Iraq

The Superpower Should Retire

This time, stay out of Iraq.

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Raitchobbo/Wikimedia

This afternoon President Barack Obama announced that he is sending "up to 300" troops to Iraq—not for combat, he swears, but merely as "military advisors." (When I was growing up, in the aftermath of Vietnam, "these are just advisors" was a punchline.) The unreconstructed neocons are pushing for a much deeper intervention, with Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan editorializing in The Weekly Standard that we should "act boldly and decisively"—always dangerous words in the mouths of those two—by "not merely conducting U.S. air strikes, but also accompanying those strikes with special operators, and perhaps regular U.S. military units, on the ground." (*)

Meanwhile, Kagan's brother and fellow hawk Robert has been the talk of D.C. for the last few weeks, thanks to his New Republic feature "Superpowers Don't Get to Retire." The New York Times even tells us that the president invited him to the White House "to compare world views." Robert Kagan's article is, to be fair, a genuinely interesting document. It is deeply wrong, but it is wrong in an informative way: This really is how a lot of America's foreign policy elite sees the world. Its sweeping critique is aimed not at that familiar bogeyman, "isolationism," but at people who are "not isolationists" and "favor the liberal world order insofar as they can see how it touches them" but "are no longer prepared to sacrifice very much to uphold it." Its unexamined assumption is that our sacrifices have been keeping the world order afloat.

"In the half-century following World War II," Kagan claims,

the United States successfully established, protected, and advanced a liberal world order, carving out a vast "free world" within which an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity could flower in Western Europe, East Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Although tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union sometimes rose to dangerous levels, the period was characterized above all by peace among the great powers. The United States and the Soviet Union did not come to blows, and just as importantly, the American presence in Europe and East Asia put an end to the cycles of war that had torn both regions since the late nineteenth century. The number of democracies in the world grew dramatically. The international trading system expanded and deepened. Most of the world enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity. There was no shortage of disasters and near-disasters, as well as the two costly wars in Asia—but the strategy was largely successful, so much so that the Soviet empire finally collapsed or voluntarily withdrew, peacefully, under the pressure of the West's economic and political success, and the liberal order then expanded to include the rest of Europe and most of Asia. All of this was the result of many forces—the political and economic integration of Europe, the success of Japan and Germany, and the rise of other successful Asian economies—but none of it would have been possible without a United States willing and able to play the abnormal and unusual role of preserver and defender of a liberal world order.

Think about what's missing from that passage. Despite the passing allusion to the Western Hemisphere, Kagan says nothing about Latin America, where the effect of the Cold War was not to advance liberty and self-government but to beat them back. The space that the United States "carved out" there, to borrow Kagan's phrase, included several viciously repressive regimes, many of them installed with Washington's assistance. And the contested spaces were ripped apart by proxy wars between the eastern and western alliances. (As Kagan says, America and Russia "did not come to blows." But people taking American and Russian money did all the time.)

The same was true in two more places the passage ignores, the Middle East and Africa. In Angola and in Somalia, the thugs that Washington was willing to aid included even people who moments earlier had been proclaiming themselves Communists. As for East Asia, it's striking how quickly Kagan moves from writing that the American presence there "put an end to the cycles of war" to acknowledging that U.S. troops were involved in "two costly wars" in the region. Setting aside Korea and Vietnam, the U.S.-aligned parts of East Asia included not just liberalizing lands like Japan but places like Indonesia, where a Washington-backed dictatorship was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and other atrocities.

Please note: The facts in the last two paragraphs are not controversial. They are accepted not just by the Cold War's critics but by its defenders, who argue that the greater good of defeating Communism sometimes meant getting into bed with ugly allies. My point is how prettified Kagan's account is. Yes, Western Europe and Japan prospered under U.S. protection (though even here, you shouldn't forget that they kept that protection long after they were wealthy enough to defend themselves). But for great swaths of the planet, Washington and Moscow's proxy fights contaminated local politics, effacing rather than enabling self-government. When, as Kagan puts it, "the liberal order then expanded" in the 1980s and '90s, it entered not just areas that had been ruled by Communist dictatorships but areas that had been ruled by anti-Communist dictatorships—sections of the "free world" that were at last allowed to taste some freedom. This was possible not because Washington had become the sole "preserver and defender of a liberal world order" but because it was more willing to pull back.

