Monday, March 3, 2014

Climbing Out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole

"So what would you do about Ukraine?" asked my exasperated interlocutor after listening to my rant on the foreign policy disaster that is the Obama misadministration. "Wrong question," I smugly replied. "Read The Diplomad for the right one."

Without doubt President Obama and John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry have fallen into yet another trap put out by the wily Putin-Lavrov hunting pair. Kerry's announced trip to Kiev, for example, is a classic scramble by a misadministration with no idea of what to do. I am willing to bet that Kerry's visit, far from being a demonstration of support for Ukrainian sovereignty, will be a Chamberlain-to-the-Czechs message of "don't increase tensions by resisting aggression." I am almost certain Kerry will advise Ukraine to roll over, and accept the loss of Crimea in exchange, maybe, for some additional vague "promises" from the West to help preserve the remainder of Czechoslovakia Ukraine. Kerry's visit certainly will do nothing to dissuade Moscow as Putin and Lavrov have taken measure of their "adversaries" and found them wanting.

Our "leaders" are simply not to be taken seriously on critical foreign policy issues. They have no overall strategic aim for our foreign policy; no clear idea where they want us to be in three, four, five years; simply put they don't really care about foreign policy. They react to crises with bland words, and by wishing them away into the cornfield with the help of the compliant media. Whatever happened to the urgency of the Syrian crisis?

As I wrote July of last year,
My experience at State and the NSC, has shown me that < . . . > [f]oreign policy for the Obama crew is an afterthought. They really have little interest in it; many key jobs went vacant for months at State, DOD, CIA, and the NSC. The Obama foreign policy team is peopled by the "well-educated," i.e., they have college degrees, and as befits the "well educated" in today's America, they are stunningly ignorant and arrogant leftists, but mostly just idiots. They do not make plans; they tend to fly by the seat of their pants using a deeply ingrained anti-US default setting for navigation. They react to the Beltway crowd of NGOs, "activists" of various stripes, NPR, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Relying on what they "know," they ensure the US does not appear as a bully, or an interventionist when it comes to our enemies: after all, we did something to make them not like us. Long-term US allies < . . . > they view as anti-poor, anti-Third World, and retrograde Cold Warriors. Why else would somebody befriend the US? Obama's NSC and State are staffed with people who do not know the history of the United States, and, simply, do not understand or appreciate the importance of the United States in and to the world. They are embarrassed by and, above all, do not like the United States. They look down on the average American, and <. . . > have no problem with anti-American regimes and personages because overwhelmingly they are anti-American themselves.
So what should we do? As noted, it's the wrong question if focussed solely on Ukraine. It is almost too late to do much about Ukraine per se. This misadministration is all about reacting to crises that arise because of things done by the misadministration. Show weakness over and over, and you find your opponents do not take you seriously, they seriously take you. Obama set the stage for the Ukrainian disaster with his policies in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan; with his disregard for our nation's military strength; his abuse of its enormous intelligence capabilities; and our collective electing of low quality people to positions of power.

The path to a real foreign policy rebirth begins at home.

As I said before our goal should be,
a government in which 95%-98% of the time it makes no difference to the average American citizen who is president. The US President should matter more to foreigners than to Americans. Except for foreign policy, national defense, times of national crisis, and providing a very broad economic vision, it should not matter who controls the White House. That means keep the government out of as many areas as possible, and where it has been involved deeply and for a long time, try to push the responsibility and resources out to the states, counties, cities, and people.
To repeat, our president should matter more to foreigners than to us. We hear nonsense from progressives about the president "running the country." Wrong! Our presidency was not designed to run the country--anybody who thinks that it was has not read the Constitution. The executive branch is not the country. The president must concentrate on the executive branch and the main tasks assigned it by the Constitution. Instead of promoting disastrous health care initiatives, listening to every phone call in Iowa, using the IRS to suppress dissent, beating up on Israel, yammering about fictitious global climate change, or demanding a costly and pointless relabeling of food products in the supermarket, the President should focus on his primary responsibility, the national defense. We must have a military capability second to none, and, in fact, greater than any foreseeable coalition of powers that might oppose us. We must stand with our allies; our word must be a gold coin; our enemies and friends must know we say what we mean and mean what we say, to wit, we have the biggest gun and will pull the trigger. The enemy is real and dangerous--a look at the forcibly altered NYC skyline should be proof enough of that. The "end of history" silliness should have died in the rubble of the Twin Towers.

