Excerpted from an interview of Matt Taibbi by Jonathan Schwarz:

Schwarz: Violence often has a self-limiting aspect to it. Your smarter gangster will only resort to violence when absolutely necessary. It’s the real morons for whom violence is a first resort. Ladies and gentlemen: I give you the Bush administration.

Taibbi: Yes, well, that is why America is a doomed empire. You can see it so clearly in the Putin-Bush relationship. On the one side you have Putin, a self-made criminal genius, a guy who’s had to learn to see every angle before they even happen in order to keep from getting shot on his way to the top. On the other side you have Bush, a total zero who fucked up everything he ever tried and ended up in the White House anyway. These other foreign leaders in the third world, the Putins and Musharrafs and the like, they’re playing every hand with their own money. They understand the immediate physical consequences of failure. It has been a long time — not since World War II, anyway — since America has needed to be smart enough to protect itself from real harm. It has forgotten how to save its bullets for the real fights. And so it stumbles into this place and that, shooting out windows and randomly wrecking
shit like teenagers playing mailbox baseball. Sooner or later that is going to come back and really bite us.

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