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.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

At Antiwar.com Muhammad Sahimi is almost completely right

In today's Antiwar.com, Muhammad Sahimi has an article, What the Islamophobes Won’t Say About the West’s Destruction of theMideast, that almost perfectly reflects the Neutralist's position on the Middle-East.

Mr. Sahimi details the reasons Muslims might not be absolutely happy with the American and allied intervention in the region he hails from.  It is a record we can neither deny nor be proud of if we are honest.

Though the Neutralist agrees, our meddling invites blow back, at least a time out from Muslim immigration is warranted.  This is not because we believe the followers of Islam are all evil, it is because your average US citizen does not deserve a San Bernadino or Marathon bombing or a Fort Hood shooting, even if he or she blindly agrees with the propaganda.

As Mr. Sahimi's case is well made, it only bolsters the case for Neutralism.  We need to withdraw our forces from MENA, let them solve their own problems and when they have sorted it out, resume a relationship on a basis we can all agree on.*

I urge anyone who is not conversant with our adventures in the Middle-East to read the article.

There is a problem I have.  I think he correctly decries the neocons and their attitude, but there is a more nuanced view of the Islamic world that he does not address.  Our country's first foreign war after the revolution was with the Barbary states of North Africa.

These entities would send their raiders to prey on Europe's commercial shipping and after the American Revolution on ours.  The Neutralist has touched on this before.

We have mentioned the words of the Tripolitan ambassador to Jefferson,

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
Most progressive Americans don't get what that means and some conservatives thinks it means we have an eternal war

That was mainstream Muslim thought in the early 18th Century, why would it not be today?  

The local UCC (Congregational) is the direct descendant of the Puritans, a theocracy as virulent as the Wahabis.  Cotton Mather would have thought abortion nothing other than an abomination. The UCC agreed until 1971.  The malleability of doctrine, that one day something is a horrible sin and the next, choice is not seen as crazy.**

The Muslim, believing the Koran the word of God, sees that it can’t change.  It is a consistent position and no one should blame the believer for holding it.

So the ambassador’s words are, speaking loosely, gospel in the early 1800s as well as the 21st century.

The folks who have the coexist bumper stickers don’t get it.  Trump voters do.  Quite the divide.

The we are the world types see Jihadists a tiny minority and the neocons as forever war. The former don't quite get that the Muslims have not changed with the times and polls show that many of them believe death is proper for Apostasy.

Is there hope?  Yes, but not immediately.  As the local Calvinists no longer preach Old Testament fire and brimstone and no longer burn witches (unlike some people today) it is to be wished that Islamic preachers will emphasize passages such as To You Your Religion and To Me Mine (Qur'an 109:1-6) instead of those more favored by the ambassador.

So time out until we have a better vetting process (assuming we can ever trust our own government to do it honestly) that can weed out the bad apples completely and we need to stay home as well.

*This is not something the Neutralist takes any pleasure in suggesting.  He grew up in a town with a Moslem community in the 1950s.  They had started coming in the early 20th Century.  I cannot speak to the exact level of assimilation, but no one had a bad word to say about them.

Still, there are always people in every society who cannot separate out the good and the bad.  Most Americans by now see Middle-Easterners as troubled at best.  Who cannot understand that the odd Moslem might resent all in the West and not just the neocons.

**Lest any one is wondering, this is not about abortion for or against, just illustrating how an organization can shift when the time comes to get with it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, which is the better dog food?

A Madison Avenue fable from Ben Wattenberg.
Seeking to produce a new dog food, a big corporation set market researchers, food chemists and advertising agencies to work. The experts came up with a new product they were proud of. The dog food sold well, for a while. Then it slumped. Puzzled, the corporate executives commissioned a public opinion firm to see what was wrong.
Soon, the answer came back: "The dogs don't like it."
And this is the story of Jeb Bush, not to mention the rest of the crowd.  They started the race with the same basic message, Don't say too, too much about immigration.  Jeb was the most vocal with his "act of love" quote, but no one was really out there.

So the puppies may not have lapped it up, but they ate the same old because that is all that they had, that is if they even showed up.

So along comes a new brand by an upstart company and les chiens will eat nothing but.  All the other companies are saying, "how can you let the dogs eat that junk.  It don't matter.

The contempt that the old companies had for the consumers was so pervasive they wonder about the market.  That they would go astray with alacrity does not let them question themselves.  Instead, they have even more contempt for the target.

A commenter at Sic Semper Tyrannis, Bill Herschel put it well,

So Jeb Bush etc. declare that we are in a battle of civilizations and blame Obama for not recognizing the fact. Then, after a terrorist attack in California by batsh*t nuts Islamic terrorists, one of whom has immigrated from... you guessed it, Saudi Arabia (doesn't that ring a bell?), Donald Trump respectfully suggests that we take a time-out on Muslim immigration, and the very same people who say it's a battle of civilizations say that he is not an American.

