Deep State, Brexit, Trump, and Paranoia

There has been lots of hot air expended about all the nonsense (fake news included) since Donald Trump won the presidency. I put my thinking hat on a while ago and came to my own conclusions. So did R.S. (The Other) McCain. They’re pretty much the same. Here some from his post yesterday.

There was a lot of weird craziness in Andrew McCabe’s 60 Minutes interview, including the hare-brained scheme to secretly record President Trump’s conversations and invoke the 25th Amenidment, but perhaps nothing was more revealing than when the fired FBI official said this:

“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and just won the election for the presidency. And who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage,” McCabe said of the meeting with President Trump. “And that was something that troubled me greatly.”

This is paranoia. […]

Let’s talk a bit about geopolitical reality: China is an economic rival to the U.S., and has been making military moves in the South China Sea. In any long-term military/diplomatic strategy, protecting America’s allies and interests against Chinese aggression is a major consideration. Meanwhile, the regime in Iran is a destabilizing force in the Islamic world, sponsoring terrorism, threatening Israel, and working to obtain nuclear arms.

Given the seriousness of these geopolitical threats, why would McCabe speak of Russia as the greatest “adversary” to America?

In a word, Brussels.

Yup. That’s what I see as well. We like the British have a bunch of political operatives masquerading as civil servants (two lies for the price of one: they are neither civil nor do they think of themselves as servants, of God, let alone the British and American people).

Stacy gives an excellent thumbnail description of European (including Russian) diplomatic history, mostly since 1914, but the main thrusts go back at least to the Napoleonic era, and likely farther. In fact, they form the lynchpin of the Westphalian system.

That’s all very well, I can understand how Brussels and Moscow got to this point, but what on earth makes any of this of more than cursory interest of the United States, let alone the paramount one. But here is your explanation as to why all these years after the demise of the Soviet Union, NATO still exists and maintains a cordon sanitaire around Russia.

Many Americans have always had an inferiority complex vis a vis Europeans, thinking them cultural icons compared to our bumptious people. They may have a point. So did many Romans view Greece. Regardless, America has the power, Europe is simply struggling to control a pretty small sandbox, and in Brexit, they stand to lose their only world power.

Europe has become a backwater, jerkline continent, of no real account to history. It’s almost a continent-size theme park, although there is little reason to go to Germany, you can find equivalent violence in Chicago or Baltimore. It has become irrelevant.

The real action in the world for the foreseeable future will be in Asia. Against China in the east and against Iran in western Asia. Europe has opted to have no role in either of these, although a free Britain (along with the Commonwealth) will have a large one.

Stacy comments:

This obsession with preserving the European Union explains why the same people who hate Trump also oppose “Brexit,” because a re-assertion of British sovereignty threatens the E.U.-centric mentality of the elite, in quite the same way that Trump’s “America first” approach offends those who want to see the U.S. “lead from behind.” Even though Andrew McCabe was never elected or appointed to any post that would require him to have an opinion on U.S. foreign policy, it is obvious that the former deputy FBI director had absorbed the establishment elite’s worldview, including their paranoid fear of Russian influence.

And there he speaks an obvious, but not well known, truth.

Sir Walter Raliegh had a clear understanding of this when he wrote:

For whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself’

Since 1588 the people that have exercised that power have been British and/or American. You’ll remember 1588 as the time that Britain broke Imperial Spain at sea as Spain attempted to conquer the island. We finished the job 300 years later at Manila Bay. Now Europe tries, as they’ve been doing from one direction or another since 1067, hasn’t worked yet, no reason it should now. Even less reason for the line of battle ship of America to follow in the wake of the cock-boat of Europe.

Self Appointed Elites vs. Deplorables

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

There’s an open letter floating about over in Europe. It’s a defense of the EU by so-called intellectuals, most of whom nobody has ever heard of. One who you may have is Salman Rushdie, whom you may remember irritated the Muslims some 20 years ago, and has been living in hiding courtesy of the British taxpayer ever since. This is how he repays that debt. The rest are likely worse.

“The idea of Europe is in peril.” Thus begins an 800-word open letter published on Friday in the French newspaper Libération and other several European dailies. Written by Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French philosopher, it was signed by thirty “top intellectuals” (as the Guardian put it) from twenty-one countries.

