A Saner U.S. Policy Towards North Korea

There has been volumes written on how to handle the North Korean situation……most of which has centered around some sort of military action…..very little on a more sane approach.

Some will ask…..mostly those on the neocon Right, that will ask if that is even possible. The American Conservative offers up a look at a more sane foreign policy.

There are seven postulates that ought to inform U.S. policy regarding North Korea.

First, our objective. Nothing is more important than to be clear about what we are trying to accomplish. Our purpose should be to provide for our own security and that of our allies, especially South Korea and Japan, while avoiding war. Our purpose should not be regime change in Pyongyang or forcing Kim Jong-un to abandon his nuclear weapons program. Both of those may be desirable. Neither is worth a large-scale war.

(Read on……..)

Source: Seven Steps to a Saner U.S. Policy Towards North Korea | The American Conservative

I will not, no cannot agree with everything they put forward but it is good to see that the Right still has thinkers….put as quickly as the Trump group is trying to purge any actual conservatives from the party…..how long before these saner voices are silenced?

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Closing Thought–18Oct17

Are You An Anti-Semite?

We hear this term used a lot these…it seems that if you criticize Israel then you are by default a anti-Semite.

Sorry but that is crap!

I can criticize Israel and still respect the religion….but for those that still have this gnawing ignorance…..I offer this…..keep in mind this site has a Libertarian lean to it….

This is a topic which has had so much written about it that you could fill an entire city library with books entirely dedicated to this topic. Marx took a shot at it. As did Sartre. There were, of course, also plenty of good books written on this topic, but rather than list them all, I want to suggest a few simple common sense points and then go to what I consider an authoritative explanation of this thing we call “antisemitism” and which, of course, has nothing to do with Semites.

So first, let’s dump this silly term and replace it by a simple and straightforward one: judeophobia. Just like any other phobia (say, for example, russophobia) the phobia of X is the 1) fear and/or hatred of X. Some people hate Jews, others fear them (think of the “fear of the Jews” in the Scripture), some do both. So judeophobia seems both logical and uncontroversial to me.

Source: A Crash Course on the True Causes of “Anti-Semitism” – The Unz Review

I do not agree with the premise….for me my criticism is of the treatment of people by the government of Israel not their religious beliefs….

Why War Does Not Matter

I spend most of my time trying to get people to pay attention to all the wars that we are engaged in today and the ones waiting for their number to come up…..so far I have been wasting my time (or so it seems)…..

American arr blaise towards war….they appear to not care that their neighbors kids are fighting and dying…….and for what?

After studying war for decades I have found a  list of possible reasons……

Americans don’t attend all that much to ongoing American wars because:

1. U.S. casualty rates are low. By using proxies and contractors, and relying heavily on airpower, America’s war managers have been able to keep a tight lid on the number of U.S. troops being killed and wounded.  In all of 2017, for example, a grand total of 11 American soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan — about equal to the number of shooting deaths in Chicago over the course of a typical week. True, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the U.S. is engaged in hostilities, whether directly or indirectly, plenty of people who are not Americans are being killed and maimed.  (The estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed this year alone exceeds 12,000.) But those casualties have next to no political salience as far as the United States is concerned.  As long as they don’t impede U.S. military operations, they literally don’t count (and generally aren’t counted).

2. The true costs of Washington’s wars go untabulated.  In a famous speech, dating from early in his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower said that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”  Dollars spent on weaponry, Ike insisted, translated directly into schools, hospitals, homes, highways, and power plants that would go unbuilt.  “This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense,” he continued.  “[I]t is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” More than six decades later, Americans have long since accommodated themselves to that cross of iron.  Many actually see it as a boon, a source of corporate profits, jobs, and, of course, campaign contributions.  As such, they avert their eyes from the opportunity costs of our never-ending wars.  The dollars expended pursuant to our post-9/11 conflicts will ultimately number in the multi-trillions.  Imagine the benefits of investing such sumsin upgrading the nation’s aging infrastructure.  Yet don’t count on Congressional leaders, other politicians, or just about anyone else to pursue that connection.

3. On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out.  Others have made the point so frequently that it’s the equivalent of hearing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at Christmastime.  Even so, it bears repeating: the American people have defined their obligation to “support the troops” in the narrowest imaginable terms, ensuring above all that such support requires absolutely no sacrifice on their part.  Members of Congress abet this civic apathy, while also taking steps to insulate themselves from responsibility.  In effect, citizens and their elected representatives in Washington agree: supporting the troops means deferring to the commander in chief, without inquiring about whether what he has the troops doing makes the slightest sense.  Yes, we set down our beers long enough to applaud those in uniform and boo those who decline to participate in mandatory rituals of patriotism.  What we don’t do is demand anything remotely approximating actual accountability.

4. Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. While international terrorism isn’t a trivial problem (and wasn’t for decades before 9/11), it comes nowhere close to posing an existential threat to the United States.  Indeed, other threats, notably the impact of climate change, constitute a far greater danger to the well being of Americans.  Worried about the safety of your children or grandchildren?  The opioid epidemic constitutes an infinitely greater danger than “Islamic radicalism.”  Yet having been sold a bill of goods about a “war on terror” that is essential for “keeping America safe,” mere citizens are easily persuaded that scattering U.S. troops throughout the Islamic world while dropping bombs on designated evildoers is helping win the former while guaranteeing the latter.  To question that proposition becomes tantamount to suggesting that God might not have given Moses two stone tablets after all.

