Friday, August 25, 2006

Niall Ferguson on the 21st Century

Niall Ferguson writing in Foreign Affairs, describes what factors he will thinks will influence the coming years in his essay,  "The Next War of the World". It begins with this provocative summary:

The twentieth century was the bloodiest era in history. Despite the comfortable assumption that the twenty-first will be more peaceful, the same ingredients that made the last hundred years so destructive are present today. In particular, a conflict in the Middle East may well spark another global conflagration. The United States could prevent such an outcome -- but it may not be willing to.


The three factors which Ferguson believes produced the 20th century wars which killed 170 million people -- 1 person in 22 -- were "ethnic disintegration, economic volatility, and empires in decline": the three E's. Often these factors worked in concert. As 20th century 'empires' collapsed they uncorked ethnic tensions which had heretofore lain dormant. These rapid changes were often accompanied by economic upheavals. The result, if not war, were its immediate precursors. The three E's started the most destructive conflicts in the history of the world.

The twentieth century was characterized by a remarkably high rate of imperial dissolution. In 1913, around 65 percent of the world's land and 82 percent of its population were under some kind of imperial rule. Those empires soon disintegrated. The Qing dynasty in China was overthrown before World War I, and in 1917 the Romanov dynasty fell from power. They were quickly followed by the Hapsburgs, the Hohenzollerns, and the Ottomans. Little more than two decades later, the British, Dutch, and French empires in Asia were dealt heavy blows by imperial Japan, leaving damage that not even the Allied victory in World War II could repair. The Portuguese empire limped on, but by the early 1970s it too had collapsed. The new empires that grew among the ruins of the old were shorter lived than their predecessors. Whereas some early modern empires lasted for centuries (Ottoman rule, for instance, endured for 469 years), the Soviet Union fell apart after only 69 years, the Japanese overseas empire crumbled after just 50 years, and Hitler's empire beyond Germany's borders hung on for barely six years.

(Though Ferguson neglects to mention it, probably because it has been geopolitically inconsequential, the European empires acquired during the Scramble for Africa fell apart too.) Not coincidentally, the fires from which the First and Second World Wars sprung -- and the Cold War too -- were to be found in the putrefying remnants of empires.

From around 1904 to 1953, the most dangerous place in the world was the triangle that lies between the Balkans, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. Only slightly less dangerous over the same period was the region at the other end of Eurasia comprising Manchuria and the neighboring Korean Peninsula. Indeed, it was there that the era of large-scale modern warfare began, when Japan attacked Russia in 1904. It was also there that the era came to a close 50 years later, with the end of the Korean War. Thereafter, the location and the type of violence changed. Despite its reputation as having been a "long peace," the Cold War sparked a series of bitter proxy wars around the world, particularly in Central America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Indochina. Those conflicts in effect constituted a Third World War -- or, more aptly, the Third World's War.

Ferguson extends his thesis by arguing that the Three E cocktail, "ethnic disintegration, economic volatility, and empires in decline" is present in the Middle East. He uses Iraq to illustrate the concepts of what happens when a tyranny is uprooted: Saddam in this case, but goes on to extend his analysis to cover the entire Middle East. The Middle East, long under the hand of European domination or superpower clientage, is no longer dominated by either system of order. The Oil industry provides the economic volatility. And interestingly, another fracture line is appearing, not only along ethnic but also religious lines.

Events in Iraq suggest that there, too, what is unfolding is not a clash between the West and Islam but, increasingly, a clash within Islamic civilization itself. By some accounts, ethnic disintegration there is already well under way. ... The Iranian government is already taking more than a casual interest in the politics of post-Saddam Iraq. And yet Iran, with its Sunni and Kurdish minorities, is no more homogeneous than Iraq. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria cannot be expected to look on insouciantly if the Sunni minority in central Iraq begins to lose out to what may seem to be an Iranian-backed tyranny of the majority. The recent history of Lebanon offers a reminder that in the Middle East there is no such thing as a contained civil war. Neighbors are always likely to take an unhealthy interest in any country with fissiparous tendencies. The obvious conclusion is that a new "war of the world" may already be brewing in a region that, incredible though it may seem, has yet to sate its appetite for violence.

And the only power that can moderate these destructive tendencies is the only power that has no political appetite for empire: the United States. He contrasts America's musclebound absentmindedness with the conscious acquisitiveness of civilizations which though lacking the wherewithal, are still mentally empires.

To be an empire in denial means resenting the costs of intervening in the affairs of foreign peoples and underestimating the benefits of doing so. It is remarkable that in June 2004, just over a year after U.S. troops toppled Saddam, a majority of Americans already said they regarded the invasion of Iraq as a mistake. ...  What makes the U.S. public's misgivings especially remarkable is that the number of U.S. military personnel who have died in this war has been very small by historical standards. The total as of mid-July 2006 was 2,544, of whom 525 had died as a result of non-combat-related causes. ... The Islamic Republic of Iran, by contrast, is heir to an imperial tradition dating back to the time of the Safavid dynasty, which ruled Persia from 1501, and beyond. Although Iran's leaders prefer the rhetoric of religious revolution and national liberation, the historian cannot fail to detect in their long-held ambition to acquire nuclear weapons -- and thereby dominate the Middle East -- a legacy of Persia's imperial past. The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is not only a devotee of the Hidden, or Twelfth, Imam (who devout Shiites believe will return to the world as the Mahdi, or messiah, for a final confrontation with the forces of evil); he is also a war veteran at the head of a youthful nation. It is not wholly fanciful to see in him a potential Caesar or Bonaparte.

The naked, almost unseemly way in which the French have vied for the command of the UNIFIL mission to Lebanon suggests that beneath its shriveled body, the desire to return in influence to their old stomping grounds still beats strongly in the Gallic heart. Foreign Policy describes how France imagined America might come begging to it for assistance to man UNIFIL -- until Italy threatened to snatch the bit from its teeth. The Times of London reports:

Signor Prodi offered to take the lead in the force and won backing from other Western capitals. Yesterday he said that President Bush had taken a “positive” view of Italy’s offer to lead the force. But Italy’s stance has ruffled feathers in France, the former colonial power that sees itself as the natural leader of the international community in Lebanon. Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Foreign Minister, said this week that France retained command of the UN force under existing arrangements until February. Last night M Chirac asked the UN to maintain the lead role for France, insisting that “we are historically close” to Lebanon.

Commentary

France and Iran, to name just two powers, may have the appetite for empire but not the teeth. And America by contrast and despite Niall Ferguson's longing for a strong hand in the world, may have the teeth but not the appetite. If the European Union project could called putting a French jockey atop a German horse, the attempt to create an "international" world order might be described as a scheme to harness American muscle to a transnational agenda. Unfortunately and to the everlasting resentment of internationalists, the US refused to put its economy and military at the service of its environmental, cultural and political projects. And although certain legal scholars now consider the US Constitution subordinate to International Law, that movement probably won't go anywhere either. Eventually blame for the ruin of Kyoto, the UN and probably the EU -- those shining international palaces in the sky -- will probably be put down to American reluctance to play along. As Eros said in Plan 9 from Outer Space to the earthlings after they refused to appreicate the brilliance of his scheme to turn the dead from Southern California cemetaries into zombies: "You see? You see? You're stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!"

Yet those effete-looking internationalists probably grasp Niall Ferguson's point at a gut level: without an American gorilla under "internationalist" direction, The Next War of the Worlds may be in the offing. Yet to America, as the Ring was to Tom Bombadil, empire is too much of a burden.  America's mystical faith that all countries desire freedom may partly be at bottom a wish that the world would leave it alone; leave it alone to watch a baseball game with a cup of weak beer in one hand and soggy hot dog in the other, neither knowing nor caring where Iraq or Kazakhstan was. And so it was until the airliners crashed into Manhattan in 2001. Who knows what it is now?

141 Comments:

Blogger RWE said...

The film that comes to min when I consider the world situation is not Plan 9, but "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Micheal Rennie represented a organization of peoples that had found themselves to be so incompetant at managing its own affairs that it had created a force of robots that would enforce certain standards of behavior using deadly force and absolute authority.

We can now see that the organization was a psychic derivative of the UN and EU.

And the US - we are supposed to play the role of Gort.

Non se haba Platu Garabat Nictu...

8/25/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

In other words, the eventual fate of the Arabs and the Iranians is entirely in their own hands, and rests on just one question: can they show they can be trusted to leave America alone?

Right now it looks like probably not.

8/25/2006 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

O, Jeeze. No wonder I've had so many problems.

I thought the magic phrase was, "Klatu Baratu Nikto."

I guess it really does make sense to memorize those Dinosaur bowel movement frequency tables...

Anyhow, more heaps of thanks to Wretchard for stimulating our brains, and for being so patient with our rants. I wonder if he ever has time to read the comments anymore.

8/25/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Despite the "ring" of Empire being too much of a burden for the Americans, what will happen to this attitude given the American dependence on resources from abroad ?

Sure, America would rather withdraw into itself, but that is not possible without a reduced standard of living. This assumes that the rest of the world will even LET the Americans slink offstage.

Which will we choose, the SUV and the gas, or isolation ?

8/25/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

neither knowing nor caring where Iraq or Kazakhstan was. And so it was until the airliners crashed into Manhattan in 2001. Who knows what it is now?


I'm pretty sure an increasingly strong dislike of all things Muslim and Arab is seeping throughout all levels of American culture. The hot-dog holding couch potato may have had friends and relatives who were firemen and cops, killed in the collapse of the WTC.

Neo-con's have been parsing Arab attempts at "bridge-building", as well Arab attempts to buy our ports and anything else that isn't nailed down.

And even the Cindy Sheehan's and Michael Moore's of the American world must now be thinking to themselves what a hassle air travel has become, and how nice it would be for everyone concerned if we just banned their butts off our planes and out of our country.

Arabs can squall "racism" all they want to, but it doesn't negate the fact that all terrorists are Muslim. And until they deal with that big dirty white elephant in their midst, increasingly it would seem that the viable solution to our terrorist problem in the West is simply to kick the East out.

8/25/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard wrote:

The twentieth century was the bloodiest era in history. Despite the comfortable assumption that the twenty-first will be more peaceful, the same ingredients that made the last hundred years so destructive are present today.


On the other hand, the twentieth century was more "muscular" in terms of an industrial character rather than the "just-in-time" computerized service economy we have today, which is reflected in the kinds of wars we see. So while the underlying fundamentals leading to war have not changed, the methods of warfare are more like a scalpel than a machete. For that reason alone, the body count of the 21st Century will never approach that of the Twentieth.

8/25/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Wretchard, thanks for another very fine analysis. Part of what you have touched upon here reminds me of something written by a Tibetan philosopher in the spring of 1946. After commenting on changes that needed to be made by the heads and members of various religions, he said that if none of those changes came to pass then:

"...humanity is headed towards a religious war which will make the past war appear like child's play; antagonisms and hatreds will embroil entire populations and the politicians of all the nations will take full advantage of the situation to precipitate a war which may well prove the end of humanity. There are no hatreds so great or so deep as those fostered by religion."

He also wrote that an effort should be made to avert that war because: "...the next war would annihilate the greater part of the human race.
(and) because, having a religious basis, the hate involved would be greater far than anything hitherto known."


Most people I know that are familiar with this Tibetan philosopher's work have always assumed that the war would be inter-religious, most likely between Chistianity and Islam.

I once thought this too. But in the last few years I have come to the conclusion that an intra-relgious war could more likely spark the next global conflagration. That is not to say that Christians and Jews would not be involved or implicated, but neither of these religions, or their leading exponents have, as you note, either the appetite for empire,for destruction, or for more than limited wars. Nor, I might add, do they have the seething hatred toward non-believers which the Tibetan made reference. At least not they don't.

But hate, in some parts of the Middle East is more plentiful than oil beneath the sands. And, I regret to say, it is just as ready for export.

8/25/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agree with Meme chose and Nahncee, but el Jeffe's concerns deserve our attention.

