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14 August 2016

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Babak Makkinejad

And how do you explain the unbridled enthusiasm of US allies in support of US policies; in Canada, Australia, Germany, France, UK, Spain, Denmark?

b

" What is it about that concept that you object to? "

The policy concept of influencing foreign interior parties is a severe breach of the sovereignty principle of the Westphalian peace which demands non-intervention.

It is not the U.S., or anyone's business how internal politics here or there develop. There is no "universal mission" or whatever for the U.S. or anyone else to interfere in politics in Egypt, Germany, Bangladesh or elsewhere. It's a breach of a basic tenant of international law and the U.S. is one of the most eager country to hold that part up when it comes to itself (see your own FARA application).

I see any foreign organization that tries to influence interior policy finding processes in my country as hostile. Be it NEC, Soros, the CIA or some Russian shop. I do not mind RT, VOA or other foreign media as long as they are open about their finances and agenda and stick to the usual media codex. I am then free to avoid them.
But silent payments (or in kind) to German organizations, politicians or media (like Soros gives) is deceit and nefarious. The use of camouflage organizations (see NED) is even worse. Both issues should be penalized under the criminal code such organizations completely banned from operating in my country.

Tyler

Nick,

I'll hold your purse while you go find somewhere to faint.

turcopolier

b

"It is not the U.S., or anyone's business how internal politics here or there develop." That is such a childish, naive idea that I am incapable of dealing with it. You need to grow up. pl

David Habakkuk

Tyler,

This puts me in mind of two articles by Jewish journalists, both ironically published on the same day back in January.

One, by Benjamin Schwarz in the ‘American Conservative’, was entitled: ‘Unmaking England: Will immigration demolish in decades a nation build over centuries?’ The other, by Gideon Rachman in the ‘Financial Times’, was headed: ‘‘Mass migration into Europe is unstoppable.’

(The Schwarz article is at http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/unmaking-england/comment-page-1/#comments ; the Rachman piece is behind a subscription wall, but there is a discussion at http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/12/financial-times-mass-immigration-is-here-to-stay-we-should-learn-to-accept-it/ .)

In his discussion of Britain, Schwarz actually takes up where a more general piece he produced back in 1995 for the ‘Atlantic’, under the title ‘The Diversity Myth’, leaves off.

Although I have some reservations about Schwarz’s analysis of this country – which I set out in the comments – he has done serious research, and provides I think some of the best dissection of the problems of ‘multiculturalism’ I have come across: a dissection acutely relevant to both parts of the ‘invade the world, invite the world’ syndrome.

In relation to Rachman’s piece, what is actually most significant is the uniform hostility, indeed contempt, of the ‘most recommended’ comments.

What is not raised, of course, is the question of whether Rachman’s being by origin a South African Jew is relevant to his arguments: these are matters which commenters on articles in the paper – who have to be subscribers – are unlikely to bring into the discussion.

Unfortunately, the time when diplomacy was helpful is now clearly over.

As it happens, Rachman’s Jewishness, and that of Schwarz, were very much in my mind when I read the two pieces.

My responses were quite different. Learning that Schwarz had studied over here, I felt a tinge of regret that he had not stayed – he reminds me of very many Jewish immigrants from whom this country has benefited enormously in the past, a few of whom I knew personally.

(At the risk of self-caricature, I might say I was attacked by a sneaking feeling: why didn’t Schwarz find himself - or get snapped up by - a nice English or Welsh girl, and settle down?)

As to Rachman, my fundamental response, if I had produced a comment which said candidly what I thought, would have been something close to unprintable. But, mildly censoring it, it might have read as follows:

1. This does seem to be a sad case of the failure of the British educational system. It is clear that you have absolutely no ability to imagine what the ‘Third Worldisation’ of Britain might mean, when it spread from places like Rotherham, about which you are too incurious, and snobbish, to find out, to locations nearer home;

2. Why the hell in any case should you give a damn about what happens to the traditional culture of Britain – it isn’t your culture (why don’t you go to New York, for God’s sake? – you wouldn’t like it in Israel);

3. You write: ‘The current migration crisis is driven by wars in the Middle East.’

But I recall another article you wrote, in which you explained how to people like you it seemed obvious that all those who opposed the invasion of Iraq were like Jeremy Corbyn.