But not, alas, to pull back far enough. The war in Iraq was a disaster. Kagan calls Bush I's operation in Somalia "the most purely humanitarian, and therefore most purely selfless, intervention in American history," but the actual result of America's ongoing meddling in the Horn of Africa has been to exacerbate the area's problems; the one period when things there seemed to be improving came in the interval when the U.S. decided to leave it alone. And do you want to know a word that doesn't appear anywhere in Kagan's article? Libya. In that country, NATO did what people like Kagan wish the alliance had done in Syria: It helped depose a dictator who was harshly repressing his enemies. And Libya today, like Syria today, is a zone of brutal chaos.

Kagan's preserver-defenders were not able to drop a free and peaceful order into Tripoli from the sky, because the work that needs to be done to create a free and peaceful Libya has to be done by the Libyans themselves. The same goes for Iraq: Instead of bailing out a prime minister who dug his own grave by refusing to compromise with the Sunni opposition, Washington could let the Iraqis find their own balance. That may mean some bloodshed along the way, but you know what? That's going to happen if American combat troops land there too.

Real order is built from the ground up, and outside intervention can derail it more easily than it can help it along. If recognizing those limits means retiring, then this superpower not only can step down; it should.

(* Correction: In an embarassing error that will surely follow me to the end of my career, this article originally confused Fred and Robert Kagan. The first two paragraphs have been amended to fix the mistake.)

NEXT: Biden Threatens Russia as Ukraine Ceasefire Looks Unlikely

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  1. Well, we could certainly retire. If we did, I’d invest heavily in keeping the nukes ready and in border and missile defense. Then also allow a free market in spaceflight to develop, then take control of some cometary bodies. You know, just in case.

    1. then take control of some cometary bodies

      Dibs.

      1. I call dibs on Alana Blanchard

        1. Oh my.

        2. That is one heavenly body alright.

        3. Check out the watch on her!

          1. Really? That’s what you took away from the pic?

            1. Or my sarcasm meter is totally not working.

              1. Fail.

        4. Deal.*

          *This deal implies nothing about what will be done with using my space rocks.

  2. President Barack Obama announced that he is sending “up to 300” troops to Iraq

    BUSH III! EXACTLY LIKE BUSH! EXACTLY!

    (Peanut Gallery time saver)

    1. D-

    2. Don’t you mean Kennedy? You are more confusing than normal. Are you trying to parody yourself? It’s not working.

      Or maybe you meant Jeb Bush, the third of his dynasty. I am really confused.

  3. Superpowers can absolutely retire. Let’s go ask Rome about how. Or the Soviets. Or the British Empire. Or Napoleon. Or…

    1. The British Empire did OK.

      1. And then they retired. Bigtime.

    2. Later, dudes. Good luck.

      1. “I believe our adventure through time has taken a most serious turn.”

        1. “Bogus. Heinous. Most non-triumphant.”

    3. Superpowers don’t retire so much as get retired.

      1. When you play the game of thrones . . .

        1. +5 kings

    4. Needs its own bumper sticker:

      “Old superpowers never die, they just take everyone down with them.”

  4. Are we an “Empire”, a “Super”-power, or just a republic with a large economy and a large military?

    1. Pretend republic.

    2. We’re not an empire by any rational measure. We don’t even assert economic control over other countries, though we are, of course extremely influential. Nor do we plunder the nations we conquer.

      That said, we do have an interesting angle that is imperial in nature–we essentially claim hegemony of a sort over the whole world. We don’t honor borders, we use force without hesitation against countries we haven’t declared war upon, and so on.

      I get the argument that we could see mass chaos if we left the world stage completely, and maybe that could be bad enough to drag us into a major conflict we’d rather avoid, but we simply cannot afford to be the sole World Cop. It might’ve worked if we’d encouraged Europe and Japan to rearm, but alone while trashing our economy at home? no way.

      1. I read somewhere (probably H&R) that what we have is part imperialism and part altruism. We seem to have taken the worst aspects of both, and the results are about what you would expect.

        1. We spend the blood and treasure like an empire, but we don’t reap the benefits.

          1. If Iraq was a war for oil, why didn’t we plunder their oil?

            1. We tried, but the meddling Progressive Antiwar Left stopped us with their ‘No Blood for Oil’ chants, burlesque shows and drum circles! Curse you, Code Pink! Your strategy proves decisive yet again! But someday we in the Corporate Cabal of Fossil Fuel Plutocrats will figure some way to slip past your brilliantly contrived schemes and manage to finally BLOW UP THE PLANET as we’ve always intended! Bwaa ha ha HAHA ha HAAHA HA huh, ha… huh….ooooh, mercy.