Let us not forget that Trump made the least insane comment about Putin and Syria,

When asked what he thinks Putin is doing in the Middle East, Trump stated, “Well, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over, and Putin is now taking over what we started, and he’s going into Syria, and he frankly wants to fight ISIS, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. You know, I said that a year ago and everybody said oh, that’s terrible. If he wants to fight ISIS, let him fight ISIS. Why do we always have to do everything. But he wants to go in. He wants to fight ISIS. Now, he wants to keep, as you know, he wants to keep your leadership, your current leadership, Assad in Syria. Personally I’ve been looking at the different players, and I’ve been watching Assad, and I’ve been pretty good at this stuff over the years, cause deals are people. And I’m looking at Assad and saying, ‘Maybe he’s better than the kind of people that we’re supposed to be backing.’ Because we don’t even know who we’re backing.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the field would want to do something that might risk nuclear war.  It's hard not to look like a giant amidst those midgets.

The Neutralists will say no more now.  With all the money Jeb is spending, you would think one of his hotshots would come up with something to find a pulse.

The Neutralist could use the work.  Jeb, get in touch with me, I will work for much less and promise to get you to 4%.

Stick a fork in him, he's dog food. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

If you are going to be hung as a horse thief, you might as well steal horses.

The title is supposedly an Irish proverb.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't but  Mr. Trump has got the message, and no other GOPer has.

That old neocon, Limbaughput it nicely,

Everybody, everybody -- now Paul Ryan has joined in -- everybody condemning Donald Trump. The conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump's insane, he's a lunatic, crazy. This is dangerous. This is bad. It's un-American. It's unacceptable. He's gotta go.

Except he's leading. A big problem. Even Dingy Harry -- and, by the way, for all of you Republicans getting on this gravy train condemning Trump, I want to show you what good it's doing you. Dingy Harry: "Donald Trump is standing on the platform of hate, and, I'm sorry to say, hate that the Republican Party has built for him."

You Republicans, you can denounce Trump all day, all week, all month, and the Democrat Party and the media are still gonna say you laid the table for it. You can condemn Trump all you want, but it is not going to buy you any love or respect or admiration from the Drive-By Media and the Democrats. Now, folks, the conventional wisdom is that Trump is scum, that Trump is a reprobate, that Trump is dangerous, that Trump is obscene, Trump's insane, Trump's a lunatic, Trump's dangerous, Trump's got to go. Why join in with that phrase? Why join that crowd? We never fall in with conventional wisdom here.
Listen to NPR and they don't even try to pretend objectivity.  Yeah, they'll quote a Repub saying Trump is off his rocker and when Trump is gone, they'll happily bash the man  they quoted.

So we all agree, Trump is anti-American because of his exclusionary thoughts.  Well folks, for most of our history, that has been mainstream.  Jimmy Carter banned Iranians and that did not disqualify him from a Nobel.

Early American policy was to say the least, discrimintory.

1790 Congress adopts uniform rules so that any free white person could apply for citizenship after two years of residency
Whether that is good or bad, Trump is not un-American even though some geniuses, such as Dick Cheney, Van Jones, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker may think.  Ah but ignorance is bliss.

At the Neutralist, we do not hate Muslims, but letting them in is not going well.  We hate to be pity party poopers, but the question is begged but if they're so wonderful, why are there so many problems in all of their lands.

Of course, our country is not perfect, but it is ours.  Theirs should be theirs and we should not contribute to screwing them up.  Thus, again the Neutralist mantra, bring the boys home.

As to another possible Mick proverb, provided by the late Social-Democrat of Irish Protestant extraction, John Roche had one.  "Never get involved in the religious wars of churches to which you do not belong."

Friday, December 04, 2015

They accomplished their mission

More news has come out that the two murderers in California were not involved in something "workplace-related" as our misoverestimated  president had mentioned as a possibility.  Their wiping of their digital record the day before says it all.

The Neutralist has not seen any evidence that the duo were controlled by any jihad organization.  They were working on their own.

The softness of the target is what makes it effective.  Some poor fellow who just wants to live life and do his job is now suspect.  "You know Ahmed is the best worker we've had here and gets along with everyone."  "Yeah, they said that about the San Bernadino guy as well."

As the wife appears to have been a radical before she got here, it puts in question the so-called vetting program.  Of course no one believes the administration cares to keep out anyone.

US foreign policy including who we let in is and has been a mistake since forever.

Bring the troops home and secure the border.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Speaking Truth to Stupid

A couple of links from Drudge this morning are the cause of this post.

The first one, Iraqis think the U.S. is in cahoots with the Islamic State, and it is hurting the war in the Washington Post may or may not be correct.  That their is some suspicion is not insane.  There is ample evidence that the Qataris are supporting ISIS and we are their best buddies.

American policy is impenetrable.  One can only wonder at what the administration is doing.  None of it makes sense.