More than ever before we need a rebirth of personal liberty that would produce the wealth and technology to underpin our military and economic strength. Aggressive fracking and ambitious marine oil drilling efforts, for example, by the US and Canada would help undermine the economic and, therefore, the military strength of Russia, Iran, and other trouble-makers. An unleashing of the tremendous creative potential which still exists in our frayed Republic would create one, two, many Silicon Valleys that would generate whole new technologies and sources of wealth. The government must get out of the way: taxes axed; regulations tossed by the dumpster-full; bureaucracy slashed and burned like the choking weed cover that it is.

Above all, we need men and women in the highest reaches of our government who know, understand, and love the greatness that is Western civilization, especially that variant of it handed us by our great English forefathers, and the role the USA should and must play in ensuring its survival. We do not have that now; freedom-loving people around the world pay the price for that hideous fact, and that must change. That is the only way out of this hole dug by the Obamistas and their "progressive" groupies.

69 comments:

  1. "We must have a military capability second to none, and, in fact, greater than any foreseeable coalition of powers that might oppose us"

    The Brits worked on that basis for the Royal Navy when there was an Empire. It had to be two [or three?] times the combined sum of any other navies that might oppose it including the US and the idea worked. The sight of a "Man of War" with a White Ensign was a hint that you were about to confront some serious opposition. Some people didn't like it but then they tended not to like the concepts that Britain was promoting. Tough.

    I refuse to believe that in a generation the US has gone from a country with people of industry and vision to one of indolence , sloth and myopic social welfare introspection.

    US policy has not always been correct and sometimes the US should have kept its nose out of other people's business but whatever the criticisms that could be levelled there was an underlying desire to promote freedom.

    I hope I live to see that USofA return.

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    1. "I refuse to believe that in a generation..."

      You've seen California, right? And Massachusetts did vote for a Republican Presidential candidate a generation ago, right? Demographics is destiny. Comprehensive immigration reform, indeed.

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    2. I hope Australia is making sure it is well-defended.

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    3. "I refuse to believe that in a generation the US has gone from a country with people of industry and vision to one of indolence , sloth and myopic social welfare introspection."

      Well, it has.

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    4. It has taken a lot more than one generation, but it has indeed happened.

      RIP USofA.

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    5. Australia is not making sure it is well defended. The last left leaning government made sure there was no money left now or in the foreseeable future.

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  2. A clarion call Mr. Mad and right on the money, except listening in on Iowans. I don't trust people who hold caucuses.

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  3. Dip,
    solid agreement with your diagnosis of what is needed. I would suggest that Mark Steyn has the idea of methodology required. Culture change.
    see here http://www.steynonline.com/6139/shifting-the-culture
    Cheers

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  4. Diplomad, I know it's a different subject, but could you post (or direct me to a post) which explains the obsession the current administration has with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-02/obama-to-israel-time-is-running-out

    Perhaps my question is simply answered by the above insofar that our current leadership is arrogant and has no knowledge of history.

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    1. ...but could you post (or direct me to a post) which explains the obsession the current administration has ...

      Not Diplomad here - rather Arkie.

      Google is big but it ain't that big! However, if it's an explanation for explaining "the current obsession" you'll need to pony up to get beyond the paywall for - The American Association Of Not-Progressive Psychiatrists.

      Or perhaps, write a letter to Charles Krauthammer.

      Ark

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    2. Addendum.

      While not specifically addressed in the current post (it'd be necessarily too long for a blog anyway) our host is very aware of "a little agreement" [treaty] the US signed back in '94 - you may recall which Administration that would've been - at any rate:

      However, with the conclusion of the tripartite accord in
      January 1994, the United States has committed itself to
      involvement in all aspects of the Russo-Ukrainian relationship
      that are crucial to the security of the CIS and Europe. Perhaps
      without realizing it, the United States has become a permanent
      factor in the regional security equation.


      (I'm certain the good people of Taiwan, Japan, the ROK et f'ing cetera, are feeling all warm and fuzzy about now.)

      http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub173.pdf

      Arkie

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    3. Let me jump the gun on your question, Anonymous. A general Arab-Israeli peace, and now "Palestinian"-Israeli peace, is the Holy Grail of diplomacy. It's what all the ambitious knights of the State Department Round Table would like to go out and seek, because without seeking it, nobody will ever find it.

