Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Sad State of the World

Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, East Timor. Four states currently in the headlines the most worrying thing about which -- apart from that each has a Western presence which may continue for years -- is that they may be joined by other countries jolted into collapse by any unpredictable crisis. A huge natural disaster, epidemic or internal conflict could precipitate many of the countries referred to as "failed states" into complete collapse. For two successive years (2005, 2006) Foreign Policy has listed the 'most failed' states based on twelve indicators which attempt to measure the degree to which each has broken down. The 28 worst states in the 2006 list is shown below.


1 Sudan 15 Burundi
2 DRCongo 16 Yemen
3 Cote d'Ivoire 17 Sierra Leone
4 Iraq 18 Burma/Myanmar
5 Zimbabwe 19 Bangladesh
6 Chad 20 Nepal
7 Somalia 21 Uganda
8 Haiti 22 Nigeria
9 Pakistan 23 Uzbekistan
10 Afghanistan 24 Rwanda
11 Guinea 25 Sri Lanka
12 Liberia 26 Ethiopia
13 Central African Republic 27 Colombia
14 North Korea 28 Kyrgyzstan


Leo Tolstoy wrote that "all happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." The Foreign Policy list of 'most failed' states for 2006 (hardly changed for 2005) suggests that Tolstoy's observation applies to countries as well. North America, Western Europe and Japan are functionally similar but each failing state fails in its own way.  Some failing states, like Haiti, have no natural wealth, while Iraq and the Congo sit on a fortune in mineral riches. Many are technologically backward but two -- Pakistan and North Korea -- are nuclear or near-nuclear powers. Some, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Sudan are part of Islam's "bloody borders". Others, like North Korea and Cuba (number 62) are Cold War relics which somehow escaped the extinction of socialist states, but for how long no one knows.

One problem with the Foreign Policy list of failing states is that it does not factor the geopolitical significance of each state -- from the perspective of the West -- into its rankings. If it did then the failed states of greatest concern would be those which intersect the axis of the Global War on Terror (Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc); involve nuclear weapons (Pakistan, North Korea) or are geographically close to the major Western countries (East Timor [unrated], Solomons [unrated], Indonesia [32] for Australia; Mexico [85] and Cuba [62] for the US). If the Failed State problem were viewed less as a humanitarian challenge and more as gigantic politico-military problem then they would be less a fit subject for aid agencies and more the stuff of serious diplomatic and military strategy. But it will be difficult to persuade diplomats and soldiers to acknowledge that it falls within their competence. Diplomats are used to dealing with governments; not the absence of functioning governments. Soldiers are accustomed to defeating rival armies; not facing armed chaos. Diplomats don't do tribal conflicts and armies have no manual for dealing with swarms of kidnappers. Failing states constitute a problem for which the West has not yet evolved an appropriate organizational response.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, East Timor -- the four countries currently in the headlines -- illustrate in their own ways the shortcomings of the traditional responses. Where the West has responded with armies, namely in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, those armies have lacked persistence (the ability to be sustainably deployed over long periods) and key non-military capabilities (language skills and economic development capacity). While armies have improvised (by restructuring themselves for multiyear deployments, acquiring language capabilities, grafting civic action capabilities onto their base configuration, etc) they are not natural  for the task in the way that a chainsaw is not a natural tool for hammering nails into wood. Similarly, the Sri Lankan crisis demonstrates the inadequacy of "peacekeeping" and diplomacy where widespread security problems remain. Both the standard responses of "army" and "diplomacy" -- roles developed in the European state context -- are of limited value in places like the Congo, Sierra Leone, the Sudan or the Ivory Coast.

If the failing states and their manifestations (conventional and WMD terrorism, prohibited drugs, massive illegal immigrations, gigantic humanitarian crises) are going to be a persistent, long-term problem then the natural response would be to create a capability to meet the challenge. In outline any mechanism capable of dealing with failing states would combine aspects of what is called "homeland security" (border control, immigration policy), a forward military presence, economic development and institution building in an effort to meet the problem. But above all it should be scalable because the list of failing states seems capable of lengthening indefinitely while the current means for dealing with them appear capable of only marginal growth. That all-around and scalable mechanism probably doesn't exist. But new needs usually inspire equally new organizational paradigms and perhaps one will emerge. During the Great War, for example, it became clear that the British Empire lacked an institution able to fight a long European war. So they created a new one. Horatio Kitchener remolded the colonial army into a mass army.

Contrary to general Cabinet belief that the war would be over by Christmas of 1914, Kitchener predicted a long and brutal war ... Kitchener fought off all opposition to his plan, and all attempts to weaken or water down its potential, including a piece-meal dispersal of the regiments. ... Kitchener's Army represented a major turning point in the military history of the United Kingdom: for the first time, the full effort of the nation and its people was committed to a massive land force fighting against other powers of Europe, with the Royal Navy playing an important but secondary role.

There was no revolution in tactics or technology; Kitchener simply found a new way to sustainably harness the British potential for the Great War. Similarly, if today's institutions cannot cope with a low-intensity but widespread Third World chaos, the West must find new ways to concentrate its underutilized potential or fall further and further behind. The important thing to realize is that much of this potential lies outside Western state bureaucracies. Global Guerillas quotes Philip Bobbitt's observation on the relationship of the nation-state's decline and the corresponding rise of sub-state actors like Al Qaeda.

The “market-state” is the latest constitutional order, one that is just emerging in a struggle for primacy with the dominant constitutional order of the 20th century, the nation-state. Whereas the nation-state based its legitimacy on a promise to better the material well-being of the nation, the market-state promises to maximize the opportunity of each individual citizen. The current conflict is one of several possible wars of the market-states as they seek to open up societies to trade in commerce, ideas, and immigration which excite hostility in those groups that want to use law to enforce religious or ethnic orthodoxy. States make war, not brigands; and the Al Qaeda network is a sort of virtual state, with a consistent source of finance, a recognized hierarchy of officials, foreign alliances, an army, published laws, even a rudimentary welfare system. It has declared war on the U.S. for much the same reason that Japan did in 1941: because we appear to frustrate its ambitions to regional hegemony.

But the observation should also underlie counter-terrorism since the same trends which amplify the power of non-state actors in failed countries also empower non-state actors in functioning societies. The West may not yet know how to utilize its own non-state actors to meet the challenge of gangs from the Third World, but the unused potential is there; from the millions of Western citizens who speak Third World languages fluently to private industry, where the real technical strength of the West lies. Non-state actors have often shown they understand what needs to be done before government does. The near-spontaneous appearance of the border "Minutemen" guards; blogospheric translators of captured Iraqi documents and the voluntary provision of help to Iraqis, Afghans, Sudanese, etc are token of an energy that can be harnessed in some way to meet the challenge. Eventually and only after existing institutions are stretched to the limited, a new model may emerge. "Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."


Blogger Jamie Irons said...


This is a superb essay.

It puts me in mind of Thomas P.M. Barnett's writing, and his assertion of how the "core" functioning states have to gradually extend their reach into, and transform the "gap" failed states.

But what is to keep the process from operating in reverse?

Jamie Irons

5/30/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"One wonders what the vinters buy that is half so precious as what they sell."

The problem with most of those failed states is not only that they lack the wineskins; they lack that which to put in them, or a means to purchase it.

5/30/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"homeland security" (border control, immigration policy), a forward military presence, economic development and institution building in an effort to meet the problem.

Sounds like some type of Colonialism is required or at least proposed, but in most cases the residents will niether approve nor stand down. Look to Ramadi or as a prime example.

Pakistan and Afghanistan, #'s 9 & 10 already have the US's full attention. As does #4, Iraq.

In the case of Iraq, the US cannot even muster US Governmental employees, outside the military, to fill the existing empty billets, let alone supply an expanded nonmilitary US presence.

Would a "privatized" attempt lead to "Haliburtons" running Security Ops and the Economies of these far off places?
Perhaps the "States" are failures because they are "artifical". Places like Iraq were never "Countries" except on a "Western" map.
Some folks just do not want to enter the 21st Century.
The options for dealing with them are stark.

5/30/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

The Lord of Hosts could NOT choose any of the then-extant social, ecclesiastical or legal/educational systems into which to pour "The Wine of Astonishment" which He brought.

Instead, Baha'u'llah has created the Universal House of Justice, and its ancillary and supportive institutions, now functioning for decades in nearly* every nation around the world, as the new bottles or wineskins to hold, channel and distribute justly the God-given Justice so necessary in today's world.

*Many 'Muslim'/'Islamic' states kill the humans who are striving to implement the good brought by the Lord of Hosts.

5/30/2006 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Richard Quick, Millionaire said...

Quite an essay. well researched and well written. A nice change among current blogs.

Good post.

I've posted some immigration posters thet you and your readers might enjoy. Feedback welcome.


See you on the veranda,

Richard Quick, Esq.

5/30/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Jamie, nothing except constant action by the core states. IIRC (It's been quite a while since I read Barnett's essay, at least two hard drives ago), but I think he points out that as long as we keep pressing them, they lack the resources tpo carru the fight to us. An important but often overlooked part of PRESIDENT Bushe's 'pre-emptive doctrine'.
IMHO, the tools are all there for the west to deal with tis probelm, the toolbox just needs to be reorganized and a system developed and put into action. That might be the best thing to come out of Iraq and OIF.
Just as North Africia was a school/lab for the US military in WW2, so is Iraq a Lab for the WoT.

5/30/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Multinational efforts are hard to manage, effectively, at best.
In Afghanistan (#10) the US has enlisted fellow NATO members to "step up".
The "Telegraph" in the UK, not a "conservative" voice by any means, reports:
"... Fighting a full-scale guerrilla war is not what countries such as Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany and others enlisted for. The mandate from their governments is reconstruction, not combat.

"Nato will not fail in Afghanistan … the family of nations will expect nothing less than success," General James Jones, the head of US and Nato forces in Europe, told a recent seminar in Madrid.

Gen Jones is now desperately trying to persuade contributing countries to end the restrictions they impose on their troops, making it impossible for some of them to fight or commanders to run a proper military campaign.

"What is the point of deploying troops who don't fight," ask many Afghans. That is why Gen Jones calls these caveats - they now number a staggering 71 - "Nato's operational cancer". ...

... In Central Asia, the Western alliance is floundering. America lost its major military base in Central Asia after Uzbekistan (#23) kicked American forces out last year. Emboldened, tiny Kyrgyzstan (#28) is now demanding that Washington pay it 100 times more for the base it provides for American forces. ...

...Yet in the past five years there has been no Western military presence in three of the four provinces in southern Afghanistan that constituted the Taliban heartland and today are the battleground for its revival. The promises of Western funding and reconstruction were never fulfilled; Pashtuns have seen barely any change in their lives and have reverted to cultivating opium as a means to survive. ..."

Politcal and Social development cannot succeed until the combat is over. Moving to the "end game" of development and reconstruction before the war is won will not succeed. The situation in the city of Baghdad, in Iraq, is proving that maxim, daily.

5/30/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Well five of the top ten failures have also been the recipients of heavy American attention. If you add Kosovo which to me is not only a failure but a calamity, our expertise in intervention and then correction seems to be lacking. A rather dreadful record indeed.

5/30/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert Rat: Please note that in the article you cite it is asserted that the revived insurgency in Afghanistan is due to the lack of reconstruction.

While in Iraq, many assert, as you do, that we can not accomplish reconstruction unless the combat portion is done.

Either each situation has its own priorities or the two tasks cannot be decoupled very easily. Or both.

