Smart Power or Disrespect.

7812822-1x1-700x700When I first read about the arrival of Barack Obama at Beijing, sadly I chuckled, because it felt like something so many of us would like to do. Then I remembered when the President is piped on board a navy ship, he is announced as “The United States, arriving”. That is ceremonially, and in large part effectively, he is the United States, and when he is disrespected, so is the country. And so my chuckle was short lived.

Paul Mirengoff wrote on this the other day

It was, as the New York Times acknowledged, “bruising even by Chinese standards.”

It was also unsurprising, Susan Rice’s statement that “they did things that weren’t anticipated” notwithstanding. Obama has earned China’s contempt.

The administration’s “pivot to Asia” was not, objectively, terribly meaningful. But to the extent it had meaning, the Chinese reasonably perceived it as an attempt to counteract China’s large and growing influence in the region. Subjectively, the pivot was full of meaning for China.

Obama hoped through his “pivot” to forge stronger alliances with our traditional friends in the region and make new allies out of nations like Vietnam and Burma that feel threatened by China. However, as William Wan of the Washington Post observes, “the very Asian allies the pivot was meant to reassure had their doubts” about Obama’s seriousness. “Many wondered how much of the pivot was empty rhetoric and how much it would be backed by economic and military substance.”

As a result, the “pivot” was counterproductive. China became more belligerent while the nations that were supposed to help us curb Chinese belligerence wanted little part of it.

And it’s certainly not just the Chinese, John Hinderaker adds this

In contrast, Obama had to cancel his scheduled meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Détente after that leader blasted Obama for criticizing his government’s war against Philippine drug dealers.

President Obama canceled a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Monday, after the Filipino leader publicly swore while warning him not to raise questions about alleged death squad operations in his country against suspected drug dealers.

Earlier in the day, during a news conference before leaving the Philippines for Laos, where both men are to attend a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, Duterte had said that if Obama were to raise the issue during their scheduled meeting, “son of a bitch, I will swear at you.”

I haven’t heard the original Spanish, but other news sources say that Duterte said “son of a whore.”

He is a leader of a sovereign country and is answerable only to the Filipino people, Duterte said, and Obama must be respectful.

At the G20, Obama seemed determined to offend everyone, including his least favorite nation, Great Britain. He repeated his threat that Britain, having voted to leave the EU, would go to the back of the line when it comes to trade agreements with the U.S. But Brexit leaders weren’t buying it.

[A]t the G20 conference in China [Obama] appeared with the new Prime Minister Theresa May, and openly said that the 17 million who backed Brexit were wrong.

But Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said of Mr Obama’s comments: “Who cares what he says? He’s going. Bye bye.”

He told The Sun: “All the congressmen and senators I’ve spoken to have all said ‘When you’re ready to do a trade deal, we’ll step up to the plate’. We’re both free traders, it will take one or two years.

“The only trade deal the US has in train at the moment is TTIP, and everyone is saying that is dead. Congress won’t ratify it as they would have to make too many compromises to please the EU.

“It’s [Obama’s] vanity project. The truth is, no one really cares what he says.”

And Jacob Rees-Mogg, another Eurosceptic Tory MP, added: “Fortunately, he is yesterday’s man and will no longer be President early next year.

“The US is the UK’s single most important partner, and as far as I can see the EU-US trade deal is dead in the water.

“He’s putting a corpse ahead of the United States’ most loyal ally.

“These comments tell us all we need to know about how President Obama has never been a friend of ours.”

The “corpse” would be the EU.

As Streiff said on RedState,

He [Obama] was wrong then, he’s wrong now. He is confusing people being unafraid of us with people liking and respecting us. They don’t. They’ve witnessed the slow motion freight train wreck that has been America’s foreign policy under the morons Obama has appointed and hired. China should be thanked for showing the next president the low esteem in which China holds the United States.

Whoever the next president is, they’ve got a hell of a lot of rebuilding to do. Or we may as well go gentle into the night, for dark, it will certainly be.

Après nous le déluge

Five Years and Counting

patriotism_-_rooseveltFirst, thanks, Jess. Always seems like much too little, to do or say, when your best friend does something like her post yesterday, but really what else can one do?

She touches on something, though. Back in 2011, when I started this, we had problems, and we were fairly fed up with the administration, but we had faith in Congress, once we flipped it, to fix it. Well, how’d that work out? And that is part of the problem, we all feel pretty much cheated out of our voice by Washington. Thus both Trump, and Sanders. We’re not alone, either. As Jess alluded to, Brexit turned on the hinge of the people controlling the government.