      As for the addendum by you or some other anonymous, I'm certain that Taiwan, the ROK, and Japan are all feeling nervous. I taught in Taiwan a good many years, my wife's from there, and I have a decent knowledge of spoken and written Chinese.

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    4. (Apologies Kepha, I Arkie left those two above replies to Anon.

      Yes of course viz "Holy Grail" but the addendum address was only meant to refer to the Budapest Memorandum. Ark)

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    5. I'm also not-Diplomad, but this seems easy.

      Obama is a Muslim, and Muslims are obsessed with the destruction of Israel.

      Delete
  5. Matt, the Seventh ReaderMarch 3, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Dip:

    Please take good care of yourself and continue to write for a long time. I take no pleasure in the facts that you cover but it does me good to read an articulate explanation of things that I have long felt about BHO and the Far Left in general.

    When my son is old enough to understand your work I hope to introduce him to it along with the words of Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin etc... Of course, I will probably have to hide these works somewhere that the Thought Police will not think to look.

    Matt,

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  6. Hear, hear, Mr. Amselem. Hear, hear!

    When I taught Government, I had a rough time getting it through to students that it is Congress that makes the laws and that our Constitution's principle of Separation of Powers was to prevent any one branch, let alone an individual, have too much power. Indeed, our Constitution came at the end of a couple of centuries of the Anglosphere experimenting with ways to avoid the abuse of power.

    But I think before we have our needed political revolution, we need a major cultural revolution. The people who wrote our Constitution were schooled as Calvinists, meaning that they descended from a religious tradition that made limited government all but an article of faith. Why? The Reformed tradition in Christian theology has a profound mistrust of fallen human nature. Unlike Hobbes or the ancient Chinese Legalist school, who were too clever by a half, the Reformed thinkers such as Beza, Althusius, Ponet, Goodman, Hotman, Junius Brutus, Marnix van Sint Aldgonde, Buchanan, Knox, and Rutherford thought that the way the government could both perform its duty of protecting life and avoid the abuse of power was to put government under a set of legal limits (shades of Deuteronomy 17 and I Samuel 8). Unhappily, after a century or so of exalting the enlightenment, we are now governed by a bunch Rousseau-ites who think people are basically good (especially wise, educated Lefties!) and who would compel us all to "be free", that is, bow to some idol called the "general will". We need to dust off that Old, Black Book.

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    1. Kepha: I've just finished the section on the rise of the legalists in the Chinese history book I'm into, which ends with the founder Li Si being cut in half at the waist in public marketplace. Apparently in China for your founder of a particular school of thought to become revered they have to die a rather gruesome death first. That method could be very salutary in some doctoral programs at certain ivy league schools.

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  7. In short, everything is done for advantage in public opinion polls, or to pacify the Democratic Party chatterati (NPR, etc), or to pacify Valerie Jarrett.

    Since Russia's domestic product is one-eighth of our own (and suffers a hypertrophy of extractive industries), I would not be all that anxious they could be much of a threat to us. What would the technics of keeping a naval base in Venezuela provisioned (for as long as they have it before the stupid Peron imitators are run out of town on a rail)?

    Losing the Crimea might be a blessing for the Ukraine. Rather like someone taking a troublesome sponge of a cousin off your hands.

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  8. The proper response is for America to take Venezuela.

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  9. It's not fantasy and it's not accidental fecklessness folks.

    It is deliberate, intentional, thought-out-in-advance and designed to have precisely the effect it is having; specifically, removing America from the World Stage as a serious player and partner.

    Why do you people insist on acting surprised and outraged? This man is doing this stuff on purpose. He intended to do this from the very beginning; from the point in his life when he was a community organizer.

    Please. When you get up in the morning, shave with Occam's Razor. Seriously.

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    1. Why do you people insist on acting surprised and outraged?

      Been reading here long Mr. A'Barge?

      Arkie

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    2. Arkie, it's almost like General Secretary Obama is trying to "wrong every right" done by the West to the old USSR. Even down to the cronyism, disabling our military and apologizing where none are needed. He is playing the 20th century backwards like we used to do record albums trying to hear something demonic it seems.

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    3. Apologies Friend Whitewall.

      I shoulda limited to, "Why do you people insist on acting surprised" (maybe put an ellipsis after the "surprised ..." leaving off the "outraged") 'cause even though it being true we Diplomad readers are certainly outraged - it doesn't follow we are "surprised."

