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19 August 2013

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Matthew

Col: This weekend another dad at our sons's scout function told me, "People in the Middle East fail to appreciate the sacrifices we've made for them."

How would John Quincy Adams react to such schmaltz?

walrus

Spengler is a wonderful pseudonym for David Goldman.

My personal take for what has happened to recent American Administrations is based on my own experience of dysfunctional corporations and the failure of what is called the Corporate Governance function.

The Governance function is essentially providing a "reality check" and verification of the facts and critical thinking behind the decisions of the CEO.

Narcissistic leaders have no use for Governance in any form. They surround themselves with "special people". They refuse to listen, let alone consult, anyone outside the "magic circle" and they thus go on their merry way constructing their own reality.Now add "noise" from well funded special interest groups and the possibility for apocalyptic miscalculation escalates.

As a trivial example, what football club in its right mind would decide that it was in its best interests to form a special "high performance unit" and inject its players with various dubious compounds under the guidance of a "sports scientist" with no formal medical qualifications?

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/essendon-scandal-the-story-so-far/story-fni5f6kv-1226635822954

William R. Cumming

My understanding is that the almost 50% or higher rate of failure on just physical aspects of soldiering is a national scandal that is being hushed up. In the draft established in 1940 an Army had to deal with a 40% rejection rate for malnourishment coming out of the national depression of the 30's and the basic test that you had to weigh 100 pounds was NOT met by over 40% of all men subject to the draft. The concept being that you might have to lug 100lbs of web gear, weapons and supplies. That being the American standard although not met by much of the world soldiers. Result the establishment of a federal food stamp program as the need for soldiers was identified by the draft.

Perhaps some have more accurate information.

turcopolier

matthew

i am not a JQ Adams fan. your co-dad is right. nobody in the ME, including the Israelis, are grateful to us for anything. Why should they be? This is a matter of state interests. pl

turcopolier

WRC

Not only are 50% of those willing to join as enlisted soldiers inferior physical specimens but they are often weaklings in spirit as well who cannot bear the discipline of military life. Pathetic. pl

William R. Cumming

Could it be argued that the modern MENA is largely a US FP creation, including Israel? I think the weight of argument favors that conclusion. In other words WE [USA] may well have created and be the problem for the citizens and residents of MENA! My thinking as to this conclusion largely attributable to the book published called "The Great War" by a British news reporter who has spent most of his life in MENA!

CK

As do so many other of the hostile intellectual minority in the USA, Goldman absolutely hates any idea that Americans might be allowed to ask "Is this course of action good for Americans?"
Folks who do ask that question are immediately labeled isolationists; as if that were a bad thing to be.
So just a suggestion to remember that Spengler has a nuanced agenda not always in favour of America's long term profit or interest.

turcopolier

CK

I ask that question all the time and I pretty much am an isolationist. pl

turcopolier

WRC

IMO the modern MENA was largely created by he British and French in the course of the long demise and fall of the Ottoman Empire. pl

r whitman

The federal food stamp program was heavily debated by the US Dept of Agriculture late in the Eisenhower administration mostly at the behest of the supermarket and grocery store lobby. Poor people were getting handouts of free surplus ag commodities and the food business people wanted some of the action. The food stamp program went into effect early in the Kennedy administration.

Lamoe2012

I think you can call America the Accidental Empire. After WWII with communism needing to be contained, with the European powers on the ropes, in a couple of examples out cold on the mat there was simply no one else. The United States eventually took over the roles of the UK and the French. A role in my option we where not equipped for and are still struggling with. Lets face it, with a few examples most of our so called elites like most Americas are not out ward looking. They find the out side world puzzling and wish they where more like us. It's not surprising BHO and his cronies are having a hard time getting the grips with a place a hideously complex as the middle east. A combination of ignorance, wishful thinking arrogance, and with this bunch political correctness has lead us to this sorry state. Well at lest we will be living in interesting times.

Will Reks

"America's whimsical attitude towards Egypt is not a blunder but rather a catastrophic institutional failure"

The old Reagan/Bush (even back to Carter) hands Spengler pines for have long been put out to pasture. Their expertise is not wanted by the cabal that dominates both parties' foreign policy experts. The continuity in thought from the neoconservatives in the GWB WH to the Wilsonians in the Obama WH is striking. These people worship at the same altar of Western democracy promotion and belief that foreign cultures can be easily socially engineered for Western tastes.

confusedponderer

"I think you can call America the Accidental Empire. ... The United States eventually took over the roles of the UK and the French. "

Accidental? If there was any US reluctance to take over when the other powers ran out of steam after bleeding white in two world wars there sure is little left of it nowadays.

American empire is at least nowadays quite a deliberate affair, if all that talk of global benevolent (or not) hegemons and the insistence on US dominance everywhere over the last two decades is any indication.

