Archive for the ‘middle east’ Category

The Sunni war on America.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Angelo Codevilla, who has some of the most interesting things to say about America has a new column out in Asia Times.

For more than a quarter century, as Americans have suffered trouble from the Muslim world’s Sunni and Shia components and as the perennial quarrel between them has intensified, the US government has taken the side of the Sunni. This has not worked out well for us. It is past time for our government to sort out our own business, and to mind it aggressively.

To understand why hopes for help from the Sunni side are forlorn, we must be clear that jihadism in general and Daesh in particular are logical outgrowths of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s (and the Gulf monarchies’) official religion, about how they fit in the broader conflict between Sunni and Shia, as well as about how the US occupation of Iraq exposed America to the vagaries of intra-Muslim conflicts.

I have believed this for some time and am happy to see him agree with me. I spent an evening listening to him talk about our foreign policy and how the War on Terror became a war on Americans.

The U.S. government does not understand how to combat international terrorism or respond to its threats. In an exclusive interview with Ginni Thomas of The Daily Caller, Codevilla highlighted the failure of both administrations to understand the enemy, explaining that it makes national security decisions based on a flawed paradigm.

“After 9/11, the U.S. government instituted a system of homeland security based on the proposition that any American is as likely as anyone in the world to commit terrorist acts — and that therefore, all Americans must be screened and presumed to be terrorists until the screening clears them,” Codevilla said.

Certainly, the government has been engaged in a faux security system with the TSA that pretends it will stop an airline hijacking or bomb threat, while allowing 90% of false bombs and guns to escape surveillance.

“These people who attacked us had reasons, which are widely supported — in fact, vigorously promoted by the regimes from which they came,” Codevilla said. “The Saudi regime, which we count as an ally, does in fact harbor the most virulent strain of Islam, the Wahhabism. This movement inspired most of the hijackers in 9/11. The others, some of the leaders, were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, which the Obama administration has been courting and favoring.”

Rather than confronting the movement of Islamic radicalization, Codevilla says that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush blamed acts of terrorism on the perpetrators themselves, instead of viewing them as the incarnations of a murderously ideological movement.

I am a little less conspiracy minded but I agree that we face a militant ideology that is as yet unacknowledged.

US foreign policy in the Middle East had moved to the Sunni side in 1979 after the Shia Islamic Republic’s overthrow of Iran’s secular Shah. For the previous quarter century, the Shah’s Iran had taken care of US interests in the region while muting its Persian Shia people’s perennial tensions with the Sunni Arab world.

But Iran’s Islamic Republic has been as aggressively Shia and Persian as it has been anti-American. Fatefully, rather than answering in kind the Islamic Republic’s warfare on America, all presidents since Jimmy Carter have searched the Sunni Arab world for counterweights to Iran, as well as for the kind of support that the Shah had given us.

This attempt to outsource America’s security concerns by entering into the Sunni-Shia conflict on the Sunni side has been counterproductive because the Sunni, 85% of the Muslim world, are also the nursery of its most contagious plagues — the Wahhabi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood. Above all, it has been disastrous because it has led the US government to lose sight of our own interests by confusing them with those of Sunni states and potentates.

Here, I agree completely. I think Bush’s attempt to see if an Arab country could rule itself was a reasonable thing to try. The disaster was turning the policy over to Arabist Paul Bremer who decided to become a viceroy and alienated the Sunnis of Iraq. Saddam began the crisis by invading Kuwait.

The main Sunni monarchies’ congenital worse-than-uselessness is why, in the decade after Iranian Islamic Republic’s establishment, US policymakers vigorously courted Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, who ruled mostly-Shia Iraq with a bloody hand through its Sunni minority. The US policymakers who helped Saddam prevail in his war against Iran believed that, by so doing, they could strike a blow at Iran while weaning Saddam away from his reliance on the Soviet Union.

Too clever. No sooner had Saddam established his power over the head of the Gulf than he used it to conquer Kuwait, after which the Gulf’s monarchs were helpless before his disciplined army and frightened by their own peoples’ support for Saddam. They asked the United States’ help.

I am a bit skeptical here but he might well be correct. What we have now is a president who has elected to join the Shia and Iranian side in this Muslim civil war.