5/30/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Who anywhere has a good record for fixing broken states?

5/30/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

The non-state actors require security to operate, which can only be provided by a functioning state.

Yet aid to the weak/ new gov'ts of weak states leads to corruption of the state by rent-seekers.

The wealth creating non-state actors should be companies & organization, both profit maximizing, non-profits, and (hopefully) employment maximizing.

The end of poverty comes when all poor folk have jobs. That is the countable metric which all aid should be tracking -- how many DIRECT jobs does the aid (or investment) support.

Yet if security doesn't come out of the local society, it must be provided by mercenaries or else the state will become a greater failure.

5/30/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I suggest a pilot progrm to fix failed states:

Camden, New Jersey.
Detroit, Michigan.
New Orleans, Louisiana

5/30/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In southern Afghanistan there was no Western military presence nor reconstruction. It fell through the cracks, abandoned by the West, so to speak.

I believe the combat was over, there, after the initial fall of the Taliban Government, the lack of follow through, by the West, "lost the peace".

It took to long to motivate our allies or ourselves to nonmilitary action. The momentuem of Victory seems to have been lost, the war rekindled.

In Iraq, whole swaths of the countryside remain a combat zone, as do extensive portions of the cityscapes. The Country was partially secured for a very short period of time, in '03.
Again, the lack of decisive, nonmilitary actions, caused a loss of momentuem, leading to the Sunni Insurgency. Granted that insurgency was planned by Saddam, but three years later the battle continues in Ramadi and Brigadier-General Carter Ham, deputy director of operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reports "...“It isn’t a situation that we can resolve, the Iraqis have got to. ..."

The same goes for Baghdad, no doubt.
Situations on the ground that are beyond our ability to control, using present doctrine and tactics.

5/30/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Thucydides_at_Melos said...

"Failing states constitute a problem for which the West has not yet evolved an appropriate organizational response."

It might be better said that "the West has forgotten or abandoned colonial organizational responses, which may not work in today's world anyway, and has not evolved..."

5/30/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

How for does a place like Somolia, Haiti or Sudan devolve without some outside intervention.

Being handcuffed by the left as we are things look to get much worse before they get better. In time they may realize the values conservatives hold for monogamy, family, hard work, democratic principles, capitalism/opportunity and a reverence for life are universal and cannot be witheld from those listed without dire consequences

5/30/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

North Korea Has been hanging on as a "failed state" for quite awhile-so-I guess it's what your definition of "failed state" is...

Any term Noam Chomsky is enamoured with enough to entitle one of his books needs a second look.

Anyways reminds me of a what a German visitng Political Prof at CU Boulder was theorizing. Cripes "they" had a mathmatical formula {quel surprise} to determine the failed state status of a country. I plugged in China according to the German theory China had about five years.

Load of crap. Dropped the course.

5/30/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

To a great extent failure or success is dependant on local leadership and local culture. If the local leaders believe that their country exists simply to line their own pockets and their own population can be oppressed at will then there will be no success. If the local culture doesn't (really) believe in democracy as an important goal then financial success will never come.

I believe that Karzai in Afghanistan is a good leader who believes in democracy but he faces a huge uphill battle against the local culture and against enemies in neighboring areas like WaZIRIstan.

Israel and to a certain extent the Kurds in Iraq are examples of successes. These successes are based on their own cultures that favor democracy as well as other aspects of their cultures like a willingness to work and a desire to be part of the modern world.

The problem in all this is that it's quite difficult to get a new culture out of a UN bag of rice.

5/30/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Mark Steyn's "Happy Warrior" column in the latest NR Digital (subscription required) laments the post-post-9/11 world where the US fist has dissolved into five fingers. Another change has occured, he says. American foreign policy is adapting to a world in which optimistic interventionism has been falsified. He thinks this change is a reversion, a retrogression to the stability politics of old, where the US is unwilling to expend a massive amount of blood and treasure to benefit others immediately and itself only tentatively and in the long run. I do not think it is that simple.

Much of our essential influence derives from a simple fact: our da'sein, our being there. We affect the world merely by existing, or, more specifically, by existing in the fullness of our nature when other, alternative natures could hypothetically exist in our place--with our power. All theories of the world, whether those of our enemies or those of our allies, must at least account for America's existence in fact and interact in a thrown world of high American potential.

In the fitness landscape of society, we are the local peak . As such we exercise a terrible causal gravity on the surrounding population. Simply by being who and what we are, in contradistinction to who and what we aren't, we affect the world: we inform its apparency, and we weight the statistical variables of its possibility space.

In that sense, who and what we are can be determinative in a way that what we do cannot. The latter is a mere derivative of the former, and as such cannot be definitional. What we do is integrated, not integral: it informs, but it can never encompass.

This is why 9/11 was such an epochal event. Carried out under a false assumption of what America is, it surely succeeded in modifying it. Two distant governments have fallen since then, and we are seriously debating a third. Al'Qaeda is reduced to sending taped messages instead of hijacked airliners. The world is on edge, awareness and vigilance are heightened, and events that once would have been obscure are now globally consequential.

Small events loom large precisely because large events are no longer necessary to trigger American reaction. When America debates military action over weapons programs, and not weapons used, there can be little doubt that a shift has occurred in the world. (Think: is there any question about what would happen if America were struck again?)

We may no longer be in a post-9/11 world, but we aren't in a pre-9/11 world either. Our posture and our potential have changed--are changing still. We are less complacent, and we are dramatically self-aware. No longer simply concerned with self-sustenance, our attention and efforts have shifted to the management of our ecosystem. Our survival techniques have graduated to the next level--no longer at war with nature, we now seek to cultivate it.

Strong at home, respected abroad--as a subject--is a harbinger of what's to come, not just for America, but for the entire world. Who and what we are is not just our concern anymore; it is now everybody's.

Failed states cannot destroy us. The are not an existential problem: they are an administrative problem. The only existential threat left is mass defection caused by poorly conceived American overreaction to events.

Our challenge is to be responsive and effective without being precipitous. Therefore, pace Mark Steyn, we should put aside the fist, and use our five fingers. Until we can't.

As the father says in the movie Contact, small moves are what's needed now.

5/30/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

One of the down sides to our ever shrinking planet and the new internationalism is that of emigration. While nobody can fault a family for exiting a state such as these, the consequence is that of the best and brightest - not to mention much of the capital, leave the place where the most good can come from their presence.

5/30/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

2164: Actually, we have a great record of breaking functional states and then fixing them quite nicely.

Problem is, when we did not break them ourselves, but they broke themselves before we got there, we have much more trouble fixing them.

Consider Japan. It went from a terribly backward nation, justifiably afraid of even much in the way of trade, to a really world class country in terms of organization, technology, and power in less than 100 years. And then blew it all in less than 5 years - and all for the same reason. The leadership of Japan was very concerned about the country - rather than lining their own pockets - including personal education and well-being, but was much less concerned about the individual. Which seems rather paradoxical to our way of thinking.

Perhaps it was because the Japanese as a people were capable of both extreme pride and honest and open admiration of superior performance. In the 19th Century they looked at the Royal Navy as a perfect example and even adopted English on their warships as a result. In 1945 they could both look in horror at destruction of their cities and with wonder at the sophistication of the B-29's that delivered the devastation.

The Japanese appear to have been able to transfer the attitudes of feudalism to modern times. But when a nation has never made it as far as feudalism, it might just be hopeless.

5/30/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

The UN, the EU and most nation states are enamoured with the status quo. The last global "one size fits all" was communism. Since the 1960's, America has entered an era of trying to correct all of societies short- comings no matter where, yet politically we do not have the stomach to do what needs to be done for as long as is necessary. So what is the point? We practice a Darwinian business model and now want to preach Political Creationism to a reluctant planet. It makes no sense.

5/30/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger George1776 said...

A few have said it, but I'll add to the chorus. The "tool" the west has abandoned is imperialism and colonization. The various warring Indian tribes of North America certainly qualified as failed states in my book (I would simplify the definition to any state which fails to uphold basic individual rights). The remedy was to name these societies for what they were, savages, and treat them accordingly. The result was The United States of America - land of the free, home of the brave. But you cannot expect to make allowances for the sensibilities of tribalists and institute a civilized country at the same time. It’s either-or.

Of course to carry this policy out to even a limited extent today would be to risk world war as our fellow not-so-failed states are likely to stick their noses in. But until the civilized world comes to terms with just what separates them from the “failed states” and just what it takes to establish civilization the mess will fester.

We should all be reading Ayn Rand . . .

5/30/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Damn, George 1776--I don't even know where to start with that non-sense. Go start by reading the book of the Hopi, I quess. Yup, they are all 'savages'. Idiocy.

5/30/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger metroman said...

The term "Failed State" is an interesting one? Just what have these states "Failed" to do? If we were measuring the ability of a state to provide security and well-being to it's citizens, would the U.S. be in this list? Have these "Failed States" merely failed to provide the U.S. easy access to their natural resources?

5/30/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

George you spent too much time watching John Wayne movies and not enough time at the Library.

5/30/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sometimes it seems some hyperoptimistic posters here form their opinions of "Reality" while on Crack

"We hope to get rid of al-Qaeda, which is a huge burden on the city. Unfortunately, Zarqawi's fist is stronger than the Americans'," said one Sunni sheik
In Ramadi, "Zarqawi is the one who is in control," the sheik said, speaking to a Washington Post special correspondent in Ramadi. "He kills anyone who goes in and out of the U.S. base.

We have stopped meetings with the Americans, because, frankly speaking, we have lost confidence in the U.S. side, as they can't protect us."

btw, Al Q has been rebuilding for over 3 years in Warizistan.

5/30/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger George1776 said...

Alexander the Great might have been named Alexander the Fixer of Failed States . . .

5/30/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Who’s “Trampling” the Constitution? Andy McCarthy

Later today, the Republican-led Congress is scheduled to raise to new heights of hysteria and arrogance its protest against the FBI’s search of the Capitol Hill office of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D., La.). But as House Judiciary Chairman James F. Sensenbrenner (R., Wi.) prepares what promises to be a contentious hearing—breathlessly titled, “Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?”—we should note with gratitude that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, and FBI Director Robert Mueller have just enjoyed their finest hours.

As leaders of agencies whose best traditions lie in apolitical, non-partisan law enforcement, all three were apparently prepared to do what the hierarchy of the Justice Department and the FBI must always be prepared to do if the rule of law, so vital to our nation’s prosperity, is to thrive.
They were ready to resign over a matter of high principle.

5/30/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Alexander the Great didn't pay enough attention to his teacher Aristotle.

5/30/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat from the Morning Mail in previous thread:

"...“The insurgency and sectarian violence are ultimately driven by the security vacuum that has dominated the country since the fall of the old regime in 2003.

“The result has been the growth of an insurgency estimated to have 20,000 fighters in its ranks that is increasingly motivated by a radical Islamist ideology”.

Some 10 percent of the insurgents were thought to be from outside Iraq, typified by the Jordanian-born radical Abu Musaab Zarkawi, and responsible for the most damaging sectarian violence, it noted. ...

...“At a local level the population’s lives will remain dependent on ad hoc local organizations to supply some modicum of security and predictability.

“It is in situations like these that sectarian and criminal militias tend to thrive”. ...

5/30/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"...“At a local level the population’s lives will remain dependent on ad hoc local organizations to supply some modicum of security and predictability."
In Southern Afghanistan, such security is non-existent, save by co-operating with Al Q/Taliban.

5/30/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hell Is for Hasterts
Loose Canons
Or, shall we pronounce all patience lost with Dubya?
Jed Babbin

The conservative base that elected George Bush has become the second-class citizen of Washington.
We need to stand up and tell the Republican White House and Congress -- long, loud, and continuously -- that we want some things done (and some not done) before November 7.
The things that should not be done are more important than those that should be.

Two things top the list of things that should not be done: first is any illegal immigration legislation that doesn't postpone guest worker and citizenship programs until after the borders are closed; and second is any effort to condemn the Marines or their leaders until the legal process -- not the political process -- reaches a conclusion justifying such condemnation.

5/30/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

Wretchard, this is an encouraging insight and idea you develop toward the end of that post:

"the same trends which amplify the power of non-state actors in failed countries also empower non-state actors in functioning societies... Non-state actors have often shown they understand what needs to be done before government does... Eventually and only after existing institutions are stretched to the limited, a new model may emerge."

The question that comes to mind is, will these emerging structures behave in a civilized way? The nice thing about states is that they tend to allow broader and more reasoned participation in the running of affairs than mere "law of the jungle". But how is that sort of organized complexity going to emerge outside the state?

I wonder how the new "Minutemen" along the Mexican border behaved themselves? From my outpost in London, I wondered that and thought they needed a healthy and active Latino component, but I don't know that they had one. Not that such a thing would have guaranteed civilized behavior, mind you, but it would have laid some things bare.

5/30/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

A state — as opposed to a band of pirates, thieves, thugs, assassins, murdering rapists, narcotraficantes, terrorist f*ckards — is linked to an exclusive geographic locus.

The Republican Party is NOT regarded by ANYONE as identical to the government of the United States of America, despite it happens to be the political party from which the electorate has chosen the majority of both federal legislative houses and the Chief Executive Officer. Even as the PRI (“Institutional Revolutionary Party”) managed to rig the national elections of Mexico for eight successive decades of sustained looting, the distinction between the Party apparatus and the internationally recognized government of los Estados Unidos Méxicanos was never questioned.

Circulating within the various Islamic communities, many of which are themselves only subsets of larger provinces, prefectures, or regions of sovereign nations, can be found groups with competing political agendas and doctrines, ranging from a handful of individuals to congeries of many hundreds. There are Shi’a suicide-murderers and Sunni suicide-murderers. There is Hamas, Al-Jihad, Palestine Islamic Jihad (Al-Jihad Al-Islami fi Filastin) with its Shaqaqi Faction and Shalla Faction AlQuds brigades, Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites, International Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad Fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (a recent name given for the group captained by Abu Musab Zarqawi), Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Fundamentalist Brigades, Abu Nidal Organization, Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Unitarian Jihad, Hizb’ollah and the PLO and the PLA and al Qaeda (Jama'at at-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad) and Black September and Abu Sayyaf and Jaama Islamiyah and the Saddam Fedayeen and a hundred and more other splinter groups with differing agendas and internecine conflict.

All those groups contend with each other across frontiers, and within overlapping regions of existing sovereign states.

If we do not vigorously resist definition of such terrorist groups as governments, in and of themselves the language upon which we depend for describing the world - for comprehending and analysing and solving problems - skids toward the brink of senselessness.

5/30/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

11:45 AM Juan,
They ARE civilized because they are US CITIZENS living in the 21st Century.

5/30/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

On the previous thread, Rat, you posted:

[In part...]

Partner, together, allies, cash & aid as well as sharing the peace, do a proxy make, if they perform.

Then the Asia Times says
"... the US is leaning heavily on Pakistan, its key ally in the "war on terror" in the region, to go on the offensive
against the strong Taliban foothold in the North and South Waziristan tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

What the US is asking for, in effect, is a Tora Bora-style aerial bombing of the area, similar to that undertaken in the mountains of that name in Afghanistan during the rout of the Taliban five years ago. ...
... The situation is now dangerously poised. Musharraf, under US pressure, is prepared for an all-out attack on the Taliban and al-Qaeda. At the same time, the military rulers are well aware of the renewed strength of the jihadis, and are extremely reluctant to go for the "final solution" and all it would involve. ..."

If the Pakis withdraw from Wariziatan, the War on Terror will require either greater US particpation or US capitulation.


The Pakis won't withdraw from Waziristan. They'll just continue not to do much, and to do it badly, while they're there.

Musharraf is not more prepared for an all-out attack on the Taliban and AQ now, than he was five years ago. There are a number of reasons for this - one, that we must never forget, being that it's in his immediate interest to keep the army, if not contented, at least away from his residence.

The author suggests, without saying directly, that we asked Pakistan to carry out a Tora-Bora style offensive in Waziristan. This would be carried out by the Pakistan air force; problem is, the Pakistan air force wouldn't we the one undertaking that mission. The author also assumes that the targeting information for an all-out attack is readily available. To the Pakistanis. A naive assumption, to be sure. So who, if anyone, was asking for what to be done by whom back in May?

Pakistan is an independent actor. To refer to Pakistan as a proxy misses the nature of the relationship - and the problem. There are two ways to work in Pakistan, neither of which corresponds to Pakistan as proxy. The first way is to work with the government, as a 'partner' (as the WH and DoS put it). The second way is to say to hell with it and do what we want, and suck up the consequences. We have so far stuck with the first. Sometime, we might go with the second. Unlikely under this administration.

We are not in Pakistan in force because Pakistan will not let us in. We have accepted that limitation. And who knows how long that will last.

5/30/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

...problem is, the Pakistan air force wouldn't BE the one undertaking that mission.

5/30/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Musharraf is not more prepared for an all-out attack on the Taliban and AQ now, than he was five years ago. There are a number of reasons for this - "
Prime reason being his considered judgement that he would be LESS prepared after he assumed room temperature.

5/30/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Whatever happened to that quaint idea of hunting them down and killing them?
NOW I remember:
That is now considered insensitive Cowboy Talk, likely to be misunderstood by others, possibly even laughed at like it was by Laura Bush years ago.
Jokes on us.

5/30/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Trish said,
"We are not in Pakistan in force because Pakistan will not let us in. We have accepted that limitation. And who knows how long that will last."

Pakistan will not let us in because they do not believe we are winning and will not finish the job. Earlier DR said that we won the war and are losing the peace. Theses long complicated overreaching missions are counter-productive. Short and violent works if a clear limited goal is achieved. If we did not ask Pakistan for permission and were not interested in a long term presence in the area, we could try and find our enemies, kill them and leave. The Islamic mind would understand that.

5/30/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jrod said...

The “market-state” is the latest constitutional order, one that is just emerging in a struggle for primacy with the dominant constitutional order of the 20th century, the nation-state.

Interesting concept. I wonder what the equivalent of the Treaty of Westphalia will be in this new world order?

I say we outsource all U.S. government functions to Goldman Sachs. Hank Paulson will soon be Sect. of Treasury, so we're already moving in that direction...

5/30/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Tolstoy was a creep and he was wrong.

Most unhappy familes have one thing in common - mental disease leading to substance abuse or worse.

I know a lot of happy familes and some have wonderfully quirky lives.

Haiti has few natural resources, but so do the the Dominican Republic and Japan. Both the DR and Japan also had very different initial conditions.

5/30/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

That's an interesting assertion, 2164th, considering the time at which Musharraf made that decision.

But he HAS stuck to it.

5/30/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The last time there was a similar empowerment of non-state actors (at least in the "West") was during the Middle Ages. One of the side effects of the Reformation was not merely the rise of the nation state, but the progressive exclusion of non-state actors from international diplomacy.

The last few decades have had a "back to the future" feel to them, as if the world we live in were entering another medieval era. The bitter irony here is that, if true, those people with medieval minds would be the best adapted to the new circumstances.

Strictly speaking, I don't regard al-Qa'ida as a true non-state actor. Organizationally speaking, I see it as the foreign relations arm (one could almost say "missionary arm") of the Saudi religious police. Functionally speaking, it acts as a proxy force shared among Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Al-Qa'ida can access al-Jazeera at will, which should not be a surprise given how al-Jazeera is effectively an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

I think part of the problem we have is the lingering power of obsolete institutions. The United Nations has just enough legitimacy to continue its existence and prevent any alternative to it, yet not enough legitimacy to create and maintain order. If anything, the United Nations seems to be designed to keep failed states notionally intact with the effect that their cultural gangrene can spread with impunity. As such, the UN is a fitting successor to the Holy Roman Empire and the League of Nations.

Historically, Pablo Escobar was only defeated when vigilante death squads used his own very illegal methods against him. Columbia's official and legitimate institutions did not (and probably could not) defeat him. "Developed" nations now are in a similar position to Columbia then.

5/30/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That's the "break it and leave it" policy, as opposssed to "break it you own it" as advocated by Mr Powell.

That is the main difference between a War and what we are presently doing, which is attempting Social Engineering on a massive scale, trying to use the Army as a kind of hybrid Peace Corps.
They go where and when they are told, unlike other Government employees in Jusice and State.
But as Mr Rumsfeld said, "We have the wrong skill sets in Iraq".
Same olds true for Afghanistan, it would seem, as well.

5/30/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Whatever happened to that quaint idea of hunting them down and killing them?"

We do. But it's a priority for the guys doing it. Not necessarily anyone else.

And operational restrictions are pretty forbidding.

5/30/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When President Bush praised the General President in '02 for doing what the US would do, if Pakistan did not, it sent a message.

If the Pakistanis have taken a "middle road", one that attempts to placate both sides, that is certainly understandable, from their point of view.

That the US approves of the Pakistani inaction as being an adequate response to the aQ threat is niether the General President's fault nor responsibility.
Pakistan remains as Mr Bush said just 3 weeks ago, an Ally & Partner whose efforts we respect oh so much.
They are doing pretty well for #9 on the list, if one looks at it that way.
It is the US's actions or lack of that must be balanced, Goals must be wieghed. Mr Bush has made his decision, obviously the General President's continued control of those warheads over comes all other considerations.

5/30/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"That the US approves of the Pakistani inaction as being an adequate response to the aQ threat is niether the General President's fault nor responsibility."

I never suggested otherwise.

And it's not the warheads protecting him from greater US action.

5/30/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

"Slipp'in into darkness" ....War with Lee Oscar doing supreme justice on the harmonica.

We are not too far, historically speaking, into the post Cold War era. Old "client states" of the East and West are now adrift. Stateless "factions" with bad intent and access to nuclear weapons are a reality. An entire continent is in chaos, gone tribal after colonialism ended. And it ended fifty years too soon.
We can hope for a pestilent Malthusian solution, AIDS, to devour millions which would be a good thing or we can continue to watch the "faction virtual states" use those tribal lands as sanctuaries. Or we can withdraw acknoledgement of their legitamacy as states and kick them out of the UN, thus freeing the bid dogs to recolonize.

I beleive out of the blogsphere will come some of the best thinking done on the current state of the world and solutions for it. However, the regnant powers in Europe and the US are now turning the conversation toward regulation,taxation, and greater oversight, ie. loss of freedom for this medium and no doubt, since it represents a threat to their power they will succeed.
Slipping into darkness ...

5/30/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

1:51 PM Trish,
I was thinking more on the order of the US Air Force hunting down and destroying Known Al/Q Taliban training areas and surrounds.
(Think lots of us thought that back when Taliban training grounds were Top of Mind for some reason.)

