« Ask the Iraqi government.... Ha'aretz | Main | The SIOP and the Red SIOP »

12 September 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


You show your imperial stripes again, mon Colonel.

Your lifelong, Regular Army devotion to Cold War thinking has you evaluate everything in terms of the United States versus Them. Ideally, Them means Russia, but really Them is anyone who doesn't welcome America's boundless, inchoate desire to dry hump every other nation on this round planet, and bomb the ones that resist. For lo, they have no right to resist, since our intentions are the very best. Honest they are.

That's the business you're in, Pat. Showing American businessmen how to get in there and stick it to the nation of _________________ most efficiently.

You offer three threadbare opinions as to why McCain must surely win, and in the same breath you see him dead and gone, with Sarah the Cypher in the sacred seat atop the greatest nation ever, proving herself eminently 'coachable' as she proceeds to put the Russkies in their place. Your glee at this prospect positively reeks of Buck Turgidson's salty brow. No doubt you see yourself prominent among the worthies who will be coaching Madame President.

Your opinions as to why McCain must win are simply wrong.

1) Hillary would bring along as many negative demographics as positives. A lukewarm campaigner for Obama, she is already planning a run for President in 2012, and she and Bill are fighting to keep some control of the Democratic Party. Besides, in purely practical terms, there is no way she and Obama could ever share the White House. It would be a house divided. Such houses fall.

2) You bring up quiet racism against uppity black men who talk real smart and somehow get a hold of more money and education than us white boys -- c'mon, that has been a central part of Obama's Electoral College calculations for years, since before you ever heard of him. It's not something new and potent because you just thought of it. Yes, it is quite real, but it is also well measured and accounted for by the Obama campaign. Bringing this up as if it is a sudden show stopper is the logical equivalent of saying, "Ya know, them tires on your new car are going to wear out on you, brother. Nuthin' you can do about it, either. Sixty, seventy thousand miles, and it's over. I'm just sayin, it's hopeless . . ." A slick bit of concern trolling on your part.

3) Sarah Cypher attracting the votes of church-attendin' 1950-ish apron-wearin' well-meanin' Plain Jane Moms by the millions is a real public response, but so is those same Moms looking at their husbands and themselves out of work, the price of food, gas, clothes for the kids, mortgage, car, and college savings. These same Moms are thinking to themselves that electing a well-meanin' Church Lady who knows zip about addressing these daily financial terrors is beyond dumb. It's too retarded even for trailer trash to swallow.

This election will hinge on the economy, not on new wars, old surges, personalities, identity politics, and not on your purblind desires for a new Cold War with Russia to make the world feel right again. People will enter the voting booths in eight weeks with Lehman Brothers long gone, with WaMu and Wachovia and Wells Fargo sunk or sinking, and with maybe a few other national banks failed.

This means there will more than likely be a taxpayer bailout of the FDIC before Election Day, so that no American voters lose their savings accounts. That will scare the shit out the voting public, and neither John nor Sarah will have anything intelligent to offer.

Colonel, as always, you see an America that can continue screwing over the whole planet, meaning well the whole time. You want feel good people in the White House who will feel good about dictating economic surrender to other countries, or else. You can identify with well meaning people like that, and get behind them. OO-rah. Go team, go.

In a nutshell, you are of the old school that insists on inflicting America's domestic policies on the world, and calling it foreign policy.

If you should ever stray from the cloistered world of think tanks and consulting companies sucking the public teat in the shadow of Washington, DC's alphabet agencies, you will discover a very different country than the one you think is out here.



Think you overestimate Hillary. Think you underestimate how much the GOP base loathes her.

Think Obama will get an dramatic increase in the percentage of Hispanic votes. Bush got 40% in 2004. I would bet 15% this time to the GOP. Dramatically larger black vote as well.

However, Obama has to stop, if it is in him, being so reactive. If he does not, or, more likely, cannot, he will lose.

Finally, Palin is unteachable. She is only interested in learning what confirms her inclinations. She is very much like Bush in that way. And she is, I believe it will be proven financially corrupt, at heart.


