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26 March 2008

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meletius

McCain and the conservative "movement" have spent a generation trashing the UN, and the past decade advocating that the US operate in a unilateral manner---and now he barfs out this "League of Democracies" claptrap, because moderates want to hear about greater diplomacy and cooperation and conservatives are either too stupid to understand this is another "League of Nations" or else know that this is lying misdirection seeking to trick voters--the Repub specialty.

And as though it make any sense whatever to begin building another global "league" when the UN is the institution in hand. This is just more non-serious nonsense which we are presented all too frequently with by irresponsible "conservative" candidates.

But McCain is largely able to present such "modifications" to his image and neocon sympathies because Dems do not have a nominee to immediately challenge him on this stuff.

Richard Whitman

McCain is the perfect 19th century warrior. He would do well fighting the Barbary Pirates. One can imagine him in command of a fleet of sailing ships.

Frank Durkee

After Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960 the Republicans have pushed the Democrats as not adequate on National Security. they have routinely borrowed the "missle gap" strategy to make the opposition soft on ? whatever. Before 9/11 it was China after "The War on Terror". So they play it as the 'fear card' too blacken the opposition. It stands in for political purposes and blocks studying any of the other real and more serious threats to our country. It sounds great, makees good sound bites and one liners and makes 'wimps' of all who aren't baying at the moon or otherwise on board. One hopes he knows better but don't count on him to talk about that during the comming weeks. It's straight out of the Bush-Rove playbook.
I think it is pusjed now to avoid the reality that 9/111 happened on Buah's watch and in part due to his people's neglect. They had other fish to fry and got clobbered. Now we're stuck with their narrative unless we or someone can change it.

Sidney O. Smith III

This 08 election admittedly leaves me blue but here are some gray words that I rely upon:

“Time sets all things right. Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal.”

Confederate General James Longstreet

Mad Dogs

"Oh my, the bee has stung me!

Quick, let us form a alliance to stand against the bees that would sting us.

No one can rest safely knowing that an angry bee might suddenly sting.

So it must be! Tis our sacred duty! A mission to eradicate the threat of bees!"

So said the Bush/McCain bear as it licked the last of the honey from its paws.

Paul

That McCain is shadowed by Lieberman suggests that "transcending threat" is code for defending Israel.

Squabbling between cultures in that part of the world is a centuries-old fact. Those factions, however, are unified in their hatred of Israel. That hatred may have foundation.

For all the blather about road maps and two state solutions, the United States is tone deaf to Arab complaints. The deafness is not surprising given the fact that too many U.S. officials enjoy dual US/Israeli citizenship.

Unless and until the U.S. public catches on, treasure will flow to the Middle East while our country rots from the inside out.

Discussion of defending Israel get little attention for fear of being branded as anti-semitic.

Arun

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

does not connect for me with "....for he or she does not take seriously enough the first and most basic duty a president has — to protect the lives of the American people."

Cieran

Colonel:

The clue to understanding McCain's characterization lies in definition (5), which refers to transcendental functions. The term "transcendental" in mathematics conveys the general sense of "going on forever", so that transcendental functions have polynomial representations that go on forever, and transcendental numbers necessarily have decimal representations that continue randomly without hope of termination.

Definition (5) translates as "ad infinitum", in simple terms.

Thus McCain's comments are most apt, because in his view, this threat is one that justifies a war without end, intended to enrich forever the military-industrial complex even while it bankrupts the nation.

Whaddayaknow?! A politician telling the awful truth for a change!

J

Colonel,

I agree with you that McCain is not the man, but for another reason. From everything I can see, and adding accounts from others who have seen first hand McCain's bizarre behavior, McCain is in the beginning-Alzheimer's stages. Which is sad, for him and his family. We cannot not afford another presidency where the unelected aides run the asylum which is what transpired under the Reagan administration especially during it's second term. The voters and nation deserve a president that is 'on top of the game' and not 'absent without a clue'.

McCain with advancing Alzheimers does not bode well for our nation should he become the prez by our election process.

Mark K Logan

"What sort of "League" shall we call this?"

How about "The Avengers"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers_%28comics%29

It's really a pity he has
so bought into the neo-con ideology. There is a lot to
like about the man.

pbrownlee

Are we destined forever to relive the Melian Dialogue?

"Your strongest arguments depend upon hope and the future, and your actual resources are too scanty, as compared with those arrayed against you, for you to come out victorious. You will therefore show great blindness of judgment, unless, after allowing us to retire, you can find some counsel more prudent than this. You will surely not be caught by that idea of disgrace, which in dangers that are disgraceful, and at the same time too plain to be mistaken, proves so fatal to mankind; since in too many cases the very men that have their eyes perfectly open to what they are rushing into, let the thing called disgrace, by the mere influence of a seductive name, lead them on to a point at which they become so enslaved by the phrase as in fact to fall wilfully into hopeless disaster, and incur disgrace more disgraceful as the companion of error, than when it comes as the result of misfortune.