Again, this seems to me another instance that with you the British educational system failed – in that anyone who was interested in evidence could see that a lot of people, like myself, who opposed the war did so for reasons which had nothing to do with left-wing ‘anti-imperialist’ enthusiasms.

4. At the time, it seemed to me all-too-likely that you and many other Jews supported the war because – again manifesting the failure of the British educational system – you had the delusional belief that ‘democratisation’ in the Middle East would provide a magical answer to the probably insoluble security problems of a Jewish settler state in the region;

5. But, given that you were promptly shown to be drivelling, and in essence to have fallen into a trap laid by Ahmed Chalabi, why can’t you wise up?

Instead, all these years later, the ‘FT’ is trotting out Richard C. Haass, Ivo Daalder, Dennis Ross, Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all, talking gibberish about ‘moderate Islamists’ in Syria;

6. Why are you so determined to convince people like me that the old ‘anti-semites’, whom we so despised, who insisted that Jews could never be unequivocally loyal to a non-Jewish polity, had a point?

We knew this was not true, because we had seen so many people of ethnic Jewish origin – both from long-established Anglo-Jewish families, and immigrants – in relation to whom it patently was not.

Few groups of people, indeed, could have been more diverse: in religious belief, lack of it, political conviction, among other things. And this was one of the things which made them so interesting.

But then, perhaps, the ‘shiksas’ – to use a phrase from John Podhoretz – snapped up most of the interesting Jewish men, leaving a ‘Jewish community’ for which ‘Israel right or wrong’ is a fundamental marker of identity.

(And which is good at making money, writing articles in newspapers, creating computer programmes, producing films, and quite a few other things, but completely out of its depth in matters to do with foreign and security policy.)

What I have been hoping is that recent events will drive some sense into the heads of people like Rachman.

However, it has to be said that the omens are not good.

What I see in ‘liberal’ Jewish publications in the U.S., and also to a considerable degree here, is a ‘circling of the wagons’ around Israel and Zionism. This seems to be true, not simply of the ‘New York Times’, but of the ‘New York Review of Books’.

As to the ‘Atlantic’, it seems symptomatic that, in 2013, Benjamin Schwarz left the magazine, and moved to the ‘American Conservative’.

Among their star correspondents, it seems, is Jeffrey Goldberg.

Now, there you really do have a case of the failure of the American educational system. And then, as an incitement to anti-Semitism ...

Lurker

You may want to read this:
Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:30
Turkey Readying to Join Iran-Russia Front after U-Turn in Syria Policy

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950526000251

b

"That is such a childish, naive idea"

It is so childish that you insist on it whenever Israel mixes itself into U.S. policies.

Lurker

Warming of relations between Turkey and Russia spells the end of the Fake War on Terror and the beginning of a Real War on Terror

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/08/16/analyst-warming-in-russia-turkey-relations-to-persuade-other-countries-to-negotiate/

http://news.valubit.com/2016/08/16/china-sides-with-russia-in-syrian-war-will-provide-aid-and-military-training-to-assad/

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524001414

turcopolier

b

This is not some child's graduate school debate. It is not a game. Each country must protect itself weighing up pluses and minuses as the Israelis do. I am an American and a Canadian and I want my countries to win whatever there is to be had. pl

Fred

LeaNder,

Nice try with the genocide bait. Sounds like cultural guilt, feel free to keep it. If you are truly this ignorant of the spread of smallpox in the Americas among a native population with zero previous exposure to the disease then I recommend some research.