But instead of choosing any version of America’s own interest, US statesmen confused that interest with the self-contradictory demands of the Saudis, etc. — the Sunni world’s weak reeds: Please, make war on Saddam, but not so hard as to break his Iraqi Sunni empire. This way we can all win without dealing with the consequences of victory. We can have our cake while eating it too.

Our bipartisan ruling class, from the Bush and Clinton families to the Dick Cheneys and Colin Powells to Washington’s think tanks considered this counsel to be sophistication, and themselves to be sophisticates for accepting it. Far too clever.

The ensuing bellum interruptus was meant to tweak the balance among the Mid-East’s Sunni forces. But the result was that Saddam, who’d not been an enemy of the United States, subsequently led the Muslim world to new heights of enmity to America. Few remember that the longest and most impassioned part of Osama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa which preceded the wave of anti-American terrorism that crested on 9/11 was a denunciation of America’s actions against Saddam’s Iraq.

Here I tend to agree with Codevilla. Clinton was not immune to this misapprehension of our interests. “Foreign Affairs,” a journal that I used to subscribe to, ran a cover story during Bill Clinton’s feckless presidency on “Foreign Policy as Social Work.”

the Sunni states — which had opposed the invasion strenuously — convinced Bush 43 to occupy Iraq indefinitely. That involved taking care of their business. He agreed to confuse others’ business with America’s despite having been elected in part by promising never to engage in “nation building.”

Bush promised to build “a united, democratic Iraq.” That was always an absurdity because, since Iraq’s constituent groups loathed and feared each other, Iraq’s unity could result only from one group’s despotism over the others, whereas “democracy” — i.e. the will of the people — meant that Iraqis would go their separate ways.

The occupation’s day-to-day practical objective however, was to hold the 83% of Iraqis who were not Sunni into a state structure in which the Sunni would salvage at least some of the privileges they had held under Saddam. That is what the Sunni states wanted, and that is what they had convinced the US government was in America’s interest as well. It was also impossible. Immediately, the occupation started a Sunni war on America that is yet to end.

This is an interesting point of view and could explain why Bush chose Bremer over the far more capable Jay Garner.

He has another installment coming this week. I will read it with interest.

Here is a section I agree with.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, chose to make his country the Islamic State’s indispensable logistical partner out of a welter of reasons and through a calculation of risks that make sense only to him. Erdogan, a Sunni Islamist and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, sees support for Daesh/ISIS as serving his personal and sectarian opposition to Syria’s Bashar al Assad. This, along with his desire to reduce Kurdish enclaves on both sides of the Syria/Turkey border.

The kurds are our only friends, if any, in the middle east except Israel.

Is Islam a religion ?

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

As usual, Richard Fernandez gets to the heart of the matter with the least number of detours.

The important thing to remember about rebellions, even small ones, is that everyone who thinks they can control the forces unleashed — can’t. That goes for Obama and that goes for Trump. A friend who was a veteran of the Anbar Surge wrote that democracy was scary and to calm himself down he repeated to himself Winston Churchill’s soothing words: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Yes, I think we are on the threshold of a revolution. Whether it is a Revolution, with a capital R, is yet to be seen.

Fernandez begins with the incident of Gessler’s Hat.

in 1307 Gessler raised a pole in the market square of Altdorf, placed his hat atop it, and ordered all the townsfolk to bow before it. Tell, whose marksmanship and pride were legendary, publicly refused. Gessler’s cruel wrath was tempered by his curiosity to test Tell’s skill, so he gave Tell the option of either being executed or shooting an apple off his son’s head in one try. Tell succeeded in splitting the apple with his arrow, saving his own life. When Gessler asked why he had readied two arrows, he lied and replied that it was out of habit. After being assured that he wouldn’t be killed, Tell finally admitted that the second was intended for the tyrant if his son was harmed.

Yes, it is best not to put all your cards on the table until they are needed.

Gessler, enraged, had Tell arrested and taken by boat across Lake Lucerne to Küssnacht to spend the life he had saved in a dungeon. A sudden fierce storm made the crew terrified, and since William Tell was a better sailor, they handed the wheel to him. But instead of heading towards the dungeon, he escaped to shore. There he ambushed and killed Gessler with an arrow, launching the young Confederacy’s rebellion against Austrian rule.