William R. Cumming

Thanks R Whitman and PL!

And certainly the borders in MENA a product of the Versailles Peace Conference at end of WWI were they not?

William R. Cumming

From Wikipedia:
First Food Stamp Program (FSP) (May 16, 1939 – Spring 1943
The idea for the first FSP has been credited to various people, most notably U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first administrator, Milo Perkins. Of the program, Perkins said, "We got a picture of a gorge, with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm." The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every US$1 worth of orange stamps purchased, fifty-cents' worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could be used only to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

Over the course of nearly four years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the counties in the U.S. at a total cost of $262 million. At its peak, the program assisted 4 million people simultaneously. The first recipient was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York; the first retailer to redeem the stamps was Joseph Mutolo; and the first retailer caught violating program rules was Nick Salzano in October 1939. The program ended when the conditions that brought the program into being (unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment) no longer existed.

johnf

If a parallel is needed I'd go for Imperial Athens and the Sicilian Expedition. Alcibiades, Thucydides et al have a lot they can teach us.

Anerican hard power might be in a terminal decline (though recoveries are not unknown) but its soft power will live well beyond it - just as Athenian did (and does).

And how much was the American Empire merely a continuation of the British and preceding European Empires? The West might be in decline but its scientific and cultural and intellectual strengths - from which economic political and military power usually stem - still far out rank any of its rivals (though India and Brazil might be future challengers or partners).

Michael Murry

John Quincy Adams would have quoted his father, Samuel Adams, to the effect that "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." These days, America goes abroad in order to create them. Good money in it for Monster-Fighters, Inc., though. Only way I can explain it.

David Habakkuk

There is nothing whatsoever British about David P. Goldman. He is a former close associate of Lyndon La Rouche, who back in 1980 co-authored a book on Milton Friedman with him. As is well known, LaRouche believes that the most nefarious developments in the world are generally the product of conspiracies orchestrated from London.

Although Goldman repudiated the LaRouche connection, his writings still have a good deal in common with those of his erstwhile associates. They are a bizarre combination of fascinating and often very important information, genuine insight, and sheer dottiness.

His analysis of how ‘neocons and Obama liberals have created catastrophe by consensus in the Middle East’ was developed at greater length in the ‘Tablet’ earlier this year, and is very well worth reading.

(See http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/132459/dumb-and-dumber )

Unfortunately, Goldman is no more able than the neoconservatives he – very acutely – criticises to grasp the fact that the new-found ability to influence the deployment of the massive military power of the United States is, for Zionists, a double-edged sword.

The notion that it could be used to ‘modernise’ the Middle East, and thus make it Israel-friendly, was certainly a fantasy. So too however is the notion that it enables Israel to find permanent security by staying on top in an indefinite war against a population conceived of as savages whose civilisation is headed for extinction.

Once you conceive Arab and Muslim peoples in these terms, the notion that there could ever be a ‘safe haven’ for Jews among them is patently preposterous -- a dotty idea. Moreover, attempts to inveigle America and other Western countries into fighting Israel’s wars for it – as with Goldman’s repeated beating of the war drums against Iran – risk an eventual backlash against Jewish influence in those countries.

(For an example of his beating the war drums against Iran, see http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2013/05/05/syria-attack-shows-theres-no-alternative-to-neutralizing-iran/?singlepage=true )

turcopolier

David Habakkuk

sorry. I thought he was one of you all. That does not change the truth of what he writes in this instance. pl

cloned_poster

Thanks for adding a new word to my vocabulary:

A camarilla is a group of courtiers or favourites who surround a king or ruler. Usually, they do not hold any office or have any official authority at court but influence their ruler behind the scenes. Consequently, they also escape having to bear responsibility for the effects of their advice. The term derives from the Spanish word, camarilla (diminutive of cámara), meaning "little chamber" or private cabinet of the king. It was first used of the circle of cronies around Spanish King Ferdinand VII (reigned 1814-1833). The term involves what is known as cronyism. The term also entered other languages like the German and Greek language, and is used in the sense given above.

A similar concept in modern politics is that of a Kitchen Cabinet, which is often composed of unelected advisers bypassing traditional governance practices.

William R. Cumming

Matthew! Sorry but Sam Adams not the father of John Quincy Adams. Try John Adams!

William R. Cumming

CORRECTIO: Last comment addressed to Michael Murray!

Matthew

Michael: I think Quincy's father was John Adams.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think he understands women either and he is entirely too dependent on what philosophy he learnt while in college; he seems to have been influenced by Rosenzweig who did not understand Islam (in my opinion).

Babak Makkinejad

I think the Will to Empire existed from the very beginnings of the United States; it was not realized until late in the 19-th century after the internal opposition to it, the Old South, was defeated in the Civil War.

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