Most young people have never known any thing else, and I suspect that’s why they either voted remain or simply didn’t vote. But their parents remembered, like we do, something different, when government was at least kind of, sort of, responsive to the voters, not to mention that the obvious contempt, for those of the shire, rankled. I sort of predicted that leave would win, and that was why: I could feel the resentment. Yes, part of it was a repudiation of experts. There like here, they’ve been almost wholly wrong, so why would anyone, who doesn’t make money from them, continue that path?

I note that Mrs. May so far appears very surefooted, her cabinet choices appear to have satisfied almost everyone but the left, who were never going to be satisfied, by anyone, who made it on her own, and a Vicar’s daughter, forsooth. But I must say, the more I see of her, the more impressed I become. Her record says she’s at best a statist, but then again, Churchill was a liberal.

I think the British may have started something that we’ll have something to say about. If you’ve been here more than about two minutes, you know I’m not a Trump supporter. But I do understand why so many are, and unless something very strange happens, I’ll likely end up voting for him. Why? Because he might be held to account by the press, which will never pay any attention to anything Hillary does wrong, which is most things. And who knows, he might be a decent president, I’d be surprised, but at least it would be a pleasant surprise. With Hillary, we know all about it, and it’s all bad.

And so the story continues, many of them, including the ones we’ve talked about here, where Mitt dropped the ball in 2012, we had recovered the House by then, and the Senate in 2014, but found that the Republican we thought were on our side, well they weren’t, were they? The Brits found the same thing outside London, they call it the bubble, and it seems as if the ‘posh tory boys’ ruled in their own interest, not the people’s. But they screwed up, and gave the people a vote, and the people spoke, rather decisively. I think our people are tired of lecturing as well, and so I think the Donald will win, maybe, perhaps, but he will surely lose if he suddenly turns into an establishment republican.

We shall surely see, and keep this in mind: Things are rarely as dire as we think, nor are they ever as good as we hope. Life is sort of a middle-of-the-road experience, so keep your chin up and as always, keep up the skeer.

And remember, as Bruce Anderson reminded us in the Spectator this week, “Why it takes more thinking to be a Tory than a socialist.

John Stuart Mill did not describe the Conservatives as the stupid party. He merely said that although not all Tories were stupid, most stupid people voted for them (cf. Brexit). But at any level above automatic loyalty at the polling box — not to be deprecated — Conservatism is no creed for the intellectually limited. It requires hard thinking. The socialists have an easier life. First, they have a secular teleology: socialism. Second, assuming that history is on their side, many lefties feel entitled to lapse into a complacent assumption of moral superiority. That helps to explain why there has been no serious left-wing thinking in the UK since Tony Crosland in the 1950s.

Though Tories may envy the complacency, they are condemned to stress. Without a political teleology, they have no way to simplify history. Their challenge is as complex as the human condition. There are a few useful maxims. Falkland: ‘When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.’ Berlin: ‘The great goods cannot always live together.’ Oakeshott: ‘Civilisation is only a collective dream.’ Wisdom, certainly, but what should Tories actually do? How should they decide when it is necessary to change, or which great good should take priority? As for civilisation, dreams and nightmares, the task of preventing our era from turning into the Dark Ages plus weapons of mass destruction is best entrusted to Tory tough-mindedness, and there is no guarantee of success.

True then, now, and always. True in the UK, and true here in the US. It takes far more effort to keep the fire going than to roast wienies on your neighbors’.

So, thanks again, Jess, my dearest friend, and my partner here, I’ll never be able to tell anyone, how important it is to me that you share this place with me, and now, after we have published 3005 articles of one kind or another, we still go on. I had to mention that, because even with a year’s head start, Jess’ own blog has almost caught up, and yes, it passed us in readership years ago, as it deserved to.

And so, as we’ve been saying here for five years, good luck, and keep the faith, we’re going to need it. Chesterton reminds us that

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

But Mother Julian answers for us:

If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.

And in God’s good time:

All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.


American Society on the Brink

Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote an article in National Review which makes a good follow-on for yesterday’s article here. Overall, VDH isn’t as optimistic as Brandon Smith. He sees the racial divide (and the racialism) in America as approaching (or perhaps past) the tipping point, that will divide the country for a long time to come. I think his point is valid and shows us what may well be in store.

We watched the other week as Britain nearly tore itself asunder, as the Remainers acted badly as a result of losing the referendum, and I probably don’t need to remind many Americans that the Republican Convention is next week, in Cleveland. There are many threats flying about the internet, and while many are just big talk, it won’t take many to make even more of a mess of it than the party has done on its own. Here’s some of VDH.

