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Belmont Club

Ivan Ilyin

March 4th, 2014 - 9:23 pm

Medea Benjamin was manhandled in Cairo today. “Help,” she Tweeted. “They Broke My Arm. Egypt Police”. They didn’t know who Medea Benjamin was or they didn’t care. Democracy Now reports:

U.S. peace activist Medea Benjamin was detained Monday at Cairo’s airport by Egyptian police without explanation. She says she was questioned, held overnight in an airport prison cell and then violently handcuffed by Egyptian officials, who dislocated her shoulder and broke her arm. She was then put on a plane and deported to Turkey, where she is now seeking medical treatment. We speak to her by telephone from the airport medical facility. Benjamin had intended to meet up with international delegates before traveling to Gaza for a women’s conference.

Whatever happened to that long ago line “you can’t do this to me. I’m an American”?  Maybe times have changed. The day after Putin decided to pull his troops back from Ukraine’s eastern border, “Russia said it had successfully test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) on Tuesday, with tensions running high over its military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region.” True it was a scheduled test. But in July last year the US canceled a similar ICBM test in order not to offend North Korea. America cared about the sensibilities of North Korea. Apparently Putin doesn’t give a hang about Barack Obama.

I was on talk radio today and a kind of sadness seemed to hang in the air;  a realization that something has gone missing — perhaps forever. It was overlaid by an angry shame that the president — whatever or how little you thought of him — could be shrunk to such a size, and by extension the country he represented.

It’s an atmospheric thing. Suddenly, without any warning, Washington no longer seems so much like the center of the universe. Those who inhabit it, who understand status even if they know nothing else, feel the demotion. Now it’s as if people got up this morning determined to understand why the world seems so much bigger and their offices so much smaller.  Paul Bonicelli at Foreign Policy tried to figure out where it all went wrong.

The pundits and experts have been scrambling to explain how their predictions of a non-interventionist Putin were so wrong. Is it because Putin is just extra-mean and aggressive and caught everyone by surprise? …

How is it that the president, a smart man, and his advisors, also smart, have been so wrong about Putin, the Iranian mullahs, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian dictator, and others? Because they want to believe that the realist view where power and anarchy reign is wrong and that the idealist view of cooperation and international law is right. No amount of facts on the ground has dissuaded them of this belief until, one hopes, now.

Henry Kissinger famously notes that those powers that seek peace above all else are at the mercy of those powers that are willing to deny it to fulfill their interests.

Obama and his advisors, from grad school until now, have apparently seen the entire world as a single collection of nation-states just waiting to cooperate if the right people came into power in the United States to midwife it through dialogue and nice-making. Surely that belief has evaporated. It is time for the Obama administration to embrace reality and do what Putin did long ago and the rest of Russia’s reluctant neighbors are doing: Make two lists, one of your friends and the other of your enemies; support the first and torment the second. It might be distasteful to some, but it is the real world.

David Brooks had another introspective piece in the NYT. He wants to know why Putin Can’t Stop; or rather he wants to know when Washington couldn’t make him stop. Brooks thinks it began when Putin repatriated the corpse of a long-dead Russian author Ivan Ilyin, who wasn’t even a Bolshevik.

Putin was personally involved in getting Ilyin’s remains re-buried back in Russian soil. In 2009, Putin went to consecrate the grave himself. The event sent him into a nationalistic fervor. “It’s a crime when someone only begins talking about the separation of Russia and the Ukraine,” he said on that day.

To enter into the world of Putin’s favorite philosophers is to enter a world full of melodrama, mysticism and grandiose eschatological visions. “We trust and are confident that the hour will come when Russia will rise from disintegration and humiliation and begin an epoch of new development and greatness,” Ilyin wrote…

Up until now, we have not been in a Huntingtonian conflict of civilizations with Russia. But with passions aroused and philosophic zealotry at full boil, it may temporarily appear that we are.