Tyler

Mr. Habakkuk,

I have nothing to add, I just want to let you know I read your exposition and appreciate you taking the time to share it with me.

jld

Yup, the promoters of Westphalian peace were bumbling idiots, we have now a much much "shinier" prize worthy of fighting, win a nuclear war...

b

"I want my countries to win whatever there is to be had"

Your expression of unabashed American supremacism - no surprise there.

But I reject such just as much as I reject German supremacism. I am more inclined to argue for equality between nations and, derived from that, international legality.

I also believe that you have to make serious bends in catholic philosophy to bring that view into conformity with the sermon of the mount and other basic catholic teachings. What medieval author supports such line?

turcopolier

b

Wanting your country to win translates for you as "American supremacism?" It seems to me that you believe you are living in some sort of "post historical" world a la Fukuyama. You Europeans have tried to construct what is basically a continent without borders. That vision is falling apart. That must be difficult for you. pl

jld

:-)
I have no doubt you are entirely sincere in your feelings but may be you should pay more attention to the fact that from the outside, i.e. for nearly every non-american, THIS is American supremacism and no matter how you think this view is misguided you cannot ignore it.

turcopolier

jld

Don't talk down to me, jackass. I have spent my life dealing with soreheads like you all over the world while at the same time trying to explain to my countrymen that we should be nicer to you. Your resentment of "American supremacism" is the result of your unhappiness at not being on top. pl

b

It is ot "wanting to win" that is problematic, its is the "whatever there is to be had". That's limitless, and dangerous.

Crimea was to be had? Stalingrad was to be had? Your country gave the first a try recently and lost. My the second, long ago, and lost. One shouldn't try such but acknowledge there a lots of things not to be had.

As for an United Europe - its a long term U.S. project, was started by the CIA in 1948. Bad idea in my view,bad even for the U.S.

It could have probably worked if it were restricted to the borders of the Carlemagne empire.

But the inclusion of everyone, especially the eastern countries, was destined to fail. The Poles are nutty nationalists, always were. The Balitics are fascists. Hungary and Czechia fit somewhat in, what's souths/east of that not. Britain is a no no. A U.S.mole that screws up every senisble idea. Hope they leave. A good precedent to get rid of some others.

turcopolier

b

Whatever is to be had does not mean at any cost. My language was clumsy. I have made it clear by my actions in the real world that I do not think the end justifies the means. "a long term U.S. project, was started by the CIA in 1948." Yes. A united Europe was a long term US projects. There is no doubt but your obsession with CIA is nuts. Don't you think the rest of the US government does anything? pl

Jack

David

IMO, its not really a failure of educational systems but an evolution of cultural precepts and the resulting groupthink. That in a recursive algorithm has modified the academic environment. The elites in the west have disassociated themselves from their countrymen and have developed a narrow set of relationships among themselves. Some what analogous to the caste system in India. The "priestly" caste of western elites are developing a post-national ethos best epitomized by Davos Man. Many people of Jewish association due to their outsized role in finance, media and academia have dominated the shaping of the current groupthink. They have bought into the thesis of Israel as the bulwark of civilization in the Middle East surrounded by savages.

There is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance building both politically and financially. Euro-skeptic parties are gathering strength on the continent as the euphoria around the Euro fades and the more recent consequences of mass immigration. Brexit was a perfect example of a shock. Similarly, one is seeing the outcomes of extraordinary monetary policies that force even more extreme policies as the apparatchiks can't countenance failure. One sees this argument that unlimited spending and borrowing in a sovereign currency is benign among the cognoscenti. The suppression of financial volatility and the the increasing trajectory of credit growth and backstops of "moneyness" of financial instruments.

When this gathering intensity in cultural "mood" is coupled with ferocity with which the elites are maintaining their delusions there is a potent cocktail brewing. Neil Howe's generational cycles provide a very interesting context to view the landscape.