      I think we're in agreement on this Whitewall - I could've/should've left off outraged but acting surprised?

      We've Whitewall "talked" on these here pages of Diplomad's site often enough I suppose I might've taken for granted our being mutually understandable - recall James calling me on my syntax back when we three were discussing Israel though - okay okay, okay.

      I'll effort being clearer.

      Long as y'all keep in mind Mountain Arkies is Hillbillys.

      Arkies

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    4. "Long as y'all keep in mind Mountain Arkies is Hillbillys.".
      Just like Jerry Clower was a simple country preacher. Heh

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    5. You James had any luck getting Diplomad to paint his Corvette pink?

      If not, we'all Diplomad Commentators'd proallary qualerfy (more or less) as hillbillys with bona fides.

      I prefer to reckon we here are more like than "not like,"

      F'instance there's HuffPo - & I can only allow whoever to shoot up amongst to figure whereupon for themselves.

      I are a Arkie reckoning with all you otherwise Smart Folks.

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    6. Arkie,
      I wouldn't even think of touching that Vette. I want to stay in the land of the living. I have paid attention to the Diplomad's tales of cars in other countries.

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  10. Congrats Diplomad! I saw where this offering of today has been placed near the top of Instapundit . Deservedly so.

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  11. So much for the Crimea (and, by extension, Ukraine).

    Recall also that Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were also members of the serial Russian Empires who may get a 3:00 AM phone call.

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  12. Its not politically popular to note but a majority of the population in many American cities is made up of people, immigrants legal and illegal who have no special affinity to the American Empire. Some embrace our way of life well enough and make fine Conservatives but they don't come from Europe or the American culture and as such may not care a fig for what happens there or in the global sphere past economic matters or matters of their particular interest (FREX Ukrainian Russian Speakers might favor Putin) nor really should they.

    Once we opened the door to mass immigration, our ability to create a cohesive foreign policy was certain to wain.

    Now as for Steyn's changing the culture, yes but. To do this the Conservatives will have to reign in the "Chamber of Commerce" class first, its not a coincidence that American power and overseas interests were stronger when wages were higher as a percent of GDP.

    If y'all want socialism to go away than wages need to roughly double to where they were in 1973 or so and unemployment and underemployment need to go way down. I can't see the wage arbitrage people allowing this or a reduction in immigration since their goals are #1 immediate profit #2 control over workers and #3 lower wages

    Second, a large swath of the Conservatives in the country today are not interested in the quasi state Christianity promulgated by the Religious Right and have no interest in outlawing porn ,making divorce harder, opposing homosexual marriage and the rest of the So-Con baggage.

    They would favor much of the rest though including a robust national defense.

    Figuring out how to balance those things is not going to be easy but its how you will have to change the culture

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    1. Another issue is that more and more jobs are being replaced by automation. Even labor intensive operation like meat processing:
      http://youtu.be/MZIv6WtSF9I
      Similar automation systems are being developed for everything from fast food to agriculture. I fear there are going to a sizable portion of our population that will be unemployable, as they are unsuited for anything but basic manual labor. I live in an urban area. The number of people (excluding recent immigrants) who are functionally illiterate is astounding.

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    2. Whether they are employable or not is not why they are useful. Their value is in dependency on government agencies redistributing tax money to sustain them to vote for Democrats. Pretty cynical and soon pretty unsustainable.

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    3. Agree with the observations about the "Chamber of Commerce" class. The corporate lobby in Australia uncritically supports a an enormous annual immigration intake on the basis that "it is good for business" i.e. expanded markets. This is with no thought about the changing social fabric, pressure on ancient infrastructure and rising unemployment.

      It is a real challenge for Conservative governments to rein them in, since they are large contributors to election campaigns.

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  13. "They have no overall strategic aim for our foreign policy; no clear idea where they want us to be in three, four, five years; simply put they don't really care about foreign policy."

    For me, that is the heart of this fine post. Permit me to submit a clear idea of strategic aim for the long-term: USA, Russia and India ally to check -- and defeat, if necessary -- China, the only real enemy out there at this point in history: real as in (1) whose strategic goals are not entirely visible, (2) whose long-term fitness for a multi-national community is problematic if not doubtful and (3) for whom uncertainty exists over means for its defeat.

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    1. You don't count Russia as an enemy? Or you don't think that they are real?

