Among those consequences are not only soft balancing against U.S. power, but a significant global rise in anti-Americanism. There are any number of structural reasons for anti-Americanism today, mainly having to do with the sheer size and reach of American power. The United States with a flick of its wrist can overturn a regime 8,000 miles away, while non-Americans are unable to exert reciprocal influence. This any president would have to contend with. But the Bush Administration has made things much worse for itself through a series of stylistic and diplomatic mistakes that one would have thought so experienced a foreign policy team could have avoided.
All of this began to change in the House of Representatives when the courts began to enforce the Voting Rights Act during the 1970s by gerrymandering electoral districts to produce districts with black majorities. They succeeded in increasing African-American representation in the House, but it somehow did not occur to the judges who wrote the new rules that, for every black House seat they produced, they would also get a conservative, white-majority suburban district. Where it has not been mandated by the courts, redistricting has been done by legislatures, as in Texas recently, with the unsurprising result that incumbents stack the rules in their own favor. The result is that a very large number of House seats today represent ideologically homogeneous districts that are in effect safe seats, virtually uncontested by the other party. Congressmen running in these districts have very little incentive to reach out to voters who think differently from their base.
The situation bequeathed in 2009 to the next president will therefore depend heavily on what happens in Iraq. My prediction about this remains virtually unchanged since before the war began. The United States can control the situation in Iraq militarily as long as it chooses to remain there in force. No number of suicide bombers or assassinations will overturn the current government, and no sort of Dien Bien Phu rout is in the offing. On the other hand, American willingness to maintain the force levels necessary to stay the course is limited. The present all-volunteer U.S. Army was never designed to fight a prolonged insurgency, and in the next year the Army and the Marine Corps will face very severe manpower and morale problems. While support for staying in Iraq remains strong, there will be powerful operational reasons why the United States will want to move to lower force levels.
FN 4. One conceivable situation in which the power granted to appellate courts under subdivision 7 might appropriately be exercised in a case where retrial on the issue of penalty would otherwise be required is that in which a defendant has received a number of death sentences, each of which has been reversed due to some prejudicial error on the part of the prosecution. At some point this court might well decide that the prosecution should forfeit the possibility of obtaining a legitimate death sentence and be content with a life sentence. 153554b96e