOW IT WAS COUNTERED
The victory in Iraq does not mean that nations with a strategic interest in checking American influence so as to promote a world order friendlier to paternalistic governments have given up. Instead, they will look at the circumstances of the Iraq War and reassess how to best employ their strategies on “ How to Defeat America ”. Today the focus is on the “ Hard Power “ approach exemplified by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – the policy of Reverse –Containment.
Historian Eric Bergerud recently in an H-Diplo Listserv commentary accurately characterized the actions of the regional hegemons ( France,Russia,China) in supporting Iraq militarily to be the behavior “ of enemies” of the United States. Bergerud is quite correct; the value of Reverse-Containment as a policy is rooted in the concept that these regional powers can covertly forment dangerous military situations by abetting the WMD programs of Rogue states while maintaining the pretense of overtly peaceful relations with the United States. From the viewpoint of the Hegemons it would be ideal that the United States be preoccupied containing states like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria while remaining “ on-call ” militarily for a crisis elsewhere, leaving the hegemons free to dominate their respective spheres.
The assumptions of the Reverse-Containment have been that the United States could be trusted to react by 1) Being too timid to openly acknowledge that the Franco-German EU bloc, Russia and China were effectively allied with Saddam and take diplomatic steps to retaliate appropriately and; 2) Would in the final analysis, shrink from “ pulling the trigger” and initiating a major war absent a gratuitously aggressive provocation from one of the rogue states. The Bush administration has badly undermined Reverse Containment’s premises on both counts and by precedent, made it more difficult for a succeeding administration of Democratic or Establishment Republican character from returning to the old U.S. policy of “ looking the other way until the next crisis arrives”. Not impossible to return but more politically difficult as the presidential bar for measuring how well a politician protects American security is now noticeably higher ( this has left Democrats squirming with discomfort or in the progressive wing of the party, enraged ). Essentially “ Preemption “ checks “ Reverse-Containment” very effectively which badly worries social democratic elites on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a successful prescription for maintaining American dominance abroad and- so long as Democrats visibly look uncomfortable with using armed force to crush serious security threats – Republican control at home.
It is obvious that when put to a real test, as predicted by _Unrestricted Warfare_,
the Chinese analysis of combatting U.S. power asymmetrically, Reverse-Containment is a miserable failure. Once American leaders muster the will to assume WMD use risks against American troops, the Rogue state proxies have no chance of prevailing in combat against America's overwhelming military might. North Korea apparently read this lesson from saddam's fall and abruptly backed away from an escalating policy of nuclear brinksmanship with the United States. The only way for the Hegemons to restore Reverse-Containment to viability is to work to reestablish the political conditions in America that made that policy feasible in the first place.