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Back To The Future

June 1st, 2013 - 5:05 pm

When Michael Ledeen observed that the Civil War in Syria was beginning to resemble the Spanish Civil War, that meant among other things that the conflict was drawing in the Great Powers. And that process is unraveling the triumph of 1989 and recreating tensions in the world. The events that prompted Francis Fukuyama to muse about the ‘End of History and the Last Man’ have now been replaced by ‘Here We Go Again’.

That development was emphasized by a report that Russia was deploying nuclear patrols to the Southern Hemisphere “after a hiatus of more than 20 years following the break-up of the Soviet Union”. The reader comments in the Reuters article about the resumption of Russia’s deterrent patrols suggest that the public finally realizes what is going on: which is that all the grandiose pronouncements of the Obama administration have turned out to be just that — grandiose.

“I recall a few public comments from Mr Putin over the last several years asking the United States to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. I guess Mr Putin was just playing the game of opposites. “…

“told you he was using mideast destabilization and the Jihad to advance communism”

“Remember Hillary’s diplomacy? She took a STAPLES ” DONE” button and repainted it with the word RESET. THAT was her skill level at foreign policy. How did that work out? She reset us back to the Cold War.”

Even the liberal press, which recently discovered it was being spied upon and manipulated, is now beginning to wake up. Glenn Reynold’s discusses Peggy Noonan’s realization that Barack Obama’s presidency has been both a policy disaster and a threat to civil liberties. He is sympathetic, but one of his own commenters believe Reynold’s isn’t being hard enough on Noonan.

People like you knew and told people (repeatedly) what was coming if Obama won. You didn’t know the exact detail of the abuses of power that would come but you knew they were coming. People like Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and Christopher Buckley, on the other hand, assured us that John McCain was too unpredictable for the Presidency and Sarah Palin not worthy of the Vice-Presidency. Barry, on the other hand, had the look of a president and certainly could be trusted with the levers of power. He went to an Ivy League school, after all.

Noonan looked down her nose at us in the flyover country and tut-tutted to her Beltway friends about how us slope-foreheads didn’t know how to judge politicians like those in the political class knew how to judge them.

Look what you gave us, Peggy-O.

There is a ring of truth to this. The blame for Barack Obama’s accession to power can hardly be blamed on Obama himself. He would of course have spun things his way and fought his own corner. He would naturally want the reins of power. The more serious responsibility lay with the Gatekeepers; with those who should have known better and still gave him a pass to the White House.

The low-information types at least have the excuse of being what they are. But what excuse do the intelligent have?

In the dramatic climax of the movie “Judgment at Nuremberg” the eminent jurist Dr. Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster, makes the same point. The Janning character rejects the efforts of his own defense counsel to invoke his eminence by pleading guilty as charged. Turning to his co-accused Janning says words to the effect that ‘I am more culpable than these men because they were  idiots. But unlike them I clearly knew right from wrong. I could see through things and my reputation would convince others to think, well if Janning goes along then it is alright. But it was not alright and therefore I am not only guilty as charged but more guilty than any of these my co-accused. I made my life an excrement because I walked with them.’

However that may be, things stand where they stand. Syria has the distinction of being the place where all the falsehoods and incompetence of the administration come together. It’s where all the bills come due. It is where ‘leading from behind’ meets ‘no exit’.

The fundamental problem with Syria is that Obama cannot afford to win. That having started the process of upheaval in the Arab World using jihadis, the administration is now almost as afraid of victory as defeat.  The reason why Benghazi must never be discussed is that it is a preview of all that we are about to receive.

The renewed proposals to arm the Syrian rebels and to create a No Fly Zone over the region are indicators of just how desperate things are. The administration is drifting to the conclusion if they must choose among evils then they are better off designating the Russian/Iranian axis as the primary enemy, even at the cost of boosting an al-Qaeda front to victory in the region.

The probable hope is that after they defeat the Teheran/Moscow axis then they can deal with the Sunni threat. Only let us defeat Teheran and we will take what comes. Anyway we can call Jornolist into the West Wing and they will parrot our talking points.

The sad thing was that none of this was necessary. Rather it represents an Own Goal. A gunshot through the foot. It exemplifies the collapse of a policy  founded entirely on such fanciful notions as ‘Global Zero’, ‘Grand Bargains’, ‘Responsibility to Protect’, ‘Reset’ and ‘Leading From Behind’.  On BS. It marks the triumph of PR talking points over hard strategic thinking.

