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.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Wound Continues to Bleed

The news from Afghanistan has not been encouraging. On December 7th we posted about the destruction of convoy supplies in Peshawar.

Unfortunately, the news gets worse. In a post over at Defense and the National Interest titled Your taxpayer dollars at work We find something even more disconcerting,

The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country.

D-N-I got this story from TIMESONLINE

Antiwar Newswire reports of 10,000 Pakistanis protesting over the supply routes and wanting them stopped.

Of course their is an alternative route through Russian territory. That's certainly safe as we continue to bug the Russkies.

If there is any reader who has an intelligent rationale for why it is in our interest to stay in Afghanistan, we would be grateful to hear it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More People Channeling the Neutralist!

Via The Skeptical CPA is an article at Forbes by John Arquilla titled The Biggest Boondoggle. Now, one's first reaction is to think Mr. Arquilla guilty of chutzpah as there are so many doggles that boon in this country it takes nerve to claim you came up with the ne plus ultra.

Still, I think that your man made a good case that our naval fetish for the big carrier fleet is ill advised. Just the name, Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers screams incompetence and waste.

The Skeptical CPA extracted the meat of the article,

Over the next few decades the Pentagon is planning to spend more than $50 billion on its Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers. ... Since aircraft carriers are near helpless without a protective ring of about ten destroyers, frigates and cruisers, the military wants to invest in newer versions of these too, at a cost of an additional $50 billion. ... Why won't the next Administration get rid of this white elephant? President-elect Obama simply has too little military expertise to take on the carrier champions, even though his senior adviser on strategic affairs, former Navy secretary Richard Danzig, has in the past called for reducing carrier crew sizes. ... Swarms of small Chinese vessels and aircraft armed to the teeth with smart weapons would quickly sink a carrier. ... In a world of such weapons, aircraft carriers should paint over their identifying numbers and replace them with bull's-eyes. They have had a good 70-year run as capital ships, but their time is over. ... In terms of so-called irregular warfare, the most common form of conflict over the past 60 years, carriers have an insignificant role to play. Air Force planes, small or large missiles and artillery
make more effective substitutes

You see it's this "Swarms of small Chinese vessels and aircraft armed to the teeth with smart weapons would quickly sink a carrier. ... In a world of such weapons, aircraft carriers should paint over their identifying numbers and replace them with bull's-eyes" that makes me feel Mr. Arquilla is channeling The Neutralist.

In a previous Neutralist post, The Neutralist Solves the Financial Crisis we noted that our policy should be to

Sell the navy. Other than coastal defense (our coast) it isn't necessary and even with the hi tech stuff, one lucky foreign cruise missle and an aircraft carrier is a another Titanic.

We are gratified that someone so eminent as a professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey agrees with us. He may not see it all our way and could be horrified to be cited by us, but at this point he is stuck with us. We feel we have taken his thoughts to their logical conclusion.

Thanks, Professor.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

You heard it here first!

Well, maybe you heard it here second. Maybe you never heard it here at all. Actually, as this is a blog, you couldn't hear it here at all, you could only read it.

Let us not waste time. Well, anymore time. On Sepember 5, 2008 we opined that things were heating up in the Southern supply routes to our Afghan theater. A Northern route through Russian territory was available, but we were bugging the Russkies making that a not too secure route.

Well, in a Sunday NYT article we note that

More than 100 trucks loaded with supplies for American forces in Afghanistan were destroyed Sunday by militants in Peshawar, the city that serves as an important transit point for the Afghan war effort.

The next paragraph might make us think this may not be a one off, as the Brits say,

It was the third major attack by Taliban militants on NATO supplies in Pakistan in less than a month, and served to expose the vulnerability of the route from the port of Karachi through Peshawar and over the border into Afghanistan. The United States relies on the route for an overwhelming proportion of its supplies for the war in Afghanistan.

A Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for United States forces in Kabul noted,

The damaged trucks were loaded with American war materiel, including Humvees, destined for the Afghan National Army

Colonel Julian said the loss of equipment would have a minimum impact on the overall war effort.

“It’s a very insignificant loss in terms of everything transported into Afghanistan.”

In reading how easily the culprits were able to operate we wonder if Colonel Julian is part of the Army's whistling past the graveyard command?

There is a lot to think about here as it is happening as the Pak forces might become more distracted toward the east after the events in Mumbai. It just gets harder for us to play twister.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Time to Stop Doing Dumb

Barrack Obama said the Iraq invasion would be a "dumb war." It may have been his finest hour, well minute, er few seconds as he hasn't said anything near as smart since. To be fair, almost none of our so called statesmen have said much that can be called smart.

It is hard to say where we have been at our worst in regard to Russia. It seems we can't do enough to bug the Bear. In the recent Georgian contretemps we tried to make out Russia as the invader. Both the O man and McCain acted like violated innocents. To be sure, McCain was the goofier with his "We are all Georgians now" buffoonery. Of course John outdid himself with the "in the 21st century nations don't invade other nations" silliness.

Then there is running NATO up to the Russian border. The venerable George Kennan called it, “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold war era.” Not exactly a Dale Carnegie decision.

And there is the actual thievery performed by American academics who were to help the reformed commies privatize. The thieves were helped in their looting, or were shielded by Larry Summers. Summers could be a member of the Obama team.

All in all, our track record with Les Russes ain't too pretty. So why should we care after all, Putin and Medvedev are putting a corporatist state in place. Oh, that's happening here too.

Still, there is hope and it is being offered by the Russians as reported by William S. Lind at Defense and the National Interest. In an article of November 17, 2008 entitled The Russian Imperative he reports,

Until last week, I would have said that the U.S. had damaged the prospects for an American-Russian entente beyond repair. But to the West’s potential good fortune, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has now signaled otherwise. According to the November 14 Financial Times, speaking shortly before his trip to Washington to a group of Russian and European business leaders, President Medvedev said that Russia could develop “neighborly and partnership-based relations with the U.S.” In Washington for the Group of 20 meeting, he repeated the message. The November 16 Washington Post quoted him as saying, “I think we can create in principle a new framework…a partnership between the U.S. and Russia.”

Now, I would think even the dimmest would think that, at a minimum, not bugging the Russkies would be a good idea (of course there is no lack of the sub-dim in the American Government). The partnership idea is something good to explore as Mr. lInd points out,

America’s failure to reintegrate post-Communist Russia into the concert of powers was a strategic blunder of the first order. The threat from the global south, manifested most powerfully by invasion by immigration but also evident in many other ways, can only be met by a united global north. Russia holds the West’s vast eastern flank, which stretches all the way from the Black Sea to Vladivostok. Were that flank to collapse, as Russia came close to doing in the early 1990s, the West’s geo-strategic position would become well-nigh hopeless.

Mr. Medvedev was asked by the CFR if Russia could join NATO. Now a question from the CFR makes me ask what deviousness they are pursuiing. Here is Lind's paragraph,

......when Medvedev was asked before the CFR about the possibility of Russia joining NATO, he said, “There is a good phrase - never say never.” Since the fall of Communism, NATO has had no real reason to exist. But if Russia joined NATO, NATO would become what the West needs most, an alliance of the global north. This is a lead both the Obama administration and the European members of NATO should pursue avidly.

Well of course as a Neutralist, I would like to see NATO dissolve. What would succeed it. That is the question and Mr. Lind has addressed it here. It is that we should connect to centers of order and be as far away from centers of disorder as possible. Now, I agree in that we should not bug functioning entities if they mean us no harm and cooperate with them where necessary (e.g. in India's current problem, we should share everything we know about their antagonist). This does not mean we have to have an alliance.

There is much to learn from both of Mr. Lind's articles, but at minimum, stop bugging the Russkies.