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The World Is Returning to Normal

July 21st, 2014 - 4:57 pm

Of all the popular myths about “how the world works,” the most dangerous to us at this moment is the one that goes “peace is normal, war is an aberration.”  Truth is, war is normal and peace very unusual.  We’ve lived through a happy time, ever since the Second World War.  Thanks to American superpower, and the destruction of the totalitarian regimes in Rome, Berlin and Moscow, we’ve had a happy period of relative peace.  Very few big wars.  Little genocides (China is exceptional, but they changed to accommodate the global pattern).  Deterrence (as in “mutual assured destruction”) mostly worked.

That was a rare time.  Now we’re getting back to normal.  There’s a good reason for that old Roman wisdom “if you want peace, prepare for war.”  It’s because “peace” most always happens when somebody wins a war, and then imposes conditions on the losers.  That’s what “peace conferences” are all about.  Our recent happy time was the result of war, and our adoption of the Roman wisdom.  We smashed our enemies, we created military alliances to deter our new enemies (NATO, etcetera), we built and maintained a big arsenal on land, air and sea.

We prepared for war to make peace possible.

It worked so well and lasted so long that we forgot why we were doing it. Over time, the “peace is normal” myth took hold and its attendant policies — “future wars will be economic, not military” and “guns to butter” — came to define our strategic thinking.

Moreover, Americans have always been conflicted over foreign policy.  We have always wanted two incompatible things at once:  we want to export the American model, and we want to stay out of other countries’ affairs.  We have invariably waited until the eleventh hour before fighting.  In the last century, we were torpedoed into the First World War by the Germans, bombed into the Second World War by the Japanese, and frightened into the Cold War by Stalin.

Then came 9/11 and we were reminded that there are (always) enemies out there.  In time, we forgot that, too, and now, having deceived ourselves into believing that peace is normal, we are trying to talk our way out of the global war.  It won’t work.  It never has.

So we’re back to normal.  War, and the runup to more war, is the order of the day, as it has been for most of human history.  Our real options are the same as they have always been:  win or lose.  Both lead to “peace,” but the one is a happy peace while the other is an extended humiliation.

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Top Rated Comments   
I understand your point about our mindset in the run-up to WWII, a mindset we shared with much of the British population of the mid-'30s as well. We rose to the occasion, but we were a much less homogenous people then and much less influenced by an overwhelming leftist media. That said, I'm not sure that even then we were quite the people we think we were.

Would there have been a Pax Americana had the US not developed the nuclear weapon? By '45 the US was a deeply war weary nation. The war in Europe was needlessly prolonged because no Allied soldier wanted to be the last to die at the hands of the clearly already defeated Germans. After Germany surrendered US forces verged on mutiny over the prospect of being sent to war in The Pacific. What if the US had been forced to contest the Japanese home islands and what if the Soviets had used the US being tied down in the home islands to pursue their territorial ambitions in the Far East. The shaky alliance with the USSR would have either broken down on its own or perhaps even have been repudiated by the USSR who certainly understood that they had a far more powerful military than we, at least on land. What would have happened if when the US and USSR were no longer allied, the Comintern turned its assets on removing the US presence from Asia? What if the US' already left-leaning media had turned against further prosecution of the War? What if the US's left-leaning, many even openly communist, unions struck against further war production? Since almost all war production was union, war production could easily have been stopped. Both Britain and France had had considerable difficulty with war production so long as Germany and the USSR remained allied. In any event, I believe that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, but the second one was dropped on Moscow by way of Nagasaki. An objective look at the times would, I believe, show that the three most important events in the last days of WWII and the immediate post-war period were the dropping of the second bomb to demonstrate that the first was no fluke, the Republicans gaining control of the Congress and passing Taft-Hartley thus drastically curtailing union power in the US, and the Rosenbergs' being caught engaging in espionage on behalf of the USSR. The Rosenberg ring's capture and trials disclosed the depth of Soviet penetration of the US and enabled our population to move from sympathy for the Soviets to understanding that they were our adversaries. The resultant "Red Scare" enabled us to run the communists in the US to ground and keep them there until the '60s when the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war movements made being a communist somewhat respectable again. Now they're in charge.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not that we can't win.

It's that we won't try. Obama is most certainly not going to lead us. Valerie Jarrett it is said, runs the White House with an iron fist.

The media is in the tank for the hard left, who hate America and Israel.

Europe is as soft as microwaved butter. Who will lead us?

Who will win hearts and minds? Who will reverse the decades of lies, distortions and slanders by the corrupt media?

We have no leaders here, Michael. We have plenty of traitors though.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michael, America cannot win the peace. It won't. The new normal is not based upon reality. It is based upon faculty lounge and dorm room bulls$it.

