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19 February 2014

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William R. Cumming

ALL: I totally agree withe the accuracy of this wonderful post! I wonder if CP agrees with me that NATO should not be dissolved but the US should end its alliance?

What CP may not understand is that our Imperial President [always a danger in the US given the unnecessary cocooning of the Office of the Presidency] despite teaching Constitutional Law has totally confused his Commander-In-Chief role with his Chief Executive role. He treats the CIA for example as if it was and is a personal fiefdom by which he can manipulate intelligence and conduct covert operations that often create backlash for the US! Hoping others will comment!

What for example is the latest CIA position on the Arab Spring in general?

Babak Makkinejad

CP:

I think it is quite clear that EU is not capable of engaging with the rest of the world as-it-is either.

As far as I can tell EU is indifferent to hostile to Muslim sensibilities in regards to the 2 mosques on the Temple Mont, it does not care about the Human Rights of Arabs or Iranians beyond mere state instrumentalities, and is waging a political, economic, financial war against Iran and Syria.

I think the distinction between US and EU is a distinction without substance or merit - on Ukraine, on Syria, on Iran, on Libya.

The more accurate analytical approach would be to discuss the various policies of the "North Atlantic Alliance" or NATO, or some such.

Frankly, I am tired of all these inaccurate and smug critics of US Foreign policy coming for Europeans - the Europeans, in my view, hide behind US whining why the bombs are not targeting the Manichean "Bad Guys" alone - all the while being quite satisfied with the results.

There is no qualitative difference between EU and US when comes to Iran, Syria, Ukraine, and Russia - in my opinion.

JohnH

I agree with CP that there is little practical difference between the R2P crowd and the Bushmen. The key difference is the rhetoric they use to rally the world behind their initiatives. Bushmen are all about freedom and democracy. R2Pers are all about human rights, saving Jews, women, children, and gays.

The interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya would have have happened under either party. The causus belli would have been different under the opposite party. And the extent of military force applied varies depending on who is in power.

Underlying all this is a deep seated need to be in charge--to have others do what America wants. Both sides believe that the world would be a better place if everyone else would simply do what America wants. The rhetoric of American exceptionalism covers this. What America wants is inherently better because those who govern America are a better, more moral bunch of dudes than everybody else!

This fantasy of being in charge quickly bumps up against reality. First, it's tough to be in charge if you don't know what you want. The notion of "what America wants" is an amorphous mirage, ever-changing, subject to the whim of the moment--except for control over energy resources and protection of energy corridors, something that ostensibly will allow America to "get what it wants."

The second mirage is the notion that others will do what America wants, if only America were in charge. The Israelis don't exactly do what America wants. Nor do the Iraqis or the Saudis or the Turks or the Libyans. Underneath all the superficial unanimity, there is a considerable amount of backbiting, chafing under the bit, and competition. And so the NSA has to be constantly vigilant to see what the wogs are up to now.

What magically gets obscured, once "America is in charge" is any impulse to bring about Bushmen "freedom and democracy" or R2P human rights. A considerable number of the world's most anti-democratic regimes and worst human rights abusers sit comfortably under America's wing. Just ask anyone who lives on the West side of the Persian Gulf.

Bill H

I think "regime change" is a bit of a misnomer, because we gon't have anything to change the existing regime to; we just act to depose the existing regime in the blissful belief that democracy will flow into void instead of the chaos and disaster that invariably does. Libya is a case in point. Ghadaffi had to go, but we had no clue what would come next, and didn't seem to care.

We do the same thing in the "war on terrorism." If we kill the leader by blowing him up with a Hellfire missile from a drone we will win the war on terror; "regime change" on a micro scale. It doesn't seem to be working very well, so we apply the principle of "if what you're doing isn't working it's because you aren't doing enough of it, so doing more of it will work."

William R. Cumming

Babak! The ECB [European Central Bank] is actually controlled by policies and lending of the US Federal Reserve without which the EU would be largely bankrupt. Fed policy towards the ECB kept secret from American voters. And Congress.

The keys are energy supplies and demographics.

confusedponderer

Call me over-focused. I haven't nearly spent as much time gazing at European spolicies than I spent on America's.

Judging by the record of European resistance to US policies - they never stopped the US. The US, being still the single most powerful nationstate on earth, is still a dominant actor, cost, debt and rumours of decline notwithstanding.

That's not giving Europe a pass, but simply blending them out. And as far as US motives and US exceptionalism are concerned - Europe does not matter to US foreign policy or her considerations, except in tactics, as underlined by Mrs. Nulan's heartfeld "F*** the EU".

I probably should finally give Europe an equal share attention.

