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19 February 2014

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William R. Cumming

Highlander! Will Scotland's departure from Great Britain have implications for the US? I am assuming this departure a given!

turcopolier

WRC

Polling support for independence is at 38% pl

turcopolier

Jose L. Campos

Very deterministic. So, people are merely puppets, of, what? Economics? pl

William R. Cumming

ALL! There was a time when policy differences were important in Washington! Now it is about "issues" not policy
development and implementation. Someone picks an issue and all choose sides and hope to be on the winning side.

The "wise men" PRESENT AT THE CREATION like Dean Acheson [a Wall Streeter like Paul Nitze] were fundamentally flawed in their thinking. They thought it was all about US when in fact this stance gave little credence to the goals and achievements of others.

Stunningly at the windup of the Soviet Union the US sent Wall Streeters to lead the conversion to democracy. The last thing Wall Street believes in is democracy.

turcopolier

VV

"that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" Beautiful poetry but utter nonsense. The Confederate States in no way threatened "government by the people" in the North. JF Davis stated the foreign policy of the CSA clearly at the beginning. "All we ask is to left alone" was his statement when inaugurated. There was nothing in the US Constitution then or now that says that the Union is indissoluble and the Declaration of Independence established the principle of popular sovereignty as the basis of democratic government. pl

CK

Economics of something less rational but more forgiving like religion or social psychology.
One can be a string puller or one can have one's strings pulled, or both, either way eventually the string gets cut and that is very deterministic

CK

Too true. ( except for the "beautiful poetry" part. Government is always: of some of the people by a few of the people for even fewer of the people; the style matters not the substance of all governments is envy of and theft from and a monopoly on intra-national destruction of the rest of the people.

fanto

Highlander, it seems to me that you are also falling prey to the constantly repeated mantra that Germany has conquered Europe, or the Southern part of it (sc. ClubMed countries) ; the common German people have not been the beneficiaries of that conquest! far from it - the poverty there is increasing, the infrastructure is crumbling, slums show up in once beautiful Ruhr-Region, Berlin, Stuttgart. Crime is rampant. The German Conquest is not a 'nifty trick' - the exported goods are sent out but not paid! have you not heard of the TARGET obligations? Please , give us a break!

Will

the eventual credo for the North is there in the Battle Hymn and the Gettysburg address. "new birth of freedom," and "In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
....
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,." It might have not started out that way but as the casualties mounted the dead had to be given a noble purpose.

turcopolier

will

Yes. Propagandistic BS. pl

turcopolier

CK

I was attempting politeness. pl

Fred

Will,

Yes. And the North is still in fear of the South. See the latest drumbeat on slate:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/02/19/georgia_confederate_flag_license_plate_state_dmv_approves_new_specialty.html

I'm tempted to call Georgia to see if I can get one of these things just to piss off some of my liberal friends.

LJ

PL, thanks for the reply. Actually I am not a European. When I referred to Hegel, that was a reference to the Karl Rove quote by Suskind and how one makes history.

My point is that the Ukrainian situation is seen as a crisis and we know that we should never let a crisis go to waste. We are seeing history being produced.

To keep this short, I suggest going to one location to see a single example of the what I am talking about: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/02/16/350986/israel-exofficer-leads-ukraine-unrest/

To eventually destabilize Russian, you destabilize her neighbors, and you also get to pick through the Ukrainian bones for whatever of value you can find. Then you rebuild and the contracts go to the big multinationals.

The US at least shares in the sickness.

walrus

As Tony Judt pointed out before his untimely death, the danger comes from academics and true believers who believe they have found that the answer to Dostoyevskys question in "The Brother Karamasov is a resounding "Yes!"

"“Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last. Imagine that you are doing this but that it is essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature...in order to found that edifice on its unavenged tears. Would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me. Tell the truth.” "


Victoria Nuland and her acolytes are no different from Lenin, Pol Pot and a host of other would be social renovators who believe that the end justifies the means - in other words blowing the crap out of Pakistani Children will "freedomizer" the region.

To put it another way, this is not "American Exceptionalism", it is an academic tendency to believe they have found the solution to mans ills and that any collateral demage in achieving nirvana is more than worth it. The R2P crowd are no different from hard core marxists in my opinion.

