President Trump and a Sane Foreign Policy

Compare and contrast: Donald Trump, called ignorant, stupid and crude by the Expert Class, manages to at least get the ball rolling on a settlement of the Korean War and the de-nuclearization of Korea. The Expert Class (Conservative and Progressive, makes no matter in this case) is the same sort of people who got us into the Korean War without a declaration of war, expended 33,000 American lives – along with many hundreds of thousands of Korean and Chinese lives (as well as blowing everything above a hut in North Korea to pieces) – and then said, “ah, heck with it: lets just settle for a stalemate.” A stalemate which has now gone on for 65 years, continues to cost lives and, until just yesterday, carried a real threat of renewed fighting at any time.

Who is actually dumb? Heck: who is actually insane?

Reading the comments from Expert Class people on social media after Trump concluded the summit, I kept getting angrier and angrier. These people clearly wished that Trump had failed – and are hoping against hope that it will still fail at some future point. I got the distinct impression (and I’m not the only one) that they’d prefer a bloody war to result in Korea, as long as we lost it and they could pin the blame on Trump. Look, I despise the North Korean regime as much as anyone – just as I despise all tyranny, and especially tyranny of the Communist variety, because it is so invariably anti-human. But I also don’t want the sons and daughters of America to die in war unless it is necessary – and I sure as heck don’t want them shoved into another war to bleed and die and then not be allowed to win. I tend to think this is a rather sane way to view things.

Trump is trying to get something better. Maybe the North Korean regime also wants something better? Sure, we can count on it that they will try to wring every advantage they can out of this and you can rely on it that they’re plans don’t include the creation of a pluralist democracy. What can we do here?

1. Nothing and hope that the North Korean regime merely dies, and doesn’t decide to take out South Korea in it’s death throes.

2. Go to war and expend a lot of lives destroying the North Korean regime, and then spend a couple decades rebuilding the place.

3. Try to work a deal where they become a non-immediate threat and are able to slowly build themselves up over time (which does carry a risk that a richer North Korea might eventually become more militarily powerful than a poor North Korea…but, ultimately, that is more South Korea’s problem than ours, and as long as South Korea maintains their first-rate military, such a problem is contained).

I think Option 3 is best. Others can have a different view; I understand and respect that…but what we’re getting from the Expert Class is a clear hope that everything goes to heck in a hand basket, just so they can blame Trump. So, heck with them. They’ve pushed a foreign policy for decades which has proven not just a failure, but an insane failure. Time to move on.

And that, I think, is what President Trump is doing: moving on from the framework of the past. The President is abandoning the post-WWII settlement in favor of a new idea that if we strenuously pursue American interests, good things will follow not just for us, but for the whole world. The Expert Class hates this idea, mostly because they hate the idea of the United States going forward and carrying the world in it’s train. But for those of us who believe we’re the good guys, then we see it is a logical that if we do things to sustain ourselves, that will help us and all the other good guys in the world.

Who benefits from a weak America? Not us. Not the forces of freedom and decency. Who benefits from a powerful America? Us, and the forces of freedom and decency. We’ve tended to go weak ever since WWII. Even under supposedly Conservative governments, we have bent the knee to such things as the UN and have deliberately refused to flex our full power on the world stage. This hasn’t been done for any rational reason – it as been done for the insane reason that our Expert Class doesn’t believe we should be too powerful (you should look into Expert Class commentary after the fall of the USSR…they were worried that without the USSR to keep us in check, we’d destroy the world, because we’re stupid redneck deplorables). As the Expert Class can’t actually make us non-powerful, they have set up a system of treaties, organizations and agreements which says we can’t do things unless the rest of the world agrees we should. We’ve been hobbled and made unable to stay completely out of foreign entanglements while also not being able to finish conflicts once they come up.

We’ve been forbidden to be either Isolationist or Empire. And what have we got for this? Well, the aforementioned Korean War. But, also, Vietnam War. The ongoing Global War on Terrorism (which will hit its seventeenth anniversary this September; keep going and a couple years from now young American men and women who weren’t even alive when the war started will get the privilege of being killed in it). Various other small wars for our own involvement but let’s not forget things like the Bosnian War; the Rwandan genocide; the mass migration of people; the various failed States around the world; the destruction of our own morality (done primarily to crush our spirit and make us docile)…it has all been wrong, and insanely wrong, at that. We’ve really done nothing right. And the people who have done it all wrong are now standing up and telling us we must not follow Trump on this. Nuts to that.