              1. During occupation there was a big deal about securing the oil fields and after a big deal about reestablishing the flow of oil out of Iraq.

                Also before the war there were sanctions and a big deal was made about trading oil for food and medical supplies.

                The Iraq war was very much about Oil.

                1. Spurious logic.

                  There was a rush to secure the oil fields, because of the small matter of Saddam Hussein showing a history of lighting them afire on his way past as he retreated.

                  And how was Iraq supposed to pay for its reconstruction without a product to put to market.

                  Dolt.

              2. Come for the war. Stay for the burlesque.

            2. We did….

              and gave to Europe.

              You also have to remember the Iraq war was started and fraught before fracking had revolutionized American energy.

              Hell people still act as if the entire world has gone through a game changing technological shift and still base their opinions both economic and foreign policy on the old energy poor past.

              We didn’t plunder it because after we took it we discovered we did not need it.

              1. Corning =

                Please read this

                (the 1996 ‘Clean Slate’ report by the PNAC fellows prior to the decision to invade iraq)

                …and then get back to us with your unified-field-theory-about-how-its-all-about-oil

                thanks

                1. Whether we were influenced by the idea that “the oil must flow,” we certainly didn’t seize the wells and supply ourselves with a lot of free oil.

                  The U.S. does plenty of bad things and will likely do even worse in the years to come, but we’re not currently plundering nations. We just destroy them.

                  1. No. Islamic states are populated by bloodthirsty Muslims. They are naturally self destructive. After far more destructive wars, Germany, Japan, and South Korea took over from our lead and built themselves into advanced enlightened countries.

                    This sill never be the same with an Islamic state.

                2. (the 1996 ‘Clean Slate’ report by the PNAC fellows prior to the decision to invade iraq)

                  …and then get back to us with your unified-field-theory-about-how-its-all-about-oil

                  Gulf war was six years before 1996.

                  You going to tell me “teh JEWS!!” planned that one as well and that war had nothing to do with oil and that war had nothing to do with the Iraq war in 2003?

                  1. No, I asked you to read the case being made by the same people who were in charge in the 2003 invasion of iraq.

                    The linked document was something that reflected the thinking of the leaders of the Defense Department and members of the Bush II National security team.

                    Find where they were talking about “oil” as part of their key objectives.

                    as for “jews” i dont know what the fuck you’re talking about.

        2. Part of the problem s the prevalence of Islam and Marxism. If those things were cleansed from the earth, things would be pretty awesome for the most part.

          1. OK, yes, it only deserves #3 on the list… But you forgot “democratic socialism”, which is supposed to be SOOO much more nice & gentle than flat-out Marxism, but sucks the life out of economies and out of far more benevolent and effective free-will charity.

            1. Marxism-lite is still marxism.

            2. I consider that a subset if Marxism. And the only Marxism worth as hit is Groucho Marxism. Which would make the world a much funnier place.

    3. Planetary Drunken Bully.

  5. We should continue to fight for truth, justice, and the alt-text way.

  6. The Cold War froze in place and probably retarded civil development in many places.

    I think you got it exactly right, Jesse, but it is difficult to know how to manage the unwind.

    1. it is difficult to know how to manage the unwind.

      One non-intervention at a time.

  7. OT =
    ‘high taxes don’t affect anything!’/prog

    See, Jay Leno talking about the differences in automobile designs, relative to the tax structure of the nation where they were made, and why even small changes to a tax-structure can incentivize wildly different ways of approaching the same problem.

    1. ‘high taxes don’t affect anything!’/prog

      They don’t even believe their own talking point, except in a doublethink way. They love to use tax disincentives against whatever they don’t like, and heaven forbid anyone should impose a new or increased tax on stuff they do like (see: DC’s proposed “fitness tax”).

      1. They don’t have any principles. That’s why Tony describes limited government in terms of what libertarians like and what libertarians don’t like. When your guiding principle is “might makes right,” then there is no wrong as long as you are on the side of might. So when we talk of something that government shouldn’t do, what they hear is that we don’t like that something and don’t want it to be done at all. Because if government is to do something, with government being might, according to their guiding principle it is by definition right.

