I get worried sometimes when repellent people in other countries do repellent things, and we seem to have no power to prevent the fucking bastards from behaving in pre-capitalist-barbarian ways.


David Davis

My dear colleague Sean has had relayed onto his facebook a somewhat exciting post, by someone called Chris White (who I do not know) regarding some scumbags crucifying other people (who they might or might not know, for all I know).

I do not have any information about whether the victim, videoed, was also a scumbag or not, sadly. This might or might not have been the case, but at this time we cannot know if he was a scumbag or not, as he is unable to say.

My gripe with this situation is that, here we are, sitting in what’s really a fairly OK country, with most of what we want, and not really starving or wanting for much, most of the time. OK, you could rue the lack of a Bugatti Veyron or, if desperate and needy, a Range-Rover HSE Sport Overfinch, and perhaps you might be pissed off at not owning somewhere like one of these. But really it’s not that bad, quite yet.

Should we care if various unsocialized scumbags, arguably desocialized recently and on purpose when it wasn’t a requirement – by a “certain religion which has held their people’s social development back 1,500 years” -  are ritually-slaughtering each other somewhere else?

I think we ought to care. As the English People, we did actually teach the world how to live. I’ve been saying this off and on for eight years on this blog, and about 50, shambolically, elsewhere. This is not to say that the right thing to do is to “go to war in Syria”…and “for who or what? Also we have no vital British Interest in what goes on in Syria. But as a human being, one’s visceral response is to ” arrive in might, find the perpetrators, arrest and then (ideally) dispose of them in public (to make a point), and then _occupy the place, for perhaps decades or hundreds of years_ . This is necessary for mere years (such as the eight or so of Iraq) won’t do the job.

The GramscoFabiaNazis knew, even in 1884 when they began shagging each others’ wives and daughters, that they would have to occupy Britain for decades, and decades and decades, after their victory. The one which they have scored over us, gradually, between 1948 and the present day. They know their war is not over by a long chalk. I’m not making value-judgements about whether they ought to have engaged in those sexual past-times which I stated,

But having “gone into Iraq”, perhaps we should have stayed for 100, 200, 300 years. We stayed in India for just short of 350 years, for example, and even that was barely enough to turn a place like that into a semi-functioning pluralist democracy.

One day I’ll tell you stories about what my old dead father said, about stuff in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) when  he was there with the RAMC in The War, and what the African Tribesmens’ “big-men” said to him when their fears about “White Man Going To Leave Us After War” were sadly confirmed by him.

Perhaps we should have “intervened in Syria”. But :-

(1) Not this government

(2) Not in the way they thought they might.

It’s probably good Cameron was stopped, but then what do we do about this awful stuff going on?

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91 responses to “I get worried sometimes when repellent people in other countries do repellent things, and we seem to have no power to prevent the fucking bastards from behaving in pre-capitalist-barbarian ways.

  1. Well I, for one, don’t care. None of my business.

    • That’s fair enough. But it doesn’t stop them from being scumbags. Only other people who’s world-view is _better_ can do that thing for them.

      No, wrong…not for “them” … for _US_ and for -everybody else who does not do that sort of primitive stuff- .

    • AS you know, I _did support Gulf War 2_ . I did.

      I still think it was the right thing to do at the time, but apart from the fact that the foul pig Blair lied about his justification for it (else he’d not have got it through the Commons) the consequences were not thought through, and we were left with a shit-heap full of un-killed leftoid stalinazi terrorists, gramscian academics, “deeply respected scholars” and the like. The result of the result is that, with hindsight, I would have opposed it like Sean did all along, had I had then less trust in the fellas driving it than I did then.

      It was 2003 and I was young and naive.

      • Julie near Chicago

        Downing tools and walking off too soon seems to have been a problem for the Brits and the U.S., since 1918. With the exception of WW II (as regards present context, anyway), and, some people say, Korea. Problem for sure with WW I, Viet Nam (if the U.S. has anything to be ashamed of it’s abandoning V-N!), Iraq.

        Every war has mismanagement. To see that at some point the war (or geopolitical strategy) was mismanaged to the point of effectively wiping out all or most or a good deal some of the gains made is not to prove that it should never have been undertaken.

  2. Julie near Chicago

    “I think we ought to care. As the English People, we did actually teach the world how to live. I’ve been saying this off and on for eight years on this blog, and about 50, shambolically, elsewhere. …. But as a human being, one’s visceral response is to ” arrive in might, find the perpetrators, arrest and then (ideally) dispose of them in public (to make a point), and then _occupy the place, for perhaps decades or hundreds of years_ . This is necessary for mere years (such as the eight or so of Iraq) won’t do the job.”

    What can I say, Mr. Davis. When you’re right you’re right.

    “The GramscoFabiaNazis knew, even in 1884 when they began shagging each others’ wives and daughters, that they would have to occupy Britain for decades, and decades and decades, after their victory. The one which they have scored over us, gradually, between 1948 and the present day. They know their war is not over by a long chalk. ….”

    What can I say, Mr. Davis. When you’re right you’re right.

    Repeat for each of the next two paras.

    As for the remarks about “going into Syria,” naturally I would never presume to opine on other countries’ internal affairs. */sarc*

    This is a very good posting. Libertarians tend to take the attitude “why should we care if other people are being slaughtered, and that in the most painful of ways, outside of our country.” (Although some of them don’t go so far as to say that in public.*) That might really be a defense mechanism for most of those who assert it, but it doesn’t help to give libertarians a good name, and it supports the belief of a good many people that libertarians “don’t care about others.”

    Why do we (or should we) care? Because we’re humans, and humans have the capacity to be sympathetic and sometimes even empathetic. And in fact most people do sympathize and sometimes even empathize, at least in the cases of certain forms of hurt. When they lack the capacity, we call them sociopaths.

    • Ian is intellectually totally right. But as a sentient human I can’t just turn away when foul stuff is going on, which I could have the ability to prevent.

      I mean, think of the poor wretched crucified bloke’s mother and father (if he’s not been shot through the back of the head for being related), and his wife and children if he got the opportunity to have any. And all those ghastly scumbags filming him and yattering-chattering-chintering in upper-JipooPooLand-ese. It’s, well, just “animal”. We should be better than that.

      It’s no use living like we want to in a perfect “Shining City Upon A Hill”, and simply then expecting that all the other fucking Nazi leftoid/gramscian bastards outside it, that control the megaMasses of all the poor slaves that they enthrall, will want to emulate that.

      Did they? Have they? Nah. And meantime they gambol about firing their AK47s into the air, film even more “executions” (a statist notion) on thei iPhones, and doing their foul stuff some more. So what shall we do then?

      Are we going to just let them go on doing it? Do we, indeed, have the time to allow it…..?

      THE CLIMATE CLOCK ticks ever on – and there’s under 1,000 years left before the next Ice Age. If Islam is not careful, its lands will be swept by “People Of The North”, as the Northern subtropical lands green up, and most of Northern Eurasia and North America goes Under The Ice….. Islam had better get its hotheads in order, and had better come to some accommodation now, while there is “time”.

      • Should we have invaded the USA in response to their Lynching Craze, David?

        • Possibly we should have done. I do not know. But we’d probably have got our arses kicked.

          I do however stand by my main thesis that it is ethically good and right to kill scumbags who we don’t know, who do scummy things to other people who they do not know, and who do that on purpose, for purely ideological or religious reasons.

  3. Most of the sectarian problems in these countries ultimately come down the the random lines drawn on a map by the British and the French over tea nearly a hundred years ago, CIA/MI6 installed dictators, and US proxy wars. Is this the civilizing influence you think we should stick at for a bit longer, David?
    It’s time to let the chips fall where they will, and stop interfering. So what if Iraq spits into three different countries, or turns into an Islamic caliphate? Not our business. Wasn’t our business at the end of WW1 either. Time for these places to figure out what they are, and who they, are for themselves.

  4. I have to disagree.

    It is not “uncaring” to say that these things are somebody else’s problem. It’s realistic. There is no evidence, nor rational argument, to say that this form of interventionism works. The idea that it can work is part of the same myth that sustains the internal managerial State- that wise owls can steer other humans and predict the consequences of their actions, i.e. social engineering. That things repeatedly do not turn out as expected never causes these interventionists- whether domestic or external- to consider the possibility that this theory might be nonsense.

    For instance, one recurrent human reaction is ignored; that of our territorialist tendency to unite in the face of a common external threat. We do this even when we should- supposedly- be grateful for the foreign intervention. HEnce for instance currently Ba’athists and Islamists united even though they are normally bitter enemies.

    American readers might wonder how they would feel if, let us say the USA were to descend into some problematic era, and European armies arrived to “sort them out”. They would almost certianly not be grateful. They would be angry at being interfered with. They would be furious at the arrogance of Brits and Frenchies arriving to “fix the USA”. Even if it were thoroughly and obviously in need of fixing.

    Peoples need to be left to fight their own problems through. This is not callous. THe USA would not have been improved by the arrival of European armies to fix them up in the Civil War Era. Europe would not have been improved by a Muslim “peace keeping force” arriving to fix us up during the chaos of the Reformation. It is beyond belief thus that anyone with a brain thinks we can help in the current “Reformation style” mess in the Middle East, or in Africa, or anywhere else.

    A libertarian society would not intervene. It would stand as an example to others of how to live peacefully and productively, and wait for them to copy it. That is all a libertarian society could, or should, do.

    • Julie near Chicago

      Ian– You wrote, “There is no evidence, nor rational argument, to say that this form of interventionism works.” But there IS evidence. David cites it: the effects of the British rule of India. By all accounts the people of modern India, or at least of substantial parts of it, did become more civilized (by our standards) than they were formerly. Practicing suttee! Good grief! And they do have a political order that’s at least somewhat orderly, and so forth.

      It’s true that the purpose of British “intervention” had nothing to do with “intervention,” but “intervention” and the teaching of certain social behavior and ways of looking at things did constitute intervention of a kind, and grew naturally out of what the East India Company was trying to do; and so did paramilitary actions or “interventions” when different groups of Indians got to warring, or ganging up on each other, if that’s closer to the truth. I don’t know how much of a feeling there was among the occupying British that they ought to be “bringing civilization to the natives,” but I’m quite sure that these interventions were required by the strong desire of the Brits to go on breathing, not to mention conducting business successfully.

  5. Julie near Chicago

    Short-short story.

    The house next door. Good-sized family living there. Occasionally cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, other family or close friends come to visit. (Not, usually, twice….)

    The thing is, Dad is nuts. He beats the kids and the wife, has a bunch of strict rules, one of which is that no one is EVER to say “No” to him. The punishment for doing so varies from being chained to the ceiling for a while to re-examine one’s views, to being forcefully raped (regardless of age or gender), to simply being terminated.

    I know all this is going on. For one thing I live next door, and I hear the screams and the cracks of the whip and the shots. And once in a while I hear from an escapee. Most of them don’t try to escape. For one thing they’ve been taught Dad has the right. (Especially Mom.) And that they’ll be damned forever as well as being preyed upon by outsiders if they should leave. (All the older kids and cousins.) But mostly, they’re too damn scared of what will happen to them if they try to leave and get caught. (Everybody.)

    I am ex SEAL Team Six, and my housemate is former Delta Force. (We’ve both found Mrs. Right, if anybody cares.) We know how to do hostage rescue, and we’re properly armed for the task.

    But we are also libertarians.

    We care deeply about the poor victims next door, but we have no right to interfere (it’s private property for one thing), and anyway sure as you take out the garbage another POS shows up to replace it.

    The best thing we can do is to live peacefully at our place, and set a good example.

    End of story.

  6. You’re not seriously presenting that as an argument are you Julia?

  7. Julie near Chicago

    Who’s Julia?

  8. Good question. I have no idea.

  9. Julie near Chicago

    Oh, you mean ME. :>)

    It’s exactly your position, restated in terms of two neighbouring houses and their occupants rather than two countries. You said that in the case of countries, the libertarian society (or, I presume country) would take exactly the position of my two well-trained, responsible, and effective ex-military guys.

    I can tell you where the analogy’s not perfect, but it’s mostly just in the number of people involved as far as I can see, and not in the ethical or moral principle, since the two ex-military are both (by hypothesis in the story — maybe I didn’t say that in so many words) genuinely upset by the victims’ plight .