Now, anyone familiar with current affairs will readily agree that Europe – at least Western Europe – is imperiled. It’s imperiled by a European Union whose unelected leaders are determined to convert it into a sovereign superstate with its own army and with ever-expanding powers. And it’s imperiled by hordes of Muslim migrants who, having been forced upon it by those EU leaders, will, barring dramatic reversals, eventually turn the countries of Western Europe into sharia states.

But this isn’t what these “top intellectuals” mean. Note the wording of their letter: they’re not concerned with the well-being of the peoples of Europe; their preoccupation is with the idea of Europe, which is to say with the preservation and fortification of the European Union.

And their message is that the EU is imperiled by – who else? – Europeans themselves.

Who are these “top intellectuals”? The signatories include the renowned novelists Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Milan Kundera, plus an assortment of philosophers, historians, activists, and social critics, some more famous than others. Their tender concern for the EU’s health is not surprising. The EU was always a project of privileged highbrows, who helped it advance from strength to strength by lying to the governed, acting without their consent, and overruling their votes. Now, with Eastern European governments rejecting dictates from Brussels and with Western European electorates, at long last, demanding that their voices be heard and their wishes respected, the EU’s architects and partisans are balking at the audacity with which the deplorables – the peons, the peasants, the proles – are standing up to them. Lévy writes:

“Enough of ‘building Europe’!” is the cry. Let’s reconnect instead with our “national soul”! Let’s rediscover our “lost identity”! This is the agenda shared by the populist forces washing over the continent. Never mind that abstractions such as “soul” and “identity” often exist only in the imagination of demagogues.

Pace Lévy, a feeling of national identity has long been a potent force in the souls of men. For him and other devotees of the “idea” of an EU superstate, it has been Job One to try to eradicate that patriotism and replace it with a newly forged sense of “European identity.” Unfortunately, these EU boosters have discovered that that particular abstraction thrives only in their own demagogic imaginations, and that most of the people of Europe want nothing to do with it.

Lévy’s letter goes on:

Europe is being attacked by false prophets who are drunk on resentment, and delirious at their opportunity to seize the limelight. It has been abandoned by the two great allies who in the previous century twice saved it from suicide; one across the Channel and the other across the Atlantic.

The degree to which Lévy manages to turn everything upside down here is impressive. The actual false prophets are the EU’s unelected leaders and their collaborators, lackeys, and running dogs, such as Lévy and his pals. They’re the ones who are, to borrow Lévy’s metaphor, drunk – specifically, drunk on unearned power that they’ve seized from the once free citizens of Europe’s nation states. As for Britain and the U.S. – yes, they did save Europe from suicide twice in the twentieth century. Today, in keeping with that history, the Brexiteers in Britain and the Trump administration in the U.S. recognize the EU as, like Nazi Germany and the USSR, a misbegotten imperial project – an ideologically rooted effort, conceived and driven by an arrogant and self-regarding elite, that has steadily encroached on individual liberties, steadily weakened economies, and steadily evolved into something that looks increasingly like a suicide pact.

If twentieth-century Europe was almost destroyed by various totalitarianisms, twenty-first-century Europe now risks destruction either at the hands of Islamic totalitarianism, to which the EU honchos have kowtowed for two generations, or at the hands of the burgeoning totalitarianism of the EU itself. Or both. “Europe as an idea,” Lévy tells us, “is falling apart before our eyes.” Good. The key lesson of the twentieth century – which the multitudes are waking up to even if the “intellectuals” aren’t – is that Europe’s Achilles heel isn’t populism but a susceptibility to control-happy “ideas” for the organization of societies.

It goes on and it is worth reading just to see how ungrateful “our betters” are. I’m becoming convinced that Brexit will happen properly (on WTO terms) and that the EU elections will start the process of dismantling this evil superstructure, das Vierte Reich. maybe even, for once, peacefully. One hopes so.

If so, we will have seen, for the third time in a century, Britain, with an assist from the United States, saving Europe from itself. It’s time for Europe to grow up.