    2. Have I mentioned that I like Jay Leno? An all around stand up guy.

  8. Yes, the U.S. should retire so someone else more needy can have the position.

    1. If you didn’t like Pax Americana, you’ll hate Pax Sinica.

  9. but also accompanying those strikes with special operators, and perhaps regular U.S. military units, on the ground

    ahhhhh what a refreshing perspective, Mr. Banal Authoritarian.

  10. “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire”

    True, they just overstay their welcome and the international community just waits until they can be safely ignored (or violently buried into the ground). I hope America simply allows itself to be ignored; a violent overthrow of our Superhero status could be the last thing humanity does.

  11. “It’s not that our empire is declining, it’s just that its influence is becoming more selective.”

    1. I wouldn’t worry about it, though: Earth isn’t a big empire planet.

  12. I think we ought to concentrate a little more on remaining a super-power and less on what shitheads are doing in shitty countries.

    Free-enterprise and business growth gave us the wealth to become a super-power. Not throwing away wealth on big foreign adventures and nation-building helped too. Free up the economy, secure reliable energy sources (Canadian oil and nuclear), and leave the shitty parts of the world alone.

    1. Well, virtually every other major player on the global scene getting blown up twice in the 20th century probably helped as well.

      1. Yeah. The US was an economic powerhouse in the 50s not because of unions like progs like to claim, but because we were the only country with an industrial base that hadn’t been blown to shit.

        1. Wait…if we start another world war that doesn’t take place in North America, we can become an economic powerhouse again! I can’t believe Krugman didn’t think of this! Oh wait, he did, but with aliens. Never mind, I can’t out-stupid that guy. He’s too good.

          1. Oh wait, he did, but with aliens. Never mind, I can’t out-stupid that guy.

            He should team up with Michael Bay. Broken windows everywhere.

          2. *Wait…if we start another world war that doesn’t take place in North America*

            China vs India. Book it. After they blast each other’s industrial infrastructure to hell, guess who can waltz in and sell all the survivors some Xboxes and Coach bags?

            1. With nukes involved, there may not be much left in terms of survivors.

            2. Gene Roddenberry had the Sino-Indian War in Earth:Final Conflict. It also had aliens in it.

    2. secure reliable energy sources (Canadian oil and nuclear)

      I think you need to look at recent stats about proven energy reserves in the US lower 48.

      Not trying to say Keystone should not be built. It should. But the US is never going to run out of energy.

      1. “But the US is never going to run out of energy.”

        Well cost is a factor of course. Spending $300 a barrel on domestic oil versus $100 on foreign oil would be a bad long term option.

        1. Spending $300 a barrel on domestic oil versus $100 on foreign oil

          What planet do you live on?

          Here is the one I live on:

          http://www.aei-ideas.org/wp-co…..00×416.jpg

          The market is is dripping with oceans of domestic oil and low demand because of our shitty economy. The only reason oil prices are high is because of inflation.

          Also have you friggin looked at the price of Natural gas?

          Why is the price so low?

          supply is monstrous.

          Where does that gas come from?

          Domestic production.

          Open your eyes.

          1. The progressives won’t open Geri eyes. Instead, they get idiots like Matt Damon to make anti-cracking movies.

    3. Free the economy and reliable energy sources will secure themselves on their own. I mean, if it’s cheaper to get foreign energy, then let’s markets will secure foreign energy. If it’s cheaper to produce it, then markets will produce it. That’s how markets work. No government “we” required. This notion that we need government to encourage all of our energy to be produced at home is a variety of the same merchantilist/protectionist fallacy that justifies tariffs and quotas on other goods.

      We don’t need any energy policy. Let free markets figure it out.

      1. Just to be clear, could you say either the words “Burning fossil fuels comes with zero cost to the environment” or “People are entitled to pollute the environment at zero cost”? I just want to make sure I know what you believe.

        1. IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!

          WE ARE DESTROYING THE PLANET!

          IT’S GOING TO END IN FIRE!

          ONLY GOD GOVERNMENT CAN SAVE US!

          REPENT YOUR CARBON SINNING WAYS!

          REPENT NOW!

          But AGW isn’t a doomsday cult. Nope.

          1. So can’t answer the question or won’t?

            1. Would you fuck your mother or your sister? Answer the question!!!

            2. Not being a follower of the AGW doomsday cult, I don’t consider CO2 to be a pollutant.

              1. So okay, behind door number 1: You’re a moron who doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. But to be fair that was the only possible prize.