Tom in Texas

Highlander,

With no disrespect intended, this reminds me of the Steven Wright joke, “Why don’t they just make the whole plane out of that black box stuff?”

Highlander

Actually,until the last few months the departure didn't appear imminent, but England's incompetent conservative politicians are making it more likely by the day.

In my opinion the entire nation state system is under great strain, and well into the process of break up.

As to the break up of Great Britain being good or bad for the US. I imagine bad. We after all are the successor empire to the British, and have maintained a useful and profitable relationship for the last 100 years. At least there will still be Wimbledon tennis with strawberries and champagne. I hope.

As for you krauts taking offense at my observation on German economic skills. No offense meant. Europe is infinitely better of with Frankfurt bankers running the show like adults. Than we Americans are, under the thumbs of the rapacious whores of wall street and their DC stooges.

William R. Cumming


CP! Are not the economies of Germany and France almost totally integrated?

David Habakkuk

WRC, Colonel Lang,

I think a poll showing 38% Scottish support for independence is likely to be an outlier. Today's TNS survey poll puts support in Scotland at 29%.

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-20/scottish-independence-support-unchanged-in-poll-before-pound-row.html )

According to a Financial Times analysis of polling data over the past year published earlier this month, ‘opinions have barely changed, with about 50 per cent wanting to stay in the union, a little over 30 per cent favouring independence and the rest undecided.’

(See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/152e7870-8d84-11e3-9dbb-00144feab7de.html#axzz2tlVieVOy ; )

What the FT report does suggest is that, contrary to what has generally been the case in recent years, Scottish independence is no longer more popular south of the border than north of it.

It quotes a YouGov survey in the Sun, according to which the percentage of supporters rose from 21 in November to 24 percent in early January, while opponents fell from 55 to 54 percent.

Surveys reported in the Huffington Post last September, by contrast, showed English support for Scottish independence clearly, if not greatly, in excess of Scottish.

(See http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/scotland-independence-english_n_3898845.html )

Actually it is not clear to me all that many people in England have strong views. My wife, who is a Londoner born and bred, from time to time explains that she can’t wait to be rid of the Scots, but she is probably an exception.

For my own part, I think I am more representative in thinking that if the Scots want to stay, let them, and if they want to go, no skin of our nose.

What is clearly unsustainable in the longer term is the current situation where internal Scottish affairs are run by a Scottish parliament, whereas the same affairs in England are run by a UK parliament where Scots MPs are allowed to vote on them – and indeed, can make the difference as to which party is in power.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

Why should anyone assume that there would have been another major war in Europe in the absence of either nuclear weapons or the EU? As Donald Cameron Watt put in his 1989 study ‘How War Came’, ‘what is so extraordinary about the events which led up to the outbreak of the Second World War is that Hitler’s will for war was able to overcome the reluctance with which virtually everybody else approached it.’

Do you think that either Russians or Germans would have been enthusiastic about a re-run of World War II, after what they had been through in the Second World War?

An argument can also be made that nuclear weapons destabilised the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after 1945. For one thing, it is a moot point whether George Kennan would have been so keen to advocate ‘rollback’ of Soviet power, which he always anticipated could trigger a process of destabilisation leading back into the Soviet Union and triggering the collapse of the regime there, had the United States not possessed the atomic monopoly. That he anticipated the possibility of a Russian military response to these attempts is made quite clear in the key NSC 20/1 planning paper of August 1948, where he wrote:

‘We cannot say, of course, that the Russians will sit by and permit the satellites to extricate themselves from Russian control in this way. We cannot be sure that at some point in this process the Russians will not choose to resort to violence of some sort; i.e., to forms of military re-occupation or possibly even to a major war, to prevent such a process from being carried to completion.’

It seems that Kennan also contemplated the possibility that the objectives he set for U.S. policy – which included a transformation in what he termed the Soviet ‘theory and practice of international relations’ – might be interpreted in Moscow as implying an American readiness to resort to war:

‘It might be concluded, then (and the Moscow theologians would be quick to put this interpretation on it), that to say that we were seeking the adoption of these concepts in Moscow would be equivalent to saying that it was our objective to overthrow Soviet power. Proceeding from that point, it could be argued that this is in turn an objective unrealizable by means short of war, and that we are therefore admitting that our objective with respect to the Soviet Union is eventual war and the violent overthrow of Soviet power.’