The result was freedom that still endures. What does this tell us ? Not much but Andrew McCarthy has some ideas.

Donald Trump’s rhetorical excesses aside, he has a way of pushing us into important debates, particularly on immigration. He has done it again with his bracing proposal to force “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” I have no idea what Mr. Trump knows about either immigration law or Islam. But it should be obvious to any objective person that Muslim immigration to the West is a vexing challenge. Some Muslims come to the United States to practice their religion peacefully, and assimilate into the Western tradition of tolerance of other people’s liberties, including religious liberty — a tradition alien to the theocratic societies in which they grew up. Others come here to champion sharia, Islam’s authoritarian societal framework and legal code, resisting assimilation into our pluralistic society.

Now what ?

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Is Obama Losing It ?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Barack Obama is the least accomplished person to be elected president in American History. His “accomplishments” in office include spending trillions of dollars on worthless energy boondoggles and introducing a health plan that is collapsing under its own contradictions. The plan was sold, sort of, to the American people with lies like, “If you like your health plan you can keep it” and others similar in misdirection.

His initiatives in foreign policy included a “Reset” with Russia, now long gone. He supported a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt after removing support for a long term US ally in Mubarek. He has presided over a ridiculous nuclear proliferation plan with US enemy Iran that is already collapsing. He abandoned Iraq only to see the appearance and growth of ISIS, a worse manifestation of the Sunni revolt ended by George Bush with the Surge.

The list of Obama’s failures is long and distinguished. The question now is, is he losing his mind ?

Is it now time to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment?

Has our president officially lost his ability to discharge the powers and duties of his office?

Anyone who listened to President Obama speak to reporters in Paris on Tuesday would reasonably conclude it is high time to start drawing up the papers to transmit to Congress for his removal.

If you are one of the millions and millions of literate Americans out there who have simply tuned this president out the past three or four years, that is certainly understandable. But if you tuned in to the long, rambling, empty press conference, you would have been truly alarmed.

Without the use of the teleprompter, his speech can be described only as “halting.” It was impossible to count the number of times he seized up, able to deaden the silence with only a drawn-out “uh,” “um” or “ahhh.”

I tried to find an embeddable video of that speech but there is not one available.

It took the doddering president 47 minutes and over 5,000 words to answer just six questions. And by “answer,” I simply mean he unspooled a torrent of disjointed words and broken sentences.

Part of the looniness of it all stemmed from the giant scam he and other world leaders are trying to put over on advanced countries, punishing them for their industriousness by redistributing billions and billions of dollars from hardworking American taxpayers and handing it over to tin-pot dictators in disheveled Third World countries.

“You go down to Miami, and when it’s flooding at high tide on a sunny day fish are swimming through the middle of the streets,” he said at one point. As if this were some kind of evidence that high tides or flooding are somehow caused by global warming.

Never mind that a) the argument makes no sense; and b) local media refuted the canard.

But President Obama’s fevers went well beyond global warming hysteria.

Asked about the “mass shooting” where a nut job shot three people at a Colorado abortion clinic, President Obama once again became exasperated with the American people.

“I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings: This just doesn’t happen in other countries.

He actually said this. In Paris. Not three weeks after gunmen mowed down 129 people enjoying freedom in the French capital.

What is going on ?

I think Al Gore went psychotic after losing the 2000 election. Before the election, I considered him approximately the equal of George Bush, who I was not that impressed with. I supported McCain in 2000. After the election, Gore got weird, not just in his fixation on climate “change” which predated the election and seemed a relatively harmless delusion shared by many. Until the revelations of the UEA emails and computer comments, I was just skeptical. Gore’s wife left him and he just got more and more strange.

Narcissistic personalities need feeding with some semblance of success. Looking at Donald Trump and his wild boasting shows one example but he has made billions in real estate and that must support his self love.

What is happening with Obama ? He came from nowhere and was given almost everything he accomplished with little effort on his own part. He did not even work to pass legislation that he is credited with.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

“He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.’”

“Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

“Barack Obama.”

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

None of this was his doing. It was handed to him.

Objections to his policies are met with accusations of racism by his supporters. I see very few examples of serious debate on his policy.

Now everything is collapsing. His “Climate” initiative is a fake and almost everyone knows it.

