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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Poor Stephen Kinzer, the lowly, mostly unread Neutralist is rewarding him by making him a Neutralist Fellow

The Neutralist trudges along in obscurity trying to get the nation on board with a humble non-interventionist foreign policy.  We spend almost all our time in the great swamp of despondency, feeling unwanted and unloved.

Then along comes someone to prove to us there is some sanity in the universe.

In of all places, someone made sense in the Boston Globe, an establishment organ if there ever was one.

It was without a sense of urgency that we got to this as it was published on December 13th of last year.  Mr. Kinzer's What a truly conservative foreign policy looks like is not long, about 700 words, but that hardly matters.  It is as direct and to the point as anything the Globe has printed on the subject, which isn't much.

He begins by setting out what American Foreign Policy is,

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY is based on deep convictions. Those who shape it believe the United States is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best shown by threatening or using force. Beneath these beliefs lies the assumption that the United States knows more and sees further than other countries.
He then tells us why it is essentially liberal,

Many liberals embrace this dogma. That makes sense. It emerges from the liberal tradition, which imagines that humanity is steadily progressing toward a perfect world in which no one will go hungry, warlords will disappear, diseases will be cured, and people will cooperate for the common good. 
As the few readers of this blog must know, we see such an attitude at best as misguided and at worst, delusional and dangerous.

Mr. Kinzer than gives us the conservative FP.

Conservatism, by contrast, is a live-and-let-live ideology. By nature it is prudent, careful, and restrained. Conservatives do not believe that any country can solve the world’s problems or is called to do so. They want to leave other nations alone, not remake them. That makes restraint in foreign affairs an essentially conservative doctrine. 

It is well stated.  He then asks the question,

Why, then, do so many self-proclaimed conservatives vote for lavish defense budgets, favor maintaining hundreds of military bases around the world, and support foreign wars?
Our good man knows the answer,

It is because they have left true conservatism behind. The vision of an exceptional America, dominating the world and shaping the fate of nations near and far, has seduced them away from conservative values.
Though this is valid as far as it goes, there is a problem with it.  He mentions Taft and Hoover and Ron Paul as real conservatives and he is right.  Most, however on the American right have never been really conservative, at least as far as foreign policy is concerned, even though they claim the label. They never held conservative values to be seduced from.  This is not just sad, it's tragic.

It is a excellent work by the visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.  He finishes it strongly,
Mainstream conservatism has joined the foreign policy consensus. By helping to push the United States into ambitious nation-building projects, its leaders have abandoned their movement’s founding principles. A true conservative looks dubiously on foreign intervention. Who does not, is none.
As they say, the thing speaks for itself.

Kinzer never labels himself, for all we know, he may not be a conservative and might be appalled that The Neutralist is favoring his article.  No matter.

So, our apologies Mr.Kinzer, but we officially make you a fellow of theNeutralist institute.

We might ask Globe token "conservative" Jeff Jacoby should read What a truly conservative foreign policy looks like.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

All News is Propaganda - BBC Lyse Doucet edition

Driving on errands during the week, the BBC correspondent was talking about the horrible starvation happening in a Syrian town held by rebels and under siege by government forces.  There was some mention that there were towns occupied by Assad's men.

the reporter, Lyse Doucet, oozed concern.  It truly sounded as if an event was occurring that would make Pol Pot blush.

Who could ever think that such a kindly and caring voice was having us on?

I may be wrong as my ride ended soon enough, but my ragtime meter was straining to go to 11.

Sure enough, there was a lot of exposure of the false narrative.  The ever reliable Colonel Lang was on the case,

Now we have the interesting case of Madaya, a rebel controlled town on the Syria/Lebanon border up on the Anti-Lebanon mountain. 
In this piece the author demonstrates that the images being spread across the world by the Western media are demonstrably false.
Particularly annoying are the photos of a pretty little girl claimed to be starving in Madaya.  this girl has now revealed on the internet that she is happily living with her family in south Lebanon.
See the article he references here.