8/25/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

I do agree with teresita, we are facing a different formulation of war that we are not used to after the 20th Century. I responded to Tigerhawk's askance on this here and have been on this theme for quite some time and put a comparison of the 21st Century against the 19th and the era of the young Republic. That was an era before the grand armies of Nation States, and when private and small armies as proxies for interests and Nations would act on their behalf. These non-National conflicts were addressed by the Founders and seen as a legitimate way to wage war at this less than National level. It is one of the disused tools in the National Toolkit bequeathed by the People of the US to its Government. The escalation to State based conflicts as the supreme method of fighting wars left this tool in the dusty corners, repudiated by most and forgotten.

And the turn of the wheel has brought a similar era and problem set back to us... and there it is old and dusty, but with a bit of reforging for this new era, a capable tool able to be wielded by honorable people for their Nation.

If we dare to use it.

8/25/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Wretchard, thanks for another very fine analysis. Part of what you have touched upon here reminds me of something written by a Tibetan philosopher in the spring of 1946 After commenting on changes that needed to be made by the heads and members of various religions, he said that if none of those changes came to pass then:

"...humanity is headed towards a religious war which will make the past war (WWII) appear like child's play; antagonisms and hatreds will embroil entire populations and the politicians of all the nations will take full advantage of the situation to precipitate a war which may well prove the end of humanity. There are no hatreds so great or so deep as those fostered by religion."

He also wrote that an effort should be made to avert that war because: "...the next war would annihilate the greater part of the human race. (and) because, having a religious basis, the hate involved would be greater far than anything hitherto known."

Most people I know that are familiar with this Tibetan philosopher's work have always assumed that the war would be inter-religious, most likely between Chistianity and Islam.

I once thought this too. But in the last few years I have come to the conclusion that an intra-relgious war could more likely spark the next global conflagration.

That is not to say that Christians and Jews would not be involved or implicated, but neither of these religions, or their leading exponents have, as you note, either the appetite for empire, for destruction, or for more than limited wars.

Nor, I might add, do they have the seething hatred toward non-believers which the Tibetan made reference. At least not now they don't.

But hate, in some parts of the Middle East, is more plentiful than the crude beneath the sands. And, I regret to say, crude though it may be, it is just as ready for export, both in the refined or the unrefined form.

8/25/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Starling,
What happened to "Whiskey, Sexy?"
Fear of another Larry Summers affair?
;-)

8/25/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

The trouble with teresita's idea is that the development of scalpels does not preclude the development of bigger and better scalpels, nor the production of machetes.

Yes, the modern economy may be less "muscular" than that of the 20th Century, but that can be changed in terms of the production of means for violence if people desire to do so.

I'm a pessimist on this point, but absent empires, slagging-down civilization via the all out war of all against all; with all of the destructive weapons science can produce -- looks like a good bet.

8/25/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

fissiparous:

1. Reproducing by biological fission. 2. Tending to break up into parts or break away from a main body; factious.

Seems fissiparous, like the word cleave, has dual and opposite meanings.

8/25/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

Without cheering for Empire, I think that it is worth considering whether the problems in former Imperial domains aren't indiginous. The areas with the least ability to keep it together became parts of an Empire for that reason. Empire did not cause the weaknesses, and the end of Empire merely allowed countries to revert to their prior state of nature.

On the long-term, a couple points:

- The US could maintain peace in many places, using American officers, training and equipment, but other people's infantry, the British Imperial model;

- The old Imperial stand-by - the punitive expedition - is much easier with an air force and missiles than it ever was in the Imperial age. I think we've reached the point where people would accept such expeditions, they pretty much have in Lebanon, though this was not Israel's intent.

- On the other hand, there are large sections of the US whose detachment from reality makes it seem likely, to me, that US domestic peace is in jeopardy.

8/25/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: body count.

Let's see. Less than 10,000 generations (150,000 years) ago, something, pestilence, predators, pyrolytics, ... killed almost all of us off save a tribe or three - if mitochondrial Eve is to be believed. Perhaps Ferguson means to exclude this "22 of 23 killed" event from his history.

It may be unthinkable and unbelievable to most, but it's far impossible given the wonders of human intellect, moore's law and the human condition. "Only the (rationally) paranoid survive" is not an overstatement. Unfortunately, the maternalists among are here to sooth away all these (life prolonging) fears (in the interest of short term contentment, their vision of cosmic justice, perhaps even selfishness, etc.).

And as defense is impossible (every effort provably a Maginot line) all it takes (in a modern world) is a shrinking number of fascists (inside or outside of our borders) to accomplish the same (including extinction), given the opportunity to try and try again.

And there's no sign of the slope changing - where an increasing amount of power (destructive and not) is cheaper and more available to all by the day.

Which is why this conversation remains all about WMD (found or not) and our willingness to tolerate the 1 of thousand, perhaps million, true fascists and enslavers in any population, starting with those in power (elected and not).

8/25/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Sir Sefirot said...

"Despite the "ring" of Empire being too much of a burden for the Americans, what will happen to this attitude given the American dependence on resources from abroad ?"

Keep in mind that this dependence on oil is temporal. With the oil prices rising, research on substitutes is (or will be shortly) at full speed, and with a kick of nuclear energy we will hopefully be free of oil imports in some years. But I am not very optimistic about that.

And, about the willingness of America to stop the coming war, I think it would be a better idea just to limit it, so that no harm is done outside the Middle East, but let the arabs kill themselves at will. Hey, who are we to judge their culture? ;)

One possibility to solve the oil problem that could be feasible if the whole Middle East bursts in war is simply occupy limited zones rich in oil supplies (Kurdistan, Kuwait), fortify them, and let arabs kill themselves at will OUTSIDE these areas. This way, we would get rid of two problems without much hassle.

8/25/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Sir S,

Hard to accomplish even what you suggest, if/when Iran has the bomb.

8/25/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Here is a quote from one of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches that I have been thinking about lately:

“At which point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

I think there are plenty of signs indicating that there is work to be done at home if we are to survive, so Wretchard, you have correctly taken my pulse.

My next-door neighbor is a middle-eastern immigrant. He told me last week that America is a great place and Americans are very generous people. He also said that from a cultural standpoint, coming here he has found a hard realization in that as nice as Americans are, they only give you one chance. Maybe it only looks like we are sitting on the couch with the beer and hot dog.

8/25/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Sir Sefirot said...

Yeah. -_-

Let's hope Israel or the US have something prepared for this before the year ends, or the trouble will be considerable afterwards.

8/25/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard said:

Yet to America, as the Ring was to Tom Bombadil, empire is too much of a burden.

Ideally, empire should be the precise opposite of a burden. Jesus said, "My yoke is light," and that is precisely what an empire should be, kingdoms united by a harness of interlocking mutual interests glowing so brightly that when it is abandoned or taken away, people lament and call it a dark age.

8/25/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Another great post, Wretchard!

A thought on Mr. Ferguson's view that only the US could provide the muscle for Empire -- Why?

The European Union has a GDP similar to that of the US, and about a 50% larger population. The EU also has the largest exposure to foreign instability, being by far the world's largest importer of fossil fuels (oil, gas & coal). It is often ignored that the EU imports as much oil as the US. And the EU clearly has the technological & industrial base to support an Empire.

Given the desire for Empire that, as Wretchard points out, still gnaws at the French heart -- why should the "Internationalists" of the European continent not grow their own set of muscles?

8/25/2006 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sir Sefirot,
An American born Iranian here agrees:
"Build a wall around them and let them fight!"
...with an oil spigot at the margins, I'd add.
That was B-1 Bob's suggestion for Iraq, long ago. (Bob Dornan)

8/25/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Wretchard, thank you for another thought provoking post.
Starling David Hunter said...
“Most people I know that are familiar with this Tibetan philosopher's work have always assumed that the war would be inter-religious, most likely between Chistianity and Islam.”
It looks like a religious war is coming but not between Christianity and Islam, instead it will be intra-Islam after it starts initially as a war between the West and Islam. In spite of what a previous poster predicts, I think that given the historical background of the schism in Islam and the relation between Shia and Sunni, the upcoming religious war will be much crueler and with more casualties than anything we have seen in the 20th century. For a glimpse of the possible future see the latest editorials in the official Egyptian press concerning Syria’s Assad.

8/25/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anderson Cooper
When we were last here a few months ago, everyone we spoke to, from the rich to the poor, from the moderates to the conservatives, told us they believed in their country's right to a civilian nuclear program. They felt insulted that the world wanted to withhold the chance from Iran to have nuclear energy produced by its own scientists. And there was a huge undercurrent of nationalist pride in the fact that Iranian scientists had figured out how to enrich uranium, that they would never have to be dependent on others to do that.

But now, with a new United Nations mandate to stop the program by the end of the month and in the immediate aftermath of the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, fear is creeping in to the Iranian streets.
In the past few weeks, I've been to all parts of Tehran...

8/25/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wretchard:

I don't have a subscription, but I noticed in the snippets you provided and in the summary at Foreign Affairs that Ferguson seems to catalog the proximate causes of much of the 20th century's bloodshed without mentioning the poisonous political ideologies which animated so much of it, and so much of the non-warfare killing (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc., etc.)

8/25/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Welcome back to the ongoing fistfight, Teresita and Starling DH.

Your two posts, back to back as they are, really capture the tension of the moment. I find myself drawn to the camp of those who predict a vast reduction in the population. Maybe this just seems somehow to balance the exuberant and heedless expansion of the population since the last bloody great war.

Sorry to be morose, Teresita. Wish I could be less ose. But it seems likely that all the marvels that allow surgical precision are delicate not robust, and costly to keep sharpened. Once battle has been seriously joined, as has been seen in many past conflicts, it seems inevitable we will reach a point at which finesse will yeild to sledgehammers.

Boxer against boxer can keep dancing.

Boxer against killer bees must use flame thrower.


— from a recently translated bronze tablet signed "Sun Tzu's demented dream"

8/25/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

luc; 7:58 AM

The goal of the Islamists is simply diagramed:

___one g-d
___one prophet
___one state

The struggle to see this end will see the world awash in blood.

Teresita presumes that the Islamists are disinterested in gratuitous, riotous, terrifyingly copious rivers of blood. Many of there leaders this very day, in mosques the world over will be screaming at the tops of their lungs for just such a crusade.

Thinking of the sunrise will not halt the sunset, as some hope.

8/25/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Sir Sefirot said...

"Given the desire for Empire that, as Wretchard points out, still gnaws at the French heart -- why should the "Internationalists" of the European continent not grow their own set of muscles?"

I must presume from your comment that you are not European :p I am, and I can't imagine any country in the whole Europe that would have the guts to build any real muscles, let alone use them. (note: I'm excluding UK).

The only country I can imagine doing something like that, and just to some extend, is France, but they are budy enough doing their "best" to keep the whole EU from collapsing on their heads. So don't count on it.

Plus, I think you are overestimating EU's economic power. They are rich, indeed, but almost not growing. And in these kind of things, what usually matters the most is not how rich you are, but how rich are you getting.

8/25/2006 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Hayek said...

Who says brains and beauty don't come in the same package. I enjoy Teresita's insightful comments and sense of humous.

8/25/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

Some smart man once said that the strong impose their will where they can and the weak accept it where they must. This seems to be the rule that governs international relations between nations and country states.

In western developed nations we convince ourselves that we are not that barbaric and we try not to impose our will unless we have to. This is a great mistake.

The net result is to create doubt in the minds of interested observers about our will to achieve victory. This doubt leaves room for organizations like Al Queda, Hisbollah (spelling ?), etc. This doubt creates chaos in poorly developed nations or areas.

We need to separate how we conduct relations with western developed nations from how we conduct relations with poorly developed nations. Developed nations follow a different set of rules from poorly developed nations.

Treating poorly developed nations the same way we treat western democracies puts ourselves at risk and creates the doubt previously discussed.

We must be willing to act ruthlessly when we have to. Consistent, of course, with our laws and ethics. We must not be afraid to push our advantage to to achieve clear cut victory in each struggle in which we are engaged.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

8/25/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Allen 08:27:37 AM

There is everything in Islamic history to conclude that they LIKE rivers of blood and nothing to make one think of bloodless surgery in their past behaviour.

I agree with you that only a fool does not understand what is going on in their places of worship; but, unfortunatelly, as you well know the world seems to be filled to capacity with fools ;(

8/25/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Quasi said...

One of the main requirements for an empire is a rapidly-growing population that can be sent out to colonize conquered land and resource deposits. Simply "converting" the locals to your side and expecting them to stay loyal to the conquering country while doing the heavy lifting for the conquerors is a deluded pipe-dream. It is one of the main reason our expectations in Iraq are way beyond reasonable. Successful imperial conquest requires colonization. Just ask Alexander the Great or Ghengis Khan how long empires built solely through force of arms last.

The US does NOT have a population capable or willing for colonization. As a matter of fact, those that are traditionally defined as "Americans" will be a minority in our own country in a decade. We mock Europe for its immigration problems, but we ignore our own serious demographc problem. We can't even "colonize" our own country anymore, let alone others.

Even if we had the numbers, we don't have the will. We Americans are isolationist by nature. We love personal freedom and hate staying in strange, foreign lands for extended periods. Our current foreign policy is the result of our politicians desire to be somebody on the global stage, the average American could give two hoots about the rest of the planets problems. We only cared about Hitler after his allies attacked us, not because he was slaughtering our best friends in Europe, after all.

No, the next World War will come, and America will not be there to lead the charge. We will have our own problems to take care of at home. If (and that's a big "if") we manage to take care of our domestic issues then we will probably swoop in to save the rest of the world again. Unless, of course, there is no one left to save because of our delay.

8/25/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I can recall in the 70's one of the icons of the Peace Movement, Joan Baez, saying thet we should "do something" about Pol Pot - and in the 80's crying "free Lech Walensa" at her concerts - while scorning Pres Reagan, who was implementing a plan to do just that - and the rest of Eastern Euope besides.

I see this as an example of the femainization of Leftism. The attitude displayed most closely resembles those cases where the police are called to a domestic dispute where the wife wants her husband to put down the beer and hotdog, turn off the TV and cut the grass. The police have the choice of locking the guy up or just telling them both to keep the shouting down to a level not upsetting to the neighbors and leaving. Making the guy turn off the game and do the yardwork is not an option for them. Nor should it be.

Similarly, given our national attutudes and concept of freedom the U.S. can level the problem area from 50,000 ft or just ignore it. The EU, UN, and Joan Baez do not like those options.

8/25/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

I increasingly wonder whether part of what pushes much of the Islamic world over the cliffs of sanity will be a rise in conversions to Christianity. Islam justifiably has a reputation as a religion that is difficult to leave for both psychological-historical reasons (Islam came after Christianity, which makes it easier to accept it as supercessionist) and deterrent reasons. Malaysia, I learned from an article in The New York Times, actually has prison camps where converts from Islam to Christianity are sentenced for several years to study about Islam and rethink their conversion. One of them is described in the article as "ringed like a prison by barbed wire, with dormitories protected by a second ring of barbed wire." And Malaysia, remember, is a moderate majority-Islamic society.

I am reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, and the author mentions "more and more Muslims converting to Christianity." In Malaysia they have to do it secretly, but it does happen. If we suppose that many, maybe most Muslims are rational, and that some subset of that group blames Islam for what besets their lands, it wouldn't be surprising if there are a fair number of conversions (as there are so many in China). The Western press is not predisposed to report it, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening. And I don't mean a tidal wave; I think the ruling class would view even a small rivulet of conversions would push many of them over the deep end, furthering the conflict within their societies and with the devious infidel West.

8/25/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger still realizing said...

America doesn't know how to be even a reasonably good imperialist. If the US were smart about Iraq and Iran, it would have simply seized the oil fields, depriving the regimes the revenue they need to build nukes and generally make trouble. No money, no trouble. No member of either American political party has even suggested this simple remedy. It's too far outside the box. Who cares if Saddam Hussein is running Iraq if he's bankrupt? Only the Iraqis, not us.

The West is paying Iran to make each crisis. For each crisis increases the price of oil and both Iran and Saudi Arabia net additional billions of dollars. You'd think somebody would realize this and stop paying them to hurt us.

Someone or some nation with more geopolitical imagination than the US is going to have to run the Empire.

8/25/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard wrote:

If the European Union project could called putting a French jockey atop a German horse, the attempt to create an "international" world order might be described as a scheme to harness American muscle to a transnational agenda. Unfortunately and to the everlasting resentment of internationalists, the US refused to put its economy and military at the service of its environmental, cultural and political projects.

What really gets them tossing chairs at the wall in Brussels is when American does environmental, cultural, and political projects by working directly with other countries, such as the UK and Poland for miltary projects without blue helmets, or Australia and Japan for CO2 abatement without Kyoto, or sending billions in AIDS relief directly to Africa without going through the bureaucrats in the UN.


Annan vs. Bolton
Opaque vs. Transparent
Monolithic vs. Modular
Planned vs. Ad hoc
Microsoft vs. Linux

8/25/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

The twin goddesses of America are Liberty and Justice. We are laid back and cool much of the time, wanting only our beer and hot dog, and the Liberty to peacefully enjoy them. But this is surface: when aroused, when Justice is seen as being denied, we become the cruel and ruthless killers that always underly Justice.

There is no denying that the majority of Americans are not currently taking the wider war very seriously, and this includes our political elites above all. But events have a way of changing perceptions dramatically, and there are numerous traps waiting in the Middle East that could easily rip the nice facade off of the American will.

When we become really serious, seeing this as business or as sport, there will be a slaughter and remaking as great as that of WWII. The only real questions are when the event will occur that will wake up the majority of Americans, and whether we'll view the resulting war as business, or as sport. And I'm not sure which is more frightening of those alternatives.

8/25/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

What is worse:

A Hegemon

A Hegemon that doesn't act like it?

8/25/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

still realizing writes: "America doesn't know how to be even a reasonably good imperialist."

Maybe. Perhaps. Depends.

We're certainly not up to the brutal and exploitive model of Continental Europe's former empires. Wealthier trading partners make more sense in the long run, anyway.

And perhaps we're clumsier than the British were in their heyday. But, hey, they had a few centuries more practice.

Post-WWII Europe and Japan -- producing stable global citizins and the second and third largest economies from the ashes of former enemies -- shows what we can do when the will exists.

Without will and follow through, the plans, proposals, strategems and discussion have the all satisfaction and futility of a good crossword puzzle.

Right now, the will does not exist.

8/25/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Teresita said... 09:19:49 AM

"What really gets them tossing chairs at the wall in Brussels is when American does environmental, cultural, and political projects by working directly with other countries..."

You are entirely correct. The sad part about it is the venal reason they are so upset: lack of a cut like in OFF Program.

8/25/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Teresita and A Jacksonian I’m afraid that you are engaged in some serious wishful thinking that somehow the wars of the 21st century won’t be as deadly as the 20th century’s. This assumption is based on the idea that somehow war in the 21st century will be constrained by the rules that the Western world has imposed on itself since the late 20th century. You seem to be ignoring two factors: 1.) The lethality of today’s weapons and spread of WMD. 2.) The willingness on the part of the West’s enemies to target civilians.
It is hard to imagine that civilian losses will somehow be less if cities once again become targets as they were in WWII and your calculations ignore what will happen if “the gloves come off.” America and its allies fire bombed and nuked the cities of their enemies in WWII, what makes you think that couldn’t happen again? The Mad Fiddler is correct in his assessment that if the past is any indication, a global war will start off small, but by the time the smoke finally clears millions upon millions will be claimed by the conflagration.

8/25/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

I've not had an opportunity to read Wretchard's commentary for the day, nor any of the poster's comments.
However in the spirit of comity that so many wish to prevail over BC-dom let me state the following.

I agree with everything that each and every poster may offer.
Realizing after yesterday that BC to many is consonate with PC, have a wonderful day.
One of the posters last evening after I signed off made reference to something about WalMart. Yes, each poster should be greeted knowing that no matter what their comment to the thread, it's logic and veracity should never be challenged. Thus harmony returns to the land and the choir can listen to one another without fear of contradiction and presented in the form they love and embrace. It has become the American way.
However, in the word we all know,
"I'll be back"

8/25/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

teresita: You got that right! Remember the response to the Tsunami?

DanMeyers: I recall a poll taken in Europe that showed that a majority did not like the U.S. as The Hyperpower. But when asked how they liked the idea of anyone else taking on the role of The Hyperpower, that was vastly more unpopular, by leaps and bounds.

They want to have our cake and eat theirs too.

8/25/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

And I would add that even the UN admits that the last half of the 20th century -- coinciding roughly with an era of American hegemony unmatched by any prior global power or 'empire' -- saw more improvement in the human condition by any conceivable standard of measurement (longevity, literacy, proverty reduction, disease eradication) than in the previous 500 years, when folks who supposedly knew how to run empires were running the world.

From Bretton Woods, to underwriting many of the institutions of global order, to patroling the sea lanes, to bequeathing a GPS system, to dominating the cultural landscape, the outlines of (benevolent) 'empire' are certainly there.

What lacks today is the confidence of those who built everything I've referenced above.

8/25/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Terwilliger said...

Niall Ferguson is obsessed with the notion of Empire. This is probably forgivable in a Brit. To an American, however, it appears to mislead his analysis every time.

Empire, schmempire! I'm with Lenin on this one (for a change): empires are "the prison-house of nations."

Based on our own limited experience and that of Britain, empires are also inordinately expensive. To the extent they treat their colonies decently and try to "raise them up right," it bankrupts the home country. To the extent they treat the colonies rapaciously, like victims to be robbed, it destroys the home country's very soul. What a bargain! Yick. No thank you.

Empires come and go like criminal gangs in the Chicago underworld. The very best of them -- the one we fought like tigers to get out from under -- is still a form of organized robbery and political enslavement.

As to baseball and weak beer (or whatever else floats your boat), to be left in peace to live one's life as one sees fit is the deepest wish of every single fully-sentient being on Earth. People who would rather attack their neighbors are, by my definition, not fully sentient. They are drifting in some pathological nightmare. Those who can at least recall what it feels like to be happy and content -- or merely to be in touch with their own wish to live -- know what I'm talking about.

Unfortunately, we humans long ago discovered we did better against nature when we ganged up. That "wish to belong" is the root of nearly all our troubles. Every "us" makes a "them," and trouble is never far behind.

When you try to stretch the word "empire" to cover every agglomeration of "friendly" or "mutually supporting" states, territories, groups, tribes, or whatever; I think you do violence to the word. Let's reserve "empire" for those entities that really are, structurally and legally, empires. Otherwise, the EU, the Western Allies, the dar-es-Islam, ASEAN, and far too many other groups, formal and informal, get lumped into the same basket. This muddies the waters, and leads to the kinds of confusion Niall Ferguson wrestles with.

As to "wars of the worlds," there has never yet been an end to these things. Since before the dawn of history, groups have been fighting with one another. If the conflicts were not "world-wide," that is not for want of willingness, but merely want of ability. Everybody has always pretty much fought everybody else within reach. Only the "reach" has changed.

The planet has not yet become one single, world-wide, fully-integrated sandbox. But it's getting there, mighty fast.

I am an unrepentant and unapologetic partisan of liberal Western values. That is, I really do believe it is objectively true these are "better" than some other sets of values.

Among those values, however, are the notions of "leaving other people alone" and "self-determination" and "universal human dignity," and a whole bunch of other ideals that help reconcile me to allowing other people to live in ways I consider purely idiotic. It's their business, as long as they keep it their business.

The claims of outer reality, however, are always more insistent and relentless than the claims of any belief.

And that brings us, from a rather different direction, to the currently-brewing "war of the worlds."

The primary challenge of the 21st Century is: how do we do the minimum damage to cultural diversity while simultaneously maximizing economic output?

In some ways, that's been our problem all along. If you look at the "destruction of cultures," both pre-existing Western ones and cultures from around the globe, that has always been the most telling question. "Which cultural practices permit more effective economic organization, and which ones must be modified, abandoned, or wiped out by force in order to achieve the greater economic output?"

The high demand for oil and gas has temporarily subverted the relentless operation of this law, leading to some bizarre social practices in more places than the Middle East, but that will pass.

One of the "cultural practices" in the line of fire is the "nation state." The transnationalists are not the greatest challenge to the nation state. Indeed, they see themselves as a *viable response* to the forces that pose the greatest threat -- the globalization of all economics.

Put simply, when economic power is extra-national (or even supra-national), how will nation states survive? If they cannot regulate economic relations and behavior within their own countries, how can they maintain their sovereignty?

