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.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Jen Cafarella wants more war. She writes for the Institute for the Study of War so what would you expect?

Again, with probably the same futility, we ask why are we there at all.

We're a little late on this, but

Moon of Alabama has written with a little depth about an article by an aspiring sinecurista, Jennifer Cafarella, at the Institute for the Promotion Study of War which if there truth in labeling, would better be called Institute for More War.

According to Jen, as noted by MoA, we have to:

The U.S. must rapidly change how it is executing policy in five key areas.

Russian military bases. ...Acceptance of Bashar al-Assad. ...Syrian “de-escalation.” ...The “peace” process. ...Iran and al Qaeda. ...

The hinted at solutions, couched in vague language, are for 1. nuke them, 2. kill him, 3. stop it, 4. who cares, 5. destroy 'em all:

Perky little Jen says:

The U.S. must face reality in Syria. It must recognize the threat Russia poses. It must acknowledge the limits of its current partners on the ground. It cannot put faith in a diplomatic charade. It must implement a real strategy against al Qaeda and Iran. And it must recognize the value of American action over American rhetoric.Two administrations have sought to substitute rhetoric for action and to outsource American interests to local partners.  The U.S. must abandon this approach and recognize Syria’s importance to American security.It will take a long time and a hard struggle to achieve any outcome in Syria that the U.S. should be willing to live with. It is time to focus on it, devote resources to it, and prepare to do so for a long time.
A couple of conclusions that we can take from Jen with that long time thingy is that she wants to make Syria into Afghanistan where we are, like her, not facing reality while pretending to.  

Also, the longer we refuse to waste time not recognizing what a waste of time it is, the more columns Jen and her ilk will get to write.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Poll shows Americans are not that crazy

Yes, Trump has quite the popularity and there are reasons for that.  They may not be great reasons, but if one is honest, they are understandable.  Hilary called a lot of citizens "deplorable" and the cool people around madrassas, er colleges think that way about their fellow citizens and along comes some guy who says to them, you're not as bad as those people say.  Yeah, he's gonna get some votes.

What is forgotten is that The Donald was the peace candidate.  Well, the not as much of a war monger candidate.  With his call to get along with Russia and not overly involve in Syria, he came off better than Hilary.  

Then again, Obama was a peace candidate once too.

Funny, isn't it, Americans want peace, despite the save the world rhetoric of politicians.

This should not be a shock, but to some it is.  On January 9, 2018, James Carden reported in the Nation article, A New Poll Shows the American Public Is overwhelmingly Opposed to Endless US Military Interventions,  that a group called Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy had released a survey that showed exactly that.

The survey found that “a national voter population that is largely skeptical of the practicality or benefits of military intervention overseas, including both the physical involvement of the US military and also extending to military aid in the form of funds or equipment as well.”

If you spend much time with Americans, you will realize that less and less are they drinking the Kool Aid.  They were told that we had to “fight them over there, so we don’t have to here” and then someone in a truck mows down folks in the big apple.  Granted, its statistically insignificant, but with our stirring up mayhem in the Middle East, one might wonder why it does not happen more often.

From the report:
The headline findings show, among other things, that 86.4 percent of those surveyed feel the American military should be used only as a last resort, while 57 percent feel that US military aid to foreign countries is counterproductive. The latter sentiment “increases significantly” when involving countries like Saudi Arabia, with 63.9 percent saying military aid—including money and weapons—should not be provided to such countries.
The poll shows strong, indeed overwhelming, support, for Congress to reassert itself in the oversight of US military interventions, with 70.8 percent of those polled saying Congress should pass legislation that would restrain military action overseas in three specific ways:
  • by requiring “clearly defined goals to authorize military engagement” (78.8 percent);

  • by requiring Congress “to have both oversight and accountability regarding where troops are stationed” (77 percent);

  • by requiring that “any donation of funds or equipment to a foreign country be matched by a pledge of that country to adhere to the rules of the Geneva Convention” (84.8 percent).
These findings are encouraging.  However, if there is anyone out there who regularly reads The Neutralist, they must know, that the last three findings are not, to us, perfect.

They leave the door open for intervention.  Remember how War Powers Act was supposed to restrain the president?  
Even if we withdraw from most current overseas involvement, without the development of a true neutralist ethos in this country, we shall probably repeat the errors again and again.
Still, it is refreshing to see that the people have learned somethng and that, unlike their government, Americans are not insane warmongers.  Imagine that!

We are on Facebook, though we don'e do much there and on Twitter we retweet now and again.


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Luke Harding - The Neocon blame Russia flavor of the month

The radio is mostly on when driving.  If out in the morning, two of the most powerful stations out here in nowheresville have Glenn Beck on in the morning.  Usually, he is not worth listening to.  

On the day in question, he was not worth it, but he was working at a higher level of disinformation.  He was interviewing Luke Harding, author of Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.

The two lads were having a lovefest with each other and a hatefest over Trump and Putin.  That's not that horrible as Beck is not taken seriously by the cool people.

Ah, but Terri Gross is a certified heavy hitter.  Her show on NPR is important.  She speaks with the interviewee with a serious, if low key tone.

Though I hear her not infrequently in the car, it is hard to say if she has ever been adversarial with guests.  With Mr. Harding it was certainly not that (link to transcript).  It may have not been the near French kissing that Beck seemed to be doing, but it did seem to agree with Luke in a let's get to the bottom of this tone.  She truly seems to be on team collusion in the exchange below.

But actually, if I'm honest with you, Terry, I mean, this book was quite easy to write because it is such a compelling story. It is like a thriller, but with bizarre elements, but just a kind of relentless plot. And I kind of wrote each chapter as sort of character by character so that there's a chapter on Steele, there's a chapter on Michael Flynn - who jokes to a Russian that he met that he was actually General Misha, which is Russian for Michael - and Paul Manafort, whom I met, and so on. And I - you know, the book, I think, came together in record time.GROSS: You know, you're right. Initially, Trump was happy to have the Russia investigation deflect attention away from his business dealings in China and other emerging markets because you say, unlike in Russia, these were substantial and involved the payment of large bribes and kickbacks.

HARDING: Well, again, we can't prove this. But this is what the Steele dossier alleges. And it's based on Steele's own secret sources. And by the way, no one knows who they are, these secret sources. But I think one point, which is kind of very important on the sources, is that I've talked to friends of Steele's. And what they point out is that these sources were not new. They're not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.
Notice after Ms. Gross gives him the you go guy, he does say, it can't be proven.  The whole tone is it's true even if there is not absolute (or any) evidence.
The session ends with,
There may be some errors there. But broadly, I think people in British and American intelligence think the dossier is correct, which means that Donald Trump is compromised.GROSS: Well, Luke Harding, thank you so much for talking with us. And thank you for your reporting.HARDING: Thank you, Terry. It was great.
You bet it was.
I am not a Trump fan.  Some of his campaign statements I liked.  Wanting to get along with Russia and not make more of a mess in Syria were good.  He is too supportive of Saudi Arabia in Yemen and making noise with the Norks is a waste of time.

Messing around with the constitutional order and doing what you can to take back an election because the guy is not one of the elite smacks of the late Roman Republic.  Responsible people would be wanting to shore that up rather than crashing it.

Luke Harding and his book have their fans for what it says about Trump.   Yeah, Terri, who is part of the Ministry of Information is all for him as are, no doubt, others of that brand.

There was a fellow who did ask Harding a few questions that were a bit less than smooches.  Look at the video below.

As it says on the intro page,

The Real News Network's (TRNN) Aaron Maté politely and professionally dismantles shameless Guardian reporter and author Luke Harding.

Aaron is a class act. Don't expect to see Mr. Maté on CNN or MSNBC, Fox, or dare one say it, NPR.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Eternal Recurrence - A Bad Policy Returns

Eternal Recurrence

It could be formulated as a law.  The longer a war goes on, the probability of a bad policy being resurrected approaches 1.

During the Vietnam War, the Johnson administration would be in need of more and more soldiers.  The pool of draftees was not sufficient.  According to a Salon article, “By 1966, President Johnson was fearful that calling up the reserves or abolishing student deferments would further inflame war protesters and signal all-out war. And so, even after McNamara began privately declaring the war was unwinnable, the defense secretary devised Project 100,000.”

Under the program, potential recruits who scored as Category IVs on entrance tests were allowed to enlist.  Cat IVs, to be charitable, had cognitive issues.

The project has been acknowledged a failure in that it was sold as a “Great Society” program that “would provide remedial education and an escape from poverty.”  There was little of either for the 354,000 men:

“...the recruitment program offered a one-way ticket to Vietnam, where "the Moron Corps," as they were pathetically nicknamed by other soldiers, entered combat in disproportionate numbers.  Although Johnson was a vociferous civil rights advocate, the program took a heavy toll on young blacks. A 1970 Defense Department study disclosed that 41 percent of Project 100,000 recruits were black, compared with 12 percent in the armed forces as a whole. What's more, 40 percent of Project 100,000 recruits were trained for combat, compared with 25 percent for the services generally.”

It’s plus ca change time and this iteration is even more creative.  We shall not be targeting the intellectually lame and halt.  Rather now, it will be the emotionally lame and halt who are called to the colors.

A November 12th, 2017 USA Today article noted; “People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.”  

It might be impolite, if not politically incorrect to ask what could go wrong?  For some of us retrograde types, the words “German Wings” come to mind.  You might remember the pilot of that airline who missed his meds and pursued an alternative method of what could be considered a “hard landing?”

Unlike Project 100,000, the new dispensation is not being sold as a program to enhance the life of the unfortunate.  As noted above, it’s unannounced which means it’s not being sold at all.  In truth, the policy appears to have been ongoing according to USA Today: “To meet last year's goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.”

That’s it, of course, there are problems meeting the numbers.  By now, anyone with a little more than average consciousness knows that we are not going to turn a corner in Afghanistan, that we shall never do any good in Syria and the real winners in Iraq may be those horrible Iranians.
So, what is the point?

The possible upcoming crusade on North Korea might not be a selling point either.  Thus, creativity in augmenting the number of troops will be necessary.

Should we be worried?  During my inglorious Vietnam era service, there was no dearth of Marijuana usage as well as other substances.  What were referred to at the time as “personal problems” were hardly non-existent.  It should be noted, we came in second place in that contest.

What is unspoken in this is that we have to be inventive in inveigling prospects to sign up.  The so-called “War On Terror” is at stake.  If finding sufficient warm bodies to volunteer becomes impossible, conscription would be the alternative.

The WOT ends the day the Donald or a successor announces a draft.

Do we arrive at the point Augustus reached when Varus lost a couple of legions and the Imperator could not draft replacements even when execution was the penalty for resistance?  Is the WOT so necessary that any warm body, native or foreign will be eligible fodder?

As it has been said, this war may never end, why would we not resurrect another bad policy?

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Neutralist position on Jerusalem

If I have any readers they probably have an idea what the Neutralist position on the Donald's policy regarding Jerusalem.

Our position is that we should not need to have one.  We should not have any troops in the Middle East or for that matter the Near East and Far East.  Neither Israel or the Arabs should expect any thing of us.

But, you might say, if we did leave and bring the boys home, we would still have to decide where our embassy would be?  That decision would be based on what is best for our country.  Any other consideration is foolish.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince gets the Adolph Hitler award for creative war delcaration

"This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our own territory. Since 5:45 a. m. we have been returning the fire... I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured"

The words above were spoken by Adolph Hitler on September 1, 1949.  It was a lie.  German operatives had executed a false flag op to blame Poland for starting a war.

In one of those plus ça changey things that eternally recur, Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan has claimed that Lebanon has declared war on the desert sand kingdom.  Though laughably absurd.  There may be some people who pretend to take it seriously.  At least he didn't claim to be returning the fire.

According to Reuters, "Thamer said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah."

What he kinda really means is that someone tossed a missile at the Saudi airport and it either hit the place or was repelled. 

He blames Hezies and by extension, Lebanon.  A bit of a stretch no doubt, but that's our ally.  So what's he gonna do about it?  Well, what can he do about it.  The Saudi army can't punch its way out of a paper bag.

Thamer isn't stupid enough to not know that.  So what's going?

Not completely sure, but the headline at Zero Hedge is interesting:

"Explosive" Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

Alone in the world, the Saudis would be quiet little mice.  The Saudis and Israelis cannot be seen together too much, but that Wahabit-Zionist alliance is something.

At the Neutralist, we would not care.  Unfortunately, someone might want to ensnare the country we are neutral about in all these shenanigans.

That the type of thing that leads us to want this country to be neutral for.

The oil is not worth the bones of one American GI.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Is a war against Hezbollah brewing?

Lebanese PM Hariri resigned and both Sic Semper Tyrannis and Moon of Alabama are reporting that a possible Saudi war on Hezbollah might be forthcoming as the Syrian anti-Assad adventure comes a cropper.  Of course, in the end it is the targeting of Iran that is what it is all about.

Colonel sees the attack coming from Israel with the possibility at 50%.  Well that figures.  Even with google maps and a GPS, the Saudis couldn't find their way to Lebanon to save their lives.

The Neutralist is not sure where the U.S. figures in all this, but it is doubtful anything would happen without our government knowing about.

It does seem, though,  a harebrained scheme, which is about what one would expect.

The Neutralist must note again, that the U.S. need not be a part of any of this.  Yeah, we know that there is oil, but it not worth the bones of any American G.I.

Sing it Freda, Bring the Boys Home!

Update: Saudi Crown Prince has arrested just about his whole family.  How this all ties in is also discussed by SST and MOA.

In light of all that, we are seeing the chances of an attack at less than 50%.  There is a possibility the Israelis see everyone else distracted and no time like the present, but other than an air strike here and there, they have not been all that adventurous since the last Lebanese incursion.