Det er amerikanerne selv som er de beste og fremste til å analysere og kritisere seg selv. Antiamerikanismen fra norske struper er det ingen som hører på. Den skader bare oss selv.

Man merker at det er lenge siden Vietnam-krigen. Det blir ingen replay. Ekspertisen innen militære og akademia har lært. Man slår alarm når en politikk har kjørt seg fast og ikke gir resultater. Der er man nå i Irak: det er ingen vits i å ta dagens tap av menneskeliv og materiell, hvis politikken er blitt statisk og ikke gir resultater.

Hva er så alternativene? Det snakkes om å trekke seg tilbake til grensene, og la irakerne ordne opp selv. Det vil si å la borgerkrigen begynne, hvis den må. En skremmende tanke. Det vil bli helt andre tapstall, og jeg er redd amerikanerne vil få skylden for dem også.

I Norge aner vi lite om de enorme intellektuelle ressursene USA besitter. President Eisenhower var misfornøyd med Trumans containment-doktrine da han overtok, og nedsatte grupper av eksperter som skulle komme opp med alternativer. Selv satt han i spissen for juryen på 80 medlemmer som skulle vurdere svarene. Han beholdt containment da det kom til stykket, men fremgangsmåten sier noe om seriøsitet og en annen liga enn nordmenn kan forestille seg.

Nylig var det et seminar i samme tradisjon der Brent Scowcroft og Zbigniew Brzezinzki var innledere. Tema:

Scowcroft slår fast at USA befinner seg i en helt ny posisjon etter at muren falt. Tidligere ble USA påtvunget situasjoner. Nå står USA tilbake som den eneste supermakt og kan velge når den vil opptre multilateralt, og når unilateralt. Det er en handlefrihet som åpner mange muligheter og fallgruber, og USA har ikke vennet seg til tanken.

«And now the US is in a position of having more power than any nation since the Roman Empire. And that has several implications. First as far as the United States goes, we are not used to being in that role.

There is nobody else out there that is going to make these decisions and set the terms of our global engagement. We’re there all alone and frankly, we are not used to long term strategic thinking about where we are going to go and how we are going to get there. So, we’re a little, well, I wouldn’t say we are uncomfortable, but I don’t think we know too well what the implications of our position in the world are — but then neither does the rest of the world.

And everyone is adjusting to the great discrepancy in distribution of power, economic and military power. And many people resent us for this just because we are big. And it’s a natural tendency to gang up on the big guy on the block. Feeling that anything that goes wrong in the world is somehow our fault. And conversely, we are also expected to fix anything that goes wrong in the world.»

Mye i verden avhenger av hvordan USA agerer. Dette enkle faktum omgis med negative kommentarer av mange i Europa.

«The consequence of that is leadership becomes very, very difficult because as a simple matter of fact the distribution of power in the world means if we don’t take something on, if we don’t form a core of a response to an issue, it’s just not going to happen. There is no one else other than the United States in a position to take that leadership role. There’s no one else. And if we don’t play that leadership role, we run the risk of being ganged up on by the rest of the world. Finding that balance is something that is still very much a work in progress.»

Scowcroft er en forsiktig mann. Men han mener dagens kurs er ute av fokus:

«We are out of focus. We tend to be unilateral, and so far our power has been reflected primarily in self confidence in some parts of the world, some would say this is arrogance.»

Scowcroft observer hvor lett verden venner seg til fenomener, selv de mest groteske:

«And there’s one phenomenon… You know five years ago, a suicide bomber was the occasion of a front page about ‘what motivates the suicide bombers,’ ‘how could people do this,’ ‘how do they recruit,’ and so on. Now there seems to be a waiting list. There’s a suicide bombing every day and no one even notices that somebody prepares to either drive a truck or strap weapons on and blow themselves up. What’s behind this? What is the phenomenon that leads to the kind of warfare that we are singularly unequipped to deal with? So we’ve got to get to the roots of what drives terrorism and respond — not for ’05 necessarily, but we need to deal with that phenomenon.»

Scowcroft er en pragmatiker: han nevner at vi står på terskelen til å få en ny gruppe atomstater, hvis Iran ikke blir stanset. Neste er Brasil. Problemene er mange, og alle forutsetter at USA tar ledelsen.

«Is all of this our responsibility? No. But, they’re all serious problems and if we don’t step up to them and form a policy around which others can gather they won’t be dealt with and we’ll all suffer.»

Brzezinzki er mer temperamentsfull: Det han sier om tap av moralsk autoritet p.g.a. Irak, Guantanamo og Abu Ghraib, er viktig:

«A great deal of what is happening thus far in American Foreign Policy has been influenced by the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Now I would like to say very briefly that in my view, that war which was a war of choice is already a serious moral set back to the United States. A moral set back both in how we start, how it was justified, and because of some of the egregious incidents that have accompanied this proceeding. The moral costs to the United States are high. It’s a political setback …

The United States has never been involved in an intervention in its entire history like it is today. It is also a military set back. «Mission Accomplished» are words that many in this administration want to forget.»

Ikke villig til å betale prisen

Hva skulle til for å snu skuta i Irak?

«While our ultimate objectives are very ambitious we will never achieve democracy and stability without being willing to commit 500,000 troops, spend $200 billion a year, probably have a draft, and have some form of war compensation.

As a society, we are not prepared to do that.»

Det er umulig å si om det skyldes politisk klokskap eller kulturelt forfall, sier han.

Første prioritet: gjenskap felles forståelse

Brzezinzki begynner i den store enden: han prioriterer å minske den politiske kløften i USA og søke tilnærming til Europa og Japan. USA kan ikke utrette noe uten disse to.

«The United States needs a restoration of some measure in this community and some degree of recovery of our international legitimacy.

These are major and significant objectives. We are very much a divided nation today. A nation that I hope realizes is very significant and fundamental in international and also domestic issues. The recovery of international unity is an obligation that imposes itself on all of us but especially on those who are in charge of shaping international laws.»

Europa vil gjerne være med på å bestemme, sier B., men vil ikke bære byrdene.

Det avgjørende blir måten Washington tar avgjørelser på. Bak lukkede dører, eller tar de allierte med på råd og inkluderer dem.

Han mener at den synkende populariteten ute i verden henger sammen med USAs egen oppførsel.

«Strategy is not about uniting your enemies and dividing your friends. It’s the opposite.»

B. har noen interessante tanker om det han kaller de globale masser:

«That is a very important new reality historically. We live for the first time in a world in which the masses of the world are politically alert. It has never existed before. And of course in the forefront of these masses, there are two spearhead states that embrace the largest numbers and have surprisingly, so far, been effective. And that is China and India. They, together, involve close to 3 billion people. How they are integrated into the international system is going to define the kind of system we have in the future. Namely, will it be a comprehensive global system? Or will the newly awakened political masses be the basis for violence — ethnic, religious, nationalist — including terrorism? But let’s not get mesmerized by the phenomenon of terrorism alone.

I salen satt Richard Holbrooke, og en rekke andre kapasiteter. Ordskiftet blir lagt ut senere. Seminaret viser at USA besitter den intellektuelle styrken som skal til for å erkjenne dagens situasjon. Den er tøff. Ikke rart Bush ser sliten og dradd ut.