American Ingenuity and Winning Friends, Redux

"No one cares about us, and no one understands exactly what happened, because we are Yazidis. Everyone wants to kill us. Where should we go? I don't have a dream because I don't have a life. That's all I have to say." I think we can do much better Photo courtesy of "Spirit of America"

“No one cares about us, and no one understands exactly what happened, because we are Yazidis. Everyone wants to kill us. Where should we go? I don’t have a dream because I don’t have a life. That’s all I have to say.”
I think we can do much better
Photo courtesy of “Spirit of America”

[OK, I posted this the other day, and with all he nonsense, I’m not sure anybody actually read it, so here its again. i think it a very worthwhile endeavor. Neo]

A while back, Jessica wrote a post entitled We’re Americans, We Act, As always with her articles, it is excellent. it deals with the problems last summer in northern Iraq, and don’t kid yourself, those problems are still there, we have perhaps helped hold the ring, but it ain’t all sweetness and light. Much remains to do.

You’ve all heard me complain about elephantine American/multinational big business and how the little guys can run them into the ground six days a week and twice on Sunday as well, given a level playing field. Nothing has changed on that front either.

And we all know that a S&P 50 firm is agility itself compared with the US Government, even that part that works fairly well, which would be the US Military.

But all problems have solutions, if we have the vision to see them but, that’s the hard part: seeing them. Well actually it’s not, our young men and women in the military, with their butts in the weeds are as adept as anyone in the history of the world at “improvising, adapting, and overcoming”, that’s one of the main reason our military is justly feared by our enemies.

But they are too often stymied by the elephantine bureaucracy of the Pentagon, and even so, some of the things that Captain Lunchbucket thinks would help him get along with his new neighbors are not things that the taxpayers should be buying but, neither should the Captain’s wife, really. Talk about a nightmare, how about a Pentagon program to supply 50 softball bats to a village in Afghanistan? It would likely be cheaper to airlift them to Colorado and give them a lifetime income.

But the American soldier has always been America’s best ambassador, everywhere he goes, his basic goodness reflects well on us, and people are drawn to him. In fact, when I was young I knew many men who flew in World War Two in 8th and 9th US Army Air Forces, the two based in England. they were proud of what they had done in the war. But the ones who had stayed in were even prouder of what they had done in 1948. In something called Operation Vittles, where we (and the British) completely supplied the city of Berlin during the blockade. That was a mission a man could really be proud of. But even in that one, the story we all remember is the pilot who bought candy out of his own pocket and airdropped it to the kids watching the planes land. Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome, indeed.

So how do we harness American entrepreneurial skills to the young soldiers’ needs in the field? We know we can’t do it with a Pentagon program, too slow, too expensive and other reasons as well.

Here’s one way that has worked for 13 years. From the Hoover Institution and the Wall Street Journal learn about Spirit of America and its founder Jim Hake.

American ingenuity: winning friends and influencing people since 1776 (at least).

Here’s the link to Spirit of America

American Ingenuity and Winning Friends

"No one cares about us, and no one understands exactly what happened, because we are Yazidis. Everyone wants to kill us. Where should we go? I don't have a dream because I don't have a life. That's all I have to say." I think we can do much better Photo courtesy of "Spirit of America"

“No one cares about us, and no one understands exactly what happened, because we are Yazidis. Everyone wants to kill us. Where should we go? I don’t have a dream because I don’t have a life. That’s all I have to say.”
I think we can do much better
Photo courtesy of “Spirit of America”

A while back, Jessica wrote a post entitled We’re Americans, We Act, As always with her articles, it is excellent. it deals with the problems last summer in northern Iraq, and don’t kid yourself, those problems are still there, we have perhaps helped hold the ring, but it ain’t all sweetness and light. Much remains to do.

You’ve all heard me complain about elephantine American/multinational big business and how the little guys can run them into the ground six days a week and twice on Sunday as well, given a level playing field. Nothing has changed on that front either.

And we all know that a S&P 50 firm is agility itself compared with the US Government, even that part that works fairly well, which would be the US Military.

But all problems have solutions, if we have the vision to see them but, that’s the hard part: seeing them. Well actually it’s not, our young men and women in the military, with their butts in the weeds are as adept as anyone in the history of the world at “improvising, adapting, and overcoming”, that’s one of the main reason our military is justly feared by our enemies.

But they are too often stymied by the elephantine bureaucracy of the Pentagon, and even so, some of the things that Captain Lunchbucket thinks would help him get along with his new neighbors are not things that the taxpayers should be buying but, neither should the Captain’s wife, really. Talk about a nightmare, how about a Pentagon program to supply 50 softball bats to a village in Afghanistan? It would likely be cheaper to airlift them to Colorado and give them a lifetime income.

