Open Thread

The MSM was working up an anti-Trump “he hasn’t visited the troops this Christmas” meme. Until just recently.

Glen Reynolds talks up the prospects of war and how we might have a very lousy 21st century. It’d have to be pretty bad to exceed the 20th century, but there’s definitely a chance we could see that. It has been rolling around in my head that the existence of things like the UN and NATO have pretty much created this bad situation – alliances aren’t supposed to be permanent and a permanent, global talk-shop is a sure-fire way to make certain that cracks continue to be papered over. We do need alliances and we do need mechanisms for addressing international concerns…but the alliances and the talk-shop should be ad-hoc and set up for specific purposes.

Take, for instance, Russian aggression in Europe. NATO is pretty much a dead weight – the NATO “allies” are hoping that the United States will carry the load. On the other hand, if we had no NATO, we could craft an alliance with the nation’s most concerned and we’d likely get them fully willing to put the necessary muscle behind the effort. And as for something like peace in the Middle East, absent a UN – where Russia and China can veto any action which doesn’t 100% suit them – we could put together a group akin to, say, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to hammer out a settlement…something where no one can stop it from happening short of war, but with the Great Powers insisting, all the smaller fry would have to just fall in line. None of this would assure against war, but I think it would have a better chance than the current system where we’re slowly drifting to war and none of the mechanisms in place can stop the drift.

IQ scores are falling around the world and a prime suspect is the Boob Tube – TV or computer, doesn’t seem to matter which (my Dad was calling the TV the “idiot box” back in the 70’s). I can definitely see this. First off, a lot of the information provided on screen is just wrong: some of it quite stupidly wrong. But as its on a screen and people, especially young people, have been trained to believe the screen, they are believing some really dumb stuff. Secondly, it takes time to learn and digest information, especially complex information. The whole thing about TV – and even more so the internet – is speed. Quick bullet points with pre-determined conclusions are the norm. I don’t think anyone intended this to happen: but if what is wanted is a generation of stupid people dependent upon government, you couldn’t have planned it better.

A Chinese admiral thinks that if he can sink a couple ships and cause us 5,000 or 10,000 casualties, we’ll quit. This was tried before, and it didn’t work out well for those who tried it. But, I think China will try it, in the by and by.

That Saudi “journalist” who got (apparently) whacked in Turkey? Pretty much a paid, Qatari agent. Important lesson here: the MSM is lying. It is lying all the time. It is lying about everything. It even lies when it doesn’t have to – I mean, come on: it was still bad this guy got killed. They didn’t have to make him out as some sort of heroic journalist truth-teller. Now, all fruit from this tree is poisoned.

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A New GOP Foreign Policy: How to Get it Wrong

David Goldman over at Pajamas Media writes an article about how the GOP is about to get it wrong on foreign policy:

…We Republicans now find ourselves painted into a corner. The public doesn’t trust us with guns. That’s why Rand Paul has gotten his fifteen minutes of fame (and if it turns out to be more than fifteen minutes, we are in trouble). It’s satisfying at one level to watch Rand Paul beat up Obama’s nominee for CIA director, but he represents a nasty brand of isolationism.

We nonetheless have to state the obvious: The only way to prevent Syria’s living hell from spreading to Iraq and Lebanon is to neutralize the main source of instability: Iran. Republicans should rally behind Gen. James Mattis, whom Obama fired as head of Central Command. Gen. Mattis told a Senate committee March 6 that sanctions aren’t working, and that Tehran ”enriching uranium beyond any plausible peaceful purpose.” The United States should not only remove Iran’s nuclear program, but also destroy Revolutionary Guards bases and other conventional capability that the Tehran regime employs to destabilize its neighbors. And the U.S. should throw its full weight behind regime change. With Iran out of the picture, the local conflicts–horrific as they are–will remain local. I do not believe that either Egypt or Syria can be stabilized, but it is possible to limit the spread of their instability. The prospect of a prolonged Sunni-Shi’ite war in the region will be horrific past the imagining of most Americans. Secondary conflicts will erupt around it, including long-frustrated minorities like the Kurds, who have created a functioning de facto state in northern Iraq.

We Republicans have to cure ourselves of the illusion that we can engineer the happiness of other cultures with an inherent antipathy to Western-style democracy. Where the Muslim world is concerned, optimism is cowardice. And we have to persuade the American people that selective, limited military action against Iran will not draw the United States into a new land war…

Goldman gets it right in that he identifies Iran as the central problem.  He also gets it right in declaring that we have to give up all illusions and no longer seek make the Muslim world in to a pluralist, democratic civilization.  But he gets it flat wrong when he condemns Paul’s “isolationism”, and the reason he gets it wrong is in, “we have to persuade the American people that selective, limited military action against Iran will not draw the United States into a new land war…”.  In other words, we should engage in another round of limited war.  My friends, that is poison.  One thing that I’ve learned – and most especially since 9/11 – is that the one type of war Americans can’t win is a limited war.  We’re just not built for that sort of thing.  In war, Americans are an all or nothing people:  we either go all the way in, or we should stay all the way out.

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