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14 June 2011

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William R. Cumming

WOW! Great post! Hoping it is widely read and understood for its implications. And yes even Washington architecture adopting Roman non-democratic norms. The awful joke that Washington designed to look good as atomic ruin not so far off.
I so wish that recent Presidents had not been so in love with the trappings of power. They don't help their image or that of USA.
We are largely in the masses an in our elites and ignorant incompetent people who have wasted our inheritance. Only the toughest kind of mental competence and hard thinking and doing will bring us back. Demoblization of a largely obsolete military might be a starting point. There are tigers out there still but few that can be caged with modern weaponary. Putting a premium on brain power, community, protection of the commons and the public good would also be a good place to start. We have been led astray by the best and the brightest without soul or religion again. Basic decency in the fabric of US life and civility would also be a great starting point. We need to look for leaders with "Gravitas"!

Matthew

Col: This form of "exceptionalism" seems about 150 years out of date. When American ships were being stopped at sea, Native Americans were still raiding frontier posts, and Canada still carried some menace, then "Manifest Destiny" made sense.

But we live in the Post WWII world of America as Colossus. Our very strength is the reason we act stupidly. If Iraq had been a real threat to America, would Bush have risked an army (our proud, volunteer Army) in the desert?

Maybe I'm biased because I'm an American by choice who talks to juries. But that daily miracle of real American democracy played out in town squares all over the Great Republic is good enough for me. And it is a real miracle.

BillWade

The anti-emporer, Congressman Ron Paul.

5 minute post-debate video interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW_y-3y8YxQ&feature=player_embedded

Walter Moore

We'll have "Pawlenty" the celebrate when he's in charge!

Sorry, best I could do on short order..

mbrenner

ON NATO


European leaders have no political will. European leaders’ deference to, and dependence on the United States for strategy, direction and diplomacy over the past 65 years has denatured them.

American leaders prefer that their European counterparts defer to them while refraining from exercising their sovereign authority to decide and to act autonomously.

Europe collectively lacks unity. This is a convenient justification for passive acceptance of the condition noted above.

Washington views the Europeans as auxiliaries who are expected to properly equip themselves for errands that the United States directs them to perform. The latter’s hesitancy for reasons of timidity, prudence or domestic politics irritates American leaders mightily.

This state of affairs will not change. Overall, it satisfies the United States. Overall, it satisfies the Europeans. The psychological dimension of this warped relationship is more important than the structural. The dynamics of a classic dominant/subordinate relationship is too deeply rooted in the attitudes, mentality and feelings of political classes on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States’ reinforces them by holding over the Europeans’ heads the dread prospect of reverting to quasi-isolationism. That existential threat is hovering presence – felt but not heard – over every NATO assembly. Implausibe, it is credited by Europe’s political class because they are terrified at the prospect of being on their own in the world.

Obama a declinist? Just as he's a socialist.

My favorite is Cain. Asked in an interview what his policy was on the right of return, he answered; "I've always had a consistent policy on that. Credit but no refund."

William R. Cumming

Mbrenner! As we approach August 1914 I believe is that the suicide of Western Europe and their inability to lead the world stems from that date not May 1945. For whatever reasons Europe striving for end game is to maintain a wealthy cafe society where the world's problems are discussed but not addressed by action. And truly actions speak much louder than words.

Stephanie

It's a sad day when Ron Paul is the voice of sanity. Last night, when all the other candidates burbled cravenly that they would "consult the generals" and do whatever the generals told them to do, Paul stated flatly that he would be the commander in chief and the generals would do what he said and not vice versa. No doubt he'd find that harder to act on once he was in office. But he was the only one who seemed to have figured that out.

Bad economy or no and with all Obama's flaws, if Romney and Imperator Timmius are his most likely opponents, he still has little to fear.

Medicine Man

No feelings on Pawlenty here but you pretty much summed up my feelings on the status quo in North America, Colonel.

walrus

Mbrenner:

"European leaders have no political will. European leaders’ deference to, and dependence on the United States for strategy, direction and diplomacy over the past 65 years has denatured them."

With the greatest respect Sir, this is a perfect example of irritating American exceptionalism.

Europe is not "denatured" they have just had the bitter fruits of war rammed down their throats Three times since 1870.

Should the Chinese one day burn Harvard and Yale, fire bomb Boston, flatten New York, and subject the country to a Thousand Oradour - Sur - Glanes while you bury Six or Seven million of your finest young men, then I think you may be allowed to use the word "denatured" although I doubt that you then would as you will understand the context in the same way Europeans do.

To put it another way, be thankful that most Americans only experience of war has been vicarious. The Europeans, not so much.

