Belmont Club

The Lying Sleeps Tonight

Jonathan Ray of the National Interest examines the question of how China builds weapons that it declares are immoral. “Why does China develop weapons systems that it opposes? China criticizes U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems, but conducted three BMD tests of its own from 2010 to 2014. China regularly supports a treaty to ban space weapons, but has repeatedly tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) system.”

Why? Because the Chinese have realized that given a choice between what is real and what is depicted on paper, Western leaders always believe the paper.  Incredulously, unbelieving at first but with growing confidence they realized they can treat Western leaders with the same contempt that European traders once showed to primitive tribesmen in the Amazon or Congo rain forests.

The canny Fidel Castro, Putin or ISIS, like the Chinese understand that the Western elites have degenerated into a kind of superstition-ridden clique, as much in bondage to political correctness as those inhabitants of the Congo or Amazon were to their inchoate ideas which the European explorers ruthlessly exploited. Except now the situation is reversed.  Today it is the inhabitants of great Western capitals who can be held at bay by nothing more than a few televised dramatics or a hashtag on Twitter,  by a little sleight of hand.

For example, the Taliban have convinced the White House they are no longer terrorists, not by changing their deeds, but by simply intoning words.

“They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism. They do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained today, but “they have a different classification.”

Was there ever such a magic? Words are incredibly powerful in the West.   Local shamans called lawyers can use sacred objects called precedents to achieve all manner of astounding things. With this supernatural fetish in hand, even ISIS may soon make demands on Western powers.

A debate is now ensuing on whether the United States started a precedent of cutting deals with terrorist organizations when they traded the “Taliban Five” for Bowe Bergdahl last summer.

“We traded five senior ranking Taliban commanders for Bergdahl, and now we’ve kind of set this precedent,” former Navy SEAL Dan O’Shea said. “The U.S. has a hard time to tell other countries to stick by our no concessions policy when we violated a policy in place for many, many years. So I see this as a challenging development and another slippery slide on the dangerous slope of making acquiescence to the demands of terrorist groups. You can expect more of this to follow.”

Pashtun tribesmen or Pakistani bureaucrats learned a piece of paper marked “Agreement” or “Memorandum of Understanding” can make European and American warriors as docile as sheep. Mark how the US has left Afghanistan, at times under fire, without a peep.

Leaving Afghanistan has become one of the most difficult operations the U.S. military has ever undertaken. “Certainly in our lifetime, it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest operation in terms of complexity, size, and cost,” said Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason, who headed Army logistics until he retired last year. A Pentagon official called it a “nightmare,” and the colonel in charge of packing up Afghanistan last year called it “a logistics Super Bowl.” …

A round slammed into one of the sappers’ trucks. As the drones and choppers scrambled to find the shooter, the guys on the ground went into combat mode. The soldiers inside the truck that had been hit did a quick head count. One guy had shrapnel cuts on his neck and arm. Gunners on the surrounding vehicles searched the mountainsides for more incoming, but none came. As he had done before, the shooter fired just a single round and then melted back into the landscape.

The Taliban aren’t terrorists any more. Pakistan is a friendly allied power.  A piece of paper says so. Even the snipers of America must cower before the written word.  Sheldon Richman of the Future of Freedom Foundation wrote: “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

Maybe it’s not heroism.  Maybe it was … some other word.  We live in a cloud of illusion. Like fake engine noise, a reference to the simulated sounds now being built into performance trucks to give the impression of V-8 power. The Washington Post explains that engine growls are now broadcast over speakers.

“Enhanced” engine songs have become the signature of eerily quiet electrics such as the Toyota Prius. But the fakery is increasingly finding its way into beefy trucks and muscle cars, long revered for their iconic growl.

For the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost, Ford sound engineers and developers worked on an “Active Noise Control” system that amplifies the engine’s purr through the car speakers. Afterward, the automaker surveyed members of Mustang fan clubs on which processed “sound concepts” they most enjoyed.

Politicians understand that illusion rules.  Readers may recall the Iranian backed Houthi rebels who recently toppled the US supported government in Yemen.  Was it a defeat for Obama’s counterinsurgency model?  No it was victory! Victory! The Wall Street Journal says “In Strategic Shift, U.S. Draws Closer to Yemeni Rebels”.

