Friday, April 06, 2007

Sailing Beyond the Edge of the World

Mark Steyn notes that Francis Fukuyama still thinks he can see the End of History -- and it looks exactly like the European Union.

I believe that the European Union more accurately reflects what the world will look like at the end of history than the contemporary United States. The EU's attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a "post-historical" world than the Americans' continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military.

Most of us are familiar with the way ordinary law works and presumably "transnational law" works in the same way. A judge may issue a warrant, but it doesn't enforce itself. It usually requires the efforts of another official, like a Marshal, who is prepared to physically carry out the order, to make the judge's order stick. I have never heard of a self-enforcing warrant yet.

Historically, the EU owes its very existence to the fact that America, with its "continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military" kept the Soviet Union from overrunning it. It is questionable whether Europe could today even obtain oil supplies from the Middle East or maintain freedom of navigation in the vital waters like the Persian Gulf (remember HMS Cornwall?) without America, with its "continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military".

It doesn't make much sense to plan on living in a "post-historical" world unless one can exist an historical world. But maybe the EU plans on leaving history to the United States while it waits patiently, having missed the Worker's Paradise, for the next scheduled mothership.


Blogger Tony said...

The last time the Mother Ship arrived, it had Gort to enforce the Peace.

It's such a great idea, no wonder we all wish it was true. Wonder why it's never happened so far.... How do you actually shed history?

The history of mankind is the history of War, written by the victors.

Like fish who wish they walked on land, man wishes for no more war.

Then, history teaches, they get back to business.

4/06/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

The EU has a fertility rate of 1.47.(2.1 is considered replacement rate).

If one fails to make children...the end recorded history is a certainty.

4/06/2007 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

It’s hard to argue with Fukuyama, really.

Sturgeon’s Revelation states that 90% of everything is crud.

Therefore, 90% of international organizations will be ineffective and all but pointless. Just like the European Union.

Leaving, as usual, 10% of us to carry the load.

4/06/2007 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Man, things really skidded between the 80/20 rule and that Sturgeon Revelation. We lost half of our effectives.

4/06/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Niall Ferguson remarked that the principal weakness of a great power is that it must extend its protection to its allies. This fact is exploited by terrorism. You dominate the strong by attacking the weak. For example:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the release of five Taliban for an Italian journalist will not be repeated. " Prior to Mastrogiacomo's release, Taliban beheaded his driver Sayed Agha, while his interpreter Ajmal Nagshbandi remains in rebel custody." (Deutsche Press Agentur)

4/06/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The EU’s delusions about the sufficiency of “soft” power are embarrassingly revealed.

By Victor Davis Hanson

‘It’s completely outrageous for any nation to go out and arrest the servicemen of another nation in waters that don’t belong to them.” So spoke Admiral Sir Alan West, former First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, concerning the Anglo-Iranian crisis over captured British soldiers. But if the attack was “outrageous,” it was apparently not quite outrageous enough for anything to have been done about it yet.

Sir Alan elaborated on British rules of engagement by stressing they are “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting ... Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”

One might suggest, not necessarily “sinking everything in sight,” but at least shooting back at a few of the people trying to kidnap Britain’s uniformed soldiers. But the view, apparently, is that stepping back and allowing some chaps to be “captured and taken away” is to be preferred to “roaring into action and sinking everything in sight.” The latter is more or less what Nelson did at the battle of the Nile, when he nearly destroyed the Napoleonic fleet.

How far the Brits have fallen...

4/06/2007 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Assault of the Transnational Progressives

4/06/2007 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's Miller Time! (mp3's available in archives.)

Our first guest was Mark Steyn, author of America Alone:
The End of the World as We Know It.

Steyn attacked cultural relativism and the "teaching the world to sing together in perfect harmony" mentality with a lot of humor. And for those of you who don't know, Steyn is British and delivers all his lines with impeccable English locution. Cheers!

4/07/2007 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...


Funny that you mention “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Since 9/11/01 I have thought about the message in that film. We wondered who those people were, that would entrust their future and their liberty to machines, rather than themselves. And now we know. They were the UN and EU.

Afraid, unwilling, and just too damn lazy to attain the power for themselves, they have decided to entrust it to a faceless machine, a bureaucracy.

Funny thing was, when Gort arrived, he was wearing the Stars and Stripes. And then they got really scared, because this robot’s message was not delivered via words, but was nonetheless very clear. It is:
“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

4/07/2007 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

Canadian i think Doug

4/07/2007 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


Gort was the perfect deus ex machina, or maybe Klaatu was deus and Gort was the machina. In any case, it put a happy ending to war, like Fukuyama.

In the long run, Gort seems a more realistic ending than Fukuyama's EU. Western technology is quickly moving in the direction of the Terminator, pretty soon there won't be any troops in the boats or planes. It'll be the suiciders vs. machines.

I still believe we'd be a letter further along if we started this whole thing off with a big bang before the sun ever set over the smoking ruins on 9/11/01.

4/07/2007 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

Steyn is Canadian not English (He lives in the US - New Hampshire, which he wrote of often during the Presidential election). I have been a big fan of his for many years.