What next ? It is worrisome.

What is going on with Turkey?

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

istanbul

Turkish F 16s shot down a Russian SU 24, a bomber, after it entered Turkish airspace and did not respond to warnings.

A U.S. track of the Russian plane shot down by Turkey shows that the plane was inside Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

After 10 warnings without a response, a Turkish fighter jet shot the plane down Tuesday. U.S. officials said Wednesday that all of the warnings occurred before the plane entered Turkish airspace, Martin reports.

What remains unclear is whether the Russian plane was still in Turkish airspace when the F-16 fired, Martin reports. The explosion that brought the warplane down occurred when it was back in Syrian airspace, the U.S. officials said.

Why did Turkey do this ? One reason may be that the Russians were attacking Turkmen who are opposed to Assad.

Another is that Turkey is involved in oil trade with ISIS.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who canceled his planned trip to Turkey after the incident, described the shooting down of the Russian plane as a “planned provocation.”

He said the Turkish action came after Russian planes successfully targeted oil infrastructure used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, alleging that Turkey benefited from the oil trade.

Lavrov also said that Turkish territory was used by “terrorists” to prepare attacks in other countries, but offered no details. He said that Russia “has no intention to go to war with Turkey,” but added that Moscow will re-consider its ties with Ankara.

Turkey has been trending to Islamism since Erdogan took over the government ten years ago.

President Erdogan also attended the summit, proceeding to speak at the event’s closing ceremony: “Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178. In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba”. In this way, the Turkish President managed to cause a sensation, while ignoring the fact that mere notion of the ‘discovery of America’ is nothing but a linguistic ploy used to consecrate the European domination of the world from the 16th century onwards and to discount the achievements of the continent’s native populations.

Richard Fernandez has a theory about why this is happening.

Charles Krauthaummer argues that since the Turks could not have been spurred into action by such minor Russian intrusion into their airspace, their true motive must have been to signal Moscow to lay off one its proxies, the Turkmen. They were willing to violate the ‘no clash between principals’ rule to emphasize the point.

This I think sort of highlights that, the Turks are the most opposed to Assad of anybody on the ground. It wasn’t only that the Russian airplane went into Turkish air space. It’s that the bombing run was against Turkmen, who a minority in Syria, ethnically Turkish that the Turks have always felt they have to defend.

Remember that Turkey and ISIS are both Sunni Muslim and the entire ISIS movement began as a Sunni reaction to the extreme provocation of the Sunnis by the Pro-Iran government of Iraq.

The challenge has been Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than focusing on ISIL. … Until that happens, it’s very difficult. It’s difficult because if their priority is attacking the moderate opposition that might be future members of an inclusive Syrian government, Russia is not going to get the support of us or a range of other members of the coalition.

Putin’s reaction to the incident on the occasion of his meeting with the King of Jordan describes the same strategic picture, albeit viewed from the other side of the lines.

Obama is basically an ally of Iran and that may be why he withdrew US forces that might have imposed discipline on the Iraqi government. In that sense, ISIS was created by Obama as the Sunnis had nowhere else to go. Turkey has little incentive to fight ISIS as they share Sunni religious affiliation and have no love for the Kurds and other anti-Assad forces. They certainly have little love for Shia Islam, of which Alawite is a form.

The differences between Russia and the West are also a a major factor in our dilemma.

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The Democrats seem to be choosing Islam as their theme.

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Hillary

The Meet the Press program on November 22 seemed to set a new theme for the Democrats. First, Hillary this week declared, “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

Then, Chuck Todd had a Muslim activist “American international human rights lawyer, Arsalan Iftikhar,” who bemoaned the Republicans “Islamophobia.”

Arsalan has also been an adjunct professor of religious studies at DePaul University and he is also a member of the Asian American Journalists Association –

He seems to be a professional Muslim. A few months ago, they had former basketball player Lew Alcindor, now named “Kareem Abdul Jabbar,” to make the same point about peaceful Muslims.

Abdul-Jabbar told host Chuck Todd that terrorists “do not represent the teachings of Islam” and that this misconception makes it “impossible for real Muslims to be understood.”

He continued by saying that he believes the majority of terrorists are a product of their environment, not their religion:

What is their environment ? What does the Koran say ? Another essay on Islam says something quite different.

