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.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
There isn't the slightest possibility that the course laid out by Barack Obama in his Dec. 1 speech will halt or even slow the downward spiral toward defeat in Afghanistan. None.
These words were penned by BY THOMAS H. JOHNSON, M. CHRIS MASON on DECEMBER 10, 2009. Who are the authors? Thomas H. Johnson is research professor of the Department in National Security Affairs and director of the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
M. Chris Mason, a retired Foreign Service officer who served in 2005 as political officer for the provincial reconstruction team in Paktika, is senior fellow at the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies and at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington.
Thus the men are true members of the team. I suspect they have both believed this for a while before the speech. It is not as if there were the slightest chance the Pres was going to come up with sufficient men and materiel to turn Afghanistan into any kind of stable entity capable of standing on its own.
Your humble neutralist thought the war doomed before it started. I take no joy in my country's defeat. I only note, in truth, we are defeating ourselves.
Of course, politically, Obama could not say what he knows is true even if he was so inclined. The question becomes why, really did it take so long to come up with a policy that he probably knew was ridiculous. Granted this surge may have been the least goofy alternative that was politically acceptable. His inability to tell the truth and end it, means the war is now well and truly his. In truth, did anyone not think this was going to happen?
I first read of the FP article at Randall Parker's Parapundit blog. In passing I note the comment of one of his readers.
I remember watching 3 segments on consecutive nights on Britain's Newsnight program earlier this year regarding the involvement of British forces and being shocked at the comments of various senior commanders.
i) in one segment a senior commander was interviewed who had been in command in Kabul for several months admitted on camera that he had only just recently become aware of the British Afghan campaigns in the 19th century and was reading up on them.
When I was an enlisted man during the Viet Nam war, only one of my officers knew as much about history as I did. One thought the Brits would know more. I would guess Johnson and Mason have a grasp of the history of Afghanistan. I doubt Obama and his coterie do. The previous team didn't either.
It would be nice if someone could just say let's go home and spare the lives of us and them.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
He starts, The new Pew survey (via RCP) that purports to show a record-high level of “isolationist sentiment” is fairly misleading. No doubt, there was a higher percentage that answered that the U.S. should “mind its own business and let other countries get along the best they can on their own,” but the alternative was to answer that the U.S. “is the most powerful nation in the world, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us or not.” Given that choice between something that sounds reasonable and something that sounds idiotic, a great many non-”isolationists” would prefer the former response. Essentially, the survey offered two choices. On the one hand, the respondent can choose arrogant hegemonism and disregard the interests of all other nations, or he can choose something less obviously obnoxious. One depressing thing about the survey results is that hegemonism still gets 44%. The other depressing thing is that the 49% don’t really mean what they claim to believe.
Disheartening as the above paragraph is, the one that really shocks is,
Among the public, 63% approve of the use of U.S. military force against Iran if it were certain that Iran had produced a nuclear weapon; just 33% of CFR members agree.
The freaking CFR members are less warmongering than my lumpen fellow countrymen!
The title of the post is "The Bogey Of Isolationism" Mr. Larison nicely puts the whole Pew thing in perspective.
The commenters know something is wrong because if you are not for all war all the time overseas, you become an "isolationist." Not exactly a Nazi, but as goofy as a Moonie. They have come up with alternative terms such as Realist, Eunomic, George Washingtonism and others. I am saddened they have not realized the obvious. Neutralism is the term.
Of course, I have not been doing any heavy lifting of late to make Neutalist and Neutralism household words, but that does not take away from the fact that the term that they are searching for is within their grasp.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Saddam Hussein was a counter-balance against the Iranians and a counter-balance against Islamic fundamentalists - including Al Qaeda. For this reason alone overthrowing Saddam Hussein weakened United States national security - not strenghthened it. I have said this before and I say it again - overthrowing Saddam Hussein is one of the stupidest things the United States of America has done in its 200-plus-year history.
I beg anyone to try and make the case that ST is wrong. ST may not be a neutralist, but he made the case for it. A country that treats its foreign policy so stupidly doesn't deserve to have one.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
From LRC Blog
The Quaker Card
Posted by Laurence Vance at May 12, 2009 08:54 PM
The "Quaker card" was recently played against me again. Although I am a Baptist, I would gladly accept a hand full of Quaker cards--it beats a hand of aggression, torture, intervention, death, and destruction.
