While America Slept…

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…President Bush delivered a "major" speech in ye olde Englande this morning.

FOX News' account is online here.

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  1. fyodor,

    What exactly about Wilson’s plan, specifically his “Fourteen Points,” do you think contributed to this? Most of it is after all rather benign to say the least.

  2. “Backhanded slap at Bush? Attempt to look good for contintental allies? Effort to patch up relationships shredded in rush to war?”

    I think your tea-leaf reading is way off on this one, joe.

    1. “…who our allies are…” The U.S., for one, but essentially he is talking about those who value freedom and democracy. Anything backhanded that’s going on is headed towards the French and Germans, who Blair no doubt thinks have been less than stellar allies — shame on them, he is saying.

    2. “…who are enemies are…” From Blair, obviously he is talking about terrorists and those countries that support them, including Iraq.

    That’s what my coffee grounds say, anyway.

  3. it wasn’t wilsons fault at all. blame the flapping of a butterfly’s wings over NYC in 1918.

  4. What exactly about Wilson’s plan, specifically his “Fourteen Points,” do you think contributed to this?

    jb, i think the argument isn’t that the Fourteen Points led itself to the disasters of the 1930s and 40s — but rather that the pursuit of the idealistic wilsonian vision supplanted what could have been a far more pragmatic line (i.e., one that could have yielded more real results) on the part of the united states. wilson’s dedication to the points over all else led, in part, to his lack of influence over the disaster that was the versailles armistice — and that punitive treaty did directly open the door to a radical like hitler.

    it’s the danger i (among many others) often see in well-intentioned idealism that idealists never seem to grasp.

  5. Jean Bart,

    My argument in my last post is that you were making an illogical argument by implying that since the Nazis were directly responsible for the Holocaust that nothing else could be said to have resulted in it.

    My argument in my first post that got this started was that it hardly seems obvious that Wilson’s program was a good one in light of what followed, making Bush’s use of it ironic.

    As for actually saying that Wilson’s program was clearly a bad one and can be held responsible for contributing to the horrors associated with WWII, it was Kevin Carson who made that argument, not I, so it should probably be he who defends it.

    For myself, I will say that some of it seems like obvious pap that went without saying (perhaps the reason your countryman took issue with the quantity), the part about removal of economic barriers seems fine to me, the part about reducing national armaments may have been a contributing factor to WWII or it may have simply been ignored (it certainly didn’t help!), and the stuff about how the new Europe should look may have been fine or may have been very wrongheaded, I’m not enough of a historian to know or say (about either of the last two points). I’d just say on the face of it that I wouldn’t use such an example to demonstrate France’s foolishness.

    So, let me ask you: was it a good program and a good example of France objecting to something it should not have?

  6. Charlie asks: “Okay, Nick, I give up: wwhy the quotes areoung ‘major’?”

    Only this: That’s how I kept hearing the speech referred to earlier this morning.

  7. mak_nas,

    Wilson could have done nothing to stop the punitive measures against Germany; Clemenceau and Lloyd George were “out for blood,” and so were the nations that they led. In fact, Clemenceau thought that the measures taken against Germany were too soft; it was generally thought amongst many Frenchmen that what is now the Oder-Niese line should be the western frontier of Poland, and that Germany should be hacked into individual parts (Bavaria, etc.).

    One should read some of the British and French newspapers of the day to get an idea of how angry the tone in the British and French nations were.

    fyodor,

    I think for the most part, Wilson’s plans fell on deaf ears, and were relatively inconsequential regarding the outcome of the four peace negotiations that occurred in Paris between 1919-1920.

    I can’t say whether it was a good program, because it was largely never tested; I can say that the British and French efforts to punish Germany in the end did not work out.

  8. fyodor,

    If anything, the peace negotiations illustrate not the strength of Wilson’s proposals, but their impotence; and his impotence as a co-equal leader with Clemenceau and Lloyd George.

  9. Doug,

    Given the position Blair is in, particularly the way he is trying to shepherd Britain into the EU, I find it unlikely that he is standing up in a very public speech and insulting the French and Germans.