The avoidance of analysis of Islam contrasts sharply with the excoriation accorded Christianity, Israel, and Western Civilization. The Catholic Church sex abuse crisis has received saturation coverage. Distinguished history professor Philip Jenkins, in a book published by Oxford University Press, claims that media coverage distorts the crisis and contributes to anti-Catholic bigotry. Israel’s very right to exist is questioned and, in high profile media, at times denied. Western Civilization is depicted as imperialist, racist, and Orientalist. This politically-correct selective outrage that lambastes the Judeo-Christian tradition and Western Civilization while emphasizing positive images of Muslims only serves further to inoculate Islam from critique.

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Ben Carson and his stories.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Carson

This past week, the leftist media has gone after Carson like he was threatening the Democrats’ hold on the black vote, which is what I think is happening.

First, Politico accused him of lying about a scholarship to West Point. They have had to retract much of this story and it seems fatally flawed.

Editor’s note: POLITICO stands by its reporting on this story, which has been updated to reflect Ben Carson’s on the record response. The original story and headline said that Carson’s campaign had admitted he “fabricated” a “full scholarship” from West Point, but now Carson denies that his campaign’s statement constituted such an admission, and the story and headline were changed to reflect that. POLITICO’s reporting established that Carson said he received a “full scholarship” from West Point, in writing and in public appearances over the years — but in fact he did not and there is actually no such thing as a “full scholarship” to the taxpayer-funded academy.

This, of course, is nonsense and Politico is taking flak from all over about it. Carson was a high achieving high school member of the Junior ROTC who had sky high SAT scores in 1969 (Not to mention being black). Most reporters have never had the experience of being solicited by universities but I have and I’m sure Carson’s story is true.

According to a tale told in his book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by the offer of a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

This is irrelevant. Carson was offered an appointment and others have had a similar experience. His JROTC membership makes this especially likely as 1969 was the end of the Viet Nam war and a low point for the US military.

Other controversies have been the obsessive focus of the press for a week.

In his book Gifted Hands, Carson relates that, in his youth, he had a violent temper. He said he once tried to hit his mother over the head with a hammer over a clothes dispute and, that while in the ninth grade, he attempted to stab a friend who had changed the station on the radio; the blade broke in his friend’s belt buckle. After this incident, Carson said that he began reading the Book of Proverbs and applying verses on anger.

Again, there is no evidence that this is untrue and it happened 50 years ago. Carson has given many talks on religion and motivation and his personal story gives this force.

The latest is his story of the pyramids being used by Joseph of the Bible to store grain. This is quoted by many as evidence of mental derangement.

Even if it is true that Obama’s ties to radical left-wingers were more relevant than Carson’s kooky pyramid theory, I want to hear about any strange notions Carson has propounded in his years as a public figure. Does he study the facts of the real world and process them accurately and make appropriate conclusions? If not, I don’t want him making the decisions that will affect us all.

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A very interesting explanation of Europe’s suicide.

Monday, October 26th, 2015
Pegida-Demonstranten haben sich am 19.10.2015 in Dresden (Sachsen) vor der Semperoper versammelt und tragen ein Plakat mit der Aufschrift «National Stasi Agency». Vor einem Jahr war Pegida (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) in Dresden erstmals auf die Straße gegangen. Foto: Michael Kappeler/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Pegida-Demonstranten haben sich am 19.10.2015 in Dresden (Sachsen) vor der Semperoper versammelt und tragen ein Plakat mit der Aufschrift «National Stasi Agency». Vor einem Jahr war Pegida (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) in Dresden erstmals auf die Straße gegangen. Foto: Michael Kappeler/dpa +++(c) dpa – Bildfunk+++

I am a fan of James C Bennett and his book, “The Anglosphere Challenge.” I have just come across an essay of his from 2003 that seems to have a lot to say about the current crisis in Europe.

His thesis is that this is a suicidal period for Europe that began with The Holocaust.

I have to agree with his premise.

Scholars such as Alan Macfarlane have found that individualistic social patterns (such as a preference for nuclear over extended families) have been very deep-seated in England, going back at least to the 14th century, while the reverse has been true in Continental Europe up to the Industrial Revolution.