But the American soldier has always been America’s best ambassador, everywhere he goes, his basic goodness reflects well on us, and people are drawn to him. In fact, when I was young I knew many men who flew in World War Two in 8th and 9th US Army Air Forces, the two based in England. they were proud of what they had done in the war. But the ones who had stayed in were even prouder of what they had done in 1948. In something called Operation Vittles, where we (and the British) completely supplied the city of Berlin during the blockade. That was a mission a man could really be proud of. But even in that one, the story we all remember is the pilot who bought candy out of his own pocket and airdropped it to the kids watching the planes land. Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome, indeed.

So how do we harness American entrepreneurial skills to the young soldiers’ needs in the field? We know we can’t do it with a Pentagon program, too slow, too expensive and other reasons as well.

Here’s one way that has worked for 13 years. From the Hoover Institution and the Wall Street Journal learn about Spirit of America and its founder Jim Hake.

American ingenuity: winning friends and influencing people since 1776 (at least).

Here’s the link to Spirit of America

The Barbarians Within Our Gates

christians-eradicated-in-iraqThis article, which got buried in my drafts dates from last September, but little has changed, I think.

Hisham Melhem is the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based satellite channel. He is also the correspondent for Annahar, the leading Lebanese daily. I  find him to read like a man who knows whereof he speaks, and understands the culture far better than most of us do, and who laments the destruction of his culture.

I think it worth our time to read, and to reflect on what he says here.

With his decision to use force against the violent extremists of the Islamic State, President Obama is doing more than to knowingly enter a quagmire. He is doing more than play with the fates of two half-broken countries—Iraq and Syria—whose societies were gutted long before the Americans appeared on the horizon. Obama is stepping once again—and with understandably great reluctance—into the chaos of an entire civilization that has broken down.

Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world.

Is it any surprise that, like the vermin that take over a ruined city, the heirs to this self-destroyed civilization should be the nihilistic thugs of the Islamic State? And that there is no one else who can clean up the vast mess we Arabs have made of our world but the Americans and Western countries?

No one paradigm or one theory can explain what went wrong in the Arab world in the last century. There is no obvious set of reasons for the colossal failures of all the ideologies and political movements that swept the Arab region: Arab nationalism, in its Baathist and Nasserite forms; various Islamist movements; Arab socialism; the rentier state and rapacious monopolies, leaving in their wake a string of broken societies. No one theory can explain the marginalization of Egypt, once the center of political and cultural gravity in the Arab East, and its brief and tumultuous experimentation with peaceful political change before it reverted back to military rule.

Nor is the notion of “ancient sectarian hatreds” adequate to explain the frightening reality that along a front stretching from Basra at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to Beirut on the Mediterranean there exists an almost continuous bloodletting between Sunni and Shia—the public manifestation of an epic geopolitical battle for power and control pitting Iran, the Shia powerhouse, against Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse, and their proxies.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/the-barbarians-within-our-gates-111116.html#ixzz3VDDOy6NN

I have little to add to what he says. But my point is that, whatever happens, in the Arab/Muslim world, we in the United States, and western Europe will find ourselves drawn in.

It behooves us to inform ourselves about the situation,, or we will undoubtedly do more harm than good. We should remember though, that we cannot fix the world, nor does all the world want to be like us, and it is up to them, not us to decide. That does not preclude us from attempting to persuade and encourage those whose goal strike us as laudable but, there are limits.

Read and reflect

Immigration Follies; UK Style

From the  misery loves company file:

Here’s the linked story:

A high-flying academic who travels the world as a Government adviser is set to be deported from Britain under ‘barmy’ new visa laws – because she is out of the country more than 180 days a year.

Dr Miwa Hirono, 38, is originally from Japan but has been living in the UK since becoming a lecturer at the University of Nottingham seven years ago.

The world-renowned academic’s work – which helps the UK Government to set foreign policy – requires her to spend long spells working in China and Africa.

Set to be deported: Miwa Hirono with her husband, Peter Trebilco, 61, and one-year-old son Tada, must leave Britain under 'barmy' new visa laws

In 2009 and 2010 she spent around 200 days abroad researching China’s foreign peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

But Home Office immigration laws now state that people working in the UK on a migrant visa cannot be out of the country for more than 180 days each year.

And despite the fact Dr Hirono does research for a Government-funded organisation and her baby son was born in Britain, the Home Office has decided to deport her.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3004399/Academic-travels-world-government-adviser-set-deported-country-visa.html#ixzz3UyHzVflh
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the cousins are about as screwed up in immigration policy as we are?