"This, if you are well advised, you will guard against; and you will not think it dishonourable to submit to the greatest city in Hellas, when it makes you the moderate offer of becoming its tributary ally, without ceasing to enjoy the country that belongs to you; nor when you have the choice given you between war and security, will you be so blinded as to choose the worse.

"And it is certain that those who do not yield to their equals, who keep terms with their superiors, and are moderate towards their inferiors, on the whole succeed best. Think over the matter, therefore, after our withdrawal, and reflect once and again that it is for your country that you are consulting, that you have not more than one, and that upon this one deliberation depends its prosperity or ruin.

"The Athenians now withdrew from the conference; and the Melians, left to themselves, came to a decision corresponding with what they had maintained in the discussion, and answered: 'Our resolution, Athenians, is the same as it was at first. We will not in a moment deprive of freedom a city that has been inhabited these seven hundred years; but we put our trust in the fortune by which the gods have preserved it until now, and in the help of men, that is, of the Lacedaemonians; and so we will try and save ourselves. Meanwhile we invite you to allow us to be friends to you and foes to neither party, and to retire from our country after making such a treaty as shall seem fit to us both'.

"Such was the answer of the Melians. The Athenians now departing from the conference said: 'Well, you alone, as it seems to us, judging from these resolutions, regard what is future as more certain than what is before your eyes, and what is out of sight, in your eagerness, as already coming to pass; and as you have staked most on, and trusted most in, the Lacedaemonians, your fortune, and your hopes, so will you be most completely deceived'.

"The Athenian envoys now returned to the army; and the Melians showing no signs of yielding, the generals at once betook themselves to hostilities, and drew a line of circumvallation round the Melians, dividing the work among the different states. Subsequently the Athenians returned with most of their army, leaving behind them a certain number of their own citizens and of the allies to keep guard by land and sea. The force thus left stayed on and besieged the place...

"Meanwhile the Melians attacked by night and took the part of the Athenian lines over against the market, and killed some of the men, and brought in corn and all else that they could find useful to them, and so returned and kept quiet, while the Athenians took measures to keep better guard in future...

"The Melians again took another part of the Athenian lines which were but feebly garrisoned. Reinforcements afterwards arriving from Athens in consequence, under the command of Philocrates, son of Demeas, the siege was now pressed vigorously; and some treachery taking place inside, the Melians surrendered at discretion to the Athenians, who put to death all the grown men whom they took, and sold the women and children for slaves, and subsequently sent out five hundred colonists and inhabited the place themselves."

Thucydides, HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR, XVII

Perhaps the current attitudes are actually pre-Melian since there appears to be no realisation -- let alone discussion -- of the "issues", of cause and likely effect or even of the "honour" of surrendering to a Great Power, however misguided and destructive its policies.

This is not so much real-politik as government according to the whims of bipolar disorder patients on a roller coaster.

And there is always that extraordinarily stupid "if you're not with us, your with the terrorists", the hallmark and epitaph of the Bush II presidency, to cheer us up.

Cujo359

There must be a dozen things that are more threatening to us a society than terrorism. Terrorism can certainly hurt us, but I don't see how it can destroy us as a society, assuming we don't do it for them. China, Russia, climate change, pandemics, and even killer asteroids are all more potentially threatening. Yet we waste so much money fighting terrorism, and in the most ineffective way imaginable.

McCain is just promising us more of that.

kim

"Super Duper Double Willing Coagulation League."

Jose

Col, the Delian League served to enrich Athens not Bankrupt it.

A better example of McCain would be in this link:

http://killeenroos.com/1/Romefall.htm

McCain is determine to fight the Sassanid Empire in Mesopotamia while transcendent challenge of our time, the Euro, Yen, Yuan, et all, destroy the Dollar.

He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue... In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.
-Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Montag

Colonel, I was watching Bill Buckley's "Firing Line" program many years ago when he was musing about the threat from the Warsaw Pact being more internal than external. "It's difficult to think of another such military alliance whose primary purpose was the invasion of its own members." And here Buckley and his guests paused fruitlessly, spinning their mental wheels.

"The Delian League, you pinheads!" I spat at the TV. Still, Buckley got the job description exactly right. The Warsaw Pact had the good sense to dissolve itself on April Fool's Day, 1991--but of course NATO still hasn't gotten the joke.

McCain is running on a platform promising us "other wars" when he doesn't even know what to do with the two he'll inherit from King George IV. He wants to engineer a war with Russia somehow, when the last Bohemian Corporal who tried it came a cropper. McCain was reportedly great at crashing airplanes--is this a valid reason to entrust him with the highest office in the land, that he manages to survive self-inflicted disasters? Come to think of it, this was the theme of candidate King Georgie's resume as well.

W. Patrick Lang

Jose

Thanks for pointing that out. pl

Duncan Kinder

If there is a "transcendental" foreign policy challenge facing the United States, we should consider the thesis made by Mike Davis in Planet of Slums.

