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26 December 2011

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graywolf

Merry Christmas, Sir.

".......and the source of our defeat lies deep in the collective soul of the dominant culture in the United States."
Meaning...the dominant culture creates inept foreign policy?

Would you please amplify this rather (to me) opaque observation?

Roy G.

The other reading is that Kipling was satirizing the phony self-righteousness of the colonizers, but instead was taken at face value by those who profited from that enterprise - similar to the way that Oliver Stone's famous line from Wall Street, "Greed is Good." became a mantra for the generations of rapacious financiers.

Is it not true that both cases are just window dressing for exploitation? It sure seems that the US govt. had as much concern for the Iraqis as the Brits had for the Indians.

turcopolier

graywolf

"the dominant culture creates inept foreign policy?" Yes.

I have written of this so often that I am bored with it. See my articel long ago in Foreign Policy titled something or other about Pogo.

This reminds me of the tenured political science professor who asked me at a faculty lunch if I had really meant to say that foreigners did not want to be Americans. when answered in the affirmataive he said that if he believed that he would have to "re-evaluate the worth of our culture." Perhaps you feel as he did. pl

turcopolier

Roy G

So, you think I didn't see it both ways? pl

turcopolier

Roy G

So, you don't think I saw it both ways? pl

graywolf

No, I like being American too much (winning the lottery of life, as it were) to re-evaluate our worth.
I also don't think what is good for the goose is good for everyone else.
I have traveled enough and had enough non-American acquaintances to appreciate other people's uniqueness and cultures.
But, why so many people want to live here?
Not a lot of people looking to migrate to Iraq.

turcopolier

graywolf

"No, I like being American too much (winning the lottery of life, as it were) to re-evaluate our worth" You are really smarter than the average bear. I saw "The Edge" again the other day and was, once again, impressed with Bart the Bear, God rest him and give him many a "grizzly man" to feast upon. Of, course, the quotation from you above is so narcissistic that it is charming to one who served the Republic for so long. Perhaps I still do. Why do people emigrate to the US? We know why. This is a wonderful place to live. That does not mean that everyone wants to come here to live, or even if they do, to be like us. A better question would be - why do Americans emigrate to Israel? pl

Green Zone Cafe

Maybe I can illuminate from my own perspective. We have bred an elite whose positions are owed to playing the game, sucking up to authority and to conforming to a narrow norm.

Imagination and truth telling are not rewarded. As one once said to me "If you make a policy proposal, you become a target."

Green Zone Cafe

I still think Maliki knows he is riding the tiger and won't want to repudiate the USA because he knows his neighbors will make a meal out of him, while the USA might pull him out of the cooking pot.

turcopolier

GZC

you think we changed the Iraqis. we did not. your position is actually quite paternalistic. pl

ked

One may argue causes, but Col, you nailed it with, "We lost our hat, a-s and overcoat in Iraq. We gained nothing..." You know we are a self-delusional people if we can't agree on THAT.

As for the Kipling, I find the range of ways to see it to read it to be part of the charm, & truth.

I would guess that Maliki will continue to play us... it is a habit he's skilled at & we may yet come in handy.

walrus

But it goes further than that Col. Lang; what if American / Western civilization itself is the aberration?

What if the medieval, tribal, model of civilization is far more resilient and persistent than any American could possibly think?

What if there are people in the West that themselves prefer this model over Democracy?

We know that the Catholic and perhaps other churches are still fighting a counter attack against the enlightenment and the reformation, and they may yet win. What is the entire "bioethics" movement but a Fifth column?

We know that the rich of all varieties are enamored of the idea of a hereditary nobility - especially Americans which gave rise at least as early as the 1930's trade in eligible millionaires daughters across the pond. We know that intergenerational income mobility in America is almost as high as in Britain where there is still a hereditary "ruling class" no matter what some might like to think.

What, for example, is Chelsea Clinton but a scion of an emerging aristocracy?

The reverence for truth and the scientific method that is central to the enlightenment and democracy is under daily (and often successful) attack. We have already set precedents that certain research is anathema (stem cell research). We just set a precedent (in flu research) that a certain scientific research result - ie knowledge is too awful for its truth to be revealed. How long before we control access to a scientific education to "safe" people and reestablish the guilds?

I've forgotten which of the Dystopian Science fiction novels explore this theme, but there are many of them. "Shadow of the Torturer" comes to mind as one.

On a very disturbing note, on Christmas Eve, I saw on Fox News the most unsettling thing I have seen for a very long time. It was not good: "A Christmas Musical Special" - from none other than West Point with the Cadet Choir. Am I the only one who sees the horrendous threat to democracy in conflating the military officer class with the Knights Templar?

turcopolier

walrus

WP cadets singing Christmas carols frighten you? pl

Charles I

Sometimes a Choir is just a Choir.

Charles I

I saw one talking head, can't recall which bemoaning the lack of a Decent Interval - ie one full news cycle after the withdrawal - before the knives, er warrant came out, as though his sensibilities were somehow pertinent to Mr Maliki's schedule or an interval more beneficial to the moral quality of the adventure.

walrus

WP Cadets can do anything they like. What I object to is the concept advanced by Fox News, of West Point cadets as the upholders of Christian values. This was a thinly veiled attack on separation of Church and State in my opinion.

Fox News ALWAYS has an agenda.

graywolf

EVERY "news" organization is agenda-driven.
You just don't happen to agree with the (perceived) agenda of Fox News.

As for "thinly veiled attack on separation of Church and State in my opinion", you're OD'ing on those conspiracy pills.

Roy G.

Au contraire, I think you do, but we are in the minority. Of course, it is not our business to pretend otherwise.

turcopolier

RoyG

Ah, there we disagree. I think of myself as trying to teach something and not by being obvious. pl

Roy G.

Col, we are unalike; to your credit, you are trying to teach in this regard, while at this point I think anybody who believes otherwise is willfully deceived. That is a personal shortcoming of mine.

ps. Regarding your thesis, Col. Kilgore stated it more succinctly:

'Charlie don't surf!'

walter

PL, I hope you are correct in your hypothesis that our misadventure in Iraq was merely ignorance and arrogance. My belief, unfortunately is more cynical....Furthermore, this misadventure abroad makes a Ron Paul foreign policy and approach to government very appealing to me.

Our government is far too large, self-important, powerful, stupid and henceforth, too dangerous.

Mj

"A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the
East."

turcopolier

walter

"My belief, unfortunately is more cynical...." And that would be? Is this the oil thingy again? How is that working for you now since the Iraqis appear determined not to let us share in the fabled wealth of Araby? Or maybe the immense and legendary guano depoits of Tikrit Province? pl

rj

Col. "half=child"? Well, beats being full-child I suppose. I would say that the collective soul of our dominant culture has just totally gone full-child. No wonder they beat us like a rented mule.

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