There are a few things here, in no particular order

  1. Anchor baby? What’s an anchor baby? Her personal life and well-being is no concern of HM Government. Let’s see, a Japanese mother, an Australian father and an English baby, where do deport that family to? Or do you split them up like the slave traders used to do?
  2. Did you catch that she is a world-class scholar that the university brought in to help their students? On a fellowship, no less.
  3. She was so good that they offered her a permanent job. But screw the students, they don’t need world-class scholars at the University of Nottingham, anyhow. Anybody think understanding the Chinese isn’t going to be important in the next fifty years? Other than the British government, I mean.
  4. She also does work for the government that required her to spend large amounts of time out of the country.
  5. She’s good enough that one of her papers in on the website of HM Embassy in Beijing.
  6. This (so-called) violation took place in 2010.
  7. The law was passed in 2012.

Six and seven are the very definition of an ex post facto law, you do something completely legal, later they pass a law making it illegal and then prosecute you for doing what was legal when you did it. The Brits have a history of this nonsense which is why Article 1 of the US Constitution says plainly in section 9

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

and in section 10

No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

I’d guess as a layman, that one could make due process arguments about this with precedents stretching all the way back to Magna Charta as well. It’s why our constitution is so important.

I suppose we should note that the British let in the dregs of all Europe with hardly a whimper, thanks to the European Union, and the fact that Britain is (and always has been) one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. Just like we do, with less cause, on our southern border.

Wow, just wow!

 

Libertarian Nationalism

1904 cartoon. United States threatening Morocc...

1904 cartoon. United States threatening Morocco for release of citizen held. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I ran across this article, with a hattip to  @MZHemingway. He pretty well sums up my feelings but I won’t let that shut me up! ;)

For instance:

It’s worth remembering that libertarianism is a political philosophy regarding the nature of the relationship between citizens and states with whom they are in political compact; a philosophy that places a high premium on individual autonomy and the enforcement of negative rights. As such the government of the United States exists for the benefit of its citizens, not those of other countries. While foreigners have the same inherent, inalienable rights as Americans, their protection is simply outside of the responsibility of the United States government.

Got that? We, the Americans, created the US government to the benefit of us, the citizens of the United States.

Not really for the benefit of Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys everywhere. It’s OK if they benefit from our thoughts and actions but it’s not ever our primary aim. If you want to live like an American, you have two choices, come on over and be a US citizen, or change your government to be more or less like ours. Both work, both have been done successfully, and both have been tried and failed, it depends on you, mostly.

Or this:

We should seek non-aggression pacts with all who will treat us honorably, and alliances with those of good reputation whose interests align closely with our own and who can carry more than their own weight militarily.

With regard to nations that lack civilization, seek conflict with us, or simply wish us harm, however, a nationalist libertarian policy should have one overarching principle: if you lay a finger on one of our citizens — or otherwise violate their rights as we understand them — it will end badly for you. The nature, degree, and timing of your punishment will be of our choosing, and we will be less concerned about inflicting collateral damage or injustice on those around you than we will be in seeing you suffer for your wrong. Indeed, the harder you make it for us to punish you, the more likely it is that we’ll have to get sloppy about it. If that concerns you, we encourage you to reconsider your actions and refer you to infographics such as this for calm reflection.

There is a Marine Corps T-shirt around that summarizes this well:

No better friend

No worse enemy

Teddy Roosevelt was a mixed bag as President. An admirable man, he had huge flaws as well. What else can you say about a man who started our slide into (misnamed) Progressivism, and almost single-handedly gave us the idiotically stubborn and freedom-hating Woodrow Wilson as President. Thanks TR.

But when Ion Perdicaris was kidnapped by a non state actor (the Raisuli) in Morocco TR sent the whole Atlantic flotilla (although nobody had a clue what to do) to make the point that we cared about that individual American. You may remember the phrase,

This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”

When he was released Perdicaris commented while looking at the fleet gathered in Algiers harbor, “It was that flag, aye and that navy, and that nation, to which I owe my freedom.” or something like that, since I can’t find the quote right now. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

And this:

Punitive campaigns against nations who harm their own citizens but do not otherwise affect the United States’ interests should, therefore, be avoided, unless cogent arguments can be made that failure to intervene will harm the United States.

He uses the example of Gaddafi, which is an excellent choice. There are plenty of other examples, which might include Iraq, and Syria (or ISIS, if you prefer).

