The Neutralist

Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Call him crazy, and you would be wrong. Kim Jong Un was saner than Obama. Is he saner than trump?

Kim Jong Un gets it.  He knows that if he gave up his nukes he would be soon meeting with Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  So during the Trump-Abe love fest, he sets off one of his one of his supposedly more advanced firecrackers and puts the two Mar-a-Lago dinner companions in a tizzy. They had to come up with a joint statement by the lights of their cell phones.

The Japanese head of government said, "naughty, naughty" and our man said "we love Japan."  Okay, that's not what they said, but the actual verbiage is not much different in substance.  It never really is.

We really have not solved the North Korea problem and what we are doing is not the answer.

Consortium News has a better idea.  Maybe we should try negotiating with the lad instead of more sanctions.  They haven't worked too many places.

Or maybe, we should just say au revoir?

Doug Bandow, Senior Cato Institute Fellow, has a blog column at Forbes and the title is, "As Korean Peninsula Gets Weirder And Less Stable U.S. Should Head For The Exits."

According to Mr. Bandow,
"But the threat is largely self-induced.  That is, Washington could easily deflate the fantastic nightmare of a North Korean nuclear attack on America by leaving the Korean Peninsula."
Bandow further states

Which leaves the debate over U.S. policy in full swing in Washington. Doing nothing is not a good option. The North would just continue to develop missiles and nukes. It already may have enough material for about 20 weapons. Some estimates have Pyongyang possessing 50 or even 100 weapons within a few years. Sticking around Northeast Asia while passively watching events would be foolish at best, dangerous at worst.

So, saying au revoir is the best option.  That is, of course, the Neutralist's default option.

You are saying what about our ally to the south.

We have done well by South Korea.  They are a smart and talented nation and have gotten to flood us with their phones and cars, but maybe they should face the future by themselves.

Kim Jong Un is a lot less crazy than the country that does not know when to leave.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

I know I'll never find another Yoo, fortunately

John Yoo has an op-ed piece in the New York Times, you know the scandal sheet that features the merger of neoliberals and neoconservatives to bomb countries and then bring their suffering populations here.

Mr. Yoo, in the Bush administration, claimed the president could legally engage in torture. One would think the great and good might move away from the man who. according to Jon Schwarz of the intercept,

Yoo’s legal reasoning, as he (together with his superior Jay Bybee, who’s now a federal judge) advised the Bush White House, is that “the Department of Justice could not enforce Section 2340A [the federal probation against torture] against federal officials acting pursuant to the President’s constitutional authority to wage a military campaign.” In other words, the president can’t crush a 6-year-old boy’s testicles for fun, but if he thinks some child-testicle-crushing is needed to win the war, it’s totally constitutional.
You too might have thought that the world would have distanced itself from John Yoo, but no, he found a nice spot as a professor at Berkeley.  Wonder what he feels about his place of employment as that Madrassa has no problem with masked thugs suppressing speech.

The good professor's piece at the Times notes his misgivings about our new president.

Yoo has a problem with Mr. Trump on a few constitutional points.

Immigration has driven Mr. Trump even deeper into the constitutional thickets. Even though his executive order halting immigration from seven Muslim nations makes for bad policy, I believe it falls within the law. But after the order was issued, his adviser Rudolph Giuliani disclosed that Mr. Trump had initially asked for “a Muslim ban,” which would most likely violate the Constitution’s protection for freedom of religion or its prohibition on the state establishment of religion, or both — no mean feat. Had Mr. Trump taken advantage of the resources of the executive branch as a whole, not just a few White House advisers, he would not have rushed out an ill-conceived policy made vulnerable to judicial challenge.
So we bomb and torture people in MENA and Yoo is okay with that. Those folks may not harbor affection for us and understandably may want to harm us. The new president may believe that Muslims from disaffected regions may want to do that. Is that in the "constitutional thickets?"
If he were to proscribe the Muslim faith for all who are here legally and are citizens, no one would contest that that was unconstitutional.  People who are not here, well that is another story, and a full complement of the Supreme Court should be the final arbiter, but the idea itself is not at all outside the bounds of reason.