“Punish our enemies” characterized Obama’s approach to race and bloc voting. Each time an explosive racial confrontation appeared on the national scene, Obama — always in his accustomed academic intonations — did his best to exploit the issue. So the Skip Gates farce was leveraged into commentary about police stereotyping and profiling on a national level. The police officer in the Ferguson shooting was eventually exonerated by Obama’s own Justice Department, but not before Obama had already exploited the shooting for political advantage, as part of a larger false narrative of out-of-control racist cops who recklessly shoot black suspects at inordinate rates to the population (rather than in the context of their national incidence of contact with police).


Multicultural societies — from 19th-century Austria–Hungary to contemporary Iraq, Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda — have a poor record of keeping the peace between competing tribes. They usually end up mired in nihilistic and endemic violence.

The only hope for history’s rare multiracial, multiethnic, and multireligious nations is to adopt a common culture, one that artificially suppresses the natural instinct of humans to identify first with their particular tribe. America, in the logical spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was exceptional among modern societies in slowly evolving from its original, largely European immigrant population to a 21st-century assimilated, integrated, and intermarried multiracial society, in which religious and racial affiliations were incidental, not essential, to one’s public character and identity.

But such a bold experiment was always tenuous and against the cruel grain of history, in which the hard work of centuries could be easily torn apart by the brief demagoguery of the moment. Unfortunately, President Obama, ever since he first appeared on the national political scene in 2008, has systematically adopted a rhetoric and an agenda that is predicated on dividing up the country according to tribal grievances, in hopes of recalibrating various factions into a majority grievance culture. In large part, he has succeeded politically. But in doing so he has nearly torn the country apart. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that no other recent president has offered such a level of polarizing and divisive racial bombast.

Most recently, without citing any facts about the circumstances of the police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, Barack Obama castigated the police and the citizenry on their culpability for racial disparity and prejudicial violence. “[T]hese fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal-justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.” Obama did not yet know the race of the policemen involved (as in the case of Baltimore, the Minnesota shooting involved non-white officers), the circumstances that led to the shootings, or the backgrounds of either the officers or their victims.

Shortly afterwards, twelve Dallas law-enforcement officers were shot, and five of them killed, by a black assassin who declared solidarity with Black Lives Matter and proclaimed his hatred for white law enforcement. That outbreak prompted Obama to take to the podium again to recalibrate his earlier message. This time he amplified his gun-control message, and somewhat delusionally added that the upswing in racial polarization did not imperil national unity — in much the same way that, in years past, he had announced that al-Qaeda was on the run, we were leaving behind a stable Iraq, and ISIS was a jayvee organization. Note the Obama editorial method in the case of police incidents, from Skip Gates to Louisiana and Minnesota: He typically speaks before he has the facts, and when subsequent information calls into question his talking points and theorizing, he never goes back and makes the corrections. Nor does he address facts — from Ferguson to Dallas — that do not fit his political agenda. Finally, a police shooting of an African-American suspect is never an “isolated event,” while the shooting of an officer by a black assassin is isolated and never really thematic of any larger racial pathology.

via American Society on the Brink | National Review

And still, it needs to be said that the police shoot, in both absolute terms and as a percentage of those they come in contact with, more white males than any other group. But of course, facts don’t matter, especially if it conflicts with the narrative. By the way, I suspect we are all aware that that the homicide rate in the US is lower than it has been since 1973 or so, even with the war zones we call Chicago, Detroit, and others.

So, we are simply being fed a line, by our administration, and by the news media (redundancy alert, of course), even after the administration said flat out that they are a bunch of semi-useful idiots.

It comes down to this: Whoever or whatever team Obama is playing for, it’s not the team that wants to promote racial harmony and self-sufficiency in America. And you can safely bet that the unfriendly part of the world is watching, and laughing at us as America tears itself, and western civilization apart.

Let’s Have a Moment of Candor

A US flagLike so many of you, I swore off Erick Erickson while he was at RedState. I don’t exactly what it was, but something just went sour. Since he started The Insurgent, he has improved, not completely, but he is again somebody I read (Thanks, Leslie!). In any case, he makes a whole lot of sense in this post, Like always, I could quibble with a few things, but in the main, he is correct. And that fills me with sadness and yes, more than a little foreboding.

Those of you on edge and hesitant to consider something because you think I’m making a grossly partisan point need to stick around past the next few paragraphs because I will keep nothing from you. But commit to moving beyond the next few paragraphs.