If an article appears on Big News, be suspicious, be very suspicious.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

At Antiwar.com Muhammad Sahimi is almost completely right

In today's Antiwar.com, Muhammad Sahimi has an article, What the Islamophobes Won’t Say About the West’s Destruction of theMideast, that almost perfectly reflects the Neutralist's position on the Middle-East.

Mr. Sahimi details the reasons Muslims might not be absolutely happy with the American and allied intervention in the region he hails from.  It is a record we can neither deny nor be proud of if we are honest.

Though the Neutralist agrees, our meddling invites blow back, at least a time out from Muslim immigration is warranted.  This is not because we believe the followers of Islam are all evil, it is because your average US citizen does not deserve a San Bernadino or Marathon bombing or a Fort Hood shooting, even if he or she blindly agrees with the propaganda.

As Mr. Sahimi's case is well made, it only bolsters the case for Neutralism.  We need to withdraw our forces from MENA, let them solve their own problems and when they have sorted it out, resume a relationship on a basis we can all agree on.

I urge anyone who is not conversant with our adventures in the Middle-East to read the article.

There is a problem I have.  I think he correctly decries the neocons and their attitude, but there is a more nuanced view of the Islamic world that he does not address.  Our country's first foreign war after the revolution was with the Barbary states of North Africa.

These entities would send their raiders to prey on Europe's commercial shipping and after the American Revolution on ours.  The Neutralist has touched on this before.

We have mentioned the words of the Tripolitan ambassador to Jefferson,


The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
Most progressive Americans don't get what that means and some conservatives thinks it means we have an eternal war

That was mainstream Muslim thought in the early 18th Century, why would it not be today?  

The local UCC (Congregational) is the direct descendant of the Puritans, a theocracy as virulent as the Wahabis.  Cotton Mather would have thought abortion nothing other than an abomination. The UCC agreed until 1971.  The malleability of doctrine, that one day something is a horrible sin and the next, choice is not seen as crazy.*

The Muslim, believing the Koran the word of God, sees that it can’t change.  It is a consistent position and no one should blame the believer for holding it.

So the ambassador’s words are, speaking loosely, gospel in the early 1800s as well as the 21st century.

The folks who have the coexist bumper stickers don’t get it.  Trump voters do.  Quite the divide.

The we are the world types see Jihadists a tiny minority and the neocons as forever war. The former don't quite get that the Muslims have not changed with the times and polls show that many of them believe death is proper for Apostasy.

Is there hope?  Yes but not immediately.  As the local Calvinists no longer preach Old Testament fire and brimstone and no longer burn witches (unlike some people today) it is to be wished that Islamic preachers will emphasize passages such as To You Your Religion and To Me Mine (Qur'an 109:1-6) instead of those more favored by the ambassador.

So time out until we have a better vetting process (assuming we can ever trust our own government to do it honestly) that can weed out the bad apples completely and we need to stay home as well.

*Lest any one is wondering, this is not about abortion for or against, just illustrating how an organization can shift when the time comes to get with it.







Friday, December 11, 2015

Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, which is the better dog food?

A Madison Avenue fable from Ben Wattenberg.
Seeking to produce a new dog food, a big corporation set market researchers, food chemists and advertising agencies to work. The experts came up with a new product they were proud of. The dog food sold well, for a while. Then it slumped. Puzzled, the corporate executives commissioned a public opinion firm to see what was wrong.
Soon, the answer came back: "The dogs don't like it."
And this is the story of Jeb Bush, not to mention the rest of the crowd.  They started the race with the same basic message, Don't say too, too much about immigration.  Jeb was the most vocal with his "act of love" quote, but no one was really out there.

So the puppies may not have lapped it up, but they ate the same old because that is all that they had, that is if they even showed up.

So along comes a new brand by an upstart company and les chiens will eat nothing but.  All the other companies are saying, "how can you let the dogs eat that junk.  It don't matter.

The contempt that the old companies had for the consumers was so pervasive they wonder about the market.  That they would go astray with alacrity does not let them question themselves.  Instead, they have even more contempt for the target.

A commenter at Sic Semper Tyrannis, Bill Herschel put it well,


So Jeb Bush etc. declare that we are in a battle of civilizations and blame Obama for not recognizing the fact. Then, after a terrorist attack in California by batsh*t nuts Islamic terrorists, one of whom has immigrated from... you guessed it, Saudi Arabia (doesn't that ring a bell?), Donald Trump respectfully suggests that we take a time-out on Muslim immigration, and the very same people who say it's a battle of civilizations say that he is not an American.

Let us not forget that Trump made the least insane comment about Putin and Syria,


When asked what he thinks Putin is doing in the Middle East, Trump stated, “Well, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over, and Putin is now taking over what we started, and he’s going into Syria, and he frankly wants to fight ISIS, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. You know, I said that a year ago and everybody said oh, that’s terrible. If he wants to fight ISIS, let him fight ISIS. Why do we always have to do everything. But he wants to go in. He wants to fight ISIS. Now, he wants to keep, as you know, he wants to keep your leadership, your current leadership, Assad in Syria. Personally I’ve been looking at the different players, and I’ve been watching Assad, and I’ve been pretty good at this stuff over the years, cause deals are people. And I’m looking at Assad and saying, ‘Maybe he’s better than the kind of people that we’re supposed to be backing.’ Because we don’t even know who we’re backing.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the field would want to do something that might risk nuclear war.  It's hard not to look like a giant amidst those midgets.

The Neutralists will say no more now.  With all the money Jeb is spending, you would think one of his hotshots would come up with something to find a pulse.

The Neutralist could use the work.  Jeb, get in touch with me, I will work for much less and promise to get you to 4%.

Stick a fork in him, he's dog food. 


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

If you are going to be hung as a horse thief, you might as well steal horses.

The title is supposedly an Irish proverb.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't but  Mr. Trump has got the message, and no other GOPer has.

That old neocon, Limbaughput it nicely,

Everybody, everybody -- now Paul Ryan has joined in -- everybody condemning Donald Trump. The conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump's insane, he's a lunatic, crazy. This is dangerous. This is bad. It's un-American. It's unacceptable. He's gotta go.

Except he's leading. A big problem. Even Dingy Harry -- and, by the way, for all of you Republicans getting on this gravy train condemning Trump, I want to show you what good it's doing you. Dingy Harry: "Donald Trump is standing on the platform of hate, and, I'm sorry to say, hate that the Republican Party has built for him."

You Republicans, you can denounce Trump all day, all week, all month, and the Democrat Party and the media are still gonna say you laid the table for it. You can condemn Trump all you want, but it is not going to buy you any love or respect or admiration from the Drive-By Media and the Democrats. Now, folks, the conventional wisdom is that Trump is scum, that Trump is a reprobate, that Trump is dangerous, that Trump is obscene, Trump's insane, Trump's a lunatic, Trump's dangerous, Trump's got to go. Why join in with that phrase? Why join that crowd? We never fall in with conventional wisdom here.
Listen to NPR and they don't even try to pretend objectivity.  Yeah, they'll quote a Repub saying Trump is off his rocker and when Trump is gone, they'll happily bash the man  they quoted.

So we all agree, Trump is anti-American because of his exclusionary thoughts.  Well folks, for most of our history, that has been mainstream.  Jimmy Carter banned Iranians and that did not disqualify him from a Nobel.

Early American policy was to say the least, discrimintory.

1790 Congress adopts uniform rules so that any free white person could apply for citizenship after two years of residency
Whether that is good or bad, Trump is not un-American even though some geniuses, such as Dick Cheney, Van Jones, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker may think.  Ah but ignorance is bliss.

At the Neutralist, we do not hate Muslims, but letting them in is not going well.  We hate to be pity party poopers, but the question is begged but if they're so wonderful, why are there so many problems in all of their lands.