A melancholic thread indeed. After watching events unfold over the last few weeks I've come to a few tentative conclusions. I was never a great admirer of Bill Clinton but the one thing that I did admire was his willingness to do what he needed to do to win--a trait too few if any politicians in the Democratic party have possessed over the last few decades. The pathetic attempt by the Obama campaign to go "hard" at McCain with the "out of touch" commercial released today is but one example. At best, it's a weak swipe. In short, Obama-Biden need to put some meat on the bones of their critique of McPalin. Perhaps a commercial from the primary season w/McCain laughing when a member of the audience asks him how the Republic party is going to beat "the Bitch" in November. It's clearly impossible to end or neutralize the Republic party's ability to play the media like a Stradivarius generating the daily "controversy" over some bizarre "issue." It's as if the Democrats have no clue how to put someone on the defensive. Now's the time for some witty, viciousness politicking. The point is simple--do what you have to do to win the election. Maybe pulling out the stops won't lead to a Democratic victory in November but if it doesn't occur, as the Colonel argues, the McPalin's will be taking their oaths come January 20, 2009.

Patrick Lang


In re Antifa's nonsense above, it is a common failing in the Arab World for people to be unable to distinguish between a forecast and a desire. pl

Jay McAnally

After enduring the last eight years of idiocy in what must be a parallel universe, the thought of four - or eight - more is almost too much to bear.

Yet, regrettably, I've been on the page you're turning for about a week now...

Damn it Colonel! Do you have to be right all the time!

Jay McAnally

Duncan Kinder


While standing in line at the post office today, I was behind a lady who had a copy of the Wall Street Journal, the banner headline of which concerned the Lehman Bros. bailout.

We agreed that the situation was "scary" and that, if too many more of these bank failures take place, it really won't matter who gets elected president.

We have spent a lot of time on this blog, and properly so, considering whether the United States might face a "Suez moment," when a foreign creditor puts the squeeze on us, to our detriment and probably that of Israel as well.

But I am beginning to envision another, perhaps more disturbing scenario. That we would face a "Richard Whitney moment."

In the 1929 crash, Richard Whitney bought up large blocks of stock in order to restore confidence in the market. However, this revival collapsed and off we were to the Great Depression. Witney's failure to restore confidence discredited the notion that unregulated capitalism would work - giving rise to the New Deal approach instead.

A Richard Witney moment for the government would occur should the government attempt to prop up the failing banking system but fail.

And that really would render who is or is not president largely moot.


bew: Electoral college votes do not correspond to the number of states.

I currently see this election as too close (it should not be!!) to call. Unknowns are many:

1. Yes, the evangels will come out, but how many will vote for McCain? - only 1/8 the population is evangelical - conservative, and most were going to vote McCain no matter what. What fraction of them are registered and will show up at the polls?

2. The unprecendented number of newly registered, young, unpollable voters.

3. How many polled white pro-Obama voters will vote race?

4. Given that economy is almost always the trump card, how many of #3 will stay home.

It seems to me that people will lie to pollsters about race also lie about not voting.

Finally, Obama ran a very careful primary campaign against Hillary which showed a very careful strategy of using the system. The US does not have a popular vote for electing a president. A careful electoral college strategy could swing things.


"...it is a common failing in the Arab World for people to be unable to distinguish between a forecast and a desire."

...one might add, or a command.

Mark Logan

I think it's likely. Two
plausible things I see that could upset it: The Rovian tactics finally wear thin, perhaps by them overplaying that hand, or the possibly that Obama will pull from a large group of "unlikely voters". I would not be terribly surprised if Palins shine wore a bit
as well. The press tends to grow tired of their favorite toys rather quickly.

I suspect we haven't heard the whole story on why he didn't pick Hillary yet, but that may stem from my own puzzlement as to why he



I certainly agree with your analysis, and appreciate that it's not advocacy. Being able to predict the future is a value-free proposition (it's what science is ideally all about), but one's desires for the form of the future are another thing altogether.

Where I part company with you is here:

I have had this discussion with many who would accept Professor Taleb's thesis that the past is useless, intuition is egotism and the futire lies without our ken.