The worst of it is that altogether too many members of the Gatekeeping class are still of the belief that more of this Obama BS will see things through. It won’t. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Whatever one can say of Noonan it must be said that though she learned late, she learned.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
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Top Rated Comments   
It's not just Syria now. Turkey is seething. Iraq may be headed back to unrest.

How does the calculation to pull out of the region and redeploy to Afghanistan look now?

Well this is one site at least that saw the danger ("The Ten Ships" etc). But not from a superfluity of intelligence or perspicacity. Just from an inability to buy an obvious absurdity.

The Narrative seems locked into imbecility, as if it had fallen to the least common denominator. Here we are facing an obvious and huge crisis and they are talking about gay boyscouts and global warming. Something is wrong with that process.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Dear Peggy,

You sit and think strategic thought
So wise you are, so eas’ly bought
The charlatan you deemed so wise
The cool man with beguiling eyes
You took it in, you bought the lie
And now a mea culpa sigh
That won’t erase the ham you’ve done
You’ve foisted on the world the One
Who knew you for the fool you are
You hitched your wagon to a star
That guttered but to you seemed bright
That brought not dawn but lasting night
No, Peggy dear, we saw you swoon
You gave to us this darkened noon

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Whatever one can say of Noonan it must be said that though she learned late, she learned."

Ahhhh...has she learned? If so, what?

I’m not convinced that Noonan has learned anything at all. It’s true that Obama is now seen by many as quite ordinary; feet of clay and all that. But, that is the failing of a man, and I doubt that it's led to any introspection by her or anyone like her.

She is much like Brooks in being an urban communitarian. Look at her bio. Like Brooks she hasn’t strayed far from the Acela corridor in her entire life. She has mastered the art of a languid style contra the higher tone or frenetic energy of her urban contemporaries. She encourages the belief that she has some understanding of the lives in the greater part of exurban America, but that part is a product of her imagination, less her experience.

She benefits from her associations with Ronald Reagan and GWB, but both of these men lived parts of their lives outside the coastal corridors and it showed, just as her lack thereof shows. Her reaction to Palin is a tell. When someone from the hinterlands doesn’t match the product of her imagination, the problem resides in that person and not in her. That hasn’t changed, and the next Obama circa ’08 to come along will illicit the same reactions from her as before; the same being true for Brooks and all the others, because the fault lies now in Obama, or the stars, but not in them.

Her support for Obama will forever be pristine, because she was voting for the potential he represented: She can't be faulted for his failure to fulfill what should have been his destiny. That is the indulgence she, and others like her, bought whatever else may happen. Again, what is it that she's learned - beyond that of her own great good?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (70)
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Noonan is a Vichy conservative. She slept with the SS Major for extra butter ration coupons and a pair of stockings. Only after she has figuratively had her head shaved and been driven out of our village would I consider forgiving her (and her ilk).

Until then public shaming needs to be brought back. Anyone meeting Ms Noonan should merely say "Petainiste!" and spit on her.

Fortunately she is above my contempt 8-).

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Somewhat related question - in the past ten years or so, have there been any primarily-Muslim nations that have become more moderate?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I just don't see that the USA has any vial interest in Syria such that any big effort should be made there. There's no chance that anyone who wins is going to create a viable democracy. There are no vital economic stakes at large there. The USA enabled the shia to rule Iraq -- a rule which they may not be competent to hold onto. That shia rule requires in the arab world that the balance between the shia and sunni be restored by Syria turning to sunni rule. but of course sunni rule looks more and more like al queda.

Does anyone actually know who Israel is backing in Syria?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Speaking to a couple of points.

1) Russian boomers in the south seas. That sound you hear in the distance is cheering from the Fast Attack boat community. The former Soviet navy's doctrine was to keep the boomers in strongly defended "bastion" areas near their main sub ports; just far enough away to get the benefit of uncertainty as to exact location, but close enough to be defended by a LOT of Soviet Fast Attack boats, surface warships, and air ASW assets. We dealt with it. Not saying it was easy, but we were ready to penetrate the bastions and take out their boomers, and we did penetrate them on a regular basis. Further this deponent sayeth not.