YT

http://m.journal-neo.org/2016/06/22/the-roi-of-crisis-building-in-the-middle-east-more-soros-hedging/

I concur.

This cur is no friend of Israel.

YT

http://m.journal-neo.org/2016/06/22/the-roi-of-crisis-building-in-the-middle-east-more-soros-hedging/

I concur.

This cur is no friend of israel.

YT

Good Lord.

I feel sorry for the entire world already.

After soros senior FOAD, there's still junior to contend with...

David Habakkuk

Jack,

I do not disagree with any of that, and clearly could usefully look further at Neil Howe, and ‘generational cycles.’

My remark about ‘failure of the British educational system’ was in part a bad joke. But there was also a specific British context, which may be relevant to ‘generational cycles’.

Like me, Gideon Rachman is a product of the Cambridge history school – although he graduated with a first, and I a lower second! It was also in substantial measure out of a strand in Cambridge history – associated with a college called Peterhouse and a figure called Maurice Cowling – that the ‘Henry Jackson Society’ emerged. As I noted in an earlier comment, this organisation, founded in 2005, is a central organisation of ‘neoconservatism’ in Britain.

According to its ‘Statement of Principles’, the HJS:

‘Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that the political or human rights pronouncements of any international or regional organisation which admits undemocratic states lack the legitimacy to which they would be entitled if all their members were democracies.’

(See http://henryjacksonsociety.org/about-the-society/statement-of-principles/ .)

The old sub-editor in me winces at the ambiguity. To say a state is ‘legitimate’ or ‘illegitimate’ can either mean that those subjected to its rule do, or do not, accept it as so – or that they should, or should not, accept it as so. If it is the former, it is clearly false.

If the latter – then it seems likely that an implicit premise is that ‘liberal democratic’ government is a feasible possibility for everyone everywhere. Unless this is a credible premise, a question arises is whether what we have is indeed an ‘Empire of Chaos’.

In January 2007, Gideon Rachman published a piece in the FT, under the title ‘How Iraq and climate change threw the right into disarray’, which in my view brings into sharp relief the relation between this delusional mindset and the events of the ‘Eighties.

(See https://www.ft.com/content/2ebaf5d0-aa55-11db-83b0-0000779e2340 .)

Two excerpts:

‘Most people’s first reactions to new political issues are instinctive. In 2003, the kind of people going on anti-war marches – or warning of impending climate doom – looked to many right-wingers like the same people who had been wrong about everything else for the past 25 years. They were the people warning the world was running out of oil in the 1970s; who opposed privatisation in the 1980s and marched against the first Gulf war in 1991. They were the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament crowd; the “East Germany has solved the housing problem” crowd; the “we are all going to die of mad-cow disease” crowd. They were earnest men in cardigans and fierce women in sensible shoes.

‘The thought that these people could be right about anything was frankly intolerable. But, in fact, they were right about two things: global warming and Iraq ...

‘The Iraq debacle also cuts away at the intellectual and moral self-confidence of the right. The Reagan-Thatcher approach to the world was founded on an unapologetic belief in military strength and an unhesitant confidence in the moral superiority of western democracy. When the cold war was won in 1989, the right embraced an exuberant universalism. The cheering crowds in Prague and the Baltic states – and even the martyred students of Tiananmen Square – seemed like clinching evidence that all men do indeed desire the same things, and that a western formula for freedom and prosperity is infinitely exportable.’

I won’t go in detail into the tissue of dubious judgements and non-sequiturs in this passage.

The reference to CND brings back ironic memories.

Back in the ‘Eighties, I was deeply suspicious about CND, in large measure because most of its members were socialists. And I also uncritically accepted the conventional wisdom according to which generational change in the Soviet leadership was not likely to produce radical policy change.

A ‘blast from the past’, recently was discovering that a man called Stephen Shenfield had published a book on Kindle, ‘Stories of a Soviet Studier.’ Not only was a socialist when I met him back all those years ago – as was amply clear from his website, he still is.

