Monday, September 22, 2008

Spengler Channels Carlin

"After reading Vice President Dick Cheney's spirited defense on September 4 of the brave Georgian nation and the need to free Ukraine against nefarious Russian intentions, I listened to old comedy clips on YouTube until I felt well enough to write. We don't appreciate people until they are gone, and iconic American stand-up comedian, actor and author George Carlin's death in June was an irreparable loss for American foreign policy. ... By coincidence, Washington's two favorite beacons of liberty happen to be countries with the world's fastest rate of population decline. ... