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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Are the King and Queen of Spain tired of reigning?", Napoleon - What to do about Saudi Arabia?

The words above uttered by Bonaparte are instructive of how we should deal with with the Sauds.  On the usual American Tax Day, the New York Times reports a different bit of extortion.  It seems the Saudi clique like criticism as much as Turkish President Erdogan.

According to the Times,

 Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Neutralist does see the Saudis point, sort of.  They thought they could get away with anything because they were our oil buddies.

Now they want to punish us.  Are they threatening to stop selling oil.  Don't be silly.  There are a heck of a lot of spigots out there and they want to protect market share.

No, the threat is economic and according to Mish Shedlock, it is empty.  Mish has noted today that the Saudis have told their contractors that everything is going on the cuff.  They are having a liquidity crisis.

Per Mish, "Does Saudi Arabia even have $750 billion. Color me skeptical.
Saudi Arabia’s bluff that it would sell US assets if the Obama signed the bill seems more ridiculous than ever."
So, it is possible if not probable that without a sponsor (us, up until now), the ruling kleptos could experience some of the same punishments they have been happy to provide as entertainment to their primitive populace.  
How awful that would be.  In that spirit, we provide a musical interlude.
We at the Neutralist hope the people who are badly running our country wise up and don't try to save those who were complicit in 911.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

That Trump has John Bolton as a foreign policy advisor should be disturbing - His role in government was that of an abusurdicrat

If there is anyone who has been following The Neutralist, they would know that I have spoken kindly about Donald Trump's foreign policy pronouncements.  In fact, they have been the best of all the candidates.  As we have quoted him before,

“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.”

Sensible and to the point.

So why would he be taking on an unreformed neocon such as John Bolton as an advisor?

David Corn in Mother Jones has a short and to the point look at Bolton who could be European royalty when we analyze what he learns and forgets (that would be nothing).

Bolton, who flirted with the notion of running for president in 2016, has a long history of extreme positions. In 2009, he noted that the only way to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons would be an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran—an option he seemed to endorse. In 2012, he backed then-Rep. Michele Bachmann's call for an investigation of members of Congress supposedly connected to a Muslim Brotherhood plot to infiltrate the US government. This past March, Bolton called for the United States and/or Israel to bomb Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

And, of course, he is still proud of the Iraq debacle.  How  Trump squares that is hard to figure unless he listens to the chickenhawk for what not to think.

John Bolton, the great absurdicrat.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Stephen Kinzer against the grain on Syria.The question is how does this guy get published?

One would not want The Neutralist to become All Stephen Kinzer all the time, but even after being praised on these pages, he is not resting.

In the February 18, 2016 Boston Globe, He has written the article, The media are misleading the public on Syria.  Now, if you are willing to seek out other sources, you may know that there is another side to the story, but you won't find it in the regular press.

According to virtually all the Main Stream Media, Assad lives only to kill his own people and the brave Syrian people are standing up against his oppression unless they are starving in enclaves. Meanwhile, the Russkies are bombing the good rebels as opposed to ISIL or Daesh or whatever it is called this week.

His last article which was discussed on The Neutralist was refreshing.  This one, well it's sticking a thumb into the eye of not just the media, but the government apparatus.  It's the emperor has no clothes on steroids.  With that said, Mr. Kinzer is not really trying to be a firebrand.  His article is nicely laid out.  It can't be helped, the normal press has gone so far overboard that reason seems almost unhinged.

After the Globe article, he appeared on NECN to speak with one of their hosts.  Now New England Cable News is not Fox or CNN, but it was still a happy surprise.  If you get a chance, watch it and see a reasonable man talk sense.

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 Muhammad Sahimi is almost completely right

In today's, 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.

*This is not something the Neutralist takes any pleasure in suggesting.  He grew up in a town with a Moslem community in the 1950s.  They had started coming in the early 20th Century.  I cannot speak to the exact level of assimilation, but no one had a bad word to say about them.

Still, there are always people in every society who cannot separate out the good and the bad.  Most Americans by now see Middle-Easterners as troubled at best.  Who cannot understand that the odd Moslem might resent all in the West and not just the neocons.

**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.