So far, the not entirely convincing answer of the liberal democracies is to make the entire world economy over in the image of their own, I sympathize, but I can't say it looks like a walk-over. From this perspective, the "transnationalists" are simply the supporters of Euro-style socialism, vying to "globalize" their own values ahead of those of the Capitalists.

The whole question of sovereignty is a vital issue, in my opinion, because I believe nation states are still the strongest political bulwark defending cultural diversity. I'm talking about real diversity here, not the fake "diversity" of the American left. Real diversity is where you show extreme forbearance in the face of things you hate. PC "diversity" is where people get to keep their funny hats and their cool ethnic food, but in all matters that really count, must behave in exactly the same way as everybody else. (This may be appropriate inside a single nation, but as an international model, it's the kiss of death.)

Perhaps paradoxically, I see the struggle against "Islamo-fascism" as a war in support of the indispensable underpinnings of the system of nation states. If the nation states cannot enforce some minimum level of mutual toleration among themselves, then the whole edifice will crash. The globalizing economy absolutely requires some higher degree of order, and that need will provide the impetus to find alternative solutions to the nation state if the nations can't get it together.

Should we fail, what comes next is anybody's guess, but "hegemony" and "constant war" seem equally dreary alternatives. Empire, however, is no solution. It just don't pay.

8/25/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard wrote:

Although Iran's leaders prefer the rhetoric of religious revolution and national liberation, the historian cannot fail to detect in their long-held ambition to acquire nuclear weapons -- and thereby dominate the Middle East

One of the lessons of the Cold War and the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction is that while nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrent against a Barbarossa-style invasion, they are worthless for throwing weight around when projecting power. The UK has been in the nuclear club since nearly the beginning, yet it was all they could do to seize the population of sheep and assorted people back from Argentina in 1982.

8/25/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Completely OT to Buddy:

I sent up a new poem, AN AFTERNOON OF THUNDERSTORMS AND BEES...


Teresita

Welcome back.

8/25/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger just a marine said...

Fighting ants and an Iran analogy

Many urban land and farm owners are familiar with the plague of fire ants and similar aggressive ants, and their ant hills.

After much thought, most tend to let the ants work like the devil to built up their local ant hills, and then every so often go in with some kind of poison to kill the ants and their ant hills. This strategy conserves the land owners time, expense, and efforts. While the ants are seldom eradicated, they are always set back.

Perhaps this is our national strategy for Iran and its nuclear program.

I used to live in Georgia where fire ants are a real problem. Now I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee and we don’t have a fire ant problem here. What we do have is a yellow jacket problem, and they live underground and are a lot more devious. But I still get them, usually after a few stings first. After the sting, the wound hurts, and then itches for four days.

8/25/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard said:

It is remarkable that in June 2004, just over a year after U.S. troops toppled Saddam, a majority of Americans already said they regarded the invasion of Iraq as a mistake. ... What makes the U.S. public's misgivings especially remarkable is that the number of U.S. military personnel who have died in this war has been very small by historical standards.


Today on Err America, Dr. Rachel Maddow mentioned that the British forces had abandoned their base in southern Iraq to become, instead, basically a roving band of trucks in the marshes. The forces of al-Sadr are jubilant at their first victory in the effort to roll the occupiers back. If this is what Bush has in mind when he says "when the Iraqi forces stand up, we will stand down" then no wonder American moms aren't too keen on sending their sons and daughters over there to die.

8/25/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/25/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Via Mr Drudge
"Iraqis Loot Base After British Leave"
... About 1,200 British troops had been stationed at Camp Abu Naji in Amarah, 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and the base had come under almost daily attack. The troops pulled out Thursday to redeploy along the border with Iran to crack down on weapons smuggling. ..."

8/25/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Part of the problem with the wars that have involved "Islamic nations" vs "western nations" is that they have not been bloody enough. Ultimately, that ends up resulting in more Islamic bloodshed.

8/25/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Of course, as Niall Ferguson writes, the 20th century was terribly bloody. But read this before wishing yourself back to an imaginary, bucolic past...


Jamie Irons

8/25/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

mark terwilliger wrote:

"The primary challenge of the 21st Century is: how do we do the minimum damage to cultural diversity while simultaneously maximizing economic output?"

I thoroughly enjoyed your post and you wrote much truth. One thing that has bothered me over the years has been the seeming necessity of economic growth for our well being. If the economy stagnates, as in it simply doesn't grow we experience hardship, if the economy simply contracts for a short period of time hardship starts to abound. Any longish period of contraction and DEPRESSION is the order of the day.

Given the correlation of economic growth and population growth this strikes me as a situation that is untenable given the declining demographics of the west and the earths limit to absorb ever increasing human bodies. Somehow we need to move away from the need for economic growth or we shall suffer mightly.

8/25/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Mollie said...

The French never have stopped wanting an Empire to outdo the British. Thus their "French Speakers Club", encompassing the various French-speaking African states, and Quebec, etc. Thus De Gaulle, "Vive la Quebec Libre!" Thus the messing around behind America's back at the UN. Thus our French-Canadian PM's refusal to ally Canada with the US in its attack on Iraq (ie the French Bank, with Paul Desmarais at the helm.). Thus the French in the Cote de'Ivoire.
The French never got over the 100 years war, or the 18th Century world War.
The French supported the US in its revolution BECAUSE THAT WOULD SCREW BRITAIN. Not because of any real interest in "the rights of man".
The French are the Anglosphere's enemy. Make no mistake about that.

8/25/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Just A Marine,

Last night on the "Forward Together" thread, I commented on your "Tractor Therapy" post, which I very much enjoyed.

You have answered one of my questions; the quail species must be the one I grew up with in New England and the midwest, the bobwhite.

;-)

Jamie Ironsmxsms

8/25/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Evan, Still Realizing, and Mark Terwilliger,

All very good and thought-provoking comments. Thanks.

Jamie Irons

8/25/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

It occurs to me that nuclear war with Iran will be almost automatic if they acquire nuclear weapons. We've been focusing on the religious dimension of their becoming a nuclear power. What about the economic dimension? They'll probably be out of oil within 20 years. How are they going to keep their economy afloat? They certianly won't do it through selling manufactured goods and intellectual property. Seizing their neighbor's economic assets (in the name of Allah) is really the only option for the Iranians if they want to maintain their economy.

Wretchard said:

"...The Next War of the Worlds may be in the offing. Yet to America, as the Ring was to Tom Bombadil, empire is too much of a burden."

Tom Bombadil was probably a Valar (it's unclear from Tolkein's writings and letters). IMHO the argument that Bombadil was a Valar is a "slam dunk" because the Ring had no power over him (the Ring did have power over the Maiar who were then next level down in Tolkein's mythology). Given that Bombadil was a Valar, it's no wonder he had no interest in getting involved in the affairs of Middle Earth. He was basically on a long vacation, slumming it with the natives.

8/25/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/25/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

I'll leave work today in less than 4 hours - after a drive of between 30 to 90 minutes, I'll pull into my driveway. Unless the kids have been at it with sidewalk chalk, it'll look like it did when I left it this morning.

The kids will do what they always do when daddy comes home: CELEBRATE! They'll look pretty much like they did when I left them in the morning.

Mrs Triton will be found in the kitchen, creating something with entirely too many calories that I will eat entirely too much of. She'll look pretty much like she did when I left in the morning.

Mrs Triton will run the rest of us out of the house so she can complete her culinary ministrations. We'll wander around in the Bermudagrass, throw balls around, maybe even charge the supersoakers and have a small war. All is done in 20 minutes, and we'll wind up laying in the grass together, studying the clouds and swiping the mosquitos. The yard will look pretty much like it did when I left it this morning.

After dinner....

You get the idea.

Being uninterrupted in the pursuit of happiness is as American as.... apple pie, baseball... etc... and I bet the vast majority of us want nothing more than to be left alone to pursue happiness as we see fit.

I don't think it's a mistake that the declaration of independence listed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in that particular order, since you must have life before you can have liberty, and liberty before you can be uninterrupted in your pursuit of happiness...

I am perfectly content to live the rest of my life entirely unaware of what the rest of the world is up to... except that too much of it seems interested in wiping away the system in which my family and I prosper.

Whether it's the UN, EU, or whoever else that would be willing to subjugate US law to international law... or the jihadist, who would just blow up my neighborhood because I dare to exercise my right to live my life as I see fit...

What is it with people that they can't content themselves with managing their own lives, but instead seek to determine what I do with mine?

My little boy will be able to join the service in 14 years. At the rate things are going, I can't help but wonder if by the time that day comes, it'll be that, or his sister will soon be wearing a burkha.

All I want to do is (figuratively) sit and chow down on Wretchard's proverbial dog and suds. But if that proves impossible, whatever the reason, I hope the difficult times comes soon, so I can be a part of beating back the barbarians at the gate and securing the land from those who would force me and mine to live according to their edicts....

...so when my little boy turns 18, his biggest decision will be whether or not to start college immediately, or travel the world first...

...while I lay back in the Bermudagrass and catnap in the cool of a beautiful Fall evening, untroubled by present worries.

8/25/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard said:

But Italy’s stance has ruffled feathers in France, the former colonial power that sees itself as the natural leader of the international community in Lebanon

France was upset too when an economic summit in Paris used English, and Chirac was told English had become the de facto lingua franca of business. The nature of America's empire is that people willingly buy in to it because it has mass, momentum, the internet, and implacable logic behind it.

In other news, Hezbollah didn't win.

8/25/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

still realizing said:


The West is paying Iran to make each crisis. For each crisis increases the price of oil and both Iran and Saudi Arabia net additional billions of dollars. You'd think somebody would realize this and stop paying them to hurt us.


And the high prices are slowly innoculating us from reliance on Muslim oil. People are responding by getting smaller cars, hybrids, biodiesel, carpooling and vanpooling. The high prices are based solely on fear, they are not based on a lack of supply. Oil inventories runneth over. Bush couldn't even get the refineries in Washington State to take his Strategic Reserve petroleum and we've got that problem with BP's corroded pipes on the North Slope. At a certain point when news of Yet Another Middle-east Incident is greeted by blurry eyes and yawns, nothing will be able to prop up these prices and the market value of oil will sink like the price of those 500 million Jar Jar Binks action figures did when that little business model didn't pan out.

8/25/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

I think Ferguson is undoubtedly right that there are lots of folks out their pining for lost empires, including the Iranians, Russians, French, and the Arabs - although with differing degrees of nostalgia, urgency and energy.

It's clear, as well, that the United States is the only power with the ability to either found and maintain a serious worldwide empire or to prevent other ambitious states from forming regional empires.

Since we have no significant constituency in America for empire, the question is have we the will to prevent the creation of other empires we see as inimical to our interests?

The evidence suggests not at this point, at least not at any significant cost in troops or prestige - though we've long been willing to spread lots of long green around to buy cooperation.

Even in the face of a rather clear pair of naescent Islamic locii of imperial ambition in Persia and Arabia.

Others have suggested we're isolationists at heart, which strikes me as only partly true: America was founded as the City on the Hill, as it were, and there has always been a strong strain of American exceptionalism that saw us (as did much of the world when the were patently unfree) as a beacon of liberty and possibility. Americans take our notions of liberty seriously if they have to think about them, and much of our isolationism is a desire not so much to be left alone, but to respect other peoples right sort things out for themselves.

Some have suggested that given the bloodiness of 20th century wars and the destructiveness of our WMD, as well as the development of precision munitions, that future wars will be less blood thirsty. For my part, I am sceptical of such claims: much the same arguments were advanced after World War I. There was some deterence (no gas was used in WWII, except a little by the Japanese) but equally and even more destructive methods were found and used. The devastation of WWII was greater - except in some islolated parts of France - by far than that of WWI.

In the coming world war, I think it is inevitable that someone will use WMD against the West (probably against Israel). If the attack is successful, the West will (one hopes) lose its inhibitions about using WMD.

The more interesting question will be what will happen if the Iranians lob a nuclear warhead at Israel which is destroyed by anti-missle defenses? Assuming the source could be located with some certainty (and it could be) would their be massive nuclear retaliation on Iran? A surgical nuclear strike? No response?

What about if the Iranians merely announce they have nuclear weapons? What will we do? Give them an ultimatum? Launch a surgical strike on all of their known nuclear facilities without warning? Or, most likely, nothing but bitch to the UN.