    By the way. Libertarian political theory as most real (i.e. non-LeftyLibrulProggieFabioGramsciNazi “libertarians” understand it) does assume that although a group can set up a commune in Libertopia, and even I suppose a sado-masochistic “home” where the hurting is real not just games, as long as nobody is prevented from leaving.

    Bearing all that in mind, where do you see my analogy as inapposite?

  10. Because you’ve closed off (deliberately) any solution that isn’t Julie Swarzenegger wading in with a chaingun cannon.

    You could have offered asylum to the members of the Lurid Family in your house but, oh, they don’t want to leave, so you have to intervene… see the problem?

  11. Julie near Chicago

    Oh well, penultimate paragraph. Libertopia allows any kind of dumb community organization (community: group of people, really) the folks involved want, as long as nobody tries to stop them from leaving. That WOULD be against the rules of the overall Libertarian order.

    There. It has subject, object, verb, modifying clause with subject and object. I knew I could do it.

  12. The problem is, in your scenario nobody is being prevented from leaving. They’ve been persuaded not to leave. That’s a different thing.

    • Julie near Chicago

      Ian, I wrote:

      Most of them don’t try to escape. For one thing they’ve been taught Dad has the right. (Especially Mom.) And that they’ll be damned forever as well as being preyed upon by outsiders if they should leave. (All the older kids and cousins.) But mostly, they’re too damn scared of what will happen to them if they try to leave and get caught.

      They’ve been SCARED into not leaving. That is the same thing as extortion: “Do what I say or I’ll hurt you” is the principle of extortion. The threat of force.

      But also, people can be subjected to conditions that operate to destroy their sense of self-preservation, or their rationality in the service of self-preservation; this we see in many cases of abuse. They may have been “persuaded ” not to leave, but not in a sense that involves the victim’s mind functioning rationally.

  13. Let’s just piss the entire world off. Allah is Satan.

  14. David there is, as you know, a fundamental difficultly.

    Let us say that a Western army destroys some vile regime in X country – then what?

    If the population continue to believe in vile doctrines a new vile regime will emerge (perhaps even worse than the regime that was overthrown).

    “But we can convert the population” – to what?

    The West has lost belief in its own fundamental principles and spreading these principles to other populations is now considered evil “colonialist imperialism” anyway.

    However, this does not just undermine the idea of intervention overseas – it also means that (in the long term) the West is doomed at home. As immigrant populations (and their children) will not be converted to Western principles – because there principles are not longer upheld by the Western elites, and converting people to them is (as you know) in violation of vile doctrines of Frankfurt School “Critical Theory” P.C. ism.

  15. It is hard to witness cruelty and do nothing–but nothing is the only choice.
    The idea that the Federal tyranny/EU pukes intervened in Iraq–or anywhere else–for the good of the Iraqis is naïve. They had their own twisted reasons. And they have helped many tens (possibly hundreds ) of thousands of said Iraqis into the jaws of death as a result.

    How does your little drama play out Julie? When you find that the result of your intervention is not a tv show-like “happy ending” but you standing with a dirty, tear and blood-stained face beside the burning, corpse-filled wreck of your “neighbours” home.

  16. Julie near Chicago

    Mr. Ecks,

    To refuse to act because you might conceivably do something wrong, when the fact is that you are well-trained and highly experienced in dealing with just this sort of situation –

    – which was EXPLICITLY part of my analogy –

    – is to have become, literally, insane. Irrational. Out of control.

    Sometimes we do cause catastrophe, despite every attempt to avoid it by the application of knowledge and skill and judgment. But sometimes things do go wrong.

    HOWEVER. The people in that house were doomed without intervention. With the intervention of the two gentlemen AS DESCRIBED, they had a chance. And not a minor, niggling chance, but a very good chance.

  17. The case is more one of not acting where there is nothing you can do that would work out right. The fact is that everything the Federal tyranny has done since 9/11 has made things worse. Perhaps a smarter and less evil crew might have done a better job. But that “might” is playing with peoples lives.

    • Julie near Chicago

      Well, now we are outside of my analogy. But I will just say that in many (most?) cases of late-stage cancer there is nothing the doctors can do that will “work out right.” The best they can do is to administer chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which will make the patient even more miserable a good deal of the time, but will buy him a few more weeks of life. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

      (That is not theoretical. It’s how my husband’s life ended, at the age of 56.)

      Life is full of situations that “cannot work out right.” The best we can do is the best we can do, and whether we do A or B or nothing at all, we are “playing with people’s lives.” — because doing nothing also “might” not work out right.

      Sometimes the best thing to do really is nothing, you’re right. But if in one’s most informed and honest judgment doing nothing is all but certain to bring disaster, whereas one believes one has the people and equipment and know-how to improve the situation at least somewhat — then one acts and does all that is possible to improve the patient’s life, preferably in both quality and length, even if not by much.

  18. In my younger days the story was, “It’s a family matter, mind your own damn business.” The question for me is, are they involving me in their bullshit or I can I safely leave them to get on with it. You have no business other than that.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      Do you not see a difference between “family matters” and “mass murder for the sake of power and conquest”?

      I can see a fairly clear distinction, and I suspect others can, as well.

  19. Julie near Chicago

    Well, of course in the situation as it actually was, there were several reasons to think that we (and I mean the Western world in general, including Israel) could NOT “safely leave them to get on with it.”

    So we didn’t.

    (“We” being the Coalition.)

  20. “THe USA would not have been improved by the arrival of European armies to fix them up in the Civil War Era.”
    Actually I think it would. The issue of slavery was introduced by Lincoln in 1863 as a pretext for the Civil War to give himself a figleaf of moral justification for invading the South, which would prevent Britain and maybe France coming to the aid of the Confederacy. If we had in fact done so, the USA would be a far better place today in my opinion. Lincoln is often credited with having ‘saved the Union’. In fact he destroyed it – what had been a voluntary Union of sovereign States was now voluntary at the point of a gun. As Jefferson said “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Lincoln obtained that consent at gunpoint. It’s been downhill all the way since.

  21. Randy on U.S. West Coast

    I hope you don’t think that I’m being rude when I point out some logic holes in some of the postings here.

    1. If the West had not developed toward intellectual honesty and liberty as it did, slowly and painfully and incompletely, there would have been much less intellectual freedom or foundation for the development of libertarianism. And if it did send up a sprout or two, it would have been mercilessly cut down by totalitarians and barbarians who could not stand the dissent or competition. Many libertarians I have met seem to disagree with Sir Isaac Newton who said (approximately), “If I have seen farther than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. The pure-theory libertarians seem to have bastardized that thought to read, “If I have seen farther than others, it is entirely my doing because I caused my body to grow 10x as tall rather than relying on anyone or anything that preceded me.”

    2. If you truly believe that no “outside interference” can bring lasting change of a desirable sort, perhaps you could explain why Japan and Germany rebounded in positive ways after being violently defeated in WWII. As a sub-topic, perhaps you could explain why our interfering assistance to South Korea turned out so much better than North Korea, where we did not have much influence after the 1953 Truce. Outside interference seems to have been successful…unless of course you think that South Korea is an abject failure and that North Korea is an exemplar to be copied..

    3. As for the ignorantly presumed all-out resistance that the U.S. would show to useful forms of military help in case of a major crisis here, I can assure you that most U.S. citizens (few of whom are pure-theory libertarians) would be quite amenable to military assistance to defeat a totalitarian enemy that had gained a foothold here. Naturally, we would participate in the fight…against the evil forces. We would not appreciate a total conquest by the “interfering” nations, so we might rebel after a decade or so, if the interfering forces decided to rule us and not return us to a reasonably functioning republic (which had little resemblance to a Nazi or Communist nation and was therefore not in dire need of civilizing developments). Just as the French and Dutch and Belgians and other nations appreciated our help in defeating a thoroughly evil enemy, even though there were substantial civilian collateral deaths and injuries in the process. Please don’t tell me that libertarians cannot make a logical distinction between the force imposed by evil nations for the purpose of conquest/genocide/confiscation versus the force provided by a relatively benign power for the purpose of defeating long-term evil while arranging for the expeditious return of civil rule to the nations that were liberated. Can I assume that some of you noticed that the U.S. did not show any interest in keeping the “conquered” territories or rolling over all the uninvolved nations in order to seize territory and resources, even though we were the only power in the entire history of the world that could have literally conquered all other nations, since we were the world’s only conventional superpower at that moment and had an absolute monopoly on the a-bombs for several years.

    4. The idea that “interfering” might make things worse so we should always do nothing, is defective reasoning and historical illiteracy of the worst types. History shows us repeatedly that unopposed evil will rarely be sated with a few minor triumphs. Evil usually conquers until it runs into a strong wall of force that defeats the evil or blocks it out of some territory. Military strategy also shows us that when evil is on the march, the best and quickest way to halt the evil is to build a large opposing force, often via alliances…like the libertarian alliance, for example.

    5. One of us wrote “Peoples need to be left to fight their own problems through. This is not callous.” Wrong. Not only is it callous, if one has the relatively easy ability to stop the human and civilizational suffering; it is also quite stupid. Several wars and genocides could have been prevented from starting or worsening if some strong alliance had stood up to evil at an early stage. Once you let the evil nation build upon one small triumph after another, they will gain confidence and competence to take on bigger targets. WWII was just such a case, in both the Euro and Pacific Theaters. Both the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese were heartened by their early triumphs; and the were not deterred by the industrial colossus that was even then America, because they believed that the U.S. was cowardly and not even able to make effective war materiel. There were skeptics of this view in both Germany and Japan, but they were overridden by their peers because they thought that the U.S. had no warrior traditions and we were ensconced in a deep economic depression that would supposedly stop us from producing much war materiel. As an example, the U.S. only had 3 aircraft carriers in the Pacific as of Dec. 7, 1941…but by August, 1945 we had built 103 carriers. We also built 3,200 Liberty and Victory cargo ships during the war (that is approx. 2.5 ships PER DAY). It would have been far better if we had been more outgoing so that our enemies would not make false calculations of our weaknesses. It could have saved 40 million lives and avoided disruption of 30 different economies. You may have also read that if the Brits and French had strongly responded militarily to the 1936 Re-occupation of the Rhineland, the German military high command would have deposed and executed Hitler, but when no action was taken, the high command was in a position where they had to go along with Hitler since he had been proven right.

    Historically, it is far better to deter than to fight. One cannot deter by telling the enemy in advance that you will not fight for anything. It is also certain that evil nations WILL fight for power and territory and resources. They do not believe in any libertarian practice of reciprocity of non-interference or non-aggression. A prime example of this is the way that the Netherlands helped Germany in WWI and was treated like a German enemy from the start of WWII. Not a hint of reciprocal favors or non-aggression by the Germans. Real world trumps theory 24/7.

  22. Sigh.

    World War II is normally trotted out here as justification for foreign adventurism. So let’s remind ourselves-

    It was not fought for humanitarian reasons, but pragmatic ones; particularly that a Continent dominated by Imperial Germany would not be a good long term prospect for the British Empire. America entered the war against Japan due to Japan declaring war and attacking the USA (Pearl Harbour) and then Germany conveniently declared war on the USA too. America had previously supported Britain for similar pragmatic reasons.

    In neither case was there any pretence of saving people from their own governments, i.e. meddling in internal affairs, a civil war, “rights abuses” etc. The assumption throuighout the war was that the Japanese and German populations were as much aggressors as their governments, and treated accordingly. Which was also the justification for imposing total rule by the victor powers after the end of the War.

    In other words, it doesn’t apply to what is being discussed here. There is sometimes a case for war. There is sometimes a case for a pre-emptive strike (aggressive war). None of this is useful in justifying, particularly from a Libertarian perspective, wading into foreign nations to “sort out” complex internal struggles, deciding who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. This is Wilsonian nonsense, and has got us into the total mess in the Middle East that we’re currently in, where for instance laughably we have western governments declaring discombobulating jihadists the “good guys” because, um, they aren’t the Syrian government. Who do you support, a secular fascist or a bunch of religious fascists, both of which sides routinely carry out atrocities?

    Unfortunately this seems to be a particularly American brain disease; the idea of sorting everybody else out. It tracks back to the conceit of being the nation that articulates God’s will on Earth, manifest destiny, American exceptionalism, etc. Add to that the toxic Neoconservative ideology- war as the health of the State etc- and you end up with this crazed presumption that the USA can fix the world by bombing the shit out of it.

    Sadly, as the saying goes, real world trumps theory 24/7.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      Sigh. I notice you couldn’t answer any of the questions I posited in my comment. I was expecting a little more vigorous and historically based attack than a simple ad hominem that didn’t even mention most of my issues.

      Just like most pure-theory libertarians who can’t handle reality…you just act as though your straw-man arguments are the ones I actually made.

      I’ll give you another shot at it: Since you accuse me of “this crazed presumption that the USA can fix the world by bombing the shit out of it”, I would appreciate it if you would read my comment regarding the U.S. having the POWER to rule the entire world after WWII, at which time we made no attempt whatsoever to do so. If there was EVER a time to “fix the world by bombing the shit out of it”, that would have been the opportunity. Heck, we didn’t even continue to bomb any of the countries who had fought against us. Since you apparently didn’t know, I will now inform you that we have a general principle that we don’t continue killing our erstwhile enemies after they have surrendered.

      Hint: that is one of the distinguishing features that separates the good guys from the bad guys. You might want to try using that metric whenever you have a hard time figuring out who the good guys are, and who the evil ones are. It has a high success rate.

      Not only did we not proceed to take over the rest of the world, we released a large middle-term territory from U.S. control, such that we actually wound up with less territory that we had at the beginning of the war. We also offered independence as a choice for another of our accidental territories, but they chose to remain loosely associated with the U.S. Interesting behavior for a war-mongering aggressive conqueror state, isn’t it? And of course, we returned rule of the former enemy countries back to their political control after approximately a decade, during which time they learned that it is more profitable and more comfortable to be civilized so they could interact relatively freely with the other countries of the world.

      You also attempt to make the absurd distinction that WWII “was not fought for humanitarian reasons, but pragmatic ones”. I made no claim that WWII was fought primarily for humanitarian reasons rather than pragmatic ones. However, if we fought for pragmatic reasons, while using reasonable methods, the pragmatic results will also lead to humanitarian benefits, unless you are now saying that it would have been better from a humanitarian perspective to leave Europe in the hands of the Nazis and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in the hands of the Imperial Japanese. Are you claiming that there was any way to fight WWII in such a way that it could have its pragmatic effects without also being broadly humanitarian or vice versa? Would it have been better from a humanitarian perspective if we had refused to fight the pragmatic components of the war and only tried to fight the humanitarian portions?

      • You seem to have overlooked that this whole thread is about whether some collective “we” should intervene to stop abuses in other lands, such as people crucifying each other. Hence I pointed out that WWII was not a good example, since it was not fought to stop internal beastliness in Germany and Japan, but for practical reasons.

        I am not a “pure theory” libertarian. My whole post was pragmatically based. It’s the ideologists who want all these wars for ideological reasons, whether Progressives or Neocons (who end up in precisely the same place, bombing the shit out of people, as we saw with Bush and Blair’s middle eastern crusades).

        I never accused America of “taking over” the rest of the world. BUt it is apparent that since WWII it has had a policy of trying to actively engineer the rest of the world, whether by violence, subterfuge or diplomacy. Over and over again this has produced undesirable outcomes; perhaps the most obvious being the disastrous strategy to bring down the USSR by surrounding them with crazy jihadists; who we then found ourselves fighting with a decade later after the USSR collapsed on its own for different reasons.

        I am being a pragmatist here; social engineering does not work at home. It works even less in foreign lands. It is time that the wavers of spangled banners woke up and smelled the coffee on that matter.

        • Randy on U.S. West Coast

          The point of WWII was to stop the Nazis and Imperial Japanese before they made the entire world an unlivable place, and to achieve that end, we had to conduct the war in a pragmatic way, which had the desired effect of eventually “sorting out” who runs the world and who gets to live in various forms of self-rule (not to be confused with any form of Nazi or Imperial Japanese rule).

          In fact, this whole thread is NOT about “whether some collective “we” should intervene to stop abuses in other lands” so your attempt to censor me is wholly lacking in substance, logic, and civility. I can, and will, write about anything that interests me, especially false or deceptive statements by others. Almost all of my comments to this point have been aimed at the false or historically illiterate claims of people who posted before I replied. You would be wise to go back and re-read my posts and see how they reference issues previously brought up by others. If you object to those commenters straying from the “main” thread, write your irrational missives to them, not to me. Unless there is some hidden rule that commenters can only address the original topic by the blog owner, I see no reason whatsoever to take your procedural criticism seriously.

          Even aside from my freedom to write on any reasonably related topic that is being discussed in this blog, I find it amazing that anyone of even modest intellect would have such a hard time understanding what I actually wrote. At no time did I ever accuse you or anyone else of saying that they “accused America of “taking over” the rest of the world.” I was pointing out that if one truly believes that the U.S. is such a runaway, greedy, inhumane warmongering adventurist, the only logical conclusion would be that the immediate post-WWII era when the U.S. had no serious military power competitors would have been the most opportune time to exert our power and impose our will on every country on earth….just like any rational conqueror would do when the rest of the world was weak and de-industrialized and totally unprepared to resist the a-bombs. It would be a World First! Total control of the earth in a single Empire! Your challenge is to explain why our actions did not match your labels and insults. Alternatively, you could try to explain why the Nazis or the Communists or jihadis or Ancient Rome or the Mongol hordes would have acted just as benignly as we did. You can’t do it, because there is simply not a single, tiny shred of empirical evidence that they would have acted as humanely as we did.

          Then you make the totally inane and naive charge that “since WWII [the U.S.] has had a policy of trying to actively engineer the rest of the world, whether by violence, subterfuge or diplomacy”. Only us? Really? You are deeply ignorant or evil if you don’t recognize that this is exactly what EVERY country tries to do, in order to survive or sustain itself or acquire power or gain prestige or build co-operation or obtain resources. Any country or person who does not try to defend their survival is only a few steps away from extinction. Whether they are good or evil is dependent upon how far they are willing to go to improve their survival and growth chances.

          How far did we go during and after WWII? We helped feed and rebuild Germany and Japan, while not engaging in broad retribution on our enemies who surrendered. Only a few leadership war criminals were tried and executed or imprisoned. Compare that to the Soviets who kidnapped Raoul Wallenberg and later tortured and killed him for the crime of producing fake passports so some refugees could escape from the Nazis. Compare our record to the jihadis who recently kidnapped 300 school girls and massacred 48 people for the high crime of watching the World Cup football game on TV. You still can’t tell the difference between the “adventurist” Americans and the real bad guys? No? I didn’t think you could.

        • Randy on U.S. West Coast

          Excuse me for overlooking one of your “howlers”! You seem to think that the U.S. caused the current jihadi problems of the world because we somehow created a jihadi movement that had not heretofore existed. You wrote: “Over and over again [U.S. manipulation] has produced undesirable outcomes; perhaps the most obvious being the disastrous strategy to bring down the USSR by surrounding them with crazy jihadists; who we then found ourselves fighting with a decade later after the USSR collapsed on its own for different reasons.”

          I must say, your interpretation of U.S. strategy is wildly entertaining, no matter how far it is from the truth. You really think the U.S. would have placed any major faith in the performance of crazy jihadis to implement our Big Picture strategy? The real strategy for fighting the Cold War was to overwhelm them with our technology that was expensive for the Soviets to counter (as noted in a famous U.S. Govt. White Paper of the late 1960′s which laid out the long-term strategy that was in fact used through the end of the Cold War…and yes, I have read it and understand it), even as we fought to prevent the Soviets from controlling the Middle East oil, which would have doubled or quadrupled the value of Soviet oil, thus funding their military modernization, while draining the monetary resources of the West. Jihadis had been striking the West for many decades by the time the Soviet-Afghan War started. You really ought to do a timeline for several countries and try to find any interesting patterns related to oil or military technology. The patterns are there and quite striking, if you are intelligent enough to understand them. Start with Iran, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi, Afghanistan, Pakistan, U.S., USSR, China, and India.

          First, you might relieve some of your historical illiteracy if you would read a bit on the formation of the Asian “republics” of the Soviet Union by taking over several majority Moslem nations that were then incorporated into the USSR. There were Moslem resistance movements within those regions going all the way back to the 1930′s, long before the U.S. even took an interest in the region, so it is highly improbable that those jihadis were created by the U.S., SOE, CIA, MI-6, OSS, et al.

          Furthermore, the Afghan mujahideen did not strike the USSR within the borders of the USSR; all fighting was done within Afghanistan by 6 major mujahideen groups. The U.S. had little or nothing to do with the Chechen jihadis or other jihadis who struck within the USSR. Those saboteurs typically used locally made knives or clubs or garrotes during the early years of the rebellion up to the 1990′s, not sophisticated spy weapons.

          I suspect you don’t even know that the 1990′s Taliban were not the direct descendants of the 6 major mujahideen groups of the Soviet-Afghan War, so most of the jihadis we assisted did not turn on us after the Soviets left. This is yet another mistake in your understanding of the Soviet-Afghan War and the effects of the U.S. assistance. Your criticism of the U.S. for causing “blowback” is as far off base as most of your other comments. But I will give you bonus points for consistency with the pure-theory version of libertarianism, wherein everything the U.S. has ever done is completely evil…which, oddly is almost exactly what the genocidal jihadis say to justify their attacks on innocent school girls and World Cup watchers. If it were me, I’d be ashamed to use the same rationalizations and excuses as the jihadis, since it might reflect badly on my intelligence and morality.

          Your math is really bad, too. Even if you are so historically illiterate that you think that the USSR was brought down by the jihadis putatively conjured up by the magicians at the CIA, you can’t explain how we “surrounded” the USSR by controlling one neighboring nation which had only 1300 miles of borders with USSR, out of the USSR’s 14,000 miles of land borders. Surrounded? Very odd definition you invented.

          You really shouldn’t try to BS someone who is familiar with your lies, logical gaps, misleading descriptives, and deceptive manipulations, such as your use of harsh, sharp-edged adjectives unsupported by any sort of minimal factual or historical foundation. I don’t mind being called a Neoconservative, since I am not Jewish, nor am I a newcomer or “neo-anything” to conservatism or Constitutionalism. As soon as I see the ad hominem attacks, I know I’ve won and you have run out of useful things to bring to the discussion. Thank you for conceding my points!

          • I don’t know quite what your problem is Randy; you’re here at a Libertarian website, you obviously dislike libertarians intensely because we’re somewhat restrained regarding killing other people, and you seem to be arguing with some kind of imaginary opponent who says what you want them to say so that you can knock them down (and then presumably punch the air while shouting America, Fuck Yeah or something). I certainly haven’t said that everything America has ever done is ever bad. I’m just criticising a consistent foreign policy approach.

            I suspect that you think that everyone who disagrees with you is a “liberal” or something and then you just start reciting this list of wondrous American gifts to the world (munitions, mainly) regardless of what the actual conversation was about.

            Either that or you’re a scriptbot.

            • Randy on U.S. West Coast

              Thanks for another ad hominem attack, rather than addressing any of the issues I have raised. I take that as another concession of defeat on your part.

              As usual, you deliberately mis-state my position in order to insult me, but I don’t worry abouI the mindless attacks, since it proves you don’t have anything substantive to use against me. I don’t dislike libertarians because “you are somewhat restrained about killing people” but because you see no reason to defend the Western Civilization that has given libertarian thought a birthplace and succor. If there were libertarian defenders of the West who had fought to overcome the Moslem invasions over the millennia, or libertarian defenders who had fought the Nazis or Communists, I would have a bit more respect for you. Unfortunately, there have been no such libertarian supporters of the modern West. Despite the dearth of involvement, pure-theory libertarians expect respect for their positions, even if that means that the most evil people on earth will win and control the people…including massive amounts of killings that you claim to hate, but refuse to do anything to halt.

              I have libertarian leanings, but I in fact do not like the left-libertarian or pure-theory libertarians who fantasize that merely being non-interfering is sufficient to create a stable peace with reasonable amounts of freedom for ordinary people. Many of the same people also blame the U.S. for every evil in history, as though we had created the jihadists, for example. Since you appear not to know much history, I will point out that the jihadis have been attacking all their neighbors for 1100 years longer than the U.S. has existed…can you do the math and reach a logical conclusion about the sequence of cause and effect? I have listed several instances where non-interference and inoffensiveness have been clearly and sometimes fatally inadequate to protect nations or individuals. You seem to be too afraid to address these instances, since they show, at minimum, that your theories do not work in many cases.

              If you can find anywhere that I stated that America’s gift to the world has been munitions, I’ll pay you $10. You really have a severe reading comprehension problem. Or you simply find it easier to lie about someone and their arguments than to address them mano-a-mano.

              I’ll give you another quiz, so you will have another chance to prove yourself: Since you seem to think that the U.S. is the world’s premier warmonger, give us a list of the major wars we have participated in, along with the dates that those wars started and the years that the U.S. entered each war.

              • I don’t see much point continuing with this Randy. If you want to lay into your straw man of libertarianism, that’s your right to do so. But you aren’t providing anything approaching a constructive debate, since your mind is made up that we are something you think we are and are full of yourself attacking that, which is as I just intimated the classic Straw Man approach.

                If you had read this blog before you’d know that many of us here are on the pragmatic side of things and are profoundly concerned about the issues you claim we don’t care about. But really you seem to be just venting and that’s okay for you but no use to me.

                For me, I am a Westernist. I believe that central to the quest for liberty is the survival of the lands of Christendom. But I’m interested in a realistic way forward, and I don’t believe that simply expending ourselves in military conflicts without end is conducive to that. I will fight a war if a war is a good idea, but i do not subscribe to your naive view that war is an end in itself.

            • Randy on U.S. West Coast

              I don’t dislike libertarians intensely, as you falsely and ignorantly claim…mis-stating my position for the umpteenth time in this single thread. Naturally, you are forced to insult me and lie about my position since you can’t deal with my facts, arguments, and analysis.

              What I actually intensely dislike is libertarians AND others who ignore history and its lessons, while insulting those of us who have some reasonably broad knowledge of history and basic military and political principles.

              I often read or hear the theory that open trade and non-interference is the way to create peace, yet when I point out examples where trade and non-interference (such as Netherlands during WWI) has NOT produced the desired/predicted peace, people such as yourself ignore my factual point and engage in ad hominem attacks on me as a neoconservative (the libertarian’s ultimate insult, equivalent to “Ni***r”, based on almost nothing of substance but full of hate and mindless prejudice).

              If the U.S. were even half the evil imperialist conquering warmonger that you describe, why don’t you list all the massive territories we have colonized for the purpose of enslaving their peoples and stealing their resources (keeping in mind that we had carte blanche to do so after WWII if we wished)? While you are making that list why don’t you make a list of the major wars we started compared to the number of wars that we tried to avoid, but eventually felt it necessary to join?

              Hint: strident accusations and highly charged descriptions of evilness when little is known about someone, does not make your argument stronger, but rather, weaker since it indicates that you don’t have much factual basis for your arguments. If you had anything useful to say, you should do it without the ad hominem, or at least provide more facts and a smaller proportion of insults.

              I also frequently read that we should “let the bastards sort out their own affairs without us getting involved”, as though their actions will not ever affect us, despite the gigabytes of data to the contrary. When we are dealing with a religion whose followers have already proven many times over that they are willing to kill themselves just for the joy of murdering thousands of innocent “infidels”, what do you suppose will happen after those fanatics get their internal power struggles “sorted out” and they build multiple WMD’s, especially a-bombs? No, the example of Pakistan is not evidence of humane restraint by Moslems with a-bombs…the Pakistan government knows that as long as they are the only Moslem nation with a-bombs, any nuclear terrorist attack on the West will lead right back to them, so they dare not let their bombs leak out into the wild. When the Moslem nations with a-bombs reaches some small plural number, it is highly probable that somebody will get the brilliant idea, “Now, we have plausible deniability, so we can give a nuke or two to jihadists to carry out the project for the worldwide Caliphate.”

              You do know that Islam expanded from a single city in 623 A.D. to 57 countries and 1.5 billion people today, don’t you? Do you think that amount of conquest was done mostly with armies or with friendly persuasion? Did you know that Egypt in the 7th century was majority Christian, and today it has a small and declining Christian population? Do you know why most Moslem nations have a small and declining population of other religions?

              • Randy,

                If you want a civil discussion, it’s generally best not to arrive somewhere and slag off everyone in that place collectively, which is what you have done. I understand why. You think you’re a jolly clever person with a profound understanding that us fools don’t have. You obviously haven’t read this blog much or you would know that your assumptions about the general attitude of people here towards Islam are absurdly off base. Not so long ago I remember a rather long discussion about the Islamic destruction of ancient civilisation, for instance.

                This is what I mean about the Straw Man. You seem to think you’re arguing with multiculti progressive libruls or something. Until you grasp that we’re trying to discuss the best tactics for dealing with the thing, rather than pretending that the problem doesn’t exist, you’re not going to understand what points you need to address. The issue is whether these confused and tepid wars by the West are doing harm or good. Not whether there is a problem. So what you are coming out with is stuff we are all deeply familiar with from numerous discussions, shouted against an imaginary opponent, which give the impression of you being just a big box of conservative war is always good slogans.

                I called you a neoconservative not as some kind of generalised “anti-right-wing” insult, but because early on that was the precise philosophy you espoused. Like others here I am very politically well read and understand the differences in various philosophies. Nobody here is some naive Gif Peece A Charnce singing idiot. If you can’t grasp that we’re not going to get anywhere.

                The main point is, perhaps, that however much many of us may find the idea of eradicating Islam desirable, it isn’t going to happen. It could be done, but would require a murderous onslaught of unprecedented genocidal ferocity. Such things have been done in the past. Islam did it to conquered societies. But that is not going to happen in this day and age, perpetrated by us. So, we have to debate what benefit restrained, limited, targetted aggression can do, and it is then that the matter becomes questionable. Facing a future in which Islam is going to exist in some form, what matters then is how to make it into the form we can live with.

                And the final point I will make is that Islam does not represent a significant military threat. It represents a very great terrorism threat. It represents a demographic threat to liberal Western society. But its military capabilities are trivial. It has no world class armies. It cannot win a war. It cannot conquer the West. Even if the nightmare scenarios of “WMDs” were true, their effectiveness would be trivial, if distressing. The “Mass” in that term is simply a designator of certain technologies, not a true descriptor of numbers of victims. A dirty bomb for instance- which many fear- would be unlikely to kill anyone. They have no means of mass killing in the true sense of the term. We have. We can kill more people in one conventional bombing raid than they can with their cobbled together devices of various kinds.

                The point? This is not a fight for survival. It’s a fight against an annoyance with the capacity to do limited, but distressing, damage. 911 was a one-off spectacular, but killed fewer people than the Nazis (or indeed the Allies) could in a WWII bombing raid. Whole districts of London burned in the 1940s, from bombs dropped by a monstrous regime who sought to enslave every European. Look at that, or Dresden, and you see real “mass destruction”. That’s what a real war looks like. Islam can’t even successfully bomb a niteclub half the time. So get things in perspective.

                So we need to understand what we are fighting, and what we are fighting for. The historical perspective on Islam is useful (I’ve often discussed it myself; we now know for instance that it was the Islamic onslaught that brought down the Ancient world, not a “dark age” caused by Germanic tribes, who God bless’ em wanted to continue that ancient civilisation). But what we are fighting now is not a dynamic, lethal, expanding empire as we saw in the first millennium. It is the dregs of a failed civilisation, the Islamist elements being those who refuse to grasp that their failure is their own fault. The issue then is how to lead the Islamic world into modernity. War might be useful in that. But it is not a foregone conclusion that it is, and it is not some form of cowardice to be most interested in discovering the strategy that will be most effective rather than the one that most satisifies the militarist urge.

                The best we can say is that a few months ago those of us against attacking Syria were accused of cowardice. We now find that the same people we were supposed to help against Assad are now the bad guys in Iraq who we are apparently suddenly on-side with Iran (the great Satan) against. This is at best incoherent, and in the view of myself and many others betrays a profound idiocy at the highest levels of Western government, whose idealistic and irrational belief in gifting Western Liberal Democracy to a region in the midst of a Reformation style bloodbath is woefully naive and disconnected from reality. How many young American and European men will you bleed on the altar of that delusion? For me, not one. You go and fight if you want. I want a better plan, myself.

                • Randy on U.S. West Coast

                  I didn’t just arrive in this group today. I have been a member for several years and I read postings at irregular intervals, depending upon what interests me. Therefore your false assumption that I know little or nothing about the people posting here or many of the libertarian theories, is largely incorrect.

                  Nor did I “slag off everyone in that place collectively”…unless everyone here self-identifies as an impractical, non-real-world, pure-theory libertarian. Since I know a few of your members, I am sure that they are not all pure-theory, blue-sky libertarians. If you think I am being indiscriminate regarding the people and theories I debate against, then I suspect you don’t understand why it is not too useful to be a pure-theory libertarian. In that case, I am happy to provide an alternative and more realistic historical Big Picture.

                  If you really think that it is my policies that are causing problems in the Middle East, I’d suggest you join me in my ongoing criticism of and political work against President Obama, who has screwed up the West like no other American President in history. You make up the policies you think I MIGHT prefer, yet you can’t cite much evidence based upon my postings. You just position me in your imaginary “neoconservative” bubble and use that as your stereotype for criticism. You pay no attention to most of what I wrote here, seemingly because it doesn’t feed your prejudices. You claim you want pragmatic ways to handle the current manifold crises, yet you don’t seem to offer any solutions, other than the non-solution of “don’t do anything because we might fail”.

                  I am well-known in many political circles for my preferred approach over many years, that relies mostly on deterrence rather than almost uniformly assisting terrorists by pro-active measures, as Obama does. In some of my other posts, you can see my sub-set of practices that should be used against jihadi terrorists, though my posts here do not include the full range of desirable tactics.

                  The one thing that is abundantly clear from history is this: “If you let the bad guys walk all over you, that is exactly what they will do, since you have provided them with no disincentive.” And isn’t it a libertarian principle to provide incentives and disincentives to guide behavior?

                  As for the controllability of the Moslems, let it be noted that the 2006 “Surge” of U.S. forces to Iraq (from an initial somewhat too small footprint) reduced U.S. combat deaths from ~120 per month in 2006 down to 13 in July 2008. That is more than 80% improvement, down to a level not much higher than the U.S. military’s peacetime training fatalities rate. Sticking with a country you have liberated is usually more effective than turning tail and abandoning your ally…you get greater long term gains and stability and you don’t reward the enemy. South Korea is a good example of this. Vietnam is the other side of that coin…we threw away a military victory due to vengeful internal politics in the U.S.

                  Next time, don’t dishonestly accuse me of taking stands that I never took. I will be happy to tell you my positions on any political, historical, or military issue that interests you. You might as well ask, because so far you have had a very low success rate by simply presuming to know what my ideas are, based on your inaccurate classification of my overall beliefs. But that’s what happens when you don’t even read my posts and make an honest attempt to understand.

                  I’ll give you another piece of info that you might wish to use when analyzing my work: I am a small-government American Constitutionalist, with both conservative and libertarian leanings, depending upon the topic and circumstances.

  23. Philosophically a libertarian should say “If you, as an individual, want to go and fight for the rights of ANY human beings ANYWHERE, go ahead.” Don’t let govts do it; they will screw it up, and piss everybody off, and waste $ and destroy property etc.

  24. Ian – Japan didn’t declare war on the USA – that’s the whole point. As for the Syrians / Iraqis / Libyans / Afghans / Sunnis / Shias or whoever the Hell we were talking about – they’re all nuts. Hitler, Putin, Hirohito etc are / were all rational men in their pursuit of power and empire. These Muslims are not rational – they actually WANT to die and to take as many of us with them as they can. Best keep well clear and let them get on with killing each other if that’s what they want to do. If they want to bring children into such a world to die for Allah that’s their problem not ours.

    • I think they did Hugo, Pearl Harbour and all that.

    • The Japanses actually did declare war properly on the USA, but their diplomats cocked up the deliverya little, so it came officially several hours after the rest of the world knew the morning’s events in Hawaii.
      .

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      A few corrections:

      1. I know of no one other than you who makes any serious claim that Japan did not declare war. Yes, there was in fact a Japanese Declaration of War on the United States and the British Empire, Dec. 8, 1941 (Japanese time), or approximately an hour or so after the attack on Pearl Harbor (delayed due to transcription slowness): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_declaration_of_war_on_the_United_States_and_Britain

      2. If the Moslems would simply attack each other and exterminate their religious rivals within Islam even to the point of mutual genocide, neither I nor most other people would have much reason to oppose them. The problem is much greater than this, however. The Moslems have already infiltrated, and in many cases already degraded the quality of life in, dozens of Western nations. Even that might be something that we could tolerate, if only grudgingly and with great suffering; but that is not the end, it is only the beginning. However, the trend lines indicate greater and greater future violence against the West, which it would be STUPID TO IGNORE (are you paying attention?). Perhaps you could tell us your magic formula for “staying well clear” of the jihadists who have already killed tens of thousands of “infidels” in the last 50 years, and have shown no compunctions about using WMD’s against us if they should obtain useful quantities of them. You have already admitted that in your opinion, the jihadists are nuts, so please feel free to tell us exactly what limit they would not cross out of self-restraint or humane compassion. Oh, be sure to tell us why they would set such a limit, given their ongoing barbaric behavior.

      3. The current Moslem jihadists are both ideological AND rational. Their religious text tells them to convert, kill, or enslave every person on earth (Koran, Sura 8, verses 38-39), never abrogated) in the pursuit of the Caliphate, or unified world empire of Islam. That is their ideology, which has remained in full effect for almost 1400 years since their founding. That is the exact plan the current jihadists are still following, as they have willingly stated publicly many times. Their rationality is displayed by their observation that the West has not and will not strongly resist them in military, economic, social, educational, or political fields…therefore, they have nothing to lose by continuing to attack. Very much like the signals of weakness the Allies sent to Hitler in the 1935-1941 time frame. And the signals the West sent to Imperial Japan in the 1931-1941 time frame.

      4. Given that “they are nuts”, would you at least agree that they must be quarantined or re-colonized or population-controlled if they strike the West with WMD’s? Clearly, the current trends since WWII do not give much assurance that the Moslems can be trusted to “leave us alone” as any good libertarian-influenced, reciprocity-minded Westerner would do. If you have inside info to that effect, please enlighten us.

  25. WW2 kicked off for an intellectual reason, regarding the abuse of some people in a foreign land, in fact rather “far away, and containing people of which we knew little” ie the Poles. What I’m fearing that Ian forgets sometimes is that Britain in particular is the principal nation that has gone to – and goes to – war on behalf of others and their supposed rights and properties, rather than for us.
    I can’t remember the last war we went into for ourselves, with the possible exception of some small and foul events perpetrated by the BlairBrownCameron-terror, which with hindsight were nowt to do with the people on the ground.
    So it all changed here of course, when the GramscoFabiaNazis really took power here in 1997.

    The Falklands War was possibly the last war in modern history undertaken by any nation for its own interests, and for the achievement of the right decision through war alone. (Golly – fuck a brick! It was 32 years ago…I had not realised it’s about half a lifetime now, since then…)

    We could have more easily landed soldiers on Mars than we could help Poland in practice in 1939. But we went to war anyway, because _It Was The Right Thing To Say, and Then to Do. (I am the War Secretary, remember, when Sean becomes Lord Protector.)

    I will, however, keep this nation out of all wars that anybody invents, that it is practically possible to stay out of…unless it is absolutely unavoidable. (Oh and before I get red-arrowed, I think that WW1 _could have been avoided, at least for us_ … for a time. But not very long – about two years at most.)***

    *** Ask me later about my developing theories about that point, on which I am working.

  26. Randy on U.S. West Coast

    Some questions for those pure-theory libertarians who expect inoffensiveness or non-interference or nonaggression or isolationism to keep a nation or people immune to attacks by foreigners:

    1. What happened to the Chinese nation after it fell into isolationism after it had supposedly reached the pinnacle of development and decided to deal only with important internal matters (like power grabs and corruption and luxury) rather than interacting with the outside world in order to develop its military capabilities? Didn’t they become so isolated, technologically and militarily, that they were taken by surprise when modernizing powers showed up at their doorstep and demanded access and obeisance? I’m pretty sure that the Chinese did nothing to the Europeans that caused them to control China. Why didn’t non-interference work?

    2. Most of the nations/civilizations of South America, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere had no history of interfering with other nations before they were conquered or colonized. Why didn’t non-aggression help them? It should have protected them if non-interference produces peace.

    3. Was Nazi Germany attacked or subverted or sabotaged by Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, or Czechoslovakia prior to the Nazi attacks on them? Why weren’t those nations or peoples saved by their non-aggression?

    • Ah yes, “war is the health of the State”. It’s a commonplace idea; the current main articulation of it in the USA being the neconservatives. I daresay you’d find a more supportive audience at the Project For A New American Century, among the armchair warriors there.

      The problem is, it isn’t true. The main thesis, as you present here, is not that war is necessary but that it is desirable. You present the idea that warfare prevents “isolation”. This is bizarre. It implies the America and Britain are in some way isolated because we have not been to war lately. But nothing could be further from the truth; the interchange of ideas and technologies, and trade of all kinds, occur under conditions of peace, not war.

      War is a cost. Sometimes it is a necessary cost. But that is all.

      This imperialist model of yours is associated with other undesirable social elements; tyrannical politics and the loss of freedom, economic controls, mercantilism. It has brought down every Empire. Britain ruled the waves a century ago. We had to stop in the end because we could no longer afford it. America seems to be heading in that same direction right now. We’ll see.

      Chinese stagnation was for the same reason as every society prior to the West. All the old Empires are gone; Rome, Persia, etc. It is because they reach a stage in which a ruling class (of aristocrats, priests, bureaucrats, etc) develops who have a short termist vested interest in maintaining the system as it is. This causes them to actively discourage innovation, which may challenge their position. China’s infamous mandarinate was their version. The West appears to be developing a similar ossified State class currently. This does not bode well. The singular genius of the West historically was sufficient liberty to enable innovation and thus continual change and reform.

      The bunker mentality of the warfare state is not conducive to this sort of dynamism. War may be the health of the State, but it is not the health of the general society.

      It is thus not the least pragmatic to seek imperial grandeur on the world stage. It leads to tyranny, ossification, the continual expenditure of blood and treasure and, historically, inevitably, collapse. Rome is an example here; for a while they were riding high. But the warfare state required a continual collossal expenditure of manpower; eventually not enough Romans were available and it became dependent on mercenaries who eventually turned around and destroyed the Western Empire.

      The Eastern Rump continued for quite a while longer but again wasted production on warfare. Eventually, futile war between Rome and Persia so weakened both that a bunch of Arabian camel jockeys rode in and, well, we’re all still fighting them to this day.

      But if you want to believe that this is pragmatism, you carry on. Especially as we all now sit and watch the final collapse of the grand Iraq project.

      Oh, what’s that? It would have worked if we’d just had the courage to give them more war? Yeah.

      • Forgot to add; Islam, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan are/were warfare states on your preferred model. None have done terribly well out of it, have they?

      • Randy on U.S. West Coast

        More mistakes or lies on your part. I never stated or even implied that “War is the health of the State” as proposed by Randolph Bourne (a well-known leftist or progressive, not libertarian in my opinion.), so don’t try to lie about that being my position. If you want my opinion, I will be happy to spell it out for you in great technical detail so you won’t have to resort to a dishonest cliche. Or, if you are going to summarize “my” positions as you see fit, I’m sure you won’t mind if I use quotes from Marx, Lenin, Hitler, and Pol Pot to interpret all of the points you raise, right? I think that war may sometimes be necessary for survival, but it usually has some negative effects on society. The key is to determine the cost-to-benefit ratio.

        The real question is not whether “War is the health of the State”, but whether a “Power vacuum created by the passivity of the somewhat civilized society will create a better world when the totalitarians and barbarians seize the opportunity to rule”. My answer is, “Usually the world will become worse when the worst nations or people occupy that power vacuum.”

        I suppose you know that the Republic of Minerva was a total failure even during times of peace, so it is obvious that it would be incompetent in times of crisis. If they can’t even maintain their own structure, how could they possibly have enough co-operation and strength to save themselves or work with their neighbors to fend off the barbarians. The U.S. has been productive enough that it can afford to help others during times of natural crisis or war.

        Since you probably don’t try to see anything the U.S. does to help in crises other than war, I will remind you that almost every time there is a natural disaster anywhere in the world, the U.S. is expected to be there with massive amounts of material aid and manpower….and we are always there. And in those situations, we don’t give out gifts of munitions like some evil idiots and historically illiterate haters have claimed on this thread. I also don’t see lots of ships and airplanes owned by libertarian aid societies helping out at those natural disasters, do you? Well, at least your libertarian friends can’t be accused of “interfering”.

        • You specifically asserted that the failure of (China) was a direct consequence of its lack of aggressive militarism which, bizarrely, you think causes isolation.

          This is the thing; the Statist Right and the Statist Left end up in the same place. You clearly think that war is the basis of a healthy society. There is nothing I can say that will dissuade you, I fear.

          • Randy on U.S. West Coast

            As usual, you aren’t smart enough or intellectually honest enough to address the actual point I raised…and that point was NOT that I “specifically asserted that the failure of (China) was a direct consequence of its lack of aggressive militarism which, bizarrely, you think causes isolation.” You have the entire sequence of cause and effect out of order.

            Since you can’t understand even the most basic concepts, let me state this explicitly: “isolationism, even when accompanied by non-intervention, may lead to technological lack of advancement, which may cause a nation to lose track of and falling behind what other countries are developing, and that lack of knowledge/intel could be militarily disastrous when the invader sees that your military resources are too primitive to even serve as modest deterrents. And your non-interference will neither be appreciated nor honored as a protective shield.”

            Another example of isolated nations that are overwhelmed by more modern, less-isolated nations is “The Arrival of the Black Ships”. No war, but psychological and technological domination.

        • re: ” “Usually the world will become worse when the worst nations or people occupy that power vacuum.”

          Before we skip over an unspoken assumption, let us consider a clue to that very same ‘assumption’ And the clue is ‘power vacuum’.  These two words are misplaced, and only and properly belong to science or physics.  As a metaphor they do not belong in any political discourse on the physical world in the Islamic and disruptive societies and culture of the middle east. 

           As a Libertarian, one recognizes,or ought too, the limitations of the state.  The mission of the state is not to be a moral rescuer of other states, but rather defend one’s own state and culture when directly attacked. . Hence there is no vacuum of any type in the middle east, save perhaps of ‘wisdom’.       .  kind regards, Ricardo Ben-Safed     

          • Randy on U.S. West Coast

            Two points regarding “power vacuum”:

            1. Power vacuum is a legitimate term in political science, recognized both in standard dictionaries, Wikipedia, and in specialized political science books and articles. A quick Google search returns 140 MILLION entries. I stand by my usage.

            2. Given that a political/military “power vacuum” is real, and that someone will see fit to occupy that vacuum, is it better for the custodian to be the U.S. or any of the other likely candidates? I think there is little to recommend China, Russia, India, Brazil, or the Moslems. “None of the above” is not an option.

            • Even if 140 million people believe something, it’s still a ‘logical fallacy’ and an appeal to ‘authority”. Another point on the so called ‘power vacuum” is that it doesn’t exist…its still only a ‘metaphor’ used by social science. And in this case you use it to buttress another argument in favor of intervening in a country where a civil war is already in progress. (Which side are you fighting for?) You apparently are still in favor of more and more military intervention, so you are not proposing a Libertarian perspective. Do you understand what a Libertarian perspective really is?

              • Julie near Chicago

                Ric, for goodness’ sake. “Power vacuum” just means that in a situation where there are suddenly no rulers over a group of people, somebody will rush in to take power. Power vacuums happen for instance when street gangs (so-called) here are suddenly hors de combat: rival gangs rush in and shoot it out (as well as using less healthy methods) to win the Throne of Power for themselves.

                It happens in business too. When the actual head guy is gone (or clearly going) plenty of politicking goes on to see who can capture the throne.

                • Julie near Chicago

                  This is particularly a problem when the people being ruled (cities, countries, neighborhoods) are used to living under despotism. They tend to feel a bit at sea when nobody is giving them firm and solid rules. However harsh, unjust, unfair the rules.

                  I don’t mean always, of course. But particularly when that’s been the order of things over many generations, and to the extent that the former rulers were totalitarian.

                  That’s a conjecture on my part, as I’ve never conducted a sociological study on it. *g* Consider Russia. Lots of people there still glad the Commies are “gone,” but I hear that many Russians are beginning to think the Commie days weren’t so bad. Of course I suppose a lot of that is Good Old Days, but still. So now they’re not ruled by Stalin or Khrushchev or Yeltsin, but by M. Putain. What an improvement! Not a Commie; a gangster.

                  • I don’t know why epithets like that get used about Putin. He looks like a typical national leader to me. His Russia is not a free libertarian society, but neither are ours. I could list the abuses of the Progressive states we live in (and often do), from brutalising drug consumers to, the latest wheeze, arbitrarily taking tax money out of bank accounts, to suppressing free association. My government puts people in jail for not buying a government licence to own a television.

                    I just don’t see anything particularly bad about Putin’s regime. Oh, they arrest green idiots who commandeer gas rigs and feminists who invade churches. Ho hum. I’m not saying he’s a good man. I just don’t get the insistence that, in terms of his trade, he’s particularly bad.

              • Randy on U.S. West Coast

                Are you claiming that I am simply following the unsupported opinions of 140 million randomly surveyed people who know nothing about a particular topic?

                Is there any point to you taking on the role of Vocabulary Police? You are either not very well read or you are being deliberately dishonest. At no point did I ever, on this thread or anywhere else, “appeal to authority” regarding the usage of a particular phrase which has previously taken on its own professional denotation and connotation (yes, I know that “appeal to authority” is one of the Logical Fallacies, but that is not what is going on when experts in a field define or categorize something within their field). They can observe a real world phenomenon and define or categorize it. YOU do not have the power to declare their observations to be invalid just because you would require that the phrase match the meaning of a near look-alike phrase in one of the fields of hard science.

                News bulletin for you: almost every specialized field has its own vocabulary whose words may be spelled like similar words in other fields, but have been defined differently.

                Try to be at least a little bit serious, rather than arguing about trivialities.

  27. Actually the real neocons (who do not include people like Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney- it always amused me when people said things such as “Rumsfeld, Chaney and other neocons”) really did support going into Iraq for the good of the local people.

    I opposed the policy of going into Iraq – not because of “international law”, or “the good people of Iraq might be killed”, but because I did not see any evidence that the population had any liberal tradition (see my comment above) worth speaking about – so the fall of X vile regime would be followed by the rise of Y vile regime.

    The Neocon reply to such an argument (whoever presented it) was to scream “racist” (thus reminding people of the leftist origins of some neocons).

    Personally I think may Neocons are actually a bit stupid (although well educated and so on) – as was shown by the Vanity Faire incident.

    This magazine contacted the various neocon “intellectuals” just before the 2004 election – saying….. do you think certain things have not gone ideally in Iraq? Do not worry we will not publish your statements till after the election.

    All the neocons contacted (with the exception of Frank Gaffney) fell for this obvious trap – and (of course) selected statements from them went out just before the election (as part of the magazine’s campaign for John Kerry).

    As I said – stupid, plain thick (no matter how many degrees they have).

    No wonder they think somewhere such as Iraq can be turned into a liberal democracy.

    On World War II.

    Yes Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and (in its own farcical way) Fascist Italy had world designs.

    But what if they had NOT?

    What if (for example) the only problem with Fascist Italy was the local collectivists habit of making (mostly other collectivists) eat toads, and so on?

    Still a reason to overthrow the regime?

    Not as clear cut as Iraq – as Italy and Germany (and even Japan) did actually have a liberal tradition which the collectivists had defeated but not destroyed.

    So there was something to restore in Italy, Germany and Japan after WWII – no thousand years of Islam to worry about (or, in the case of the neocons, ignore).

    However, say things had not gone so well…….

    Say that in Italy (for example) the farcical dictatorship of Mussolini has been replaced by a Communist regime murdering millions? It could have happened…..

    Ditto the other places.

    So IF a country is no threat to anywhere else – the general policy should be one of non-intervention.

    As it is easy (very easy) to make a bad situation worse.

    One does not need to use harsh language (or accept conspiracy theories about the American government) to understand that intervention is very likely to make things worse – not better.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      “Liberal tradition” is not a very good qualifying reason for going into a country, when that country is both non-liberal at the moment AND posing a large danger to the world (which is likely to disrupt peace and world trade, and libertarians are supposed to be in favor of relatively unrestricted trade and peace, right?).

      I also disagree with the characterization of Japan having any substantial “liberal tradition”. Without that “liberal tradition”, we apparently should not have fought and defeated Japan, because it would be an impossible task to acculturate them to a more peaceful and Western way of governing. Yet, Japan is quite a success story.

      When there is a deadly threat to the relatively workable world system, we cannot just say that interference might be unsuccessful, since failure to act GUARANTEES lack of success…and what would we do then, since the precondition of “liberal tradition” still cannot be met?

  28. Hugo – as I have pointed out before…..

    The fighting started before Lincoln – in “Bleeding Kansas”, both sides (pro slavery and anti slavery) wanted to expand into the West, so there were have been war whether Lincoln had been elected or not.

    As for Lincoln he was indeed a Henry Clay Whig – so his economic opinions were not my cup of tea (to put it mildly). But this has never been hidden – remember the old Henry Fonda film “national bank, protective tariff, internal improvements – these are my principles” (and Paul Marks goes “pass the sick bag”), but he was also sincerely anti slavery (being tutored by his mother – who was a member of anti slavery church).

    The idea that the Civil War was not “really” about slavery that is was a “pretext” is in fact found in post Civil War writings (looking at documents from before and during the Civil War it is obvious that Jefferson Davis and co were fighting to protect and to EXPAND slavery) – this false view was pushed by Woodrow Wilson and Wilson was a supporter of big government (he made Lincoln look like Rothbard by comparison) and thought that the end of slavery was a bad thing.

    Libertarians (such as the late Murray Rothbard) that take Woodrow Wilson’s interpretation of events are really making a terrible mistake.

    And (of course) Jefferson Davis (and co) was actually MORE of a statist in his economic policies than Lincoln was (a point that is often overlooked).

  29. On Iraq and Afghanistan.

    As far as I know no one has argued that either of these places be under long term American rule – Peter Hitchens argued that one of the problems with the whole enterprise was that it was NOT “imperialism” (it might have been less crazy if it actually was imperialism).

    So the whole thing turns on whether (as the neo cons claimed) the baddies (for want of better word) were really a “tiny minority” who could be overthrown and Iraq and Afghanistan become like Denmark (or wherever).

    I always held that the neocon view was utterly false (that the baddies are not a small minority in places like Afghanistan or Iraq – that there are masses of different sorts of “baddies”) and I have not seen any evidence that has led me to change my opinion. I supported going to kill Bin Laden and his pals – but no “nation building” (indeed I can remember when even Bush accepted that this does not work).

    However, let us assume that I am WRONG – that the “democratic will of the Afghan people” (for example) should be followed.

    O.K. then – Dr Abdullah Abdullah (whose mentor was “the Lion” who was murdered just before 9/11) won the recent election (just like he won the last one – the one Khazi rigged).

    Dr Abdullah is not going to become President – just like he did not become President after he won the last election he was cheated of.

    “Paul you do not understand – the World Bank and so on do not like him, they prefer the other fellow”.

    Well fair enough (perhaps Dr Abdullah is a monster – I do not know) – but then stop this bleeping nonsense about the Afghan war being about “democracy”, the “will of the Afghan people” and so on.

    British and American soldiers (and other people) should not lose their lives for rigged election, after rigged election, after bleeping rigged election.

    As for Iraq.

    The majority vote for savage political groups – both Sunni and Shia.

    My “Uncle Bill” (who served in the area before World War II) would not have been astonished – it would have been exactly what he would have expected.

    Now the neocons can come in and call me a “racist” again.

  30. Randy – Ian can speak for himself, but I do not think that David would deny that the West has come under Islamic attack for more than a thousand years (I certainly would not dispute this – indeed I have list of some of the attacks over the centuries).

    However, what I am saying is as follows………

    Just because there is an Islamic threat does not mean that invading (or counter invading) Islamic lands is tactically wise.

    For example look at the massively extensive (and detailed) preparations King Louis (Louis the Saint) made for his attack upon Egypt.

    The Crusade still failed – because he just did not grasp the scale of the problem (the size of the country- the hostility of the general population, and so on).

    People obsess over this or that tactical mistake (such as knights charging into a city against the orders of Louis) – but the Crusade really failed because it was an impossible task.

    Most of the population of Egypt were Muslim – there is no way round this fundamental fact.

    Ditto Iraq.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      If the primary problem is the demographics of the invaded nation, then logically, Egypt could not have been conquered and retained by the Moslems, since Egypt was a mostly Christian country at that time (~639 A.D.). There is no way around this fundamental fact. Or is there?

      In my analysis, the real reasons for the eventual failure of the Crusades, after a mere 200 years (!) was the disjointed military efforts, handicapped by poor logistics in an era of slow and small transportation. This led to costs which were too high to be borne over such a long period. The goal of holding the Biblical Holy Lands was too abstract and there were no resources available there that made such a project self-supporting.

      In another sense, the Crusades did not fail, since they were a defensive counterattack against the Moslems who were attacking Europe via several routes for hundreds of years. In fact, the Crusades did hurt the Moslems and gave the Europeans some successes that were useful in sustaining morale and putting the Moslems on notice that we could fight.. Thus, when the later showdowns occurred, the Europeans did quite well in Spain 1492 and Lepanto 1571 and at Vienna 1683. In Spain especially, the Euros were able to sustain the logistics of the fight for almost 800 years before they won.

      The keys to holding off the Moslems today:

      1. defeat them thoroughly wherever they pose a military threat,
      2. stop giving in to all their demands for special treatment
      3. make them earn any favors or trade
      4. punish their criminal behavior such as terrorism
      5. support any groups that are fighting the Moslems
      6. quarantine them until they begin to act in a civilized manner with equality for others.
      7. selectively kill the jihadi leaders at every opportunity

      • Your point one. A military threat to whom? The West? They never do. To Israel? To Assad?

        “The Moslems” are an entire regional population. The wars are in that region. Who ya gonna fight?

        • Randy on U.S. West Coast

          Can I assume that at least a few of the people on this list are aware that the U.S. led invasion of Iraq scared Khaddafy so much that he rushed to “voluntarily” give up all his WMD/a-bomb projects in order to avoid being next on the U.S. Bad Guy List? Take the next intellectual step and ask yourself what would have happened after Oct. 2011 if those a-bombs had ever been completed between 2003 and 2011 under the A.Q. Khan franchising system, and then lost to the rebels. Couldn’t happen, you say? Pakistan did it, and they didn’t even have oil wealth to fund the work.

          I suppose you are totally confident that the current jihadis will never acquire a-bombs (I’ll drop the more generic designation of “WMD”, since the people on this list simply claim derisively that WMD’s are not real existential civilization destroyers, while “whistling past the graveyard” of a-bombs)? What do you suppose is likely to happen after Iran completes their a-bomb project? You don’t think that Sunni Moslem nations will develop their own a-bombs? We have already heard rumblings from Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, and others that they are no longer confident that the U.S. is willing to assist them as allies if the Iranians try to control the Moslem heartland. And what is the logical course of events in the Moslem world when some idiot ruler decides that they would enjoy supplying a-bombs to their favorite terrorist group? After there are a few (3 to 8) Moslem nations with a-bombs, I suspect that the chance of a-bomb leakage into the wild approaches certainty, given enough time.

          How many terrorist a-bombs, placed with “plausible deniability” when there are a handful of Moslem nations with such devices, detonated in major Western cities do you think it would take to make our civilization unbearable and unlivable? What are your solutions then?

          It would be far better to take the jihadis seriously now, rather than as mere annoyances, so that we do not have to engage in the massive genocide that some have brought up without prompting (not me; you can read all my posts here).

          My answer to your question is: “Fight all the nations who support jihadis, by all means available and practical, not just military”.

          There! You don’t have to throw more ad hominems and straw man arguments against me. Deal honestly with what I actually say, if that doesn’t strain your brains too much.

  31. Randy – Louis the Saint was facing a militant population.

    I am no fan of Islam – but like the Classical (the world of Greek City States and the Roman Republic, not the Empire) world it teaches the duty of non slaves to be armed and to fight.

    Byzantine Egypt was a mass of unarmed people – taught (for centuries) that fighting is for professionals only. The tough people who invaded them had little trouble in keeping them under control (one master replaced another master) and then the work of conversion could start – a process that lasted a long time (the Copts still exist – although they will be, most likely, wiped out over the next few decades).

    As for the Crusades – the real failure was the failure to coordinate with the Byzantines (in previous Crusades)..The division between the Easterners and the Westerners was fatal in the long term.

    Even many the historians seem to fail to grasp this – for example the defeat in 1187 was made very likely (if not inevitable) by the Byzantine defeat in 1176 (Myriokephalon) which meant that the Crusader States were isolated (cut off) without effective potential allies (and the Muslims did not have to worry about the Byzantine army on the flank any more) – yet how many historians link the Byzantine defeat with the later Crusader state defeat?

    Also neither Bush or anyone else had a plan to CONVERT the population of Iraq, so what are you suggesting? Ethnic cleansing?

    As for Imperial Japan.

    Imperial Japan was indeed expansionist (a real and present danger) I have never denied that.

  32. There is comment about Putin in my inbox about – but I do not see it in the thread.

    Anyway the problem with Putin is NOT that Russia is not libertarian (no major country is) – but there is a problem with Putin.

    The problem is that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia achieved certain freedoms and Putin TOOK THEM AWAY.

    There was a dissenting media – Putin crushed it.

    State Governors were elected – Putin made them appointed again.

    And on and on.

    “Nothing that Obama would not like to do”.

    But Mr Obama only wants to do it – he has not actually got rid of the election of State Governors, closed down Fox News (and talk radio) and had Charles and David Koch carted away in chains to a camp. Taking “natural resources” into the hands of “the people” (i.e. himself).

    Also (important from the point of view of policy) Putin is an expansionist (although not a crazy one). Which means his regime has to be CONTAINED. And his propaganda (such as “Russia Today” English language news) has to be countered.

    The Tony Blair view (that the West should make an alliance with Putin) is wrong – but then I am not aware of anything that Mr Blair is correct about.

  33. As for the Christian populations of the Middle East- they are in decline everywhere under Islamic rule.

    Islamic opinion is divided – the “moderate” view is that of the Pact of Omar (a special tax, no weapons, Christians to “feel themselves subdued” and so on), the radical view is extermination.

    But it should be stressed that this is not just about the Middle East – Islam sees itself as a World religion.

    For example a Jewish Mayor of New York City (and there have been several) would be thought insane (by fellow Jews) if he tried to impose Jewish religious law upon the city.

    However, a Muslim Mayor would have to work for the objective of pushing Islamic law – not, perhaps, at once (that would be a matter of tactical thinking), but as much as he could.

    Islam is logically consistent (a thing that anti Christian Western philosophers liked about Islam) – it, for example, sees no fundamental difference between Birmingham and Aleppo. Both must be under Islamic law – when the tactical situation makes it possible of course.

  34. Paul, I’m not supporting Putin. I’m just saying that in terms of political leaders, I don’t see a particular evil, just a rather typical, somewhat autocratic, national leader. He isn’t loading Jews into cattle cars or sending dissidents to a Gulag, there aren’t mass graves and arbitrary executions. That is not to say he is good. But it does say that he is far, far less bad than some who have ruled over the past 100 years.

    Living in a country where guest house owners are persecuted for not conforming to an orthodoxy about homosexuality, I wonder what on Earth a “free country” is these days.

  35. Ian – I repeat the comment I made about the Putin regime that I made some moments ago.

    Although I did leave out an interesting aspect – in Putin’s Russia organised crime and the state are (effectively) one-and-the-same (FSB types run both – and often at the same time).

    Nothing compared to Lenin or Hitler (who were vastly worse) – but still interesting.

  36. The main points about Putin is that he has got rid of what freedoms Russia managed to get after the fall of the Soviet Union and that he is hostile (as five seconds watching “RT” should have told anyone).

    People (such as Bush and Blair – those two mental giants) who try and make friends with Putin are making a mistake.

    As for his neighbours (Poland and so on) Mr Putin regrets the fall of the Soviet Union – not because he is a Marxist (not even of the Frankfurt School kind like Mr Obama), but because he regrets the loss of power – power for its own sake.

    It is a bit like an American President regretting the end of slavery accept (come to think of it) Woodrow Wilson did just that (see Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism).

    The American political system (and culture) manages to contain these people (Wilson, Obama – other fanatical collectivists). Sadly Russian institutions in the 1990s were not well enough developed to contain Mr Putin (even though he is more of a vicious criminal, rather than an ideological person).

    I wonder what President Wilson would have thought of Mr Obama – different type of collectivist although with a common root (pre Marxist German philosophy especially Hegel and Fichte – although Wilson actually read them, I doubt Obama has), I suspect that Wilson would have found Marxism (even Frankfurt School Marxism) a bit crude and unsatisfying.

    Still they would have agreed about the “international community” (and curse them both for their agreement).

    But there is the question of race – Mr Obama is (sort-of) black, and I can not see President Wilson being able to overlook that. Wilson being the first American President (and actually also the last American President) to be obsessed with black people not using the same toilets (and so on) as white people. He seems to have believed that blackness was infectious or something…..

    An interesting person.

  37. Randy (as so often with this site) I am getting your comments late (and possibly in the wrong order), the latest one I have got is on WMD.

    I am certainly no dove on the matter of chemical or (even less so) nuclear weapons in Islamic hands (Sunni or Shia).

    For example the potential for a Shia “hastener” atomic weapon in the hands of the Iranian regime (to full fill the theological “hastener” principle of spreading fire and death over the world to “hasten” the coming of the Hidden One) has long concerned me.

    Also the Sunni bomb already exists – the Pakastini bomb – presently that is more of a threat to India (which is in a nuclear stand off with Pakistan), but the Islamist links of the ISI (Pakastini intelligence) are a matter of concern.

    I am just far from convinced that “nation building” (neocon style) is any way of dealing with these problems.

    There may actually be no good solutions to these problems – all options having negative consequences.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      I am pleased that you are apparently one of the small minority of people on this list who has a proper level of concern about a-bombs in the hands of suicidal/homicidal religious maniacs. Your recognition of the problem of the Twelfth Imam and the implications that has on the rationality of the Shia Moslems is, in my analysis, quite reasonable.

      (Note: my comments below are not an attack on you personally, but rather an expansion upon what you wrote.)

      However, allow me to note that the Pakistani a-bombs are in the hands of a somewhat rational Sunni (hence, not as interested in the return of the Twelfth Imam) government at this point; no future guarantees, given their history of internal warfare and coups, and their history of Armed Forces vs. ISI rivalry and plotting (anyone remember Zia al-Huq?). The current reluctance of Pakistan to allow a-bombs to leak into the wilds of the terrorist world is most likely due to the fact that they know that we know which is the only Moslem country with a-bombs…and if an a-bomb or two suddenly detonates in some large or medium-sized Western city, that a-bomb carries with it the almost unmistakable neon-illuminated return address “Pakistan and its government”. As long as they view things this way, there is a high probability that they are smart enough to not want the weight of Western military power to come crashing down on them, so they will do their best to ensure that this situation never occurs.

      Despite their apparent rationality so far, there are still some flies in the ointment:

      1. There may be an internal coup or externally-instigated takeover, leading to a change of heart among the new leaders. If the new leaders are Shia, or if they are crazed Sunnis with Al-Qaeda fanaticism, they might just decide to take a chance and go for the Big One. They might think that nuking a major Western city would establish their reputation as the bravest and most dedicated Moslems in the world, even though the response might lead to extermination. It would be nice if the Pakistan military has a Doomsday Scenario for removing the a-bombs from the country or destroying them in the event of takeover, but their level of military competence to this point calls that into question.

      2. Even within the existing Pakistan government, it is possible that some internal group could smuggle one or more a-bombs out of the country via subversion. That group may not care about the repercussions on the Pakistani people.

      3. The more likely scenario is one that I developed approximately 20 years ago, when it became obvious that Pakistan was developing a-bombs and they refused U.S. suggestions to stop their project as a condition of future U.S. alliance and military supplies. The assassination of President Zia al-Huq may have been related to this dispute, either internally or externally. Once Pakistan developed a-bombs, the A.Q.Khan technological info pipeline was opened to other Moslem countries (the “Moslem a-bomb” was a matter of great cultural pride), most of which were not then sufficiently advanced or sufficiently funded to create a-bombs. Over time, other Moslem countries began to take up A.Q.Khan’s offer to provide an “a-bomb franchise with simple instructions”, notably Iraq and Libya. The big problem began to develop when Iran decided to develop a-bombs, since they are Shia governed and therefor feared by all the Sunni countries in the region. We are in the end stages of this terrible development in Iran. My prediction 20+ years ago was that the Sunni countries would suddenly be driven to develop their own a-bombs (via the A.Q.Khan franchise) to deter the Iranians’ aggression. At that time, I predicted that the approximate order in which they would start their own a-bomb projects would be: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, UAE, and Algeria. Iraq and Libya started down the path to building a-bombs, and it was just a matter of time, since they had the A.Q.Khan “blueprints”. The 2003 Gulf War, Part B resulted in cessation of those projects in Iraq and Libya…and considering how those countries have moved to the terrorist side, isn’t it a good thing that we disarmed them of a-bomb projects a decade ago? Note that I am not a NeoCon and I did not contemporaneously favor the recent Arab Spring attacks on Libya or agitation in Egypt, because those countries were relatively stable at that time and they posed little threat to the West. The 3rd country, Saudi Arabia has recently issued rumblings of buying a-bombs from Pakistan or starting their own a-bomb project (The Guardian, 29 June 2011) due to the aggressiveness and large military forces of Shia Iran, coupled with the recent unreliability of Obama’s U.S. as ally or protector (but, hey, why not just let them fight it out amongst themselves so we can avoid interference and entanglements, right? What could possibly go wrong?). The situation in Egypt is currently unsettled due to several recent changes in government, but their interest in nuclear weapons goes back to Nasser and they currently have nuclear reactors and reprocessing facilities that produce high grade plutonium ( http://armscontrolcenter.org/issues/nonproliferation/articles/a_new_nuclear_posture_for_egypt/ ). In addition, there have been hints that Turkey, Algeria, and UAE may also be working towards a-bomb projects.

      4. What do you suppose is likely to happen after a half-dozen Moslem nations (none of which has ever been viewed as highly civilized in a Western sense) acquire a-bombs? Is it not likely that the jihadists among the military and politicians in those countries will provide a-bombs as gifts to affiliated terrorist groups? And even if you believe “That could never happen!”, how secure will the a-bombs be when one or more of those countries is taken over by jihadi terrorists?

      The idea that we can have even a modest degree of security if we “just let them all sort out their own affairs” is naive in the extreme.

      Yes, there is risk if we do something, but at least there is some level of intelligence that just might guide events in the right directions, whereas there is almost no chance that things will just turn out right by benign neglect. Unless of course, you believe that the West turned out broadly better primarily by accident rather than principles or morality.

  38. Julie near Chicago

    On characterising Putin as a “gangster”:

    Sure, plenty of rulers (with or without the title) are “gangsters” in that they or their agents (with or without any public recognition of said agency) employ gangsterish methods to maintain or increase their power and profits. (“Profits” meant sarcastically.) This rules out Putin how? I mean, the fact that other powerful rulers are simultaneously gangsters (loosely speaking) doesn’t mean that Putin ISN’T one, does it?

    However, just a few links if anybody cares:

    http://rumafia.com/news.php?id=254

    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/explosive-video-documents-depth-putins-mafia-state

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-russia-mafia-kleptocracy

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-vladimir-putin-claims?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/247712?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

    Etc., &c., &c.

    Ixquick search string Putin “organized crime” for more.

  39. Julie near Chicago

    Dratted “word processors”! the search string, including the quotes, is:

    Putin “organized crime”

  40. Just listened to the latest Dan Carlin ‘Common Sense’ podcast (link below -well worth listening to). This is the best libertarian-leaning analysis of the current situation I’ve heard, and the only suggestion of intervention I’ve found I could almost agree with. He essentially concludes that the ethnic & cultural ‘nations’ of the middle east have to establish themselves, and to some extent that will involve war & conflict. Carlin suggests that any further intervention to help achieve these aims should be diplomatic (such as helping initiate the ‘three state’ solution in Iraq), and limited militarily, if that is to prevent the worst elements of human suffering as the borders shift (ie preventing ethnic cleansing and genocide). What we can no longer justify is holding these artificial nations together.

    In terms of a best outcome in pragmatic terms, I think he’s spot on. And his analysis of the historic causes is also something that is not raised enough in the debate. Well worth a listen:

    http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/7/3/7/7374e4d975de4f47/cswdcc77.mp3?c_id=7316301&expiration=1403827575&hwt=da59665b69bc041729351a192714a9a9

    http://www.dancarlin.com/

  41. Randy – I certainly do not trust the ISI (or the Pakistani establishment in general). As for Mr Khan – he was prepared to give the nuclear technology he (partly) got from North Koreans, to anyone who would pay him (I suspect the North Koreans would do that to – just to spread chaos, “Team America: World Police” film becomes a documentary).

    One of the reasons that the United States does so poorly in Pakistan (and so on) is the habit of letting down real allies.

    For example the doctor who helped the United States track down Bin Laden is still rotting in a Pakistani prison (it should have been a priority to get him and his family out, as soon as the operation against Bin Laden was launched).

    Also there was the “on-off” support for the Kurds (over the years) – either support people or do not (do not give the impression one is an ally – and then walk away).

    The same could be said of Indochina – where (in the Easter Invasion of the early 1970s) the ARVN had little trouble in beating off the Communist attack as long as it had American supply and air support, but this was later CUT OFF (with predictable results).

    Laos was never really supported (a handful of CIA people – when what was needed was something like the Tenth Mountain Division to cut enemy supply lines into both Cambodia and South Vietnam).

    And in Cambodia the army was given to understand that American supply and air support would always be there (all their military plans were based on this) then it was suddenly taken away – leaving the Cambodian Army helpless against Pol Pot’s Communist forces (who wiped out a third of the entire population of the country).

    The worst mistakes of all were right at the start of the post World War II period – allowing the Soviets to take over Eastern Europe (Patton was correct it could have been avoided – and without great difficulty) and the crazy instructions to Chang in the Chinese Civil War. The demand that Chang call off the Manchurian Offensive of 1946 (the last chance to defeat the Communists – and save tens of millions of people being murdered by the Mao Regime) and follow a policy of “talks”. General Marshal following the advice of the “old China hands” (most of whom were Soviet agents of influence) was unwise (to say the least).

    I will leave aside the utter wasting of the atomic monopoly from 1945 to 1949 (indeed longer – as Soviet bombers could not penetrate American air defences, and the Soviets did not build up a long range missile force till the late 1950s).

    Ian – you are actually mistaken. American policy after World War II was generally (not always – I have touched on some of the terrible failures above) successful in containing Marxism. Although the policy from the 1960s onwards of supporting the “moderate” left in Latin America and elsewhere was a terrible mistake (the moderate left causes economic chaos which the hard left seek to take advantage of).

    There certainly was never a policy of surrounding the Soviet Union with crazy Islamists.

    Even in Afghanistan the main figure that the Americans supported was actually an enemy of the crazy types – “the Lion” was murdered just before 9/11 (by a Taliban suicide bomber posing as a journalist).

    The idea that Bin Laden was the important guy to the Americans is a myth.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      I agree with much of your post above, especially regarding the erratic U.S. foreign policy that sometimes left our erstwhile allies hanging out to dry (such as the Suez Incident in 1956, which angered UK, France, and Israel), but I will disagree with a couple of points. Incidentally, many American analysts have noted the treasonous behavior or neglect or colossal incompetence (to be extremely charitable) of our State Department since WWII, when it was successfully infiltrated by Communists and other ne’er-do-wells. The clean-up of the State Department remains a project we should pursue until we get them to take a pro-Western stance. Incidentally, the abandonment of Dr. Afridi by Obama (not any reasonably responsible U.S. leader, so don’t blame “the U.S.” or American Constitutionalists) occurred quite recently, so it is not a major proportion of insane U.S. foreign policy, since our erratic reputation was greatly damaged at least 50 years earlier.

      In Kurdistan, Laos, and Cambodia, the U.S. never had a strong relationship that could reasonably be interpreted as “willingness to go to war in their defense”. The locals may have been disappointed, but it was odd that they would view loose or minor relationships as “life or death compacts with America”. One can make the argument that we SHOULD have been more committed, but it would have been hard to persuade the American voters that it would be worth making a major commitment to those countries/peoples. It made more sense to prioritize those nations/peoples in ways that were logical within the Cold War Big Picture.

      I do not exactly disagree with your theme when you write, “The worst mistakes of all were right at the start of the post World War II period – allowing the Soviets to take over Eastern Europe (Patton was correct it could have been avoided – and without great difficulty)”, but I do disagree with the specifics. At the start of the immediate post WWII period, we did not “allow the Soviets to take over Eastern Europe” since they had militarily taken over Eastern Europe in the previous several years of fighting, and they had a multi-million man army ensconced on the width and breadth of Eastern Europe. The fait accompli takeover could not have been “easily avoided” or reversed; it would have required another major war or brilliant diplomacy to save Eastern Europe. Yes, we should have diplomatically/economically pushed the Soviets harder to comply with their agreements, but it isn’t clear that the Soviets would have willingly given up territory that they felt that they had “paid for in blood”. Delay, obfuscation, and empty promises of future compliance would have been the most likely course.

      On the other hand, it may have been quite feasible to “save China” from the Soviets, since much of China’s territory had not yet been occupied, and it is somewhat probable that the Soviets would have been willing to settle for half a loaf (as they did in Germany) rather than go back to war in a large campaign. However, few Americans felt much attachment to Asia since they were not immigrants from there; thus it would have been hard to convince American voters that the costs of a war in China would have been reasonable, given the incompetence and corruption in the Nationalist government. However, we had a large army and established supply lines in Asia (largely by sea, while the Soviets did not have a powerful Navy), so we could have possibly been successful in supplying the KMT and the U.S. military to defeat the Communist Chinese and Soviets. Unfortunately, the only available KMT leader was Chiang Kai-Shek, who was not up to the task of leading the KMT or fighting the Communists.

      You are also correct in stating that OBL was not one of the major leaders of the Afghan Mujahideen…in fact he wasn’t even an Afghan leader, but an interloper.

      And you are correct regarding “The Lion of Panjshir”, Ahmad Shah Massoud. He was an Afghan and much more involved as a military strategic and tactical leader than OBL, hence his name. OBL was a secondary figure, known more for giving monetary donations to the Mujahideen than for planning campaigns or leading troops in battle.

  42. Paul-

    There certainly was never a policy of surrounding the Soviet Union with crazy Islamists.

    Sadly, there was in the 1970s. That is why the Carter administration took down the Shah and replaced him with the Ayatollahs. The Shah was a bad man. Khomeini was far worse.

  43. Wrong on two counts Ian.

    President Carter did not think Khomeini was a monster – Carter fell for the Islam is a religion of peace B.S. (he still does).

    And cutting off support to the Shah was nothing to do with attacking the Soviet Union.

    President Carter (in his normal deluded way) thought that bringing down the Shah would improve human rights in Iran.

    • Randy on U.S. West Coast

      Correct on all counts. Carter was too stupid to even develop a coherent strategy for the Cold War (though he did have more than one available to him; such as the White Paper I mentioned in my previous post). Carter believed that deposing our authoritarian allies was the way to improve human rights, despite the large amount of evidence to the contrary if we examined the available alternatives. It is usually unwise to even try to “let the perfect be the enemy of the good”, especially when the Ayatollah Alternative is multiple orders of magnitude worse than the “perfect” that is supposedly being sought.

      As for the odd belief that throwing out the Shah would help our containment of the USSR: that makes no sense at all, since the Shah had been very cooperative in letting the U.S. set up intel interception facilities inside Iran not far from the Soviet border, while also letting the U.S. train Iranian soldiers and intel officers at the same time we sold the Iranians some advanced military hardware for the protection of the Iran border with the USSR. There was ZERO evidence that the Ayatollah would continue with our previous relationship, and even less evidence that the Ayatollah would be a trade upward. Of course, that is, IF Carter had wanted to prosecute the Cold War properly, which he did not.

    • Yes and no Paul. Carter promoted Khomeini was a “man of peace” (Bernard Lewis was dragged in front of US government spooks for writing an article describing what Khomeini really was, for instance). Carter’s stupid administration deliberately toppled the Shah to get Khomeini in charge in Iran. Because back then, remember, the idea was that Islamists were “good guys”, and also “fierce fighters” who would be a terrible trouble to the USSR and help bring it down. You must remember Sandy Gall with the brave, plucky Mujahadeen. Or indeed, Rambo III’s pro-Islamist fighter polemic.

      So there was a distinct strategy by the US to get as many Islamist nuts in place as possible around the Soviet Union. Which is why Carter had the Shah pushed out the way in favour of Khomeini. Back in the 70s, “crazy Islamic maniac” was synonymous with “good guy”.

  44. Randy I am older than sin – and twice as ugly.

    I have actually talked to people from Indochina (all of the countries) and they certainly thought that had American promises (and based their defence plans on these promises). I was too young to be involved – but I have talked to people who were involved.

    Now they may have go the wrong impression – but someone gave them that false impression.

    Certainly neither the ARVN in the Republic of Vietnam, or the Cambodian Army (for example in the brief Cambodian Republic of Lon Nol) thought they would just be suddenly left hanging – no air support, no supplies.

    Think what that does to military plans – and to morale.

    Once fear and despair set in – all is lost.

    Fear and despair are deadly weapons – and a sudden cut off of support produces fear (indeed panic) and despair.

    That is why I tell various people that they should NOT base their defence plans on American support.

    I am only a dirt poor nobody, and I am a bore on the subject – but I am right. And I mean no disrespect for the United States by it.

    President Carter – yes a highly educated man, but an incredibly unwise one. Someone who insisted in living in a world of illusions.

    You are right about all lot of other stuff to.

    However, do not judge Chang too harshly.

    His son was a hostage (“guest”) in the Soviet Union when he allowed the Communists to escape in the 1930s (the “Long March” stuff is partly mythology – Chang was not allowed to destroy the Communists, his son would have been killed [had an "accident"] if he had).

    Also the Manchurian Offensive of 1946 was working – till Marshall’s people ordered it stopped. “You must talk to Mao” – about what? how best to be tortured to death?

    Like the American advisers who kept suggesting more money printing – and whose answer to inflation was price controls.

    Were they all morons – or was it deliberate treason?

    Like you I think it was a bit of both – some were morons and some were traitors.

  45. No Ian.

    The American refusal to back the Shah had nothing to do with fighting the Soviets – NOTHING (by the way the people who were LATER backed in Afghanistan were not who you think they were either).

    And not backing the Shah is not the same as “overthrowing him” – is not this site supposed to be noninterventionist? Surely everyone should be supporting the Jimmy the Peanut for allowing the Mullahs to come to power?

    Anyway – the last time the Americans and British backed the Shah (Operation Ajax back in the early 1950s – when the pro Soviet Prime Minister of Iran would not allow the provinces to vote, and was thus “democratically elected” by seats he controlled).he proved (eventually) to be a terrible mess.

    All the economic policies that undermined Iranian society under Prime Minister M. (the price controls, the land theft [land "reform"] the nationalisations, the wild government spending, the…..) were later done by the Shah himself. The Shah destroyed the support for his own regime – he undermined the merchants in the towns, and the landowners in the provinces, both undermined by the Shah’s “White Revolution” (economic polices that were often word-for-word what Prime Minister M. had done – the endless regulations, the nationalisations, the land theft, the wild government spending, the collective farming…….), the Shah undermined the very groups of people who might have supported him (and had supported him in the early 1950s).

    After the long term failure of Operation Ajax “we must stop Prime Minister M. he is doing all these terrible things….. oh f….. the bloke we have backed is ALSO DOING ALL THE SAME TERRIBLE THINGS”. there was little support for another intervention. Of course the jerks who took over American policy in the 1960s (and Britain as well under Harold Wilson and Edward Heath) actually supported a lot of the Shah crazy economic policies.

    Anyway….

    Number of Persian speakers at the American embassy in Iran in 1979?

    Zero.

    And the British MI6 had also given up.

    Yes with hindsight the Shah should have been backed in 1979.

    But that is with hindsight.

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