          1. So there’s no such thing as too much CO2 in the atmosphere?

            1. We’re certainly never going to get anywhere near it.

              1. And what possible citation might you have for that little nugget of whatever it is you pull from your ass?

                1. And what possible citation might you have for that little nugget of whatever it is you pull from your ass?

                  I’m sorry, Tony: did you start citing your evidence lately?

                  I know I’ve heard you say “The evidence and the science is all on my side” about a billion times, but I don’t remember actual citations.

                  Ah, well.

                  Yeah, Cytotoxic, where are you cites, damnit? We’re sciency evidency around here.

                2. I think I left it next to the historical scientific evidence that said using asbestos for insulation wouldn’t harm anyone, sun block will help prevent melanoma, and tabula rasa.

        2. Just to be clear, could you say either the words “Burning fossil fuels comes with zero cost to the environment”

          Yes.

          If all our energy came from the historical burning of fiber (wood, dung, ag waste) our environment would be a fucking disaster.

          1. According to accounts of ancient Rome, you could barely breath in the city for all the smoke from the wood fires.

            1. I can believe it. You should see the Seattle/Tacoma area when power’s been knocked out for a few days. It’s like St. Helens blew up again.

        3. Tony. What does domestic production vs. foreign importing of fuel sources have to do with pollution? Do you think that either domestic or foreign fossil fuels are more or less polluting? Or are you one of these people who thinks that we can meet all of our fuel requirements with a windmill in each backyard, a la Mao and his famously successful backyard furnaces?

          1. It’s all equally polluting so that should make it easy to put a cost on the sources of the pollution. You know, so the market is actually factoring in the real costs of things and not acting as a big fat slobbery facefuck to the energy industry that manages to exploit free damage to other people’s lives and property for massive profits the most?

            1. It’s fun pretending that the taxes polluters pay go to the victims of externalities, isn’t it?

              I’m sure the government would take all that money and invest it in clean energy, sustainability, and environmental programs, or as direct payments to victims.

              The government would never use that money to grow the military-industrial complex, or the highway system, or for other construction, bailing out industrial manufacturers like GM, stimulating the economy in general, or the myriad of other economic activity that it blatantly takes credit for, which blatantly dumps CO2 into the atmosphere.

              In other words, it’s fun to pretend that tax money is being transferred from polluting corporations to a clean, natural government. But, do we all have to live in fantasy land?

            2. “free damage to other people’s lives and property for massive profits”

              Are you fucking retarded? Energy companies don’t make any more profit percentage-wise, than any other business, and people buy their products willingly. What exactly would you replace fossil fuels with, toxic batteries charged by coal-fired power plants? The simple fact is that there is no other readily available energy source on Earth that provides the power density that petroleum does. Hydrogen? Comes from Natural gas or electrolysis of water. Takes a fuck-ton of power that comes from…coal or LPG. Nuclear? It’s been regulated out of existence, and just hasn’t died yet. Solar? Takes a fuck-ton of toxic batteries, unless you want to go back to oil-fired lanterns. I tell you what, you want to pay extra for the perceived damage your demand for fossil fuels causes, I’ll collect it.

  13. America shouldn’t ‘retire’ from being awesome it should just pick its battles very carefully and actually have, you know, a rational foreign policy framework and goals for a post-Cold War world that has problems with certain terrorist networks that are far less threatening that the USSR.

    1. America shouldn’t ‘retire’ from being awesome

      All that awesome in Latin America and Indonesia.

      So much awesome.

      Question for my fellow hit and runners:

      I recall the comments during the Iraq war to be fairly brutal against Neo-Cons.

      Why is Cytotoxic getting a pass? Is it cuz he is Canadian? Does everyone have him muted with the reasonable plugin?

      1. I think people just ignore him and his war boner.

      2. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t see much point in arguing with a sociopathic Canadian Objectivist chickenhawk virgin who couldn’t take a social hint to save his life. He’s remarkably similar to Bo, just way more bloodthirsty.

        1. Hey!

          Oh wait I’m not Canadian.

