"The Tiger at Bay: Scary Times Ahead"
The title is that of an essay written by Immanuel Wallerstein, the emminent US sociologist.
He observes that the policies of the neocons have put the US in a position of declining influence.
The neo-cons had their chance and their wars and have spectacularly failed either to frighten those regarded as enemies or to intimidate erstwhile allies into unquestioned obedience. The U.S. position in the world-system is far weaker today than it was in 2000, the result precisely of the very misguided neo-con policies adopted during the Bush presidency. Today, quite a few people are ready to talk openly about U.S. decline.
He claims that the US is not yet a "paper tiger" but more like a tiger at bay.
How do other nations treat a tiger at bay? With a great deal of prudence, it must be said. If the United States is no longer capable of getting its way almost anywhere, it is still capable of doing a great deal of damage if it decides to lash out. ....... So why are they all so prudent? To answer that, we must look at what is going on in the United States. The de facto chief executive, Dick Cheney, knows what needs to be done from the point of view of the macho militarists, whose leader he is. The United States must "stay the course" and indeed escalate the violence. The alternative is to admit defeat, and Cheney is not someone to do that.
If, as seems quite possible now, the Democrats win control of both houses of Congress in the November 2006 elections, there risks being a stampede to withdraw, despite the hesitancy of the Democratic congressional leadership. This will be all the more sure if, in various local elections, prominent antiwar candidates win.
What will the Cheney camp do then? One can't expect that they will gracefully acknowledge the coming of a Democratic president in the 2008 elections. They will know that they have probably only two years left to create situations from which it would be almost impossible for the United States to retreat. And since they would not, with a Democratic congress, be able to get any important legislation passed, they will concentrate (even more than now) on trying to use the executive powers of the presidency, under the docile front man, George W. Bush, to stir up military havoc around the world and to reduce radically the sphere of civil liberties within the United States.
(All Emphasis mine)
This has been my fear that they will escalate because they will absolutely refuse to admit defeat.