We have been propagandized out of peace and into submissive war acceptance.

The OWS nonsense of the hard left, One World Socialism is a totalitarian, iron fisted tyranny of forced acceptance of unreal and unrealistic fantasy.

The Ron Paul/Pat Buchanan imbecility of isolationism and blame the peacekeepers and whitewash the brutish thugs has grabbed the dim witted on the right and aligned them with the useful idiots on the left.

America has no stomach for ensuring peace. It has no heart for the hard work and sacrifice.

It has no loyalty to allies and no rage for beasts in need of slaying.

America has been propagandized into submission. Whipsawed by anti-Semites on the left and on the Paul/Buchanan right, it has abandoned Israel. It has been fed a steady stream of lies, distortions and slanders by a media that has no soul, and a Democratic Party that has no honor, fidelity, patriotism or morals.

It has been barely supported by a Republican Party that is fractured and gutless.

We cannot win the peace because we cannot get into the game. We are sideline sitters who watch our own nation seized by a cabal that has hated it (and Israel) for the whole of their lives and now run it in a lawless, treasonous, totalitarian gang rape of our freedoms.

And still we act is near silence. Barely a peep of protest. A mere whine and mewl, but no actual rage.

Sure, those on these pages and similar do not like the gang rape of our freedoms, the stealing of our liberties, the weakening of our defenses, the throwing open of our borders, the assault on our rights. But...not enough to stand up and confront. Only to mutter under our breath.

If we aren't willing to save our own damn country, how are we going to save the world.

Look somewhere else, Michael. We aren't made of the stuff it takes to lead any longer. Except from behind.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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Wow, talk about a coinciding lines of inquiry / subject matter. Here's the final paragraphs of the always refreshing Lee Smith over at Tablet (echoing Ledeen, my personal hero in the battle against Iranian Mullahs -- Israel's #1 threat hands down). In it Smith is taking apart Kristoff's latest "root causes" column (that phrase acts as a 3-engine alarm for me). But in doing so, Smith repeats much of what the Ledeen has just spelled out here:

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Whether you see Kristof’s prescriptions as the product of a desire for things to be better than they are or as a species of personal vanity, what’s interesting about them is how widely shared they are among pundits and policymakers. For more than two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Americans have enjoyed a period of relative peace and stability and economic prosperity. As a result, we have come to imagine that this was the natural order of things, instead of a respite bought by America’s victory in the Cold War.

Another result of the post-Cold War pause was the seeming reasonableness of the moderate who believes that all the world’s problems can be solved in a reasonable way, so long as moderate men and women acted in good faith on all sides. America would reset relations with Russia—after all, Putin, too, was a pragmatist, a reasonable man. The Iranians would bargain away their nukes for their re-entry into the community of nations because, after all, why in this day and age did they need nuclear weapons? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict could also be solved, because why shouldn't two peoples share the land that was important to both of them?

The posture of reasonableness requires one to blame both sides, because both sides are responsible for solving the issue: If problems weren’t being solved, then it was because of hardliners like Hamas and Benjamin Netanyahu who weren’t being reasonable, in contrast to men of peace, like Mahmoud Abbas.

Yet surveying the world from Ukraine to Syria, and Gaza to Iraq, it is hard not to argue that the international arena is in fact more dangerous and violent than ever. The fact however is that the world is what it always has been. What’s changed is that the self-image of the post-Cold War moderate, the reasonable man, has been shattered, and there’s no putting the pieces back together. For a reasonable man like Kristof the outrage is that both sides are exposing his worldview for what it is—it’s not reasonable. It’s delusional.
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21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
thanks Falafel, like you I am a huge fan of Lee Smith. Try to read everything he writes...
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Be brutal to your enemies and their allies. Be generous and supportive of friends.
We don't do that. We do the opposite.
War is brutality. We've bred the capability for it out of ourselves. It even consists of part of the threat on our southern border.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Expect more normalcy in the years ahead.

A lot more.

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
But don't expect leftists to accept any responsibility for this return to normalcy as the natural result of Obama's "lead from behind," capitulant foreign policy.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
oh yes. indeed.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
One aspect of normalcy is that it never ends. There's never a "war to end wars."
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Part of it is the leftist fantasy that weapons cause violence. If nations of goodwill disarm themselves, there will be no more wars. Just like if citizens of goodwill disarm themselves, there will be no more murders.

To leftists, nations having nuclear weapons and preparing for nuclear war was insanity. MAD was insanity. And to leftists, owning a firearm and knowing how to use it is instanity.

The need for self-defense, national or private, is a massive paradox for them. How can a nations and men be morally pure if they possess the means to kill, and if they are *willing* to kill? The idea that a person or a nation can take life one day and preserve life another, depending on the situation, doesn't seem to compute for leftists.