Maybe I have yet to rid myself of a certain fondness for Europe's main achievement - keeping the peace through mutual cooperation. The EU was from the start many things but in particular a vessel for Franco-German coexistence.

After all, two of the three original teaties were about regulating the strategic commodities - nuclear tchnology and coal and steel in particular. Who neds to bicker about Alsace-Lorraine when access to the coal and her steel is available for both France and Germany?

Seen that way, Europe never had as long a period of stability because the two major continental powers managed to ocooprate and keep the peace, with the Brits trying to nplay the offshore balancer and trying to get in, but not to muich, when it showed that the European experiment was not just peaceful but lucrative. All that was certainly also so as a result of US protection - but, beyond that, the achievement is still remarkable.

In a way, Europe, has since its eastwards expansion, directed its focus from building prosperity inside to expansion.

The idea is to spread influence through integration.

Put negatively, and if the offer to Ukraine is any indication, it may suggst a shift towards conquest by trade. I would be oppoosed to that.

The drive to expansion, also on show with NATO, is probably a natural reaction of an organisation growing - rying the formula 'what worked once will work again'. I am as of now undecided of what to think of it. I need more time for that.

In response to WRC,
I have always felt that in a way NATO expansion was following EU expansion, because the US feared in Europe a 'near term competitor' and wanted to have NATO. That was pretty well visible during 2002/2003.

That is why I think that the US would be loathe to leave NATO because they would feel they's lose leverage over European minors, and the ability to pit or play them against the seniors, as the US tried with their 'Old Europe' vs 'New Europe' approach.

LJ

IMO, what is going on in Ukraine, is an extension of the Global War Of Terror, fomented by agent provocateurs from the West. The ultimate goal is to bring the world to heel, and certainly that would include Russia.

The Suskind quote should be read not as the critique of foolish American adventurism, but rather the creation of chaos in order to further your goals. This is what the making of history is; it is Hegelianism pure and simple. History is made and advanced through conflict and especially by war.

Alba Etie

All
To paraphrase Pogo
" We have met the enemy as he is us "
Us have got to stop letting the elites take us down these self destructive misadventures overseas - It starts with Us masking our voices heard in the upcoming election cycles ..

Charles I

Ah, the insanity principle.

Highlander

Confused Ponder of the Germanic tribes,

Is the possibility of a near total incompetence( despite many, many advanced degrees) on the part of European as well as US elites, the root cause of this generalized stupidity in decision making and execution.

A very practical and recent example occurred in the US. The Secretary of the Navy, and Chief of Naval Operations despite having a budget in the billions and half a million men and woman at their disposal could not protect the US Naval Headquarters from a lone nut job with a hardware store shotgun.

If the elites can't execute a simple task like defending a major headquarters, why would they even be remotely up to navigating the Middle Eastern cauldron for example.

One caveat however, your German elites do seem to have pulled off the nifty trick of taking over the European economy without firing up the first Panzer or Stuka. Now even a cynic like me admits, that was competence.

Charles I

I suppose at some point one might be moved to ask why all this is - the utter inability to think post-reality-creation. Obama inherited Iraq & Afghanistan, both utter wastes, n/w/s Deng's dictum "Too soon to tell".

How can serial failures not give pause? Aside from the in sense of consequence-free "creation". How does that survive year in year out? Consequences are the first thing they try to teach you in Rehab, "magical thinking" being how you get to an undeniable, untenable nadir - with no way out but change - in the first place.

How can it be that Pat seems the only institutional memory with consequential awareness who gives a damn?. I guess there are none for our politicians worth noting. Or none for voters either, for all our indignation.

turcopolier

LJ I assume that you are European. Europeans often make the mistake of seeing purpose where there is only pathology. pl

kao_hsien_chih

A lot of this delusion, as Babak notes above, is not unique to Americans. While the average American is more prone to this, so do most European elites. I suspect that this is due to the (mistaken) belief by many that they have gone past the end of history, that they are immune from having to pay for the consequences of their actions.

Except for the South, most of us in United States had never seen destruction of war visited upon ourselves in our history. We have not seen devastation wreaked by bungled economic policymaking since 1930s. Everything is just an idea, something hypothetical to be subject to sophistic discussion and debates. Nothing is a "hard" reality that bites.

While Western Europeans had suffered more from sufferings of war and economic failure than we have, they have spent last half a century or more in a cocoon even more sheltered than the average American, thanks to the situations brought about by the Cold War. Let's face it: very few Europeans have personal knowledge of how "hard" reality is and even fewer expectations that they may have to themselves experience it. (I realize that some Southern Europeans have been hit harder than the Northern ones, but I'll believe that they've been hit really "hard" when there are (really) violent riots on streets of Athens or Madrid.)