On December 1, The then president-elect outlined his foreign policy,
"We will destroy ISIS. At the same time, we will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks," Trump told attendees at the U.S. Bank Arena. "Our goal is stability, not chaos because we wanna rebuild our country. It's time."
"In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will."
I am not sure if Trump completely means this.  Rumors of nominating Elliott Abrams as Deputy Secretary of State are not reassuring.  Nevertheless, the quote, while not neutralist, is a better sentiment than anything Mr. Yoo or any neocon has ever come up with.

I hope Trump means it and that we never hear from Mr. Yoo again.

Friday, January 27, 2017

I love ya Bill, but can't we give a nod to the good n word instead of the i word?

Over at the Spectator, Bill Kauffman has a lovely article entitled Isolationism is a noble American tradition.  He goes over the reasons that non-intervention is better than the eternal save the world stuff that is our foreign policy.

As to his use of the word "Isolationism" he uses it better than most people who say they are isolationists.  Even he, if we could ask him, might admit neutralism is a better choice, at least we hope.

So go read his article and just try to squeeze out Isolationism and replace with Neutralism.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mike Whitney nails it, The Trump Speech That No One Heard at Counterpunch

It looked like business as usual for the foreign policy establishment back in 2015.  Jeb was being set up to lose gracefully to Hilary and war and mayhem could continue in foreign lands as usual.

A funny thing happened on the way to the continued status quo.  That funny thing was Donald Trump.  We at the Neutralist kind of laughed at first as well.  However, anyone who is anti-intervention has to be guardedly hopeful.

Trump has come close to a sensible foreign policy as anyone in recent times, such as maybe Grover Cleveland.  Not a high bar that.

Mike Whitney at Counterpunch has noticed that our new pres made a sensible speech.  Unfortunately, the press did not.  For those of you who have not read Mr. Whitney's article here is what the then president-elect said in Cincinnati on December 1.

“We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States]… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”
As the Neutralist, we would wish he would just bring all the troops home and try not to let bad actors into the country.  Still, as a policy, it would be an improvement over the last several chief executives.  Who could be against such common sense?

No one except the foreign policy elite including such institutions as the Council on Foreign Relations and that pay for play outfit, the Brookings Institute.  No matter that our FP this century has been one screw up after another, they want to keep going to take over the world and run it for elite interests.

It has been a recipe for disaster and probably will be in the future, but let's repeat the mantra "Trump is dangerous.

Read Mr. Whitney's piece.  It is worth your time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

William Kristol resigns as editor of The Weekly Standard-He won't be missed, if only because he won't be going anywhere

After twenty-one years as editor of The Weekly Standard, William Kristol is moving on, but not to far.  His new posisiton, "I'm thoroughly looking forward to the welcome opportunity to work on longer pieces while continuing to write weekly editorials and contribute to the website."

The Neutralist does not mean him ill, but his career is one of successful failure.  He was completely wrong about Iraq, then and now, and yet there were no cries to cast him out into the exterior darkness.

On Libya, he was equally mistaken, maybe worse, and yet there was no outcry to banish him.  This was probably because he was not without company.

Of course, he covered himself in glory as one of the chief nevertrumpers.  How a guy can keep smiling with egg all over his face for a whole presidential campaign will never cease to amaze me.

So as he continues to be seen on Fox and other venues pontificating away, we at the Neutralist have a rule, if Bill states there is someplace we need to invade or free, we don't.

Monday, December 19, 2016

John Kerry-sinecure watch

At the Hill is the headline that Kerry will return to Boston, work in privatesector.

Is this not a great country or what?  A man with no ability who ran a failed foreign policy can come back to his hometown and get a job.

His prospects are great.