If they are coming out in the open seas, and given the relative scarcity of operational Russian boomers; unless our National Command Authority orders otherwise, I will bet that there will be a US SSN sitting in the baffles of Ivan's boomers with a firing solution set up from the time they clear port.

2) Now, [italics] in re:[/italics] Peggy Noonan. She is an elitist [several cogent expletives deleted] who bet on the wrong horse, believing that she would gain more by going over to the Dark Side. She has not gained what she hoped, and either the current regime is going to go full bore dicatatorship and she is not part of their [italics] Nomemklatura [/italics] and is thus disposable, or things are going to be unsettled and there will be resistance. That resistance is not going to remember her betrayal fondly. And the Marquis of Queensbury's rules are not in play.

She is trying to cover her ample fundament by trying to create an option for changing sides again.

For myself, I think not. I'd rather have her as an enemy in front of me, rather than a potential traitor behind me.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Add to her Kathleen Parker, who likes to emphasize she's from The South and showed her stuff briefly on TV with that NY skag-chaser.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Subotai, we also agree on this. The USN admirals should send Putin a Christmas card he might've just saved some of their SSN budgets.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
BTW, sending boomers into the southern seas is NOT what the Soviets ever did. To do so would constitute sailing away from all of their primary targets -- all of which were in the northern hemisphere.

There is only one great power best countered with southern patrols: Red China.

It's what I've been posting for the longest time: Putin has woken up to reality. Beijing has more atomic throw weight than the rest of the planet put together. No more atomic reductions can proceed. Period.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Though we may disagree regarding Russia in certain facets, this is a very, very, very insightful comment. Read the following:

People forget after Nixon went to China 1/3rd of the SS-25s were pointed at Chinese targets.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When Brooks, Frum, Noonan, kathleen Parker and Chris Buckley step forward and ADMIT that they were wrong, then...and only then...will we have turned a corner.

Roger Kimball on these very PJM pages wrote an article about Buckley's enthralled response to Obama. I wrote a response then (and I wrote a comment to Noonan in another venue) that tried in vain to spotlight the real problem.

The people that Chris Wallace described as New York City's idea of a conservative...are so comfortable with liberalism that they could not distinguish it from hard leftism. The latter is brutish, dangerous and repressive. It carries the stench of totalitarianism everywhere it rears its ugly head.

It came masked in the pastel disguise of "soft, compassionate, lofty and palliative" caring for ALL Americans. That was...and is...a crock. It was a disguise. And, the the lineup of New York City's idea of conservatives fell in love at the masquerade monster's ball, willing to keep their dance card free for the duration.

Not being able to distinguish the gargoyle reality BEHIND the STILL a huge problem for non-leftists of every stripe. We continue to conflate the two propositions as if they were the same thing...and we continue to not gain ground on the battlefield for the salvation of this land of ours because of it.

Unless and until we come to the understanding that WE do more to promote the continuation of our destruction by not ripping off that mask and by STOPPING IMMEDIATELY the deadly masquerade...then WE are to blame as much as the totalitarian abusers of our liberties.

That mask...and OUR failure to make people see and understand the seminal problem. To this very moment...we still don't get it. And, therefore...neither do Brooks, Frum, Noonan, Parker or Buckley. They are aware of some of the symptoms...but, they cannot see that the cancer has metastasized..and they continue to talk about symptoms, not the disease. You don't cure by symptom simply put another layer on the mask.l
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. X said, "No more attention in the slightest, henceforth, to any of these people for me."

Ha ha ha ha! It is to laugh. X can't help himself; he's an addict; ranting about neocons is his heroin. Eight-to-five he's back floging that poor, dead horse in a few days. If that. What else has he got to talk about?

What do you say, X? Can you do it? Can you stop? Let's watch!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
truth is my only addiction. But ignoring specific deceivers is possible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We'll see what your paymasters in Mordor have to say about that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

The doers fight back against Barack "Darth Vader" Obama's DoJ storm troopers.

Attorneys for the two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster say the counts should be dismissed because they don't apply to conduct on a foreign-owned vessel operating outside U.S. territory, and that the men weren't responsible for maintaining or navigating the vessel, which exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010...

In federal court filings Friday (May 31), their attorneys contend that the 11 counts of involuntary manslaughter should be dismissed because the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by the Swiss-based Transocean Ltd. and registered in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, was not a U.S.-flagged vessel, as the law governs.