        2. Needz more pop culture references.

          1. Here’s a reference for you:

            http://rebirthofreason.com/Art…..gacy.shtml

            Rand invoked the spirit of the Old Right critics of U.S. involvement in World War II, who had been smeared as “America First’ers” (“Britain’s ‘National Socialism'”). She despised those who had coined the “anti-concept” of “isolationism” as a means of denouncing “any patriotic opponent of America’s self-immolation” (“The Lessons of Vietnam”). Rand was not against all involvement in overseas affairs. In the context of the Cold War, for example, she opposed the appeasement of the Soviets, and recognized the strategic importance of Taiwan and Israel-despite her antipathy toward the latter’s socialist, religious, and tribalist nature. Israel was preferable to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, argued Rand, which had abdicated any “rights” it may have once held by engaging in a sustained policy of terror (“The Lessons of Vietnam”; “Global Balkanization” Q&A tape, 1977). Still, Rand stood firmly against the “altruistic” evil of foreign “interventionism” or “internationalism” that had undermined long-term U.S. interests. She repudiated the claim “that isolationism is selfish, immoral, and impractical in a ‘shrinking’ modern world” (“The Chickens’ Homecoming”).

            1. Oh look it’s the exact same foreign policy beliefs I have.

              Here is Rand on Germany and others like it:

              PLAYBOY: What about force in foreign policy? You have said that any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany during World War II . . .

              RAND: Certainly.

              PLAYBOY: . . . And that any free nation today has the moral right — though not the duty — to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba, or any other “slave pen.” Correct?

              RAND: Correct. A dictatorship — a country that violates the rights of its own citizens — is an outlaw and can claim no rights.

              http://ellensplace.net/ar_pboy.html

              1. The right, dude. Just because you have the right to do something does not mean exercising that right is a wise choice. Ask yourself why Rand opposed WWI, WWII prior to Pearl Harbor, Korea, and Vietnam. Was not Vietnam a “slave pen”? Of course.

              2. “There still are people in this country who lost loved ones in World War I. There are more people who carry the unhealed wounds of World War II, of Korea, of Vietnam. There are the disabled, the crippled, the mangled of those wars’ battlefields. No one has ever told them why they had to fight nor what their sacrifices accomplished; it was certainly not ‘to make the world safe for democracy’ ? look at that world now. The American people have borne it all, trusting their leaders, hoping that someone knew the purpose of that ghastly devastation. The United States gained nothing from those wars, except the growing burden of paying reparations to the whole world … .”

                1. Yes I read that. Post Pearl-Harbour I’m pretty sure Rand was on board with fighting WW2 and winning by whatever means necessary. These are almost exactly my foreign policy positions. I’m a little more ambiguous on Korea but ultimately America should have just sent aid and the like to the government there, though I am very glad America prevented the whole country from becoming a Stalinist nightmare.

                  1. Made a lot of ROKs happy.

        3. On the subject of chickenhawks, are any of the regular listers here war vets? Besides me ,that is.

          1. ‘Posters’ I meant to say. Fucking autocorrect.

      3. Does anyone even read Cytotoxic anymore? Admitted weaklings demanding war are too tiresome for me.

      4. Why bother? It’s his programming.

        10 KILL ALL FOREIGN BROWN PEOPLE
        20 GOTO 10

      5. The Axis of Glib didn’t give me a pass. They argued with me and I won. I fucking crushed them and ran circles around them. They resorted to whining and ad hom (see below) because they got nothing else. They also spouted NEOCON like idiots who don’t actually know what that term means (see your comment).

        All that awesome in Latin America and Indonesia.

        Contras: awesome

        Indonesia: can’t remember clearly, but didn’t a communist insurrection get crushed? If so, awesome.

        1. Contra was a pretty good game. The Red Falcons were probably commies though it wasn’t ever very clear to me what the point was other than to shoot stuff.

        2. They argued with me and I won.

          I doubt it. You’re not fit to empty Ayn Rand’s ashtray.

          1. Doubt it all you want, they were left sputtering about brown babiez everytime, ash-tray certified or no.

            Randian/Kochtopus is that you? You’ve got that same self-superior tone.

            1. Correct, that is me. I see you’re still a childish pseudo-Objectivist with a fetish for militarism.

              1. Ah so you’re like Bo for Objectivism.

        3. You’re so cute. You chase the laser pointer across the floor and then up the wall and you pounce. Once we let go of the button you think you’ve finally beaten that teasing, maddening red dot.

        4. They argued with me and I won. I fucking crushed them and ran circles around them.

          Wait..

          You are Tulpa?!?!