The U.S. has formed ties with Houthi rebels who seized control of Yemen’s capital, White House officials and rebel commanders said, in the clearest indication of a shift in the U.S. approach there as it seeks to maintain its fight against a key branch of al Qaeda.

American officials are communicating with Houthi fighters, largely through intermediaries, the officials and commanders have disclosed, to promote a stable political transition as the Houthis gain more power and to ensure Washington can continue its campaign of drone strikes against leaders of the group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, officials said. ..

The shift also could place it on the same side as Iran in the Yemen conflict. The Houthis are drawn from their country’s Zaidi population. Zaidis, who by some estimates make up roughly a third of the population, practice a form of Shiite Islam and are concentrated in northwest Yemen. U.S. officials believe the militia has received considerable funding and arms from Shiite-dominated Iran, something Houthi leaders have variously confirmed and denied.

Iran is convincing the administration to retreat everywhere by explaining each time that it is really a victory for Obama.  In consequence, America’s enemies are finding it childishly simple to manipulate the experts in Washington.  A few colored policy beads, some lengths of cheap agreements, one or two photo ops seem sufficient to send the natives by the Potomac on a frenzy of celebratory dancing round the talk show campfires of CBS, NBC and ABC.

At present, the high shamans of Washington are awaiting the voluntary eclipse of the Iranian nuclear sun as promised by the Ayatollahs of Iran. They have put such store by this meaningless concession that High priestess Nancy Pelosi has warned against interference by Benjamin Netanyahu who may anger the gods.

In the end the Iranians may build their nuclear capability anyway but  like the Chinese declare they can construct weapons they are against — because they are still against them.  Insert a flaring fire, a pounding of drums and frenzied dancing. Victory! Victory! The Western descent into mumbo jumbo has been presided over by a political elite which fancies itself intellectually superlative, yet whom the Chinese can manipulate like mere rustics simply  by telling them stories like Global Warming and I’d Like To Buy The World a Coke.

We are now the natives of the Congo river facing Men From Mars. They can manipulate Western leaders by predicting auguries and disasters. “Unless you give us what we want then bad things will happen.” Run that by Code Pink and watch them nod in agreement.  The Chinese and ISIS remember what  Columbus did while stranded in Jamaica and running low on food, when Admiral of the Ocean Seas hit upon a plan to fool the natives.

Columbus had on board an almanac … he noticed the date and the time of an upcoming lunar eclipse. … He requested a meeting for that day with the Cacique, the leader, and told him that his god was angry with the local people’s treatment of Columbus and his men. Columbus said his god would provide a clear sign of his displeasure by making the rising full Moon appear “inflamed with wrath”.

The lunar eclipse and the red Moon appeared on schedule, and the indigenous people were impressed and frightened. The son of Columbus, Ferdinand, wrote that the people:

“with great howling and lamentation they came running from every direction to the ships, laden with provisions, praying the Admiral to intercede by all means with God on their behalf; that he might not visit his wrath upon them …”

Columbus went into his cabin to “pray” and timed the eclipse with his hourglass, and shortly before the totality ended after 48 minutes, he told the frightened indigenous people that they were going to be forgiven. When the Moon started to reappear from the shadow of the Earth, he told them that his god had pardoned them.

In 1885, H. Rider Haggard used an altered version of the real story of the rescue of Columbus in his novel King Solomon’s Mines, where hero Allan Quartermain and his companions recruit supporters for their cause from the local tribe by predicting a lunar eclipse.

Substitute “Cacique” for “Obama”, “Cameron” or “Hollande” and you wll get the idea of how badly disadvantaged we are. Perhaps the greatest irony of our post Western age is its elites have gone, not directly to enlightenment as they have believed, but directly to superstitious ignorance in one fell swoop. The Taliban know the power of the great god Pee Cee and will invoke his name at every turn. All they have to do is predict the West will no longer be attacked if it  pays them tribute and moderate their depredations accordingly.

But don’t worry, they’re no longer terrorists and won’t hurt us much, we hope. Despite our fine garments and shiny ijewelry, please Pee Cee let them know we’re only children.

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