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Belmont Club

The Nones of March

March 1st, 2014 - 1:27 pm

The bad news is that Vladimir Putin is invading the Ukraine. The good news is that he got the Russian parliament — whatever you may think of it — to approve his actions.  The procedural difference is telling.  Putin has not forgotten the word War, with its terrible finality and destructiveness, nor disremembered Victory. For him it is remains an awful event, serious enough to be attended by smokes and ceremonies only to be undertaken at great risk in the expectation of even greater plunder.

It has not yet become that abstract legalism that Western leaders imagine; a “kinetic military activity” to be undertaken by executive order to exercise some “responsibility to protect”; a lawfare activity, a species of police action where some nameless international lawyer deputizes the US military as a posse. That dream is shattered; replaced by the nightmare vision of the past risen from its coffin. As J. Christian Adams noted in his latest column,  if nothing else Putin woke the world up.  Barack Obama went to Sochi to see “the new face of Russia” and it is staring back through the thin window pane, as old and terrible as all mankind.

We have not reached the End of History where the only meaningful choices are between red or white wine. The risk is rather that we might become History.

Marco Rubio just wrote a piece suggesting eight steps that might be followed to contain Putin.  ”This is a critical moment in world history”, he writes. But his outline lacks a critical ninth step. The United States must rebuild a rational national security policy mechanism from all major political strands to reimpose a sanity and political unity that has been missing for some time.

The Ukraine is beyond any immediate tactical help. It’s ultimate fate — as well as those of allies like Japan, Australia, Poland or Israel — depends mostly on whether America can restore itself to strategic viability. On whether it can regain its wits.

If America can find its footing all will ultimately be well. If America continues to drift, all must inevitably be lost.

Removing American troops in Afghanistan from their dependency on Russian supply routes; drilling for energy, securing the borders; rebuilding the Armed Forces and stopping the hemorrhaging of the American substance to pay for political boondoggles are a good place to start. They will have a greater effect than démarches to the UN and they do not require firing a single shot.

Obamacare needs to be recognized for what it is: a failed political monkey on the back of a nation which will in time reduce it to impotence. It is Coleman Young’s vision in a world that cares not a whit — at least Putin may not — for Coleman Young. America’s greatest strength is its productivity and its people. Now is the time to turn to the stifling bureaucratic machinery and say, “let my people go.”

A rational national security policy needs a set of strategic goals underpinned by a broad political consensus, just as the Constitution provides. It is not an Executive Affair. It is a national affair. Unless this is remembered the world will become ever more dangerous. For it was not Putin alone who destabilized the situation; an incompetent, mendacious and vain administration played its part . By its incompetence, through its cheating and by its vanity it has led the nation and the world to the brink of the abyss.

The United States has the means provided by the Constitution and the political system to rid itself of incompetent management, or at least its change its behavior. But someone has to break the spell; to finally say that the system — the Emperor — has no clothes for the recovery to begin.

The Ides of March are near, but they are not yet come. A happy ending — or an ending as happy as we can attain — can yet be salvaged. But only if we accept that to a great extent we cast ourselves into this hole. Through our vanity; our greed and above all by stupidity.  And yet we can yet make it out if we remember the first rule of digging a hole: stop digging.


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Top Rated Comments   
The US Constitution is a well written document but not perfect, as the authors well knew by including the amendment process. The checks and balances have failed because the founders could not forsee the evils of the federal tax code and the imposition of income taxes. When the federal government no longer had to ask for money from the states, it created the professional politician the same way capitalism created industry- that is where the money is. Numerous governmental agencies continue to be invented out of thin air and lately they have been stockpiling ammunition and training SWAT teams.

If we have any chance of regaining our founding principles we will first need to cut off the money. This is not impossible and sounds less risky as the blue states continue toward bankruptcy and the red states hold their own.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Impeachment would take two or three years. America and the world doesn't have that amount of time left. Rebuildling the American military will take 8 to 10 years AFTER election of competent, moral leadership, plus the $Trillions already spent on "shovel ready" Obama stash projects. There isn't time.

"The United States has the means provided by the Constitution and the political system to rid itself of incompetent management." - Wretchard

America's founders never thought that ALL THREE branches of the federal government would be so corrupt as to fail to provide the checks and balances required to protect the republic. Impeachment is to the Constitution what a well prepared military is to a nation. If it has to be used, tragedy is already unavoidable. If mostly good people are elected to office they will ensure impeachment will never be required. Richard Nixon resigned BEFORE impeachment, so great where the public mores at that time against public office corruption. Bill Clinton destroyed that paradigm. More political careers were destroyed trying to impeach Clinton than those of the corrupt who were target of that impeachment.

The political rot that is the 1960's American progressives may have already fatally injured the American constitutional republic, past the point of reform or redemption.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm no fan of Putin, but then again, it must be nice to have a leader who thinks your country's foreign policy is more than making the world safe for gays and Muslims.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (87)
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We're in a cold civil war. Events turn against both sides of a nation when weakened by internal warring.