I’m fully aware that Trump might fail. Anyone who attempts anything risks failure – it is in the nature of things. But one thing I can’t see me agreeing to is to keep going on with the same, old insanity. We’ve tried it. We given the smart guys who are supposed Experts their chance…and we’ve got piles of corpses and a demoralized world now prey to the worst among us as a result. No, thanks. I can’t say what, exactly, will work to fix on this, but it will be something other than the insane Experts are prescribing. Maybe Trump has got it figured out? We’ll find out over the next couple years and I’m willing to give him time. And if he fails, I’ll agree to try something else…but not what we’ve been doing. That is over and done with and only Progressives and Never Trump haven’t figured that out.

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The Middle East is Changing

So, Iranian forces in Syria attacked Israeli targets and Israel, naturally, responded – a big thing and important in itself, but this struck me:

Bahrain has backed Israel’s right to “defend itself”, following dozens of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian military targets in Syria overnight.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said on Thursday that it backed Tel Aviv’s military response to attempted Iranian missile strikes on an Israeli army base, early Thursday morning, in the occupied Golan Heights.

“As long as Iran has breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles, so any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger,” the minister, whose country is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, said on his official Twitter account…

Bahrain is a tiny country and is allied with Saudi Arabia mostly for protection against Iran. So, no surprise that Bahrain would be pleased to see Iran harmed, but it is massively surprising that an official of the Bahrain government would publicly declare Israel – which, officially in most Muslim countries, doesn’t even exist – has a right to self-defense. This is a sea-change in Arab attitudes.

What I think has really broken the log-jam here is the fact that Trump pretty much dropped the Palestinian issue like a bad habit. As long as our actions in the Middle East were always tied to a theory that we had to remain somewhat neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict – and thus had to pretend that the Palestinian leadership was a key element – we were tied to a false idea, and thus couldn’t really move. Trump moved; now, everyone is moving. Its been a couple decades since anyone in the Arab world really gave a darn about the Palestinians and while no one would object to a permanent peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, everyone with any sense at all knows the Palestinian leadership has staked out an impossible position (return to the 1967 border, return of “refugees” to Israel and, of course, still rhetoric about marching on Tel Aviv one day), and so there’s no chance of it right now. So, let’s move on until the Palestinian leadership changes.

And as people are able to move on – as people no longer have to pretend that a few fanatics in Gaza have to be appeased in order to do anything – the political realities which have existed at least since the Iranian revolution are rising to the surface…and are being dealt with. I’m not saying they are being dealt with properly – there’s a lot of confusion and an outsider like me really can’t judge all that well – but they are being dealt with. Saudi Arabia is determined to check Iran (wise move, Saudi Arabia) and in that effort, ignoring a powerful Israel which is also determined to check Iran would be foolish. I think we’re still a ways away from an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh…but I don’t think that far away. The times, they are a-changing…and it is Trump, the Agent of Change on Steroids, who is making it happen.

Once Again, We Have to “Do Something” in Syria

There was a gas attack in Syria – everyone is pointing fingers, but the most likely culprit is the Assad regime or elements aligned with it. Personally, I don’t care who did it – some set of bastards, who are fighting other bastards for control over the rubble of a nation. But, its a gas attack and we’re all supposed to wring our hands and demand something be done.

I’m not so interested in doing something.

The reason is because we’re not allowed to win. That has been the problem since the end of World War Two: the United States has been strictly prohibited from winning any wars. There are a lot of things which go into this prohibition, but the primary thing I can see is that the Ruling Class of the world – including that part of it which is allegedly American – doesn’t want us to win. It is too scary for them.