Of course, our country is not perfect, but it is ours.  Theirs should be theirs and we should not contribute to screwing them up.  Thus, again the Neutralist mantra, bring the boys home.

As to another possible Mick proverb, provided by the late Social-Democrat of Irish Protestant extraction, John Roche had one.  "Never get involved in the religious wars of churches to which you do not belong."


Friday, December 04, 2015

They accomplished their mission

More news has come out that the two murderers in California were not involved in something "workplace-related" as our misoverestimated  president had mentioned as a possibility.  Their wiping of their digital record the day before says it all.

The Neutralist has not seen any evidence that the duo were controlled by any jihad organization.  They were working on their own.

The softness of the target is what makes it effective.  Some poor fellow who just wants to live life and do his job is now suspect.  "You know Ahmed is the best worker we've had here and gets along with everyone."  "Yeah, they said that about the San Bernadino guy as well."

As the wife appears to have been a radical before she got here, it puts in question the so-called vetting program.  Of course no one believes the administration cares to keep out anyone.

US foreign policy including who we let in is and has been a mistake since forever.

Bring the troops home and secure the border.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Speaking Truth to Stupid

A couple of links from Drudge this morning are the cause of this post.

The first one, Iraqis think the U.S. is in cahoots with the Islamic State, and it is hurting the war in the Washington Post may or may not be correct.  That their is some suspicion is not insane.  There is ample evidence that the Qataris are supporting ISIS and we are their best buddies.

American policy is impenetrable.  One can only wonder at what the administration is doing.  None of it makes sense.

In a post on Sic Semper Tyrannis, a commenter is quoted,

Just trying to keep my scorecard straight. Let’s see. The Americans are using a Turkish airbase to bomb ISIS and protect our allies the Kurds. 
 The Turks are bombing our allies the Kurds while we are using their airbase.  The Americans are supplying human shields for terrorist in Syria who are being bombed by the Russians. 
On the Iraqi side, American air power is being used to protect and support the new Iranian puppet regime in Iraq installed by the Americans after the gulf war.  The Mahdi army that we fought in Sadr City are now advanced element of the Iraqi army we are protecting. 
Officers of “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” the Iranians are standing next to Iraqi officers who are standing next to American officers all cooperating to kill ISIS soldiers who have been receiving weapons from Americans through American proxies we consider”moderate rebels”. 
Meanwhile, our “enemies” the Iranians are supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen while our “allies” the people who destroyed the trade centers have involved the U.S. in yet another unauthorized war by aggressively attacking the houthis who were helping the U. S. fight Al Queda in Yemen before . 
In the meanwhile “moderate rebels” are undoubtedly being furnished weapons capable of bringing down Russian war planes. So while Russia is bombing ISIS, we are encouraging our proxies to shoot down their planes. 
Will someone tell me whose side we are on today?
It nicely sums it up the bizarre nature of our Mid-east policy.

It was thus refreshing to read the other Drudge Link.  Refreshing?  Heck, it was mind blowing.  Not only was it about someone actually making sense, it was a Democrat and it was in that journal of Neoconism, The National Review.


Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii has called out the folly of our reckless adventurism,

Carter got a hint of just how difficult it may be to sell Congress on such legislation when Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) suggested that Obama’s decision to place American fighter jets equipped “to target Russian planes” on the border between Turkey and Syria, and his stated opposition to Russian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, could lead the U.S. into a nuclear war with Vladimir Putin’s regime. 
“Russia’s installation of their anti-aircraft missile-defense system increases that possibility of — whether it’s intentional or even an accidental event — where one side may shoot down the other side’s plane,” Gabbard told Carter. “And that’s really where the potential is for this devastating nuclear war.”
For the woman to take on the president, a member of her party, is brave, unless she had permission.  Generally, a politician is guilty until proven innocent, but we live in hope.

Keep talking Tulsi!