They also contend that an additional 11 counts of seaman's manslaughter should be dismissed because the drilling rig was operating outside U.S. territory when the accident occurred. The Deepwater Horizon "floated on giant pontoons, kept in place by thrusters and engines, not legs or even anchors," the motion states in making the case that the law "does not apply to a foreign-flag vessel outside U.S. territory that is not 'erected on' the Outer Continental Shelf."

"Notably, the waters above the OCS are not subject to United States territorial jurisdiction, but instead are considered to be 'high seas,' that is, international waters," the motion states.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The case is going to be tossed for lack of jurisdiction.

Until such is done, the matter will be appealed.

The only way that this case can proceed is if the Supremes deem it to be a tax issue.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

actually imho the supremes will deem obamacare to be unconstitutional on procedural grounds because of its tax. (tax legislation has to begin in the house. obamacare was begun in the senate.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The renewed proposals to arm the Syrian rebels and to create a No Fly Zone over the region are indicators of just how desperate things are. The administration is drifting to the conclusion if they must choose among evils then they are better off designating the Russian/Iranian axis as the primary enemy, even at the cost of boosting an al-Qaeda front to victory in the region.

The probable hope is that after they defeat the Teheran/Moscow axis then they can deal with the Sunni threat. Only let us defeat Teheran and we will take what comes." wretchard

"after they defeat the Teheran/Moscow axis"? That was a joke right?

Under no circumstance is OBAMA going to defeat the Teheran/Moscow axis. Not militarily, nor if, in arming Syria's jihadist rebels they succeed in bring down Assad. Should Assad fall, Tehran will merely regroup and seek closer alliance with al Qaeda. Nor will Obama 'deal' with the Sunni threat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Modern Russian arms plus Allawis/secular Sunnis who know it's kill or be killed is a combination that cannot be overcome save for direct NATO intervention, which would ignite perhaps the gravest crisis between Moscow and the West since Cuba in 1962 -- I could see it being much, much worse than the 08/08/08 war which despite Darth Cheney's idle chatter and the Georgians wearing USMC-style uniforms was never at risk of turning into a direct clash or at least a one degree clash with a Yakhont hitting a U.S. or British ship or an Iskander killing a bunch of NATO personnel in Jordan when the Patriots miss. That is a nightmare scenario I think can be avoided, if nothing else if certain Democrats and most Republicans would consider Obama to be wagging the dog by trying to launch a full scale bombing campaign over Syria that would get several NATO/US pilots killed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even for Wretchard, despite being a vastly better writer and having a more rounded intellect than certain PJM contributors (Preston, cough cough), old habits die hard.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ace has a post

"Molson Labe: In Turkey, a Beer Rebellion"

"I think the greatest propaganda against Islamist government is Islamist government itself. Egypt is also discovering this, of course.

Headline Joke: "Canadian Protester" quipped "Molson's Labe" in the comments, and so I stole that for the headline."

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was facing the biggest challenge to his 10-year rule this weekend as parts of Istanbul turned into a war zone. Violent clashes took place between riot police and tens of thousands of demonstrators outraged at the heavy-handed response of authorities to an environmental protest on Friday.
The eruption of frustration with Erdogan's government spread to a dozen other Turkish cities overnight and supporters gathered worldwide in Boston, London, Barcelona and Amsterdam to voice solidarity with the protesters...

Several overturned police and municipal vehicles were covered in graffiti demanding the government resigns.

"This is our museum", explained one protester, laughing. "Memories of the days when a dictator ruled Turkey!" ...

Sirri Sureyya Onder, an MP from the Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP), who was injured by a teargas cartridge on Saturday, said the government had gone too far in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

"They are rebelling against all of this now. People are fed up with this lack of public discussion, with the disrespect, the immoderateness, the lawlessness and the authoritarianism of this government. It is not very good at apologising. But this time I think it will have to."

The lack of media coverage has further inflamed tension on the streets. "There is a total media blackout on this in Turkey, the Turkish media silent on the protests; they all collaborate with the government," said 21-year-old student Ayse Sarac. "We follow the foreign news coverage to get more information."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Funny for two years we've been hearing that some sort of mass demos to topple Putin were imminent and yet it's the Qataris and Saudis cat's paw Erdogan that's gotten burned from Turkey's excellent Syria adventures.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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