People don’t realize how powerful we are. To be sure, there is a vague memory of World War Two in there, but even in that, the full extent of our power is not understood. When the Japanese signed the official surrender document on September 3rd, 1945, we had been at war for not quite three years and 9 months. We had, in that time, increased our Army from about 200,000 men to 11,200,000. We had already built 162 Fletcher class destroyers, 58 Sumner class destroyers and had started work on 98 of what were to be 152 Gearing class destroyers. We had built 24 Essex class carriers and were starting on the Midway class (just FYI, that class of carriers, designed in WWII, were used by the United States until 1992). During WWII, the Air Force went from 800 planes to 80,000. And here’s the real thing: our power was still waxing when the Japanese surrendered. We hadn’t really begun to impose our full power. It would have been 1946 or 1947 before we were able to do so (like this: you might have seen the Band of Brothers series…but please note those men got into the military in 1942 and their first combat action was more than two years later: it takes a while. Most of those who went in from mid-1943 on didn’t see much action). So, even without maxing out our effort, we still managed to fight and win to major conflicts on different sides of the world against first class powers. We were the only nation in the world in 1945 that could do that.

We still are.

Militarily, we are a lot weaker than we were 25 years ago – but we still have 11 fleet carriers; 9 amphibious assault ships; 53 attack and 14 ballistic missile subs; 22 cruisers, 66 destroyers; 950 self propelled guns; nearly 1,200 mobile rocket launchers; more than 150,000 transport vehicles; 2,300 main battle tanks; 6,100 armored combat vehicles; 155 heavy bombers; 1,700 fighters…you know, quite a lot. And with Trump’s new defense budget, we’re about to get a whole bunch more. No other nation on Earth has quite so much, nor the capacity to build so much. A direct attack on the United States amounts to national suicide…and yet here we are, about to send kids to Afghanistan next year or the year after who weren’t even born when 9/11 happened. Why?

Because we’re not allowed to win. Think about it. Do you really think a few thousand Jihadist/drug dealers could really withstand us for 17 years if we were serious about winning? Its not like the Taliban has an armaments industry – someone is sending them weapons and ammunition. We’re not doing anything about that. We also know where they are, and yet we don’t really go out and get them (the US military which dug the Japanese out of Iwo Jima is quite capable of dragging the Taliban out of whatever caves they are hiding in). And now people are calling for us to go deeper into Syria…but you just know they will be the first to complain if we ever used the sort of force which victory requires.

As I was saying, people in charge are afraid of our power – afraid, that is, that if the American people found out how very powerful they are, they might go on a bender of conquest. At the very least, we wouldn’t give a damn what anyone says about us. We simply wouldn’t have to care what the world says…and an America like that is just what the Ruling Class doesn’t want. They don’t trust us. The wars have to be controlled; America has to be controlled; if America isn’t harnessed, then things like the UN won’t work. See where all this goes?

So, the heck with it. No war in Syria – not unless we are allowed to win. If Trump gets up there and says we’re going in for victory and we’re not going to give a damn what the world says about us, then I’ll say “ok, we go”. But absent that, I just want us to stay out of it. I don’t want to see the picture of a 19 year old kid who got blown to pieces in a fruitless battle because some REMF saw a picture which gave him the sadz. Enough is enough.

Russia’s Attack on Britain

You might have heard that Russians used a nerve agent to try to kill a guy in Britain:

British counterterrorism police say a former Russian double agent, whom Russian President Vladimir Putin had vowed to kill, was poisoned by a nerve agent.

The comments came after the British government’s high-level emergency committee known as COBRA was updated Wednesday on a probe into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter.

“This is being treated as a major incident of involving attempted murder by the administration of a nerve agent,” assistant police commissioner Mark Rowley said. He said father and daughter remain critically ill. Rowley would not identify the exact substance used or how it was delivered.

Police also confirmed Wednesday that one officer who was part of the initial response to the incident was hospitalized in serious condition…

Much heart-ache and hand-wringing is going on over this – people making furious statements about Russia, others pledging support for Britain. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Color me unimpressed.

You see, this, if true (and it looks like it is) is an act of war. This is the kind of thing that you simply don’t let people do in your country – and if they are done by agents of foreign powers, you demand that foreign power surrender the miscreants or you go to war.

War? Yes, war. There’s a reason you go to war – one of the more traditional reasons is that someone has launched an attack on your soil. Using a nerve agent is a rather serious attack. If you are British, you want to make certain that such a thing is never repeated. That anyone contemplating doing such a thing will know it means war with Britain. Thing is, I don’t think there are any British any more. I think they’ve all died off and all we’ve got in Britain is a bunch of people who just happen to be living there. Oh, fine: yell at me about that. Let’s say there still are some – but they probably aren’t north of 20% of the population. I’m sticking with what I said, though, because I’ve yet to see anyone in Britain call for war with Russia over this.

