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26 January 2015

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The Twisted Genius

Tyler,

The 81s were company level assets just like the 60s are now. There were 4 four deuce tubes in the battalion level mortar platoon. But I hear what you're saying about battalion level assets. One year we started off our training on the big island with a road march from Hilo Airport to Pohakuloa Training Area, 50 miles from sea level to 6,800 feet. Every swing dick in the battalion walked. Not one man in our company dropped out, not even in the weapons platoon. They didn't carry their mortars or TOW systems. That would be too much. HHC lost a bunch. That was to be expected. Combat support company also lost a lot. That included the scout platoon and the four deuce platoon. I guess they spent too much time on their quarter tons. We ended the march with company live fires.

The Twisted Genius

Booby and Tyler,

Mortars may not be emphasized in Infantry Officer Basic Course like they once were. Qualifying on every weapon in a rifle company was a major part of the course when I went through. That included the 81 mortars, TOW and Dragon AT systems. We only familiarized with FAC procedures. Only those going to mech units spent much time with the M-113s. Us light infantry types spent more time with the Hueys... and being chased by tanks.

alba etie

We shall see..

William R. Cumming

Some of the best Eastern Rites celebrations and sales are held by the Greek Orthodox churches in the DC area. I attend many and have always assumed gifts and purchases from Greek-American citizens passed on in part to Greece and their homeland relatives. I also use the many Greek restaurants in the DC area. And Lebanese and other countries that were once Greek colonies.

All of the above paid out of my small federal pension after 34 YEARS AS A FEDERAL LAWYER!

William R. Cumming

Citizens and residents of the EU that are culturally and linguistic Germans paint a complicated picture. Little analysis exists in English of that diaspora!

Aka

bwilli123 ,
So at the end of the day, this article is also suggesting that US should do "something" in Europe to counter Russians. What that "something" is,is not discussed. Sometime back there was a another article which spoke about this "something".

And Does Putin really believes US is clueless? Obama may be clueless but there are US officials who were at the forefront of the current Ukrainian crisis.

I mean after-all it was a US official who said "Fu*k EU". Not the other-way around.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad, bwilli123, aka,

The Walter Russell Mead article is fascinating, but not because it tells us anything very illuminating about Putin.

So Mead (or should it be “Russell Mead”?) attributes to Putin a ‘long-term project of rebuilding the Soviet Union at Western expense.’

One problem with this frequently-recited mantra is that it is not clear what it means, another that, as is usual, not an iota of evidence is presented by Mead in support of the claim being made. Indeed, conspicuous by its absence in the article is any discussion whatsoever of Putin’s – voluminous – expositions of his views or of analyses by informed experts.

Like many others, Mead commits one of the most basic intelligence mistakes that can be made – assessing the capabilities and intentions of others in terms of one’s sense of the weaknesses of one’s own side.

As an account of a key weakness of the West – the imbecility of much of its elites – the comments of Mead (or should it be ‘Russell Mead’) could hardly be bettered:

"The trouble is that the contemporary Western mind has a hard time grasping a basic truth about both Putin and ourselves; we are not the world, and Putin is not us. There are three subjects on which virtually everybody in the Western policy and intellectual establishments agree: think of them as the core values of the Davoisie: The first is that the rise of a liberal capitalist and more or less democratic and law-based international order is both inevitable and irreversible. The second is that the Davos elite – the financiers, politicians, intellectuals, haute journalists and technocrats who manage the great enterprises, institutions and polities of the contemporary world – know what they are doing and are competent to manage the system they represent. The third is that no serious alternative perspective to the Davos perspective really exists; our establishment believes in its gut that even those who contend with the Davos world order know in their hearts that Davos has and always will have both might and right on its side."

According to Mead, Putin believes ‘the whole post-historical Western consensus’ to be ‘a cocktail of ignorance, arrogance, vanity and hypocrisy’, creating weaknesses he hopes to exploit in the furtherance of his supposed ‘long-term project of rebuilding the Soviet Union at Western expense.’