The implication for Western policymakers is that we may not be dealing with a “normal” regime, which can be manipulated by economic and diplomatic carrots and sticks. Threatening to take away inclusion in the Group of 8 or freeze some assets may become irrelevant because the Russian regime will have moved up to a different level. The Russian nation may be motivated by a deep, creedal ideology that has been wafting through the culture for centuries and has now found an unlikely, cynical and cold-eyed host.

But I think the true explanation is rather simpler. Too many people frittered away the Design Margin. It was spent and squandered by those both who felt it was immoral to be so rich and while simultaneously convinced these riches were inexhaustible. It happened because too many worked tirelessly to take America down a peg or two, out of spite; and from a sense of unassailable superiority. People who thought it was OK to blow the stash; open the borders; downsize the armed forces. Guys who believed you could churn out paper dollars and issue empty threats ad infinitum.  Because like Paul Krugman once said: we can invent an alien invasion from outer space if we need to.

And now they find their arms being broken by Cairo police.  When and how did Medea Benjamin become a nobody? Maybe it happened this way: when  those who dreamed of a weaker, helpless America forgot that in so doing they would also be bringing down themselves.


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Top Rated Comments   
I realized at some point that, protestations to the contrary, the peace lovers on the left really do admire ruthlessness, cruelty and iron will.

It's the bearded men with assault rifles they love. Fidel. Che. Your average Jihadi militant. Why? Because they've got testosterone and guns.

It's the missionary -- the man who actually preaches love, or in this case the men who are willing to die for their faith in Christ -- whom they hate. Not because of Christ. Don't get them wrong. That would be unfair. They hate the missionaries for their lack of body odor and their 'creepy' ambition to be free of vile lust someday.

Because they don't want to be free of cruelty. What they want is to be free of scruple. What the bearded men offer is the assurance, the guarantee, the promise, that yes, barbarity is just fine. And that's really all they want to hear.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
civis romanus sum

"I am a Roman Citizen". Once the proudest boast of Europe, and marking one as someone to be reckoned with. Until the civilization and its leaders were no longer worth the sacrifice to defend. Who would die to defend the position of Elagabalus, or most of his predecessors or successors?

The phrase no longer was something to conjure with from the very moment that the power of Rome was questioned. Sound familiar?

The sadness that you noted was, I suspect, not only because of the diminished status of our country and people. I suspect that additionally there was the realization that while countries rise, fall, and rise again; as long as we are under the governance of those I call TWANLOC, we and our children and our children's children will not rise. That the bonds of the Constitution have been rent asunder, and the STATE is unfettered. We are beyond elections and the politics we grew up with to salvage Liberty. And we have not yet found our footing in what has replaced it.

>>>Up until now, we have not been in a Huntingtonian conflict of civilizations with Russia.<<<

That has not meant that Russia has not been in such a conflict with us. As has the Asian variant of Marxist collectivism. And most especially the forces of Islam. And the inchoate forces of barbarism that cross all boundaries of race, creed, and national origin.

And closest of all, there is the clash of civilizations between those we sometimes refer to as TWANLOC, and ourselves; no matter how we denominate ourselves. Men of the West, Dúnedain, Patriots, Wolverines, Sons of Liberty; we have been getting literary in our references of late. Perhaps another such reference is fitting:

...either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...

And only the Great Blue Sky Tengri Nor knows what the outcome shall be.

Subotai Bahadur
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone from the embassy will come to hold someone responsible. Right. But what if the embassy itself can be burned and nothing happens to nobody? Then what? Someone said that if you don't stick together then you hang separately. Of course, not everyone sees it that way.

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans. "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (130)
All Comments   (130)
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"Too many people frittered away the Design Margin."

Michael Fumento wrote something to that effect years ago: Environmental zealots, safety nazis, and various other parasites who think that nothing they do to nibble away at a society's wealth and energy could possibly have harmful effects, and especially that such harmful effects could ever reach such a level as to have disastrous consequences.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wretchard came up with the money quote, the most relevant words so far of this decade:

"What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Off topic. The era of Lindsay-Dinkins redux proceeds.