Pointedly, I do not include Afghanistan, which allowed a state sponsored terrorist group to mount an attack, using weapons of mas destruction, against civilians, in the US homeland. As such, according to doctrine, 48 hours later Afghanistan should have been a smoking, radiating, sheet of glass, but we didn’t think it necessary.

He ends this way:

More simply, our foreign policy should be motivated solely by our interests and limited only by our morality, rather than the other way around.

The Case For Libertarian Nationalism, Part II: Defense | Ricochet.

I have little to add to that.

Should We (or for that Matter Britain) Have Entered World War I

downloadThis is an exercise in thinking for yourself. it came up in a comment stream (yes, we were off topic) on AATW last week, and it interesting one. There is simply no doubt that the infusion of American arms and money won the Great War for the Allies.

But should we have entered, there is some truth that we entered because Wilson was outraged that the Kreigsmarine ignored his warnings about submarine warfare, and some truth that America was outraged by the Zimmerman telegram. On the other hand it hard to see how we were going to collect the loans we had made to the Allies if we didn’t.

Nor was this a small matter, sometime in 1915 or 1916 the world’s financial center had moved from London to New York, as the British went from being the world’s largest creditor nation to being the world’s largest debtor nation. Without that there is no American century. By the time of the Armistice, Germany was literally starving to death (that’s true in World War II as well, but irrelevant for now). this is when America became the “indispensable nation”. there are lessons in that for us today that we would be wise to take to heart as well.


But to me the more interesting question is this. What if Great Britain had sat out the Great War? Here are four eminent British historians talking about that very idea. Watch the video and then we’ll talk a bit more.

I think I’ve run this before but no matter, it’s quite valuable, and directly on point. One thing that is very hard  for us all is that one can only consider the information they knew at the time.

You heard quite a bit about shopping lists and Bethmann-Hollweg’s demands. If I remember by about October 1914 Germany was so far in debt that she had to make ridiculous claims to pay off her debt, she, of course, didn’t have the British (and then American) banks to hold her hand, and you do remember what happened to Weimar Germany in the 20s, right?

What do I think, overall? From the viewpoint of what we now call Realpolitik there is simply no question, there were no gains available commensurate with the risk of war for Great Britain. And the outcome of her victory could have hardly been worse, if she lost. That is not entirely her fault of course. There are other actors, I, personally would lay a great deal of the blame on the idiotically inexperienced and stubborn Woodrow Wilson But there, are, in fact, no clean hands in this mess.

And the other fly in the ointment is this. Germany should have won anyway, and in 1914. von Moltke the Younger weakened the Schwerpunkt to strengthen the defenses in the Ruhr unnecessarily (the French weren’t coming). That led to the necessary shortening of the right hook and is the reason the First Marne happened instead of the fall of Paris. Then he panicked when he saw the mobilization of Russia proceeding faster than the Prussian plan said they would, and diverted a further three corps from the attack to Hindenburg in the run-up to Tannenberg. When he was told they were coming Hindenburg reportedly said, “Why, I have no use for them. And he didn’t.

They got there after the battle had been fought. So they spent the entire decisive stage of the war riding around on trains across Germany. And so, “the Miracle of the Marne” was actually that the Germans panicked.

And so the whole thing settled into stalemate. The apologists would like you to believe this couldn’t have been foreseen. They’re wrong, it could have been, and should have been. Europe, then as now, believed so much in their superiority that they never looked around. They didn’t have to look far. The 1864-65 campaign of the Army of the Potomac against the Army of Northern Virginia, looks very similar. To change the paradigm was going to take the development of practical combustion powered armored force vehicle which didn’t happen until the 1930s.

And so a clear win for the non-interventionists. Or is it?

Because in the cold logic of realpolitik it seems pretty clear, there remains that nagging little voice, “What of Honor? What of our commitments, and our word?”

And as I sit here in a United States whose feckless government has seemingly forgotten (or never knew) the terms, let alone what they mean. I’m inclined to think they do, other countries need to know what a great power will, in general do. that it will keep its word. And while here, we have been talking of the beginning of the wars of the twentieth century, those wars ended when an American, British, and Polish, person of honor showed the way. Perhaps honor does matter. I think so, i think it makes us better, much better. Otherwise, we are simply a pack of wolves, arguing over the spoils.

A couple of points. World War II is simply not conceivable (at least as it happened without the Great War. I think Churchill correct, when he called them together a new Thirty Years War and the same is true for the Cold War.

Those debating for the proposition in the video have one point that is hard to overstate. It is hard to conceive of an outcome that is worse than what we got.

Perhaps Churchill was also right when he said of the times.

Great Events and Small Men

He excluded himself from that judgement, of course.

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