4/07/2007 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

I have worked for a British company for many years and travel there frequently. I like the British and have made many close friendships with my colleagues who I work with. These folks represent a pretty good cross section - i.e. private school/public school, trust fund kids, vs. kids who grew up working class, colleagues whose parents were academics vs. retired military (who now work as beefeaters at london tower, which is cool - I wish we had that here), and everyone in between.

To a person, each one of these individuals would rather pretend that the world's threats are not as significant as I think they are. They would rather focus on doing business and make money.

To a person, they think that the US is the main problem, or at least the biggest part of the problem - especially cowboy Bush. Yet, when I try to engage in serious conversation, I find that they don't know much and echo their opinions because it is easy and popular to bash the US and Bush.

To a person, they have forgotten their past - Nelson, Wellington and Wilberforce. They have forgotten their Christian heritage, that despite its problems, has been a major force for good in the world.

Unfortunately, except for the US and Australia, I think this is true of much of the western world today.

4/07/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

Thank you, Wretchard, for another outstanding link -- summarized with intelligence and wit.

4/07/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

The British philosopher, John Stuart Mills, wrote:

War is an ugly thing. But, not the ugliest of things. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight. Nothing for which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept free by the exertions of better men them himself.

I just heard Col. Jack Jacobs quote this on Little Green Footballs regarding the British Royal Marines

p.s. I posted before under shivermetimbers, but can't seem to log on again. I am new to responding, so forgive my using another account. Not trying to be tricky.

4/07/2007 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bottlenecks in Designing the First Computer
Charles used the same elevator as Yuri Gagarin!
...Meanwhile, NASA Burns Money like it's free.

4/08/2007 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's Miller's mistake, not mine!

4/08/2007 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Nice link, Doug!

My alma mater has a copy of the Rosetta Stone in the Penn Museum, and not two blocks away, in the Moore School of Engineering, there still sits the remains of Eniac. I never connected the two before.

Speaking of sailing beyond the edge, my own Congressman, Adm. Sestak, just spoke at a fund-raiser for CAIR last night in Philly. Since the guy was a 3 Star, regardless of the circumstances of his career's demise, you think he coulda got a good job with Halliburton or some honest line of work.

4/08/2007 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...

Go easy on Francis--he only thinks it's still the 1990's. Most of the Leftists think we're in the 1960's, and the Marxists are stuck in 1917.

4/08/2007 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

TonY: I saw where the bad guys in Iraq recently claimed to have captured one of our bomb-defuusing robots. I wonder if they are torturing the poor thing?

I thought from the beginning that the way to handle tunnels such as in Afghanistan would be to roll in an armed robot. And build it so that if it is damaged too badly to come back out or if you lose communications, a built-in tactical nuke would go off.

4/08/2007 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

RWE and Tony:
They're still using the same launch pad as sputnik, '57!
...and the Same tower setup:
The rocket is suspended in the middle by arms with counterweights.
When the thrust builds, they release the arms, and the counterweights pull the arms away!
He claims it's the same Rockets as Sputnik, too, just more of them!

4/08/2007 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

3 days before launch, he's pictured indoors with the rocket, still not assembled with the rest of the assembly.
...mass production of an old standby.

4/08/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Von Neuman used to sponser Sports car racing teams.
My favorite quote:
"Von Neumann was married twice.
He married Mariette Kövesi in 1930.
When he proposed to her, he was incapable of expressing anything beyond
"You and I might be able to have some fun together, seeing as how we both like to drink."

4/08/2007 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

By suspending it in the middle, the rocket does not have to be stronger at the base.

4/08/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

Obviously Mr. Fukuyama has editorial privileges at The Economist and makes his pronouncements through a gin-induced fog of understanding.

4/08/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: Yep, the SS-6 Sapwood, as we designated the ICBM that launched Sputnik, is still going strong. Futhermore, its use is expanding - they are building a pad for it in Brazil.

It is the only vehicle that the Russians use to both launch people into space and cargos to the space station - and the only one they ever have. After Columbia, it was the only one the U.S. would use for years as well.

The SS-6 is not only the most launched space booster of all time, it is the most launched one of the 21st Century. The most launched U.S. booster of the 21st Century comes up as third - and it is the Delta II, which was evolved from the Thor, which was a hurry-up emergency response to the SS-6.

As I say in my forthcoming book, space launch has seen the least advancement of any area.

4/09/2007 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's great:
Please be generous in linking it here and at the Elephant Bar when it comes out so we won't miss it.

I remember the Thor well. My best friend worked on Aegena at Lockheed Sunnyvale and then Lockheed Murietta in CO. He now lives in Truckee CA, if your interested, I can get his e-mail for you. His job involved heat management to keep the cameras stable, I guess.
(wouldn't tell me much!)

That was back in the day when they had the re-entry film package.
Our neighbor here used to fly off Baja, for the Navy tracking those things, I guess.
That Russian booster must have a great reliability record by now?
You did see that LA Times link I put up to the Hollywood Space Junkyard, right?

4/09/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agree with this, RWE?
allen said...

Until recently, UAV research was done separately from regular Air Force wing commands. That has now changed. Some researchers believe the antipathy of the pilot mafia will stall and even halt some promising research and development.

If left unfettered by politics, American UAVs would dominate the skys within a decade, or two at the most. Oh, and they are, relatively, dirt cheap.

4/09/2007 02:44:00 PM  

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