Former temporary US envoy to the UN John Bolton has used his post-envoy period to become a popular talking head, more so, oddly, in the UK even than here. That headhood reached an apotheosis Sunday when he was invited to speak to the Conservative Party conference. This is the British opposition party which never opposed Tony Blair's war policy, and is still trying to find its way out of its long-term electoral hole. Enter Bolton, to scare the horses, calling for limited military strikes on Iran to deal with its (purported) nukes as well as for regime change, to get rid of the "source of the problem, Ahmadinejad":
The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back," he said.
In case any new people have recently wandered into the room, let's review those wonderful days gone by: the US overthrew at least three governments I remember, all three of them (how odd!) democratically elected: in Iran (things have gone so well there since then), Guatemala (ditto), and Chile. The latter regime change brought to power Gen. Pinochet, who recently died just as he was about to stand trial for the murder of thousands of his countrymen. Most spectacularly, one of those murders took place on the streets of our own capital. Yeah, I miss those kinds of balls, too.
Is Bolton just a wondrously goofy free-lancer? Or, in taking him semi-seriously, do the Brits perceive something we don't, that he's the unrestrained, uninhibited id of the Bush administration, wishing for what his brethren still in power are planning?
Longer view: what makes Bolton and his ilk so bizarre is that, on the one hand, they are the primary believers in American exceptionalism, the notion that something or somebody (God? Satan?) imbued this country with inherent moral good, so that we're immune to the evils and ills that plague all the other nations, no matter what we do (to argue otherwise, they say, is to engage in "moral relativism"). Yet, on the other hand, they most eagerly ignore those very elements -- painstakingly woven into the fundamental document of the nation by our founders -- that sought to keep this country from succumbing to the same ills -- meddling in the affairs of others, centralizing power in the executive -- that drove them to revolution, and to try to make this a nation apart..
But then, ids aren't supposed to be rational.