Here is Thomas Jefferson’s "Quaker" foreign policy:
Peace has been our principle, peace is our interest, and peace has saved to the world this only plant of free and rational government now existing in it. However, therefore, we may have been reproached for pursuing our Quaker system, time will affix the stamp of wisdom on it, and the happiness and prosperity of our citizens will attest its merit. And this, I believe, is the only legitimate object of government, and the first duty of governors, and not the slaughter of men and devastation of the countries placed under their care, in pursuit of a fantastic honor, unallied to virtue or happiness; or in gratification of the angry passions, or the pride of administrators, excited by personal incidents, in which their citizens have no concern.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Okay, chickenhawks, you sent the army to kill untold thousands of foreigners as well as 5,000 of your countrymen (and women) Have you had enough revenge for the 3,000 dead in911? Did you bring them back to life?
*The only true Conservative Foreign Policy is defense of hearth and home. It is not pursuit of empire.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Here is his February 6, 2009 post wherin he reposts the work of a so called intellectual conservative and then caps it with the words of Michael Savage speaking ex cathedra.
"What happens when the alternatives fail? What happens when all the negotiations, sanctions, and compromises fail to dissuade an aggressor? What happens when a nation is forced into war as a last resort? When is 'victory' over an aggressor truly achieved? The answer can be found in an analysis of American strategic war doctrine in the late 19th and 20th ccenturies. ... Historically, the term 'total war'--examples of which include the American Civil War and World War II--was based on the assumption that there were only two options in existential conflicts--total victory or total defeat. .. For the defeated, it meant the end of its ability to wage war, the futility of continuing the conflict and, as in the case of the Nazis, the end of their dream of a thousand-year Reich. Nazi Germany was not merely defeated, it was psychologically vanquished. ... FDR, Churchill and Generals Eisenhower and Patton--like Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and Sheridan before them--understood that if wars had to be fought, if blood and treasure had to be expended, if sacrifice had to be demanded of the nation (including setting the economy on a war footing, re-instituting the draft, selling war bonds, instituting food rationing, and bringing the nation with you by seeking a Congressional declaration of war), then the American people had the right to demand that wars be prosecuted to insure absolute victory so the issues over which they were being fought and for which they were being asked to sacrifice their children would never have to be 'revisted.' ... At the end of World War II, no Nazi official could stand in the ruins of Berlin in April, 1945 and urge his fellow Germans to 'stay the course' until a Nazi victory was assured. Nor, for that matter, could General Hideki Tojo of the Imperial Japanese Army convince his poeople that the destruction wrought by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were just a 'temporary setback.' It was clear to the German and Japanese peoples that the European and Japanese wars were over. ... All this changed in the post-World War II era. With the advent of nuclear weapons, warefare theorists came to believe that a total war between the two superpowers could lead to mutual annihilation. It was this deterrent concept, applied across the board, the led post-war American military strategists to modify the historical rules of war by resurrecting the seemingly more logical and humane concept that came to be known as 'limited war.' That concept assumed that our enemies would pursue their war objectives in much the same manner and according to the same rules of engagement that we pursue ours. ... But strategists of 'limited war' failed to consider the consequences of what would happen when we confront religiously-inspired enemies like jihadists who refuse to play by our 'limited war' rules, who do not accept international treaties governing the rules of engagement or the treatment of prisoners, who use civilians as human shields, children as human grenades, see 'martyrdom' as a tactical weapon, come from an entirely different culture and value system, and seek nothing less than the destruction of our way of life. ... During the Iranian embassy crisis, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni disclosed that he had no fear of America. 'Our youth should be confident that America cannot do a damn thing.' ... Carter contented himself with imposing ineffectual ... sanctions. ... His dithering would result in the deaths of thousands of Americans in the coming decades. ... This same defensive war doctrine reigns today in Iraq. Despite the rhetoric, U.S. military strategy is not geared to vanquishing its enemies. ... During World War II, it would have been unthinkable to stop at the German border after the liberation of Fance and begin reconstruction, leaving Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in power. ... The U.S. has always assumed that it is the only nation with grand visions like peace, democratization, free enterprsie and globalization. But Iran and its Palestinian and Lebanese Islamic surrogates have their own 'grand vision' and the grandest of them all tells that that both America and Israel will never be anything but enemies of their regime, culture and religions, and that victory over both is assured because it has been ordained by Allah. ... Americans want victory and like it or not, the road to that victory leads through Tehran. Destroying Iran's nuclear capabilities, bringing down the Islamic regime and vanquishing all aspects of the Islamic Revolution are absolutely critical if the greater war against Islamic jihadism is to be won", Mark Silverberg, 14 January 2009 at: http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2009/01/14/the-strategy-of-defeat-and-lessons-for-israel-in-gaza/.
This may make some cry, but war against Islamic Jihadism requires much more killing of jihadists and their populations than the West has done to date. Absent more killing, the West will not survive. That's the bottom line. Our entire war on terror rests on false premises. Spengler had a 12 June 2003 post, "More Killing Please" on this, link: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EF12Ak01.html. How right he is. As Michael Savage, radio talk show host has said many times, "Only a more Savage nation will survive".
Alright, lets think about this. SCPA, Siverberg and Savage want to wage war. Big war, a lot of war. Well, the enemy is out thinking them. Recently, they out thought the Israelis in Operation Cast Lead. They throw some piddling rockets, the Israelis huff and puff and finally send some reservists in Merkavas. The Palis go to ground, the Israelis bust up some stuff and kill a few people and leave looking stupid. Yup, because they were stupid. The Sabras of the war of independence are gone. It was just reservists riding through. The Israelis could have killed them all if they wanted to but unless Savage is made CinC, that ain't happening. Short much better humint that can target every militant there is not much Israel can do except elect tough talkers. Even though they have a lot of stupid socialism, Israel is infinitely more advanced than the Palis. Guess who has more to lose?
Americans want victory and like it or not, the road to that victory leads through Tehran. Destroying Iran's nuclear capabilities, bringing down the Islamic regime and vanquishing all aspects of the Islamic Revolution are absolutely critical if the greater war against Islamic jihadism is to be won"
SCPA agrees with that. Intellectually, If he really believes that, he and Savage have a duty to be part of that war. Go get 'em. Our overseas adventure is stupid and the biggest part of why we are financially going down the tubes. I defy SCPA to tell me how the Islamists can destroy us if we only control immigration. They don't have carrier fleets and even if they got them, they couldn't sail them.
So good luck SCPA and Mike. Hope you learn to low crawl, because if you're part of the invasion force, you're going to need it. The IDF probably needs to do more of that too.
Oh, and the denouement of Vietnam that Mr. Silverberg regrets our loser policy over? We got to leave the place and they never bothered us again. The only successful exit strategy we ever executed.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I do tend to have a suspicion of such innovations. My history nerd reading life has led me to the conclusion that even if some are better than others, there is no Philosophers Stone of Government. Even the best will become sclerotic and die.
Still, I went over and voted if only for this proposal,
Bring our troops home- from everywhere!
Why do we still have troops in Germany? Korea? Asia? Egypt?
"The total of America's military bases in other people's countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737.
Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries -- and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base's "worth" is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.
The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world's largest landlords" (figures from Dept. of Defense Base Structure Report 2005) Chalmers
We spend a fortune on military bases in many countries all over the world. Think of all of the money this would save, and what all of that money could accomplish here at home.
While there may have been some rationale for having far-flung bases in the 1940s, when travel and communication were slower and we may have needed a deterrent "on the ground" in many locations, this is oudated thinking.
Close all of our military bases all over the world, and bring those troops home. It would help us in many ways: the good will generated by getting our troops out of other countries; a smaller military force that would be used strictly for DEFENSE of America, as required by our Constitution; a good deterrent to our being tempted to interfere in the affairs of other countries, where we have a 60 year history of secret manipulations, assassinations, regime changes, and bad policies that have resulted in terrible "blowback" to Americans.
Just one recent example of blowback: A graduate student in Germany was so disturbed by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1996, and it's killing more than 100 innocents in Cana that he determined to pay them (and the US, who supplied the weapons) back for their actions. He was Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers.
Our support for bad policies has long term unintended consequences. Why not follow a policy consistent with American values- friendship with all, trade with all, talk with all, but no "passionate attachments" to any but our own country.
So go to the portal, look around and if you want sign in and then go to Bring the Troops Home and vote.
Maybe it is a futile gesture, but what the heck.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Here are some links to Jack The Southern Avenger" Hunter.
At Taki Mag, here.
At his blog, here.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
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.
I supposed 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.