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.

Monday, February 02, 2015

A Bezos Newsletter article (AKA The Washington Post) wants more war in Ukraine!

A couple of sinecuristas at the Brookings Institution have joined the call for more intervention in the Ukraine.  Why, well because as the title of the WAPO article reads, Ukraine needs America’s help.

Brookings is a 501(c)(3) non profit.  that means if you have a couple of farthings you want to donate tax deductible, Brookings will take it and turn it into impartial research.  If you have gazillions, well there is impartial and there is impartial.

It's not just any staffers blowing charge on the bugle.  No they sent their heavy hitters.  Senior fellow Steven Pifer and, if that were not enough, institution pres, Strobe Talbott, a D.C. barnacle if ever there was one.

Of course, in the case of the Ukraine, who would gainsay that august institution.  It is only out of goodness of heart that they support "lethal aid."  I know, I only feel noble when I hear the words "lethal aid."

The lads aren't the only ones beating the drum.  This is so urgent that they have come together with six other "former U.S. national security practitioners" to call for action.  This is big, I had no idea there was such a title as national security practitoner.  With the crummy foreign policy record over the last decades, they should try for a more humble title.

The expert practitioners are telling us why The Ukraine needs us, but never get around to why we need the Ukraine.  Please, someone enlighten the Neutralist.  How will the world end for our country if we say the Ukraine is not our problem?  Will Putin start the tanks rolling west to not stop until he has loaded the nouveau Red Army on his carrier fleet and landed in New Jersey?

Pifer and the Strobster are practitioners, but as we consider this a family blog, we refrain from saying what they practice.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The drumbeat continues-piling on Russia continues

The media from top to bottom keeps up the anti-Putin Russia hate.  At the top, Frontline had a hit piece, Putin's Way.  Our Ministry of Information outdid itself.  Hey, at least they didn't accuse him of stealing from the poor boxes.

Crazy John McCain was warmongering for more pro-Ukie involvement.

Stratfor is sure on the case, the last two email updates were, RED ALERT: Rocket Fire Could Signal New Offensive on Mariupol and then RED ALERT UPDATE: At the Heart of the Mariupol Crisis.  Who knows, maybe it's all true and the Russkies are on the march. Too many outlets have cried wolf too often.  Maybe it's just that our clients are too inept to use the equipment and training.

Ilan Berman in Forbes also thinks the Russians are on the march.

It all smacks of the drumbeat before Iraq.  You remember all that.  The Neutralist remembers it in all aspects.  First, Iraq was mentioned as part of a fictitious Axis of Evil. Then, the WMD that never were.  There was no goofiness that was not referenced such as this little jewel,

Plus ├ža, you know.  Different administration, same ragtime.  

The Neutralist does not have the resources to say definitively what Russia, or for that matter, Europe or the US is up to.  Really, for us Americans, how much does the Ukraine matter?  Why did La Nuland feel the need to push a coup?

Refreshingly, Forbes also publishes someone who addresses the question of Why the Ukraine?  Doug Bandow's U.S. Should Stay Out Of The Russo-Ukrainian Quarrel: Why The Conflict In Ukraine Isn't America's Business, Part I is good enough that he could rest on his laurels and skip Part II.

Bandow makes the points following:

1) Ukraine isn’t important geopolitically. 
2) Russia matters more than Ukraine to America. 
3) Blame is widely shared for Ukraine’s travails. 
4) Washington never guaranteed Ukraine’s security. 
5) Vladimir Putin is not Hitler and Russia is not Nazi Germany (or Stalin’s Soviet Union). 
6) There’s no genocide. 

He explains each one convincingly.  Please read the article.  The Neutralist certainly agrees.  If there is someone out there who has a cogent argument against Bandow's points, I'd love to hear it.

The Neutralist is not holding his breath.

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.