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, December 20, 2014

Vox Media’s Anti-Russia fanatic Max Fisher reductios to his personal absurdum

The most consistent aspect of Max Fisher’s coverage is that it is unhinged.  He is a serial Russia hater in article after article.  His Vox August 27th screed, Let’s be clear about this: Russia is invading Ukraine right now conjured up visions of the Wehrmacht breaking down the border gate with panzers rolling.
Of course, that did not happen but the lad is not deterred.  He must be running out of bile, as there is nothing but buffoonery in his recent This quote about Putin’s machismo from Angela Merkel is just devastating.  Max had to go all the way back to 2007 to dredge up something so little.  According to Max;
“The incident of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and the dog is a famous one. It was 2007 and Merkel, Germany's Chancellor, was visiting Putin at his presidential residence in Sochi to discuss energy trade. Putin, surely aware of Merkel's well-known fear of dogs, waited until the press gathered in the room, then called for his black Labrador to be sent in. The Russian president watched in unconcealed glee as the dog sniffed at Merkel, who sat frozen in fear.”

Yeah, tough ol’ Angela is afraid of a labrador.  It must be a hell of a phobia.  Labs have got to be about the friendliest pups around.  We’ve owned a few and as to protection from robbers, they’d help the thieves to the silverware just to be neighborly.

Okay, I don’t know what drives fear of mutts, but according to the Fish, what Angie said next was the ne plus ultra of digs;

"I understand why he has to do this — to prove he's a man," Merkel said. "He's afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this."

Max thinks it “one of the most pithily succinct insights into Putin and the psychology of his 14-year reign that I have read.”

For all I know he’s right, but devastate means “to lay waste; render desolate.”  Moi, I think your man is reaching a tad.  Maybe Angie was upset because Vlad is more macho than La Chancellor.

I suppose Putin did enjoy his little bit of fun.  We don’t know what may have been going on between the two and it may have been some smallness on his part.  The operative word here is small and Merkel’s words were nothing grand.

Why the drumbeat.  Max and Vox are not the only ones.  There is a lot of media out there that are screaming that Putin is the antichrist.  Well, at least another Hitler, but then again isn’t just about everyone eventually.  The hysteria sounds a lot like the propaganda leading up to the Iraq invasion.

That was stupid, and so is the Putin as devil narrative. The difference is Russia has nukes, the Iraqis didn’t.  Destroying Iraq led to many bad events, but there was none of Condi Rice’s mushroom cloud smoking gun.  No one doubts what the Russkies could do if pushed too far.

I have no answer as to why Fisher, with the probable blessing of his editors, keeps this up.

Vox Media appears to be a start up with angel investor funding.  It does not seem to make a profit yet and won’t soon if the level of advertising is any indication.  So far, it is little more than a present to its staff and writers.

The Putin/Russia as mad dog aggressor trope is pervasive across the mainstream media.  It is a lie, but why?  It can’t be just to provide a sinecure to Joe Biden’s drug addled kid.

Well, maybe it sort of is.  Hunter B.’s job isn’t crucial, but The Ukraine has, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports, Europe’s third-largest shale gas reserves at 42 trillion cubic feet.  According to Consortium News, this is “an inviting target especially since other European nations, such as Britain, Poland, France and Bulgaria, have resisted fracking technology because of environmental concerns. An economically supine Ukraine would presumably be less able to say no.”

That may be why we are bugging the former Soviets, but does not explain why so many so-called news outlets fall into line.  The pervasive toadying on the issue from the major outlets down to the fashionable lefty vanity sites like Vox is amazing to watch.

In the case of Fisher it could be he has some unfathomable hatred or he knows which side his bread is buttered on.  Either way, it is not a sterling testament to his character.


By the way, Vox seems to have no comment section.  Well this saves them the trouble of trolls, i.e. those who are so unsophisticated that they notice when someone is full of it and tell the little emperors how unwell dressed they are.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bacevich on five myths and Tom on waste - so what else is new?

