Steve Sachs Duke


Sunday, February 09, 2003


Hegemony Good: Zalmay Khalilzad is one of the most influential people you've never heard of. The highest-ranking Muslim in the U.S. government, he currently serves as special assistant to the President for Near East, South West Asian, and North African affairs. He played a key role in creating the new Afghan government as special envoy to Afghanistan in 2002, and has since been active in shaping the U.S. approach to Iraq.

Yet Khalilzad is already familiar to a generation of high school policy debaters who came of age in the late 90's as the author of the famous "Khalilzad card":


Khalilzad in '95 (Zalmay, Dep. Secretary of Defense [sic.], The Washington Quarterly, Spring 95)

A world in which the United States exercises leadership would have tremendous advantages. First, the global environment would be more open and receptive to American values--democracy, free markets, and the rule of law. Second, such a world would have a better chance of dealing cooperatively with the world's major problems, such as nuclear proliferation, renegade states, and low level conflicts. Finally, US leadership would help preclude the rise of another global rival, enabling the US and the world to avoid another cold or hot war and all the attendant dangers, including a global nuclear exchange.

In the twisted world of high school debate, this paragraph became a gift from heaven. Armed with the Khalilzad card, teams could describe anything that might threaten U.S. leadership, no matter how remotely--the Germans will have solar power before us!--as a surefire path to nuclear annihilation.

It was rivaled for its effect only by the "Mead card." The work of Walter Russell Mead, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, this was used to attribute the same deadly consequences to anything that hurt the economy:

B) Preserving a strong economy is key to preventing Global Nuclear War

Walter Mead, Policy Analyst, World Policy Institute, 1992

Hundreds of millions--billions--of people have pinned their hopes on the international market economy. They and their leaders have embraced market principles--and drawn closer to the west--because they believe that our system can work for them. But what if it can't? What if the global economy stagnates--or even shrinks? In that case, we will face a new period of international conflict: South against North, rich against poor. Russia, China, India--these countries with their billions of people and their nuclear weapons will pose a much greater danger to world order than Germany and Japan did in the 30s.

An all-too-typical use of these cards can be found here, in a plan to improve the U.S. educational system by killing off poor students. You can outweigh plenty of dead schoolkids when your harms are World War III.

Ah, the halcyon days of high school, when nuclear war scenarios can be tossed about without realizing they might actually happen...




Blog Archives

Front page
XML Feed


© 2011 Stephen E. Sachs


Anglia Regnum