In a post on Sic Semper Tyrannis, a commenter is quoted,

Just trying to keep my scorecard straight. Let’s see. The Americans are using a Turkish airbase to bomb ISIS and protect our allies the Kurds. 
 The Turks are bombing our allies the Kurds while we are using their airbase.  The Americans are supplying human shields for terrorist in Syria who are being bombed by the Russians. 
On the Iraqi side, American air power is being used to protect and support the new Iranian puppet regime in Iraq installed by the Americans after the gulf war.  The Mahdi army that we fought in Sadr City are now advanced element of the Iraqi army we are protecting. 
Officers of “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” the Iranians are standing next to Iraqi officers who are standing next to American officers all cooperating to kill ISIS soldiers who have been receiving weapons from Americans through American proxies we consider”moderate rebels”. 
Meanwhile, our “enemies” the Iranians are supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen while our “allies” the people who destroyed the trade centers have involved the U.S. in yet another unauthorized war by aggressively attacking the houthis who were helping the U. S. fight Al Queda in Yemen before . 
In the meanwhile “moderate rebels” are undoubtedly being furnished weapons capable of bringing down Russian war planes. So while Russia is bombing ISIS, we are encouraging our proxies to shoot down their planes. 
Will someone tell me whose side we are on today?
It nicely sums it up the bizarre nature of our Mid-east policy.

It was thus refreshing to read the other Drudge Link.  Refreshing?  Heck, it was mind blowing.  Not only was it about someone actually making sense, it was a Democrat and it was in that journal of Neoconism, The National Review.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii has called out the folly of our reckless adventurism,

Carter got a hint of just how difficult it may be to sell Congress on such legislation when Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) suggested that Obama’s decision to place American fighter jets equipped “to target Russian planes” on the border between Turkey and Syria, and his stated opposition to Russian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, could lead the U.S. into a nuclear war with Vladimir Putin’s regime. 
“Russia’s installation of their anti-aircraft missile-defense system increases that possibility of — whether it’s intentional or even an accidental event — where one side may shoot down the other side’s plane,” Gabbard told Carter. “And that’s really where the potential is for this devastating nuclear war.”
For the woman to take on the president, a member of her party, is brave, unless she had permission.  Generally, a politician is guilty until proven innocent, but we live in hope.

Keep talking Tulsi!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Is Obama worse than Assad?

Shocking? Uncalled for? It shouldn't be.

Some talking heads are wising up. They have come to the conclusion that dumping Bashar Assad might not be an act of genius. Every such pronouncement has to be preceded by a formula similar to; “Of course, President Assad is gross, and disgusting, but what comes after might be even worse.”

No one really wants to take it any further because in a point by point comparison, their analysis might lead them to a sort of riff on Henny Youngman's “How's your wife. Compared to what?” How about compared to President Obama.

In his joint session with President Hollande, Obama blamed Russia for the downing of its own jet.

President Barack Obama said the downing of a Russian fighter jet along the Syrian-Turkish border Tuesday is evidence of an "ongoing problem" with Russia's military operations in Syria, and that Turkey had a "right to defend its territory and its airspace."

The president said this before there was much information available. Unfortunately for the narrative, one of the crew-members survived and returned to his base. If the man is to be believed, there were no warnings given as claimed by Turkey.

The plane, even if it crossed into Turkish air space was there only for seconds and did not deserve to be downed. No word from our president if he stands behind his words.
There is no lack of evidence that Turkey is in the oil biz with ISIS. We had been going after the tanker trucks in a most desultory manner. Our air force got around to it on November 16th and took out 116 trucks. Maybe it was long planned or maybe the Russkies showing us up had something to do with it. Of course that is a small point in the thesis that Assad is a nicer guy. There are bigger arguments in that direction.

If, as our administration would have it, the Syrian Government is a foul regime that we could never support, this begs the question as to why are in bed with the brutal regime in Bahrain?
In the April 13, 2012 Huffington Post, journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, wrote;

Obama has demanded that Bashar al-Assad step-down, slapped sanctions on Syria, and is funding opposition groups in the country. But when it comes to Bahrain, he has colluded in the King's efforts to downplay the civil unrest, distract from proposed reforms and failed to hold Bahrain accountable. This, from a president who promised to restore America's human rights reputation abroad.

Ahmed, it was only a campaign promise. The tradition in the exceptional nation is to break them.

Bahrain used to torture dissidents, but fortunately that has all stopped. Well, no it didn't.  According to Human Rights Watch on November 22, 2015;

The claims of Bahrain and its allies that authorities have ended torture in detention are simply not credible,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “All the available evidence supports the conclusion that these new institutions have not effectively tackled what the BICI report described as a ‘culture of impunity’ among security forces.”
Bahrain is a country where a Sunni Royal family lords it over a Shia population. How come the spreaders of democracy are not calling for elections. Bahrain would claim they have them, but it is only for the lower house and the king appoints the upper house which makes the whole thing a sham. Obama, being from Chicago could only admire such a system. Not that he would sign an executive order...

There is no evidence that Assad supports the brutally corrupt Bahraini regime.

A little bit of water separates Bahrain from another shining example of a human rights non-paradise. Saudi Arabia has been our ally since near forever. Whatever that kingdom's concept of democracy is, they don't like it much. Oh, they have municipal elections, but for the country, if you get the king's vote you're in, literally. He appoints all 150 members of the majlis or consultative assembly.

