Democracies and War Weariness

A Built-in Dynamic: The coyotes like to play a computer game called "Civilization," which has as an interesting game concept. Each civilization can change its form of government, each of which has some disadvantages. "Democracy," for example, is the most economically efficient but it is plagued with something called "war weariness," which kicks in and sends its cities into disorder and dysfunction not long after the civilization goes to war. And "war weariness" kicks in more quickly and more aggressively when the civilization is the aggressor. It seems strange to the coyotes that computer game creators have a better handle on one of the underlying dynamics of a Democracy than all of the pundits, talk-show hosts, and partisans commenting on Cindy Sheehan and her supporters. In other words, it is built-in to a Democracy that there will be vocal opposition to any war--any war--if it produces casualties and goes on for some time. A year, for argument's sake. It is built in because Democracies have opposition parties and free media, whch both have a stake in highlighting and stirring up dissent over any war started or supported by the current administration. It's a given, and it doesn't matter which party is in power and which is the opposition party. There will always be Cindy Sheehans. Remember that the Vietnam War began in a Democratic administration. which eventually lost power because of it. This being the case, the coyotes point out that President Bush made a strategic mistake, politically speaking, by getting into a War in Iraq. He has not been able to make the case, as he could with much more success with Afganistan, that this is a defensive war. And casualties have been substantial. Therefore, war weariness has kicked in right on schedule. A Democratic country cannot wage the kind of aggressive war that the President is trying to wage, at least not easitly. This is what the post-Vietnam War military leaders, like General Colin Powell, well understood with their doctrine of overwhelming force. The coyotes hasten to point out that this does not mean that the U.S. was "morally" wrong to go to war, that it is an unjust war, or that there is no sense in which it is a defensive war--only that it was a political mistake. Nor does it mean that the U.S. should pull out, as war opponents suggest. But the President is in a pickle. The best he can do is stand by his decision and hope--hope--that the Iraqis have enough political success and the U.S./Iraqi military has enough military success to stabilize the country before he leaves office. The good news is that the dynamic of "war weariness" would not prevent us, the coyotes think, from waging the kind of clandestine, rather dirty, combination of police action and guerrilla warfare that needs to be waged against Islamic fundamentalists. Wile E.



How to Solve the Immigration Problem

A Modest Proposal: The coyotes are getting a tired of the silly proposals and the pontificating about the immigration issue, particulary with respect to Mexican immigration and, more important, to terrorist infiltration across our borders. It isn't easy, but here's how to address the problem over the long haul. First, it's necessary to recognize where are borders are defensible and where they are not. Obviously, they are most defensible on the coast and at points of entry, be they seaport or airport. Just as obviously, they are least defensible along our land borders with Mexico and Canada. In reality, short of bursting our national budget, there is no way to contain entry through either of those borders. By the same token, Mexico's border is most defensible at its ports of entry and along its coast and least defensible along its border with the U.S., Guatamela, and Belize. Second, it's necessary to draw some strategic conclusions from facts that seem obvious to us. One strategic conclusion is that it makes no sense to waste time trying to defend the indefensible. Therefore the indefensible borders will remain porous. Some other strategis are required and those would be the following. Strategy One: Assume relatively open borders between Canada and the United States and between Canada and Mexico, much as is the case in the European Union between member countries. Strategy Two: Emphasize documentation as a vehicle for free movement and commercial participation within North America. That is, if you wish to drive within North America, you need a valid U.S., Mexican, or Canadian drivers license. If you wish to conduct other business, you need valid documentation from some North American country. Strategy Three: Emphasize reciprocity. That is, if Mexico insists on Mexican insurance to drive within that country, then the U.S. and Canada would be within their rights to insist on similar insurance to drive without penalty in their countries. If the U.S. provides emergency hospital care to non-citizens, then Canada and Mexico should do as well, and so on. If the U.S. requires non-citizens to pay a payroll tax without building up retirement benefits, the Canada and the U.S. should be able to do likewise. Such reciprocal arrangements would need to be worked out over the long run with bilateral and, ultimately, multilateral talks. Strategy Four: Emphasize quality documentation. That is, the countries need to get together to insure that IDs, passports, and other documentation are forge-proof--or at least forge resistant. Strategy Five: The North American countries should cooperate on systems that control ports of entry and that identify potential terrorists. In this way, we would be doing what can be done--encouraging everyone to have high-quality documentation even if they are not citizens of their country of current residence--and not fighting a losing battle at closing borders that can't be closed. Moreover, in this country at least, businesses would be relatively free to hire laborers from Canada or Mexico but such laborers would not have the benefits of full citizenship, which would ease resentment. At the same time, U.S. citizens could travel across borders freely and be able to participate in the same way in Canada or Mexica, also without the full benefit of being citizens of those countries. Finally, with the emphasis on quality documentation, we would be able to identify potential or actual troublemakers. This seems like a win-win to the coyotes. Wile E.

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