My father was a good man, a good dad, a good husband, a generous friend. He had one of the sharpest minds of anyone I've ever met. He was also a highly trained killer. A mass killer, in fact - if the order came through, he was capable of vaporizing thousands of innocent people in a split second. I was never afraid of him, and neither was anyone who knew him. Nevertheless...

Needless to say, I don't believe in moral purity.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The need for self-defense, national or private, is a massive paradox for [leftists]. How can a nations and men be morally pure if they possess the means to kill, and if they are *willing* to kill?"

Leftists believe men infinitely malleable; they believe their are no eternal truths, that what we are is how we're formed, what we're taught. Our judgment, therefore, depends only on who flashed the ROM. The only way to keep us (and especially THEM) safe is for us to be disarmed and helpless, in the care of a Good Government created and run by them.

From this flows a distrust of democratic and representative government: If we have a real voice, we'll get things wrong and mess up their plans for Good Government and World Peace.

The most important part of this paradigm is that it places them in the driver's seat which is where all the profit goes. But THEY'RE incorruptible, because THEY'RE the Good People.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am grateful for your comment and your father's service. His kind of strength was the human steel that made our country great. As men of his caliber decline as a proportion of our electorate, so does our culture and our power.

Your comment about moral purity puzzles me however. Absent eternal truth, I don't believe in it either. That is why faith produces hope for its attainment in my life.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, the real peace is invariably the result of War, where the temporary chaos and destruction often is better than the most failed peace. For example, the willingness of the US to project power has helped prevent wars, while reluctance and neglect of the US to project power has caused often the chaos and the wars, which is why the United States of America and its close allies should resort to WAR to keep the global peace in high-risk issues.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The history of failure in war can be summed up in two words: TOO LATE. Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy; too late in realizing the mortal danger; too late in preparedness; too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance; too late in standing with one's friends.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Islam is counting on that.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Its actually true that all men are the same - at least at birth.

All men have a soul and spend their days deciding between good and evil. God and the Devil - who are real entities.

Over time, some choose evil and some choose good. Those in power do the same, which then affects the culture which affects how men choose.

Though I don't think that's what you meant by "all men are the same".
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll take it. Thanks.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't put it in supernatural terms, but I agree with your basic premise. We are not "naturally" anything. We have to be told (or figure out) what's good and what's bad. And we have to try constantly to do good.

Notice I didn't say "be" good. Handsome is as handsome does. I do not consider myself a "good" person. But I try to DO good despite my flaws and evil impulses (of which there are plenty).

I do not believe that monkeying with "the system" - putting me or a newborn baby in some ideal environment - will make me or the newborn baby "good." Maybe better, but the flaws and impulses will still be there and will still need to be struggled with.

And every single human being on the planet is in the same situation. So all men (and women) are the same.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you really think people must be "told" what's good and bad?

You don't think it is inherent that murder is wrong?
You don't think it is inherent that rape is wrong?

People know. They ignore it, but they know.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good people know these things even when they violate them. The sociopath has a different set of rules and finds ours rather otherworldly ... often even contemptible.

It's true that he knows from observation what our rules are, but that doesn't mean that he accepts their correctness at any level.

A current example lives in the White House. Narcissistic personality disorder is only part of his trouble.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michael: Remember what Ambrose Bierce said "Peace n. A period of cheating between two periods of fighting."
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Man is more inclined to do evil than to do good.”

Why so many people refuse to understand this truth, in spite of overwhelming evidence, is a mystery.

Want to prove it to yourself? Ask as many people as you know, "If you had one week to do anything you wanted, at no cost, with no consequences, and no repercussions, what would you do?" Ask the same question of yourself. And be honest when answering.

Our hearts, indeed, are dark.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
When you say: "no consequences, no repercussions" are you saying that God ceases to exist for that week? But then god comes back and doesn't know what you did for that week? Does the devil go away too?

If that is what you mean, then its quite the strange question. People either believe in good and evil or they believe some other meaningless things.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
when we were kids in school we had fire drills and did 'duck and cover' drills every so often. I don't believe my big butt will get under random desks anymore, much less climb back out.

the wisdom of the romans? good stuff. tell us all how they treated traitors. its common knowledge how they too, fought off invaders. guess we are not the first to become a victim of our own succe$$.

even the strongest body can quickly and quietly be brought down by sickness from within. our main problem is that the guy appointed to lead us in these turbulent times is foaming at the mouth crazy, and has czombie chit oozing out his pores, while his faithful followers just keep wiping the crud off his mouth and making excuses for the smell.

they also appear to be in control of maintaining this site.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is really just the appearance of the boil. The infection has been raging awhile and has finally been brought into the open.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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