We live in interesting times. Serious war is coming....

8/25/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Triton'sPolarTiger said...

“Whether it's the UN, EU, or whoever else that would be willing to subjugate US law to international law... or the jihadist, who would just blow up my neighborhood because I dare to exercise my right to live my life as I see fit...

What is it with people that they can't content themselves with managing their own lives, but instead seek to determine what I do with mine?”

Triton, do you forget how the US does choose to involve itself in the world outside the US? What about all those military bases situated in foreign countries enabling the US to ‘project power’ across the globe? Hardly a nation content to confine itself domestically. You also mention International Law, which reminds me of a Canadian op/ed piece I came across today by Rick Salutin which relates to the discussion I had with CatoRenasci a couple of threads back. A few excerpts:

“I'd never questioned the value of the "rule of law" until I heard George Bush invoke it last week to distinguish Us from Them. ("Terrorists exploit grievances that can be blamed on others. Democracy offers the rule of law.") It startled me since the terrorists he worries about also offer rule of law: their own retrograde version of sharia law. But that's one plus about the guy: He gets you thinking in areas you took for granted. He could speak in praise of coffee or hockey and I'd start reconsidering them.
There's no real connection, for instance, between law and justice. Law is law and justice is justice. Take Justice Minister Vic Toews's recent "musings" about jailing 10-year-olds. (I don't really believe federal ministers muse at random; they muse on program. But I'm probably being unjust.) It could be quite lawful and quite unjust. So could torture and slavery”
Snip
Since equal treatment is the soul of whatever is worthy in rule of law, it's an embarrassment to hear the term used to justify the Bush war on terror. Under it, people are held secretly without charge, shunted around the world, relabelled creatively as unlawful combatants and "rendered" to countries for torture. Whatever you call this, it doesn't resemble rule of law.
Take the dilemma this week of Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj. I assume he is the same Borys Wrzesnewskyj who built Future Bakery in Toronto, so he clearly has some common sense. What he lacks is the uncommon non-sense required in politics. Under the influence of actual experience on the ground in Lebanon, he said Hezbollah should be removed from Canada's terrorism list, then had to back down.
Now I certainly think Hezbollah qualifies as terrorist. It has conducted suicide bombings and shelled civilians. But I think Borys Wrzesnewskyj got confused trying to apply the core principle of rule of law: equal treatment. Under it, Israel, too, would qualify for using terror tactics, as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have all more or less said. Its acts include kidnapping legislators, bulldozing homes as collective punishment, destroying power plants, roads and bridges, dropping cluster bombs etc. In general, this conforms to the definition of terror as violence against civilians for political ends. Israel is far from alone among states. The U.S. was convicted by the World Court of terror against Nicaragua, and ignored the ruling. Most Arab states have terrorized their own populations. But states are routinely and irrationally excluded from the charge. I'd say that, confused by this hypocrisy, Borys Wrzesnewskyj called for the exclusion of Hezbollah from the category, rather than the inclusion of many worthy governmental candidates. On that basis, I think he deserves another shot at the mire of Canadian politics.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060825.COSALU25/TPStory/specialComment/columnists

8/25/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

scecuIf one can make an extremely sharp scapel out of obsidian it would be good. To make a machete as sharp would be better to intimidate your adversaries and it is missile envy that plagues the Persian mind.

8/25/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Terestita wrote:

"One of the lessons of the Cold War and the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction is that while nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrent against a Barbarossa-style invasion, they are worthless for throwing weight around when projecting power. The UK has been in the nuclear club since nearly the beginning, yet it was all they could do to seize the population of sheep and assorted people back from Argentina in 1982."

That brings us back to the underlying topic that Wretchard has been trying to get us to focus on -- How far are we prepared to go?

During the Malvinas war, there was never even a hint of a suspicion that the UK would ever nuke Argentina. On the other hand, Her Majesty's forces had no qualms about sinking the Belgrano (formerly a US warship, by the way) and causing great loss of life, even though it was steaming away from the conflict. The British Left complained, of course, but Her Majesty's Government stayed the course.

If, under some strange set of imaginary circumstances in the course of that war, Mrs. Thatcher had perceived the choice as being between turning Argentina into glass or suffering grievous harm to the British mainland, does anyone doubt what the Iron Lady would have done? Or that she would have had the enthusiastic support of a large part of the British people?

We are not talking here about "proportionality" in the brain-dead left-wing way. But moral people have to see some necessity for extreme action before they will take it. If Iran overtly harmed the United States and appeared to be threatening more harm, my guess is that the US would respond by creating the world's largest deposit of trinitite in Iran. A President Rodham Clinton would order the strike without shedding a single tear for the children, and the New York Times would be beside itself with admiration for her firmness of purpose.

The shape of the future depends to a large extent on whether Iran's leadership will be able to avoid doing something truly provocative.

8/25/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

still realizing said... 8/25/2006 09:19:11 AM
If the US were smart about Iraq and Iran, it would have simply seized the oil fields, depriving the regimes the revenue they need to build nukes and generally make trouble. No money, no trouble. No member of either American political party has even suggested this simple remedy. It's too far outside the box.

You're right, "its too far outside the box." If we had employed this kind of thinking we could have saved ourselves a lot of money and trouble by simply sending an International Police Force into Afghanistan and Iraq for Bin Laden then Hussein. No mess, no fuss, a simple police bust.

Duh! Slap forehead :0
Why didn't we think of that?

8/25/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Have to say equating the Leftist 3rd World, Jewish, wealthy Euro-elite transnationalists to Eros of Plan 9 From Outer Space was hilarious. Stupid People! You stupid, stupid people! can roll from the tongue of a French Ministry person or Justice Breyer as easily as an alien space leader finding people object to cemetery ghouls conquering the Earth.

(As an equally important aside, Plan B's immortal director/writer, ED Woods, was a decorated WWII airborne soldier. Who never fought without women's underwear and lingerie on him underneath his uniform)

The UN best resembles the OTHER "World's Greatest Deliberative Body" The US Senate. Same mindless perks, corruption, self-centeredness, pretense that the pissant postage stamp places are equal in weight to the true centers of power, people, and economic production. Except worse, as in the Senate not needing a K street to filter money, Wake Island and the 41 Indian casinos have THEIR two Senators, California watching as the Rhode Island Failure breaks that nation up into 4 different states with 6 new Senators coming to clog matters up more.

***********************

NANCEE - I'm pretty sure an increasingly strong dislike of all things Muslim and Arab is seeping throughout all levels of American culture. The hot-dog holding couch potato may have had friends and relatives who were firemen and cops, killed in the collapse of the WTC.

I think you are right about the growing dislike and distrust, but wrong to think it is all about the self-annointed "Heroes of 9/11". As if cop or fireman lives are somehow superior to building security that stayed, soldiers maimed in our war, just regular folks. The "Special Heroes" meme was tired after a month or so of endless accolades, special "heroes only" tributes at the Pit, and their "hero family's" endless pleas for more millions, more corporate generosity, for NYC to do extra on top of the full pay & benefits package they already got. And claims that as heroes families, they deserved a "more equal than others" status in advocacy..

The debris of the WTC was eventually hauled away to become Indian rebar which in turn became Rising China infrastracture.

Curious exceptions were the "remnants of the stairs the heroes climbed", the cop cruisers and firetrucks separated from the other wreckage and stored as sacred relics....so convinced were some that every museaum would want a "Heroes Display". 5 years later, the rusting stuff is still in a warehouse. An over-the-top Memorial shocked when the cost was found to be close to a billion dollars...and corporatations and wealthy elites that pledged 120 million in the emotionalism following 9/11 are seeking to back off that a bit, especially those that have decided to leave NYC..The "Holy Heroes Consecrated Ground" is now "The Pit", and the irrepressible Ray Nagin responded to critics on NOLA's slow recovery by noting despite all the attention and nearly unlimited money, NOLA is doing better than the "hole in the ground" in NYC..

We are putting 9/11 in perspective. Just another Muslim attack, worse than the past ones, but not necessarily worse than what is to come. So far a death toll of a minor level compared to other major wars. We know heroism and cowardness and oblivious lethal ignorance happened at all levels on both 9/11 and in efforts since. As they do in every war.

Our thinking is beginning to greatly mature past the "Heroes vs. the Evildoer's" simplistic narrative, the war on the tactic of terror employed by the few "who hijacked the Religion of Peace".

Far too slowly, it is maturing.

The war is ideological, not won by making it about "heroes" who respond after the enemy has struck. It is about Islam, not the tactic of terror. Our dumb conceits like "surgical bombing" will make "cakewalks", a military-only solution calling for not only no sacrifice or involvement by the American public, but more tax cuts and goodies...is now facing reality.

Laura Bush was ignorant. Muslim women did not live to "cast off their burquas" as soon as "America freed the people of Afghanistan". Iraq did NOT really wish to become the 51st, Israel-friendly secular state as the neocons claimed.

The 5 year anniversaty of 9/11 had best be a time to reflect on what America has done right, what missteps we made, what money and blood was well-spent, and what has been squandored at a burn rate we cannot afford in a "Long War" and must scale back in areas on.. Let's hope the 5th Anniversary is a mature moment and not another excuse for media and crass politicans to trot out the "Heroes and Greatest Victims Ever" theme again so we can wallow in pathos, adulation of symbols, and indulge in "woe is us" moaning for old time's sake.

It would be better to use the anniversary to announce a major strategic communications initiative with Islam, India, and China. A call of sacrifice needed. That America will begin programs to address areas of it's cultural and geographic ignorance, and critical linguistic deficiencies. And have a debate on the military - if we need more people, if we need a Draft simply to make members of the Ruling Elite and decisions makers have a personal stake in any military action taken.

8/25/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Quasi said...

Whit said:

Duh! Slap forehead :0
Why didn't we think of that?



Well then of course the US would have been accused by the Lefties of waging a war for oil. Oh wait.....

And besides, despite popular world belief, the Right in this country will not give a green-light to a war unless it has some ideaology behind it like promoting "democracy" or removine imminent threats like WMDs in the hands of nut-jobs. I don't see a single scenario where President Bush (or any president) could have convinced anyone in this country to go to war with the objective of capturing oil fields, no matter how good an idea it is.

8/25/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

cedarford wrote:

"Let's hope the 5th Anniversary is a mature moment and not another excuse for media and crass politicans to trot out the "Heroes and Greatest Victims Ever" theme again so we can wallow in pathos, adulation of symbols, and indulge in "woe is us" moaning for old time's sake."

Sounds a lot like the Arab victim mentallity we all like to moan about.

8/25/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

Sorry for the off topic, but on the last thread whit said...
"In the same vein as Buddy’s link, here’s a fascinating read of Russian ferdidy and deceit at Frontpagemag.com text This man say’s Russia gave Iran the bomb"

the link went to http://www.frontpagemag.com/
Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24019

I am sorry whit, but I tried to read this "interview" and in my opinion large parts of it are ... shall we say ... internally inconsistent. Which makes me inclined to regard the whole thing as a bunch of BS.

This guy Rasmussen says that he is a linguist and speaks 7-8 languages, and on the list is "persian". I'm not a linguist but I've known a hand full of persians (corrupt ones from the Shah's day) and the language of the persians is called Farsi. Isnt it reasonable that a linguist would know that and call the language by its correct name? Yeah... May be he is just talking down to me because I am a layman and cant be expected to be familliar with such things.

... Whatever

Then he goes on to talk about how he was responsible for interviewing thousands of refugees at least some of whom were Iranian... where they were fleeing to isnt explicitly clear exactly but he is danish and worked for the danish FBI or whatever so presumably they were fleeing from iran to denmark. Anyway supposedly alot of these iranians were trained by soviets in agit-prop and alot of other technical disciplines but with an aim to enabling them to be "super terrorists" or something. They were trained by the soviets then became useful idiots for Khomeni till after the islamic revolution when Khomeini tried to liquidate them as thanks... so they fled.

at about this point I started to realize how the questions the interviewer asks seem to be ... I dont know how else to say it ... fake. Like the questions were written after the answers or like this is all being written by the same person. like the whole thing was cooked up for the consumption of uneducated proles. A parenthetical explanation of the term "useful idiots" ... come on.