This might suggest that both fascism and communism emerged on the European continent as a search for the lost security (at the expense of individual independence) of the extended family under the patriarchal rule of the paterfamilias in the traditional Continental society shattered by the Industrial Revolution.

Another explanation, not mutually exclusive with the above, may lie in seeing the Holocaust not as an isolated instance of social madness, but the latter half of a great historical cycle beginning with the emancipation of Europe’s Jews during the Napoleonic Wars.

I think this is a great insight. I also enjoyed his book, “America 3.0,” more for its history than for its optimistic view of the future.

His points are chiefly about the difference in family structure between England and America with nuclear family structure and the other countries which have an extended family structure that is so common in societies where trust and security is constantly threatened.

I wonder if the trust levels in those European countries from 2008 has changed? I think they have and this is evidence, at least for Germany.

“You’re as big of an asshole as that idiot Ralf Stegner,” a certain Birgit M. recently wrote in a letter to Thomas Kutschaty, justice minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It was a referrence to the deputy party leader of state chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who recently said the organizers of the weekly Pegida marches in Dresden and elsewhere should be investigated by intelligence services. “You should all be put in a sack and have a hammer taken to you,” Birgit M. wrote in her tirade.
Then there was the man who called Dorothea Moesch, a local SPD politician in Dortmund, late in the evening on June 30. “We’re going to get you,” he threatened. “We’re at your door.”

Another local SPD politician in Hesse, district administrator Erich Pipa, has been similarly threatened. “We can have you taken out at any time,” he was informed in a letter.

The SPD, of course, is the Social Democratic Party which supports all the left wing causes including unlimited immigration.

Pipa became the target of hatred because he was recently awarded a Federal Cross of Merit, Germany’s highest civilian honor, for his longtime lobbying work on behalf of refugees. Finally, Stahl was the subject of denigration because of his public declaration that he wants refugees to feel welcome in his city.

Why would anyone be upset about that ? This will not end well, at least in continental Europe. Britain ? Who knows ?

Although the Anglosphere began the Industrial Revolution in the 17th century, the period roughly from 1830 through 1930 saw a very rapid expansion of that revolution in Western Europe, and most particularly in German-speaking Europe. This expansion resulted in the emergence of a brilliant and dynamic civilization.

Given the prominence of Jewish Europeans in that civilization, it must be asked whether one of its principal stimuli was not the excitement of mutual discovery, in which newly emancipated Jews brought their analytical skills honed by their tradition of scholarship and debate, while accessing the much wider world of Western science, literature, and scholarship from which they had previously been closed off?

How can we calculate how much more dynamism was added by the everyday interaction of people who had previously been kept in parallel and uncommunicative spheres? The Germanosphere, including not just the Second Reich, but Austria-Hungary, German Switzerland, and the German-speaking communities of Eastern Europe and the Americas, really might better be dubbed the Judaeo-Germanosphere during that period.

This seems to me to be major insight and I compare it with the book by Paul Johnson, “The History of the Jews.”

It is a bit fanciful but I compare this to the famous quote from Robert Heinlein,

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as ‘bad luck’.”

– Robert A. Heinlein

How many of the “small minority” is made up of Jews I have no idea but there is an interesting parallel.

Gradually, however, Europe seemed to run out of creativity, in everything from arts, to academia, to demographic vigor, to the will to political reform. Endless rehashing of elsewhere-discredited Marxism replaced creative political thought. Overt fascism and national chauvinism were banned, but a new Euro-chauvinism took its place, loudly proclaiming the superiority of European ways over crude American ones — a new chauvinism on a wider scale, based like the old national chauvinism primarily on resentment.

It may be coincidence, but these new generations are the ones who grew up without the experience of studying, working and socializing with substantial numbers of Jews. Can this have no effect on politics?

Now, 12 years after this essay was written and after 7 years of the most anti-Semetic US president of modern times, I see that we are joining this moral poverty so typical of Europe. The Germans seem intent on importing a population of Muslims with no history of innovation or cultural development to take the place of the declining and judenrein population of native Germans. I should probably correct my use of the term “anti-Semetic” above as Obama seems very fond of Arabs, who are also “Semites.” The proper term would be “anti-Jewish.”

America 3.0 has a more optimistic outlook than I have. My own review of America 3.0 is less optimistic about the solution which I fear will be bloody and expensive and might end in a new dark age.

