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We seldom delve into political matters here, at least U.S. domestic ones, and let's keep it that way. Yes we'll criticize China and Burma and North Korea, but based on the way they treat their people, they richly deserve it.

But reading the current Foreign Affairs makes me throw up my hands. In a special edition focused on "The World Ahead," a who's who of veterans of the American Thinking Establishment scolds the U.S. for its proflicagy.

Richard Haass, who was for the Iraq war before he was against it contributes a primer on "The Consequences of Fiscal Irresponsibility" as if none of us has been reading the papers and we were all just waiting for him to weigh in. (See also Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institution and Iraq.) Les Gelb explains "The Primacy of Economics" as if he's known it all along, but just waited until now to explain it to us unwashed.

These people make it their paid job to advise the wise and explain it all to the hoi polloi. Some advice to the wise along these lines might have been more useful before the September, 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, and surely prior to the November/December 2010 edition of Foreign Affairs. Don't you think?

This kind of establishment group-think has gone a long way toward getting us where we are now. It argues for more alternative thinking, sort of like the original thinking of Andrew Bacevich and Chris Hedges, to name two. Ian Bremmer has written a thinking book about the state of relations between states today. This issue of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, reads like all their leading lights have known about this coming calamity all along, of course, and will now deign to explain what it all means.

Foreign Affairs is published by the Council on Foreign Relations, as establishment an organisation as we have. Its "board of advisors" includes Fouad Ajami, Tom Brokaw, Jim Hoagland and Colin Powell, among others, who represent as establishment a group as there is in this country. They've spent the current issue sagely explaining what, if they were earning their money, they'd have helped to prevent in the first place.


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