  10. joe,

    Or the way he is trying to aid in the creation of a EU military under Bush’s nose. 🙂

  11. So does someone have an actual transcript of the proceedings?

  12. JB,

    I didn’t read mark_nas as saying Wilson was overly punitative but rather overly idealistic, and in ways other than the peace plan per se. I believe it was his ideas for the League of Nations and disarmament that many feel were worthless at best and harmful at worst. Again, I leave that debate for others more knowledgable and(/or?) opinionated.

    That said, your comments help me to understand Bush’s teasing comparison a little better if the point was that WWII was a result of Wilson’s program being ignored and therefore France should listen to us this time. Is that your reading? I always thougth Wilson had a big effect if not as much as he would have liked, and if he was ignored at times, it was because he was so idealistic that his ideas stood no chance. If that’s the case, it’s still not a particularly good example for Bush to have used, although I guess it’s a little like saying if only we’d listened to Jesus when he gave us the golden rule and that kind of thing. But again, I’m not enough of a historian to offer much of an opinion about Wilson, and if I read Bush’s joke backwards, I stand corrected, at least to a degree!

  13. Jean Bart,

    Conflating the expansion of liberal democracy with the expansion of American hegemony is the First Principle of the PNAC/neocon crowd. One’s reaction to the EU military force is a pretty good way of teasing out the difference.

  14. Joe: You have got to be kidding. The meaning is clear to anyone who has witnessed the grotesque behavior of France and Germany over the past year. Blair is slapping them around for acting like they are supporting militant Islamic terorist states for the sake of business deals. Imagine if such a clear connection existed to Bush’s foreign policy. Such behavior like that would never be tolerated in either the U.S. or G.B., our medias would have headlines and bylines scorching policies that were formed for political paybacks and insider deals. I hope you are aware that is precisely where both French and German foreign policy toward Iraq came from. For them it really was about the oil.

    They are clearly not allies in any conventional definition of the word. The obscene pandering of the French to terrorist states needs to be called what it is not blended, watered down, justified and excused. The French and the Germans are run by anti-semitic political cowards who mouth platitudes about freedom but fear to be bold enough to act on them. Various statements by de Villepin (sp?) are so outrageous that in most ‘civilized’ countries he would be humiliated by the media and fired.

    France and Germany are seriously sick countries right now that need to do some soul searching. They have oppressive rules and gigantic state apparatus’ that are run by ruling elites, if you admire either them or their policies you are posting on the wrong website.

  15. joe,

    PNAC?

    fyodor,

    Well, the question is, if France and Britain had taken a softer tone against the Germans as Wilson had wanted, would that have precluded a war from happening? I really don’t think so. I have a few reasons for coming to this conclusion.

    (1) The reparations issue was reformed and ameliorated by 1923; thus there was a reduction in the overall level of the debt, as well as the annual payments.

    (2) In general, within a year or two of 1920, that is the height of anti-German sentinment in Britain, voices of what one might call “undertanding” were common in Britain; this is partly the result of the economic difficulties Germany faced at the time and the sympathy this created. So the tone, at least from Britain, softened considerably during the years following 1920.

    (3) I don’t think the nature of the peace agreement ultimately had much impact on the rise of the Nazis; certainly it caused animosities, but I believe the mere defeat of Germany was enough to create those. Germany was a proud nation and still had a great deal of fight left in her; especially in comparison to the much weakened France. Anyway, I see the collapse of the Weimer Republic as much more a result of the internal dynamics of German politics and culture than a result of French and British anti-German attitudes during 1919-1920 and the punitive peace they created.

    (4) A softer approach from the beginning would have left a defeated, yet largely intact German military, economy, etc.; which may have been worse than the alternative of putting the hammer to the Germans.

    It seems to me the obvious solution is to discover what did put an end to German militarism; and that was the way Germany was defeated in WWII. In essence, carving up Germany was the result of allied actions in and after WWII; and of course a devastating defeat. If France could have pressed the issue, this is what would have occurred to Germany under the Versailles treaty. 🙂

  16. Fyodor,

    Osama bin Laden has a very clear view of good and evil. I’ll take my shades of gray.

    Here’s a shades of grey test.

    On the table in front of you are three glasses.

    In the glass on the left pure clean spring water (white)

    In the glass on the left a lethal poison (black)

    You have to make a choice. Drink form the glass on the left, the glass on the right or pour half of the contents of each into the center glass and drink a shade of grey.

    Which do you choose?