I was just watching a news conference where the Transport Workers were announcing their intent to strike against the MTA, Long Island Railroad. Mayor De Blasio, of the unhinged race baiting Obama wing of the Democrats, is paying off the Teacher's union by destroying the charter schools. Governor Cuomo, while a Clinton Corruptocrat Left Democrat himself, is openly breaking with the mayor over these issues. Soon the municipal unions will descend to fight over the scraps. New York City spent twenty years climbing out of the abyss. Watching it slip back has the horrible fascination of an over the top opera.

BTW, isn't Lindsay-Dinkins a great moniker? sounds like ether the inbred twit in a Python parody or the nose in the air sl*t in a third rate soap opera.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lindsay-Dinkins actually sounds like a donut chain. It might however be a new ice cream parlor in Cambridge.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Looks like an RT reporter had a bellyfull of their propaganda and her conscious couldn't let her continue.

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/03/05/video-russia-today-anchor-protests-invasion-quits-on-the-air/
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"forgot that in so doing they would also be bringing down themselves."

Yes. And if anybody deserves a broken arm it is terrorist-loving creeps like Medea Benjamin. But that aside, the decline of "you can't do this to me, I'm an American" is concerning. I wish that more than a small fraction of America's elites were not feckless fools, amoral opportunists, and lovers of tyranny.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
It occurs to me that Chinese expansionism in the south china sea dates almost exactly to the mid 90's when a oil exploration ship went there and discovered oil.

A simple way to bring the Chinese to the negotiation table is to make unilateral oil drilling cost prohibitive. The way you do that is threaten any oil rigs in the south china sea with destruction if the Chinese put them there unilaterally. The way that is accomplished is for all the ASEAN countries with conflicting claims with China to join together and make a joint memorandum that states that any oil drilling derricks that are set up in the south china sea without their permission will be subject to destruction. Sure the Chinese might be able to defend them but that would be cost prohibitive. And not really very effective. All the countries with conflicting claims with China would need to do is buy a couple of submarines each, some short range missiles, some air craft that can deliver long range torpedoes or long range air to ground missiles and the Chinese will not be well positioned to guarantee the security of the drilling platforms. In that kind of situation, the only companies that would even attempt to invest or drill in the south china sea would be chinese. It'll be awhile before the Chinese have that kind of expertise.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Koreans have landed themselves in hot water after it emerged they had worked with South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook and received money to set up 500 underground churches. It is understood they will be put to death in a cell at the State Security Department.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2573621/Kim-Jong-Un-orders-33-people-executed-contact-Christian-missionary-say-South-Korean-press.html

Remember what Kurtz said:

I remember when I was with Special Forces--it seems a thousand centuries ago--we went into a camp to inoculate it. The children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile--a pile of little arms. And I remember...I...I...I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it, I never want to forget. And then I realized--like I was shot...like I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, "My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that." Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they could stand that--these were not monsters, these were men, trained cadres, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled with love--that they had this strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time were able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment--without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I realized at some point that, protestations to the contrary, the peace lovers on the left really do admire ruthlessness, cruelty and iron will.

It's the bearded men with assault rifles they love. Fidel. Che. Your average Jihadi militant. Why? Because they've got testosterone and guns.

It's the missionary -- the man who actually preaches love, or in this case the men who are willing to die for their faith in Christ -- whom they hate. Not because of Christ. Don't get them wrong. That would be unfair. They hate the missionaries for their lack of body odor and their 'creepy' ambition to be free of vile lust someday.

Because they don't want to be free of cruelty. What they want is to be free of scruple. What the bearded men offer is the assurance, the guarantee, the promise, that yes, barbarity is just fine. And that's really all they want to hear.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I realized at some point that, protestations to the contrary, the peace lovers on the left really do admire ruthlessness, cruelty and iron will."

Because they know that is what it takes to impose their version of Peace. As in "Shaddap and quit yer bellyachin! It's an odd numbered Wednesday and you only get to eat on even numbered Tuesdays and Fridays."

And that's because their economic methods will be so detrimental to the production of goods and services that there will never be enough of anything, and complaints must be dealt with very harshly to keep things from getting out of hand. That's what you get with not just Obamacare but with Obamaeverything.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes indeed.