5/30/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

alexis said,
"Strictly speaking, I don't regard al-Qa'ida as a true non-state actor.
Organizationally speaking, I see it as the foreign relations arm (one could almost say "missionary arm") of the Saudi religious police.
Functionally speaking, it acts as a proxy force shared among Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
Al-Qa'ida can access al-Jazeera at will, which should not be a surprise given how al-Jazeera is effectively an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
I Agree.

5/30/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

Doug says, about the new 'Minutemen' who went to defend the Mexican border,
"They ARE civilized because they are US CITIZENS living in the 21st Century."

Of course, I forgot that "US CITIZEN" was just another way of saying "civlized". But then, there are people like Michael Moore, a US citizen, who has his own idea about who are the new Minutemen; he says they are in Iraq killing US citizens. So that could take you around in a useless circle.

I think that, rather than muddy the water with chauvinist talk about how US CITIZENS can do no wrong, I would rather consider rationally the implications of emerging organized behavior by non-state actors in the U.S.

Does that prospect point to vigilanteism? Or does it point to participatory democracy? Or, more realistically, to what combination of the two?

5/30/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

"Well five of the top ten failures have also been the recipients of heavy American attention. If you add Kosovo which to me is not only a failure but a calamity, our expertise in intervention and then correction seems to be lacking. A rather dreadful record indeed."

A flaw in American strategy called "Winning their hearts and minds".
For the H & M strategery to work, you must first kick their ass. HARD.
The Romans were very sucessfull at defeating guerrillas, insurgents, freedom fighters or what ever you want to call them. The very first thing the Romans did in newly conquored terrority was kill 10% of the population. That is so the other 90% would know they were serious. If that didn't work, they would do it again. After a few of these, the Romans would relocated the population in question, killing those that had a problem with that.
Then they would bring in more people from elsewhere. Iberia took a couple of centuries, but the Romans finally chilled them out.
Once the Romans got some peace and quite, they would establish Roman government with Roman Law (which was very advanced for it's day) and Roman infastructure. Running, Potable water, Police, Roads, etc.
That was the H & M part of it.
But first you have to decimate the population.
The Chinese have had a lot of experience along those lines also. The Chinese motto was, "Kill one man intimidate a thousand". At Tiananmen Square, the PRC killed about 8,000, which isn't a lot by Chinese standards. So they intimidated about 8 million, or so. They didn't need to do it again, did they?
Iraq would settle down in no time if the US had cut a deal with China to do the actual occupation. ALL the OIL you can pump out for two years in turn for 'pacification' of Iraq.
The Chinese would have killed every living thing (men, women, children, cats, hickens, goats, even the pooking rats and flies) in Fallujha in April of '04, and that would have been that. Repeat as neccessary.
If the US Army murders every inhabitant within 3 Km's of an IED, within 3 months, there will be no more IED's. Look at how the US dealt with the guerrilla campaign in Germany post WW@. Wholesale slaughter. The Germns knew it was still better then what was happening in the Soviet zone.
As a final example I offer William T. Sherman. "Leave them only their eyes to weep with".
Anyone that lacks the stomach for this program needs to grow their beard and start memorizing the Quran, because the Jihadists will win. As long as they are more willing to die then we are to kill, they CANNOT lose.

5/30/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My point about US CITIZENS is that that includes Anglos, Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, and etc. and is not exclusionary on that basis, as the Minutemen are not.
"Does that prospect point to vigilanteism? Or does it point to participatory democracy? Or, more realistically, to what combination of the two? "
It points to the Federal Government REFUSING to do the job it is entrusted to/sworn to/obligated to do.
Vigilantism is a term brought up by the President and others to smear those that are trying to do what he swore he would do but will not do, enforce the laws of this country, and secure it's borders.
IOW it is a way to distract attention from what should be the focus of attention, while at the same time impugning the intentions of others:
His refusal to do his job.
Other words used for similar purposes:
Nativism, Chauvinism, Exclusionism, etc.
On and on:
The vocabulary of scoundrels is not limited by law.

5/30/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The vast majority of US Citizens tend to follow the laws of this country.
Illegals break our laws at a much higher rate.
Chauvinst talk, to some, to me simply reporting FACTS, as attested to by the fact that illegals fill our jails far out of proportion to their numbers.

5/30/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

Two things;

Looking at Timor L'este and Solomon Is as examples of "failed states" is quite valid.

Put it into context though -

Would you say that a child of 15 months who is learning to walk is a "failed walker" every time you have to pick them up?

And that is exactly why the Australian and NZ governments are happy to respond to the request for assistance from the respective governments of Timor L'este and Solomons.

Just take note, America, because to complete the job in Iraq and Afghanistan you should be as prepared to respond to their calls for assistance in the future... perhaps five years, perhaps 20 years down the track.

"Al-Qa'ida can access al-Jazeera at will, which should not be a surprise given how al-Jazeera is effectively an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood."

I have no doubt in my mind that if President Bush took it into his mind to address the people of Islam directly, he also would be able to send a tape to al-Jazeera and have them broadcast it.

What he might say is beyond my imagination...

5/30/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

My comments were not aimed at attacking or defending the new 'Minutemen' who went to defend the US border with Mexico. Broadly speaking, I support the idea of what they did.

In the context of Wretchard's point about an increasing emergence of non-state actors in the US, I'm more interested in what form they are actually taking.

It makes me wonder, what is the difference between vigilanteism and participatory democracy in such a circumstance? How can we maintain the liberal democratic ways that have served us so well under such conditions?

5/30/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Most likely we can't.
That's why it is important to impress on politicians they should start doing their jobs, or they will pay a political price.
Bush, being a second termer as well as one of the elite, pays no attention but to sneer and smear we the plebes, and try to force the GOP House Members to commit political suicide.
The minutemen have as one of their aims focusing attention in the same direction, as far as I can tell, and I'm sure would gladly go home if and when the government starts to do it's job.

5/30/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Mr. John samford has it correct.
#1 First kick their ass HARD

About vigilantism. Go to OneLook.com and see definition. Vigilance is the key. What would the government do if an Arizona land owner hired the same services the US Government is using in Iraq, Blackwater, Inc, The Vennell Corp. etc to protect his/her property. Mercenaries can be a good deal.
And in so doing had them shoot to kill "illegal invaders who might be terrorists". I say do it and watch the President get serious about arming the troops and doing the same thing.

The twelve signs that your country is dysfunctional left out the fact that the average IQ is the same as Ted Kennedy's girth, 60.

Recolonize all those sub Saharan African countries that are the yurts for terrorists. I'm sure the NATO countries could work that out and we would of course invite our friends the Russians and Chinese to participate.
One thing is absolutely, positively, 100% certain. More killing is on the way. We just do enough of it.

5/30/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Excellent essay,Wretchard!
National Review had their 50 conservative rock songs recently.Most of them were a big stretch.One I thought was a serious omission was"Only a FoolWould Say That"by Steely Dan.
While Fagan and Becker were writing from their usual cynical worldview;the lyrics were quite descriptive of bleeding heart world remakers,I guess genius neo-cons,and various utopian revolutionaries.
"A World became one of salads and sun/Only a fool would say that"...
Failed nation states might cruelly demand a triage approach .While interested and compassionate individuals can rescue some,by and large many broken places might need to fall further into the abyss while the western world concentrates on keeping a free flow of resources and crushing madmen.
Jesus is quoted in Luke's gospel as describing the world at the end of time :Luke 21:25-26-"And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity the sea and the waves roaring"
Men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth ,for the powers of heaven shall be shaken"
The good news is in the next verse-"And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory"
Some things man will never solve.

5/30/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gore Claims Carbon Neutrality
He said he believed scientists who said that there may be 10 years remaining to avoid "crossing the point of no return".
"Then does that change you? It should, it's happening on our watch," said the former vice-president.

He said he was "carbon neutral" himself and he tried to offset any plane flight or car journey by "purchasing verifiable reductions in CO2 elsewhere".

Anybody know the details of these exotic exchanges between perfect Al and "others?"

5/30/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Furthermore after rereading Mr Samfords remarks I want him on my team when the sh*t starts.

I know many of you are too civilized to associate yourselves with remarks about killing in large,very large numbers so if you'll at least just stay out of the way, or maybe step up and pass the ammo to us we'll get the job done.

5/30/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

So Gore is admitting he's not a carbon based lfe form?

Too much Brylcreme.

5/30/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The near-spontaneous appearance of the border "Minutemen" guards; blogospheric translators of captured Iraqi documents and the voluntary provision of help to Iraqis, Afghans, Sudanese, etc are token of an energy that can be harnessed in some way to meet the challenge

Harnessing energy is key there.

My grandfather was a small time inventor and always liked to be in the garage tinkering with things. My dad told me he built a snowmobile in the '20's before they were around but never bothered about patents. He was a simple man. He just liked 'tinkering'.

He was in Samoa, in the Peace Corps, in the early '70's. Sitting on the beach one day and watching the surf. Wave after wave rolling in. Constant. Never ending. He thought to himself, there's energy there. Gotta be a way to harness it. Got back stateside and went to work in the garage tinkering. He ended up with this small generator, a light bulb, 2 long pieces of pipe, and 2 50 gallon drums. Our family loaded everything up in the back of the truck and went out to the coast to give it a test run. Generator sat on the beach with the test light bulb screwed in. Grandpa and dad assembled the pipes together out into the surf with the drums on the end of them. Came back and grandpa did something with the generator to 'activate' it. Sat on the beach and watched the drums bob up and down in the surf which caused motion in the generator. Watching the drums. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Lo and behold the bulb lit.

Anyhoo. There's energy out there to be harnassed. Just takes imagination.

5/30/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Admitting the obvious:
"So Gore is admitting he's not a carbon based lfe form?

Too much Brylcreme.
That, possibly in combination with soaps and other contaminants leeched from the many towels used daily to soak up vaious bodily fluids extruded between multiple showers, which require ADDITIONAL white towels with their included impurities, which also leech in, further diluting those precious bodily fluids contained therein.

5/30/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Perhaps you could move west and switch to "farming" the surf for renewable energy?
(Assuming neither the oil shale or precious metals come to fruition.)

5/30/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Hey! That was my surf story, Doug!

5/30/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Once again bro very fresh insight. Of course, how could I miss the leeching effect..
(notice the "hip jive" in the first sentence? bro AND fresh ...jeez where's my Sir Mix-A-Lot CD

5/30/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Are you really Murph?
Sam is such an obvious pseudo.

5/30/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Algore is as Fresh as the Cologne Dept at Macys several times a day.
...and then he isn't.

5/30/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Heres a "hip" Slogan for '08:
He's Your Pal,
Vote Greasy Al!

5/30/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Al's Got AI!"

5/30/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A (i)

5/30/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Bobal is right. Energy is much more important.

In just a few years it won't matter if Al Queda gets a state, and has a bomb. The Missile Defense, and associated sciences are coming along very well, thank you. A satellite that can detect a nuclear bomb, even in the hold of a ship; it won't be long, now.

Remember the old joke. "I don't have to be able to outrun the Bear. I only have to be able to outrun you."

5/30/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I made the same mistake. Sorry Sam. It was all Doug's fault.

5/30/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


Oleaginous Al

Energy is one key but we can't fall on technology and lose the savagry that is war. Tech is lost on people who eat roots and berries, but they can relate to a large swath of napalm or the kaboom of an Arc Light drop. Guarantee it'll keep 'em in line without using a coffle.
Now that's harnessing energy ..

5/30/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe over their projected but now terminated lives, that would be a Carbon-Neutral Exchange?
Help Terrorists Do the World a Good Deed.

