Good or Bad for the Jews

"Good or Bad for the Jews"

Many years ago, and for many years, I would travel to Morocco to visit uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. Some lived in Tangiers;...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Thought or Maybe Two on the San Francisco Gun-Running Scandal . . .

Well, well, well . . . reads almost like a script for Fox's "Sons of Anarchy" TV show.

California state senator Leland Yee, who has spearheaded any number of anti-gun laws and efforts in the once Golden State, has been busted.

Now, of course, he is a Democrat and from San Francisco, and wildly popular among the progressives of this once-great state, so, naturally, any reasonably intelligent person would assume he is a crook. Well, as it turns out, he is. But, oh delicious irony! Yee has been busted by the FBI for gun-running! He had some convoluted plan to get guns from Filipino Muslim terrorists and Russian gun dealers, and, and . . . He also fantasized about hiding out in the jungles in the Philippines and becoming a guerrilla. Oh, yes, he also is connected to the Chinese mafia.

There are lots of press accounts out about him; you can read them.

I don't see anybody, however, asking one interesting question.

Remember "Fast and Furious"?  The Obama administration's attempt to "prove" that the guns in Mexico's violence came from the US, especially from US gun shows and Red State gun dealers?

Why would Yee have to get involved with Russians and Filipino Muslim terrorists to get guns? Couldn't he have just driven to Arizona or Texas, and loaded up a few dozen environmentally green Prius hatchbacks at some red neck gun show with all sorts of easily available "assault weapons"? Seems odd. Would seem to be much easier than going all the way to the Philippines . . . Could it be that the guns in Mexico, as I wrote so long ago, do not come from US gun stores and gun shows?

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Russia Factor

Some time back, perhaps 2002 or 2003, maybe a bit earlier, I attended an international security conference in Singapore. Several countries had representatives there, including Russia and China. One speaker, a senior Singapore official--I think Tony Tan, but could be wrong as my memory for names is not great any more--said in blunt terms, the norm for Singaporean officials (Singapore's founder, Lee Kwan Yu, is one of the great and blunt statesmen of the 20th century) that he was proud of Singapore's alliance with the United States; very glad to live in a world in which the United States was the sole superpower; and, above all, to live in one in which the United States and its allies had won the Cold War. He stared at and spoke directly to the fidgeting Russian officials, saying that had the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact won the Cold War, the world would be far poorer, less free, and all around worse off. I had to restrain my impulse to cheer and stomp, but found heartening this rare, clear, unambiguous, no "moral equivalence" statement by a foreign representative.

I mention this bit of "ancient" history as I see on comment boards, including on this humble blog, certain people again trying to draw a moral equivalence between Russia and the United States, between Russia and the West. If the United States can have bases in many parts of the world, and can intervene in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, then why shouldn't Russia be able to take the Crimea or have military bases in Latin America? If Britain had an empire, why can't Russia have one? It, furthermore, is not just obscure commentators on obscure blogs; I have heard college profs and students say this, and most of you probably have heard more than one "progressive" and even a prominent libertarian (and here) come pretty close to justifying Russia's actions in Crimea, and deriding the idea of any US response--even Obama's absurdly tepid one.

Let's go back to the point raised in Singapore. Imagine that the Soviet bloc had won the Cold War. By "won" I mean that major Western countries had collapsed, economically and militarily, and undergone massive political upheavals that left them almost unable to act on the world scene. What kind of a world would we have? Would the USSR have shown tolerance and understanding as it stood on the borders of Western Europe and not sought to take advantage militarily, economically, and politically of the situation? What sort of societies would we have in Western Europe? Thriving and prosperous "liberal" democracies? Doubt it. At best, we would have a bunch of Vichy-like regimes, ever aware of the alpha wolf just outside their doors. The global economy would be a bleak shambles, with poverty and misery at historically high levels. Not only democracy, but liberty would have been in peril of being extinguished. It would have been the most dystopian of imaginable futures. Whatever grievances, including some real ones, Russia might have about how it was treated by the victorious West after the collapse of the USSR, they pale into insignificance with what we would have seen had the roles of victor and vanquished been reversed.

I don't want to go into a full-blown discussion of Russia and the West through the ages, but would say that Russia almost always, if not always, has been on the edge of Western consciousness. Before anybody gets offended, there is no doubt about the greatness of Russia's contributions to the hard sciences, literature, theater, and music. Russia for numerous reasons, however, never has been fully a part of Western civilization. Starting with Peter the Great, Russia's Tsars made on-and-off, and usually half-hearted efforts to become part of the West. Those rulers were attracted to the wealth, power, and technological advancement of the West, but had little to no interest in adopting Western ideas of democracy and, especially, liberty which made that wealth, power, and technology possible. There seemed always a dark, conspiratorial, even piratical tone to Russia's relations with the West: we seeing Russia, not unreasonably, as a crude, obscurantist, dangerous bogeyman, and Russia viewing the West, not always inaccurately, as looking down on Russia and intent on preventing it from finding its rightful "place in the sun." Russia's attempts to find this "place in the sun," of course, ran into notable obstacles such as Japan's own quest for that sunny spot which generated a massive defeat for Tsarist efforts to become a major force in Asia and the Pacific, and, lest we forget, World War I which ended the Tsars and served as midwife for the even more horrid Bolshevik rule.

Things did not change for the better during the Communist Interregnum. The seventy years of Communism proved a profound political, economic, and humanitarian disaster for Russians and the other people of the Bloc. Soviet Communism murdered tens-of-millions of persons, and proved incapable of producing a modern economy. Communism, however, did give Russia the illusion of owning the future: Soviet Communism, the Premier declared to the UN while banging his shoe on the podium, would "bury" the capitalist world. Moscow would become the new Rome; no longer just a backwater, it would speak for the world's workers, peasants, and intellectuals; it would show how Marxist Revolutionary thought could be harnessed and turn Russia into the world's foremost power. While the USSR built an impressive military apparatus, including the world's largest nuclear arsenal, the respect sought didn't happen. Except for "highly educated and extremely smart" Western and Third World university intellectuals, most people saw through Moscow's preening. Russia, in essence, remained the Congo with rockets. Reagan and Thatcher laughed off Communism's pretensions, put their faith in the West's ability to create wealth and generate overwhelming military power by the unshackling of individuals, and the Bloc fell apart in a way few if any empires have done before: quickly, almost bloodlessly (pace Ceaușescu), and with a whimper not a bang--and live on television. Again, no "place in the sun" for Russia.