It is and has been the Neutralist’s contention that none of our overseas adventures does us any good.  It would be bad enough if all that happened were merely the drain of resources as we left troops overseas to keep up the national holding action.

Unfortunately, in introducing an article by Andrew Bacevich, Tom of TomDispatch has highlighted the war profiteering that is essentially America’s Sixth Column.  If a fifth column is subversives among an enemy fighting against their own country, A sixth column would be profiteers who make vast sums on a losing venture. 

Halliburton et al have made vast sums and will continue to and yet if success is measured in elimination of our enemies, anti-success has been achieved.  No matter how many we kill, they multiply faster than the loaves and fishes.  We have not got all that much for the four trillion +.


The article by Bacevich begins as a conversation with a young friend who avers that Iraq has ceased to exist.  Maps are probably still being printed of a united country, but who* disagrees with the young man’s at this point?

The discussion is really an intro to Professor Bacevich’s article, Malarkey on the Potomac.  He sets out five claims taken as articles of faith inside the Beltway and demolishes them.  We have not problem with that.

* The presence of U.S. forces in the Islamic world contributes to regional stability and enhances American influence.
We agree with the author, but would challenge anyone to point out where there is stability due to US presence?
* The Persian Gulf constitutes a vital U.S. national security interest.
The author mentions our new status as an oil power.  We agree but also believe that oil, a fungible commodity, is such that even without our involvement, we can get it at the correct price.
* Egypt and Saudi Arabia are valued and valuable American allies.
Egypt helps us how.  KSA without oil would be a joke.  The tribes that are the ruling class would never have been capable of anything on their own.
* The interests of the United States and Israel align.
Some do, but many don’t.  We have addressed it here.
* Terrorism poses an existential threat that the United States must defeat.
It could, but only because we import it.  All the terrorists in the world are incapable of forming a navy,  A necessity if they have to get here without our help.
These are the Neutralist’s thoughts on top of Bacevich’s writing.  I agree with his thoughts.
Go here to read both Tom’s worthy introduction and the article.
They are all believed and


*Some in government may pretend that we can turn that around, but such sentiment is pro-forma.  All the king’s horses etc.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

War on Terror: Drones Target 41 but Kill 1,147 Mostly Innocent men, Women, and Children-Neutralist asks, Does this make you safer?

Mish Shedlock posted from a Guardian article of the headline above.  How effective are our drones;


The drones came for Ayman Zawahiri on 13 January 2006, hovering over a village in Pakistan called Damadola. Ten months later, they came again for the man who would become al-Qaida’s leader, this time in Bajaur. 
Eight years later, Zawahiri is still alive. Seventy-six children and 29 adults, according to reports after the two strikes, are not. 
Now, one guesses if questioned how inhuman all this is, our government spokesters would say we meant well or would channel Madeline Albright and say it is worth it.

Again, the Neutralist asks the question, does anyone feel safer in this country because of all the effort to control the Middle East or anywhere for that matter?

Please, someone tell me, how are we safer?

Link to Mish here, Guardian here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another reason for a neutralist foreign policy

So Hagel is out.  The indispensable Col. Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis has a post up about it.  It does give a break down of how things are going.

The Neutralist, however, took the part that serves our purpose.  To quote the Colonel,

The armed forces are being asked to assume larger and larger missions in the Middle East, Afghanistan and West Africa.  At the same time the money needed to maintain DoD operations and perform such functions as Strategic Triad modernization has largely disappeared in the welter of sequestration and general reductions in budget. Understandably the generals and admirals are pushing back and the constitutional way for them to do that is through the civilian head of the Department of Defense.The back pressure was probably displayed last week in a loosening of ROE in Afghanistan.