    It is an admitedly simplistic excercise, but it illustrates what you accept when you prefer shades of grey.

  17. I think you’re projecting your own views onto Blair. Those sick, immoral, antisemitic, terrorist loving, cheese eating, kitten stomping, pig molesting…

    Sorry, got carried away. Anyway, France and Germany are countries with which Blair has a great deal of business pending. Quite the opposite of “slapping them around,” he has been trying to make nice and work around the differences ever since the push for war began. Bush, by repeatedly verbally abusing those countries, has made Blair’s job much, much harder, during a period when Blair’s willingness to take the risky step of supporting the unpopular, dangerous war should have earned him some points with Bush. But rather than help Blair out, Bush has slapped tarriffs on British steel, and exacerbated the bad feelings between pro-war countries and anti-war countries.

  18. well, you also “heard” him referred to as the “president,” but you didn’t put that in “quotes,” “Nick”

  19. Joe: I don’t think I’m the one projecting…It is those cheese eating surrender monkeys…oh wait…I’m back.

    The business that Blair has pending includes the tariff issues he has with Bush, he has clearly drawn a line in the sand which separates the foreign policy cooperation with Bush from the tariff issue. He would like Bush to back off on free trade and agree to the WTO demands and he clearly wants Germany and France to cooperate on foreign policy. His job is on the line because of Iraq, not the ‘business’ that he has with France and Germany. I think Blair also is extremely sincere in his support of the war in Iraq. He believes that this was the best course. His own intelligence must be better than what we know because he also still believes that Saddam has WMD.

  20. Thanks for the link! 🙂

    Esq,

    Given that the ADL has conducted surveys which state that 20% of Americans are anti-semetic, I would argue that you take care in what you write. 🙂

    “They have oppressive rules and gigantic state apparatus’ that are run by ruling elites, if you admire either them or their policies you are posting on the wrong website.”

    And how does this differ from from the American bureaucracy and the elite that runs it? I swear, I wonder why when Americans critize European bureaucracy they ignore the glaring example of their own bureaucratic institutions.

    Finally, regarding the “oil” issue, it would have been much more beneficial for France or Germany to support an invasion of Iraq if oil were their primary concerns. Speaking from a strictly cynical POV, the best option for both countries would have been to send troops to the region so as to occupy areas they wanted to control for eventual oil extraction. In other words, the “oil” argument works about as well against France and Germany as it does against the US. Now quit being Gore Vidal’s shadow.

  21. “It’s been said that those who live near a police station find it hard to believe in the triumph of violence, in the same way free peoples might be tempted to take for granted the orderly societies we have come to know. Europe’s peaceful unity is one of the great achievements of the last half-century. And because European countries now resolve differences through negotiation and consensus, there’s sometimes an assumption that the entire world functions in the same way. But let us never forget how Europe’s unity was achieved – by allied armies of liberation and NATO armies of defense. And let us never forget, beyond Europe’s borders, in a world where oppression and violence are very real, liberation is still a moral goal, and freedom and security still need defenders.”

    This is a gloss of Kagan’s argument; which doesn’t hold up to the facts on the ground. European nations are quite willing to use force when they feel its neccessary.

    “…the righteous courage of Wilberforce, and the firm determination of the Royal Navy over the decades to fight and end the trade in slaves.”

    Hmm, Wilberforce was more than willing to cut deals with the pro-slavery crowd; kept silent when told to on the subject; and supported the British invasion of St. Domingue (the future Haiti) in an effort to colonize it and re-inslave the revolting slave population there. Like a whole lot of the emancipationist crowd, he was a soft racist; and he did not believe that the slaves should be allowed to free themselves, they must be freed according to the good designs of their white betters. He had similar attitudes about working class of England as well.

    As to the Royal Navy’s efforts to combat the slave trade; they were rather pitiful and certainly not the heroic drama portrayed in the movies.

  22. The Merovingian: Not even close when comparing the U.S. bureaucracy to that in the European countries…nice try though!

    In terms of ruling elites, we are more of a classless society than any of the European nations (the Governor of California is who? from where?)

    You can’t dismiss the huge debt and oil deals with France, Germany and Russia without something (anything)to explain yourself! It was rather clearly in their interest not to replace Saddam. I would also point out that the UN had a similar conflict regarding the oil for food program (was that ever a misnamed program ehh?).