The analysis of American history is worth the price of the book and the time to read it. I wish the recommendations for recovery were more likely to be adopted. There are some excellent points about future trends, as in medicine for example. I like some of the suggestions for defense policy. The whole thing is a nice exercise in predicting the future. I just wish it would happen that way. I previously reviewed George Friedman’s The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century. I think I like this one better and highly recommend it.

As I watch what is happening, both here and in Europe, my fears overwhelm my remaining optimism. I hope I’m wrong.

Is this 1789 ?

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

ruling

In 1789, the French Revolution began. How ?

On May 5, 1789, Louis XVI convened the Estates-General. Almost immediately, it became apparent that this archaic arrangement—the group had last been assembled in 1614—would not sit well with its present members. Although Louis XVI granted the Third Estate greater numerical representation, the Parlement of Paris stepped in and invoked an old rule mandating that each estate receive one vote, regardless of size. As a result, though the Third Estate was vastly larger than the clergy and nobility, each estate had the same representation—one vote. Inevitably, the Third Estate’s vote was overridden by the combined votes of the clergy and nobility.

The essay of Angelo Codevilla in American Spectator in 2014 described a similar phenomenon in 21st century America. American citizens begged for control of illegal immigration and crony capitalism.

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

Today, we have a situation in which the Muslim world of the middle east is being overrun by a radical faction of Muslims who call themselves ISIS.

Richard Fernandez, whose writing I read every day, has another good discussion of what is happening and likely to happen in the future.

The anniversary of the U.S. war against the Islamic State passed with little notice. It was August 7 of last year that President Obama authorized the first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, a campaign he expanded a month later to include targets in Syria. So far this month, the president has delivered remarks on the Voting Rights Act, his deal with Iran, the budget, clean energy, and Hurricane Katrina. ISIS? Not a peep.

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The Dissolution of the Modern World.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

bernieTrump

Richard Fernandez, as usual, has an excellent post on how the modern society we inhabit is wearing out.

One of the arguments for the impossibility of an event is lack of previous failure. “It never failed before and thus can never fail ever”. The Washington Post’s editorial board invokes a variant of this logic to refute Donald Trump’s border policy, arguing there are so many illegal immigrants it is too expensive to deport them all, leaving no alternative but to accept more.

Naturally, the WaPo is certain they know what could happen.

A useful case study is California, whose economy accounts for about 13 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and whose 2.6 million undocumented workers include almost a tenth of the state’s workforce.

For starters, the state’s farms and orchards, where a third to a half of agricultural workers are undocumented, would be crippled.

The state of California has already devastated the state’s farms and orchards by shutting off irrigation water to save a bait fish in the Sacramento Delta.

The Golden State’s agricultural industry has suffered dramatically under the drought, which cost the industry $1.5 billion in 2014, according to a University of California Davis study. Last year alone, farmers idled more than 400,000 acres of farmland amid abnormally dry conditions, the study added. Farmers primarily rely on the state’s snowpack to irrigate their crops, and it has been reduced to just 8 percent of its historic average.

The drought is one that California sees every decade or so but the state has not added any water conservation systems as its population doubled the past 30 years. Instead the governor is pushing a high speed rail system that goes nowhere important and will cost, in an early and inadequate estimate, $65 billion. How many desalination plants could that build ?

California is in the midst of a crippling four-year-old drought. Yet the state has built almost no major northern or central mountain reservoirs since the New Melones Dam of 1979. That added nearly 3 million acre-feet to the state’s storage reserves – a critical project that was almost canceled by endless environmental lawsuits and protests.

Although California has almost doubled in population since the dam’s construction, the state’s politicians apparently decided that completing more northern and Sierra Nevada water projects was passé. So the parched state now prays for rain and snow rather than building reservoirs to ensure that the next drought won’t shut us down.

The open borders lobby can see no problem in importing 10% of Mexico and the least educated 10% at that. I spent ten years reviewing workers’ compensation claims. About half of those claims were for Hispanics and about half of them were Mexican born and almost certainly illegal. They generally claimed to have completed second grade in Mexico and most were illiterate in Spanish, let alone English.

Social engineers are running this country these days and Fernandez is not impressed.