According to its blurb:

Urban theorist Davis takes a global approach to documenting the astonishing depth of squalid poverty that dominates the lives of the planet's increasingly urban population, detailing poor urban communities from Cape Town and Caracas to Casablanca and Khartoum. Davis argues health, justice and social issues associated with gargantuan slums (the largest, in Mexico City, has an estimated population of 4 million) get overlooked in world politics: "The demonizing rhetorics of the various international 'wars' on terrorism, drugs, and crime are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the daily violence of economic exclusion." Though Davis focuses on individual communities, he presents statistics showing the skyrocketing population and number of "megaslums" (informally, "stinking mountains of shit" or, formally, "when shanty-towns and squatter communities merge in continuous belts of informal housing and poverty, usually on the urban periphery") since the 1960s. Layered over the hard numbers are a fascinating grid of specific area studies and sub-topics ranging from how the Olympics has spurred the forceful relocation of thousands (and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands) of the urban poor, to the conversion of formerly second world countries to third world status. Davis paints a bleak picture of the upward trend in urbanization and maintains a stark outlook for slum-dwellers' futures.

This is an unprecedented situation and an obvious breeding ground for serious discontent.

conqueringshed

You'd think by the comments of many in power and punditry today that we were about to be attacked by a couple shiploads of Gort-class planet-scorching robots from "The Day The Earth Stood Still."

McCain joins in these histrionic exhortations that are boldly and obviously proclaimed simply to scare the pants off of my fellow Americans and continue the primacy of "hard power" policies over all else. Overexaggerating the terrorist threat. Hyping all our enemy's capabilities while hubristically thumping the casings of our smart bombs and crowing about our unsurpassed power. Promoting fear instead of simmering down threats practically, cooly and with an eye on the balance sheet.

By all means, deal with the hardest threats the hard way, but we should be exerting a lot more creative effort towards being what we want to be: open, rich, supportive of realistic democracy and equitable trade, a desirable and tolerant patchwork of communities and a ribald forum for ideas, science and debate. Isn't that how we got our many "fans" in the world (and they are still many)?

McCain's hawking our weakest lines of business.

Marcus

The tactic is the strategy. Win by conjuring fear. It worked for the Bush gang in the last executive election.

This is the argument against sanitizing battle. The population loses an appreciation for its' brutality and finality. Show the carnage that this foolish president brought forth by his decision and the public may appreciate-a bit- the true cost.

What's happening while these criminals distract the public with fear? More illegallity in the form of taxpayer funded bailout to the Wall Street cronies. Where in the Fed's charter does it say they can finance non-bank entities to avoid insolvency?

anna missed

McCain looks even worse when you realize that he wants to emulate not so much the presidents policies, but those of Dick Cheney - unchained.

Binh

He can't even keep Iran and Al-Qaeda straight without a correction from Joe Lieberman....

McCain knows very well that Islamic terrorism is not the threat he's making it out to be. But we have to understand that the Establishment (both sides of the aisle) of this country is using 9/11 and terrorism as the rubric to define any/all U.S. interventions abroad from here on out, in the same way that "communism" was for 50 years the all-purpose justification for interventions in Vietnam, Grenada, Cuba, Nicaragua, etc regardless of whether there were any bona fide commies involved or not. The U.S. invaded Iraq supposedly to stop another 9/11-type event down the line.

Montag

Jose,
General Heinz Guderian put it more succinctly: "Boot 'em, don't splatter 'em."

My own favorite is the Klingon proverb: "Only a fool fights in a burning house."

W. Patrick Lang

Montag

As I recall, Guderian said "Boot them. Don't piss on them."

That makes the spirit of the thing clearer. pl

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Trying to work with governments that are based on the principle of the representative government makes the foreign policy costs to go up - the populace's concerns must be either addressed or ignored at government's peril.

A league of dictatorships is more viable since such states will not have to worry too much about popular opinion nor future elections.

nattyb

J @9.05pm,

If I may ask, what other insights or anecdotes do you have to suggest that McCain is entering senility?

This thought first entered my mind when he kept saying a week or so ago, that Iran is arming Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Joe Lieberman had to tell McCain that McCain meant to say that Iran was arming "extremists." I assume extremists are better than AQI? or worse? who knows?

I thought to myself, McCain doesn't know who or what the f he's talking about. I thought, he's just a sloganeering machine. We're gonna fight and get these guys and fight and get those guys until victory . . . . The bad guys themselves are interchangeable.

If you have any other examples, I'd like to hear, because McCain's "quick wit" on the trail makes him seem like he's still got it.

Though I can't tell if his terrible national security policies are a result of senility, or the same old GOP Military Industrial Complex which has seriously infected the party. It's unfortunate that so many in the MSM are unwilling to criticize McCain's national security positions because he was a war hero which inoculates him from serious national security policy critiques.

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