For this assessment, not an iota of evidence is offered – and Mead, quite as much as any of the ‘Davoisie’ he criticises – makes no attempt whatsoever to see Putin in the context of Russian history.

On this historical background, one of the best Western authorities is the historian – and former British Army Intelligence officer – Paul Robinson, now teaching at Ottawa. His writings bring out the fact that Putin’s thinking is rooted in the ideas of Russians who, before and during the Russian Revolution, realised that the then equivalent of the views of the ‘Davoisie’, applied to Russia, was self-contradictory in way fraught with potential for catastrophe.

In an article back in 2004, Robinson summarised the views of two key ‘White Russian’ intellectuals, Petr Struve and Ivan Il’in:

"Both men understood that the intelligentsia's obsession with liberating the people was unleashing forces which would eventually destroy all liberty in Russia. Only an authoritarian government, they decided, could protect individual freedoms in the absence of a political culture that accepted basic ideas such as property rights. A society whose people understood legal rights and duties could successfully govern itself. One that did not must be ruled by a powerful individual, who would educate the people in its legal consciousness until such time as it was fit for self-rule."

(See http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/10th-january-2004/18/putins-might-is-white .)

In fact, however, even in societies with an apparently much more favourable ‘political culture’ than that of late Tsarist Russia, projects of liberation have not uncommonly ended up producing tyranny: think France after 1789, and Germany and Italy after 1918.

The question of the preconditions for a successful working liberal society, and what to do absent those preconditions, was the central question which Tocqueville addressed in his analyses of the American and French Revolutions, just as much as it was the central preoccupation of Il’in – who Robinson describes as ‘Putin’s favourite philosopher.’

Far be it from me to suggest that all Putin’s statements should be taken at face value, or to underestimate the immense problems of Russian society, of which the weakness of the rule of law – among governors as well as governed – remains a central one. But the questions with which the thinkers to whom Putin harks back attempting to address are real ones – with which the ‘Davoisie’ are simply unprepared to grapple.

Moreover, not only the ‘Davoisie’ but figures like Mead simply cannot grasp that Putin certainly did not start out as a revolutionary figure, seeking to undermine the order of the post-war ‘Pax Americana’. Like the thinkers to whom he looks back, he is instinctively conservative. The emerging Chinese-Russian alliance may certainly want to challenge the power of the West – but in the case of Russia at least – this is because they have been pushed into it.

LeaNder

MRW, strictly Switzerland is much more safe concerning money then Germany, always was and still is.

The Euro spins downward since Switzerland decided to not to sustain it any longer. Good business across the borders in the German south again, I hear.

LeaNder

Babak, you're such a bore with your stereotypes, if I may. Your Persian bonus has evaporated a while ago.

How is business in the US?

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

My sense of the statement "..long-term project of rebuilding the Soviet Union at Western expense.." is that this is the phraseology that is needed to get you published.

Like many texts in the Soviet Union that had to pay the obligatory homage to Marx, Lenin, Stalin in the works of fiction.

Per Confucius (and later Orwell) the language is corrupted and the words do not convey the true meaning of things.

Do you seriously expect him to get published if he wrote something like: "...he is pushing against us because we are trying to get Russia ejected from Europe"?

Look at Patrick Buchannan who has been thoroughly marginalized in US.

In regards to Mead's attribution of the statement: "... the whole post-historical Western consensus to be..." to Putin - yes, I agree that he does not know and no one knows Putin's mind. But I have read a similar - but not identical - description of Putin in an essay by Trenin (if my memory does not fail me.)

Whether Putin thinks that or not, I think Mead is accurately characterizing NATO states - raring to go to war against any and all - in the far corners of the world.

I might be wrong but perhaps Mead is hiding behind this attribution to Putin in order to get published - to get a hearing - as it where.

I think my views in regards to Liberal Democracy, as you name it, have evolved to the point that I am now convinced that certain countries will take centuries - if ever - at reaching such a state - or may be they never will.

One has to accept that and move on.

On a side, I was intrigued by Professor Robinson's writings that you had quoted - indeed they perfectly described the situation in Spain in 1933 when the Republic was declared; civil war was only a matter of time.

