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.

Friday, September 23, 2016

USA, a day late country and many dollars short

Martin van Creveld, The Israeli military historian has an article at his As I Please website by guest writer, Karsten Riise.  Van Creveld is an intellectual of note.  There is not much biographical information about Mr. Riise on the web, but that Professor van Creveld hosts him is an affirmation,

The article, The US Position is Untenable our current geopolitical situation.  An American who cares for his homeland can only come to one conclusion.  Our country needs to bring all it's troops, planes and ships home...yesterday.

Neutralists who have watched our country over the last several decades would have long come to the conclusion that our huge overseas footprint is a waste.  Whether if it was “all the dominos will domino if we leave Vietnam,” to “we must fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here,” it's all been silly sloganeering.

Mr. Riise, probably either Dutch or Dane, has not been subject to the propaganda that we Americanos have.  His piece is thoughtful and discusses what's wrong from different angles.

He begins with a graph and then explains that the Federal Debt as a percentage of GDP is set to go from 75% to 146%.  We neutralists are not all great economists, and I think his date is off, but such a number in the future is disturbing as the government usually underestimates the bad.

Should we be worried?  Since the demise of the USSR, it has not been the Nirvana we all hoped for.  Adam Smith said “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”  That was back in 1777.  The Brits have managed to hold on with varying fortune.  Can we?

Most nations muddle through dumb economic policies and then when they have no choice, do something stupider, or by accident, something smart.  We live in hope.

Mr. Riise thinks I'm part of the problem.  I resent that.  Just because I'm not as young as I once was, and there are more like me and less  young people to contribute to our happy and financially secure dotage is not our fault.

“The biggest driver of the US Federal debt is the aging of the US population. Today 15% of Americans are aged 65+. This percentage will increase by two thirds, so that by 2060 about 24% of the US population will be 65+. Until now, the USA has benefited from a young population. The strain on medicare and social spending of an aging population, even with the still limited entitlements in the USA, will be enormous.”

Hey we didn't ask to get old even if we haven't grown up, and anyway, my government can kick a can down the road like nobody's business.

Mr. Riise claims our infrastructure is third world level and thus we are becoming un-competitive.  China is building high speed trains like crazy and we don't have any.  We do have Acela, but that is limited in service, so we can give in on this one.  Worse, Les Chinois will probably build our high speeders when we finally get them.

Substandard education also makes us fall behind as our kids are not going to have the skills in worldwide competition.  At least, thanks to the current administration, they will know the right bathroom to use.

As people are less and less middle class and the the tax base shrinks, we can always make the rich pay their fair share and then some.  How will that work out?  According to the article, “Any attempts to heavily taxate (fiscate) the upper 10% (or 0.1% !) of the US tax base will lead to US dollar capital-flight, and acute economic crisis.” 

Embarrassing to us here in the Exceptional Nation, is that “The risk of starvation amongst the poorest in the USA remains high: In Obama’s presidency, one in seven Americans (14%) face the risk of not having enough to eat.”  The store shelves are not empty.  Could somebody be cooking the books on employment stats?

Well, there is an answer.  According to Paul Krugman and to paraphrase Edwin Starr's song, “War what is it good for, the economy.”

So there's not been a real recovery, the kids are dumb, the middle class is gone, the rich could leave, let's motivate the people with a crusade.  What could go wrong?

Putting aside that we have been on the warpath near a decade and a half, much could go awry.  Again, look to Mr. Riise again as he has detailed the problem with the war for prosperity plan.

The armament is in decline and shrinking. “The number of US ships and combat aircraft is declining, their average service-age goes up and their operativeness goes down.”  New equipment is often white elephant stuff.

“In absolute strength levels, the American military is standing still or going backwards.  The US military now delays military purchases in order to keep overall military expenditures flat the next 5 years.”

That is the most ominous aspect.  One hopes the poor GI in an outpost in Afghanistan doesn't get asked to wait a couple of days into the next month for his pay to stretch the budget.  Will we be able to afford the fuel for the last helicopter to pull him out when the dénouement becomes obvious to even the most obtuse neocon?

Mr. Riise goes on to discuss how the Russian and Chinese arms industries are out-competing us. 

His comment that “China is gaining the upper-hand in the Straight of Taiwan.” should give us all pause.  Since the 50s the US Navy has made sure that remnant of Chiang Kai Shek's regime would be safe and have an economic miracle.  More than six and a half decades after the rump of China became our ward, it's coming a cropper.

Has it all been for naught?  Does anyone believe we have a real chance to pacify Afghanistan, and other than resources to exploit, why would we want to?  Iraq to become a Denmark style paradise?  Nah, ask any Iraqi if that is possible, and he'll ask you how he can get to Denmark.

It ain't working and the king's horses and men can't put it back together as there are going to be less and less of them as we go forward.

So what is to be done?

A great conservative of the last century said it best, “Come home America.”   Actually, George McGovern would be rolling in his grave at being labelled in any sense a conservative, but the people who claim the label wouldn't know what it meant if it bit them on the nose.  The only true conservative or libertarian military policy is defense of hearth and home.

We all know how it is going to end, we just don't know the day or hour.

If you don't like George, there's always Freda.

“Bring 'em back alive.”

There has since been a rebuttal to Mr. Riise.  I shall get around to reading it eventually.  I have to say, however, in this century, life here in nowheresville has only gotten worse for my fellow lumpen countrymen, and without a change of direction, I don't expect it to get better.




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Deir al-Zor: Somebody got some splainin to do-Let us not hold our collective breaths

The atrocity of Deir al-Zor has led to apologies as it should.  Was it a mistake?  As usual, Sic Semper Tyrannis has an analysis that deserves consideration:

So, we and the Australians admit that we "done it."  The body count this morning is up to 83 and presumably will go higher.  Could it have been a real targeting error?  Yes.  People here on SST who have participated in air targeting know how easy it is to make a mistake.  But, there are some unusual things about this "error."  The SAA has been occupying these positions for six months or so.  Presumably US imagery and SIGINT analysts have been looking at them all that time and producing map overlays that show who is where in detail.  These documents would be widely available especially to air units and their targeteers.  US coalition led air has not struck previously in the Deir al-Zor area.  Why now?  Were they asked to strike?   The US does not talk to the Syrian government.  How would they have been asked?  Who would have designated the targets?  They struck in the presence of SAA troops without any ground liaison?  And what of the timing two days before the US-Russian deal was to be expanded into active cooperation?

Burden of proof is on USG.

The other remarks at SST about the Powers-Ash-Votel attitudes are also telling.

American FP is a mess.  Ruling the world is not working.  Bring the boys home.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/09/was-it-really-an-accident.html

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Hilary's resume

Over at Colonel Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis,  an commenter gave an nice little snapshot of who and what Hilary Clinton is.

OTOH, Hillary is exposed on all flanks. She's a continuation of Obama's (and her husband's) policies, which, as already pointed out, have been economically disastrous. Her tour as Sec State was disastrous. Her emails and the cover-up are embarrassments (or should be). Her own words (and her husband's) can be used against her; e.g. to brain addled to recall security procedures. Her stint as a US Senator was lackluster. She has taken $Gazzillions from Wall St. She has a record of government service and there's nothing good that can be said about any of it. And there's all the lies. I am looking forward to what she attempts to do to spin all of that. I can't figure an effective strategy.

It may not make one vote for Trump, but it does high light what a disaster she it.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

America the pushover-Ron Unz exposes how easy it was

Ron Unz hosts The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
and boy is it ever.  He features articles from some of the most outré writers going.  Never a dull moment.

He himself does an occasional column under the American Pravda banner.

His most recent offering is about the tricks the Brits took to inveigle us into WWII.

If you thought it all started with either the Gulf War (Don't go wobbly, George) or the Iraq invasion, well think again.

No Mr. Unz persuasively makes the case that Britain infiltrated just about everything in government to get us into war.

Of course, this is disconcerting to The Neutralist.  It is bad enough we are an imperialist nation throwing our weight around all over the world.  Also, it is a shame that we are influenced by everyone else like the Saudis, Israelis or Turks.  That it has been ongoing since at least World War I shows that it will probably continue unless there is a sea change.

Can it continue on forever with eternal war at the behest of foreigners?

The neutralist has always maintained, there are only two possibilities:

1. We come to our senses and defend only this nation.

2. We do not wise up and face the fate of most empires and it ain't pretty.

We hope and pray for the first alternative and that a neutralist ethos takes hold.

Go read Mr. Unz and learn something.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

File this under, If that is how a country runs its foreign policy, it does not deserve to have one-apologies to Dickens

Our relationship with Turkey has been a problem for a while now and does not look to become smooth anytime soon.  So, let's just fly those nukes at Incirilik out of Anatolia and say au revoir.
It may not be that simple.  At Antiwar.com, Jason Ditz has a post, "Report: US Nukes in Turkey at Risk of Seizure by Terrorists."
Why were they there even five minutes after the end of the last cold war?  Do they serve any purpose?  According to the article, "retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger noting late last month that the tactical nuclear weapons “no longer have any military usefulness.” The low-yield weapons were designed in the 1960s, and very few remain in service anymore, with what’s left mostly just scattered around bases in Europe as a throwback to the Cold War."
So really, why are they there?
The last paragraph nails it,
"This lack of utility has led nuclear powers to dramatically scale back their tactical arsenals, though as with the rest of the nuclear arsenals on the planet, there is considerable momentum behind keeping such costly weapons funded and “modernized.” Keeping the US arms in Europe and Turkey, for no good reason and at substantial risk, seems aimed primarily at retaining the illusion that such arms matter as anything but a sinkhole for billions in funding to fall into."
Follow the money.
Another reason why we need a neutralist ethos.




Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Daily Chatter-New Shill on the block

The Neutralist loves to see new ventures become successful.  As print dies, news goes online and to see something new and exciting is anticipated with pleasure.  Sadly, most often one is disappointed.

When the Daily Chatter appeared in the inbox, there was hope.  It did not last long.  DC is an email digest that promises the world in a couple of minutes.  A few snapshots maybe, but le monde, non.

What is worse, DC repeats the same goofy anti Russian, dare we say it, chatter that is already all over the media from Vox to the MSM.

Today, they start off with  the piece, Russian Roulette, with the usual media bias.


Negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin must feel a bit like Russian roulette. You know there’s a bullet in the chamber somewhere; you’re just not sure when it will go off.
A bit loaded that, but in setting the tone, the rest does not disappoint either.


With his 2014 invasion of Ukraine and his 2015 bombing campaign in Syria, the crafty Russian leader has pioneered a new sort of post-Cold War diplomacy.His invasion of Ukraine – as indicated by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent gaffe — is all-but forgotten. With the rest of the world’s attention fractured across various conflicts from Afghanistan to Syria, however, his troops and proxies have actually “steadily escalated the fighting” this summer, according to the Washington Post.

Much of the Post article is hinting.  Some of it might be true, but nowhere are the machinations of Nato and the West mentioned.

The Daily Chatter in this and previous postings never mentions who started the whole business.  They do not reference the rioting out of an elected, if unpopular president and the actions of Nuland and Pyatt in the event.

The rest of the article is the same silly speculation and

Ah but we eventually get to the full import of the article,


But the talk percolating in the Trump campaign of rethinking America’s commitment to its NATO allies left many seasoned wonks aghast. And the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, for its part, signaled that it was tired of Putin’s double dealing by approving the so-called STAND for Ukraine Act on July 14. 

If the full House passes the bill, U.S. President Barack Obama (or, more likely, his successor) will only be able to lift sanctions on Russia if Ukraine regains full sovereignty over Crimea or the status of the peninsula has been resolved to the Ukraine government’s satisfaction. 

But that’s only if the U.S. legislators are willing to pull the trigger.
So there it is.  Trump may not think going to war for Ukraine a good idea, but Phil Balboni and team DC, along with the MSM do.

DC is either a lazy cut and paste or it's on the team.

The hysteria promoted by the media never stops.

File another under all news is propaganda.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

What is it that only guys named Stephen can make sense on the news? This time Cohen.

Stephen Kinzer has been making sense in the Boston Globe on Syria and Russia.  Now along come Stephen Cohen to solidify the reputations of people named Stephen wise and thoughtful.

On CNN he discusses Putin with CNN's Michael Smerconish who recycled some talking points that Professor Cohen swatted away.  Please watch the video of a non-neocon getting on TV and doing something that is just not done, like making sense.