I have known many "peace loving" leftists in my life. Nearly all of them were very good at talking about peace, so good that one could easily believe their sincerity. But the mask slipped when they found reason to go beyond pious talk and actually do something. Inevitably, the deeds revealed the devil behind the mask.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I realized at some point that, protestations to the contrary, the peace lovers on the left really do admire ruthlessness, cruelty and iron will.

Yes. The reality of the "bearded men" has been all to apparent for all too long.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
What the proper length for a Jihadi’s beard? I already know, “Not so long it catches in machine gun recoil mechanism.”
http://askthetaliban.com/what-the-proper-length-for-a-jihadis-beard/
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some of them bearded men with guns done broke Medea Benjamin's arm, but if she's noticed she hasn't let on.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Probably because it's not the one she uses to pleasure herself while reading accounts of terrorist atrocities.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin may want vapid Westerners to think that he is a mystic or even crazy. Reagan made a joke out of the media thinking he was crazy. It served his purpose. Kissinger seriously led journalists and academics to think that Nixon was as crazy as Mrs Rochester and only Kissinger could play the role of Grace Poole in keeping him locked up. Nixon was I believe in on the joke.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Even that idiot Obama gets a Nobel prize. Who do I have to kill to get one?"
"No problem Vladimir. We have a little list."

The debasement of symbols of value, Greenbacks, Religious Symbols, Academic degrees, Military Medical and Spiritual titles, and Prizes, Nobel literary or theatrical, can serve a purpose. The individual becomes more atomized and lost without fixed points to navigate by. The more arbitrary the authority the better, if you are the authority.

wretchard,
The US and Nato partners could offer to buy the ships and divert them to a more worthy use. If all else fails we could ask the Israelis to take them. Just kidding.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
why should the NATO partners be following the american wshful thinking?

NATO shouldn't exist anymore, it's a remain for American foreign legions doing the american wars

did we see NATO helping us fighting AQ in Africa?

oh yes, NATO will fight the Chinese.... when the US will decide it

or until then there will not be a NATO organisation, nor a EU organisation anymore

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Indeed. I wish America would stop making NATO forces do all of the fighting in their wars. It is so unfair.

Iraq War Coalition deaths by country
USA: 4,487
UK: 179
Italy: 33
Poland: 23
Ukraine: 18
Bulgaria: 13
Spain: 11
Denmark: 7
El Salvador: 5
Georgia: 5
Slovakia: 4
Latvia: 3
Romania: 3
Australia: 2
Estonia: 2
Netherlands: 2
Thailand: 2
Azerbaijan: 1
Czech Republic: 1
Fiji: 1
Hungary: 1
Kazakhstan: 1
South Korea: 1

TOTAL: 4,804

Afghanistan War Casualties:
Killed: 3,423 (United States: 2,313, United Kingdom: 447, Canada: 158, France: 86, Germany: 54, Italy: 48, Denmark: 43, Australia: 40, Poland: 38, Spain: 34, Georgia: 27, Netherlands: 25, Romania: 21, Turkey: 14, NATO: 12, New Zealand: 11, Norway: 10)
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps yesterday's Nato meeting on the crisis gives a flavour of what we can expect tomorrow in Brussels: Poland and the former soviet states, now members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, are predominantly in favour of a firm stand against Russian aggression. They would like to see an arms embargo, which would give the rowdy neighbours a ticking off, without ruining their own economies.

But the French aren't likely to go down that road, since French shipyards are currently putting the finishing touches to two warships, due for delivery to the Russians this autumn.

http://www.english.rfi.fr/france/20140305-french-press-review-05-march-2014
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't worry, I'm sure the peace activists of the left are already planning massive demonstrations to block delivery of those ships.

/sarc
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
neither the Brits would renounce to the russian oligarchs money

actually Putin response is rather towards the US Nulle land interferrence in Ukraine

if it wasn't for the EU money, the French the Brits, like the spanish, the Italians wouldn't be concerned by this US vs Russia influence in the former soviet republics, that were given to Stalin by Roosevelt

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny how POWs never deny that there really was a war and that it was important it be won.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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