People with so much power who feel themselves insulated from the world become tyrants, until history bites them back. I am tempted to slip in something snide about the state of the state of "social scences" nowadays: most of social science, the part that gets rarely seen outside ivory towers, is dedicated to studying the reality. Strangely, this part is never let out of their caves supposedly because it is not "relevant" enough; a small but vociferous part of the academia cares not for what the reality is but only with coming up with all manner of fanciful notions about how the world should be and why, and this gets paraded before the public as the "relevant" part of academia. This strange inversion is, of course, part and parcel of the broader "elite discourse." Sad.

Jose

he key difference is the rhetoric they use to rally the world behind their initiatives. Bushmen are all about freedom and democracy. R2Pers are all about human rights, saving Jews, women, children, and gays. JohnH

Take up the White Man's burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden, In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden, The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden, No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper, The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living, And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden, Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden, Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!

From Wikipedia

David Habakkuk

Charles I,

I was tied up with other business, and did not have time to respond either to your account of your history of addiction, or to your -- eminently apposite -- comments on the frightening nature of our dependence on General Dempsey.

It is precisely the fear that 'magical thinking' could lead to a nadir which haunts me. It would indeed seem quite appropriate if a lot of people making policy in the contemporary West had 'rehab' treatment of some kind.

However, the plain fact of the matter is that very few of our leaders, be they in the U.S., the U.K., or Canada, display any signs of having reflected upon the possibility that 'magical thinking' might lead to some very unpleasant kinds of 'nadir.'

Fred

CP,

"... that is what makes them so prone to messy, dangerous and harmful policies that tend to needlessly get a lot of people killed."

But it is not Obamaite R2Pers or Bushmen getting killed. The self-rightous risk free R2Pers and Bushmen “create their own reality”. In that reality, and ours, they don’t wind up dead regardless of how many people do get killed.

Fred

Highlander,

Are you referring to the Washington Navy Yard? That was an employee who committed murder. All the money in the world won't stop that kind of action.

Babak Makkinejad

It is nuclear weapons that have kept the peace in Europe and not EU project.

And what European resistance to US policies are we talking about?

Not on Syria, not in Ukraine, not on Yugoslavia, no on Russia - as far as the eye can see.

Europe's difference with US are like this: US bombs and EU follows, offering band-aide.

If US attacks Iran, will any European state break diplomatic relations with US?

Or sanction US?

If Israel attacks Iran, will any European state break diplomatic relations with her?

I doubt that.

My recommendation to you is to be more forthright on the strategic alliance between US and EU states and the mutual succor and assistance rendered between the 2 sides of the Atlantic.

Thomas

"In this there is not that much of a practical difference between the Obamaite R2Pers and the Bushmen. They're essentially two kinds of the same utopian breed."

Two clans of the same Trotsky Tribe, bringing the world creative destruction, death, and doom since 1917.

Thomas

All,

In regards to strategically stupid meddling, any one know which (if any) DC area policy shops are advising Shinzo Abe?

VietnamVet

All

Thanks for the great posts; but, include me among those who don’t quite get it. We have to search through the waves of propaganda and our beliefs to try to discern the modern reality.

First, since the Napoleonic Wars until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the State and the Elite required a mass army to survive. Lincoln spelled it out at Gettysburg “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”. Not any more! Nuclear weapons made the draft army obsolete. “History Ended”. Today, America fights endless unwinnable wars with a volunteer army that siphons off taxes to the profit of military contractors. The Elite are stealing the middle class’s wealth and not going to jail for it. Western Nations including the USA are pushing austerity. Class warfare is a reality now that millions of soldiers are no longer needed for the rich to stay alive.

Second, there are no restraints on regime change for States without nuclear weapons. Ethnic conflict “Us verses Them” is hardwired into our genome. But, today ethnic revolts from Libya to the Ukraine and Syria are funded and fueled by outsiders to get rid of leaders who do not kowtow low enough to the deciders. What is best for the people is not a consideration.

Finally, Davos Plutocrats run things in the West. They get together and agree what is best for themselves and their corporations. It is not surprising that NATO member States walk in lockstep.

Jose L Campos

Finally someone has said it. That much lampooned statement about who makes history and who writes about it is pure Hegelianism. Minerva's owl takes flight at dusk.
Both those who act and those that think they do not act, "les belles ames" act despite their wishes.. Nobody escapes history.
We are at the end of the European American Capitalistic hegemony and troubles are coming thickly.

The beaver

Thomas

Don't know whether you've seen this piece before:
http://www.dispatchjapan.com/blog/2014/01/iijima-cancels-return-dc-visit.html

Roy Pfautch ???

William R. Cumming

Thanks CP!

William R. Cumming

Alba Etie! Agree and IMO most USA elites dillatantes [sic] without skin in the game!

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