5. Blather crowds out substance. When it comes to foreign policy, American public discourse is — not to put too fine a point on it — vacuous, insipid, and mindlessly repetitive.  William Safire of the New York Times once characterized American political rhetoric as BOMFOG, with those running for high office relentlessly touting the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.  Ask a politician, Republican or Democrat, to expound on this country’s role in the world, and then brace yourself for some variant of WOSFAD, as the speaker insists that it is incumbent upon the World’s Only Superpower to spread Freedom and Democracy.  Terms like leadership and indispensable are introduced, along with warnings about the dangers of isolationism and appeasement, embellished with ominous references to Munich.  Such grandiose posturing makes it unnecessary to probe too deeply into the actual origins and purposes of American wars, past or present, or assess the likelihood of ongoing wars ending in some approximation of actual success. Cheerleading displaces serious thought.

6. Besides, we’re too busy.  Think of this as a corollary to point five.  Even if the present-day American political scene included figures like Senators Robert La Follette or J. William Fulbright, who long ago warned against the dangers of militarizing U.S. policy, Americans may not retain a capacity to attend to such critiques.  Responding to the demands of the Information Age is not, it turns out, conducive to deep reflection.  We live in an era (so we are told) when frantic multitasking has become a sort of duty and when being overscheduled is almost obligatory.  Our attention span shrinks and with it our time horizon.  The matters we attend to are those that happened just hours or minutes ago.  Yet like the great solar eclipse of 2017 — hugely significant and instantly forgotten — those matters will, within another few minutes or hours, be superseded by some other development that briefly captures our attention.  As a result, a dwindling number of Americans — those not compulsively checking Facebook pages and Twitter accounts — have the time or inclination to ponder questions like: When will the Afghanistan War end?  Why has it lasted almost 16 years?  Why doesn’t the finest fighting force in history actually win?  Can’t package an answer in 140 characters or a 30-second made-for-TV sound bite?  Well, then, slowpoke, don’t expect anyone to attend to what you have to say.

7. Anyway, the next president will save us.  At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well.  Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation.  Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again.  Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans — members of the media above all — pretend to take all this seriously.  Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like, and ever less substantial.  One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right.  Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion!  Corruption!  Obstruction!  Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution.  The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice.

8. Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism.  As recently as the 1990s, the U.S. military establishment aligned itself with the retrograde side of the culture wars.  Who can forget the gays-in-the-military controversy that rocked Bill Clinton’s administration during his first weeks in office, as senior military leaders publicly denounced their commander-in-chief?  Those days are long gone.  Culturally, the armed forces have moved left.  Today, the services go out of their way to project an image of tolerance and a commitment to equality on all matters related to race, gender, and sexuality.  So when President Trump announced his opposition to transgendered persons serving in the armed forces, tweeting that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” senior officers politely but firmly disagreed and pushed back.  Given the ascendency of cultural issues near the top of the U.S. political agenda, the military’s embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism and from being called to account for a less than sterling performance in waging wars.  Put simply, critics who in an earlier day might have blasted military leaders for their inability to bring wars to a successful conclusion hold their fire.  Having women graduate from Ranger School or command Marines in combat more than compensates for not winning.

(commondreams.org)

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.  But don’t expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact.  Even to notice it would require them — and us — to care.

World War I Still Haunts America

We are in the middle of remembering World War One…..the war that created the world as we know it today.

The US was Johnny Come Lately to the War, the war began in 1914 and we entered in 1917….

This is an interesting article from the Future of Freedom Foundation, a bit of a Libertarian lean to it…….

This year is the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson’s pulling America into World War I. Many people celebrate this centenary of America’s emergence as a world power. But at a time when the Trump administration is bombing or rattling sabers at half a dozen nations and many Democrats are clamoring to bloody Russia, it is worth reviewing how World War I turned out so much worse than the experts and politicians promised.

Wilson was narrowly reelected in 1916 on the basis of a campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war.” But Wilson had massively violated neutrality by providing armaments and money to the Allied powers that had been fighting Germany since 1914. At the same time, he had no quarrel with the British blockade that was slowly starving the German people. In his April 1917 speech to Congress seeking a declaration of war against Germany, he hailed the U.S. government as “one of the champions of the rights of mankind” and proclaimed that “the world must be made safe for democracy.”

Source: How World War I Still Haunts America – The Future of Freedom Foundation

The study of war is vital these days….the understanding of conflict is a necessity if we are to avoid the carnage of the world wars.

Americans are not as interested in World War One as they are World War Two…..but they should be because it was the harbinger of things to come…..and still is…….

Closing Thought–16Oct17

Ever since his ride down the escalator in Trump Central back in the day I have though there was something off about Mr. Trump.  His constant ,mash ups with this person or that….his constant battling people in his own party and his nastiness towards Americans in general.

He seem to be losing it and only after 274 days in office….but do not take my word for it….

President Trump might be launching a new hunt for White House leakers soon because a lot of them seem to have spoken to Vanity Fair—and the picture they paint of the president’s state of mind is alarming. The sources say Trump is “unstable” and “unraveling” after setbacks including legislative failures and the Alabama GOP primary loss of Trump-backed Sen. Luther Strange, which they say has deeply affected the president. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a source described as a “person close to Trump” says. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

Two other sources tell Vanity Fair that Trump raged to longtime aide Keith Schiller: “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them.” Schiller, Trump’s security chief for many years, left his White House position last month. Republican sources say John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, has been doing his best to limit access to Trump—a policy that has left Trump frustrated. The insiders say Kelly hates his job but has stuck around to prevent Trump making “disastrous decisions.” The White House denied the Vanity Fair report, saying: “The president’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive.”

How far will he take this minor “breakdown”?   How far will this go?  Hell even Bannon has said that Trump has less that a 70% chance of finishing his first term…..

Maybe it is time for some professional help…..