(See http://stephenshenfield.net/ .)

As a result of his work in CND, Shenfield became involved from 1983 on in contacts with two Soviet academics, Colonel Viktor Girshfeld and Fyodor Burlatsky. When he published Girshfeld’s thoughts about a radical revision of the Soviet security policy the following year, and subsequently, he was, predictably, dismissed as the conduit for a ‘disinformation operation.’

Subsequently, it was a magazine with which he was closely involved, ‘Detente’, which covered extensively the work of Soviet military reformers like Andrei Kokoshin and Valentin Larionov.

At the time, both the intellectual heirs of ‘Scoop’ Jackson – like Perle and Wolfowitz – and also ‘mainstream’ British figures, like Lawrence – now Sir Lawrence – Freedman – patently had not the first idea what to make of Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’.

Another ‘blast from the past’ was reading a memorandum by Freedman which provided much of the intellectual basis for the advocacy of ‘humanitarian interventionism’ by Tony Blair – himself a former CND member – in his speech at the Chicago Economic Club in April 1999.

(See http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/96209/1999-04-16-Memo-Freedman-to-Powell.pdf .)

As it happened, being then a rather conventional Cold War liberal, I used Freedman as a presenter on a special programme a colleague and I made on European security in 1986 – we also had Perle on a satellite link.

I was grimly amused by the following statement:

‘As we address world problems, at the NATO summit and G8 meetings, we might be tempted to think back to the clarity and simplicity of the cold war. There were arguments about the right strategy to adopt to contain the Soviet threat but the threat itself was well understood.’

An ironic consequence of the collapse of socialist ‘narratives’ in the ‘Eighties is that people like Freedman can get away with lying. If ‘the threat itself was well understood’, then the liquidation of that threat ought to have been better understood.

I was also grimly amused to learn that the novelist Saul Bellow wrote in the ‘National Interest’ in 1993 that he absorbed Marxism ‘in the high-chair while eating my mashed potatoes’.

(See http://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-Leftists-Who-Turned-Right--book-review-.html?soid=1114009586911&aid=KiblNpPQY3c .)

Perhaps I could say that in my own high chair, I imbibed the comprehensive contempt which comprehensive contempt which the old ‘Lib-Lab’ tradition in Britain had for communists of any stripe.

As it happens, ‘unintended consequences’ were always at the core of a liberal critique of what the late Sir Karl Popper called ‘utopian social engineering.’ It is ironic that I now find myself concerned, as much as anything, with dangers which may arise, as a result of the predisposition of erstwhile ‘leftists’ of various kinds, to treat the Cold War in terms of ‘clarity and simplicity’.

And there is a further irony. Both Freedman, and Shenfield, came from families of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe – and both started out as leftists (about Freedman, I am in a position to know, as we have mutual friends.)

But people from similar backgrounds take different paths. So Freedman, who is fundamentally a careerist, and also a Zionist, got the end of the Cold War completely wrong. He ended up as a Privy Councillor, ‘The Right Honourable Sir Lawrence David Freedman, KCMG, CBE, FBA.’

By contrast, Stephen Shenfield, who correctly anticipated radical change in the Soviet Union, had difficulty finding academic jobs, and ended up in the United States. He also restates one traditional response to the opportunities and dangers faced by Jews as a result of the Enlightenment: he is a left-wing, anti-Zionist, universalist.

As such, there is a good deal in what he writes with which I would agree, and much with which I would disagree.

But a real irony is that, whatever our disagreements, I think him a man of honour (although he might well regard that as an old-fashioned value.)

In sharp contrast, I do not think that either Gideon Rachman or Lawrence Freedman have any sense of honour, worth speaking of, at all. As to the ‘Henry Jackson Society’ – I think the ‘Peterhouse right’ in Cambridge had a strong streak of rascality, which has now run out of control.

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