No one seems to be calling for regime change. Then again, maybe I'm being a little too harsh on the desert monarchy. They are not without grievances and they refuse to take it lying down. The justice ministry intends to sue a person on twitter for comparing the death sentence handed out to a Palestinian poet for apostasy to the punishments handed out by ISIS. Oh such a foul slander!

I'm not sure the quibble. Neither ISIS or KSA have a good word to say about apostasy and will not spare you. One would think the ministry does not have the the sense to be embarrassed.

Though, according to the Independent, the Kingdom has executed 151 victims this year, there is leniency. Blasphemy only gets you flogged fifty times as in the case of liberal writer Raif Badawi. With his ten year sentence, he can contemplate his sovereign's clemency.

Maybe Assad should start handing out death sentences for apostasy and Obama might bow to him too.

Does the Syrian president have a fleet of drones flying over the Levant? That is a is a question to be answered. One might expect if his drone force was having the success Obama's has had, we would have heard about it with a certain prejudice.

Whether or not our drones can hit the broad side of a barn door is not known. They can tag a lot of people, innocent ones. According to the Intercept, about 90% of the drone kills get the blameless. This is a failure rate that would get any CEO fired. The mainstream press should be howling, if we could find them.

It is a heck of a thing if our high tech is more of a human rights travesty than barrel bombs.

Can't say if Assad has a penchant for suppressing whistleblowers but our jefe máximo does. It is something of a hallmark of the administration that promised transparency. Than again, they all do.

In spite of everything above, Assad has never had the bad manners to call for Obama's removal from office.

Maybe some quant can tell us which of the two presidents has more to answer for. All that is nice, but there is one trump that allows Assad extra points. He is not flirting with starting a war with a nuclear power that could turn much of the country into glass. The Syrian president just wants to survive, we are adventuring in Ukraine and the Middle-East against Putin.

None of this should be construed as support for the Syrian regime Of course, President Assad is gross, and disgusting and he can forget ever being awarded the Nobel Prize.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Being against immigration does not mean you hate the foreigner

NPR no longer makes even a pretense at balance.  It doesn't have to.  It is all about sympathy for the poor victims of "Islamophobia" or something.

So this is just to say, one does not need to hate the foreigner to not want them to be here.  That there may be some wonderful folks among the refugees does not mean admitting them is all good.  The undeniable fact is that if no immigrants had been allowed in France, there would have been no Paris bombing.

Of course, one does not need to hate another to not want to have them as neighbors.  I don't hate people who listen to loud music at 3:00 a.m., but I don't want to live in the same apartment.

We have people in the West spouting about how the refugees are salt of the Earth and the terrorists are perverting the faith.  One needs to look to history for what is reality.

When Thomas Jefferson asked the Ambassador of Tripoli in London, Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, by what right the Barbary states took our ships and enslaved sailors and demanded tribute the envoy replied,

The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

Now this would have been mainstream Muslim theology back in the day.  Why would it have changed?  A religion that changes doctrine with the wind is not much of a belief system.  The diplomat said it without trying to soften it.  It was certainly believed in Tripoli, Cairo, Constantinople and kabul as well.

There is no reason to believe it is not the theology to day.  There is no reason to belief your peacefull, professional neighbor, if honest would not say, "Well, yes, I do have a right to enslave you, but it is not in my interest at this point in time."  If he does not say it, if asked, he is being cute.

If the above is true, both for the short and long term, separation is the best and most humane policy.

The Neutralist is open to correction.  If someone can, without obfuscation, reasonably convince me that the Haji was wrong and an aberration back in the day, I am open to hear it.

I suspect I won't be putting a coexist bumper sticker on the car anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

After Paris, what is to be done?

I write this full in the knowledge that anything I suggest has no chance of happening.  It appears that the present dispensation will continue with a few verses of The Marseillaise and some facebook status pictures of faces with a tricolor background.

So this is just an academic exercise.

Keep in mind, all of what is below is from a neutralist point of view.

First, close the door.  One cannot argue that if there were no Muslims in France that what occurred would have happened as it did.  They can't get in uless they are let in.

Second, all foreigners leave.  Oh gosh, that sounds so Trump, but unless one can prove that their presence improves the lives of the natives, then au revoir.

Third, Stop bugging people in other countries.  France has been bombing in the Middle East for years.  I understand ISIS, from a secular, western point of view is evil, but one should not be surprised when they strike back.  

Fourth, stop propping up Saudi Arabia.  Yeah, I like to drive my car and I know that petroleum is what goes into the tank.  That does not mean if the Saudi so-called Royal Family is removed that there will never be another drop of oil refined in this world.  We may have to spend a extra for it, but being rid of the Wahabis would be a net plus for the world.

Being in the Middle East makes no sense.  The people individually may be okay, but as nations they suck.  Nothing they have did they invent.  Even the numbers they write came from India.  Spreading democracy is a hopeless errand.

The only reasonable policy, and I am not endorsing it, is the Crudsades.  That is, making life safe for Christians and anyone who does not want to bug someone because of their religion.