5/30/2006 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

"The Senate, by opening the door to U.S. citizenship for millions of illegal aliens, has cheapened something Americans used to consider priceless. That the Senate would put on a path to U.S. citizenship people who, only a month ago, were marching under Mexican flags is a manifestation of national decline.

In 1963, as Churchill was approaching death, a debate was held in our country and Congress on whether that friend and ally in World War II should be granted U.S. citizenship, an honor previously accorded only to the French hero of the American Revolution, Lafayette."

-Patrick Buchanan

Talk about failed states!

5/30/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Did I hear correctly that ALGORE just signed a three year deal with Rousch Racing to be the catch can man in the pit crew?
oh what, wrong blog.

Why most civilization fail is due to lack of (fill in blank, no wrong answers).

This in from Sausalito ..war is bad for children and other living things.
This from Compton .. gotta blunt for a brother?

5/30/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


Our glass is half full ...of sludge.

5/30/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Marin City:
"Here come da Judge"
(reborn after being terminated by bro Jackson)

5/30/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Talk about failed states! "
It's a return to an earlier, simpler time:
When people are traded freely across (open) borders, and treated as commodoties, nirvana is attained.
...used to be called "Slavery."
The upside this time is Equalitiy:
Over time, natives as well as new arrivals will attain slave status.
"We are the World,
We are as Children,
Workin for our Slavers
Every Day.
We are the World,
We are as Children,
Uncle Joe has brought us all to Equal Pay."

5/30/2006 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Why It's Over for America

- Noam Chomsky:
"An inability to protect its citizens. The belief that it is above the law. A lack of democracy. Three defining characteristics of the 'failed state'. And that, says Noam Chomsky, is exactly what the US is becoming. In an exclusive extract from his devastating new book, America's leading thinker explains how his country lost its way
Published: 30 May 2006

… Among the hardest tasks that anyone can undertake, and one of the most important, is to look honestly in the mirror. If we allow ourselves to do so, we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of "failed states" right at home.
No one familiar with history should be surprised that the growing democratic deficit in the United States is accompanied by declaration of messianic missions to bring democracy to a suffering world…"


Can anyone arrange a debate between Buchanan and Chomsky?

5/30/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Bin Laden Tape: Truths and Half-Truths:

Osama bin Laden recently released another audiotape, a large portion of which was devoted to discussing the U.S. government's prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui and suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in other locations.

Before examining the statements bin Laden made in the May 22 recording, it is useful to examine the release in the context of other al Qaeda statements -- which, on the whole, have been coming relatively thick and fast in recent weeks. It is interesting to note that bin Laden has released three recordings so far this year -- in January, April and May.

The latest recording begins and ends with phrases that bin Laden has used in the past: "Peace be upon he who has followed the guidance." This is a standard greeting that Muslims offer to non-Muslims, and has been used more or less consistently when bin Laden is addressing audiences in the United States or in the West.

So much, then, for the veracity of what bin Laden did say. The far more interesting aspects of this recording, of course, lie in what he did not say.

What, then, are we to take away from bin Laden's recordings of truths and half-truths?

For one thing, they are to be expected.

Bin Laden Tape

5/30/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Frum: Here's an Idea
The New York Times reports that the state of New York spends $29 million a year on tuition subsidies for students who have failed to complete high school.
The article acknowledges that a debate is growing over whether such students "should be in college at all."
Here's a suggestion:
Why not forestall this sure-to-be divisive debate by the simple, compassionate step by issuing all babies a college degree at birth?

As the Times says, "because a college degree is widely considered essential to later success, some educators say even students who could not complete high school should be allowed to attend college."
So give them all degrees.
Then all will succeed!


5/30/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


Allow me to build on your college degree at birth epiphany.

Advanced degrees, math,science,medical would require other skill sets. one must.
1. Be able to slam dunk
2. do the 40 in 4.2 minimum
3. own a pit bull
Bling gets you a Phd.

5/30/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

ouch doug you could have put my eye out

5/30/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

What IS the Powell Docrine, Rat?

5/30/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

You folks worry too much. We are there because (1) We need the Oil. (2) They're developing Nukes; and, we are at this moment, vulnerable.

Nature will force us, and technology will allow us, to wean ourselves off of their oil, eventually. We will be virtually invulnerable to their Nukes in the "not too distant" future.

When this happens we will wish them a "Good Day," and be on our way. It's a "Dead Solid Lock."

5/30/2006 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Top 10 least developed countries according to Geohive:

1. Niger
2. Sierra Leone
3. Burkina Faso
4. Mali
5. Chad
6. Guinea-Bissau
7. Central African Republic
8. Ethiopia
9. Burundi
10. Mozambique


5/30/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

You folks are missing something else. When they run out of oil, they will run out of "Friends." China, Russia, the EU won't give a flip in the shade if we bomb them into oblivion, or not.

This would, most likely, never happen unless they were able to, somehow, develop an Arsenal that we felt we couldn't defend against. But, that would be very hard to do without oil revenues.

We're probably in for another decade, or so, of frazzled nerves, but it should get a LOT BETTER after that.

5/30/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Denial is a wonderful thing Rufus, but Science is Science, Facts are Facts, and the Grand Wizard of World-Changing Fact-Mastery is Algore!
You can be assured that your entire state, down to the last floating Casino will be history in less than a decade due to:
Sayonara, it's been fun.

5/30/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If you don't mind, check out my 3:45, I'd be interested in your opinion.

5/30/2006 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I Hate Cold Weather. That's why I moved down here.

Bring It On!

Glug, Glug

5/30/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Al-Qaeda's long march to war:

Al-Qaeda believes that it and its allies can only defeat the United States in a "long war", one that allows the Islamists to capitalize on their extraordinary patience, as well as on their enemies' lack thereof. Before his death in a firefight with Saudi security forces, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Hajar Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, wrote extensively about how al-Qaeda believed the military fight against the US and its allies would unfold.

The larger insurgent units that have been sporadically operating in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past year may signal the initial, limited success of Muqrin's call for the building of semi-conventional mujahideen units. The data to make a definitive judgment, however, are currently not available.

It will suffice to say that what is known about al-Qaeda's doctrine for the "long war" calls for the eventual creation of such units, and that al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's instructions to Zarqawi - in Zawahiri's letter of July 9, 2005 - clearly infers that the mujahideen will need semi-conventional forces to control Iraq after the withdrawal of the US-led coalition.

Al Qaeda

5/30/2006 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's gonna be tough here too, after we re-locate to the top of the Volcanos.
Chilly up there, and I hate cold weather too!
(Maybe the Globe will be so hot by then we will still never have to say "We have no Bannans?")

5/30/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's hip Hawaiian for "Bannanas"

5/30/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Sam, Al Queda's got a problem. They don't have a long time. In twenty years, or so, their money will be drying up; just like the Iranian oil wells.

When the money's gone, they're gone. Symetrical, or assymetrical, War requires money.

5/30/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Oh, I thought you were talking about banana's.

But, if it's "Hip Hawaiin," you must be talking about, "Big Bazooms."

Now, I gotcha.

5/30/2006 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Nah, best 'Hip Hawaiian' is Primo, of course.

5/30/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Wounded Warriors - 26:55

Select channel 'Specials/Interviews'

5/30/2006 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

Doug 4:59 PM

I wonder what happens when all the non-state actors presently in the United States illegally, turn out to be "actioners" rather than simple actors.

5/30/2006 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

""actioners" rather than simple actors."
Why then BEGINS the simple task of sifting through the 12-20 million illegals, determining as best we can under decidedly distressed circumstances, which are simple illegals, and which decidedly are NOT.
Another difficulty will be putting out of our minds the screams of "Impeach Bill Clinton!" for gross derelection of duty when we temporarily forget he was the President BEFORE 9-11.

5/30/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Canada Home to Al-Qaida Terrorists

Venezuela Spending Billions on Defense

Venezuela's Chavez Says Bush Plotting Against Bolivia

5/31/2006 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

When Dobbs asked if it is possible four and a half years after 9/11 "for this White House to comprehend, for that Senate to comprehend, there are about 280 million Americans out here who deserve protection at their ports and at their borders and that the people are sick and tired. They've had a belly full of the nonsense. They want the borders secured.
They want the ports secured, and really don't want to hear any more about free trade and impediments to commerce.”

Said King: "You're right, it's almost now, almost five years since Sept. 11. And border security is homeland security. Our world changed on Sept. 11.
If there was ever the luxury of looking the other way on illegal immigration, it ended on Sept. 11.
We have to secure the border, not just for economic and cultural and social reasons, we have to secure it to preserve our security, our homeland security.”
Rep. King Tells Dobbs: Senate Bill Dead

5/31/2006 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

The Kurds Have No Friends . . .

SO GOES AN OLD KURDISH ADAGE. On a recent visit to Turkey's southeastern city of Van, a Kurdish businessman told me that, "America has just one friend in the Middle East and that is the Kurds.

THERE ARE 25 MILLION Kurds today, concentrated in the region where Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria meet. Turkey is home to half of these Kurds, their historical homeland in the southeast, and a number of important Kurdish cultural centers, such as Diyarbakir, Mardin, and Van.

IN THE MIDST of Van's chaotic bazaar I found the headquarters for the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party and asked to speak with the leadership. I was ushered into the "Minister's" office.

AN ALREADY PRECARIOUS SITUATION became more so when Iranian and Turkish forces both recently attacked PKK positions inside Iraqi territory. Iran used to support the PKK as another proxy by which to agitate the West.

The Kurds

5/31/2006 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Commenting on Dobbs’ remark that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had described the Senate bill as the will of the Senate, King snapped:
"The will of the Senate was not the will of the people.
What really offends me about this is they say it has to be comprehensive, which means, on the one hand we have to protect the rights of the American people by having border security.

"On the other hand we have to protect the rights of illegal immigrants.
So they are suggesting there's an equivalency between the rights of legal Americans and the rights of illegal immigrants, and you can't do both at the same time.
So they are trying to balance the two, and when you do that, you're never going to get border security.
After 20 years of promises, we don't have border security. There's no reason to think we're going to get it now unless we focus all our at attention on that.”

5/31/2006 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sometimes it seems we cater more to our mortal enemies than friends, such as the Kurds.

Kind of like bowing to Ted Kennedy and John McCain while showing their bare asses to the American Public.

5/31/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Ecc 1:9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

Ecc 1:10 Is there [any] thing whereof it may be said, See, this [is] new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

5/31/2006 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

US poultry experts using Google to beat bird flu.
Pedophiles to launch political party
Toddlers should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, the NVD said.

The party also said everybody should be allowed to go naked in public and promotes legalizing all soft and hard drugs and free train travel for all.
The Road To Gay Serfdom [Jonah Goldberg]
State officials hound citizens for gay sex in England! It figures that it would happen on state-owned train lines!

5/31/2006 03:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

When he was the U.S. ambassador to France, Felix Rohatyn reputedly said that the difference between the French and the American people was that the

"French value ideas over facts while
Americans value facts over ideas."

His point was that we want what works while the French have to stop to see if the remedy to the problem fits in with their ideological worldview.

5/31/2006 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"I was thinking more on the order of the US Air Force hunting down and destroying Known Al/Q Taliban training areas and surrounds."

- Doug

Without an adequate ground presence, you're scattering chickens.

There are practical as well as political limitations to action.

5/31/2006 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"...messianic missions to bring democracy to a suffering world…"

- 2164th

I've said it before:

Time to re-bury, but good, the rotting corpse of Woodrow Wilson.