Anyway one of the "questions" asked is "Kindly expand a bit on how Iranians trained in the Soviet Union ended up working for the Iranian regime." and he goes on to talk about how some of these guys wound up working for the iranians (he calls it "the Mullah Regime" (?)) even though these soviet trained guys were supposedly being liquidated for their unislamic leanings toward communism... only he doesnt ... he just presents it as a fact and makes them into boogy men that he "wouldn't wish for [his] worst enemy to be faced with".

Then he says "After I had been face to face with a number of these, it dawned upon me that the step from being a glowing red communist to becoming a blood-thirsty Muslim fundamentalist is actually a distance equal to zero. ..." wait a minute he came face to face with them... are these guys working for the Iranians or are they refugees to Denmark?

... whatever

I couldn't read the rest ... it's just total garbage... the-bear-is -playing-dead/watch-out-for-the-mullahs fear mongering garbage.

Sure there are still a bunch of bad guys rattling around in the old U.S.S.R. Sure the Iranians are dangerous... but this "interview" is at worst a complete fabrication on the order of the "Ranger with a mustache" or at best a litterally unbelievably incompetent presentation of actual verifyable facts... and I feel I am being overly generous to even consider the second possibility. If I am wrong... if this story is bonafied... then please somebody straighten me out.

it just goes to show you... don't believe everything you see in pixels.

8/25/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Lone Star said...

By trying to expand the American ideals of freedom and liberty to the rest of the world, are we not trying to create a virtual empire? An empire of "kingdoms united by a harness of interlocking mutual interests"

8/25/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

correction... he says he worked for Danish Imigration not the Danish FBI.

8/25/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/25/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

lone star said:

By trying to expand the American ideals of freedom and liberty to the rest of the world, are we not trying to create a virtual empire? An empire of "kingdoms united by a harness of interlocking mutual interests"

It's hard for people who feel they are being occupied to believe they are liberated and free. So the ideal military footprint in-country is a very small one.

8/25/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Quasi said...

"Well then of course the US would have been accused by the Lefties of waging a war for oil. Oh wait..... And besides, despite popular world belief, the Right in this country will not give a green-light to a war unless it has some ideaology behind it like promoting "democracy" or removine imminent threats like WMDs in the hands of nut-jobs. I don't see a single scenario where President Bush (or any president) could have convinced anyone in this country to go to war with the objective of capturing oil fields, no matter how good an idea it is."

Quasi is correct. Despite moonbat claims to the contrary, seizing oil fields by military means makes no economic sense. War is so expensive that the military cost could never be justified by the captured petroleum's economic benefit.

From the very beginning (1950s), it was known to be cheaper to allow the local people to sell their own oil rather than take it from them. However no one considered that the enriched local people would then turn around and launch terrorist wars against the world to advance their nonsense religious beliefs (no one had that sort of foresight).

The task now is to consume the Middle East's remaining oil while keeping the terrorists at arm's length. After the oil is gone, the Middle East will then have all the political significance of sub-Sahara Africa, i.e. none at all.

8/25/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Hayek said...

Given that Israel will have second strike capability with the submarine delivery system and assuming that it will be able to deliver multiple warheads,why would Iran not be constrained? Particularly if the magic imam has not yet appeared.

8/25/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

10-4 C-4

8/25/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Quasi said...

Another overlooked problem with targeting resources like oil fields is that there are already contracts and trade agreements set up with various parties pumping that oil out of the ground. Sure you could take the oil fields but unless the occupier honors those previously made contracts to the letter (i.e no price increases or embargos) it would play hell with the world economy. There's no quicker way to make enemies than screwing with their coin purses.

8/25/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

El Heffe:
You may be a little too critical of the man. Go back and read the article again.

I am not saying that his story is 100%, rock-solid fact, but much of what he says is common knowledge. Melodramatic? sure but I wouldn't discount the whole story.

8/25/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

eggplant said:

Despite moonbat claims to the contrary, seizing oil fields by military means makes no economic sense. War is so expensive that the military cost could never be justified by the captured petroleum's economic benefit.

No one told Hitler that his campaign to get the oil in the Caucausus region didn't make sense from a cost-benefit point of view. He had to get the oil to keep the Wehrmacht moving. The US economy is so dependent on oil right now it does make sense to spend more securing the oil than the oil fetches on the open market. And another thing, defense dollars don't just disappear down the toilet and get flushed out to sea, they stay right here in the US and pay the salaries of people who blog when they should be doing defense thingies. That money then goes right back into the economy.

8/25/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The point was, you could no more simply go in there and seize the oil fields than Police could waltz into Afghanistan or Iraq, serve a warrant and have the perp walk on the way out of country.

Us and whose armies could seize and hold those oil-fields with the miles and miles of pipe and facilities?

8/25/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

This was another very good link from the previous thread: Russian Footprints By Ion Mihai Pacepa at National Review is a first hand account and says much the same thing as Rasmussen.

Essential difference is that they disagree on Russia giving Iran a bomb.

8/25/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger dueler88 said...

Wretchard et al:

What is Russia's role in this, really? What keeps them so close to Iran - their lack of willingness or ability to squeeze petroleum out of Siberia? Or is it to use Iran as leverage against the U.S.? Or both?

Surely Putin knows that the U.S.'s patience with Iran is wearing thin. Can Putin really be so brutal against Chechyn Muslims but make nicey-nicey with the Shia Mullahs at the same time? Is Putin keeping the crazy 12-ers close to see how crazy they might get?

What it comes down to is this: the only thing keeping us from taking the Iranian Mullahs out is Russia. No other nation has the ability to take us on; and Russia's ability is only a result of the Soviets' old stockpiles. Iran would act in (futile) self-defense. China would understandably be concerned about anything we do with Iran, but they seem manageable, both geopolitically and militarily. Russia seems like a wildcard.

While I'm glad we have a SecState with a good Russian/Soviet background, there are WAY too many questions here and not enough answers.

8/25/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

Teresita said...
"wretchard said:

'Yet to America, as the Ring was to Tom Bombadil, empire is too much of a burden.'


Ideally, empire should be the precise opposite of a burden. Jesus said, "My yoke is light," and that is precisely what an empire should be, kingdoms united by a harness of interlocking mutual interests glowing so brightly that when it is abandoned or taken away, people lament and call it a dark age."


Thats right...

American exceptionalism... Its the "new" Manifest Destiny.

PS. FYI despite the similar names I am not the same guy as El Jefe Maximo ;)

8/25/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

El_Heffe wrote:

"American exceptionalism... Its the "new" Manifest Destiny."

aye, how true, however the rest of the world may not be too keen on being subordinated to the US especially when viewed in the light of what happened to those on the 'other end' of "Manifest Destiny"

8/25/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger rich said...

Freedom may do what America does not do.

Read Iraq the Model on his newfound appreciation of freedom in Iraq.

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2006/08/back-from-egypt.html

This new understanding of freedom will be very hard to keep supressed.

8/25/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

cedarford,

Ordinarily, at this point I would be taking you to task for your ethnic/religious bigotry, but this is your lucky day. The new improved Belmont Club has become a forum where just such pressing matters of national security as dentition, ear placement, ethnicity, and character assassination are the new orders of the day. Have at it friend! You are in good company.

8/25/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

allen,

didn't you post, while admitting it was bad form, that muslims were less then human?

Actually quite easy to find your words:

"Appreciating that it is considered bad form, these “organisms” are not human beings by any standard other than the fluke of genetics."

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=12136206&postID=115579741377661729

allen at 8/18/2006 12:27:30 PM

8/25/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Allen said...

Nial Ferguson, 1938 analogies and Empire, blah, blah, blah...

The thing is, the GWOT is a resource war, maybe THE defining one of the 21st century. You can pooh-pooh that all you like but that's the truth. The U.S. is involved in a mad scramble over who will posses hegemonic control of the ever declining fossil fuel reserves of the Middle East.

8/25/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Al Qaeda recruiters target Europe
In the years since 9/11, government officials say Al Qaeda has undeniably been hurt. The Taliban government in Afghanistan was crushed. Without the Taliban's protection, the leaders of Al Qaeda were put on the run, and the terror group's cells all over the world became isolated, no longer able to communicate or coordinate their attacks without serious danger of discovery.

But by almost all accounts, Al Qaeda is trying hard to recover, and security analysts say that effort involves intense recruiting in Europe.
Here is how it works:

8/25/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

barry allen,
So left to their own devices, the jihadists and the Mullahs have no plans, and pose no threat?
blah, blah, indeed.

8/25/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ash,

While I know you have examined and analyzed nothing more carefully than the polyps of your sigmoid colon, take it from me, I would never care for your personal appearance save to the extent that I did not target the wrong rodent.

Those who follow the Nazism of the prophet, perhaps, like you, are not an ethnicity. They are made vermin by their behavior, not their incisors, the displacement of their outer ears, or the color of their skin.

Anyone who has ever served in my Corps would NEVER disparage the service of a fellow Marine.

Sorry, no cigar; although a cigar does closely resemble your usual diet, I am sure.

Oh, just to be clear, what is a "then" human?

8/25/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Allen said...

No doug, the threat they pose is that with a nuke in their arsenal, they'll be free to make exclusive energy deals with the Chinese and the Russians and not with the U.S. This conflict is about preventing that.
The conflict with Iran isn't about the Iranians striking U.S. soil with a missile. It's about the effects their energy deals would have on the American economy.
Anyone who says that this not a resource war is being either dishonest or naive.

8/25/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

On the contrary Allen, Nazi's have traditionally been considered SUPERhumans.
By themselves.

8/25/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Call me a liar, but I swear ~3,000 people died on 9-11.
Maybe I just naively believed what I saw on the internet?
Al-Reuters photo editors must have been busy indeed.
Not all things are mutually exclusive, however.

8/25/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Allen said...

Well doug, now you're conflating the actions of Al-Qaeda with the aspirations of the nation state of Iran.
To spell it out, oil and gas reserves in the Middle East have likely already begun their decline. The prize in this war is who gets to direct the flow of the remaining reserves of those oh so valuable fossil fuels.
Read Matt Simmon's book, Twilight in the Desert. It's quite the eye opener.

8/25/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ash,

Please forgive my questioning your grammar; it was an unnecessary to my appraisal.

8/25/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Conflating indeed:
I'll call it the War on Islamonazism for lack of a better Moniker:
Iran's support of Syria and Hezbollah, export of arms, and etc. may be part of their geostrategic manuvering, but it is also a threat, and they are Nazis.
Don't need to read a book to know that.

8/25/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Allen said...

There you go doug, you said it yourself, they're a threat, but in what way? Try this on for size: they sit on one of the biggest lakes of oil reserves in the entire world and they are the third largest exporter of natural gas and oil. Saudi Arabia used to be number one and Iran number two. This past week Russia surpassed the Saudis.
That means the Russians, holding large reserves of oil and gas are in the cat bird seat with one hand on the till of the world economy. The Iranians aspire to be like them and the Chinese want to help them so they can lock up exclusive oil field rights.
The U.S. is trying to prevent that from happening by planting forces in Iraq and hoping, but failing, to be the hegemonic power in the Middle East and prevent Iran from getting a nuke. Because once Iran gets a nuke, they'll be free to pursue a parternship with China, a global resource competitor.
And 'books'? Who needs 'books'? All you need to do is make bad historical analogies to 1938 and Nazi Germany.
Hey, wait a minute. Wasn't Iraq supposed to be Germany in 1945, post war?
doug, I'm confused.
Not.

8/25/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Once again:
All things are not mutually exclusive.
The manuvering for oil goes on.
So does the worldwide export of Jihadi Nazism.
But perhaps Abracadabra's only reason to threaten Israel's existence is for Oil?
Is it the only reason Synogogues and Churches are burned and Jews are slaughtered by Muslims?
Likewise Muslims by Muslims in Africa.
Cold comfort to a dead African to know that it was for Oil, so his afterlife will be assured.

8/25/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Allen said...

