First the ‘Surge,’ then the ‘Reboot’

ctrl-alt-del. from corture.freaks flickr

ctrl-alt-del. from corture.freak's flickr

I love the recent electronic/electric metaphors flying around US foreign policy these days – first the Bush “Surge” metaphor used to describe the war, now the Obama “reboot” metaphor for his approach to the ‘Muslim world’ (btw, what is the ‘Muslim world’? This term probably needs some unpacking too…).

The ‘Surge’ was such a great metaphor – it invoked a jolting, devestating pulse of energy that was simultaneously momentary and fleeting – a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak.  It reduced a complex military operation to a word (more condensed than the played ‘Desert Storm’ type names), and got the ball rolling for making the escalation happen.

The ‘reboot’ metaphor does other equally interesting things – it isolates the problem in US-Muslim diplomacy as a glitch or virus that can be wiped away with the flip of a switch, it invokes the technology that will be a prime medium for the policy shift (and echoes Obama’s tech cred),  and its inward-focused, almost repentant sound.

The real question is what a properly-operating US foreign policy OS would look like – Obama seems to think there is something inherent that the ‘Muslim world’ should see in the US, and I’m interested to know what his ‘Safety mode’ boot would look like.

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