In the last civil war, Comanches pushed back the Texas frontier as the men who would have been Texas Rangers pointed their guns at Yankees. In Minnesota, settlers were killed by the hundreds by the Dakota tribe. Mexico became a province of France under Maximilian as the Monroe Doctrine was put on the back burner.

This time is no different except we haven't found our Abe Lincoln - yet. An easy prediction is that things will get worst before they get better. The RINOs think that they can play politics as usual and still win. It should be obvious that Obama has a different plan.

I expect something unexpected.

As I've noted in these comment forums before, a Caesar seals his power by donations to his legionnaires. I see Obama doing just the opposite. He seems to think his union allies, black ghetto gangbangers, and DHS will be his muscle. It will come down to who has the stronger, better organized and disciplined muscle.

May God have mercy on the United States of America.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have one word; "flexible"
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blue13326 suggests Obama is foreign policy only seems intent on making the world safe for gays and Muslims.

Ah yes. Making the world safe for gays and Muslims. Think about that, now. Muslims hate gays. And it has been suggested here that Obama and Putin are sub rosa allies. And Putin hates Muslims; they've caused him a good many headaches, and he has never been shy about taking them on. Why on earth would Obama want to do things in SUPPORT of gays, Muslims, AND Putin?

Some people think Obama is a Muslim; other people think he is a communist. You can find the evidence for the one persuasive only by ignoring the evidence for the other. The only thing he really seems to support, though, is the destruction of what used to be known as "the West." The only moves he avoids are moves that would strengthen his own putative country.

I think he is an unaligned destroyer. And his pursuit of THAT mission is moving right along, Boo-Buh-Boom, Boo-Buh-Boom.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's another amazing antique recording (another Edison wax cylinder). This is Trumpeter Landfrey, of the Light Brigade and a survivor of the Charge, using a trumpet that was sounded at Waterloo to play the trumpet's command to charge exactly as he sounded it at Balaclava that terrible day:

https://archive.org/details/EDIS-SWDPC-01-04
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, the Crimea again. . . .

One hundred and sixty years ago: The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War.

Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery, a task well suited to light cavalry. Due to miscommunication in the chain of command, the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire.

Here is an 1890 recording of Alfred, Lord Tennyson reciting his poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade": a reading that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

https://soundcloud.com/thisisparker/alfred-lord-tennyson-reading-his-onward-the-light-brigade-on-wax-cylinder
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
If a flying saucer lit on the lawn, and a man from Mars stepped out and asked us to explain Communism to him, and we did so,

and then he asked if Obama and Putin had ever been Communists, and we said yes, earlier in life they had been,

and he then asked had they ever repudiated Communism, and we answered well, no, but that they HAD quit professing it, so they must have quit being it, too,

and he then asked us had we given any thought to the doctrine that we had just gotten thru explaining to him, that is, the doctrine of the Communist International, or COMINTERN,

and how the foundational premise is that the class struggle must first dissolve the structures of nation, state, language, ethnicity, race, et cetera, so that 'false consciousness' could no longer block the World Revolution,

and we answered, no, not really, that all that old cobwebby stuff is just old boilerplate that we pay no attention to anymore, especially since we won the Cold War,

and then he said "Well, based on what you your own selves have just told me, I'd say that it's obvious that Obama and Putin are cooperating with each other, on the COMINTERN agenda, and that their actions on the world stage are meant to gull their mutual target the world bourgeoisie into misinterpreting every damn thing in the Solar System!"

Would we be surprised? And would that instant of surprise be followed by we all immediately begin furiously slapping our foreheads?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ding! Ding! Ding! Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!

And we just know that the EUroweenies will never be Socialists or Communists 'cuz MC told us so.......

That Boa Constrictor of World Socialism has got them by the toe but somehow they do not feel him working his way up to their ankle.

In the absence of any evidence of cojones from BHO or Kerry or DC in general, the strong men are coming out to flex their powers and reassert their hegemony on the "Near Abroad".

Don't worry tho' Brussels has it all under control.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps the thought of the US senate elections will help to keep Putin from overreaching. If Obama emerges from this crisis smelling like a rose, there is a chance that the Democrats will retain control of the Senate. Republican control would not be as supportive of the expansion of Russian power.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The “Open Society” foundations of George Soros have been worse than useless for eastern European democrats. Opposition activists, rather than making common cause with ordinary people, all too often rely upon Open Society funds to keep them going. His money has become a drug. This dependency has debilitated opposition forces throughout the world and isolated them from popular opinion, corrupting them into becoming mouthpieces for the ideology of Soros. The effect of Soros has been analogous to the Communist International for leftists in western countries during the Cold War – a source of money and control. The dependency of activists upon outside resources leaves them unable to function as a genuine – and legitimate – domestic opposition.