The Neutralist does not claim to know the exact reasons the US and some EU countries are in the ME.  We don't know why they have let foreigners swamp them. when patrol craft could stop refugees from landing.  All we know is that it is stupid to let it continue.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Just sayin' Relatively speaking Assad's not a bad guy

911 -No involvement by B.Assad
Shoe bomber -No involvement by B.Assad
Tsarnaev bombing -No involvement by B.Assad
Charlie Hedbo -No involvement by B.Assad
Paris attacks -No involvement by B.Assad

This list is not conclusive.  Assad has no hand in any incident.  

The governments of the 'west are run by jerks.  One cannot be kind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Trump still least goofy presidential candidate

I did not watch the debate but their are enough livebloggers that one can get a flavor of the debate.  This fellow does a good job and his comment

"10:38 While I was eating a snack, I heard Trump say that if Assad goes, the guy who replaces him might be worse. A wise statement."

solidified Trump as the best of the lot.  Still, that adds up to least goofy as only a neutralist FP is a long run winner.

The most sensible comment on that blog was this by Maj:

"And why does every candidate (except Trump and Paul) need to compete for who will be the most eager to start WWIII with Russia? People the Evil Empire ended 25 years ago. Our interests are no longer diametrically opposed due to clashing political ideologies. If anything we should be thinking about allying with Russia for our mutual benefit and against Islamic jihadists."

This is in line with our past posts on centers of order.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What makes sense in Syria-Somebody knows and it ain't the USG

Thanks to Isegoria, I know some of what the War Nerd writes, or at least some good stuff.  The War Nerd is behind the Pando Paywall, and the Neutralist, having never had a successful fundraising campaign, must work on the cheap.

As the Neutralist has noted before, the American media is all propaganda all the time.  As regards Syria, it publishes or broadcasts the mantra of Assad must go while tacitly supporting the entity they consider the enemy in Iraq.  That it is in no sense sane was up until a few short weeks ago irrelevant.

Then something happened that changed everything.  The Russians arrived and acted like they had a viable plan.  Immediately, the media sniped at the Commie Russian intervention.

the War Nerd writes for Pando.  I never warmed to the site.  Maybe it's because there is just too much out there on the web.  More it's attitudinal.  Pando writers are not without a holier than though outlook.  Everyone else is racist and stupid or something.

The War Nerd is a pseudonym, but the persona is of a loser cubicle slave who has a war jones.  A little more endearing than the "we're cool guys and your not" vibe of the rest of the columns.

Anyway, The Neutralist agrees with the words of the War nerd as posted to Isegoria;

Russia is using its air force to try to blast out a viable territory for an Alawite/Shia state along the Syrian coastal hills. Assad’s people are longtime Russian clients and allies, and the Russian air force is helping them maintain their key turf against a much more numerous enemy. It may fail, but at least that’s a reasonable plan.
At the moment, Russia’s planes are focusing on a triangle of Sunni-held territory north of Homs, trying to blast a path for Assad’s weak infantry. If you look at these verygood graphics put together (it pains me to admit) by the New York Times, you can see what a sensible, traditional military move that is. Scroll down to the two maps captioned “Many of the Initial Airstrikes Were Near the Boundaries Between Government and Rebel Zones” and go to the second map. You’ll see a T-shaped yellow zone marking Sunni-held territory due north of Homs, along the key road to Hama and Aleppo.
That’s where the Russian strikes have been hitting hardest lately, in Sunni-held crossroads towns like Ter Maela, right on the M5 highway that runs north to Hama and Aleppo, south to Damascus. That highway is the key to Syria, a kind of spinal cord like the big vein down a shrimp’s back. If the Russians can obliterate Ter Maela’s defenders thoroughly enough to let Assad’s weak infantry (or maybe his much better Hezbollah or Iranian ringers) take and hold these villages, then the Alawites have the makings of a viable state.

At this point Isegoria Interjected; "The US air campaign, on the other hand, does not make much sense:"

If you were to sum it up, it’d go something like this: “Hit Sunni targets east of the coastal hills, but ignore everything to the west; help the Kurds in the north, but grudgingly, as little as possible, for fear you’ll offend Turkey; and while you’re attacking Assad’s enemies, keep reassuring the Israelis that you’re just as anti-Assad as you are anti-Islamic State.”
Sound stupid? It is. It’s a ridiculous compromise adopted to please the Israelis and Saudis, based on the dumb-ass notion that Sunni fighters in eastern Syria are evil sectarian bastards, but the Sunni fighters facing off against the SAA in the west are “moderates.”
It’s true that Islamic State is uncommonly vile, but let’s not lie; the only faction in Syria that even tries to rise above sectarian hatred are the young Kurdish commies of YPG/J. Every other group is sectarian, and militias that start out sectarian only get meaner as they go, by the iron logic of primitive war, where massacre is the norm. And this sectarian taint isn’t new. Syria’s Sunni were chanting “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the graveyard” long before the fighting started.
Again Isegoria; "Air strikes look clean from air, messy from the ground:"

As a rule, you can tell when the media approve of air strikes by the angle. If it’s all nice clean pilot’s-view of distant explosions, it’s a good strike. If they show you funerals, weeping relatives, blasted apartments, it’s a bad strike. So you can tell, just from the headline — “This Is What the Russian Air Strikes in Syria Look Like from the Ground” — that it’s a bad strike.