      They dispose of an awful lot of nuclear warheads for an "unreal" threat.

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    2. While I agree that Communist China is not to be trusted (talk about a culture of bullying!), I'd be cautious. There's a lot going on in China that points to totalitarian decay, not only in places like Sharki Turkistan (Xinjiang, as the colonialists call it) and Tibet, but even in the Han heartland.

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    3. Kepha....FINALLY. I've been waiting for you to turn on this particular light regarding China. Things are getting a little too far around the bend all at once. I don't have your first hand experience their, but I do have some know how with currencies, geography, demographics and plain old Potemkin Village economies. Among China's many problems is the fact that they have managed to get collectively old long before getting collectively wealthy as a nation.

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  14. In order to have smart diplomacy you need smart people. Not this administration.
    No real life experience anywhere. Over-inflated credentials. low intelligence level.

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  15. All these comments are nice, but they amount to nothing. A country which continues to elect as its leaders the likes of Sheila Jackson Lee and Charlie Rangel, never mind Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is not long to remain a great power. Until and unless the general electorate recognizes its folly, we are doomed.

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  16. @abprosper: wages do not need to double. Rather, we need the economic contraction and subsequent deflation the Fed has been trying to avoid. Inflation is great for companies that borrow millions, horrendous for those who save. The Fed pushing for "mild" inflation is in bed with the large crony capitalists at the expense of small companies and the average American.

    On to Diplomad's post. The decline of the British Empire started with appeasement and allowing armed aggression to go unopposed, other than with a few tepid statements.

    Hooray, the US is following the same recipe.

    World War III will kick off in a couple of years, finishing the financial destruction of the US and China will move into the power vacuum left by the destruction of the US.

    -Blake

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    1. I can't see WW3 myself Blake, there has to be something tangible to be won, like for instance the extermination of the agressive Nazis, which was achieved. No, the next punchup is going to be very localised for instance the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea with up to six claimants rattling sabres at each other or the uninhabited islands at the end of the Ryuku chain, claimed by both the PRC and Japan. Possibly India and Pakistan will finally duke it out over Kashmir, that has been simmering for decades. The thought of nukes flying intercontinental is a Cold War hangover. The expression Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is as valid today as it was in the past. Say (in a wildly imaginative scenario) the PRC launches against the USA, NORAD will certainly see them coming and immediately launch a counter strike, the destruction and life loss on both sides will be immense, with no winners therefore no point to the exercise. The only world 'leader' like to do that will be that fat spaz in North Korea and despite all his posturing and rhetoric he knows full well that if he goes too far North Korea will emerge flat, glowing and lifeless within hours, fired at on all sides.
      Russia and the Ukraine look like they'd like to settle old scores but we shall see, The Ukrainians inicially backed the Wehrmacht invaders becausee they though they were being liberated and the Russians have never forgiven them. The Ukrainians for their part have never forgotted Stalin's enforced famine in that grain-rich country that claimed @20 MILLION lives. In Eastern Europe and the Balkans ancient hatreds and feuds are ingested with mother's milk, one glance at the Balkan War atrocities should have made that clear to everybody. Whatever comes net is going to be local and probably 'off the beaten track' for the most part IMHO.

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    2. Everyone thought Hitler would stop, until he didn't.

      As for nothing to be won, Russia has been invaded by the West a couple of times in the last century. Both invasions cost Russia dearly. Putin could claim to be "protecting" Russia from future attacks by the West. As a bonus, Putin consolidates even more power. And there you have what's to be won: Power.

      I see Putin moving aggressively in Europe, because of the weakness of the US. Europe, last I heard, doesn't have much of any army, because they've lived comfortably under the military shield of the US. A military shield that has been shredded by continual war.

      I think the US sort of tries to back Europe against Russian aggression and then things really come apart.

      The PRC sits back and waits to pick up the pieces. In fact, if the US is distracted by Putin, what's to stop the PRC from grabbing Taiwan?

      I can see India and Pakistan going at it and Russia siding with Pakistan. Again, we end up with a world war. If the ball of war starts rolling in a region, it will turn into a world wide avalanche of mayhem.

      I don't see any scenario that doesn't end up with our worst nightmare.

      -Blake

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    3. @-Blake

      I can see India and Pakistan going at it and Russia siding with Pakistan.

      India's currently "in talks" with the Afghans to provide arms and permanent support techs should notOtto Von Bisbama do what he appears likely to do - pull out totally.