          1. Sounds that way, doesn’t it?

            1. No. Tulpa pretends to win by doing what he and Bo do. When I win I actually win.

              1. When I win I actually win.

                Unlike every American military intervention since the Berlin wall came down.

                1. *American military intervention since the Berlin wall came down.*

                  You mean “went up”.

                2. Unlike every American military intervention since the Berlin wall came down.

                  Apparently Sadaam and the Taliban are still in power.

                  “You mean “went up”.”

                  *This is what noninterventionists actually believe*

                  1. Just because Saddam and the Taliban* lost doesn’t mean the US won.

                    *Still to be determined.

      6. oh come on, he’s not that bad: everyone knows neo-cons and Canadians are mutually exclusive. Both premesese cannot be true at once.

        So unless he’s lying about the canadian part, he logically can’t be a neo-con.

        (seriously I don’t think he’s said anythign neo-cony, and has been fairly reasonable in his opinion of being careful to only fight worthwhile wars).

  14. OT

    file under ‘how is rezoning not a taking?’

    http://articles.dailypress.com…..ony-bavuso

    The neighborhood was added to a new residential zoning classification, R33, also created Tuesday night, which forbids agriculture and aquaculture operations there.

    Effectively putting at least one oyster farmer out of business.

    1. “How dare someone produce food while living near me!”

  15. “Kagan says nothing about Latin America, where the effect of the Cold War was not to advance liberty and self-government but to beat them back. The space that the United States “carved out” there, to borrow Kagan’s phrase, included several viciously repressive regimes, many of them installed with Washington’s assistance.”

    Exactly. In fact, the socialists came out much stronger after the dictatorships backed by the U.S. ended, since they get to play victims and conflate capitalism, United States and authoritarianism. Even in Chile, maybe the only reasonably free country in Latin America, is heading towards socialism under Bachelet…

    1. You think socialism would have done worse in Latin America if Castro and Che had been allowed to do what they wanted?

      1. The noninterventionists can and will rationalize anything. Never no mind the advances for freedom seen under Pinochet and Fufimori, and the success of the Contras in pushing back tyranny. Just ignore reality.

        1. “The same intellectual groups … who coined that anti-concept [” ‘isolationism.’ “] in World War II ? and used it to denounce any patriotic opponent of America’s self-immolation ? the same groups who screamed that it was our duty to save the world (when the enemy was Germany or Italy or fascism) …”

          “The Lessons of Vietnam” (The Ayn Rand Letter, Aug. & Sept. 1974)

          1. Point?

        2. Pinochet’s regime killed 3000 people; how can you consider that an “advance for freedom”? In Brazil (where I live) there were active classical liberal parties before the coup; after the dictactorship ended, being right-wing had become the worst of insults and today there is not a single party (among dozens) that actually defends free markets. The Left has become the center. Would you call this an “advance for freedom”, too?

          1. Pinochet was still better than the Communist nightmare that would have ensued had Allende and successors stayed in power.

          2. The Tree of Liberty needs to be watered by blood.

      2. “You think socialism would have done worse in Latin America if Castro and Che had been allowed to do what they wanted?”

        Absolutely. The failure would have been theirs, and theirs alone. They are now more intransigently committed to socialism than any other region on the planet.

        1. Ahahahaha no. Socialism is never the failure of the socialists. There is always Big Bad America/Kochs/Jews to blame it on.

          1. “There is always Big Bad America/Kochs/Jews to blame it on”

            There wouldn’t be if we let them fail on their own. Trouble is, not enough people in our government really believe that socialism can fail on its own, so they always feel compelled to help it along, thus securing blame for themselves in the eyes of the socialists.

            But, if at first you don’t succeed . . .

            1. Nope they’d still blame something else.

        2. Che was a mad dog that needed to be put down. And putting him down was fairly cheap and cost little in terms of innocent deaths….at least death caused by anyway.

          But yeah Argentina and Venezuela and the political turn those countries are having is a great example of letting communism fail all by itself so people can learn from the experience.

          Also it is impossible to imagine any US intervention there that could in anyway improve the situation.

          1. But yeah Argentina and Venezuela and the political turn those countries are having is a great example of letting communism fail all by itself so people can learn from the experience.

            Actually, I was thinking that Venezuela and Argentina were examples of what he was talking about, i.e., socialists always finding something else to blame. Their countries are failures, and…where’s the big turn away from socialism? Their people are, more or less, acting as if they’re still trying to figure out how the capitalist pigs screwed them over. This is one more piece of evidence supporting my conclusion that socialism and reality never have to come to terms with each other.