Whoever is running American Foeign Policy is not doing much of a job.  This has been so since Bush I.*  Leadership fails sooner or later and even if we got a intelligent administration, it would be but an interregnum until a correlation of forces returned and dumb came back in vogue.

Thus, as Johnny one note we again state, that a neutralist ethos needs to inform our body politic permanently.  The alternative is disaster as is happening now.

So whatever we may think of the rest of Pando, el Nerdos articles are interesting and here is a link if you are inclined to subscribe.  The War Nerd is worth the rest of the site, which is like other progressive sites such as Vox except with a paywall.

*I know everyone loves to hate Reagan, but I suggest you read Suzanne Massie's book on Reagan and Russia, you might think differently about the man.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

AJ Schmeltzer and the bogeyman of Syria

Bashar Assad has got to go.  It's almost a mantra of people like John Kerry.  Assad is a big meanie and if he had left at the beginning of the uprising in Syria, the country would be heaven on earth.

Why, Kerry even compared him to Hitler.  Of course, if you have not compared someone to Dolf, you probably have not been in a senior policy position, but we digress.

The media speaks as one on the Syrian president's evil.  It is all ad hominem.  They do give us little of substance, and I'm waiting.

In Massachusetts back in the 80s, a man was convicted of horrible crimes against little children.  The malefactions took place in a secret room on the property.  The secret room was never found, but the hysteria led to conviction and the press was in no way glorious.

I am surprised that Assad doesn't have a secret room.  Well, maybe his police do in that bad neighborhood.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that in this country, all news is propaganda.

The most blatantly stupid piece was Diane Sawyer and the women snipers of Syria.

So what's the point of all this?

Over at the indispensable Sic Semper Tyrannis website of Col. Lang, there is a post by AJ Schmeltzer  that goes into some depth as to Assad and his situation.  Yes he is the strongman of a country in MENA.  Someone has to do the job or you get Libya Iraq as they are now.

Two sections of the post are instructive:

2: In the original protests, Assad initially attempted negotiations, but, partly due to ingrained behavior and partly due to the quite considerably regime casulties even in the "peacefull" phase, supporters of a "forcefull" approach within Syrian security won out, and attempted to solve the issue by force.
3: Temporarly, this put Assad himself between all chairs. The opposition viewed him as a traitor (due to the security organization being very violent despite orders to the contrary) and the security state himself viewed him as a weakling due to his non-violent orders.
The American assistance that "Assad must go", as a precondition of entering any negotiations was, under that background, seen as sheer bad faith by the Russians. Assad could be utilized as a tool to rein in the Syrian Mukhabarat, and he was/is certainly more controllable/civilized then the people actually running the various Mukhabarats, removing him would achieve nothing, other then the Mukhabarat fighting completely gloves off for its own survival.
We see that Assad is not the devil and our press and government are jerks.
As neutralists, we feel a country with such a juvenile outlook as ours should not even have a foreign policy.

Monday, October 19, 2015

World War II will never end!

Went as a guest to a concert put on by the Air Force Concert Band.  It was a good show.  Sort of like the Boston Pops in uniform.

The show celebrated the end of World War II.  It was well done, but when are we going to start having events that feature our glorious post-Big One military adventures.  How come, instead of "In the Mood" and Andrews Sisters songs don't we have cultural celebrations of Korea, Vietnam, both Gulf wars, Afghanistan et al.

Can the Neutralist get support for a mini series, Grenada, that will sort of be like The Pacific or Band of Brothers?

Thought not.

There is not much to celebrate.

At the beginning, there were introductions.  One of them was for the recruiter in case anyone might be interested during intermission or after the show.  Noticing all the white hair and dearth of youth in the audience, her job yesterday was a forlorn quest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A refreshing article at the Boston Globe, but also more of the same from Chickenhawk Jacoby

The Boston Globe was for a couple of decades owned by the New York Times.  In that era, it was reliably Timesy.  To be honest, so we guess.  I no longer live in the Boston area so what little I read was usually a link that evinced no surprises.

As there are few hot properties in daily news outlets, The Times unloaded the Globe in 2013 at a fire sale price relative to what the old Yankee ownership received about 20 years previously.  

The new owner, John Henry, is a successful businessman who also owns the Boston Red Sox.  Out here in Nowheresville, we have not discerned any change in direction from the usual knee jerk progressivism.  Then again, we are not paying attention.

It was refreshing to catch a link to an article that is in opposition to the administration policy in Eastern Europe.  The title of the September 20th piece, Russia is not the enemy, set the tone that Stephen Kinzer followed to the end.  What's interesting is Mr. Kinzer is a veteran Timesman.  Of course, as we are not following either paper too closely, we may be misjudging.

Still, the article is good.  It lays out all the reasons why the current policy toward Russia is ill advised.  Reading Kinzer, one gets the feeling that American foreign policy makers just don't know when to stop.  Well, that has been a bit of a theme here at The Neutralist.

Mr. Kinzer's article is worth your time.