Freedom cannot be promoted by forcing societies open through meticulously funded rent-a-mobs. Freedom cannot be fostered by promoting dependency of opposition dissidents upon the money of a political sugar daddy. When easy money seduces opposition dissidents throughout the world into becoming a multinational army of zombies controlled by fanatical billionaire, when they become a mighty Wurlitzer that plays any song that some narcissistic speculator wants with the drop of a coin, something has gone horribly wrong.

I was surprised to discover that the Polish arm of the Open Society Foundation is called the “Stefan Batory Foundation”. I had rather expected to find a Soros-funded “Elizabeth Bathory Foundation”...
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
In which it is argued that for Putin to keep the Crimea he must seize more of the Ukraine in order to secure its corridor to the outside world.


>>To see why, just open a map. That narrow strip of land tethering northern Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland, called the Perokop Isthmus, is the peninsula’s lifeline. What’s left out of most Western analyses of Putin’s brazen military intervention is the Crimea’s complete economic dependence on the mainland, which provides nearly all of its electricity and water and about 70 percent of its food.

That’s why the Crimea is even a part of Ukraine. Don’t believe that myth about the peninsula being a “gift” from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. For laughs, people often add that he did it when he was drunk. That story was actually concocted during the early 1990s, when Russia first started making mischief with pro-Russian separatism ...

Most of the Crimea is basically a desert, with less annual rainfall than Los Angeles. It is impossible to sustain its 2 million people—including agriculture and the substantial tourist industry—without Ukrainian water. Current supplies aren’t even enough. In Sevastopol, home of the Black Sea Fleet, households get water only on certain days. In fact, on Feb. 19, when snipers were shooting protesters on the streets of Kiev, Sevastopol applied for $34 million in Western aid (note the irony) to improve its water and sewer systems.

The Crimea’s dependence on Ukraine for nearly all of it electricity makes it equally vulnerable to nonviolent retaliation. One suggestion making the rounds of the Ukrainian Internet is that the mainland, with warning, shut off the power for 15 minutes. It may not normalize the situation, but it could give Moscow pause. Of course, Russia could retaliate by cutting off Ukrainian gas supplies, but that would mean cutting off much of Europe as well. Besides, Ukrainians proved this winter that they aren’t afraid of the cold, and spring is coming...


http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/03/vladimir_putin_s_crimean_mistake_the_russian_president_is_miscalculating.html<<;
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
do you think that Vlad cares of?

it's notin comparing what the waters along Crimea are worth of !

38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Did not know that. I agree. Vlad has to move west and take it all.

The Year of Consequences is upon us.

Subotai Bahadur
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unlikely that Russia will take all of Ukraine. They will impose their will in a different way. Covertly, they will compel the government (whatever that is these days) so aquiesce to the Realpolitik of the situation.
Russia wants to control the Crimea, because of Sevastopol, and other Russian colonized parts of Ukraine.
Russia wants their natural gas to flow through Ukraine so that they can make money from it by selling it to Western Europe.
Russia wants Ukraine to "co-operate".

Key players will "disappear". The government (whoever it is) will allow the Russians to control this part of Ukraine.
Starting tomorrow (March 2), the Army of Ukraine will begin mobilization. My prediction is that they will stand around and do.....nothing.

I would not be surprised (and we will never know) that Ivan's Spetznatz troops (or whatever they are called now) have already taken key hostages related to key members of the Ukraine military, and have penetrated their communications.
Very shortly, a Russian psyops campaign will begin to attempt to split the alliance that was opposed to the Yanukovych, and also fill the Western news media with their own propaganda, such as the opposition was full of facists/neo-Nazis. This will be used to get the Western Left to support Russia. This seems like a movie I have seen before.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Read some of the comments at places like the Guardian or even the more moderate Atlantic. The left is already supporting Russia: they blame the US for funding the opposition and creating this mess. The only problem for the US left is this make Obama look bad.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why wouldn't that be be a sign --a flashing neon billboard on the side of the freeway sign --that Obama and Putin are engaged in what gave byzantine politics the name 'byzantine politics', that is, a hidden alliance, or synarchy? For otherwise, it would have to be that the left would be positioned against its own messiah, who is supposedly in opposition to Putin's actions in Ukraine.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's the incredible shrinking Obama. How much smaller can he get? Soon we'll be able to trap him under an upturned coffee mug.

Oh it would be so funny, if he weren't President of the U.S.A. which shrinks in stature along with him. The man is about as weighty as the lint you find on a clothes dryer filter. It's a miracle to me that a piece of fluff can drag down the weight of a mighty nation.

How long will the general public put up with this?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess as long as checks are coming...
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder at what point the big money behind the Democrats will decide that Obama should resign. That would include the unions, Soros, and I think also some overseas players like the Saudis and Chinese.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, whatever they may have said to themselves and others I think the truth is that they expected it or else should have, so I expect it will just have to run its course, whatever that may be.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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