"Homeland security is not a temporary measure just to meet one crisis. Many of the steps we have now been forced to take will become permanent in American life. They represent an understanding of the world as it is, and dangers we must guard against perhaps for decades to come. I think of it as the new normalcy." --Dick Cheney, October 25, 2001With re-election safely out of the way (Greens & Libertarians notwithstanding) and a bolstered legislative majority, we can expect to see the gloves come off and the "new normalcy" begin to emerge in earnest. While Republicans and Democrats publicly duke it out over Supreme Court nominations and other sensational issues, the quiet restructuring of the federal government will accelerate, as the values and practices of the Cold War era return to prominence and the cloak of state secrecy is drawn tighter around the actions of the government.
Already the new DCI is moving to stop public dissent by intelligence analysts, hoping to ensure that any future White House deceptions will go completely, as opposed to mostly, unchallenged. We can expect something similar to happen in the State Department, once the last moderating influence there has departed. Defense, of course, has been undergoing its own transformation for quite some time.
The cumulative effect of all this "reform" will be a streamlined, centralized power, actively promoting the views favored by those who hold the levers to a global audience, while quietly working to thwart the goals of any and all economic or political rivals. Siezing control of Iraq's oil and labor reserves for US-branded multinationals, as well as establishing a permanent American military presence in the region, is a major step toward this larger goal, but not the end.
In the meantime, don't expect any new wars for a while: we've got our hands full for a while in Iraq, and the other nations in the region will need to be softened up before it's practical to go after them. Certainly don't expect us to go after any of the real sources of terrorism, unless they stop playing ball with our leaders.