The current administration at the Globe has inherited, for better or worse, old staff.  In the for worse column, we would include token conservative Jeff Jacoby.

Jeff is a neocon, which really does not bear much resemblance to conservatism.  The man is reliably for war and more war.  

Needless to say, you can leave out one word in the title of Mr. Kinzer's article and change Russia to Putin and you have serviceable theme for Jacoby's article back in March.  The title, Putin has builta Russia of hate, is not going to win awards for subtlety, nor is the article.  Jacoby blames Putin for everything except the Lindbergh kidnapping.

The article is a rehashing of all the anti-Putin tropes, as Putin has been, 

"crushing Chechnya, occupying Georgia, running interference for Syria and Iran-al while eviscerating domestic democratic opposition, plundering Russia's wealth..."

Forgetting that Putin also warned us about the Marathon bombers, but so what.  Gee, those Chechens are the nicest people.  

That running interference for Syria, we could translate that as opposing ISIS, but why quibble.

Putin might not have annexed Crimea if Nuland et al had not pushed a coup as Jacoby did not mention.

In his article, Jeff all but accuses Putin of killing dissident Boris Nemtsov.  For all we know that may be right.  Does it mean we have to go all out against the Russkies.  Jeff is all for it.

"America and the West can best give meaning to Nemtsov's death by emulating the resolve and courage he embodied in life. Condolences won't stop Putin's advances. Backbone is a different story."

Jeff knows all about backbone.  He has led the fight against those who call him and his non-serving ilk "chickenhawks."  To him its a slur.  He and the rough writers showed us by marching down to the recruiting office to lead the battle from the frontlines and not the keyboard.

Nah, he still fights from the comfortable Globe bunker on Morrisey Boulevard. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Official Neutralist Position on the Iran deal and Iran

Let us preface our announcement with the admission that the Neutralist has in no way focused laser like on the negotiations or the agreement.  If the Neutralist policy were in effect, the negotiations would have been irrelevant.  Why worry about Iran anyway as a rogue neighbor that does not effectively control all its own territory has deliverable nukes.

Our official position on the deal is that it is probably sort of okay.  All the People we respect endorse it.   No one we have some confidence in has opposed it.  Many people we do not have a good opinion of have opposed it.  It wins on points.

As we stated above, if a neutralist foreign policy were in place, there would have not have been any need to have negotiations.

What should a neutralist attitude toward Iran be.

As we have noted in prior posts, William S. Lind has spelled it out,

America's grand strategy should seek to connect our country with as many centers of order as possible while isolating us from as many centers and sources of disorder as possible.
So, if Iran is a center of order, we cooperate with them where we can or have to, and as they are on the opposite side of the world, that should not be too often.

Then again, as they are where they are, there should not be too much need to bug them unless they actively bug us.  We have a history with the Persians, but I don't want to get into who started it.  We should not try to continue it unless we have to.

Then again, If Palestinia can build an ordered state, we can cooperate with them, as we could with the Israelis and the Andorrans for that matter.

Notice, cooperate does not mean ally.

Now there is one state that is a bit rogue.  Granted, it made a good effort in the negotiations, but it feels it necessary to bother the Russkies for silly reasons.  We shall let our readers, few as they are, figure that one out.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

America's von Ribbentrop-Samantha Power

Monty Python had a sketch of Hitler surviving and going to Britain to run in a by-election.  His entourage have only slightly changed names.  You can guess who Ron Ribbentrop was.

It was all very comic opera and so is our foreign policy if you are paying attention.  Samantha Power, our UN Ambassador is slick as was von R, but she is selling a dishonest policy to the world body.

Doing a great job dissecting it is a show on RT.  My Yankee chauvinism bubbles up and I confess to ambivalence about RT as a source, but as they say about the folks coming across the border, they are doing the jobs Americans don't want to do.

So, I watched the video and Salon's Patrick Smith was quick out of the box to distill Sam's role.  He called her an excellent rep for US policy.  Problem is the nature of that policy.  Hey Ron served Dolph well so that's what diplos do I guess.  Smith is right and most of the rest of the show was elaborating on that theme.

I had not been aware of Mr. Smith, but he batted it out of the park.  This is not to disparage the panelists, Daniel McAdams and Scott Rickard, they worked well also.

Anyway, watch the embedded video at this link.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Krauthammer, Will, Trump and the Bozo Wars

Memo to Chuck and George; Looking serious, sounding serious is not being serious.

On Fox News Special, they pooh pooh Donaldo calling him a rodeo clown. Yah know, I've always thought the guy was at least giving that appearance. Was he crazy like a fox, using a garish style to attain goals?

I think he's phony. I remember hearing his commercials about how he, along with some guy who I think was named Kiyosaki, was going to teach me to be rich in some seminar or something. If I were a billionaire, the last way I'd spend my time would be going around the country, staying in motels, giving courses on how to be as rich as himself.

That said, our goofy friend is saying things directly that so called serious people merely dance around. We have no southern border and your man has noticed. That strongest field, as Krauthammer put it, is mute.