5/31/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Doug said...
.."When he was the U.S. ambassador to France, Felix Rohatyn reputedly said that the difference between the French and the American people was that the

"French value ideas over facts while
Americans value facts over ideas." '

Did we forget? It seems that we have become much more ideological and the French are the new pragmatists. Ideas make up an ideology and ideology is killing the US. The US was once the greatest trader in the world and that is being passed onto the Chinese, they will trade with anyone and are now the ones who value facts over ideas. Ideas and Ideology always need to be tested and retested to see if they still apply. If not they become dogma and doctrinaire. This is happening with the great march to democracy. We should limit our foreign engagements to facts at hand and impose an unthinkable cost to being an enemy of the US and leave the ideological Carteresque Clintonian Bushotic nonsense behind.

5/31/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

You reading my mind Trish?

5/31/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"You reading my mind Trish?"

It's a gift.

5/31/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I am relieved, for a terrible moment I thought I was getting dogmatic.

5/31/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


For a long time I have been reading your posts here with interest and respect, but have had trouble understanding what your central or guiding idea was (not that one necessarily needs to have such a thing!). But I wonder if this statement captures your position:

Time to re-bury, but good, the rotting corpse of Woodrow Wilson...

If so, and with Iraq and Afghanistan presenting the intractable problems they appear to present, do you reject the idea in Wretchard's post

...In outline any mechanism capable of dealing with failing states would combine aspects of what is called "homeland security" (border control, immigration policy), a forward military presence, economic development and institution building in an effort to meet the problem...

I have to tell you, I am frustrated with our lack of progress with these backwards and vicious polities, but I am not sure we can completely bury Wilson's corpse and make any headway in the long run.

I admit I am confused.

Jamie Irons

5/31/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

Consider the ratio of 'black market' GDP to 'legal GDP'. All nations have both. The 'black market' GDP cannot be measured any more than one can count one's backyard ant population, but it is always there.

Consider plotting that ratio against time. Go back 100 years or so.

Consider this 100 year plot for the US economy. Surely the size of the 'black market' economy has been steadily increasing. 10% of the individuals working within the economy are illegal, and everything they do is part of the black market.

Consider the tax rates required to sustain Social Security in 30 years. Some say it will be 75% of income.

Consider trends in prison populations. In Texas, 1 in 20 people is under some form of court supervision.

Anyone interested in the 'failed state' notion should ask themselves how long the US is going to remain off the list.

5/31/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


...any more than one can count one's backyard ant population...

Actually, my acquaintance, myrmecologist Phil Ward, tells me there are well-established and reliable statistical methods for estimating one's local ant population.


Jamie Irons

5/31/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

george1776: The various warring Indian tribes of North America certainly qualified as failed states in my book

And consider our solution to them.

The defining characteristic of American power is that we can sterilize a region much more easily than we can pacify it or civilize it.

If we perceive ourselves to be engaged with an existential threat, the rest of the world has reason to be concerned, as wretchard noted in his "Three Conjectures"

5/31/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


someone please point me to the often remarked on "Three Conjectures" by our host. Seems to be a must read.

5/31/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, trish,
I had always believed the basic premise of the Powell Doctrine was to employee overwhelming force to destroy the enemy.

wilipedia has a broader definition and description.
Is a vital US interest at stake?
Will we commit sufficient resources to win?
Are the objectives clearly defined?
Will we sustain the commitment?
Is there reasonable expectation that the public and Congress will support the operation?
Have we exhausted our other options?
Do we have a clear exit strategy?

Mr Powell describes it in an article he wrote while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in "Foreign Affairs", but the bulk of that article is not available on their site.

The Powell Doctrine is also referred to as the Wienberger Doctrine So similar, aye
1. The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.
6. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort

Then there is the Rumsfeld Doctrine which we operate with, today.
It is described at Answers.com this way
The Rumsfeld Doctrine (named after its originator Donald Rumsfeld) is primarily concerned with the transformation of the United States Military. It would be considered Rumsfeld's own take on RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs).
It seeks to increase force readiness and decrease the amount of supply required to maintain forces, by reducing the number in a theater. This is done mainly by using LAVs (Light Armoured Vehicles) to scout for enemies who are then destroyed via airstrikes. The basic tenets of this military strategy are:

High technology combat systems
Reliance on air forces
Small, nimble ground forces

Afghanistan and the Iraq wars are considered the two closest implementations of this doctrine.

The little article then goes on to describe the varied opinions as to the realitive success of the migration from the Powell Doctrine to the Rumsfeld Doctrine.
Rumsfeld wanted only 60,000 troops in the Iraq invasion. The Pentagon (General Franks) wanted 400,000. 140,000 went into Iraq. At issue was not the number of troops needed to topple the regime, but the number need to maintain the peace afterwards. In the days before the invasion the Pentagon had declared that the invasion would last mere weeks, not months. (or Years)

The thing in both cases is that niether Doctrine were followed to conclusion in Iraq.
We never left, militarily, after Victory, which is core to both.

Most likely 'cause Victory, in both Afghanistan and Iraq were never well defined. That job fell to the CiC, who allowed the Goal Posts to keep moving on.

In any case we "own" both Iraq and Afghanistan, 'cause both are "broken". The real question is...
Is it US responsibility that they were broken. I think in both cases the countries were broken well before US arrived.
If large scale military action is ever required by US in the Mohammedan Wars we will have to admit that it is not the job of the US to develop these failed places, just destroy the threats that find shelter there.

5/31/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Just for you

5/31/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger J. Random American said...

I wonder if perhaps the West did invent a proven method for fixing failed states, but that now it's name is not spoken in polite society: colonization.

If all happy families resemble each other and the state's existing culture has no resemblance to the 'happy family'...

5/31/2006 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

wretchard said..If the failing states and their manifestations (conventional and WMD terrorism, prohibited drugs, massive illegal immigrations, gigantic humanitarian crises) are going to be a persistent, long-term problem then the natural response would be to create a capability to meet the challenge. In outline any mechanism capable of dealing with failing states would combine aspects of what is called "homeland security" (border control, immigration policy), a forward military presence, economic development and institution building in an effort to meet the problem. But above all it should be scalable because the list of failing states seems capable of lengthening indefinitely while the current means for dealing with them appear capable of only marginal growth. That all-around and scalable mechanism probably doesn't exist. But new needs usually inspire equally new organizational paradigms and perhaps one will emerge. During the Great War, for example, it became clear that the British Empire lacked an institution able to fight a long European war.

In the mechanisms section of the paragraph toward a response to failed are such things as "homeland security',border control, military presence,etc.
I would point out that each of these have been in place for decades. These in addition to TRILLIONS in foreign aid to friend and FOE. THe USA was always there first with the most during catastrophies etc. It has not worked in the old paradigm and there is NO reason to believe they will work any better going forward.
Sometimes it is necessary to start with a clean slate. This is the case with these failed states. They must be reconquered and recolonized in an effort to raise them to the minimums required for self government. In an ever more complex geo-political world with barbaric "virtual " states utilizing these territories for sanctuary (protected under UN sovereignty laws)it is truly absurd to believe civilized chang will occur. They don't have to be "persistent, long term problems". That can only occur if we continue to allow it to be such.

5/31/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Thank you sir.

5/31/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Dear Habu_1,

I have copy of text from Belmont website indicating a date of September 2003 for at least one iteration of the Three Conjectures.

The Conjectures address several scenarios in which Islamic Fascists manage to acquire nuclear devices, and examines likely responses of the West to several possibilities.

Conjecture 1: Terrorism has lowered the nuclear threshold

Conjecture 2: Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam

Conjecture 3: The War on Terror is the 'Golden Hour' -- the final chance

Wretchard add a number of comments and postscripts. I seem to recall (although I am ashamed to admit I did not fully account for the provenance of the Conjectures) that they were first articulated by someone else, but I'm sure someone will correct me on that point.

Besides Wretchard's insights, i recommend reading Ralph Peters writing ("Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States" From Parameters, Spring 1998, pp. 36-47) and that of Steven den Beste, still available at his website USSClueless.

Set aside a few hours once you start reading, and be sure to thoroughly wrap your head with duct tape to prevent your head exploding.

5/31/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The boys at westhawk have an interesting piece concerning "How should the U.S. fight an insurgency?
It describes both the
"let it ride" attitude we are implementing now, as opposed to "get tough" techniques that are in disfavor, today.

5/31/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...


Mister den Beste is a big fan of Japanese animation, and seemingly reached a point where he felt he'd squoze out all the wisdom on international affairs his poor little brain could spare.

You can find those speculations, comments, and insights by clicking on Best log entries and The Essential Library in the box at the right, once you get to the page referenced above.

The latter link lists a number of other authors and articles that have shaped and guided his thinking, including the Ralph Peters article.

Finally, you might like to read "The Pentagon's New Map" by THOMAS P.M. BARNETT, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE
(The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century is published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on 26 April 2004 (448 pages))

5/31/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Of course, Jamie Irons opened this comment stream with a reference to Thomas Barnett's writing...


5/31/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Of course, Jamie Irons opened this comment stream with a reference to Thomas Barnett's writing...


5/31/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

For the record, "failed states" are nothing new.

During the 19th century, both Mexico and the Ottoman Empire could be regarded as failed states. That is, their internationally recognized territories stretched further than the central government's ability to effectively govern them. And while the United Nations didn't exist back then, the British Empire did, and the British Empire was noted for propping up weak empires against stronger foes.

For that matter, the independence of China and Persia came only because rival empires couldn't agree on how to carve them up. The Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was also a failed state; so was Hawaii during the nineteenth century.

(It was a fluke of diplomacy that Britain and France didn't intervene to defend Mexico against the United States. If it weren't for Mexican intransigence over Texan independence, they might have been Mexican allies.)

Failed states are nothing new. In the past, though, they weren't as much of a problem because of the possibility of old-fashioned conquest. With the rise of the United Nations and the fall of colonial empires, military conquest (with consequent annexation) doesn't happen anymore.

In a sense, the modern failed state is a direct consequence of ejecting Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait. If his conquest had been regarded as legitimate, small states would have needed to (1) militarize, (2) sign alliances with major empires, or (3) find themselves annexed by their more powerful neighbors.

Sadly, I don't see any third alternative other than either accepting the reality of failed states or accepting the reality of an age of colonial empires. The very "peace" the United Nations represents is a rigid structure that will not bend to change.

5/31/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Re: My 9:35 posting.

The UN should be at the top of any list of failed institutions. Certainly the US intelligensia know this and why we continue participation in it is a fraud on the American people.
When North Korea can take a rotation as head of a humanitarian committee, well, reductio ad absurdum.
When the US has to line up support from Euro-Asian-South American trash to institue OUR foreign policy, once again reductio ad absurdum.
Take the money we waste there and build new weapon systems and a much larger carrier fleet with RPV's etc. Project power, don't beg for it's use.

5/31/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Alexis 10:12 said..

In a sense, the modern failed state is a direct consequence of ejecting Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait. If his conquest had been regarded as legitimate, small states would have needed to (1) militarize, (2) sign alliances with major empires, or (3) find themselves annexed by their more powerful neighbors.

Oh my God, you actually put that in print. "In a sense ... direct consequence" Please say you're feverish or on narcotics.

In a sense you could say that poverty is a direct consequence of wealth.
In a sense you could say ... anything. A consequence of that is I don't understand you. Dilate your point please.

5/31/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Mr.Desert Rat..