Augustin L


Sic Semper tyrannis alas tyranny is slowly creeping in all facets of the american society. When the economy collapses the army will not defend the constitution the army oath of office has been changed since 2004:
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_rumsfeld_oath

Even Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is realizing that the jig is up
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6877
The population is too dumbed down, medicated and a bunch of cowards accepting all the atrocities committed in their name. Following the coming financial collapse the army will cross the rubicon and begins to sack Rome.It's over.

Patrick Lang

augustin L

That is not the US Army oath of office. pl

Neil Richardson

Dear Walrus:

"Europe is not "denatured" they have just had the bitter fruits of war rammed down their throats Three times since 1870. Should the Chinese one day burn Harvard and Yale, fire bomb Boston, flatten New York, and subject the country to a Thousand Oradour - Sur - Glanes while you bury Six or Seven million of your finest young men, then I think you may be allowed to use the word "denatured" although I doubt that you then would as you will understand the context in the same way Europeans do. To put it another way, be thankful that most Americans only experience of war has been vicarious. The Europeans, not so much."

While I wouldn't use "denatured" to describe the European attitudes regarding their national defense, I would submit that those are merely reflective of the changes in their security environment. They face no serious external security threat such as the one they'd faced (Western European states) in 1938 or 1949. By this I mean a threat to territorial sovereignty. Have the Europeans learned their lessons? I suppose that depends on your view of human nature. I freely confess that I tend to be pessimistic. Having served alongside the Bundesheer, I don't think the draftees I knew had any compunctions about the use of force if the Red Army had crossed the Inner German Border. And if anyone would've learned about the futility of war, it would've been these men who'd grown up in the ruins of Nazi Germany.

Generally speaking lesser partners in any alliance would try to free-ride or pass the buck to stronger partners. The United States knew that back in 1949. For us a stronger Europe and Japan served our national interest as specified in the X Article and NSC-68. I don't think the United States ought to have any illusions about what we can expect out of NATO today. It was/is an alliance whose utility rapidly diminished after 1991. If Europe as a whole or European states separately were to feel its territorial sovereignty threatened, their defense expenditure will rise. We see an analogue today in East Asia. IMHO I don't think the Europeans are any more enlightened than Americans. If the United States abandons NATO, and perhaps a resurgent Russia starts to interfere with Western European affairs, I suspect you'll see a drastic turnaround regarding their national defense.

Augustin L

Col lang, I agree with you this is not the oath but this particular exemple is symptomatic of certain tendancies currently permeating the bureaucracy, this coupled with historical precedents of economic dislocation and a leviathan national security state portends the coming of a dark and long winter. Let's face it i've never known of a republic where general knowledge was not maintained among the people and where the top 10 percent of the populations owns close to 80% of the total wealth. The various shock we're now witnessing at the periphery of empire wheter it be in continental europe, north africa or fukushima, will eventually reverberate here. Even the resilient and community oriented japs are having severe difficulties absorbing minor shocks. I shudder to think what will happend here where little or no civility exists amongst the various groups forming the american mosaïc. We won't have to wait too long to know, I doubt the rest of the world even if they were willing can absord the coming hike of the world dollar tax via QE3.

Ken Hoop

MBrenner

Pat Buchanan's latest book on "The Unnecessary War" can be extrapolated thusly: If we had stayed out, Europe would be stronger today, having settled its own feuds with less destruction of its best.\
The "unconditional surrender" crowd thwarted that.

walrus

Buchanans views are contradicted by the events leading up to WWI. Bear in mind that Germany had only existed as a nation state since 1871 and Kaiser Wilhellm deliberately cultivated militarism as part of his "nation building".

The German fondness for class distinctions at the time is very well documented in great detail, starting with the fact that German Officers were above civil law and the general populace, having sworn an oath to the Kaiser, and could only be held responsible to military "honor courts".

Kaiser Wilhelms inferiority complex (both national and personal) and direct personal meddling in foreign affairs is also documented.

My recollections and sources for the development of the entente cordial and the Kaisers meddling, are unfortunately stuck in a reorganization and consolidation of my library, but I seem to recall that British Government and popular opinion was galvanised by Germanys entry into, and behaviour in, the low countries, which I understand to always be the tripwire for British military action.


Buchanan is right, as was Keynes at the time, that the treaty of Versailles was a disaster.

As for WWII, slightly more complicated. Each major player wanted the other Two to fight. It is a bit rich of Buchanan to criticize Churchill since in the opinion of some historians, America greased the skids under the British Empire (for which I am greatful). The initial and later bargains America struck with Britain were extremely hard nosed and expensive, for example prohibiting the use of lend lease equipment for commercial purposes after the war and a whole range of market access provisions. Max Hastings in his book "Churchill as Warlord" touches on this although there is still a bit of America envy in his writing in my opinion.


By the way, it was no accident, that the first action of the post war Military control commission was the dissolution by decree of the state of Prussia and every institution associated with that name.