As to being the jester at the horse competition, one might point out, this is not the first rodeo for either Willie or the Krautster. Both lads were all for going into Iraq. Georgie was sure the reign of heaven would descend and said so in an October 8, 2002 interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose:

I think the answer is that we believe, with reason, that democracy’s infectious. We’ve seen it. We saw it happen in Eastern Europe. It’s just — people reached a critical mass of mendacity under those regimes of the East block, and it exploded. And I do believe that you will see [in the Middle East] a ripple effect, a happy domino effect, if you will, of democracy knocking over these medieval tyrannies . . . Condoleezza Rice is quite right. She says there is an enormous condescension in saying that somehow the Arab world is just not up to democracy. And there’s an enormous ahistorical error when people say, “Well, we can’t go into war with Iraq until we know what postwar Iraq’s going to look like.” In 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor, did we have a clear idea what we were going to do with postwar Germany? With postwar Japan? Of course not. We made it up as we went along, and we did a very good job. . . .

Kind of the crazy talk that would make a real professional clown like Emmet Kelley blush. Of course, wisely, EK never spoke.

Charlie was equally voluble and wrong about Iraq. He never admitted he was wrong, but changed the justification he claimed for the war.

DeTocqueville observed that democracy separated the generations. In our era, not only are the generations separate, but we are different minute to minute, if not second to second. The two pundits' words of a war ago are as distant as Rome's invasion of Britain. By the time you read this, there recent words will be forgotten by most and they will go on to speaking fees and other emoluments.

Krauthammer has not always felt so badly about Mr. Hair. His feelings about Trump evolve as he saw some dignity in the man once,
 Krauthammer took a phone call from Donald Trump in April of 2011 and somehow came away with the impression that Trump was going to make a genuine run for the White House. Krauthammer’s reasoning was this: “But as a person, I thought more highly of him … because of the gracious way and the calm and courteous way he discussed the issues.”

At least Will has learned something as he wrote in a column:

The last 11 years have been filled with hard learning. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history, coincided with mission creep (“nation building”) in Afghanistan. Both strengthened what can be called the Republicans’ John Quincy Adams faction: America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

What is lacking, as far as we can find, is the owning up that he himself has had to learn something. No admission of error.

It does boggle the mind that these men continue to be taken seriously. At least they should be made to wear greasepaint makeup and big red noses as they bloviate on whatever outlet puts them on.

The Atlantic's Peter Beinart, who supported the Iraq war and honestly admits the error put it nicely,

To a degree that will baffle historians, the political-intellectual complex that made the Iraq War possible remains intact, and powerful. Amnesia is part of the reason why. If Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Benjamin Netanyahu knew that before denouncing the Iran deal they’d be required to account for their views on Iraq, they might not show up in the green room. If they did, their television appearances would take a radically different course from the course they generally take today.

We all know the accounting will not take place.

Ah well, On to Teheran.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sic Semper Tyrannis, the two Paddies write well about the Middle East

Sic Semper Tyrannis is one of the best sites about intel and foreign policy on the internet.  It may be the best, but as I have not been elevated to the papacy, it might be correct to not speak infallibly.

Patrick Bahzad's FOCUS: modus operandi of ISIS on the tactical level explains much about the success of the forces of the neo-caliphate.  Our takeaway from his post is that whoever is running ISIS, mama didn't raise no fool.  To quote,

One of the most important things to stress about ISIS is that this is an organisation that has learnt to fight and survive – despite heavy losses – in an environment where they were totally outmatched technologically and under the constant threat of US air-power. The other decisive aspect to their military capabilities is the input of former military and intelligence personnel from the Saddam era.

In its early days, "Al Qaeda in Iraq" lacked the military, logistical and organisational skills of the former Iraqi military and it had a hard time surviving the US led "Surge". However, what was left of AQI in 2009 had merged with the ex-Baathist element and had gradually morphed into a structure that had learnt its lessons the hard way. Renamed "Islamic State in Iraq", it was led by a group of people skilled enough to seize any chance to expand and consolidate their organisation.

I remember from back in the day Hannity or someone local waxing poetic about how they had an election and democracy had taken root or something.  Well, Sunni Iraq lives and even if we come back with a few divisions, they will probably go to ground and wait us out and Monsieur Bahzad can write this column again.

Of course, we are not probably going back with a huge footprint.  That is what the other Pat dealt with in TheBorg is Screwing the Pooch in the ME.  At the beginning of the post is the painting of a crusader knight fending off besiegers, but not for long.    Colonel Lang draws the not so subtle analogy that we are not serious about our ME strategy and uses the words of General Dempsey to make the point.

He notes the general says we'll fight on even if the government falls from the network of hedgehogs.  

When pressed Dempsey said that if the Iraq government collapses we (the US Armed Forces) will fight on from our "network" of Hedgehogs assisting whoever wants help and without regard to the wishes of "the government."

Col. Lang mentions Dien Bien Phu and maybe we are in danger of that outcome.  Were I a Sunni or even a Shia, I would not believe or support anything the US did there.  I remember how we supported a revolt during Gulf War Uno and then left the people dangling.  The Colonel has mentioned the Awakening several times.  We are not all that trustworthy.

Good luck with those lilypads.