Social engineers are members of the first school of thought and are typically surprised by unprecedented events viewing them as perverse. For example the Washington Post notes the shock of rising and virulent xenophobia in Germany, something heretofore thought to be extinct since the end of the Second World War. ”Germany unnerved by scores of xenophobic attacks against refugees.” The past should continue indefinitely. Failure can be due only to wreckers.

By contrast, physical engineers — unlike their social counterparts — are not the slightest bit surprised when structures which have stood for a long time suddenly collapse.

He provides the example of the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed a few years ago, “unexpectedly” in spite of years of inspections that ranked it as dangerous.

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Obama’s legacy.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif stands on the balcony of Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks, in Vienna

Why is this man laughing ?

A good column today by David Gerlenter makes a strong case that Obama will be remembered for what he is doing with Iran.

Obama will be remembered ultimately for the Iran treaty, as Johnson is remembered for Vietnam. Like Johnson, Obama is wrapped in a warm blanket of advisers who flatter his earnest, high-school views of world politics. Like Johnson, he lives in his own delusional world in which he’s commander-in-chief not merely of the military but of the whole blessed nation. Like Johnson, he has been destroyed by the arrogance of power; and his blindness has endangered America. Unlike Johnson, he was never big enough for the job in the first place.

His comparison with Lyndon Johnson is excellent. I read HR McMaster’s “Dereliction of Duty,” and the resemblance to Obama’s policies is astonishing. I recently read another book that points out the consequences of Obama’s decision to abandon Iraq. It is written by a young British woman named Emma Sky and is called “The Unraveling.”

The future is still to be written but we see a few hints. The Iranians are already celebrating and by “Iranians” I do not mean the oppressed citizens of that sad country. They are passengers on a runaway train driven by lunatics. We have now given those lunatics the keys to the atomic bomb.

The other Obama legacy in the middle east may be his agreement with Turkey to attack the Kurds who are now building a Kurdistan, anathema to Turkey. Of course, the Obama administration denies that it is allowing Turkey to attack the Kurds.

Turkey has finally entered in force into the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State group, but the move also has exposed the contradictions and confusion at the heart of U.S. policy, with the Obama administration struggling Monday to balance its promises to warring allies in the region and to prevent a deeper U.S. ground force engagement in the fight.

As NATO ambassadors prepared to gather Tuesday for only the fifth emergency session in the alliance’s 66-year history to discuss the crisis, the Pentagon denied that it was setting up a no-fly zone over war-torn Syria while the State Department faced sharp questions over the extent to which President Obama was abandoning America’s Kurdish allies in its haste to enlist Ankara in the fight against the Islamic State.

On one hand, U.S. officials praised the expanding Turkish military role against the extremist group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which is based in neighboring Syria and Iraq. But on the other, they acknowledged how complicated the development is amid concerns that Turkey is using its campaign as a pretext to crush Kurdish militants whom Washington has relied upon as the go-to ground forces in northern Syria and Iraq.

Such concerns were highlighted Monday as reports swirled about Turkish fighter jets targeting not just Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria, but also positions held by the Kurdish Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK — an ultra-leftist, Kurdish nationalist outfit that has waged an insurgency for decades in Turkey and maintains bases in remote parts of northern Iraq.

Obama’s black thumb in foreign policy, in which every initiative results in defeat, is still in evidence. There is another good column today by Leon Wieseltier who is a former editor of The New Republic. He doesn’t like the deal.

Rhodes has, perhaps inadvertently, exposed the president’s premises more clearly than the president likes to do. The rut of history: It is a phrase worth pondering. It expresses a deep scorn for the past, a zeal for newness and rupture, an arrogance about old struggles and old accomplishments, a hastiness with inherited precedents and circumstances, a superstition about the magical powers of the present. It expresses also a generational view of history, which, like the view of history in terms of decades and centuries, is one of the shallowest views of all.

Predictably, the Atlantic readers don’t agree and accuse him, of course, of being an Israel loving Jew.

The annoying thing for me is when certain pro-Israel commentators pretend they know better than the US government, or try to prescribe or influence US foreign policy by labelling the current administrations as “naive.”

Does the fact that every US ally in the Middle East, Arab and Jew, opposes this deal mean anything ? No. Of course not to the brilliant left.