Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rope-a-dope

I have been wondering for some time whether a government can use hypocrisy and incompetence as tactic to advance its political ends. Hypocrisy and incompetence can camouflage a government’s true interests. Issues merely become matters of who can best execute policies rather than what those policies ought to be.

In fact, hypocrisy and incompetence are common human traits. We readily forgive other’s incompetence. We may not notice when incompetence becomes the norm rather than the exception. We set our standards flexibly whether low or high.

Those seeking to understand the interests of those in power must continually confront what might have been if the authorities had executed better. This is a war of attrition. Many people exhaust themselves trying to do it.

The Iraq War and Occupation gives a good example. The authorities have managed and executed it very badly. The consequences are the exact opposite of what one hoped, which is to locate, isolate, and neutralize a small group of terrorists. Instead, the war created terrorists in droves. Was that the consequence intended all along?

If the real end of the Iraq conflict is to spark a final conflict for hegemony, then incompetence and hypocrisy seem to serve as a useful tactic. The authorities create the enemy they oppose. Public opinion bounces around support for a continued stay in Iraq as people focus on which party might be more competent in accomplishing that objective. Distasteful ends and interests remain hidden and unrecognized.

Incompetence could be like the old rope-a-dope tactic used by Mohammad Ali in his fight against George Foreman. I will leave it to your imagination as to who between the authorities and the public is Ali and who is Foreman.

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