            Not that I’m a big fan of US foreign adventurism, and we do create enemies with our foreign policy, but I’m not naive enough to believe that the US behaving nicely will translate into socialists/communists becoming honest, rational, peaceful people.

            To the same end, I don’t think bombing terrorists make them become sane, either.

      3. Socialism is bile and poison.

  16. “In the half-century following World War II the United States successfully established, protected, and advanced a liberal world order, carving out a vast “free world” within which an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity could flower in Western Europe, East Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Although tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union sometimes rose to dangerous levels, the period was characterized above all by peace among the great powers.

    “0-1-1”

  17. We didn’t reconstruct Germany and Japan because of altruism or some grand vision of a bright economic future. We did it because we were afraid of the Soviet empire swallowing them up.

    The merits of the Cold War–with all its attendant costs–can be endlessly and uselessly debated now that it’s over. However, the neocons have been busy trying to turn a bunch of primitives into the Next Big Threat, and it’s not working well anymore. They are having a harder time even convincing other Republicans to get a war boner.

    Using Germany and Japan as a model for anywhere else is incredibly stupid, but especially Third World countries that often aren’t even legitimate countries. Iraq was always going to end up at the same place, regardless of the amount of American blood and treasure spent.

    1. the neocons have been busy trying to turn a bunch of primitives into the Next Big Threat

      How many thousands of Americans have to die at the hands of “primitives” before they count as a Big Threat? I think about 3,000 in one day qualifies.

      1. Let the slaughter of the primitives begin! Just pick the one nearest to you and get going. I’m sure they’re all involved somehow.

        1. Strawman down!

      2. One would think after years of plane hijackings before 9/11 the FAA might have figured out that allowing locks on the cockpit door could be a good idea.

  18. “Kagan calls Bush I’s operation in Somalia “the most purely humanitarian, and therefore most purely selfless, intervention in American history,””

    This should be a damning statement, instead it is presented as a laudatory statement. These guys encourage altruistic wars at every turn. This whole nonsense about America’s moral obligation of protecting “a world order” (WETFTM) is pure altruism and a call for more statism.

    Our military has one moral purpose and only one purpose–to protect the lives and individual rights of Americans. If someone enslaves other people in your country, you destroy them. If someone bombs ships and kills sailors whose mission is to protect the country, you go out and destroy them. If someone flies airplanes into the country’s sky scrappers and buildings of defense killing thousands, you retaliate until you destroy the threat. Our government is morally obligated to do that, but no more.

    All of this other stuff is statist, altruist nonsense that will destroy us even further.

    1. I can’t ‘this’ hard enough.

    2. “Kagan calls Bush I’s operation in Somalia “the most purely humanitarian, and therefore most purely selfless, intervention in American history,””

      Should also point out how well that operation turned out.

      Selfless!! Humanitarian!! Historic!!

      …and absolutely did not fucking work.

    3. The key to your whole statement is “destroy the threat”. The “threat” in the past was “communism”. The “threat” today is the entire socio/politico/religious culture that is radical islam. We’ll be fighting that threat for the foreseeable future.

      1. The nature of war demands that the enemy is very specifically identified, otherwise the military’s mission cannot be planned to the detail that it has to be plan to succeed.

        Communists is not specific enough. Islamists is not specific enough. Al Quaeda and its allies that financially and materially support their existence–including the House of Saud? Now you are getting close to something the military can work with.

  19. The good/bad news is that, as non-nuclear powers either arm (Iran), or get absorbed by their nuclear-armed neighbors (Ukraine), the era of interventionism is coming to an end.

    There just won’t be many places where we can intervene without being on the receiving end of suitcase nukes or ICBMs.

  20. The USA is special & I once was for building that 10 mile high wall around it & let the rest of the world wallow in its shit. But after my trip to Vietnam,where 5,000,000 American men learned the art of war,my mind changed & I think now that every good American boy should experience the joy of coming back alive.Knowing he can survive anything the savage world might deal him.
    Without going into every detail of every conflict,I’ll ask if we stayed home for the last 70 years where would the world be.Our very existence deters…or at least used to.
    Fir Iraq we should start by bombing those nuclear sites in Iran,just to get everyone’s attention.

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