RLKirtley

My wholehearted agreement with this post,the many others like it and almost all the comments put forth here.They sum up my thoughts exactly about this country and it's place in the world.Would be that it could all be so.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Great post.

Americans still get to vote. Billion dollar corporate funded political campaigns will swing votes but Tim Pawlenty does not look or talk like an Emperor. He will stay forever at 6%.

Except for Mitt Romney, the GOP candidates on stage are all loons. Corporate Media is desperate that Paul Ryan or that Texas Governor enter the race; Mitt will not do. [Mormon or too Liberal, I don’t know].

As the economy collapses due to a Default by the USA or Greece and/or austerity campaigns by the USA and European Community (EU/ECB), the Middle Class won’t vote for Barack Obama. There has to seem to be a real horse race for Emperor. The elite can’t let the citizenry realize they have no one to vote for.

Patrick Lang

VV

Can you live with Rick Perry? pl

highlander

Damn! What a dreary bunch you all are. See what you have gone and done Colonel.

All of you pretty much see the problem, but I wonder how many of you are able or willing to think outside the box with regard to remedies.

My guess is, at the end of the day, most of you will go meekly along with what ever and whoever, the elites decide is good for them mainly.

So it is Goldman Sachs and General Dynamics forever! The rest of us can eat some cake, and stop bitching like girls.

confusedponderer

mbrenner,
I agree with walrus that American enjoys the enviable luxury of not having had a war at home in a very long time, much less in the modern age, and I feel that this is very much under appreciated. In the US it is collapsed housing bubbles that give people that bombed out feeling.

And as for Europe's supposed sissyness, I recall that when Europe suggested that they get a military capability independent of NATO US pundits from neo-con to neo-lib on cue started to hyperventilate. The neo-cons blathered about near term competitors while Madeleine Albright kindly reminded us that the US was the indispensable nation. Yes, how dare we.

If we don't know what we want, the Americans don't either. Or rather they do, and that talk of increased burden sharing is just that talk, and they merely want vassals they can play against each other (as in old vs. new Europe) and use for colonial duty (the Brits are the new Ghurkas?). It is just that being exceptional, they can't say it openly. If they did it may just come across imperially. Heaven forbid.

confusedponderer

Rick Perry holds political rallies which have the goal, as co-organisers say, to convert people to (a particular style of) Christianity (which considers Catholics unsaved). If I was American that would put me off.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110605/pl_nm/us_prayer_perry_texas_1

Clearly, Perry is pandering for votes, but he's pandering to people who believe in signs and wonders and spiritual warfare.

"Pray for rain days"? In said, spirit, one perhaps should pray that he is merely pandering. Perhaps one has do do that as a Republican in Texas?

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/4747/

If I throw in that he, too, shares the Republican dogma that 'Taxes Must Be Cut' that would make the man unelectable for me. The State of Texas is not in all that great a state as a result of his reign.

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/texas-the-huge-state-budget-crisis-nobody-is-talking-about-535764.html?tickers=MUB,LQD,JNK,TLT,TBT,HYG,AGG

All that said, Perry, despite his pandering and posturing, is infinitely preferable over the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Trump or that Koch-plant, Kahn. But what comfort is that?

confusedponderer

Correction: That plant was not (Herman) Kahn but (Herman) Cain.

steve

Vietnam Vet,

I would welcome a Ron Paul presidency even though I disagree with much of his philosophy.

If he indeed would stick to his guns (or more accurately, was able to) on the issue of dismantling the empire and drastically cutting the defense budget, that alone would enable a genuine left wing/right wing conversation in this country about the sort of government we wish to have: social democracy v. free market absolutism, regulation v. deregulation, progressive taxation v. flat tax, etc., etc.

Presently, any effective discussion of those issues is only academic given the crippling costs of defense.

Get rid of a good chunk of that and let the public decide what to do with the surplus funds--lower taxes or national health, e.g.

I had hoped that discussions of that nature would have occurred after the cold war--boy, was I wrong.

optimax

Well said, Col., our representative-democracy is failing. Even after the financial collapse, the financial lobbyists have effectively blocked regulations from being enacted that would, and had from the Depression until their dismantling during Clinton's term, keep Wall Street from gambling with our money, in the sense that we bail them out when their bets go wrong. The Republicans want to dismantle the Consumer Protection agency and are treating Elizabeth Warren the way Grennspan, Summers, Phil Gramm and Guenthner trashed Brooksley Born when she warned us about the potential of unregulated derivatives to bring down the economy. Anyone who speaks up against the conmen of WS is viciously attacked by their paid lackeys in Congress.

J

steve,

While Ron Paul looks good on the 'surface', it's the money trail that bothers me. With all politicos, I've found that following their money trails proves quite enlightening as to their 'motives'. Every politico has a 'sugar daddy', it's interesting which types, and who they are.

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