For the last eight years, whether you want to admit it or not, President Obama has succeeded not by uniting everyone, but by dividing everyone into groups and pitting them against each other. If you search this website or my writings anywhere, you will note that one conservative trope I try religiously to avoid is trotting out the name Alinsky. It is overdone and scratches a conservative itch to find the single silver bullet to explain and solve everything. But I do think a lot of leftwing tactics have been employed by the President including “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Alinsky advised to go after people, not institutions, and we see the President often going after groups. Republicans are the enemy, they’re hostage takers, he urged people to get in their neighbors’ faces, he encouraged people to take guns to knife fights.

Essentially, the President has spent eight years playing tribal politics, dividing the rich and poor, the races, the parties, the sexes, etc. and it has gotten to the point where even President Obama acknowledges he has contributed to the partisan rancor in the country. “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency, that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” the President said during his last State of the Union.

Straight vs. gay, black vs. white vs. hispanic, rich vs. poor, male vs. female, college educated vs. non-college educated, etc. the country has descended to tribal politics and it has, in part, come about because of a society that, in progressivism, no longer embraces the idea of a melting pot, but has embraced a “salad bowl” approach to assimilation.

The founders believed horizontal and vertical federalism was the salve for this factionalism and regionalism. The federal government should have the limited powers necessary to unite the various factions for national ends, but otherwise should leave people alone. Those who wanted a liberal paradise should be able to live together and those who wanted a conservative stronghold should be able to have it. But now everyone is vying for a one size fits all homogenous tyranny where we are a truly diverse, heterogenous republic and all that does is drive up the stakes.

via Let’s Have a Moment of Candor | The Resurgent Do read the whole thing™.


2563 (1)If you missed it, yesterday morning the British published a report on the Iraq War. It’s two and a half million words, took thirteen years to prepare, and it says very little we didn’t know thirteen years ago. Chalcedon of at Jess’ site has written about it, better than I can. And yes, I believe it applies almost word for word to the United States, as well.

So, we know now what most of us thought we knew, which is that the Iraq war was undertaken because America wanted it and because Tony Blair wanted to stay in with America; not much to surprise us there. Victory has many fathers, and had things gone well, then many would have been claiming the credit; given that it did not, defeat, or at least this level of failure, ensured the opposite – that no one would claim paternity.

I began my academic career by studying the very first Anglo-American occupation – Operation ‘Torch’, the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942. I came to the conclusion that it was ineptly planned in terms of the follow through because no one on either side had bothered to think about the politics of the aftermath of a successful invasion. So, when it transpired that one of the Vichy leaders, Admiral Darlan, was in Algiers, the Americans cut a deal with him and then wondered why the press in America and Britain, and the Soviets, all complained that they were dealing with a Nazi collaborator. The same thing was true of planning for the 1944 D day invasion, when, again, the Allies planned to govern France and found that the French wanted to govern themselves-  and went ahead and did so. Much the same failures marked the Iraq invasion. Over-sanguine assumptions about how an invasion would be received, and over-optimistic calculations about how the invaded territories would be governed. So, whatever Chilcot implies, there is nothing new about the failures of Bush and Blair here. Churchill and Roosevelt were very fortunate no one conducted an 8 year inquiry into their conduct of those operations; none would have escaped whipping.

Blair did nothing that most post-war Prime Ministers have not done – he decided that at all costs Britain must keep step with America; Churchill started that line, Macmillan restored it after Eden broke it at Suez, and Thatcher and Blair perfected it. Those who think Britain should have an independent foreign policy, but who also distrust the EU, have a duty to explain just how such a foreign policy could be run in the absence of cooperation with the USA.

via Failure is always an orphan: reflections on Chilcot (1)

And I’ll add just a smidgen from today’s

The parallels between the reaction to Chilcot and Brexit ought to worry us. In spite of 2.6 million words which show that Blair believed the intelligence he was given, those who had already decided he was lying maintain it is so. Evidence? Experts? They don’t need those things, they have feelings, they are that most coveted of modern phenomena – ‘victims’. Chilcot thinks Blair should have challenged the Intelligence reports, but omits to specify on what grounds? Imagine for a moment that, as the Intelligence said, Saddam still had WMDs (he had had them, he had lied about having them, and he had used them in the past) and Blair had refused to believe it – and Saddam used them. Can you imagine what Blair’s critics would have said about his hubris in ignoring what every expert had warned him about? So, the experts were wrong? That happens sometimes, experts are just that, people with experience using their best judgment; they are not the Pope pronouncing on matters of faith and morals.

via The politics of emotion: Chilcot (2)

That happens sometimes (far too often actually), the experts were wrong. In fact, they’ve been wrong so often, that experts are in disrepute. Yes, to an extent with me as well. But the real problem with Iraq, was just as Chalcedon states above, like Torch, we had no realistic plan for victory, we started bringing troops home, and left a vacuum, and terrorism loves a vacuum. Eventually, Bush listened to some experts on the ground, and went with the surge, and we had it won, pretty much. All we really had to do at that point is stay on the ground, and keep watch, it was safer than being a cop in Chicago.