Thank you for pointing out the WestHawk article.
My position (like it makes a difference) is that we are the weak horse because we use our military in the wrong way.
When we show up populations should cower, beg for mercy, and KNOW we are there to do one thing ..WIN.
This use of US Marines to hand out lollipops and coddle the indiginous population is crap. Let the Red Cross do that, or the Cindy Sheehan Brigade.
The elderly Iraqi quoted as saying anyone going into or out of a US base was killed. No doubt.
Your enemy must FEAR you beyond all hope of defeating you. We don't fight to win anymore, just placate.
The feminization of our forces is apparently more ingrained than I imagined.

5/31/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Forget about whirled peas and batten down the hatches

Obviously, in these post cold-war years, the UN has failed and it is time for the US to recognize the UN for what is; an inept bureaucracy corrupted by it's member states and antithetical to US interests. I suspect NATO will follow the same path of platitudes and inaction. Perhaps we are entering a dark "every man (or every nation) for himself" era. If this is the case, what does it mean for the establishment of real and lasting alliances? Like the League of Nations, are they relics of the past? What does this mean for the State Department which seems to be the most entrenched and intransigent of US Agencies. Can the State Department be reformed to accomodate a remake similar to Rumsfeld's vision for the Military? A lighter, nimbler State Department structured to effect, manage and react to a changing world paradigm.

That our world is changing, there is no doubt. What is in doubt is whether we can recognize and adapt to the coming changes.

5/31/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

This man sees a problem -

The Last Day of the World
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 31, 2006

As the E.U., U.N. and U.S. contrive to fund the Palestinian Authority despite declarations that they would never aid Hamas; as the Russians rush to aid Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and as America is ever more riven by furious disagreement over the prosecution of the terror war, a historical analogy is useful to put things in perspective.

On Tuesday, May 29, 1453, the armies of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II entered Constantinople, breaking through the defenses of a vastly outnumbered and indomitably courageous Byzantine force. Historian Steven Runciman notes what happened next: the Muslim soldiers "slew everyone that they met in the streets, men, women, and children without discrimination. The blood ran in rivers down the steep streets from the heights of Petra toward the Golden Horn. But soon the lust for slaughter was assuaged. The soldiers realized that captives and precious objects would bring them greater profit." (The Fall of Constantinople 1453, Cambridge University Press, 1965, p. 145.)

It has come to be known as Black Tuesday, the Last Day of the World.

read the rest at:


5/31/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

To try to fix failed states either must be done on an ad hoc basis by a single nation or a coalition of nations based on their narrow interests. This seems to be the model now and it doesn't appear to be working very well. The US effort in Iraq and the US/Nato effort in Afghanistan does not appear to be fixing these places very well. I would suggest that depending on this method is not a good model for future attempts. The only other alternative is to develop and strengthen international institutions to try to address these problems - for example: the ICC, IMF, World Bank and the World Health Organization.

5/31/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Wretchard: You have entitled your post "The Sad State of the World" but I maintain that the sad state is the "Natural State of the World." I believe it has always been and will always be so. The question for the secular remnants of Western Civilization is how they will react in the new old world where "survival of the fittest" is the order of the day.

5/31/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

There will be no fixing failed states. They must fix themselves with limited help from others. States will fail and states will thrive depending on the character of their citizens.

As far as the US is concerned, a revisit of the founding fathers warning against "foreign entanglements" is in order. Also, we should envoke the Roosevelt practice of "talking softly with the big stick."

5/31/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ousting al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists from Mindanao

Since 2002, U.S. Army Rangers and Navy SEALs have been training and equipping Philippine troops to oust al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists from Mindanao, a predominantly Muslim and largely poor part of the Southeast Asian nation. The militaries have used a combination of combat offensives and development projects - with a heavy emphasis on the latter - to isolate the terrorists and win over local populations.

On Basilan island, where U.S. troops first started operating four years ago, improved security has allowed the Philippine military to shrink its presence from 15 battalions to two, said Maj. Gen. David Fridovich, the commander of U.S. Special Forces in the Pacific.

5/31/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

If ANY of those organizations you mentioned functioned even marginally successfully without MASSIVE United Sates taxpayers dollars propping them up they might be of some value. As it stands now they are just teat sucking institutions suckling the USA. It's a new world. ALL nations work on their narrow interest with possibly one truly notable exception. The USA. We prop up the entire world,much of it not in our interest, or only marginally in our interest.
Your evaluation of the US not fixing Afghanistan or Iraq is myopic in extremis. Were it not for the barbarism of Islam and their attempt to establish another global Caliphate our efforts would be the fulfillment of the Bill of Rights and the The Rights of Man, not the disenfranchisement of women and undifferentiated inquisitions of other cultures.

5/31/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The BBC has reported that more than 1,000 soldiers have deserted since the start of the 2003 Iraq War. They attribute the desertions to bad morale brought on by "a prolonged conflict."

I heard recently that British morale was bad due to overly restrictive RoE as well as the ever present threat of prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

5/31/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I should have made it clear that more than 1,000 "British" soldiers have deserted.

5/31/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Haditha Hysteria
Land of the Free, Because of the Brave

Hardly mentioned at all in the hysterical coverage of Haditha is the nature of this city hard by the Syrian border. If you think Fallujah was a hornet's nest of insurgency, you should take a look at Haditha and what the Marines have been facing there.

Those on the Hill who have been briefed on the incident advise waiting for the results of the investigation before rushing to judgment. House Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter further warns against using the incident to blacken the reputation of American troops, saying, "I don't want to see these troops who have done such a magnificent job end up being portrayed in the American media by what comes out of the Haditha investigation."

Which of course is exactly what is being done by the traitorous leftist media.

5/31/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

12:06 PM Whit:
In Afghanistan, it is so bad they are in danger of being over-run.
Asking for relaxation of rules and more troops.
A War Run By Lawyers!
(Luckily they evidently don't follow every SF unit to every corner of the earth)

5/31/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


If we could bolster multi-national institutions it is possible to lessen their dependancy on US. Currently in Iraq it is US who bear the overwhelming majority of the cost of 'nation building'. In Afghanistan, at least, NATO countries are bellying up to the bar in greater proportions.

5/31/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

If we keep going the way we are, with the Fourth Estate acting as a Fifth Column and Political Correctness running the War Departments things will only get worse.

When the backlash comes it will be ugly.

5/31/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You think they should assault all the major networks at once, or do one or two in hopes of straightening out the others?
There should be NO Survivors at the ACLU!

5/31/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

IF it's and but's were candy and nuts we'd all have a very Merry Christmas.
You said:
If we could bolster multi-national institutions it is possible to lessen their dependancy on US.

Just what the heck do you think we have been doing since the Marshall Plan. We've supported these institutions. We placated our indiginous black population and supported independence for African "nations" that were in no way ready for anything but more inter tribal slaughter. Our dollars followed but none of the talent of our black population went back to the "homeland" to build on the rights of man. Those that did go just took the money and f*cked the locals.
"If we could bolster...please Ash don't insult me. I've been on every continent on the globe. Been there,seen it first hand.

5/31/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

2 hour workout begins..later

5/31/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...


A swift, sudden and complete decapitation on all networks.

Complete extermination of the pest problem.

5/31/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Could you ask your friend for his solution to the Invasion of Illegal Fireants from the South?

5/31/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now now, fellas.
The actions of the US Military are not prescribed by the Media.
The tactics employeed by General Casey are General Casey's, not Dan Rather.

The Haditha debacle can not to be laid at either Walter Cronkite's or Ollie North's doorstep.

In 'Nam the light was reported to be at the end of the tunnel, in Iraq as the Iraqi Government stood up, we'd stand down.
That Mr al-Sadr is not as illuminating as advertised, is the marketers of the policy's fault, certainly not Ms Doziers.

The skill sets required for the Military's missions are developed by the Military, not the State Dept or CNN. If, after three years, the Military still has not developed the skill sets required for the Iraq campaign, Lou Dobbs and Larry King are not the responsible parties for the failures.

While CNN did coddle Saddam and his thugs, they have felt the burn. Viewership and revenues are way down. The Market, while without memory, is not blind.

Ever since the Greeks, the messenger has been blamed for the content of the message, that has always been a far easier course to take. Rather than admitting that whom ever the Idol of the day is, their feet are made of clay.

5/31/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

habu_1 10:27

Oh my God, you actually put that in print. "In a sense ... direct consequence" Please say you're feverish or on narcotics.

In a sense you could say that poverty is a direct consequence of wealth. In a sense you could say ... anything...

LOL It just shows that I spent too much time pushing the envelope, moving my cheese, dilating my points, and rebalancing that whole nine yard ball of wax wrapped in the whole enchilada. ;-)

Kuwait was (and is) a state unable to defend itself militarily. It is basically a no-man's land masquerading as a state. Admittedly, Saddam Hussein's regime was atrocious and his acquisition of the Persian Gulf's oil would have been a bad thing. Still, I wonder if George Bush Sr. did the United Nations any favors by taking the UN Charter too seriously. America's role in the Gulf War saved the standing of the United Nations -- and to what purpose?

(Although I supported the First Gulf War at the time, I would have preferred to let Osama bin Laden's outfit to die as cannon fodder in Kuwait before we ever went in. And that was my opinion at the time.)

What we have now are empty husks of states where "nations" are supposed to be. Despite the moral bankruptcy of the United Nations, it still elicits sufficient sympathy and support (in Europe, at least) to foster the spread of power vacuums and encourage genocide. In terms of self-defense, Kuwait was a classic "failed state". Although victory in the First Gulf War succeeded in ejecting Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, Kuwait required (and still requires) the continued presence of troops from an outside empire for its survival. That's not sovereignty. Furthermore, the precedent that a small state can rely upon the UN Charter for its self-defense at the expense of a strong military and/or a formal alliance with a larger state is a mixed blessing at best.

The Suez Crisis and the First Gulf War fostered a world order where the failed state became the norm. If Saddam Hussein had been allowed to annex Kuwait (and Milosevic Bosnia), I doubt we would be worrying about failed states. We would be worrying about something else.

5/31/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I'll say it for Porkrinds:

"Pass the popcorn!"

The BBC is reporting that Somali Islamists have attacked the kat chewing secular warlords.

5/31/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


The current administration has done their utmost to undermine most every international institution lest it interfere with the Exceptional America.

5/31/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If that was true, Ash, I can assure you that a Truce has since been declared.

5/31/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

doug, but the damage is done (anybody care to pop over to Iraq and help out?) Mind you, I don't see Bush and crew rushing to sign up with the ICC.

5/31/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Thanks to Wretchard for the original post, and for making this forum available. Thanks to all the folks commenting.

This place long ago became for me a refuge where I can read the thoughts of other better thinkers than I, and find some comfort in the hope that people can in the fullness of time sort things out. I suspect most of us have at one time or another qualified for 12-step programs as News Junkies. This beats the Mainstream alleged News organs all hollow.

Of course, if we're just sitting here congratulating ourselves for being so wise and rational, nothing is going to stop the world from its slow-motion skid into a new dark age. Gotta pester our pathetic congresscritters and other representatives.

This has to be the place where we get our thoughts ordered for more effective prodding.

5/31/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those are, reportedly, US funded kat chewing secular warlord proxies, whit.
The Enemy of our enemy, you know.

Now we fund the "Blackhawk Down" warlords and the Hamas terror group's government of Palistine.

"Those that sponsor terrorists are terrorists."

No wonder the Congress, the MSM and the US Public are all confused and conflicted.

Some of them must have both listened to and believed the message of that 2002 State of the Union address.

Border security and terror sponsors, the US was supposed to "get" both.