Of Presidents, Knaves, and Memes

So the President talked officially to us the other night, about illegal immigration, the wall, and Democratic obstruction of the government’s mission to defend the people of the United States. He is right on all counts. And he hit the nail squarely on the head.

Schumer and Pelosi gave the Democrat’s response, and while it was a self-seeking partisan one, surprising no one, their delivery was incredibly bad. In fact, their appearance became an instant meme, which is never a good thing for your cause. Dov Fischer says this:

[I]n their every press conference and interview rejecting President Trump’s call for a wall along our southern border to help prevent and protect against human trafficking of women and children, the unbridled import of opioids, and the entry of criminals and terrorists into our country, the Democrats maintain that they oppose only the Wall but otherwise strongly support border security. Thus, they state that they prefer drones and hi-tech equipment instead of a wall because, they say, those more modern approaches will do an even better job than will an old-fashioned wall at guarding the border. In other words, they claim to be as concerned as is the President over the chaos transpiring along our porous southern border.

There are two ways to demonstrate they are lying. One way is by sitting and arguing back-and-forth with the other side endlessly, as in a cable news panel discussion. I have come to hate wasting my time watching those. When I have a few moments each day to grab some news on Fox, the only value-added from Marie Harf, Chris Hahn, and Jessica Tarlov is that, while muting them, they offer a few moments for me to check the channel guide or pay a bill or two. But there is a much quicker alternative way to cut through the muck and prove Pelosi, Schumer, and their gang a bunch of liars on border security: […]

So it all is a game. A joke, a lie. When they say they are for border security in every which way — everything, everything except for a wall — there is the truth, the proof. No need for a cable television-news panel debate. This does not take rocket science. If you install a home protection system, but then a crook evades the front-door camera or the home alarm or just defiantly smashes your front window and breaks into your home anyway, do you take the position that you will not shoot the invader or call the police — or first call the police and then shoot the invader — because, well, they got past the alarm, so…SANCTUARY! If you employ an insect exterminator — and, no, we are not comparing illegal immigrants other than MS-13 and opioid smugglers and human traffickers to insects — and if that exterminator does a great job, but you later see an ant or spider or silverfish that got past him, would you not squish it? Or do you look at that centipede and proclaim liberty throughout the land: SANCTUARY!

He’s right, the Democrats don’t give a damn about you, your personal security, that of your family, or anything else. The only thing they care about is their power. That is the ONLY thing that matters to them. That is why their response looked like a drug-induced meme.

“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!”.

And, no doubt, the constant lying to us, and who knows, perhaps themselves, is how they have turned themselves into a joke, an automatic meme generator, of no real account, in governing the country.

Selling Out the British

This is quite remarkable, not to mention rather horrifying. What Theresa May’s government is doing in their negotiations is nothing less than selling the UK’s sovereignty to Brussels (and you can easily see Berlin’s hand running the puppet that is the EU.

Britain is, of course, the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world, depending on how you measure, and many believe it is the second most powerful country in the world, second only to the United States, and the only other one able to intervene anywhere around the world.

Amazing, isn’t it? The people voted clearly to leave the EU, and the government has used that as cover to give them a worse deal, a similar influence on how they do things, but without even the (mostly sham) vote. One could call it selling their sovereignty, but one would be wrong – they aren’t getting paid, well probably May and the Civil Service have some golden prospects for their treachery, but we don’t know that yet.

There is, of course, a backstory, of how it got that way. Peter Hitchens lays it out as clearly as I have seen.

Amazing story, isn’t it? I’m pretty much convinced that the overall point is true. I don’t agree with every point, although some of that may be my prejudices speaking, of course. Specifically, I do believe in the special relationship between the US and the UK, although I’m not sure the British really do. Still, overall, he makes an excellent case.

Syria: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

I haven’t picked up on this before because it requires some thinking, so not a bad time for a discussion of it on New Year’s Eve, when we are thinking about the future anyway.

Around 18 months ago, Sean Davis had some thoughts on the matter, which remain relevant.

There’s a pattern here, this is what we did in (and are doing) in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, arguably even in Vietnam. We started something that for whatever reason we are not willing to finish.