      India, should they pull it off, would flank Pakistan.

      China it should be recalled, negotiated the mineral rights to Aynak (with ISAF / read "us" providing protection) & China's got it's own problems with Islam. As does Russia.

      There's increasing talk in the circles I hang around in, Russia in maybe ten, fifteen years will need to re-invade Afghanistan (or at least be a presence in some big way) to protect it's Near Abroad. That scenario would make a Rus-Paki alliance unlikely.

      I've never had China on a "to do list" so anything I might say should only be viewed as uninformed opinion. However, it would appear China "prefers" abandoning the so - called 'Nine Dash Line' and rather extend to the older strategic 'Eleven Dash Line.'

      The Eleven Dash Line perhaps coincidentally, includes Taiwan.

      There's a newly realized energy source discovered abundantly on some interesting locations of seabeds. Might make a note of this, you'll be hearing a lot of talk pretty soon methane hydrates.

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  17. The invasion into Ukraine made perfect sense for Putin. His popularity was sinking for quite a while in Russia, people correctly understood that his government is extremely corrupt, Olympic Games in Sochi were a pretext to steal tens of billions of dollars. Many projected an economic crisis. And now Putin found an excellent way to explain everything and unite the country.

    Had Obama have 1/5 the iq the media told us he had, he would have been paid more attention to Russia, but instead he is wasting valuable time pushing for impossible peace between Israel and PLO, while john Kerry is busy fighting "climate change". Oh, and obama's red line on Syria, unilateral disarmament, betrayal of Israel and Eastern Europe, appeasement of Iran and Moslem brotherhood did not help either.

    Obama had strategic advantages with a win in Iraq, rebellion in Iran, and technological breakthroughs for gas and oil exploration in USA. H squandered it all.

    Btw, make no mistake, as of now, many people in Russia support put ins invasion into Ukraine. Putin gas much stronger position in Russia now. Every economic trouble can now be explained by evil west.

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    1. Oh, my dear hyphenated, I personally am ready to lose my last meal from the wrong end whenever I hear of the O's "intelligence"! The academic records of "the most intelligent POTUS ever" seem to be the only secrets that America can keep anymore!

      BTW, in Hakka Chinese, "O" means, in one tone, a child, and in another "to defecate". There. I've given a hint at one of my family's own hyphenations.

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    2. Either way, the next President will have to clean up behind this "O".

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  18. Dear Diplomad, So what does this mean for US allies? I would argue that Australia has been America's most faithful ally for most of the last 70 years or more, is the ANZUS treaty no longer worth the paper it is written on? Our neighbours to the north are starting to flex their muscles in anticipation of a post US world, it may be that our future lies with closer defence ties with India & Japan, along with as much increased spending as we can afford on our navy & airforce.

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    1. " along with as much increased spending as we can afford on our navy & airforce." I would be doing it in a big hurry, if I were you.

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    2. As another reader from Oz, I completely agree with Sgt 73rd, that our future lies with defence ties with India & Japan, and also with many of the other ASEAN countries who fear the expansion of China in our region.

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    3. Yes, indeed. Australia and the US have fought in every war of the 20th and 21st century together. Australia, more os than the UK, is America's number one ally. As long as the Obama mindset dominates in the US, I don't see how any ally can trust any commitment by the USG.

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    4. Nothing personal, though. Not even the U.S. can trust any commitment by the USG.

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    5. Dip: As for your reply to the "Dauwun Undah" Poster about how not even the US can trust its own government anymore, I concur while standing up to my thighs in dust and ashes and reciting the whole book of Lamentations.

      However, as for ASEAN states that fear Chinese expansion (per anonymous post above), I have reservations about a possibly unstable Indonesia, a Malaysia committed to squeezing its non-Muslim minorities (which are sizeable in Sarawak and Sabah), and a Burma that is assiduously sultivating Chinese ties.

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    6. I'm an average background American. I don't know what faith you (as an ally) can put in our administration but I do know that I can say that Australia is one of the few countries I grit my teeth but be willing to see my kids sent off to defend or support just because I believe it would be the right thing to do. At the least know that I will vote for those that honor that faith.

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  19. ! Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: BLOCKQUOTE

    <blockquote>Aggressive fracking and ambitious marine oil drilling efforts, for example, by the US and Canada would help undermine the economic and, therefore, the military strength of Russia, Iran, and other trouble-makers.
    --The DiploMad.
    </blockquote>

    Not only can Sarah Palin see Putin's soul from her house, her Drill Baby Drill call turns out to be a smart domestic economy/foreign policy strategy too.

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    1. (Micha Elyi?

      This is a blogspot blog (with no Search function - s'why every comment I've ever placed is copied -with date & title- onto a Word docx, thumbed) so ... attempting to do blockquotes is futile. Blogger does of course, easily allow embed linking but - to do much more (without having to go to the labor of mirroring) ... requires the limited alt-codes methodology. Some keyboard stuff, italicizing, bolding are easy enough but ...

      But unless one is subject to a non disclosure heck, we're all friends here. Depends on whether one is attempting a comment from a "not so nice/understanding place."

      Still. Diplomad 2.0 when it comes to "certain stuff" is easier to depend on than even Reuters. Depends on one's tolerance for being/getting into spots I suppose. Arkie)



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  20. The real problem is not the Ukraine, which is in the news, but China.

    In the Philippines no one really expects the US to help out, despite all that talk, which is why we are spending money we need elsewhere to buy used ships to defend our fishermen...
    Also not noticed: Obama's pro gay bullying is turning off Africa. If you don't think China will benefit from that nonsense, you are wrong.

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    1. "The" real problem?

      I wasn't listening when they passed a law that there can only be one.

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    2. James: Well, Li Si was a faithful servant of the First Qin Emperor, who was perhaps a model totalitarian even though he lived in the 3d century B.C.

      However, I seem to recall that Kong Zi died in bed and Lao Zi disappeared into the Western Regions riding an ox.

      Also, as a Christian, I can't note what happened to our founder three days before his resurrection!

      Shalom.

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    3. Kepha,
      "Also, as a Christian, I can't note what happened to our founder three days before his resurrection!" Touche`, point taken. Perhaps I'm a little too tongue in cheek at times. Anyway the book is a basic survey of Chinese history, prehistory to the 19th century, thought it would be a good way to start. I do get tickled with how they title some of their writings.

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  21. Gday Bob, can you brief me on the 'Xmas in Cambodia' reference you use with John Kerry? What does it mean?

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    1. During his run for the presidency, Kerry told this weird, highly improbable story (a lie, in other words) about a secret mission he conducted in Cambodia in December 1968. He kept saying he had been sent there illegally by President Nixon. Nixon, of course, was not President in 1968. There is no record of this mission in any Pentagon or CIA records.

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    2. Ah so that's it. It is as we say Down Under 'bullsh1t' as you do in the USA. I don't know if you've ever read it but there is a very good book about the Vietnam War called 'Unheralded Victory' by a bloke called Mark W. Woodruff. In it he debunks much of the media negativity about US involvement and also payse generous tribute to the Australian effort of which I was certainly appreciative having completed three tours between 1965 & 1970. Towards the end of the book is a chapter called 'False Witnesses' where he exposes a number of high-profile US citizens who have lied blatantly and publically about their supposed SVN 'service'. Publish date is 1999 so I expect that it predates John Kerry's fantasies, Well worth a read however.

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    3. It's actually worse than our host lets on Popular Front, I suppose it's due to being "diplomatic."

      I've a friend [UDF SEAL] predates the modern 6 - get round Fort Pierce and you'll reckon the "story." Or ... go to Flea's bar (Coronado - yeah, same place Jesse Ventura got his lights knocked out) and ask around there.

      These days everything's weird. --- Except maybe as that hillbilly might be on about.

      Unless ...

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    4. Popular Front, I have read the Woodruff book written by a former US marine who got so fed up with life in the US after Vietnam he became an Australian and served in the Australian navy.

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  22. Just read an interesting observation by Ricochet's Paul Rahe regarding the deafening silence of China regarding Ukraine. Would love to know your thoughts on this, Diplomad.

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    1. Russia has been assiduously courting China, not criticizing, for example, its moves against Philippines and Japan, and, of course, saying nothing negative about China's human rights record. China finds having relations with Russia to be much simpler than with the US, and China sees Putin as "the strong horse" and Obama as a weird Prancing Pony of no consequence. Go with the strong horse.

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  23. BRAVO. Remove the domestic issues from the feds and push them back to were they belong the states, counties, cities, and leave the Feds to foreign affairs.

    A very radical idea in todays times sadly, a return to the CONSTITUTION.

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