(See http://www.sakva.ru/Nick/NSC_20_1.html )

The argument that this was essentially the conclusion that the Soviets did draw is developed in an unpublished 1987 paper by Commander Michael MccGwire, RN (to give him his service title) – the most important British intelligence analyst of Soviet military planning, which is now available on the web.

(http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/nceeer/1987-800-05-McGwire.pdf )

As a result, in MccGwire’s view, Eastern Europe became yet more strategically important for the Soviets, both as a glacis and as a springboard for an offensive westwards to eliminate the bridgeheads on which the vastly superior U.S. military industrial potential could be deployed.

Whether Kennan would have been prepared to run these risks, had the U.S. not possessed nuclear weapons, is unclear. The initial effect of the Soviet atomic test of August 1949, moreover, was not to reduce the emphasis on the objective of ‘roll-back’, but rather the reverse.

confusedponderer

I for my part do see the strategic alliance between the US and the EU as it is.

Europe was off worst, when we were all armed to the teeth. Then we usually massacred ourselves. The Cold War and US protection allowed us to deflect our attention from ourselves to the outside and to focus on reconstruction and cooperation.

In a sense, the EU is a manifestation of the idea that by treaties and law states can be bound inpueaceful coexistence. And if one looks at our last 50 years it has worked reasonably well.

As far as expansion is concerned, perpetuation of the structures created for expansion sure plays a part in that. I see that in NATO as much as in the EU.

I feel that at least some of the proponents expansion is the path of least resistance, thee is an established ascension process, structures and institutions and precedent.

It takes a resolute mind to say that enough is enough and that henceforth there will be no more expansion into Eurasia. Nobody in Europe is resolute enough to tell the Turks that they're never going to join, because it is unpleasant and the price will be a loss of influence.

And while I write of continuity: I think that the civil society NGO mischief we see today wherever a regime needs to be toppled is likewise an outgrowth of established earlier policies. It would be interesting to have a study about the continuity from the Cold War to today.

These NGOs were established, in a bipatisan consensus as far as the American ones are conderned, to fight the ideological cold war, and arguably they were necesary then. Yet with all the merit of civil liberties and freedom, there always was a spark of subversion in them. For these NGO's the Helsinki Accords were a triumph. With that they had practically won.

With the fall of the Warsaw Pact these NGOs didn't disappear. They became vessels of integration and never lost sight of the old enemy. They eventually expanded their mission to roll back Russia some more. The colour coded revolutions give testimony to that.

To get back to NATO and Europe and the institutionalisation of policy:

Europe is using the promise of integration as a means to spread influence, much like the US peddle their ware - protection from enemies real or imagined.

The US is bi-polar in their attitudes towards the EU, ranging from treating them as irrelevant to regarding Europe as a 'Near Term Competitor', and a 'national security threat to the US'.

Practically for us that means that we are being scolded by the US to take a greater share of defence responsibility, only to be blamed at the same time for being a threat whenever we acquire a capability and we put it under EU command (out of US control).

Under Bush one could well see how, in the eyes of the Hegemonists, the ideal strategic partnership with Europe would look like:

The US would do as they please, and we would fall in line and lend them legitimacy by support (see, not unilateral) and provide token support (think about those micro contingents from Europe's minors), do the cleanup and carry the cost. As far as decisionmaking goes we were not supposed to have a say. Dissent with the US' righteous cause was met with livid outrage at the time.

Obama today is more subtle, but he isn't any less unilateral. He is, again, just trying to be smarter at it than the Bushmen. It's a little bit like with the people who enthuse over the indirect approach - to the same policy. Yet even with Obama, there still is a mailed fist under the velvet glove.

To the extent that Europe has assented to Obama's policies of regime change - I think that's probably the fruit of the US having worked European leaders over the last decade. I still don't think that the Europe has made a fundamental reassessment of policies.