Everybody, even Islamists, respects people who are willing to see the job through, but not those who come in rattle around for a while and hunker down, taking casualties for no purpose whatsoever, except perhaps the self-glory of politicians, military and civilian.

I think the most apt analogy may well be the British in India. It took them about 300 years to turn most of India from a feudal country into a semi-democratic democracy, note that time frame, 300 years, and they were only semi-successful. Afghanistan was part of the Raj, as well. We’ve been in Germany for 70 years, but we started there with a country that was not dissimilar from ours, and I don’t think the job is done there either.

Who succeeded in what is now Afghanistan? Not Alexander the Great, not the British, not the Russians. Who succeeded was Ghengis Kahn, and he did it by killing a large proportion of the population.

I wrote a series on Afghanistan back in 2012, you can find it here, here, and here. Nothing whatever has changed, except we’re doing the same thing in Syria, the applicable quote from the series comes from Mark Steyn:

In the last couple of months, two prominent politicians of different nations visiting their troops on the ground have used the same image to me for Western military bases: crusader forts. Behind the fortifications, a mini-West has been built in a cheerless land: There are Coke machines and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Safely back within the gates, a man can climb out of the full RoboCop and stop pretending he enjoys three cups of tea with the duplicitous warlords, drug barons, and pederasts who pass for Afghanistan’s ruling class. The visiting Western dignitary is cautiously shuttled through outer and inner perimeters, and reminded that even here there are areas he would be ill-advised to venture unaccompanied, and tries to banish memories of his first tour all those years ago when aides still twittered optimistically about the possibility of a photo op at a girls’ schoolroom in Jalalabad or an Internet start-up in Kabul.

The last crusader fort I visited was Kerak Castle in Jordan a few years ago. It was built in the 1140s, and still impresses today. I doubt there will be any remains of our latter-day fortresses a millennium hence. Six weeks after the last NATO soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. Before the election in 2010, the New York Post carried a picture of women registering to vote in Herat, all in identical top-to-toe bright blue burkas, just as they would have looked on September 10, 2001. We came, we saw, we left no trace. America’s longest war will leave nothing behind.

That’s what I saw then, and its what I see now. I’m not sure who exactly benefits from wasting these brave young Americans (and Britons and Aussies too) but I have my suspicions and suspect you do as well, and they probably match well.

Later that year I wrote another piece on the way General Sheridan pacified the Shenandoah, under General Grant’s orders, remember this was a war by Americans on Americans. We knew how to win once upon a time.

[…] so Grant gave Sheridan some famous orders, amongst other things he told him to take the valley apart so thoroughly that “a crow flying across it will have to carry rations” which Sheridan did, even as Sherman was about to do to Georgia. He also dealt quite sternly with partisans, what we call guerrillas today.

So eventually the war ended and in 1870 Sheridan was in Europe observing the Franco-Prussian war. For some reason he and Otto von Bismarck struck up a friendship and von Bismarck asked Sheridan how to deal with the French guerrillas behind German lines. This was Sheridan’s answer:

 “The people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with after the war.” He advised that the insurgents be hanged, their villages burned and their lands laid waste until they begged for peace.

We simply are not going to win hearts and minds, either in Afghanistan or Syria, so it comes down to win or lose, and losing includes bleeding casualties for ‘a forever war’ that there is no profit (material or otherwise) in winning.

“In war, there is no substitute for victory.” There wasn’t when MacArthur said it, there wasn’t when his father won the Medal of Honor fighting for the Union, there isn’t now, and there never will be. Sadly, endless war can be profitable for some people, and those people put their profit ahead of America’s best interests.

Houellebecq This

Illustration by Ricardo Martínez

Steven Hayward commented on PowerLine Saturday that about once in a generation Harpers publishes something worth reading. He is about correct.

That article, written by Michel Houellebecq, whom you may remember as the author of Submission a novel about the Muslim takeover of France, a frightening dystopic novel, that too many felt all too real and likely. Do read the full article In Harper’s, linked above.

In this article, he tells us why Trump is a good president, for us and for the world, while making just about everybody crazy. How fun! Yep, he does me as well.

In all sincerity, I like Americans a lot; I’ve met many lovely people in the United States, and I empathize with the shame many Americans (and not only “New York intellectuals”) feel at having such an appalling clown for a leader.