And, yes, the Brits could fight Russia. In fact, Russia is in a seriously bad strategic situation right now. First off, they’ve really got no effective way to strike directly at Britain in a war. Their fleet is a bad joke. Britain could, of course, immediately go into alliance with Ukraine and aid their efforts to recapture the Crimea and the Donbass. Poland would likely lend a hand as they’d be relieved to get the Russians out of the Kaliningrad Oblast. The Baltic States, Finland and Sweden would likely start out strictly neutral, but if things started going bad for Russia, they’d all likely jump in for the kill. Also, Russia’s economy is in poor shape. This wouldn’t be a march on Moscow, but, instead, a campaign to defeat Russia in the periphery and force them to a peace which results in a drop in Russian prestige and an object lesson about not causing offense (think of it as Crimean War Two, as it were). No, the Russians would not use nukes because Britain has nukes, too.

But, nothing…just outrageously outraged words over the outrage. Complete fantasy-land stuff. The stuff of people who just want to live (often on the dole) and never make a sacrifice for anyone or anything. Sure, I’d like the United States to back Britain…but only if there is a Britain to back. Right now, it doesn’t look like there is.

Thinking About South Africa

We noted this in the comments earlier:

White South African farmers will be removed from their land after a landslide vote in parliament.

The country’s constitution is now likely to be amended to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation, following a motion brought by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema.

It passed by 241 votes for to 83 against after a vote on Tuesday, and the policy was a key factor in new president Cyril Ramaphosa’s platform after he took over from Jacob Zuma in February.

Mr Malema said the time for ‘reconciliation is over’. ‘Now is the time for justice,’ News24 reported.

The worst thing Europe did to Africa wasn’t colonialism – it was providing them Marx. It is amazing the applicability of Marxism – the work of a 19th century European Jew who never worked a day in his life is being used by 21 century black African to justify an act of idiocy. Basically, if you’ve got a dumb idea, just filter it through Marx and it will seem like you actually thought of something.

This will end badly – the land will be taken and mostly handed off to various cronies of those in power who won’t have the foggiest notion of how to make the land pay. The poor of South Africa won’t just remain poor, but will actually become poorer. And once you set down the path of injustice, you’re really not going to get out of it easy.

To be sure, this path of injustice was first pioneered by the white South Africans…remember, the Boers moved into the Transvaal, etc because they wanted to keep the slavery which the British Empire had abolished. Later, after gaining independence from Britain, the white South Africans erected Apartheid…which wasn’t really Apartheid because it wasn’t a set up where whites would live with whites and blacks with blacks but, rather, a mechanism where the whites could keep their cheap, black labor while denying said labor any political rights. It was pretty much a duplicate – carried to a further extreme – of the Jim Crow laws in the American South. Now there are those in South Africa who are looking for some payback…and they are suckering the poor by telling them that if the whites are expropriated, they’ll all be well off.

It is a rather sad end to it all – when Mandela was freed and Apartheid came down, I had my doubts…but then Mandela rather rose to the occasion and I hoped that a genuine, pluralist Republic would emerge in South Africa. But even early there were warning signs…those who didn’t want to forgive and forget and who were willing to stir the pot of resentment for political gain. Over time, especially since Mandela’s death, these forces have grown stronger and now appear to be firmly in the saddle in South Africa…where a corrupt ANC government is desperately looking for an expedient to justify it’s continued rule. Well, here it is: bash whitey! Whitey might, indeed, deserve some bashing and it is absurd that the white minority still owns quite so much land…but this way of race-hatred and uncompensated expropriation is the evil way to go about things. And the curious thing about evil acts is that they don’t actually work.

The thing is, it would take at least 100 years for the black population of South Africa to reach the economic level of the white population of South Africa. The cultural capital of the two groups was vastly different when Apartheid came down – for a variety of reasons, not least of which was direct, white suppression of the formation of cultural capital among South Africa’s black population. But however it got to be that way, that is the way it was…and only a great deal of time and hard work was ever going to erase the difference.