  23. “President Wilson had come to Europe with his 14 Points for Peace. Many complimented him on his vision; yet some were dubious. Take, for example, the Prime Minister of France. He complained that God, himself, had only 10 commandments. Sounds familiar.”

    Well, Wilson was rather arrogant in his proclamation; it appeared that he proposed to settle the terms by himself, without the least input from France or Britain. France having just spent four years fighting for its very survival; losing ~1.4 million men in the process.

  24. Jean Bart,

    PNAC=Project for a New American Century, a neocon lobbying group formed in the early 1990s to foster an invasion of Iraq, in order to install a pro-American and/or democratic regime, which would then spread democracy and/or American hegemony throughout the Middle East. Luminaries include Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, John Bolton, and Richard Perle.

    http://www.newamericancentury.org

    I will now sit back and wait for the accusations of antisemitism.

  25. “the Governor of California is who?”

    An enormously wealthy movie star, married to a Kennedy cousin, who has used his money and fame to foster relationships with the most powerful people in media, government, and industry for the past two decades.

    Poiting to Ahnuld demonstrates the America is, indeed, classless, but not in the way you intended.

  26. Joe:

    Touche.

    But he clearly is the typical American rags to riches that you never hear about in Europe or ever will hear about. People stay in their class and do not associate with the wrong class.

    I’m pretty sure that I could not have obtained a law degree in Europe. Wrong class for that profession.

  27. Esq,

    “The Merovingian: Not even close when comparing the U.S. bureaucracy to that in the European countries…nice try though!

    In terms of ruling elites, we are more of a classless society than any of the European nations (the Governor of California is who? from where?)”

    The current Minister of the Interior of France is the child of Polish immigrants who came to France with nothing. Get over it.

    “You can’t dismiss the huge debt and oil deals with France, Germany and Russia without something (anything)to explain yourself!

    (a) The debts to France and Germany are not that large. In fact, the reall large amounts are owed to countries like Kuwait, Poland (*gasp*), Egypt, Russia and several other Eastern European countries. Specifically, France is owed around $1.5 billion; Germany around $4 billion; Russia around $9 billion; the Saudis around $25 billion; and the Kuwaitis around $30 billion. If you are claiming that France is entire interest in this affair boils down $1.5 billion dollars, then I have to say that you are out of your fucking mind. France has a $1.6 trillion dollar economy; the loss of $1.5 billion, which has been owed to it since before 1990 (meaning the likelihood of payment was slim to none) is hardly something to go toe to toe with Bush with.

    (2) Actually, as I wrote earlier, given your crass calculation of French motives, it was very much in the interests of France to side with the US if all France wanted was oil; as I wrote, such actions would have even allowed France to occupy areas of oil production in Iraq. France had far more to lose, given your way of thinking, by not not siding with the US.

  28. Esq,

    I came from a poor family in the Central Massif region of France; I became a historian through hard work in France. My story is not particularly unusual.

  29. St. Mack,

    That choice doesn’t comport with reality; in other words, your model sucks.

  30. An EU military doesn’t bother me a bit. It’s not like they’re ever gonna get their lazy asses beyond their own boarders anyway.

  31. The Merovingian wrote:

    “Actually, as I wrote earlier, given your crass calculation of French motives, it was very much in the interests of France to side with the US if all France wanted was oil; as I wrote, such actions would have even allowed France to occupy areas of oil production in Iraq. France had far more to lose, given your way of thinking, by not not siding with the US”

    Not a chance…you see the U.S. is not in Iraq to ‘occupy and control oil production.’ We are spending billions of dollars, far more than the value of oil, to rebuild the country. France either:

    1. opposed the war entirely on economic grounds, or;

    2. opposed the war because they prefer brutal dictators, or;

    3. are so insecure that they fear that no one will notice them anymore and they will cease to be ‘important’ if they can’t be seen leading something.

    I like to think that the economic reason saves face for France. Any other reason you could posit makes France either a supporter of a brutal totalitarian murdering thug or a conniving political back stabber that would kill the innocent for political power. Your choice…and don’t wave the UN at me, I still remember Kosovo!

  32. “Not a chance…you see the U.S. is not in Iraq to ‘occupy and control oil production.’ We are spending billions of dollars, far more than the value of oil, to rebuild the country.”

    Well, given your way of viewing things it doesn’t matter what the US intentions are; you see, that’s the whole point, France would be in exclusive control of a region of Iraq, presumably one with a lot of oil under it – just as Britain controls Basra, etc.

    Your attempt to close off other rationales is pretty funny though. It strikes me as special pleading; you seem to be saying, “please, please don’t show me up for the craven idiot that I am.” BTW, I noticed that you are an intellectual coward as well; your silence on the “elites” of Europe once I mentioned Sarkozy (the interior minister) is awfully telling. 🙂

    There are several important French rationales, and they have nothing to do with money or supporting dictators (and given the Bush admninistration’s willingness to support dictators, I am hardly convinced that this is an honest criticism of France):

    (1) It was a stupid idea to invade; we told you the “peace” would be nasty and costly, and you didn’t listen. Iraq would pay for itself, and the peace would be easy you said.

    (2) Don’t destabilize our backyard; our national security concerns may conflict with ours, in other words, and we have every right to pursue our national interests in protecting our nation from attack.

    (3) Europe needs to stand on its own feet foreign policy wise; and this is a good time to do so.

    (4) The WMD situation was not critical; as has been demonstrated by the evidence.

    Why would I mention the U.N.? I mean, it was France that put forces into that region first; begging the cowardly, craven Americans for help throughout the process.

    And if you are going to bring up that old canard of, well, if you invaded the Balkans, why not Iraq, all I can say is, if the US invaded Iraq, why not South Korea. Different situations call for different actions.

  33. Esq,

    BTW, I have to ask; what sort of sick fucking country do you live in? Why does your government openly discriminate against homosexuals? How could a group of Americans twenty-five years ago commit mass-suicide as they did? They must have come from a sick culture; one which has gotten sicker over time. Just look at your historical bizarre cult mass-suicides – Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate, Waco, etc.

  34. Joe,

    Those are very good points about the PNAC and the Neocons. The strength of those organizations are even more apparent due to the lack of a counterweight. Recognizing that there is a huge cultural, political, and national connection between the US and Israel does not suggest antiSemitism in any way. My Dentist’s kids go to school with mine, and they spoke in class (9th grade “Rhetoric”) that they (the kids) feel loyalty to Israel and would die for Israel but not for the US. While that is a strange notion to me, it shows the familial and cultural ties with both the political and cultural State of Israel they have. Being against their political agenda does not equate at all with being against them or their religion or anything like that. Or it should not have to.

    Esq,

    Contratulations on your LLD/JD. Yours is a terrific story that is mirrored in the hallowed halls of LIBERAL CAPITALISM. It is quite possible in other countries, and it is great to hear. The Merovingon, too. A French Mountain Man Turned Historian. Interesting.
    The comment however, that the President must have other Intelligence or information and we should blindly believe that is problematic. Did you doubt President Clintons attacks on the Sudan or on OBL that were convienently scheduled before Lewinsky hearings? Maybe he had some information we did not have and we should believe him.
    The justifications that the President gave have done nothing to convince those who are against the war. The arguments against the war have done nothing to convince the other side.

    WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE ANY/ALL OF YOU CHANGE YOUR MINDS?

    For me it would be
    1) PROOF of the terror link
    2) actual WMDs

  35. I give Bush credit for having the vision thing his father lacked and thinking big enough to attempt to “shape up” the whole world.
    Trouble is his vision is similar to Jimmy Carter’s: a Sunday School teacher’s vision.

  36. Okay, Nick, I give up: wwhy the quotes areoung “major”?

  37. Yeah, you may be right about the sunday school teacher approach, but Carter never had the cajones to do anything but talk.

  38. No, the Sunday School teacher approach stops at preaching to the bad guys. I think W has gone well beyond that.

  39. From what Ruthless says, I take it an absurd or naive vision is better than none?

    And from what Richard says, I take it acting on your absurd or naive vision is better than not acting on your absurd or naive vision?

  40. “From what Ruthless says, I take it an absurd or naive vision is better than none?”

    Yes… so long as you’re not Commander-in-Chief.

  41. Just read the article. Didn’t really notice anything new. Ironic that he compares French opposition to his policies to French skepticism about Woodrow Wilson’s peace plan. I’m not enough of a historian to know what exactly was in that 14 point proposal, but seems Wilson’s vision didn’t particularly pan out very well.

  42. Why is it considered naive to have a vsion of right vs wrong or good vs evil. And having that vision, not acting for the good and against evil is cowardice.

  43. Ruthless,

    Ha-ha, well, yeah, I can see that…. 🙂

  44. StMack,

    Osama bin Laden has a very clear view of good and evil. I’ll take my shades of gray.

  45. “It really is about time we started to realize who our allies are, who our enemies are, stick with the one and fight the other,” Blair told the House of Commons, to loud cheers.

    Backhanded slap at Bush? Attempt to look good for contintental allies? Effort to patch up relationships shredded in rush to war?

  46. Sorry, Joe, I don’t get it. Assuming you mean your questions to be answered affirmatively, how do you come to that interpretation? I would see that comment oppositely.

  47. “On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists left their mark of murder on my country and took the lives of 67 British citizens,” Bush said. A total of about 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11.”

    I am getting so fucking sick and tired of this continuous 9/11 tie-in. Just once, I would like to hear him say “Look, Sa-dim embarassed my pappy several years ago, so now I’m exploiting 9/11 to get me some payback!” Just once.

  48. Joe — I’m completely at a loss to see what I said that has anything to do with what you said.

  49. fy,

    Bush has had difficulty recognizing that liberal democracies like France and Germany are his friends.

  50. fyodor — i think there’s room for an interpreter to see a double entendre there. many brits feel the bush admin is having trouble discerning its enemies from its friends.

  51. Osama bin Laden has a very clear view of good and evil. I’ll take my shades of gray.

    precisely. but let’s also apply that to the effects of global warming, hm? 😉

  52. Every time I hear a line like this one:

    “The evil is in plain sight,” Bush said in an address at Whitehall Palace in London. “The danger only increases with denial. Great responsibilities fall once again to the great democracies.”

    I can’t help but think of that line in the Spiderman Movie when Peter Parker (Toby Macguire) hears the echoing voice of his dead uncle repeat “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    StMack, good and evil are inherently religious concepts, not really appropriate language for public discourse. Our government is supposed to provide for the common defense, not defend good and vanquish evil.

  53. I’ve got to say, I’m having a little trouble seeing the French and Germans as friends recently.

    Joe, I think your interpretation is wishful thinking at best.


  54. StMack, good and evil are inherently religious concepts, not really appropriate language for public discourse.

    Are you nuts?

    Not to put too fine a point on it.

  55. Charlie, don’t you think the Prime Minister of Britain and Leader of the Labour Party has experienced any pressure to mend the American/European rift from 1) his EU allies, who have been angry with the way Bush has treated them, and see Blair as going along with them and 2) his internationalist constituents, who have taken to calling Blair “Bush’s Poodle?”

  56. Joe,

    On one handed it’s my gut reaction that Blair’s words seem more pointed at France and Germany, telling them to get on the side of “good” rather than the side of the terrorists (not that I ever interpreted their actions that way myself per se). OTOH, I can see your point that he has plenty of incentive to show F&G that he’s trying to bring Bush over to them. In the end, perhaps he intended his words to be interpreted whichever way the listener preferred!

  57. mak_nas,

    A. I suppose you already said more succinctly what I said in response to Joe about Blair.

    B. About global warming, I know you added a smiley, still I hope you realize that I don’t address that issue in black and white terms either. Or at least I don’t think I do!! 😉

  58. Our government is supposed to provide for the common defense, not defend good and vanquish evil.

    a point totally lost on w. for him, the government is plainly an instrument of god — a concept so frightening to me as to be beyond description. at this point — after anti-trade protectionism, after abortion bans, after genetic research bans, after runaway deficit spending with utterly no end in the plan, after defining international politics in the language of the bible — the bush admin is resembling more and more like the blossoming invasive-government catastrophe that i predicted it wouldn’t, even couldn’t be. at this point, i’d almost rather have had al gore. (and you can have no idea how big an admission that is for me.)

  59. “In the end, perhaps he intended his words to be interpreted whichever way the listener preferred!”

    Oh, come on! This is Tony Blair we’re talking about!

    Heh.

  60. fyodor,

    Yeah, the Wilson thing really threw me. Who wrote the friggin speech for him, Max Boot?

    You’re right–normal humans might think Wilson’s grandiose vision had some bad results (the tens of millions dead in Stalinist Russia, the Holocaust and WWII, etc., come to mind). But for neo-Wilsonians, who see human beings as raw material in the dialectical progression toward their perfect world order united under a single hegemonic power, it’s just a matter of “breaking eggs.”

  61. The Holocaust was part of Wilson’s vision? Is it me, or is Carson getting even crazier lately?

    But maybe it’s just me. After all, I see human beings as raw material in the dialectical progression toward their perfect world order united under a single hegemonic power!

  62. Charlie:

    Depends who you ask. Look, I don’t like the religious overtones of Bush’s speeches.

    Assuming you belive some sort of Judeo-Christian mythology, do you determine who’s soul will go to heaven, and who’s will burn in hell, for all eternity? I didn’t think so. So, when the president says, “The evil is in plain sight,” he is assuming a power most religious people in the mature religious traditions think are the sole domain of God.

    That’s nuts.

  63. Steve in CA,

    Oh, c’mon, Carson is not saying the Holocaust was part of Wilson’s vision but rather a result of it. Now of course that’s debatable, but it’s a valid point of view that Wilsonianism did more harm than good compared to other available courses we could have taken in light of the horrors that followed its implementation.

  64. I believe its a far stretch to blame the holocaust on the Wilson administration. The blame for the holocaust lays squarely on the shoulders of the Nazi regime, and those Germans and other nationalities who supported it.

    Here are Wilson’s Fourteen Points; they are not especially radical:

    http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1918/14points.html

  65. Jean Bart,

    One doesn’t have to remove responsibility from the Nazi regime to suggest that Wilson’s program played enough of a role to justify Carson’s statement. For instance, if someone gets shot by being in the middle of gang members fighting over drug business turf, one would want to arrest the gang member who fired the gun, not the politicians who passed the law making the drugs in quetion illegal. Still, it makes perfect sense to say that the law contributed to the death by creating the circumstances under which such a scenario was much more likely to occur. Sometimes there is more than one cause for a particular result. Heh, usually, actually!

  66. fyodor,

    Well, first of all, the Paris peace conferences, Trianon for example, did not create for the borders of Eastern Europe (except Yugoslavia). Eastern Europeans did this. This is especially true in the case of Poland, a nation re-constituted by the Germans in 1916, was able to fight its way to its 1920 borders in a series of againsts with its neighbors. Poland brought the Soviets to their knees in the 1919-1920 war, for example. So in fact, the Poles have more to thank the Germans for during WWI in getting their sovereignty than they do Wilson or any of her other Western “allies.” Not that they Germans did this out of a humanitarian desire; they wanted to create a semi-independent Poland inside the areas of Russian territory they invaded as a bulwark against a future Russian counter-invasion.

    As to the collapse of Austria and Gungary, that was occuring long before the delegates at Trianon even met; in fact, what is Hungary today is essentially what the Hungarians could keep defended against Czech, Slovene, etc, invasions to burn Buda-Pest to the ground.

    So if your argument is that “set-up” of Eastern Europe by the “Great Powers” directly resulted in the holocaust, Soviet imperialism, etc., it falls flat on its face, since the “Great Powers” were largely impotent in the face of what was going on Eastern Europe, and what they placed in the Treaty of Trianon was more of a reflection of the facts on the ground as the local nationalities made them than Wilson’s grand plans.

  67. Charlie, you claimed that you were having trouble seeing France and Germany as “our” friends. I pointed out that Blair has a lot of reasons to look at theim as close friends and allies, not the least of which is their interest in promoting the integration of Europe. Remember, this is about a quote from Blair.

  68. Three days later…

    Joe, in case you happen to see this, I finally saw the Blair quote on TV, and I’d have to say with all respect and attempts at objectivity that it gave every impression of having nothing to do with your interpretation. He was replying testily and viscerally to someone who was calling Bush a terrorist. So to the degree that the comment could be construed to have any “political” meaning beyond its immediate words, it was a slap at extreme elements in the anti-war left for not recognizing that Bush/America is an ally versus Islamic terrorists, NOT a slap at Bush for not recognizing Germany and France as allies as you postulated. Having SEEN the comment said, I can say that with assuredness. (But then, maybe you’ve even come to the same conclusion yourself by now…)

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