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, August 30, 2007

Steve Sailer, the last holdout

Steve Sailer just can't seem to leave Vietnam. He is going to end up like those two Japanese holdouts in the Philipines found decades after the war if he doesn't let it go. Give it up, Steve, we need you here.

Let's look at the last paragraph of his article, What's the opposite of the sunk cost fallacy?,

The NVA tried a tentative offensive in December 1974, following the Democrats midterm election triumphs, found that the US wouldn't provide air support, so launched a massive offensive in March 1975. The South Vietnamese collapsed about as quickly as France in 1940.

Now, if a tentative offensive is begun in December and the crusher launched in March, what was the ARVN doing in between? I don't think they were starved for equipment as I remember all the stuff the NVA captured after the fall of Saigon. If the South was going to survive, it would always be as some kind of welfare case. We are better off gone.

In a prior article, Vietnam, he makes this claim,

Today, with American air power so unchallenged, it seems strange that the Democrats didn't want to allow air support of the South Vietnamese. After all, a couple of decades later, a Democrat President got involved in an internal dispute of negligible significance to America, and bombed Yugoslavia into ceding control of its internationally-recognized Kosovo province, at minimal cost in lost aircraft.

Actually, the FRY had ceded this before the bombing. what caused the war to start was their rejection of this paragraph in the Rambouillet Agreement,

NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training, and operations

The war ended when NATO (i.e. us) surrendered on this point. If anyone thinks being able to stay in occupation in the Balkans, let alone the Middle East is a victory, well, good luck with that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A One Paragraph Lesson in International Relations, or this guy will never be teaching at the Kennedy School

Over at The Black Sea Today's post is a quote of a great travel writer. The takeaway I got is that the Middle East, is and for us will always be toxic. Wasting lives and treasure there is goofy. But enough, I steal below.

The Levant
"These countries were so small! One of the more marvelous atrocities of our time was the way in which the self-created problems of these countries, and their arrogant way of dealing with them, made them seem larger, like an angry child standing on its tiptoes. They were expensive to operate, too; they had vast armies; they indulged in loud and ridiculously long-winded denunciations of their neighbors. All this contributed to the illusion that they were massive. But no, they were tiny, irritating, shameless, and vindictive; and they occupied the world's attention way out of proportion to their size or importance. They had been magnified by lobbyists and busybody groups. Inflation was the theme here, and it was just another tactic for quarrelsome people to avoid making peace."
--Paul Theroux, The Pillars of Hercules

Monday, August 27, 2007

Steve Sailer, Neutralist?

Steve Sailer has an article at his blog titled, Vietnam that discusses American military adventures from recent history. Now, I would guess Mr. Sailer does not consciously think of himself as a neutralist, but his screed makes the case The Neutralist made in America's greatest 20th century victory. I don't think that Mr. Sailer realizes he is making it, but we appropriate where we can and do not care how many innocent reputations are ruined by association. As we do not gather vast traffic, iSteve need not overly worry.

Mr. Sailer discusses Vietnam and Korea as well as Kosovo. He really does not come to the conclusion as to what we got out of those adventures, which is of course nothing. Well, it is of course The Neutralist's contention that we got something out of Vietnam. We got to leave.

His final paragraph makes another neutralist point,

In contrast, Islam has virtually no appeal to anyone above the lowest orders of society if they weren't born into a Muslim family. There is no single Islamic superpower to provide direction to the squabbling Muslim states, and most of these governments are more or less averse to the extremists. Even taken together, all the Muslim states in the world have only a small fraction of America's military might. For example, there is no Muslim aircraft carrier. Technologically, Pakistan is 50 years behind America in the development of nuclear weapons, and the rest lag even farther.

Any problems we have with militant Islam are immigration problems. It cannot be said too often, 911 was an immigration failure. We were not attacked by a carrier fleet. A jihad army did not land Normandy style. We are essentially fighting ourselves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bush to America, "I Broke It, You Bought it"

Well, he didn't exactly say that. These were his words, "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people', 're-education camps' and 'killing fields'."

Now unlike most Americans, I do not believe George is a dummy. As noted previously, I think he is smarter than he is given credit for. This attempt at manipulation is as cute as all the cool people who are trying to shift us into Darfur and as believable. When George Clooney raises a battalion and leads them into the Sudan, he will get some cred. There is nothing our current commander in chief can do to gain any.

Well, he could tell the truth.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I come before you to take full responsibility for what can only be called a disaster. There were no weapons of mass destruction, the intelligence was flimsy and contrived. The regime was changed but the dynamics of Iraqi politics have not changed and therefore I cannot say we can hope to leave a stable democracy in place. The constant death and mayhem that takes place in Iraq today, could accelerate. This is my fault and I apologize to the you my fellow citizens and to the Iraqi people and our allies."

No, I know that's not going to happen. I just hope no one buys the real statement of President Chutzpah. I never go into Pottery Barn and I resent being blackmailed into paying for stuff I did not drop.

Oh, and if anyone in the FBI is reading this, there is a nutcase named Stu Bykofsky who is lamenting our lack of national unity and thinks he knows a way to get it back. You want to keep an eye on flight training schools and costume stores that might stock Arab headgear. The lad does not sound all that stable.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Our Bestest Buddies, The Turks, Or Is It The Kurds?

I guess it was about a week or two ago, I saw a small Yahoo News article headlined "Turkey massing‭ ‬140,000‭ ‬troops." It seems there are Kurds in Turkey who are not happy about being Kurds in Turkey and would have that area of Turkey not be Turkey. Needless to say, the Turks are not in agreement with this idea. They also do not care for the fact that the Kurds who have used certain violent tactics to express their feelings can cross the border into an area of Iraq referred to as Kurdistan and attain effective sanctuary. So, the Ankara government has sent troops ready to cross said border to catch and not release Kurdish proponents of the Not-Turkey Thesis.

This is a bit of a mess for the nation that claims leadership of what is sometimes called the Free World. We have had a longstanding alliance with the Turks going back to the early postwar era when an American fleet called in at Istanbul to signal the Soviets hands off. The Turks reciprocated by sending men to stand with us in Korea.

Our relationship with the Kurds has been a bit different. If I wanted to use a word to describe how we have treated the Kurds, I would not rule out betrayal. Henry Kissinger used them to pressure Iraq in the seventies and dropped them when he had struck the deal he wanted. Now we are friends again with the Kurds and they are building a modern state with a market economy. You only need read the gushing reports from neoconnish reporter Michael Totten, here, here and here. His Middle East Journal articles portray the Kurds admiringly and seem to suggest we plight our troth to them. Of course, Mr. Totten does not paint his picture, warts and all. The Kurds may be closer to modernity than Shia and Sunni, but they still have some bad habits.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the quaint practice of Female Genital Mutilation. It persists in Michael Totten's ultra advanced Kurdistan. To be fair, many Kurds are facing the problem, but the government can be touchy on the subject, "The [Kurdish] Ministry of Human Rights hauled us in for questioning," says Assi Frooz Aziz, coordinator of WADI's Germian medical team. "They accused us of publicizing the country's secrets." Hey, even we can be rather shy about our blemishes, but the Kurds do need a tad of work on that open government thing."

So there we are, the benevolent hegemon, hunkered down in Iraq having to do what all imperiums have to do eventually, decide whom to betray. It's a no brainer. Stratfor has an article in their free service that tells us just how strong, both militarily and economically, th Turks are in the Middle East. Also, it is not in their character to wet their pants when someone, including us, barks at them.*

So according to Robert Novak, we've done a deal with the Turks. In order to forestall the invasion, we'll cooperate in setting up the Kurdish separatists. Well, I for one am not surprised. We have some good experience in Kurd betrayal. It's been done before and will be done now and will probably be done again. After all, the Turks have options. The Kurds have only us.

Just another mess to clean up.

Hat tip to Justin Raimondo at Takimag.

*I don't remember the book's title. It might have been "This Kind of War," Anyway, it describes an engagement in Korea where the Turks were about to be overrun. The officers threw down their caps and said they would not retreat behind them alive and led their men into the Chinese. They were of course destroyed. I think the book continued with a comment about how the PLA did their best to avoid the Turks after that.