Putin is not a Revolutionary, I agree; NATO states are.

Babak Makkinejad

I take it you think Thessaloniki is just like Heidelberg?

When was the last time that a German mayor from a small town had amassed 150,000 Euros in a bank account?

Babak Makkinejad

I take it you are not sending any money to Greece personally.

Good.

LeaNder

Babak, I would object that "German culture", whatever you have in mind in mind, went hand in hand with it's national expression or the unification:

"19-th century in creating a German National Culture"

Kant wasn't a 19th man, neither was Goethe. To pick some of the better known.

Question: can Charlemagne be reduced to a purely French tradition?

Charles

Well a whole country is up for grabs.

LeaNder

Thanks, WRC, the populist take, no doubt.

Merkl as the new Hitler, trying to reign Europe.

Charles

Imho the soft underbelly of Europe is going to be refugee flows heading north by the millions in coming decades.

LeaNder

WRC, I was confronted with my only brother voting the AFD during the recent elections. Fact is, yes the Euro was not so good for us versus the DM.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_for_Germany

Now on the surface they cater on resentment in that context. One of its operators not quite so visibly is a longtime representative of the German industry. I never liked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Olaf_Henkel

rjj

But it is the Davoisie (Faustian wankers in the service of overmighty subjects - now called citizens), who are the revolutionaries.

LeaNder

I realized I was not responding to you. Strictly, the German sections of Belgium or "ethnic overlaps" both way in Denmark come most prominently to mind.

You possible are able to understand that there always was a lot of exchange and motion between Switzerland and Austria and France over the centuries? Once Austria was resized to it's present state in a different ways circumstances then France. In neither of these countries it would matter what your precise ethnic origin is. ... I can assure you that even the people of my wider family have adopted to Swiss German or French over the decades more or less. But only very few kids in America or Austria understand German anymore.

Do you think we could possibly have an interest in protecting "ethnic German" everywhere? And that is our core motive for the European vision/utopia? Some different type of European reign?

Since Helmut Kohl invited Russians with German roots back in? Well no one ever suggested to invite Australians or Americans or any others people with ethnic German roots back in. And Kohl's decision may well have coincided with preferences for Jewish Russians at the time. But I never really thought about that. ...

Babak Makkinejad

We must agree to disagree.

Charlemagne was a Medieval French speaker but was not French; just like Khwarizmian Kings were not Iranians.

Babak Makkinejad

Schiller, Kleist, Fichte, Wagner, Schubert?

LeaNder

Babak, no doubt the bureaucracy must be a real disaster, some Germans with roots there told me. I've seen documentaries of what this means on the ground of for the average tax or crime investigator. It's a real alp. Since that time, I complain a lot less about our own bureaucracy. Believe me.

But whenever I think about Greece, I think about a Greek author, a sociologist, if I recall correctly. He created a character, a police investigator, and wrote a series of thrillers. I forget his name, one of the books I never got back. And it was quite good. ...

Before that I had wondered about the names, or two opposing family dynasties in politics. But I forget now. Oh, Jeb Bush is considering running as president.

In my own limited way: Loads of money flowed into there, and a lot of people got rich based on it. But just as in Russia they have transfered their assets by now into safe heavens. if they need to do this at all. The problem is, and no, there is no law yet to deal with that, the majority that did not profit in any way, quite the opposite that had to pay bribes apparently for the most simple administrative tasks, has to pay the bill.

In other words I seriously object to your blaming the Greek collectively. But no doubt there is high-time for populist slogans. The chance to pay more attention on the basis, the bureaucratic structure, everyday life and corruption, has definitively passed a long time ago. ...

rjj

above is response to DH posted before BabMak's had been cleared.

rjj

devolutionaries might be a better term.

LeaNder

Ok, Babak, with Schiller you are lucky, he died in 1805. Does that make him a representative of 19th century nationalism? I don't think so.

Charlemagne, was the King of the Franks, if you think they can be reduced to royal ancestors of present France, or simply the French, you're welcome.

I wouldn't satisfy you with my knowledge in support of the Makkainejad thesis either.

Němec Todesca

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