In our broke republic, there are always going to be budget fights, but sooner or later we have to face reality.  Our overseas adventures never really return anything good to the citizenry.  They may make a buck for the profiteer, but that is it in every empire that ever was.
Bring everyone home.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

They almost had me with the Yazidi scare

The drumbeat of save the Yazidis tore at our hearts.  We Americans are suckers for that humanitarian save 'em impulse.  As a neutralist, I want out of everywhere.  I am usually immune to  the heartstrings thingy, but in Iraq, my government screwed everything up.  If we had left Saddam in power he would still be suppressing everything, including the genocide of minorities.  So I am not immune to the we owe them thing.

This most recent kerfluffle has been a sham.  Mosey on over to read Jason Ditz at Antiwar blog.  His story, Yazidis Weren’t Stranded, Pentagon Looks for Other Missions
State Dept Tries to Credit US With Solving Phony Problem, has stiffened my neutralist resolve.


Friday, August 01, 2014

The official Neutralist position on Gaza remains the same as it ever was.

The Neutralist in his personal life has been observing the situation and has his own opinion.

As the Neutralist, we have only one opinion and it was originally stated in a post on January 8, 2009.

We repost it in its entirety here.

Gaza and the Neutralist

For anyone following the Neutralist, it is obvious our policy is Washington's no entangling alliances. We do not believe American freedom has been enhanced by any of our adventures whether in Iraq or Afghanistan and a Darfur expedition would come a cropper, just to give a few instances.

So it goes without saying, we believe it is not the business of the American State to be involved in this conflict. We should not be on either side, neither should we be trying to make peace. We have been pretty much a failure in this regard and it does not look like we will better our record in the future.

We have nothing to fear from the Palestinians militarily. They are not going to acquire a carrier fleet and amphibious landing craft and sail to invade Manhattan anytime soon. Granted, they have no love for us, not that I blame them. Certainly, considering that, we should be reticent with letting them immigrate here.

One supposes the Israelis could send their air force all the way, refueling in flight to bomb Wall Street. Of course, what would be the point. Our financial geniuses have more or less done that already.

No we have no business being there. The Neutralist Policy is not to be there.

That does not mean there won't be consequences. Economically, if every Palestinian left the Middle East, there probably would be little impact on the world.

If Israel were destroyed, it would be a disaster of vast import. In spite of lousy government, the Israelis have a brilliant record of invention and improvement. The loss to the world if, say Technion were gutted would be horrible.

There is a high school robotics competition every year in the US and Israel sends a number of teams. The Arab world sends none that I know of. Those young minds will grow to be engineers and their loss would be tragic.

So what does the Neutralist, as a Neutralist suggest Israel do without the support of its sponsor. Years ago, on a now defunct webzine, I wrote the following,

As to strategy that I would pursue if I were the Israeli PM: build that fence. There is an historical incentive for Ariel that he should not miss out on. If it is built well enough it will be spoken of as Sharon's Fence in the same way as is Hadrian's Wall. As Russell Crowe said, "What we do in this life, echoes in eternity." Yeah, there are problems with fencing, as there are with all strategies, but from my vantage point it appears to be the best of whatever there is, short of the Israeli government sending Jews and Arabs into a timeout.

If we were a neutralist country, we would not ally with Israel, but we would cooperate with any nation that was, as William Lind put it, a center of order.

There are other aspects of this. If the Palestinians want to be a state, who cares? A state that existed and had all the apparatus of such an entity would have every incentive to not bug the Israelis. As things are going now, the Hamas apparatus will suffer numerous deaths and then reconstitute itself as a more virulent organism once the current operation runs its course. The Neutralist is just guessing in most predictions. The only thing we are sure of is that our involvement is a sure loser.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ukraine, the story behind the story

So there is a lot of Putin is the devil and the angels are in the Ukrainian government repeated in the American Press.  The drumbeat of propaganda against Russian and the separatists is too obviously orchestrated that there has to be a reason other than the inherent evil of the the Eastern Slavs.

According to one website it is due to the South Stream Pipeline.  According to Sylvia Todorova at WhoWhatWhy, The US has become the largest producer of Natural Gas and would like to sell it across the pond in liquefied form.

The Neutralist cannot say this is the real story.  We do, however, agree that the idea we really care for justice may not be the complete truth.