Well the Iranians openly threatan Israel because they likely view it as a proxy for U.S. power in the region. It's easier for Ahmadinejad to threatan a U.S. proxy than the U.S. directly.
Don't get me wrong, the guy is a nut but he isn't the one in control of Iran, the mullahs are.
I suspect that the Bush Administration's view is that the greatest disater to befall America isn't a nuclear weapon from a Middle Eastern country, it's the possibility of that same country being able to influence the economic fate of the U.S. and the West via their 'oil weapon.'
Now mind you, even if we did manage to overthrow the Iranian regime and gained control of the Persian Gulf oil flow, we'd still be in danger but we'd be pushing it out a few decades.
Because oil production in the Middle East is in unmistakable decline. It would just buy us some more time to find viable alternatives.
doug, if we go to war with Iran, I prefer to know the real reasons, not surrender my brain to a befuddled U.S. President and his rhetoric.

8/25/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

Jeff Medcalf said...
The twin goddesses of America are Liberty and Justice.


minor note: Liberty bears arms as she stands atop the capitol building...and Justice is said to be visually impaired

(speaking of the capitol building... you you BC'ers think that Flight 93 was intended for the capitol or the white house?... and which do you think would have hurt us worse?)


Mark Terwilliger said...
the "transnationalists" are simply the supporters of Euro-style socialism, vying to "globalize" their own values ahead of those of the Capitalists.


That is a pretty good call.


Ash said...
Now I certainly think Hezbollah qualifies as terrorist. It has conducted suicide bombings and shelled civilians. But I think Borys Wrzesnewskyj got confused trying to apply the core principle of rule of law: equal treatment. Under it, Israel, too, would qualify for using terror tactics, as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have all more or less said.


You cant establish equivalency between Israel and Hisblahblah that easily, Ash. Israel is a sovereign state. Hisblahblah is a bunch of terrorist thugs.

When a man kills in self defence and a grizzly kills in self defence they don't get "equal treatment". When a grazzly attacks a man and the man wounds the grizzly we dont charge the man with attempted murder, and we do put that grizzly down... even if the man started it by existing tresspassing in the bear's habitat (or in the case of Israel ... existing).

Most Arab states have terrorized their own populations. But states are routinely and irrationally excluded from the charge.

Except Israel of course.

I'd say that, confused by this hypocrisy, Borys Wrzesnewskyj called for the exclusion of Hezbollah from the category, rather than the inclusion of many worthy governmental candidates. On that basis, I think he deserves another shot at the mire of Canadian politics.

Nah... throw the bum out! Confusing hypocrisy notwithstanding.


@ whit - Do you have split personalities or something? ;)
(good take down of the article... only read it again (?))

and I did read the Pacepa article on the other thread... two thumbs up!


rich said...
Freedom may do what America does not do.

Read Iraq the Model on his newfound appreciation of freedom in Iraq.

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2006/08/back-from-egypt.html

This new understanding of freedom will be very hard to keep supressed.



Who'da thunk it... the Tree of Liberty may turn out to be an invasive species.



Barry Allen said...
The conflict with Iran isn't about the Iranians striking U.S. soil with a missile. It's about the effects their energy deals would have on the American economy.
Anyone who says that this not a resource war is being either dishonest or naive.


Barry... this just in from the causus belli department: being a state sponsor of terrorism, while simultaneously seeking nuclear weapons, is a big black mark against Iran... energy deals aside.

On the other hand you are right, in that while only about 3 percent of the US oil supply comes from Iran (its major customers are India and China) if Iranian oil stops flowing due to a dust up over the nukes its India and China that will be the first losers... of course when they start turning to *our* regular suppliers to get their energy fix, then at that point we lose too.

Moral of the story... come nukes or no nukes, come war or no war, the spice must flow. (and we need to figure what we will do to kick our oil habit, pretty quick.)

8/25/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Them's fightn words here at the Club:
Word is, almost every word and action is part of a Master Plan.
Only time will reveal!
Seems to me we're kicking the can.
Some say "War for Oil" won't sell.
I'm with you, although I don't think war with Iran is necessary at this point. Seems like we should have confronted their proxies long ago. Syria for instance.
Also along with Ledeen, to Trish's dismay, I think we should do more to support opposition to the Mullahs.
Did you see my Anderson Cooper link above?

8/25/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(to barry allen)

8/25/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Doug wrote:

"Some say "War for Oil" won't sell"

It certainly is a hard sell given that those whom need be 'sold' have a propensity to believe in 'property rights' and it is hard to establish that it is 'our' oil.

8/25/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Ah, blogger's working! Good! I was reading the posts in the last thread (I haven't read the comments in this one, yet, so bear with me,) and noticed a lot of you fine folks was obsessing over "Oil."

Think about this. We could Replace every drop of oil we use in the U.S. (foreign or imported) if we signed a contract with Colombia to plant their country in "Oil Palm" trees. And, have enough left over for Canada, I imagine.

Here's the numbers: 1,000 gallons of palm oil/acre, 640 acres/sq mile, 500,000 sq miles.

80% of the country would yield 256 Billion Gallons of oil. We currently use about 250 Billion gallons of oil/yr. 1 gal palm oil/biodiesel = 1 gal of oil.

I guess to supply Canada, also, we might have to plant 90% of the country. Then, again, maybe not; the cars that we switch from gasoline to biodiesel will get better gas mileage.

By the way, Palm oil is much cheaper to produce than diesel.

NOW, look at a Globe. Look at all of the unused land area between 20 Degrees N, and 20 Degrees S. See how small Colombia is compared to that vast land area.

And, that's just biodiesel from Palm oil; we haven't even started to consider sugar cane, sugar beets, corn, grass, bushes, etc. to ethanol (all of which can be produced much cheaper than gasoline.

Did I mention Solar is up to 20% efficiency - heading towards 30%?

Guys, we don't need to fight the barbarians for whatever they can grub out of the ground; at least, we don't for more than 5 or 6 years if we're serious.

8/25/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Who's "we" bioman?
Greenies are bad that's a fact.
Stay the course.
I'm serious.
not

8/25/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

To be more accurate you could subtract transportation and handling energy costs.
Still looks good.

8/25/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Rufus,

Do you have a reference on the energetics of this palm oil thing; that is, when you factor out energy needed to plant, tend, harvest, transport and everything else, what net BTUs are you left with?


Jamie Irons

8/25/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/25/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

allen,

I see I've upset you, sorry, but you immediately dismiss all of what cedarford writes because you see nothing but anti-Semitic blur in his words yet you fail to see something similar in your own attitude. I quickly went back to that mega-long thread an took a re-read of your comments to see if I had got the wrong end of the stick in my assessment of your attitude toward Islam. Maybe, I thought, that the self-realization of the 'bad form' of that particular comment was a one off - it certainly stuck out in my mind so much that I was easily able to recall it. If you simply replace the word ‘Jew’ for ‘Islam’ in the follow comments of yours maybe you will see some similarity to Cedarford. You both have a good grasp of historical facts to be sure:

allen said...
whit,

re: countervail

You have just described the difficulty of all Westerners in dealing with the Islamic world. At the end of the day, we just might take a lesson from the "old" Brits: Do unto others as long as you are not doing unto mine.

From time to time, it also helps to have an open season on every bugger in range. Clear the air, so to speak.

Don't you wish the administration had read Kipling instead of Camus?
8/18/2006 09:43:05 PM


allen said...
habu_3; 4:44 PM

As you know, the Islamists are Nazis because the founding generation was trained by Nazis. Although, tactics and many objectives might vary, both share one dream: the extermination of ALL Jews.

Most Americans are oblivious to the history of Arafat and company because the State Dept. has found the publication of such information, "inconvenient". For those who doubt State's anti-Israeli credentials, seek out the opinions of such notables as North, Haig, and Gingrich.
8/19/2006 04:57:38 PM

rufus & habu,

When there is talk on this site about "thinning" the herd, it means the Islamic herd. Is it possible that other herds could do with a general thinning, ala Darwinian fitness?
8/20/2006 05:14:56 PM


Can you see some similarity to your problems with Cedarford? Can you not see similar generalizations?

8/25/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Allen - You picked the wrong place to try and impose your PC.

What is refreshing about Belmont Club is honest opinions are welcome if backed up by fact.

Opinions critical of groups are just as honest as those that laud a group if the facts bear them out. Much of the trouble we get into is from reluctace to confront dysfunctional global or societal elements based on 1st Marxist exhortations not to or else, then the Leftist ones, then PC.

If you object to transnationalism or transnational terrorism being ascribed to identifiable groups, state your objections and we can get back into where they started and who started them back in the good 'ol days of Abbbysid Jihadist philosophers and Trostky's COMINTERN.

*********************
2164th and Ash ...two more different people there aren't at Belmont, but I'm glad you agree we need to move past the tired "victim-hero" grievances and the frequently wrong rhetoric and assumptions we got into 5 years ago right after 9/11 and stuck with way, way too long.
***********************
The debate some posters like Quasi, Teresita, and Eggplant have had on the cost of oil is a good one. We should factor in the military costs of propping up the free flow of oil not just to us, but to China. The cost of seizing them.

Eggplant - Quasi is correct. Despite moonbat claims to the contrary, seizing oil fields by military means makes no economic sense. War is so expensive that the military cost could never be justified by the captured petroleum's economic benefit.

It would NOT make sense if oil flowed freely with no national or ideological constraints and the oil revenue was not used promulgating evil ideologies that have cost the world trillions in the past 20 years.

But strategic control of oil in a present or future war may define victory or defeat. And the money we spend combating what oil dollars are spent on greatly complicates the international economic aspects of any "cost" analysis - since they exclude non-market costs which are quite real. Especially if we find in assymetric war that it takes 100 billion in spending to neutralize 5 billion in petrodollars put at terrorist disposal, and it may take the same 20:1 ratio to reverse the hideous damage the Saudis are doing with their Wahhabi Madrassahs and the Mosques and mullahs they are pumping into every Western country.

Which makes the economics of oil substitutes and conservation critical to revisit now that "The Long War" has started.

If oil is 75 a barrel with 20 of those dollars speculation cost, and we add 3 dollars in extra premium to transport in days of terror, add in "hidden" direct national security costs of 13 dollars to keep oil lanes open, add in 9 a barrel to pay for indirect costs of terrorism and spread of radical Islam, and direct Gulf military outlays for the wars we are fighting of 15 a barrel (numbers are speculative)..our actual cost of Gulf Oil is 115 a barrel.

And worse, in global competition, that is our price. China effectively pays only 78 a barrel for it's oil. Our security outlays subsidize oil prices elsewhere for other competitor nations, but give us the prize of "leadership" as compensation.

Compare that to oil from heavy bitumen crude from Canada or Venezuela NOT currently exploited which are greater than KSAa sweet reserves, that cost 40 a barrel adding extra refining cost.

Or oil from the huge Albertan tar sands reseves the Chinese are so interested in that cost 45 a barrel, or the 3X Saudi Arabia size Green River oil shale formation at 65 a barrel.

Or making synth fuel right from natural gas or coal at 55 and 60 a barrel.

Or just doing concervation at no or very little cost - to lower global oil price or at least reduce the quintupling of oil since 2001 has created all that Mad Mullah money. Showing we are willing to get past Bush and his Bigger SUVs=Freedom logic and begin doing small things to start with like reinstituting odd-even days, exhorting all people to save gas, buy less Chinese stuff....

8/25/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Jamie, I'm basically an ethanol guy; I've just learned a small amount about Palm oil. But, I'll just throw a few ideas out.

In the U.S. we use about 8.5 gallons of fuel/acre farming row crops. My "guess" is that there would be less fuel used in the cultivation of palm trees. There would probably be more human labor involved, but in those lattitudes there is a very high rate of unemployment, anyway.

Typically, the land in these lattitudes aren't utilized to any great extent at present (except, in the case of LA, for growing Cocaine, and some coffee.)

I imagine it can be refined using fluid bed technology, which means it would primarily utilize it's own waste for energy, as the ethanol refineries are starting to do in the states.

Transportation is not expensive, in any case, oil must be transported whether it comes out of the ground or out of a tree.

What makes palm oil unique is it's incredibly high yield/acre, approx. 10 times the yield of soybeans, for example.

Side Note: Those Poppies they grow in Afghanistan have about twice the yield of soybeans for producine biodiesel. I wonder if CENTCOM knows?

8/25/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Jamie, if it was a competitive market I would be you could put palm oil-biodiesel in your truck/car for $1.25/gal, and everyone involved would make good money.