I don't believe this is what Taleb's thesis is about... he doesn't tell us we can't know the future nor does he reject all lessons of the past (and especially those empirical lessons that often manifest themselves as intuition)... in fact, his advice is about gleaning just enough knowledge from the past in order to avoid becoming a sucker in the future, and thus losing one's shirt (or nation, or world, or whatever) when confronted by an uncertain world.

And that's how he predicted the economic messes of the LTCM debacle in 1998, and the currently-ongoing train wreck that we refer to as "the credit crisis". His analyses were in the same spirit as yours, including the presence of other observers who mistook the value-free results of his analysis for advocacy, and thus took his predictions very personally.

And thus I believe that Taleb's "prepare for the future enough to avoid becoming a sucker" message is exactly in the spirit of your posts here, i.e., seeing enough of the possibilities the future holds to start making plans to avoid the downside risks of the worst-case scenarios.

Clifford Kiracofe

What does Palin-McCain in the White House mean for US foreign policy for the next 4 years?

McCain is a Neocon follower in the "Scoop" Jackson mode. Palin is a hardline Fundamentalist whose orientation is Neocon-ish.

Four more years of Neocon neo-imperial foreign policy?
1) new US Cold War with Russia, 2) tightened "strategic alliance" with Israel? A recipe for profound international instability.

But, major powers and medium powers are not going to go along with it, IMO. There will be new "arrangements" and "adjustments" and the US will likely be the (very) odd man out.

The US, as a declining power and culture, may attempt to lash out further as per Iraq and Afghan wars. But Washington will be constrained by other powers who will increasingly resist the delusional geopolitics of the wholly decadent American foreign policy elite. The "New American Century" of the Neocons and the Neo-Mackinder geopolitics of Brzezinski and minions/wannabees have crashed and are burning.

Consider the new international dynamics the Caucasus situtation has given rise to:

"Amid the flurry of diplomatic activity in Moscow last week over the Caucasus, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took time off for an exceptionally important mission to Turkey, which might prove a turning point in the security and stability of the vast region that the two powers historically shared.....

"In the post-Cold War scenario, Washington has been mounting pressure on Turkey to renegotiate the Montreux Convention so as to progressively convert the Black Sea into a preserve of NATO. Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are NATO countries; the US has military bases in Romania; the US is hoping to induct Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Therefore, Turkish resistance to the US entreaties regarding renegotiating the Montreux Convention assumes great importance for Moscow...."

"The complete failure of Cheney's mission to Baku would appear to have come as a rude awakening to Washington that Moscow has effectively blunted the Bush administration's gunboat diplomacy in the Black Sea...."


I don't know whether Antifa is in the Arab world since all his/her references seem to point to the fact that they live in the US. However, stating that it is a common failing in the Arab World for people to be unable to distinguish between a forecast and a desire is slightly generalised. It would I think be more accurate to say that Arab leaders have spent so long stating desire as forecast that people both in and outside the Arab world confuse the two.

Antifa's problem however seems unable to distinguish forecast from not just desire but of intent.

As an outsider, I cannot say what effect Hillary would have had on the vote, but I do think her being on the ticket would have been a cynical ploy that would have gone against Obama's message.

But as an outsider, it also seems to be that Obama is, so far, running a very poor campaign and seems, since the conventions, to be on the back foot.

I am from one of those nations that get bombed on a regular basis because we choose to resist, and while I have no real knowledge of what he teaches American businessmen, rest assured that reading his blog and the posters on his blog was and has since been a pleasure. I'm not entirely sure what Imperialism you are talking about; Fiercely patriotic? Yes, and devoutly religious and possibly slightly wary of me and my kind, but his blog is successful because he does not mix his national pride with the wanton destruction of imperialism. Do you not notice the distinct lack of right-wingers hanging about?


The continual denigration of Sarah Palin's abilities and intelligence is another excercise in pro Obama elitism. Sarah Palin is one of fifty very good politicians who hold the title of Governor - Senator, not quite so exclusive. Wake up Democrats!


This has been a truly depressing week. Just like the Scream ended Howard Dean’s campaign and the Swift Boat slime sank John Kerry’s run for President, corporate media is laying out a full barrage of John McCain lies against Barrack Obama to protect their tax cuts.

The only hope is that in the next two months the internet and personal contact can circumvent the media to bring the facts to the voters. The Cassette Tape brought down the Soviet Union by circulating the truth so can e-mails bring down the Republicans.

The United States is on the brink of bankruptcy and fighting two endless wars that cannot be won. John McCain is an ancient hot head. Sarah Palin is George W Bush on estrogen. Painful as it is, the Democrat ticket is the only one that perhaps can save America from its looming disasters.

Patrick Lang

Mo et al

I was wrong in thinking Antifa is in the Arab World. The "mon colonel" threw me off. I must be more careful.

Antifa is campy retro for ANTI FAscist. Probably some goofy student in Europe. pl


A few comments if I may, IMHO:

1. Don't bash the Col. for expressing his opinion, when are in turn expressing your opinion. Simply childish.

2. Hilary 2012, her fate is tied to Obamas, if he loses she will never recover the Black vote needed to win the Democratic nomination. Period. Nothing to do with the color of his skin.

3. Obama isn't losing because of racism, he is losing because his campaign is weak. 9 million in Florida where he never had a chance. Have you seen any of his adds?

4. Why habe they focused so much on Caribou Barbie when the real target is McSame. Sort of equivalent to removing the 5th Special Forces Group (Middle East) from Afghanistan to fight the immediate threat from Iraq. Don't lose focus, go for the kill.


Forgot to add, just starting "The Black Swan" which is really interesting read so far.


Hopefully your analysis on this is as good, if not better, than your one on the price of Oil.

Still view the racial rejection as from a group that normally votes Republican and will not have the effect perceived. Maybe wishful thinking but should he lose I would not want to see that excuse utilized.

Now the use of the homonym Choleric was your cleverest point.

Stephen Calhoun

Doesn't this come down to some small percentage of voters who could vote either way, energized McCain voters, and the X factor of new Obama voters?

Which is to say: most people have made up their minds and it is perhaps true we all cancel each other out.

I also assume I don't really want to know what has the undecideds in states of such 'confusion' or ambivalence.

It certainly doesn't reduce to one factor or even several. Fear of the unknown mat well trump an empty wallet.

Also, I disagree: there's not much time left.

Also, some people enjoy being sodomized. This shouldn't be discounted!

McCain/Palin is offering a Republican ticket as the solution to Republican mis-rule. Hmmm, only in America.

This is scary but I am prepared for a McCain/Palin administration. However, I am very curious, were it to happen, to learn whether the reformer's transparency transforms into a cloaked 'unitary executive.'


mlaw230, the best discussion I've found about that is at fivethirtyeight.com. The key lesson from history is that it is too early to call the election. Dukakis once had a 17-point lead.

David W.

Well, the fourth quarter is just starting, so it seems to be premature to call the game already, especially since the Rs are riding the 'Palin bounce,' while the Dems and Obama supporters are on a bit of a down cycle, after the emotional rollercoaster of the Dem primary.

While the R base basks in the pandering, the likelihood of McCain winning is enhanced quietly by another Karl Rove pet project, which is the gaming of the vote in key states, both by outright voting fraud, and by fraudulently trimming Democratic voting rolls. Lots of info on this at http://Bradblog.com

I agree with the title of this post, however--McCain could win *if* the 'silent majority' of this country stands by and doesn't turn out to vote in large numbers. The Republican Campaign machine waxes fat betting on this country's ignorance, greed and apathy.


Sorry to disagree, but Obama is NOT Gore or Kerry. This campaign is just starting to get serious. I expect damaging revelations on a weekly basis from Rovian campaign managers and absurdly poor debate performances from both McCain and Palin.
I will also NOT be 'standing by' for a McCain administration. I have a passport and will use it when necessary.


I recall a prognostication in this space that Hillary Clinton would be the next president. Indeed, I do!
(Hope you're wrong about this, by the way.)

Patrick Lang

Big Al

I said before Obama made his choice that it would be a serious mistake if he did not pick HC. pl

Patrick Lang


I believe that your recollection is faulty. I early on endorsed HC but do not believe I predicted that she would necessarily win. Once again the difference between desire and prediction. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad