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, January 27, 2014

Another Neutralist Manifesto!

I've seen John V. Walsh's writings on occasion, but never got overly excited.  It's ho hum time not because he writes terribly, just the opposite.  It is that the Neutralist is almost always in agreement.  In his latest article, he has sent cold shivers of pleasure up our spine for two reasons, for two reasons.

First, he has written a Neutralist Manifesto to rival the one on this site.

If the United States insists on its status as the dominant and unchallengeable military power, then we are on the road to conflict, certainly a new Cold War the beginning of which the “pivot” represents, and quite possibly we are on the road to WWIII. We in the United States are the ones who can control this and perhaps save the world from the very worst suffering and deadly conflict. The answer is to abandon Empire, dismantle our overseas bases, end our occupation of foreign nations, including South Korea, Japan and Germany, adopt a defensive strategy to protect our land and come home. Trade and talk, yes. Military intervention, no. We have a potential partner for peace in China. Let us give it a try. Establish trust and verify it. In short, Come Home America. A paradise awaits us here. Let us leave others in peace to construct their own.

Lovely stuff that.

Our second reason is he is a founding member of an organization called Come Home America that embodies what we believe.  Now our investigation of the website has not been exhaustive so maybe we should be a little bit reticent to extend fulsome praise.  It would not do to find out that they are for coming home because the Grand Goggflek of the Planet Nogemal has communicated with them.  If that turns out to be true, we withdraw approval, at least until Goggflek signals us directly.

We are not overly worried and suggest a visit to http://comehomeamerica.wordpress.com/

It is a site that has attained neutralismo even if they don't know it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thank you for your service, while your here.

Retired Admiral Mike Mullen has noted that the servimen killed in action are quickly forgotten by his countrymen and women.  I cannot say I disagree with him, but we generally tend to forget all our dead.  I will be going to a memorial service for a relative gone several years now.  He was close and is in my memory often.  Others, it's harder, that's why we have memorial services, not to mention Memorial day.  Like most American holidays, Memorial Day is now just another have fun day.

I applaud the Admiral, to a point.  Granted, fellow feeling for those who follow your trade is natural, but the lads and some lasses who lose their lives in war are a bit different from cousin Sid who died of an infected paper cut suffered in his cubicle as he was struggling to get out the monthly cafeteria usage report.

Our forces overseas are either the first line of defense in a vital world historic conflict, or their lives are being wantonly put at risk.  A short perusal of the Neutralist should leave no one to wonder long where we stand.

According to the Admiral,

"When you get to these wars, I worry that America has paid us very well, the compensation's good, [so the culture says] 'please go off and fight our dirty little wars and let us get on with our lives,'" he said. "We need to figure a way to get America to buy into those, into them."
Interesting words.  Yeah, the people like to be vaguely reminded someone is out there, so you have fine organizations like Fisher House and, after some recent media exposure, lesser outfits like Wounded Warrior.  So, does he have any ideas?  If he wants to drag the citizenry through the hospitals, maybe clean a bedpan or two, support for the war will last for nanoseconds.  It is only the detachment from reality keeps it from being unpalatable.
Another paragraph and quote struck us as a bit weird,
He proposed some sort of universal national service program (although not a draft), perhaps two years of service for all people between the age of 18 and 24, to bridge the gap between the military and the civilian communities.
"The military becoming more and more isolated from the American people is a disaster for America," Mullen said.
Now how is putting the kids in some non-draft situation going to bridge the gap?  
Actually, The Neutralist may be the only one in the country who finds such proposals bizarre.  It seems mandatory community service requirements in high schools and colleges can only make the students cynical.  Even the slow student gets that forcing someone to do good does not make them good.
He singles out The Northeast for special treatment.
The problem is worse in the Northeast than other regions. "The people in the Northeast don't know us anymore, for example," Mullen said, given that the Base Realignment and Closure process has led to the closure of so many military installations in the region.
Now as someone who has lived here all my life, except for an inglorious period as a soldier, to a degree I believe him correct.  The political class is not enamored of  the military and does not enlist.  The base closures have been many and without people with jobs at the bases, there is less paycheck loyalty.
For all that there is a pervasive support the troops sentiment.  Hardly a professional sports event happens without remembering the troops.  Of course, there has been some substitution of Marathon Bombing memorialization  the closer one gets to Boston.  ROTC may not be big at Harvard or Yale, but many of the private and state colleges offer it.
The national service idea is not without supporters regionally.  In the upper reaches of academia and commerce, they see their kids teaching the benighted and closing some gap, while the lower orders have the grunt jobs.  Another reason to oppose it.
We have addressed this in other posts, but what kind of military does the Neutralist envision?  Ideally, we would wish everyone would rush to the colors and serve long term in the reserves.  I expect to be signed as a pitcher by the Red Sox before that happens.
Next idea?  The Neutralist wants a miltary that can defend the country, but not be tempted to foreign adventures.  Obviously, that is not a large standing army.
We are not optimists, but there is a system that is an effective fighting force and does not go abroad to save the world or markets.  That would be Switzerland.
Now this can work only if everyone goes.  As soon as war comes, the senator and rep, not to mention their staff head as well as the college president and ceo move out to their units.
The training of the new soldiers would mean everyone at age of induction goes to learn together the joys of low crawling.  The professors kid mixes with the lower orders.  He may find a few Billy Bobs from south of the Mason-Dixon who can outsmart him*.  Also, he can get to meet the inner city youth he has shed tears of blood over while personally avoiding.  Sexual orientation, who cares?  In basic, it should be all training all the time such that if someone still has energy to get into another bunk, they've probably earned it.
The grand establishment that is the military will no longer exist.  We won't need Pxs, Golf courses, enlisted clubs and all the paraphernalia that bribes people into long service.
It won't be fun, and like the Swiss, as everyone goes, the people will not tolerate frivoulous deployments to save the world or bring democracy or something.
I know this has no chance of happening.

*Be assured, there is no one of this class who thinks anyone outside it his or her equal.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tomgram, salvation is destruction

The headline to the Tomgram article says it all,  We Have to Destroy Our Constitution to Save It.  It's one of those great lies such as Bush the younger's abandoning free market principles to save it.  It has no basis in truth, but is accepted by a segment of the population.

No one to the Neutralist's knowledge actually said that about the constitution other than Tom, but it is the general tone of partisans of the security state. 

Bush did make his remark.  Unlike a lot of people who were born with a hatred for him, his family and party, The Neutralist doesn't think he was stupid.  Neither do we believe him a genius.  He possessed the cunning of the political class.  There is a very limited free market in this country.  In real terms, Bush did nothing to save it, nor did he have any intention of doing so.  He was bailing out the banker class.  His remark of saving it was him being cute as was, oh like say, Bill Clinton when he announced the end of the big government era.

The security state partisans do claim to be preserving our freedoms, but they talk more on the order of keeping us safe.  They say we have not heard about the events they prevented.  We sure know about the guys they set up for a fall.  If they're so effective, then there should have been no Boston Marathon bombing.  After all, they were tipped off by the Russkies.

So if the record of catching the bad guys is, as they say in Scotland, not proven, what is the rationale for scooping up all our phone records?

In truth, we do not have an answer, only guesses.  The people who are doing this are bureaucrats even if they wear general's stars.  We would not want to say they are born rotters and that is what they do.  They may have signed on believing in the goodness of the mision.  No matter the state of their souls, they believe in the mission.  If they don't, at least they serve it.  Governments and bureaucracies do not always trust the citzenry.  It is not far from that to a for your own good attitude.

It is even shorter to a we are trashing the Bill of Rights to save it.  Are they mad.  Sure, but the real crazies don't go to asylums.  If you can write a plausible paper, appear cogent on C span, you should have no worries about keeping a post no matter how many files you want Leviathan to scoop up.

The Tomgram applauds the activity of the people who exposed COINTELPRO and the paper that exposed the operation.  What has changed?  More to the point, who has changed?  There is a tiny burst of surprise that the Clintons have an enemies list.  Not a big topic in the media.  When Nixon had them it was proof of complete evil, as was just about anything he did.  Equally hated and reviled was J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI. 

To go after them was truth to power.  Was it really?  After all, the media applauded the actions of the operatives.  We don't know, but no matter, the security state at that time was a fraction of what it is now, but it was not good.

Now, the great and good are not rising up in opposition as they did even under Bush.  Not too many have much to say against this administration.  Why?  Is it a cult of personality for someone who really does not have much of a personality?

Tom and Glenn have to be commended.  It has to be a bit lonely, but that is heroism.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Anyone up for another Asian war?

Of course The Neutralist should stay on top of current events so that we can comment intelligently on events relevant to our mission.  Sadly our budget is non-existent so we have to rely on other sources.  Fortunately, they abound on the Internet.  One is always being warned that we cannot trust everything on the web.  Of course they never mean NYT or WAPO.  Moi, I'll take the new media over the old when it makes its points well.

It seems there is trouble brewing in Pacific.  None of it close to us, but thanks to our great victory in WWII, the country we leveled is our ally.  Now, if they have a war, it is our war.
In one of the newer media outlets, Antiwar.com's blog John Glaser notes that China is kind of tired of a large ocean being an American lake.

In Mr. Glaser's post, Abandon Hegemony in Asia-Pacific, Or Risk Catastrophic War, the title says it all.  Is maintaining the Pacific lake worth a war?  The few people who have been following The Neutralist cannot be in the dark on our position.  We have always been for the end of our country's policy of running the world.  In the end, it is unsustainable.  We are rattling swords with a big creditor in support of another big creditor.  Are we the indispensable power or a grand pawn?

Is China wishing to establish an Asian Monroe Doctrine or does she wish to have a lake.  The Neutralist can't say for sure, but believes, in the end, short of war there is no point to staying.  There are enough regional players such that if we leave, The Middle Kingdom will have enough problems sorting that out that they're not about to obtain a trans-Pacific landing force anytime soon.
Thanks to treaty obligations, bugging out will be complicated.  Even so, we should begin the process of negotiating our departure with all the powers now.
Actually, we should have begun the process in 1898 by saying to Spain, sorry about that boat, but send us a few pesetas comp and you keep the Philippines.  No, go back further, we should have told the sugar planters further south that we were not helping to depose Queenie.
Mr. Glaser sums it all up best here, “maintaining global hegemony does ordinary Americans little good. Such an exclusive hold on power in the sphere of international relations is greatly beneficial to political elites and the wealthy entities to which they are closely tied, but not much for the general population. Given this, the question of whether we prefer maintaining hegemony to “all-out conflict” in the Asia-Pacific is pertinent.”

It was maybe the Dole's in Hawaii, who wanted the Philippines is a good question, but elites set up a colonial situation that probably made war inevitable.  Why are we still there?  There are ample web sources to argue that, but be assured, Joe and Jane average will get nothing out of it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bill Kristol wants to transform the Dumb War into another Good War.

It is no small task Bill Kristol has set himself. After all, when someone who has made no great sacrifices in life wants to tell us that men who paid the ultimate price really died for some good reason, one might think there would be some logical justification for his pontification. Not really, his screed does little more than tell us to suck it up for the country, because that's good, or something.
He quotes the poem of Wilfrid Owen wherein the poet disagrees that Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is as sweet as it sounds. Owen, unlike Kristol, actually saw service and near the end of the conflict was killed in action.

Kristol does not mention Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon was also a war poet and as brave a soldier as Owen. He was decorated with the Military Cross. After being wounded, he refused to go back to the war. The futility was too much and he turned against the whole project.

Kristol notes that the beginning of “The Great War” is the bicentennial of the War of 1812. He quotes the Star Spangled Banner Then Conquer we must verse. So a war we incompetently drifted into justifies all the silly deaths of 1914-1918? 

One is tempted to ask if they taught logic at Harvard. That is irrelevant. Kristol surely understands a valid syllogism. What is going on is he is being cute. His conservatism is all pretense. A conservative foreign policy would emulate Switzerland's. We, as a people got nothing out of our intervention in the First World War. We are getting none out of our Middle-Eastern adventures.

Kristol and the Weekly Standard staff are going on a cruise to schmooze with the subscribers. Let us all applaud that sacrifice as our boys in Afghanistan hunker down in a meaningless conflict. I doubt Mr. Warrior will be too upset if there are casualty reports while he is at sea.

Kristol, would probably quote with approval the words of Herbert Croly when he was pushing for WWI, "The American nation needs the tonic of a serious moral adventure."  Croly was one of the founders of The National Review and an uber-progressive and like Kristol a chickenhawk.  I don't really believe Kristol is stupid enough to believe the stuff he spouts, but if he does, he's a lunatic.

Hat tip to Mediaite and Lew Rockwell blog.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Isolationism, always new always fresh!

America is taking a short break from remaking the world.  This may have something to do with the last few attempts not being too successful.  Actually, they were failures, but is that any reason to stop trying?  It never has been and never will be over at Planet New York Times.

Back in October, Andrew Bacevich, West Point Grad, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University wrote a long piece on the Times' love of adventuring.  It was exhaustive in displaying how the “Paper of Record” supports intervention and condemn Isolationism whenever it rears its ugly head.

Professor Bacevich exhaustively chronicles how Timesguys and Timesbabes are always fighting the eternal recurrence of “The New Isolationism” (TNI). The opponents of TNI are so numerous that if they could be mustered together, they could constitute and invasion force and head off to the next country we need to save.

The lads and lasses who hate isolationism so much never get around to explaining why the whole internationalism stuff is so great.  It's just that America hunkered down here is horrible in their view.

And this is of course the problem.  There really are not many isloationists.  It's that the op-edsters in the times get to define the terms.  I wish the Professor had come to grips with this as he wrote a great Neutralist column.  Neutralism is not turning our back on the world, though it is turning our back on running the world.

My favorite part of the article, his quote of James Traub from the 1991 NYT,

An op-ed by up-and-coming journalist James Traub appearing in the Times in December 1991, just months after a half-million U.S. troops had liberated Kuwait, was typical.  Assessing the contemporary political scene, Traub detected “a new wave of isolationism gathering force.”  Traub was undoubtedly establishing his bona fides.  (Soon after, he landed a job working for the paper.)
This time, according to Traub, the problem was the Democrats.  No longer “the party of Wilson or of John F. Kennedy,” Democrats, he lamented, “aspire[d] to be the party of middle-class frustrations -- and if that entails turning your back on the world, so be it.”

Anyone who wants to be part of Wilsonianism is either not bright, not sane or a charlatan.
Good work, Professor.  You don't have far to go to come out into the sunlight of Neutralism
Professor Bacevich' article has been posted a few places.  I read it at the Unz Review .