The return of non-Soviet rule to Russia did not prove altogether happy. It was marked by extreme corruption and gangsterism, and the development of a semi-authoritarian political system. The once formidable Soviet military went into near-total collapse and Russia's foreign policy was characterized by confusion and a stunning lack of funds. A little anecdote: I was assigned to La Paz, Bolivia, 1992-95. A senior military attache at the Russian Embassy had a major heart attack. He told me the doctors said he had to leave La Paz and its 11,000 ft altitude or face serious risk of death. The Russian Embassy had no funds to send him anywhere. The poor man had to struggle on. Another Russian staff member had a seriously ill wife, who, too, could not leave La Paz. The Russian Embassy was forced to sell furniture, cars, and other items to buy food, and pay electric and water bills; it also had to move employees out of leased houses and onto Embassy grounds. The Diplowife reminds me that many of us took to inviting Russians to our events just to feed them. Defeat has consequences.

Did the West deal properly with Russia in the wake of the Soviet collapse? Perhaps not. In retrospect, we probably could find missed opportunities to help Russia make a dignified transition. In general terms, the greatest failing--Whom do we blame? I don't know--was Russia's failure to incorporate into the Western world. Unlike China, Russia never became a key player in the world's economy. It never developed an openness to outside investment, and the emphasis on an export-driven manufacturing economy. Yes, it had gas and oil, but that seemed more for use as a weapon against the West than a means by which Russia would become a full participant in the global economy. Certainly the incompetent, though amiable, Yeltsin did not help matters, and his apparently docile stance re the West fed rising Russian nationalist anger that would result in the Putin Restoration.

We can debate all this endlessly, but for now anyhow, we have Putin and his old fashion Russian nationalism in charge of an angry and revanchist Russia. We, the mighty victors of the Cold War, now have President Obama, a man determined to throw away that victory. This attitude of self-inflicted defeat, unfortunately, is not unique to the USA. Throughout the West, with a few exceptions noted before, to wit, Harper, Abbott, Netanyahu, we have elected inept leadership who fail to understand that history did not end with the collapse of the USSR, and that the West's freedoms and prosperity require constant effort to maintain in the face of domestic stupidity and foreign challengers such as Putin and the Jihadis.

Dealing with Russia will require resolve and determination. With the right policies, however, it should prove considerably less difficult than dealing with the once more powerful USSR. Russia is a much smaller nation, and one in serious demographic decline. It has not resolved its economic problems and has a shaky political system that is not certain to survive the departure--whenever that is--of Putin. What Putin has is Putin. He understands the multiplier effect of determined leadership and how that can make up for many orders of military inferiority.

I have discussed before how to deal with Russia's ambitions, and won't repeat. Let's go back, again, to the opening theme of this now too-long post: equivalence. Simply put, I do not want to live in a world of Russian predominance or one in which Russia, at least the Russia of yesterday and today, is a major player around the world, especially in our neighborhood. Western influence is a far superior product to what Russia peddles. Whatever flaws might have existed, for example, in British society in 1914, Britain was a far superior place to live than Tsarist Russia. A subject of the British Empire had vastly more freedom and opportunity than did one of the Russian Empire. Whatever flaws exist in Britain today, it still remains a far, far better place to live and raise children than does Russia. During the Second World War and the Cold War, the USA had serious domestic issues, not the least of which was racial discrimination. Despite our flaws and failures to live up to our own lofty ideals, America was a far superior place to live than Soviet Russia, and, despite Obama, still remains that way when compared to Putin's Russia. Overseas, Panamanians, for example, might not have liked the overwhelming US military and economic presence in their country, but they merely had to compare Panama's standard of living with that of Cuba's to understand that if you have to make a choice between coming under US or Russian influence, well, it wasn't much of a debate.

Russia is not a force for good, freedom, or prosperity. Whatever the flaws of the West, and they are many, the West is better than Russia; if you don't believe me, ask the many Russian immigrants who live around me. There is a difference between having Russian influence and having Western influence. Seems odd even to have to make this point, and that says something about the period of intellectual and moral decay in which we now live.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sums it up re a University Education . . .

Took this picture today over at the University of California, Irvine.

One picture kinda sums up where our universities are . . . and I don't want to hear that this is some clever discourse on Newtonian physics, Kantian limits of knowledge, or Hegelian dialectic. . .

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Quo Vadis, Caesar Vladimir Vladimirovich?

Via The Hill (h/t Drudge) we see that the Conqueror of Crimea is setting his imperial eyes on regions far removed from Russia's traditional Near Abroad,
Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn. 
To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.

Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.

“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.” 
Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America. 
“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.
I have written before that while we announce the end of the Monroe Doctrine, Russia announces that it seeks military facilities in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. All three of those regimes, by the way, are shining examples of what happens when the USA behaves in a weak and confused manner, especially in a region of vital concern to us.

I am no genius, and don't play one on the internet or anywhere else. It does not require a genius to see what is happening in the post-USA world of the Obamistas. Other actors, many of them ruthless opponents of Western values of democracy and liberty, are stepping in to fill the power vacuum and reshape the world--and do it while laughing at us. Of these actors, Putin is the most determined and committed to reforming the globe into a place much less congenial for those Western values, and much friendlier to Russia's rise to the top. His plan is exceedingly simple. No Snowden-like revelations required. Taking advantage of the weakness and self-loathing of the Obama misadministration, Putin is out to neutralize Europe and make it into an economic resource for Russia, e.g., gas sales, investments, access to high tech, and to ease the US out of the picture. NATO is to be seen for what it increasingly has become, to wit, a joke.

With his cost-free move in Crimea, Putin has put on notice all the former republics of the old Soviet Empire. Their freedom of action is severely constrained; they must never go against the perceived interests of Russia OR of Russians. He is reasserting Moscow's predominance over the "Stans" aided by our precipitous withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Middle East, Putin is the savior of his Assad ally in Syria, and a behind-the-scenes force in getting the US and the West to give up on blocking Iran's nuclear ambitions. His steadfastness in backing Assad stands in sharp contrast to our treatment of Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian military, our needless sacrifice of Qaddafi, and our relentless pressure on Israel to cave to ever-shifting "Palestinian" demands. In East Asia, our fecklessness in dealing with the threat from North Korea, and our weakness in the face of China does not pass unnoticed. Putin is out to show East Asia that the US is not a reliable partner and that those nations would be better off reconsidering their alignments. Correction: Putin does not really need to do this; Obama is doing it on his own, projecting weakness and lack of seriousness when it comes to economic and military subjects, and by sending his idiotic wife to lecture elite Chinese high school students on the need for education.

Putin, Maduro, Rouhani, Castro, et al, see the US refusing to take the measures that would lead to a reassertion of superpower status, e.g., frack, undo military budget cuts, free our economy of regulatory shackles, and, apparently rightly so, have decided that the US no longer wants to be a superpower. We are content not only to watch but to fund the rise of our enemies.

Putin has seen his opportunity and he is taking it. We, however, seem more inspired in our reactions not by Winston Churchill, or Teddy Roosevelt, but by crazy 19th century Bolivian dictator Mariano Melgarejo who sent his troops to invade Europe but when he found out how far it was to the Old World, decided to fire a cannonade in Europe's direction, instead.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Flight MH370 and Foreign Policy in a Dangerous World

I don't know about you, but I am finding the coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 beyond annoying. Every couple of hours it seems we are regaled with a new "STARTLING, BREAKING, OMG" revelation that is then superseded by another equally as "STARTLING, BREAKING, OMG" revelation.

This 24/7 nearly information-free coverage, however, does a few big things:

1) Tortures the already suffering family members of the people on that plane;

2) Boosts ratings and sells a lot of air time;

3) Feeds an endless number of conspiracy theories; and, my favorite,

4) Hides that Obama and his Western colleagues have no clue on how to deal with the end of the world as they know it--the end of the fantasy world created by the progressive loons in charge of the West (Australia, Canada, and Israel excepted) and the brutal reassertion of the real world.

To quote Herbert Stein, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

Yes, my loopy progressive friends, the fantasy ride is over.

Time to collect the same-sex partners and test-tube kids; get back into the Prius, hope the battery is not dead; and head home to the stagnant economy, the mortgage, the leaky roof, the uncollected garbage, the sky-high energy bills, the unemployed and unemployable college students receiving a DOA education, and a American health care system, once the greatest in the world, now on death's door thanks to your prescriptions. Oh, and let's not forget the misunderstood thugs and terrorists with their knives out, waiting in the driveway to cut all our throats, yes, our--yours and mine.

We as a nation, as a collection of nations known as the West, the best, and only hope for mankind for these past many hundreds of years, must rediscover foreign policy. We cannot just wish it away; it is real. The outside world matters. What happens in dirty huts in the desert, in fetid caves in the mountains, or in the gilded hallways of the Kremlin can matter a great deal. I am sorry for the repetition, but as I wrote almost two years ago,
Foreign policy is important. It should not be an afterthought, or something left to the naive, the incompetent, the ignorant, or the malicious, i.e., the Obama administration. Securing foreign markets, for example, can prove a major source of jobs, as I have noted before. Even more important, however, foreign affairs can get you killed. We need go back no further than September 11, 2001, to see a grotesque reminder of how the outside world can come calling. Simply put, there are people who want to kill us, all of us, men, women, children, old, young, Democrat, Republican, independent, white, black, brown, Christian, Jew, agnostic, atheist, etc. Some are so eager to kill us that they willingly die to do so. I repeat: foreign affairs can get you and your family killed, and right in your home or work place. We saw it on 9/11/2001; on 12/7/1941; and almost saw it during thirteen days in October 1962, when JFK nearly got into WWIII because he did not have the vision, intelligence, and gumption to get rid of Castro when he had the opportunity, an opportunity bought with the blood of brave Cuban freedom fighters in April 1961. They want to kill us, crush us, and conquer us, because of who we are. What we, a mix of races, religions, and creeds, have accomplished has defied and continues to defy the predictions and prescriptions of royalists, Nazis, Fascists, Marxists, populists, jihadists, and all-knowing UN and EU bureaucrats.
I have written so much about this subject, it is almost unbearable for me to have to repeat it. It just seems such a waste to have to go on and on about the basics, about the one big immutable fact of the world: the strong survive, the weak die. A corollary to that, of course, is that the survivors write the history--something about which I tried to remind our silly leaders who argue that Putin is on the "wrong side of history."

Anyhow, I list here several of my pieces on the need for a serious foreign policy. Please share them with your loopy lefty friends. Hope they help as an antidote to the obsession with MH370.

Climbing Out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole

Obama Foreign Policy (Part 1)

Obama Foreign Policy (Part 2)

Towards a New Foreign Policy (Part 1)

Towards a New Foreign Policy (Part 2)

Towards a New Foreign Policy (Part 3)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crimea River: The Obama "Sanctions" Kick in; Moscow Stock Exchange Moves Up


Those are some "sanctions" on Russia, eh? My head is just reeling! So much testosterone in the air!

These "sanctions" are so powerful, so worthy of a mighty nation such as the United States, so in accord with all the hoopla raised over Putin's moves on Ukraine that . . . the Moscow stock exchange jumped upward several percentage points today. Putin and Lavrov must be "trembling" as Russia's economy keeps on chugging.

The "sanctions" are pathetic and absurd. They do, however, fit in with the sort of thing I noted before when discussing sanctions on Russia and how this misadministration would use them,
[S]anctions are supposed to be targeted, smart, appropriate--come up with your own tired cliche--and are meant to show a steely resolve, but a flexible steely resolve, that inflicts pain without being too painful, and doesn't hurt anybody too much and who is too important and who might get angry and do something nasty back at us. In other words, it's nonsense that often does less than nothing, and many times makes you look weak and silly in the eyes of your opponent. 
Think I got that prediction nailed down pretty well.

If anything, Obama's sanctions are even more absurd than I could have imagined. We learn that they are aimed at seven, yes, seven Russians and four Ukrainians whom Obama considers particularly offensive and bearing a special onus for the Crimea crisis,
"We are imposing sanctions on specific individuals for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine," Obama said."We are making it clear that there are consequences for their actions." 
The high-level government officials named by the White House are: Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina. 
Surkov and Glazyev are presidential advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The five others hold various positions in the Russian parliament and Russian government.
The punitive measure -- which will almost certainly heighten tensions between U.S. and Russia -- does not target Putin directly. 
The sanctions focus on the individual personal assets, but not companies that the officials may manage on behalf of the Russian state. Any assets that the individuals have in U.S. jurisdiction have been frozen and Americans are prohibited from doing business with them.
In addition, the Treasury Department announced it is imposing sanctions against former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk as well as Crimea-based separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov.
OK, could we look any sillier and weaker? We are going to "sanction" seven Russians, thereby making them instant heroes in Russia. Notice any names missing? How about Putin and Lavrov for starters? Nah, those guys are powerful and mean, and might actually do something, better to pick on a collection of near nobodies.

I am positively ashamed that we have a leadership so inept that it flogs its weakness and ineptness like some sort of honor. There is nothing we can do to stop Putin from taking Crimea and probably another chunk or two of Ukraine. There, however, are things we can do right away, without ever saying "sanctions," that would strengthen our position in the world and weaken Russia's economy, national budget, and war machine, but which this misadministration has refused to do. Frack! Drill! Dig coal! Unleash the enormous US energy resources on the world market; just an announcement that we are doing this would drive down the price of oil $10-20/barrel, strengthen the dollar, and hit the Russians hard in the pocketbook. Once we started fracking, drilling, and digging in earnest, Russia would be in deep trouble as would other problem children such as Venezuela, Ecuador, and Iran.

But, no; instead, we will prevent Sergey Glazyev from buying a Buick and visiting Disneyworld.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Frightened by Kerry "Ultimatum," Russian Troops Move out of Crimea . . . and Further into Ukraine

In line with his threat to the Assad regime that we would do "something unbelievably small" if the Syrian dictator didn't do what we said within a week, Pajama Boy's Secretary of State has delivered himself of yet another tough "ultimatum" on the world stage.

John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry bared his teeth, pounded his chest, and told Vladimir "I Laugh Standing on Your Mother's Grave" Putin that,
“There will be a response of some kind to the referendum itself,” Kerry said. “If there is no sign [from Russia] of any capacity to respond to this issue ... there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday.” 
“Our hope is to have Russia join in respecting international law. ... There is no justification, no legality to this referendum that is taking place,” he said. “The hope is that reason will prevail but there is no guarantee of that.”
So come Monday, unless Putin begins to "respect international law" vis-a-vis Ukraine and does something or another in response to the phony referendum in Crimea, well, then, we are going to get together with the Europeans and start discussing some "serious steps."

The Russians are so terrified of riling up Obama's boys and girls, and those of indeterminate genders, that they immediately vetoed the UN resolution on Crimea and, apparently, have begun moving troops into the rest of Ukraine. You all do remember that Sudetenland reference I made a while back? Time for Obama and Kerry to dust off the history books and look up "League of Nations," "Ethiopia," "Czechoslovakia," "Chamberlain," and "Munich" . . . or, at least, have their teleprompter handlers read this Diplomad entry.

Kerry and his Euro friends mumble on about sanctions, but let's face it, those will prove nonsensical and the brunt of these sanctions will fall on the EU since they are major trading partners with Russia and we are not. So we have to talk the EU into doing something that will damage EU interests, and trust that the EU will keep on doing it. Right, you want fries with that order?

While the Americans and the Europeans blather away, the Russians are pulling some sanctions of their own. You can tell Kerry and Obama have never played sports or been involved in business dealings. It's all well and good to make your plans, revise them, and talk about them, but you might want to consider that the other side is developing a playbook, too. Their playbook and yours might not assign the same roles to the teams. We see, therefore, that while the West prepares to discuss sanctions, Russian banks and companies are withdrawing billions of dollars from the West,
Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow. 
Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers.
In addition, an advisor to Putin is advising the dumping of US Treasuries,
An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that authorities would issue general advice to dump US government bonds in the event of Russian companies and individuals being targeted by sanctions over events in Ukraine
Sergei Glazyev said the United States would be the first to suffer in the event of any sanctions regime. 
“The Americans are threatening Russia with sanctions and pulling the EU into a trade and economic war with Russia,” Glazyev said. “Most of the sanctions against Russia will bring harm to the United States itself, because as far as trade relations with the United States go, we don’t depend on them in any way.” 
Glazyev noted that Russia is a creditor to the United States. 
"We hold a decent amount of treasury bonds – more than $200 billion – and if the United States dares to freeze accounts of Russian businesses and citizens, we can no longer view America as a reliable partner,” he said.
It appears that the Russians are beginning to do exactly what Mr. Glazyev has urged. Some $100 billion worth of US Treasuries have been moved out of New York, apparently by the Russians.

Silly talk and posturing, the making of grand-sounding statements, and drawing erasable "red lines" all have consequences. One, of course, is that Russia is not likely to undo its actions in Crimea. The Russians, furthermore, have sanction-like weapons of their own such as the messing about with US banks and debt noted above, but not limited only to that. They are major suppliers of gas to Europe and in the past have shown a willingness to interrupt supplies for political purposes.

So while we gut our military, refuse to buy Canadian oil, or become energy independent and a major supplier of energy to Europe, we prattle on and on about sanctions and international law and solidarity with the Syrian opposition Ukraine. As noted before, we could neutralize Russia's leverage in the world very swiftly, without ever mentioning the word "sanctions." That, however, requires something we do not have, to wit, patriotic, committed, focused, and decisive leadership.

We have Obama.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Nonsense Fed College Kids

Just a little piece while I work on something else.

My daughter came home yesterday with an assignment from her sociology professor to watch a video called "The Story of Stuff." You can watch it on YouTube, if you have the stomach for it.

I note this because it is emblematic of the nonsense being taught university students all over the Western world. It is full of non-facts, e.g., "we have used up one-third of the earth's natural resources," and pushes relentlessly the idea of limits, limits, limits. It also has the customary jibes at "corporations" and capitalism, and bemoans that government is not doing enough to "protect us."

I don't know who the person is in the video, but she talks gibberish and delivers it in a baby-talk sort of way that I guess is how one must address university students these days.

Nowhere in its anti-capitalist, anti-consumption diatribe does the video mention the power of innovation, e.g., the internet has revolutionized the world without using any appreciable amounts of non-renewable resources. Beyond that, of course, the video and the college professor teaching this absurd class cannot answer one simple question, "Can you name one, one, one nonrenewable resource that we have run out of?" Iron, copper, coal, tin, silver, gold, oil, gas? The video is also full of nonsense about the forests being cut down in North America. It claims that only 4% of the forest cover that existed at the time of European settlers exists today. The US Forest Service would beg to differ, noting that about 70% of the forest land that existed in 1670 remains forest.  In addition, another 7% is in what is called "reserved forest land," and on and on. You can read the report for yourselves.

The universities are hopeless. This all confirms my worst fears that increasingly we are ruled and dominated by people with no idea how wealth, real wealth, is created.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Rush to Exonerate

The cops and the media outlets are at it again. Won't they ever learn?

A Malaysian jumbo jet has disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. That's one of the few things we know about this incident except for the fact that at least two of the passengers had boarded with stolen passports, using tickets bought by other persons, and at least one of those passengers was Iranian.

That, of course, does not prove anything, well, not in a court of law sense, but it certainly makes one wonder why police and media organs are so quick to come out with the following sorts of comments,
the head of the international police organization Interpol said that his agency increasingly believed the incident was not related to terrorism. 
"The more information we get, the more we're inclined to conclude that it was not a terrorist incident," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said at a news conference in Lyon, France. 
Among the evidence pointing in that direction, Noble said: news from Malaysian authorities that one of two people said to be traveling on stolen passports, an Iranian, was trying to travel to his mother in Germany. 
Further, there's no evidence to suggest either was connected to any terrorist organizations, according to Malaysian investigators.
Excuse me?

We saw this same nonsense, this pell-mell dash to avoid any possibility of assigning blame to Muslim terrorism in the wake of the Boston bombing. It would seem that at a minimum police and media would want to shut up about whether this aircraft disappeared because of terrorism. I also wish media and others would stop citing Interpol as some sort of great investigative agency. It is just a collector of data sent on a voluntary basis by police and intel organizations around the world. It is hardly a complete data base. I love the phrase, "there's no evidence to suggest either [passenger] was connected to any terrorist organization." Also a nice touch is that one of the Iranians wanted to visit his mother. Ain't that cute? That discounts him as a terrorist . . . Idiots.

Would terrorists generally use people "known" to be connected to terrorism to board aircraft? The murderous Clown Posse that flew the planes into the Pentagon, the Twin Towers, and the Pennsylvania countryside had no "known" connection to terror groups, or they would not have gotten their visas in the first place. We live in a world of Hollywood fantasy one in which there is no such thing as Muslim terrorism . . ..

For now, we don't know what happened although as more and more information comes out, it seems something genuinely bizarre did. It could be mechanical; it could be something else. The minimum the cops and other investigators and politicians can do is to keep quiet and not insult our intelligence. Let the facts come in. Then make statements.

An Aerial Reminiscence

I am still too down about the world to write about it. The situation in Ukraine is getting more and more out of the range of palatable solutions, and, I fear, Cheney is right,
"We have created an image around the world, not just for the Russians, of weakness and indecisiveness," Cheney told Charlie Rose, filling in for Bob Schieffer. "The Syrian situation is the classic. We got all ready to do something, a lot of the allies sign on. At the last minute, Obama backed off."
That's the key.

When you create an atmosphere of weakness and indecision, the other side takes advantage. It is not about one situation or another, e.g., Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Venezuela, it is about the whole mosaic, and the image it presents of the United States and its willingness and ability to act in its own best interests.

So instead of writing about that stuff again, I am taking a very brief trip down memory lane; won't be a long one, and it does not involve a S&W .357 or a Colt Government Model .45. Sorry.

Reading about the horrid disappearance of a jumbo jet in Asia reminded me of all the flights I took during my nearly 35 years at State. Given the number of flights, and the places where I flew, it is amazing that I had so few problems in the air. Lots of lost or delayed luggage; canceled flights in dark and dingy airports; incorrectly written tickets; a passenger throwing up on my shoes; a flight attendant dumping a whole tray of Cokes on me; nothing too serious in retrospect although at the time of the events it was good that I did not have my S&W or Colt with me.

One flight does stick in my memory because of what it tells me about, well, I am not sure what it tells me. You tell me.

It was late 1979 or early 1980--I remember Christmas and New Year decorations. My wife and I were flying back to Georgetown, Guyana from Bridgetown, Barbados via Port of Spain, Trinidad. We were on a plane belonging to the now defunct BWIA (British West Indian Airways). I think it was a B-707, but could be wrong. The flight had been very late leaving Bridgetown; it underwent further delay during our stop in Port of Spain when the airport lost power for nearly three hours. It was now two or three in the morning; we, finally, were underway; every seat filled; the overhead and under-seat areas bulging with boxes, cartons of various shapes, and bags; a long automobile exhaust pipe lay in the aisle. People brought whatever they could into Guyana. That poor country was a typical socialist wonderland: in other words, not fit for human habitation. All the passengers seemed to be smoking, drinking rum or whisky, and talking somewhere around the 100 db range. I remember somebody singing, too. 

Suddenly, as Professor Reynolds would say, this flying frat party was interrupted with a huge "Bang!" A jolt and a brief flicker of the cabin lights followed. In a second it seemed almost every passenger, except for the Diplowife and me, had scrambled out of his or her seat and begun running in both directions down the main aisle, many tripping on the exhaust pipe. The decibel rating jumped into the 110-120 range. 

I am not a brave person. I do not, however, tend to panic, especially after having three Johnny Walkers on the rocks. I get mellow and fatalistic. Besides that, I hate crowd behavior, and have spent much of my life avoiding things such as rock concerts, political demonstrations, and Black Friday sales. My wife, who hardly had flinched, asked me, "What happened?" Becoming an instant aeronautical expert, I told her, "We got hit by lightning. No problem." The Diplowife then asked the question that I was too polite to ask, "To where are these people running?"

Gradually, we saw order being restored thanks to the booming voice of the British captain, who obviously had seen a lot of Battle of Britain movies or at least "Sink the Bismarck!" Cutting through the din, sweeping over us thanks to an at-peak-volume intercom, we heard, "Bloody hell! Sit down you idiots! We have been struck by lightning. This is no problem for a modern aircraft! NOW SIT DOWN!" As the captain bellowed, the Trinidadian flight stewards managed to get people to stop running for the exits (I guess), gently reminding them that we were many thousands of feet in the air. 

I think I learned a couple of, or maybe even three things here. First, the Diplowife is pretty solid and can keep her head in a "crisis." Second, well, don't be on an airplane full of partying Guyanese when you get hit by lightning. Third, if you do find yourself on such a flight, better have a pilot with a stereotypical British accent--the British do authority very well--but do not think about the Titanic. 

That's it. Maybe there's a deeper moral to this story, but I can't think what it would be.

Have to go check on the two dogs. They are being very quiet. They are either up to something or one has killed the other . . . 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week-end Rescue

I just couldn't think about "serious" stuff this week-end, so I thought about important stuff, instead. Yes, I mean dogs. Crimea, Venezuela, fake energy crisis, economy in the dump, government out of control and going nowhere, and Obama, Obama, Obama, always The One on The Tube, sucking up the oxygen as he utters nonsense and pretends that he is in charge of something.

So, instead of all that, my wife and I grabbed our dog, Hartza, the Magnificent Akita Shepherd, and went off in our Tahoe to a dog rescue event at the local PetSmart.

Well, we did it.

We came home with another wonderful beast: a German Shepherd Chow/Spitz mix, for now Jacoby but likely to get his name turned into a tongue-twisting Basque name, who is a bundle of energy and affection. He is so happy to be alive that the joy rubs off even on an old curmudgeon . . .

Hartza and Jacoby are having a wonderful time play-fighting and establishing who will be top dog--60lb Jacoby on points, so far, over 90lb Hartza . . . kind of a reenactment of Putin's Russia vs. Obama's USA, the big dog does not always win: it's determination and spirit that compensate for "throw-weight."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sanctions on Russia? Just "hit 'em where they ain't"

Non-US readers please grin and bear it a bit; this post will have a baseball reference. It will pass quickly, I promise. The wise advice from the baseball player quoted, however, also might be valid for cricket. Let me know. To clarify: I know barely more than nothing about baseball, and even less about cricket. Many years ago, some friends at the British High Commission in Pakistan tried to teach me how to play cricket, but soon gave up; I was terrified of the bowler, what we would call the pitcher, who did an over-the-top scary wind-up and then fired a ball very fast and directly at me. The whole thing proved unnerving. No doubt that my tail-between-the-legs reaction to cricket probably disqualifies me under Aussie immigration rules from ever being allowed to visit Australia--number one on my bucket list.

William H. "Wee Willie" Keeler (1872-1923) was one of baseball's great players, and something of a philosopher whose advice could be useful when dealing with the Putin-Lavrov drive to make Russia number one with a bullet. Keeler ended his career in 1910, with one of the highest overall batting averages in baseball history (.341) and, I believe, still the highest single season average, .385 for the 1898 baseball season. When asked by a reporter how he amassed such a record of hits, he famously said, "Keep your eye clear, and hit 'em where they ain't." In other words, put the ball where the fielders are not. This advice transcends sport; it is applicable for developing business, military, and diplomatic strategies. It also happens to provide a useful framework for dealing with Putin's Russia.

Our embarrassment of a President came on the tube today--when isn't he?-- trying to sound and act presidential--no Oscar. He presented the typical mishmash, grab-bag of sanctions that get developed by bleary-eyed bureaucrats in long inter-agency meetings over cold coffee and stale cookies late at night. I have been in countless get-togethers of the sort that produce these things. The result is inevitably a camel, you know, a horse designed by a committee. The sanctions are supposed to be targeted, smart, appropriate--come up with your own tired cliche--and are meant to show a steely resolve, but a flexible steely resolve, that inflicts pain without being too painful, and doesn't hurt anybody too much and who is too important and who might get angry and do something nasty back at us. In other words, it's nonsense that often does less than nothing, and many times makes you look weak and silly in the eyes of your opponent. Might as well quietly sacrifice a goat or two to Moloch and pray that he eat you last. His eye definitely was not clear, and he didn't hit "them" anywhere.

Forget sanctions. I previously wrote what we need to do in the long-run is to avoid creating the environment that allows situations such as the one we now see in Ukraine from arising. Instead of announcing sanctions that won't work, we should do something for ourselves that will immunize us from the lawless behavior of petty tyrants.

Frack. Yes, frack.

Get US oil and gas production going full scale. The US government should announce an end to restrictions on fracking on federal lands, and an end to the absurd restrictions on maritime drilling.  We should also announce our intention to become Europe's biggest supplier of natural gas. Just the announcement will drop the price of oil and gas and shave tens of billions off the oil- and gas-dependent Russian economy and hit the Russian government budget. It will, as I have written repeatedly, kick off a new wave of prosperity in the USA.

As long as we continue with self-destructive policies such as limiting our ability to achieve energy independence, we will limit our ability to respond to actions of petty tyrants.

"Hit' em where they ain't."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West

Events continue to unfold as many of us had foreseen. It took no genius, no great foresight, no great Nostradamus powers to understand what would happen when a man as lacking in basic knowledge, leadership and managerial skills as Obama became President of the United States. It, furthermore, did not take much wisdom or witchcraft to divine that a man so full of conventional leftist thinking and upbringing would find it impossible to learn on the job to defend US core interests. He has never had those interests at heart, and instead has trusted a glib teleprompter, a guilt-shamed media, and a ruthless unethical approach to life to guide him through the political nights and storms.

We now see the crisis in Ukraine. A couple of days ago, Obama boldly told us that the invasion of Ukraine had put Putin "on the wrong side of history." Says who? And who writes the history of an era? The winners or the losers? These are the kind of maddening, empty-calorie phrases that sound good and tough and gutsy and erudite coming off of some speechwriter's printer, but sound pathetic and laughable uttered when confronting a guy at the head of a tank column.

Time to face facts. None of Obama's supposed "talents" works when dealing with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the Shining Shooting Tsar of Eurasia--arguably the smartest national leader in the world. Let me back up. "Smartest" might be the wrong word. Yes, it definitely is the wrong one. That word is too loosely defined and too easily pinned on too many. What makes Putin successful and such a formidable geopolitical foe (thank you, Mitt Romney) is not that he is just "smart," but that he is a throw-back to a different era. He hunts and fishes, and doesn't care about the political fashion and sensitivities of the day; pajama boy has no place in Putin's cage fighter universe. Despite his upbringing as a Communist, he is now devoutly religious and wants to see religion restored to Russian life. As the jihadis have discovered, they have in Putin a rival as ruthless and religiously committed as they, and not bound by the conventions of political correctness.

Putin is a man of hard-work, careful preparation, an avid student of potential opponents, willing to exploit opportunities, and, above all, driven by a vision on his mission: restoring Russia to the top ranks of the world hierarchy. He is determined to end what he sees as the world's mistreatment of and disregard for Russia. He saw the condescending manner in which Clinton and other world leaders treated the amiable sclerotic alcoholic Boris Yeltsin, who named Putin Prime Minister in 1999. Putin will not allow that again. He wants his legacy to be the man who restored Russia's greatness and made the world recognize it.

Let's sum up this part of the post:

Putin is a patriot; Obama is not.
Putin has a deep understanding of his country's history and people; Obama does not.
Putin wants his country to be number one; Obama could not care less.
Putin knows that words have meaning; Barack "Red Line" Obama hasn't a clue.
Putin has Lavrov; Obama has Kerry.
Advantage Putin.

There is an old Spanish saying, "Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos." It very roughly translates to "Misery loves company," but more dramatic and evocative, more along the lines of "The misery of the many is the consolation of the foolish." Given that we have a foolish misadministration in DC, perhaps Mr. Obama can draw solace from the fact that he is not the only fantasy player "confronting" Putin. More bluntly put, what's the best place to hide a fool? In a herd of fools. A needle in a stack of needles.

Obama's foreign policy guru, John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry expressed his outrage over recent Russian actions in Ukraine as follows,
You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped up pre-text . . .
Wow! If that doesn't sting Putin into a moody bout of Dostoevsky-like reflection, I don't know what will. He has accused Putin of not being of this century! Alas! John "I Marry Rich Ones" Kerry doesn't understand that Putin takes that as a compliment. Putin doesn't necessary like the way the 21st century was set to go, and is doing what he can to reroute it. By the way, Mr. John "I Speak French" Kerry, who says that in the 21st century you don't invade another country for whatever pretext? Where is that written, and who enforces it? If that were the case, none of us would need a military. No? Sort of makes the argument for a healthy nuclear deterrent, eh? You know like the one Ukraine gave up in exchange for assurances that its sovereignty would be respected by Russia and guaranteed by the West.

Wait, my fine friends. The lunacy gets even more, well, lunatic. Our fearless Ambassador to the UN, Samantha "I Hate Israel" Power sent out the following sweet Twitter Tweet on March 3,
There is a way out: must directly dialogue with , immediately pull back forces, and allow international monitors.
Bang! Gotcha Vlad! Bet you never thought of that! Just declare "Oops!" pull back your commandos and soldiers, and allow in international monitors. Dear Ambassador, do you think that maybe, just maybe, Putin sent his forces in for a reason? Or do you think it was accidental?

Ah, but the idiocy is not restricted to this side of the Atlantic. Angela Merkel, at times a reasonable person, showed she is not immune to Mind Sapping Disease (MSD) which has afflicted nearly all Western leaders. According to a NYT report,
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said.
Putin not in touch with reality, eh? One wonders who is out of touch. Again, we see the harkening to an imaginary world, a world that exists only in the minds of the leftist loons who run the West these days, and who think that the nature of man and the essence of successful foreign policy have undergone some radical transformation.

We could go and on. 

Let's just say that we have on our hands a New Old Russia. Blah, blah, wishes, and pink unicorns will not cut it. On paper, Russia is not strong compared to the West. The West should be able to handle Russia relatively easily. Russia, however, has one big advantage. Russia has leadership, a determined leadership not afraid to make decisions and act. That compensates for several orders of economic and technological inferiority. The West has, well, you know what the West has, and it ain't good.

Pajama Boy will not do well in the Cage.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Washington Post on Obama's Fantasy Foreign Policy: The Progressive Civil War Begins?

An interesting development on Progressive Planet.

The Washington Post editorial board, that decades-long stalwart purveyor of standard American progressive "thought," has had a revelation; it is not exactly equivalent to Saul on the road to Damascus, but it might be akin to Jimmy Carter on the road to political oblivion. I refer to that moment in January 1980, following the prior month's Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when Jimmy Carter--silver medalist in the Worst President Ever category--angrily announced, "Brezhnev lied to me!"

Poor dear deluded Carter realized at that moment--he seems to have forgotten this since--that the sun did not rise and set at his command; the world did not spin to please him; the solar system did not revolve around Plains, Georgia. He dimly realized that at times foreign leaders do what they think is in the best interest of their countries, and do not comply with the laws of the universe imagined by Washington DC bureaucrats, and "progressive" journalists and academics.

Yes, the Washington Post has SUDDENLY discovered that when it comes to foreign policy, the leaders of Planet Obama might, might just be from Bizarro World. The editorial for March 2 titled, "President Obama’s Foreign Policy is Based on Fantasy" states,
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in whichthe tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”
Has the WP been reading The Diplomad? It goes on to state,
Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.
And even,
The White House often responds by accusing critics of being warmongers who want American “boots on the ground” all over the world and have yet to learn the lessons of Iraq. So let’s stipulate: We don’t want U.S. troops in Syria, and we don’t want U.S. troops in Crimea. A great power can become overextended, and if its economy falters, so will its ability to lead. None of this is simple. 
But it’s also true that, as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as 19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game is in another arena altogether. Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.
Well good for the Post! A little bit of the light of realism has broken through the progressive fog. That said, and at the risk of being uncharitable, we must note that it is now March 2014, and Mr. Obama, whom the Post backed in two elections, has been President since January 2009. That's over five years. Ukraine is not the first disaster for this President. Those have been coming fast and furious (ahem!) for those five-plus years, and the Post hasn't said much of anything about them. It, in fact, joined in with fellow progressives to deride Palin and later Romney's warnings about Russia. The same editorial board has stayed silent about the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, the abuse of EPA authority to shutdown businesses not friends of the Democrat party, Obama's arming of drug cartels, and the Benghazi massacre. The Post has long supported the global warming nonsense, and, of course, Obamacare and the fantasy world on which that is built, to wit, that there are millions of uninsured or poor Americans out there just dying to get enrolled in some big government sponsored health scheme.

The Post has an infamous history of its own as an active purveyor of progressive fantasy. Its most famous being the Janet Cooke hoax. Cooke, as you remember, was a black reporter for the Post who wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning series of reports titled "Jimmy's World" which featured a poor little eight-year-old black boy in the ghetto, so lonely and so desperate that he would shoot up his mom's heroin. The progs loved this story! It confirmed everything they "knew" about life in Amerika! It, of course, turned out to be a total fake, an invention by a black reporter who knew what her white progressive bosses wanted from her. As I have written before, progressives see what they believe. It is thus at home and abroad.

You fight one battle at a time, I guess. So we should be grateful that the Post has gotten a bit of wisdom. One can only hope that this is contagious.

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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monroe Doctrine Dead; Putin "Sudetenland" Corollary to Brezhnev Doctrine Alive and Well

Last November, in a confused, historically inaccurate speech, our Secretary of State John "I spoke to both Vietnamese delegations" Kerry announced the end of the Monroe Doctrine. Kerry, who seems not to know or not care about facts, used the words "Monroe Doctrine" in the way that lefty anti-Americans have done for many decades. He, in effect, apologized for the past 190 years of US policy in Latin America.

The Monroe Doctrine committed the United States to oppose outside powers reestablishing or establishing colonies or zones of influence in the Western Hemisphere. For its first forty or fifty years, the Doctrine was bombast by a relatively weak military power; the US, in effect, relied on Britain's Royal Navy to enforce the Doctrine and prevent Spain and France from returning to the New World. The Doctrine was, at times, violated, e.g., the establishment of a short-lived French-controlled monarchy in Mexico during the US Civil War, and, of course, by JFK's needless acquiescence to a Soviet Cuba. It was, however, invoked at some critical times and served as a reminder that the US, when it wished, could act to keep out extra-hemispheric and anti-US influences from Latin America. Communists and populists in Latin America and elsewhere, of course, derided the Doctrine as a proclaimed right by the United States to intervene in Latin America at will. Kerry, who has never recoiled from depicting the USA in the worst possible light, accepted that redefinition and "officially" ended the Monroe Doctrine. Some might argue that the Doctrine was already dead before Kerry declared its end, but why make an announcement of that sort given current international conditions? Why unilaterally renounce a well-established principle without getting anything in return aside from some tepid applause at the OAS?

Statements of the sort made by Kerry typically get little press in the US. Most Americans today probably cannot even tell you what the Monroe Doctrine stated, much less the contents of the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary to it which gave it teeth. Statements of weakness and self-declared limitations, however, do get noticed abroad, and put into the context of everything else the US is doing or not doing. (Note: We saw this in 1950, when we foolishly implied that South Korea was outside of our circle of concern.) In sum, giving up the Monroe Doctrine is of a piece with this misadministration's misconduct of foreign policy; with its issuing of bland banalities as substitutes for real policy; its mistaken belief that words equal action; that words, e.g., "red line," don't really have any meaning; that the United States should surrender its nearly century-old role as a if not the key player in international politics; that it is "just fine" to gut our military. It is the triumph of the Little Americanists.

And Russia? Well, Putin and Lavrov have a very different vision for their country than do Obama and Kerry for the US. I have written before about Lavrov and how Kerry is no match for him. I also wrote previously on how Putin outplayed the hapless Obama on Syria, and that Obama's feckless handling of the "red line" would come back to bite us.

It's happening.

While we dither and destroy our economy, military, and seventy-years worth of international alliances and arrangements, Moscow has made clear that Russia is back on the scene. Russia is seeking basing rights for its growing navy not just in the traditional Near Abroad, but far afield in places such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Seychelles, and even Singapore. Its warships dock in Havana. Russia has established a de facto alliance with Iran and become the big outside player in the Middle East. The manner in which Russia saved its ally in Damascus is not lost on a world which saw how the Obamistas treated Qadafy and Mubarak, and how weakly the Obamistas respond to events in Venezuela.

The crisis in Ukraine provides a graphic demonstration of Putin's disregard for Obama. While Obama puts out tepid statements of "consequences" and standing with the international community should Russia do something untoward in Ukraine, Putin--quaking, but with laughter--sends commandos into Crimea and gets approval from his pet legislature for the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine to "stabilize" the situation and protect the lives and property of Russian citizens. The late unlamented Leonid Brezhnev had a "doctrine" which announced that the USSR would not allow socialist countries to get rid of socialism, and would not allow the establishment of hostile regimes on the USSR's borders. We can see that Putin has developed his own corollary to the Brezhnev Doctrine, with some heavy borrowing from the Hitler Doctrine we saw at work in Austria and Czechoslovakia. Putin has made it clear that the former territories of the USSR are of special concern for Russia and that Russia will not hesitate to intervene to protect its citizens or to prevent instability, i.e., development of anti-Putin governments. The goal clearly is to reestablish at least the old Czarist empire if not the old Soviet one.

Understatement of the year: Putin is not impressed with Obama.

We continue our national obsession with gays, allowing undocumented illegal aliens and felons to vote, and relabeling our food products because Michelle thinks the average American housewife too stupid to make the right choices in the supermarket without the guiding hand of the feds. We continue to prattle on about Global Climate Change, and all the while Russia seeks to effect a serious change in the global climate; Moscow wants a chilly Russian wind blowing around the world.

Will Russia overreach? Will Russia's considerable internal problems bring its imperial quest to a halt? Maybe. But is that to what we are now relegated? To hoping that in the long run the enemy (yes, enemy) is weaker than we?

Meanwhile, of course, we have our President and VP jogging to meetings and Michelle providing us 1000% of our minimum daily requirement of condescension. I guess that's some consolation.

"Hey, Vlad. Can you do this?"
UPDATE: See an excellent piece on the looming disaster for the Anglosphere and West from an Australian perspective posted at 38 South.