Then we bugged out because Obama didn’t have the stomach to continue the skeer. Now we have a horrendous mess, that has killed more Iraqis than Saddam and the US together. That’s why you must finish the mission. It’s also a testament to the futility of nation building, not to mention mission creep. Napoleon once said you can do anything with bayonets, except sit on them. He should have taken his own advice, he might not have ended up on St. Helena.

But he didn’t, and neither did the British, nor did we, and so now, as it has been for most of history, the Middle East is a dog’s breakfast, and the chaos is spreading into our homes as well. Quite a legacy.

Hillary, Comey, and the Rule of Law

imagesAnd so it happened, as I said it would, Hillary Clinton will not be indicted. Well, I thought it pretty obvious that the Obama administration would not indict the Democratic nominee, pretty much no matter how strong the evidence. Here is FBI director James Comey’s statement on the matter.

I like so many others, see it as 1:) a gross miscarriage of justice, and 2:) the breakdown of the Rule of Law, specifically of equality under the law. My view of its ramifications is very well stated by Kurt Schlichter in Town Hall.

Sometimes in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. It is high time to declare our personal independence from any remnant of obligation to those who have spit upon the rule of law. We owe them nothing – not respect, not loyalty, not obedience.

Think about it. If you are out driving at 3 a.m., do you stop at a stop sign when there’s no one coming? Of course you do. You don’t need a cop to be there to make you stop. You do it voluntarily because this is America and America is a country where obeying the law is the right thing to do because the law was justly made and is justly applied. Or it used to be.

The law mattered. It applied equally to everyone. We demanded that it did, all of us – politicians, the media, and regular citizens. Oh, there were mistakes and miscarriages of justice but they weren’t common and they weren’t celebrated – they were universally reviled. And, more importantly, they weren’t part and parcel of the ideology of one particular party. There was once a time where you could imagine a Democrat scandal where the media actually called for the head of the Democrat instead of deploying to cover it up.

People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.

The idea of the rule of law today is a lie. There is no law. There is no justice. There are only lies.

Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.

via: You Owe Them Nothing – Not Respect, Not Loyalty, Not Obedience

And yet, it’s true, Comey is caught in the middle between very powerful forces, including his oath. John Hinderaker makes some valid points on this on the PowerlineBlog.

I don’t disagree with those who are disappointed that FBI Director James Comey more or less re-wrote federal law to avoid criminally prosecuting a leading contender for the presidency, four months before the election. On the other hand, I can’t really say that I blame him. It seems to me that Comey left the judgment on Hillary to be rendered by the American people. And he certainly made it clear what the FBI thinks of the Democrats’ nominee.

I agree with Roger Simon, who writes: “Did Comey Actually Destroy Hillary Clinton by ‘Exonerating’ Her?”

He may have let her off the hook legally, but personally he has left the putative Democratic candidate scarred almost beyond recognition.

By getting out in front of the Justice Department, the FBI director, speaking publicly in an admittedly unusual fashion, was able to frame the case in a manner that Attorney General Loretta Lynch in all probability never would have.

I think that is correct. […]

via: Can Hillary Survive?

You know, I think there is a lot of truth in that, as well. Trying to thread the needle in a very toxic situation is not easy. We all like to think we would do the honorable thing, and if the evidence shows that a crime was committed, we would ask the government to indict. But, these waters are definitely shark infested, and I suspect we are fooling ourselves if we think we would stick our neck out that far.

Say he did ask for an indictment, and then the Department of Justice Botched it, then it’s over, forever. The way it is now, it could possibly be revisited, and he did a reasonable job of putting the facts out there, before the American people. It may not be what Washington would have done, but it’s not a completely unreasonable thing to do, whatever I (and you) may think.

Frankly, I’m very glad that I don’t have to walk a mile in his shoes. Yes, he volunteered for the job, but how many of us see clearly enough to see this sort of maelstrom on the horizon. I don’t think there are any winners in this, not Hillary, not Comey, not Lynch, not Obama, and certainly not We, the People. Sometimes, life sucks for pretty much everyone.

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