Now the US is a sponsor of Terror, while the Border has never seen so much illicit traffic.

It's all Larry Kudlow's fault, too.
So cool.

5/31/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"If we could bolster multi-national institutions it is possible to lessen their dependancy on US."

Ash, you are an auto-contradictory Fool of Bad Faith. Just shut the fuck up already.

5/31/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Or perhaps Mort Zuckerman and Chris Hitchens are to blame for US missteps.
Or perhaps there have been no missteps at all.
Other than that "provocative" language from Mr Bush. Now, even he admits to being blindsided by the "Culture of Violence".
"Bring it on" was the wrong thing to say, like totally.

The President has learned that sensitivity is the key to Victory.

Those folk on Flight 93, if they just hadn't said "Let's Roll", they'd have all been home for supper.

Alaska's to damn cold, I'll see ya at the beach.

5/31/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A bit verbose, but well said!
If repetition is called for, just stick to the last sentence.

5/31/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Their survivors just issued a post mortem apology/explanation:
They were either mistaken, or misunderstood.
What they SHOULD have said was:
"Let's Roll Over!"

5/31/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

the westhawk article was interesting but I wonder if it presents a false dichotomy.

Isn't it possible that both approaches have a proper place?

Ramadi and other hot spots will need attention soon and it seems that summer is the fighting season in Iraq. it is a shame that we must take on Al Anbar a second time but it appears that we must.

Why are Ramadi and Fallujah different? they both boiled up at the same time, yet it was the savagery in Fallujah that earned them the attention while the situation in Ramadi, at least as I understand it from Bing West was an uneasy truce with the military holding the highways and the insurgents keeping to the shadows.

Did we use Casey's COIN in Ramadi? If so, is it a failure of execution or of policy?

so perhaps we should employ both options, the traditional hammer and Casey's COIN as the situation requires.

if the insurgents flee the population centers of Ramadi, does the task of keeping the subsequent "peace" not fall to the Iraqis themselves? Are there limits to the number of times we must retake these towns?

Personally I believe that we should change the ROE's, deliver a crushing blow somewhere and see what happens. Perhaps Edward LongShanks can teach us a lesson about quelling an uprising.

We are fighting a truly wicked enemy and we don't want to descend to wickedness ourselves. that's doesn't preclude the appropriate use of massive force does it?

5/31/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'm sorry, I just can't see the purpose of wasting any further effort on eloquence and argument when what confronts is Ancient Barbarism and the Aliens That Lurk in the Mind of Ash & Her Cohorts. These are not the proper object of language, but of violence. Period. Anyone engaging them is either doing so for reasons of the joys of solipsism or because they are too stupid to understand what they are actually doing. Fine. Kill the one until it calms down; repress the other until it finally comes out of its closet and makes its gambit, making it easier to annihilate. The country and its services cannot be sustained under the weight of the fey, faggot, ignorant revolution with its mid-19th century grievances and moral vacuity for much longer. How did the Arabs look to the Byzantines?

"Failed states" is a complete misnomer, laced typically with the disease of the age. How in the fuck is "Niger" not just the way it was before, only with machine guns and the idiot honorifics conferred absurdly upon it by the UN and its architects? These places do not even warrant the appellation "state," let alone "failed." How are they failed? Failed from what? They are what they are. Indonesia is a failed state? I thought Indonesia, from reports I've heard, seems like one of the more civilized in non-Chinese southeast Asia. Why is it failed? Because it's run like a fiefdom by a wicked fairytale petty lord? Because it's "poor"? Oh really? What were they making before, thermonuclear warheads and seratonin re-uptake inhibitors? Was everyone driving a Lexus? Indonesians make tiki dolls and grass soup and fuck eachother! They do not do quantum mechanics! They do not do Higher Criticism! They're not poor and failed, they're just goddamn Indonesians! What is the purpose of this institutional Hegelian bullshit when all it does is make the plain picture of unalloyed reality completely opaque, and more importantly, completely beyond help, should it be required?

No one talks about the rest of the world. No one speaks with specificity. Everyone averts their eyes of the patent ludicrous squalid immoral fucking brutal cunning stupidity of the great masses of humanity that consider themselves "peoples." What would be good for Darfur is for swarms of AC-130 gunships to go around annihilating everything with an AK-47 that moves, without fear of being tried in some farcical Euro-hysterical Court of International Buttfucking. And without fear that the "international press" - i.e. the conspiracy of dunces - would dwell on the undoubtedly terrible, horrendous, yet wonderfully purgative carnage that would ensue.

& so on. Obviously, I'm not gonna make any contributions. If you can't see what the "Post-Cold War Order" requires, then you are beyond help. If you cannot understand that this tone of voice arises out of pure frustration with the incomprehensible non-comprehension of the morally stupid and philosophically incompetent, and not the Hitlerine rantings of a would-be Khan, then you are an idiot, and if you're looking for a conspiracy, it's beyond doubt that you, Ash, are actually part of one, though you may not know it.

5/31/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

"To try to fix failed states either must be done on an ad hoc basis by a single nation or a coalition of nations based on their narrow interests."

Whether it is mandated by any given "International Organisation" or not it will always be either a single nation or a coalition of nations sending their troops to do the actual "fixing".

5/31/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Whew! :o

5/31/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Ash (1:02)
Had a great workout, now back to endless jawboning...does tone the facial muscles. Yes I move my lips when I type, usually singing Joan Baez or Robert Zimmerman tunes.

Ash, I've convinced myself that you just enjoy swatting at the hornets nest to see them swarm in anger. If that's a false premise,then I truly am sorry for you. Somewhere you associate with, or were raised by people who have no concept of the thread of political theory dating from Socrates to today.
Somewhere the Hegel,Marx,Fuerbach history on it's head treatise took root. Well, it never produced anything but debate. Now to answer your query re: Bush has tried to do whatever to these poor agencies.
Ash, the failure of these NGO's goes back to their inception.
Like it or not the US taxpayer props up the entire world. Withdraw our country from the face of the Earth and mankind would be in the stone age. Think Stalin,Hitler, or Mao believed in the Rights of Man? Huh.

5/31/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

What he said.

5/31/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger MD said...

This comment assumes that "failed states" are the aberration that must be corrected, and orderly, developed states are the norm.

This is probably wrong. Failed states are probably the norm, and orderly, developed states are the exception.

The West takes its achievement for granted, and assumes that all peoples, at all times, are somehow "failing" if they don't measure up to the West's achievement. This is typical liberalism, the assumption that all peoples and cultures are the same, and have the same capacities and potentials.

We should be more concerned with the West, and its trajectory, and its avoidance of being sucked into the disorder that is the common condition of mankind.

5/31/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

3M is coming out with a new adhesive that will, like wow man, totally address the failed state thing.
Comes in colors too.

Todays word: blatherskite
Tonights movie: Thunder Road with Robert Mitchum

5/31/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gafney on GWB statement re:
"One of the worst days of my life."

5/31/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Yeah, what Dan said.

5/31/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/31/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


My, my, a lot of words, a whole bunch of invective but really very little intelligent content.

You wrote:

“Failed states" is a complete misnomer, laced typically with the disease of the age.”

Fine then, take up the base premise with wretchard and curse him for such a stoooopid post then. If it is as you state that a state just ‘is’ and the only way to deal with such a bad state is to kill all the motherfuckers, well, that is the solution of an amoral simpleton – ‘aye, just nuke the fuckers’.

You then go on an ignore the basics of wretchards post: a.) failed states exist and b.) how do we address this failure? I maintain that ad hoc single country (or narrow coalition) solutions will not solve the failed state paradigm – you seem to thing a few nukes will solve the problem ----prattle on, but it is you whom appear “philosophically incompetent”.

5/31/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Dan be ragin'!Hard to argue with your spiel,bro.
Ash,Go watch :"Hotel Rwanda"until your eyes melt and then write a 500 word essay on why international do gooder organizations aren't 1000 pounds of crap in a 10 pound bag.

5/31/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

trabang68, and you stare at the morass that is contemporary Iraq and Afghanistan and pontificate on how narrow coalitions make it all better...jeeesh, not only better, but cheaper too!

5/31/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

heck, trabang and dan, why don't we carry your logic to its natural conclusion: just pick up a couple of big ole guns, cash out your bank account, and two of you can go solve the problems yerselves and save US all the bother and expense! Not only will the problem be solved, I'm dang shore justice will be served :\

5/31/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

Definition please:narrow coalition?

5/31/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

The coalition involved in Gulf War II is a 'narrow coalition'.

6/01/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

I see. What, specifically, is missing that makes the coalition in Iraq "narrow"? Is it the percentages of American troops vs "other" troops? Or is it the number of countries involved?

What about the coalitions in Afghanistan or in Kosovo? Sierra Leone? Darfur? Are there any coalitions that come to mind that are non-narrow by your definition? Are there any coalitions in general that you define as successful?

6/01/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I wouldn't want to spend too much energy delineating a 'narrow coalition' but certainly the relative number of troops/assests is a large factor in the breadth of a coalition. Having, say Micronesea as a member of the coalition and not contributing troops or money does not serve to add much to a coalition. One is prone to suspect their motives more as being driven by appeasement or access to contracts then a genuine belief in the morality of the conflict.

Having NATO involved in Afghanistan certainly lends more credibility to the operation but even broader coalitions would be desireable. Having China and Russia sign on with the EU3 and the US for action against Iran would be a favorable situation to enter into a conflict with that country. Ideally, though, instead of trying to forge coaltions on an ad hoc peicemeal basis a treaty based set of rules and consequences would be a promising approach.

6/01/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

With all due respect Ash I'm having a hard time with your point. Why are the coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq too "narrow"? I'm convinced you think they are but you haven't said why, specifically.

What coalitions in history do you consider to have been broad enough to be legitimate?

6/01/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

"Ideally, though, instead of trying to forge coaltions on an ad hoc peicemeal basis a treaty based set of rules and consequences would be a promising approach."

Like NATO or are you suggesting a new treaty organisation be created?

6/01/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

ICC would be an example of one the US should sign on to. I think that style is the best way forward. The coalition in Iraq is much Narrower then the coalition in Afghanistan.

6/01/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

I guess I don't get an answer on the coalitions that have been "broad" enough for your liking. I take it then that there has never been coalition that was legitimate?

Who runs the ICC?

6/02/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

The ICC is a treaty based organization. You can find out about it herehere

As far as how 'broad' a coalition need be to attempt to 'fix' a 'failed state' is not a question I can easily answer. One of the problems in Iraq is that the motives of the US is questionable given its need for oil and the oil that lay beneath Iraq's sands. This is a problem that can be addressed by having the 'invaders' being represented by dispassionate interests. Much like cops are excercising a warrant in the continental US.

6/02/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

So what you are saying is that Saddam should have been toppled, just not by any country with an interest in Iraqi oil? Such as?

Or are you saying that in your model the troops doing the removing should not be under their respective country flags but under the ICC flag and uniform etc? Whom do you suppose would be supplying the bulk of the troops for such an undertaking?

BTW the ICC question was rhetorical although reading the Rome Statute was illuminating.

6/02/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger The_Head_Jimmy said...

Actually the ICC question wasn't rhetorical but it has already been answered. Is the ICC more or less legitimate than the UN or NATO?

I've been pressing you for an answer on what it is that would constitute a legitimate coalition, which you still have yet to answer. The coalition that invaded France in 1944 was far "narrower" than the coalition that invaded Iraq this last time. Was that coalition legitimate or not?

6/02/2006 11:30:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger