Dick Cheney The Ol’ Neocon Bastard

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Compare the philosophic differences in the following quotes:

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart….Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

John Quincy Adams, 4 July 1821

As quoted recently by Dick Cheney:

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, “If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.”

One knows he is on the right track when neo-cons start up with their tired tirades. The two good things Obama has done in the last six years is to “end” our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and draw down the size of the Armed Forces. Regarding the latter, America has done so after every war before World War II. Yet after that war, we actually grew our military, to combat an imagined threat in the Cold War, thanks in part to Truman’s missteps and Ike’s missed opportunities to open up talks with the Soviets in the early-mid 1950’s.

Cheney seems to have forgotten that putting Iran into the Axis of Evil in the 2000’s nixed a reformist Iranian governmnet and brought Ahmadinejad to power. Does he also forget that Kuwait was carved out of Iraq by the British? Or that modern Near East states were created by the Allies post-World War I? How our loans to Saddam during the Iraq-Iran War collapsed an Iraqi economy that had been on the rebound before the war? That both reasons led Saddam to invade Kuwait? Does he remember we fed supplies and money into the Iraq-Iran war? Or what of Afghanistan – that we did the same to the Mujahideen and Taliban fighters to spite the Soviets?

Does Cheney, who views the surge with warm feelings because of its “success” understand it was necessary because Rumsfeld refused to understand the concept of invading with overpowering numbers? Would Cheney be able to honestly tell us he believes the American Way is not a cookie-cutter experience for all peoples in all places in all times? If not, I would suggest he read Orestes A. Brownson.

No, the clear evidence Dick Cheney sees he wrongly interprets. The world has not spoken any clearer in telling America to return to its Enlightenment principles. The world does not need another Imperal parent. Spurn Churchill’s desire and lay the British Empire to rest.

In Cheney’s view:

Tragically, [Obama] is quickly proving…that without American pre-eminence, there can be no world order.

As Marcus Aurelius tells Maximus in Gladiator, empire does not mean the end of war for there will always be someone left to fight. We should care to recall that the world was so ordered before America and will be so after America. What is world order other than individuals [nations] acting in their own best interests? Obama cannot be any more right in saying “[a]ny world order that elevates one nation above others cannot long survive.” As Brownson argues, America or any other nation, does not exist in and of itself, it exists as so Divinely created. Exclude the Divine to one’s own peril. What is peril other than to view one’s country as the benefactor of civilization and order?

I hope Dick Cheney’s march takes him straight to the insane asylum.

Santorum The Misguided

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Nothing irks me more than a politician who either can’t see the forest for the trees or who refuses to see.

Such is the case with Gingrich, Santorum and Romney. Santorum, especially, is the politician who scares me the most. Though I must add a caveat – Romney’s belief that America should have such a superior military that no one would dare think of picking a fight with us squawks both ignorant and childishly shortsighted of historical precedent.

I personally believe if Santorum is elected he will either begin a war with Iran or bring us the closest to one, with all the economic ills associated with either outcome. We should all be alarmed since the last time we heard someone as hawkish as Santorum, Bush 43 was in the White House. The issue with both Bush 43 and Santorum, as Kevin Phillips theorizes in American Theocracy, is the rather extreme religious worldview both men hold. Such beliefs, to a rather ironic and sad twist, are twisted derivations of Regan’s speeches regarding Evil Empire.

While neo-conservatives continue talking up, ad infinitum, how bad a president Obama has been, real policy issues get pushed to the side. This is why Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy has been so good for American discourse, to whatever credence Paul actually receives. The fact that America has usurped itself to a mis-conceptualized good-vs.-evil military campaign for the past near-seventy years has bankrupted us. Consider that we borrow forty cents of every dollar we spend. That’s a military forty percent too large. Bush 41 himself, acknowledging that the Cold War was essentially over, stated that the military should be reduced by at least one-third. Who, then, can make a compelling argument for the need for half a dozen Central Commands “strategically” centered around the world, floating armadas sailing the oceans, and military bases in over one hundred countries throughout the world? Does this kind of military presence not smack of Empire? Or the fact that national hubris is the mask of irrational fear that someone, somewhere is going to attack us?

They want higher energy prices. They want to push their radical agenda on the public,” Rick Santorum said at a campaign event last week, accusing Democrats of pushing alternatives to oil. “We need a president who is on the side of affordable energy.”

Perhaps. But Santorum is grossly misguided if he thinks stopping Iran from doing what it wants to do as a sovereign nation has no connection to higher energy prices. If Santorum is such a social policy hawk, he should be preaching something entirely different – America uses a lot of oil, has built an infrastructure based on cheap fuel and that if America truly wants a sound energy policy it will restructure the way people travel. In the meantime, Santorum should strongly consider the grave danger in which the Dollar finds itself. Its weakening status as the world’s reserve currency is the only thing holding Pandora’s Box closed.

Book Review

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This knowledge deficit, and in particular a manifest failure and unwillingness to recognize the historical context and founding myths of Iran and in relationship with the West, has been tragically evident in the current crisis. Quite apart from the lack of strategic vision that led to the invasion of Iraq, it is now apparent that the Americans, and to some extent the Europeans, are struggling to find ways in which to solve the Iranian question. The consequence has been an over-dependence on rhetoric and demagoguery that has been confrontational rather than constructive, punitive rather than a means to a defined end. There has been a marked failure to distinguish between the state and the nation, and to recognize social changes and the political dynamic. Instead, much like Ahmadinejad, the preference has been to analyze Iran in the framework of a revolution that occurred more than a generation ago, as if all that has transpired since is inconsequential. More damning has been the failure to engage with Iran as a distinctive actor, as opposed to an extension of the Cold War or intra-Western rivalries. Particularly ineffective has been the tendency to view Iran through the familiar analogies of the Western experience, defining it as totalitarian and ignoring the complexities it represents. Such intellectual indolence may reflect a justified frustration, but it does not assist in the effective formation of policy. [p. 239]

Confronting Iran is worth reading for the nine page conclusion alone. For all that could be said about Western relations with Iran, especially U.S.-Iranian relations since at least 1953, Ansari concisely lays out the bare facts of those historical events that have been unfortunately developed into mythical allegories.

The reader would also be helping himself before approaching Confronting Iran by first beginning with two things. It would be wise to understand the concept of American Empire: its culture of militancy, both economic and otherwise, and the effect Empire has on not only how the world sees the U.S., but how the U.S. purposes itself upon the sovereignty of other nations in order to satisfy its own desires. One must also have at least some working knowledge of primeval Mohammadan Islam versus the modern world’s understanding of its militant form.

The fact of the matter is militant Islam gains credibility not only when the U.S. sticks its nose in the Near East for no apparent reason, but also when U.S. policies, whether through sanctions, rhetoric, or regime change, affect the otherwise likely economic prosperity of Near East nation-states. It is no small fact that our policies create havoc and give reason for those with no hope for economic self-sufficiency to join militant groups. One need only look to Stalin’s interference in Central Asia during the early Communist period in the 20th century to see how those societies are still affected from past outside interference.

In all, Confronting Iran is a timely read, especially in light of the views held by the near majority of current 2012 GOP presidential contenders.

War, Ineptitude and Post-Constitutionalism

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For Emperor Giggles having been a past supporter of withdrawing U.S. forces from both Iraq and Afghanistan, his current action is highly suspect.

U.S. generals in past wars and skirmishes have been replaced when showing ineptitude in the art of war. General George B. McClellan may be the most un-famous general with this honor. But it appears in our age, we have generals who know the ins and outs of war, largely due to the constant American need to pick a fight with anyone who won’t let us get our way.  Since the manner in which war is waged changed* with Vietnam, protocol must somehow involve the ability to engage Guerilla tactics. And since Gen. Stanley McChrystal is calling for additional forces to engage and defeat the U.S.’s so-called enemy** in Afghanistan, Emperor Giggles should oblige him. Except, Giggles has yet to make a decision more than a month and a half after McChrystal requested additional troops.

The obvious question is: Why?

Giggles is an Emperor riddled with distractions on his dinner plate. He’s prioritized preempting the private sector through government take-over programs: the $787 billion Stimulus Farce, including the government’s final stab to the banking system; the GM/Chrysler buyout; and of course, the could-be-humorous-if-it-wasn’t-so-serious attempt at Health Care reform. He has a preoccupation in seeking international adoration through taxpayer-funded fanciful-yet-narcissistic trips overseas: seeking the riddled-with-fraud IOC’s affirmation of Chicago for the 2016 games, as well as other minor trips to the Middle East and Europe giving speeches about the heavenly wonders of internationalism. Finally, due to his narcissistic need to be loved and adored by US citizens, those both legal and those borrowed from Mexico, he is on a constant media blitz – television, newspapers, magazines. Michael Savage doesn’t call him Chairman Mao-bama for no reason.

He is also an Emperor who has not learned the art of decision-making. It was scary enough when Hillary Clinton was a serious contender last year for the DNC’s presidential nomination. Yet at least we all would have had a candidate who can make decisions, no matter how much we agree or disagree. The opposite is true with Giggles. He has had no experience in true leadership. He’s been a community organizer, State Senator and less-than-one-term U.S. Senator. His record is riddled with cowardly *present* votes.

His indecisiveness in the case of Afghanistan is relevant to what I believe is his desire for losing the war there. It correlates to how best he can align himself with his Marxist, anti-American Liberal support base without the entire country turning on him. Yet in the case of Afghanistan, should he choose not to send in the needed troops, he may come out as the personification of Francisco d’Anconia – losing face, but not as much as those depending upon him (in this case the Armed Forces, Gen. McChrystal et al should the war be lost).

All of this to say Giggles is inept in every sense of the word. It boils down to two points. First, he has no real concern for the security of the nation or the reputation of the Armed Forces. He doesn’t care. The argument of our global reputation can go back and forth till the cows come home but the simple fact is that when a leader denigrates his own, foreigners are given implied permission to do as they will. Look at any past U.S. president who tore down the Armed Forces and observe how the international community reacted. In fact, we need not even look at past presidents. Observe how Iran, China and North Korea have been militarily taunting the U.S. since Giggles took office. Therefore, secondly, Giggles should be replaced. Theoretically, I don’t think it would do any good since the rule of law is no longer followed at any level of government, and adherence to any resemblance of law and justice is only skin-deep.

Post-Constitutional America is being primed for one of two occurrences, either of which will lead to the same result – some form of a Dictatorship. America will either socially tear itself apart, which it  obviously already is along the lines of gay rights, abortion, political faction, open borders and foreign influence, ad infinitum. Or, and I am quite surprised this has never happened, a military coup (save the whole War of Aggression debacle). America’s founding fathers warned against large, standing armies for this reason. How long will it be till we see a General marching on Washington? It could be closer than we think should Emperor Giggles continue his ineptitude. I for one, am shocked McChrystal has not taken matters into his own hands over in Afghanistan. For the good of our forces over there, should Giggles continue stuttering, I hope McChrystal does what needs to be done.

*One could argue that war has never really changed. George Washington was the guerilla fighter of his day. The guerilla method is the story of war itself. When faced by insurmountable odds, David will attack Goliath by whatever means possible to achieve victory. The reason for most being unable to see this is due in large part to the World Wars of the 20th century. The return to guerilla tactics ensued with the advent of the Cold War and the U.S. skirmishing in Asia. While the U.S.’s Armed Forces realize that war tactics, globally, have gone guerilla, politicians shielded by wealth and political power have not caught on or are simply refusing.

** Bush detractors fault the Bush Doctrine along its very premise – that the U.S. does not have the authority to pre-emptive war. But their foul cries miss the entire point, one the U.S. has missed the majority of the time in its history: What exactly is an enemy? In any war, there must be an end-game, a reason war is being waged in the first place. The Bush Doctrine argues the defeat of Terrorism is the end-game and that the U.S. has a right to pre-emptive war to achieve this goal. Yet the Bush Doctrine is mired down by its very philosophy because Terrorism is an international problem, one which involves fighting within a sovereign nation, the whole of which may very well be peace-oriented. Yes, the U.S. has a right to defend itself, but to what extent – are the Armed Forces nation-builders? Is Washington responsible for repairing decades-old social and political strife in nations with non-democratic political histories? Has the U.S. ever successfully built a nation outside of itself? No.

The question would then re-ask itself. How should terrorism be defeated? The international community would proffer bilateralism. That the U.S. should stop meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations. They have a point and we can look at the Middle East as a perfect example. Our involvement there to secure oil has led U.S. policy to nominate and depose leaders, leading ultimately to political and social unrest, and resulting in terrorism against the U.S. George Washington advised against this in his Farewell Address – to trade with all nations and be respectful of them. To leave foreign affairs in foreign lands. To stay out of foreign entanglements caused by treaty. So then, if the faction we are fighting against in Afghanistan is our defined enemy, why is that so?