However, I have to ask—and I know what I’m requesting isn’t easy for you—that you consider things for a moment from a non-American point of view. I don’t mean “from a French point of view,” which would be asking too much; let’s say, “from the point of view of the rest of the world.”

On the numerous occasions when I’ve been questioned about Donald Trump’s election, I’ve replied that I don’t give a shit. France isn’t Wyoming or Arkansas. France is an independent country, more or less, and will become totally independent once again when the European Union is dissolved (the sooner, the better).

The United States of America is no longer the world’s leading power. It was for a long time, for almost the entire course of the twentieth century. It isn’t anymore.

It remains a major power, one among several.

This isn’t necessarily bad news for Americans.

It’s very good news for the rest of the world.

My response is a bit of an exaggeration. One has an ongoing obligation to take at least a modicum of interest in American political life. The United States is still the world’s leading military power and unfortunately has yet to break its habit of mounting interventions beyond its borders. I’m not a historian, and I don’t know much about ancient history—for example, I couldn’t say whether Kennedy or Johnson was more to blame for the dismal Vietnam affair—but I have the impression that it’s been a good long time since the United States last won a war, and that for at least fifty years its foreign military interventions, whether acknowledged or clandestine, have been nothing but a succession of disgraces culminating in failures.

See what I mean? The worst part is, he’s got a point, it’s not all that easy to argue with that view of the United States, is it. Here is why we are seeing the death of the Neocons, such as the Weekly Standard, that had the urge to spread ‘democracy’ all over the world, ready or not (mostly not, in fact), leading to trillions of dollars wasted, thousands of American casualties, and millions of civilians dead. What have we accomplished?

Trump is pursuing and amplifying the policy of disengagement initiated by Obama; this is very good news for the rest of the world.

The Americans are getting off our backs.

The Americans are letting us exist.

The Americans have stopped trying to spread democracy to the four corners of the globe. Besides, what democracy? Voting every four years to elect a head of state—is that democracy? In my view, there’s one country in the world (one country, not two) that enjoys partially democratic institutions, and that country isn’t the United States of America; it’s Switzerland. A country otherwise notable for its laudable policy of neutrality.

The Americans are no longer prepared to die for the freedom of the press. Besides, whatfreedom of the press? Ever since I was twelve years old, I’ve watched the range of opinions permissible in the press steadily shrinking (I write this shortly after a new hunting expedition has been launched in France against the notoriously anti-liberal writer Éric Zemmour).

The Americans are relying more and more on drones, which—if they knew how to use these weapons—could have allowed them to reduce the number of civilian casualties (but the fact is that Americans have always been incapable, practically since aviation began, of carrying out a proper bombing).

But what’s most remarkable about the new American policies is certainly the country’s position on trade, and there Trump has been like a healthy breath of fresh air; you’ve really done well to elect a president with origins in what is called “civil society.”

President Trump tears up treaties and trade agreements when he thinks it was wrong to sign them. He’s right about that; leaders must know how to use the cooling-off period and withdraw from bad deals.

You know, I find it difficult to disagree profoundly with him. Oh yes, my viewpoint as an American means my slant is different, but in many ways, he’s not far off my truth either. And yes, that is an indictment of the foreign policy that we have followed since the end of the Soviet Union. He ends the article with this.

Silicon Valley and, to a lesser degree, Hollywood will have to cope with the appearance of formidable competitors; but Silicon Valley, like Hollywood, will hang on to important sectors of the market.

China will scale back its overweening ambitions. This outcome will be the hardest to achieve, but in the end, China will limit its aspirations, and India will do the same. China has never been a global imperialist power, nor has India—unlike the United States, their military aims are local. Their economic aims, it’s true, are global. They have some economic revenge to take, they’re taking it at the moment, which is indeed a matter of some concern; Donald Trump is quite right to not let himself be pushed around. But in the end, their contentiousness will subside, their growth rate will subside.

All this will take place within one human lifetime.

You have to get used to the idea, worthy American people: in the final analysis, maybe Donald Trump will have been a necessary ordeal for you. And you’ll always be welcome as tourists.

And that’s not a bad outcome at all, in my mind.

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