We’ve been kind of kicking around whether or not the Bush administration really is changing course in counter-terrorism strategy.  The question really is whether the change from the “Global War on Terror” to the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism” is anything more than a smoke and mirrors attempt to divert public attention from the desperate situation in Iraq.

Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution weighs in today with a post over at tpmcafe.  (No, I don’t read the cafe, but I do still check in with Josh Marshall regularly and he front-paged it this afternoon.)  In Daalder’s view:

GSAVE’s focus is on transnational networks rather than on states, on extremist ideology rather than on terrorist tactics, on a multidimensional struggle rather than on military combat, on working with others rather than on going it alone. In short, it represents a repudiation of the last four years of American policy.

More on the other side…
Now, Daalder is not just Joe Blow from Kokomo but rather a former foreign policy maker himself in the Clinton administration.  As an ex-insider, I’m sure he’s got access to players in the current administration.  That is, he almost certainly has a better sense than any of us of what the real decision makers are thinking.

He writes that the initiative to change course comes not from the WH, and specifically not from Rove, but rather from the Pentagon.  This makes sense, actually, because it is military prestige and lives that are on the line as the US suffers defeat after defeat after seemingless endless defeat while pursuing the neo-cons go-it-alone, we’re the only superpower strategy.

On the down side, Daalder believes that Cheney, and Bush himself, are not yet on board with the policy shift.

If Daalder’s right, then the disarray in the US foreign policy making apparatus is at unheard of levels for early in a president’s second term.

The Bush administration looks as if it is coming apart at the seams.  An opportune indictment by Fitzgerald — hopefully at the height of the ’06 election cycle — could lead to a total collapse.

Could you just imagine the recriminations and finger-pointing if this coalition of neo-cons and the religious right breaks into all of its constituent parts?  We could be looking at thirty-six years of Democratic Party dominance!

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