8/25/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/25/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

barry allen wrote:

Because oil production in the Middle East is in unmistakable decline. It would just buy us some more time to find viable alternatives.

Really, we reached global peak oil already? Or just the Middle East? If just the Middle East, who is making up the shortfall?

8/25/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Guys, we use 25 barrels of oil per person per year. The Chinese use 1 barrel. Ditto, the Indians. There are 2.3 Billion of them. They want to use 25 barrels/yr, too. And, they're starting to make money. See where I'm going?

That's 48 Billion Barrels/yr. more than the 27 Billion Barrels/yr we produce now. By the way, Boone Pickens says that's about all we can produce. Our worldwide production has been flat for several years.

We will be fighting Godawful Major Wars over oil if we don't start using alternatives.

The good news is, we will.

8/25/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Cedarford says:

"It is about Islam, not the tactic of terror."

But that's not quite true. Terror is used as tool to wage war by proxy. It is a cover to provide "plausible deniability." Only that this plausible deniability is becoming less and less plausible with more and more of these orchestrated wars and attacks.

We all know who the real players are and who are the sock puppets. We know that the weapons are Russian and Chinese made. We know the finances come from thiefdoms swimming in petrodollars as a result of the deliberate destabilization of the region. We know the motivating ideology is that of supremacist Islam.

We also know that the common denominator, as Wretchard correctly pointed out, is greed for Empire. What we don't know, or rather, not sure about, is which method would most efficiently kill this age old sickness for Empire.

8/25/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Who supplies most of Iran's imported petroleum - or did, before Iran stopped importing?

Anyone?

Anyone?

8/25/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Do you mean refined gasoline?

Would that be Russia, Trish?

8/25/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Qutar, I think.

8/25/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Yeah, refined gasoline.

8/25/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Does anyone know for sure or have a quick way to find it?

I'm looking at a mountain of PDFs I don't want to search through.

8/25/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Trish, hello ....

I'm pretty sure it's Qatar, (sp?)

8/25/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

Ezekiel saith (39:12),

"And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land."

This looks more sanguinary than surgical. Will this take place during this century? I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised.

*********

Don't mess with Texas, China, Florida has lots of oil offshore.

8/25/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Thanks, rufus.

Someone said to me this evening that Iran's main supplier is one key to bringing economic pressure to bear against the regime.



In any event, Iran's been importing gasoline at about 20 dollars per barrel. At the pump it goes for 40 cents per barrel. Gasoline refined within Iran costs more just to transport than it sells for at the pump.

So imports are cut and the pump price has to be raised or gas has to be rationed. Amadinejad prefers rationing. But automobile ownership in Iran has sky-rocketed and public transport is scanty.

He ran on a populist platform that promised to greatly improve the lot of the beleaguered, average Joe.

8/25/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Sorry:

Imported at 2 dollars per gallon versus 40 cents at the pump.

8/25/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

Pondering the question of empire leads me to think that "empire" is being misinterpreted. Unwilling or not America has become an imperialist in the cultural and commercial sense in the perception of the "rest of the world".
I'm speaking from the viewpoint of a Canadian born and raised Australian conservative. I am constantly appalled by the denegration of the USA heard both here and in Canada by people that willingly aspire to all of the freedoms and pleasures of life that would not exist without the USA. Which itself fought a war to free itself from the commercial constraints imposed on it by an imperial power.
None of the above should be taken to mean that I am blind to the warts so evident on the face of American society. I am not.
The questions are:
Is it America's "duty" to democratise the world? Is it worth the cost? Are we fighting wars (I say we as an Australian) to ensure sufficient stabilty to further commercial and cultural imperialism?
From the jihadist viewpoint I believe that we are already seen as cultural and commercial imperialists. They have begun to use thier cultural weapon but have yet to excercise their commercial option.
We may well be able to mitigate the effects of thier commercial weapon as they cannot excercise it without the blatant cooperation of China and India.
On the cutural front I am very afraid that they will have to be bludgeoned into grudging acceptance of our existance. Either that or we accept dhimmitude.
This conflict is going to get dirty. We are going to have to get used to "civilian casualties". We are going to have to get used to battlefield losses. We are going to have to train our MSM to pay more attention to cultural imperatives rather than commercial considerations.

8/25/2006 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Crane said...

As usual, when people talk about the real wars of the Corl War, they forget the Yom Kippur War, where the Soviet expansion into Middle East was stopped and reversed. Possibly because no American life was lost or even endangered there.

Americans do like to forget that they owe to Israel.

8/26/2006 03:53:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

Quig wrote:

Pondering the question of empire leads me to think that "empire" is being misinterpreted. Unwilling or not America has become an imperialist in the cultural and commercial sense in the perception of the "rest of the world".
I'm speaking from the viewpoint of a Canadian born and raised Australian conservative. I am constantly appalled by the denegration of the USA heard both here and in Canada by people that willingly aspire to all of the freedoms and pleasures of life that would not exist without the USA. Which itself fought a war to free itself from the commercial constraints imposed on it by an imperial power.


I think you are correct that a world that thinks largely in categories defined by Marxist 'analysis' perceives the United States as imperialistic at least in the "cultural and commerical sense" you mention.

As with Baghdad Bob's rhetoric (and most Arab bombast generally) saying it doesn't make it so. I think as we in the Anglo-sphere hear this (and, of course the British were real and unabashed imperialists until quite recently in historical terms) it is important to critically examine the assertion.

In contrast to British or French cultural influence and commerce, American values did not generally arrive with occupying colonial troops. (Excepting the Phillipines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, where we replaced the Spanish colonial masters).

What America has asked for, and sometimes even demanded, is the right to sell its wares and to buy local wares: to trade. Trade is a voluntary exchange: we have things to sell, you have things we want to buy. At some price, if you want to buy what we have to sell, we make a deal.

Similarly, our cultural influence has primariliy obtained because we have had cultural products that vast numbers of people want to buy or consume - from movies to music to (shudder) MacDonads and Disneyland.

It's true that the exposure in some parts of the world to American goods came through our participation in the World Wars, but even then, it was people seeing what our troops had and the cultural and commerical things that came with them, that created a demand for them.

Surely, if large numbers did not prefer American commerce and culture, we would not have been successful. Even now, if Frenchmen did not want to see American films, Jerry Lewis would not be one of their cultural icons.

In my view, most of the prating about American imperialism - except when it comes from true Marxists - is really the whining of the local commercial and cultural establishments who find that their clientele prefer American products to their own, whether because of price or other qualities.

8/26/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger doolz said...

"You see? You see? You're stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!"

There was another "Stupid!" at the end of there, the quote was correct as far as it went, but incomplete.

Another apt Wood quote for this situation would be Douste-Blazy (or however you spell it) in place of Bela Lugosi in 'Glen or Glenda':

'Pull ze strinks! Pull ze strinks!'

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045826/quotes

Using the puppet of US military might to restore French influence in the Levant.

8/26/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

cedarford,

How fortunate to hear again from a friend of Blondie.

Hey, I am still waiting for those names of “ex-Stalinists” you claim went to work as propagandists for the Israeli government.

This is my third request for this same information. Indeed, I had begun to think you had gone into hiding from embarrassment.

You made the claim; surely, you would not have your fellows come to think you just another lonely, loony, hysterical neo-Nazi.

Come on; do not let PC hold you back. Cough up the names, sport.

8/26/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

ash; 7:19 PM

My complaint against cedarford is his propensity to regurgitate Nazi propaganda and then rush into his burrow when asked to provide specific reference.

For instance, cedarford made the claim sometime ago that “ex-Stalinists” had gone to work for Israel as propagandists. Now, if this is delusional babbling, OK. If, on the other hand, cedarford has at hand material validation, then, he should be willing to share that information with his fellow Belmonters. That he has not suggests the hysterical sobbing of a teenage girl, having found a pimple on prom night.

As to you, a feeling is not a thought, and an opinion is not a fact. My complaint on this thread is quite simply understood by those capable of making the above distinctions. Teresita’s opinions are fair game, her personal appearance is not. Desert Rats’ opinions are fair game, his son’s service as a United States Marine is not. That this needs saying shows the sad state of commentary here. That no apology has been forthcoming shows the state of the commentators.

8/26/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger doolz said...

Come to think of it, it might have been four stupids: 'Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!'

8/26/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I was just reading this article yesterday; I liked what you had to say and have linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2006/08/re-niall-ferguson-on-21st-century.html

8/26/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

Quig and Cato: About fifteen years ago here in the States, there was a controversial Nike ad campaign in which NBA star Charles Barkley declared that "I am not a role model". Critics replied that he was one whether he wanted to be or not, by dint of his wealth and high profile, and that he therefore had the responsibilities to society that go with being, well, a role model.

Substitute the United States for Charles Barkley and "empire" for "role model" in the above, and you have the essence of the internationalist critique of the U.S. Just as celebrity makes the role model in Barkley's critics' view, so power makes the empire in U.S. critics' view. Intent is irrelevant, as is the fact that much, if not most, of U.S. power doesn't flow from, or even through, Washington.

8/28/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

As Keynes said of markets, "The worst mistake is to assume rationality in an irrational world."

In 1906, any European conflict remotely approaching the coming reality of WWI was seen as so evidently self-destructive, so entirely without rational justification, as to be literally inconceivable. What TR wrote up after the Russo-Japanese war; what Lausanne and the League of Nations and similar groups propose ad infinitum-- all mean nothing. Nor is "World Government" anything but a ploy of "stability fascists" (Mark Steyn's phrase).

Unless and until diverse human populations "choose life" for themselves, as Europe did in its Industrial and Scientific Revolutions preceding Enlightenment
after the Counter Reformation --in particular the Thirty Years' War-- prosperity may continue but there will be no peace.

But South Korea's birthrate now approaches one per thousand, with twenty-one needed for replacement. Worldwide, demographics show precipitous decline. May it be that through 2100 there will be fewer, shorter, "weaker" wars (non-nuclear) because no youth will be available to fight them? Will "civilization" teleport off-planet to giant cities above the plane of the ecliptic, or will an overdue Ice Age engulf the Northern Hemisphere (the one that matters)?

Whatever happens, on the heels of cybertech's "emergent order" (a diffuse super-intelligence, by no means benign) beginning about 2030, we guarantee that today's extrapolations for 94 years ahead ignore the equivalent of nuclear energy, biogenetics, cyberspace... their equivalents absolutely will re-shape society, not as "gadgets" but because when whole worlds change, survivors will perforce have changed with them.

As for flea-bitten Saracens in their Caliphates-- dead meat. At least, the Redsox will have won another Pennant.

8/29/2006 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Odin's Acolyte said...

Tom Bombadil was not burdened by the Ring. It was as nothing to him; a powerless bauble. So too is Empire for the US. Would that we were Imperialists. We could bring the Earth to its knees.

8/31/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

So, I'm at the dentist's office looking through a magazine in the waiting room. There, I find the story of two Argentineans coming to the US to work as cowboys. And what are these gauchos herding? SHEEP!

Brokeback Mountain is billed as the heart warming tale of two cowpokes. And what are these two vaqueros herding? SHEEP!

While it is excusable to be fooled by fauxtography and photoshopping, what is to be said of a public unwilling to distinguish between B. bovine and O. aries?

I mean, like, its magic!

Indeed, “A man sees what he wants to see, and disregards the rest.” (Apologies to Paul Simon)

8/31/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I think that the reality is even more complex. The big battle of the 20th century was between liberal democracies and totalitarian ideologies. I think we have some unfinished business here, because last I checked there still are totalitarian societies around despite the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union. And the Cold War has simply coalesced into the War by Proxies. The crypto-Communism of Putin's Russia and the face-lift Chinese Maoist state have been funding Islamic proxies (themselves another form of totalitarians)to attack the United States and Israel, their arch-enemies. Iran is the most muscular of their proxies. And Iran, too, has its own proxies, in the state of Syria and the state-within-a-state of Hizb'allah. Let's get real folks. We can mind***k this thing to death with new sociopolitical templates and names, but the enemy still has the same characteristics as those of the twentieth century. Let's step away from the erudite prognostications a moment and do a checklist of all the things that rusurgent, traditional Islam has in common with fascism and communism. You will see that the differences are very few and the commonalities are quite numerous.

9/03/2006 07:28:00 AM  

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