The ultimate mistake of it all – the gigantic error – was Apartheid; a system of racial oppression and exploitation. That most white South Africans today had nothing to do with erecting or maintaining that system is irrelevant. It was still the error – and errors always have to be paid for, one way or another. It would have been better paid for at the end of Apartheid by the surrender of a great deal of wealth…now it will be paid for by the seizure of that wealth. And, worse, the seizure won’t make anyone happy. It will impoverish the white population, but won’t enrich the black population. It will impel ever more extreme demands, of course…once it doesn’t work, we’ll start to see more and more racist conspiracy theories floated to explain why expropriation didn’t work…and thus more and more violence directed at the now-despised minority.

There isn’t much we, as Americans, can do about this. I can only advise white South Africans to consider moving – at least to Cape Province, but even that will probably only be a temporary expedient. Probably leaving South Africa will be the only way to be safe. It is a shame that the sins of the grandfathers will be visited upon the grandsons, but that is how the world can work, at times, when wicked people get rolling.

Trump’s Own Foreign Policy

There’s a story out that Tillerson is decimating the staff at State:

The State Department is in disarray and losing essential leaders at a “dizzying speed” under the Trump administration, according to an essay written by a top ambassador.

Plummeting morale, a rash of top diplomats jumping ship and a hiring freeze imposed under Trump have sent shock waves through the Foreign Service, wrote Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, the president of the Foreign Service officers’ union.

“There is simply no denying the warning signs that point to mounting threats to our institution — and to the global leadership that depends on us. There is no denying that our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed.”…

First off, this sort of thing explains the rapid decline in the number of leaks. Secondly, it shows that Tillerson – and Trump – are determined to have people they can rely on to carry out Trump Administration policy. I can’t quite say where Trump policy is going – he’s keeping to his rule of not telegraphing his punches. We can glean a bit from statements and from actions, but the end game is hazy. In the Middle East, for instance, it appears that Trump has decided to go with Saudi Arabia and Israel as our primary partners…which is a bit of a fall-back to the pre-2001 US policy, but with a twist in that we seem to be willing to aid Israel and Saudi Arabia to take concrete actions against enemies – theirs and ours. If it works – and this will be highly dependent upon the new leadership in Saudi Arabia prevailing – then Trump might break the log-jam in the Middle East. We’ll just have to see – but, meanwhile, he’s going to have his people doing it his way.

Whether or not Trump’s people are going to be good at this remains to be seen. At all events, however, whomever he picks can’t possibly do worse than those who are being pushed out…the same sort of people who have been running US foreign policy for a century and have never, not once, got things right. Remember, these are the guys who started off this century of foreign policy folly by figuring we should break up the Hapsburg Empire and keep Germany intact. From there, they went on to such genius things as normalizing relations with Stalin’s Russia, using the UN as cover for us to get into Korea with a declaration of war, signed arms control agreements which merely hamstrung American power and, to wrap it all up, signed off on allowing Iran to move forward with nukes under Obama. These people aren’t just wrong, they are kind of stupid. Breaking the chain by clearing them out and bringing in new voices can only help.

Trump and Afghanistan

Just watched the speech and, really, it will take some time for everyone to figure out all the details, but I’ll say this: in war, there is no substitute for victory. Trump has set himself a stern test: Victory.

Now, can he get that? Yes, if you understand:

1. A victory doesn’t mean a liberal democracy in Afghanistan. It will be an authortarian regime with a thin veneer of democratic process. It will still be very Islamic and they’ll do a lot of things we don’t like.

2. A victory does mean an Afghan government in control of more than 90% of Afghan territory and able to defend itself without US ground forces.

3. A victory does mean that the Afghan government which emerges includes some elements currently aligned with the Taliban – in other words, people brought over to our side by the stick of massive military force and the carrot of being able to sit high on the hog if they come over in a timely manner.

4. In the geo-political game of that area, if the Afghan government is broadly aligned with us rather than, say, Iran or Pakistan, then that is victory.

I think this can be done – the gloves are off our military and they’ll have the ability to hit hard at the enemy. And if we do it convincingly enough, then the Afghans, themselves, will cease their whining about US military actions…they’ve only done that over the past years because they were worried we’d leave them in the lurch and at the tender mercies of the Taliban. Convince them that we’re the toughest guys and we will win, and all of a sudden everyone who wants to live will be on our side.

This is a harsh business – and there’s no solution which is 100% in line with what our American preferences would be. But we can get a victory – and then get out. We’ll see, now, if Trump can deliver.