I think that, despite all the talk about NATO's and Europe's irrelevance, the US will IMO stay in NATO because they want a foot in Europe's door, even when they don't see a direct military benefit in it. The access they gain probably is to them worth the cost.

And on a gut level, the Exceptionalists in the US probably distrust anything that could challenge it's hegemony, like a stronger and unified Europe. Probably, if you're the epitome of virtue, any compromise is corruption.

With the US, diplomacy nowadays runs a lot through military channels, with military commanders often having far more sway than the diplomats: Alliances, like NATO, give these commanders the access to exercise this influence. Similar structures exist in the Pacific as well.

For the promise of safety, of course, there need to be enemies, real or imagined to protect from (Russians and China always work, and nowadays there are also Iranians and, of course, the terrorists). Since that is an established mode of operation, threat inflation is part of the trade.

Then, of course, there are the think tanks. When our notably vain SecDef von and zu Guttenberg fell over having copy-pasted together his disertation, he went into exile, laying low iirc at some Atlanticist think tank in the US to weather the storm. I predict that, like a zombie, he will return from his grave.

The EU in contrast to the US, promises credibly trade, wealth, subsidies - and with the carrot of integration, tries to draw countries into the European orbit. The stick is the misery of the status quo of being an unpriviledged trading partner behind EU tariff barriers. Europe exercise influence through the access they gain through integration.

When Europe seems to always want a diplomatic solution, that is probably because for us, diplomacy works, and works well, as we see every day in the European context.

That one neocon, I forgot his name, once wrote that Europeans are from Venus and that the US are from Mars, but I think, as far as silly metaphors go, it would have been better put as the US being Klingons and the Europe being the Borg.

In many ways, the EU try to play with the US on an eye to eye level, yet never manage to secure the funds to purchase the military means necesary to speak with the US on an eye to eye basis. The capability gap is vast, and unlikely to be closed any time soon.

The US have not shared the European experience, largely because they were so strong as to not having to accomodate themselves to the extent Europeans had to. And part of their national narrative is that they won the Cold War (I'm not so sure), and won it through militarsy strength (again, I'm not so sure). Part of ours is that European integration was instrumental to peace and reconciliation (I'm not so sure here as well).

The US also have been so rich as to not find large military spending as much of a burden than Europe did, with her welfare systems that competed for funding.

To put it placatively:
The price Americans pay for military strength is austerity at home. For our military weakness, we have an excellent infrastructure.

confusedponderer

"slums show up in once beautiful Ruhr-Region, Berlin, Stuttgart. Crime is rampant"

Sadly, there is a point to that.

Heavy indusries that once secured employment there have crumbled and unemployment is rampant. Coal and sten from abroad are much cheaper to produce. There are some rather downbeaten places in the Ruhrgebiet nowadays. It is much like those places in East Germany where the same had happened.

And as of the Ruhr region being 'beautiful' - while a steel cooker is a sight indeed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is in other ways certainly nicer without industry.

An aunt told me what a mess it was when in the 1950s, when the region was in its industrial prime, the rivers were dead and that her nylon stockings kept mysteriously dissolving in the fog, not to mention the fact that it was a pain to dry laundry outside when a factory was downwind.

Yet - on the whole, Germany is still pretty prosperous. We just whine on a high level. Many of our poor have flatscreen TVs. I don't.

One particularly silly Green Party lady a couple years ago quipped that if poverty kept increasing in Germany at such an alarming rate, people may eventually have to patch their socks again instead of buying new ones. The horror!

Alba Etie

Jose
Rudyard Kipling is a brilliant author ..

Babak Makkinejad

Thank your for your apologia of EU.

The fact remains that EU pushed 20 million people into poverty in Iran.

And made 8 million refugees in Syria.

Will you stop please hiding behind US, Neo-Cons, etc. and man up to what is really transpiring?

Babak Makkinejad

Well, I disagree.

Nuclear weapons have prevented wars in the Korean peninsula - were Clinton was clearly going in that directions - as well as prevented India from swallowing up Pakistan.

If nuclear weapons are irrelevant to international security, I suggest UK and France both disarm.

Babak Makkinejad

That seems to be the case; regrettably.

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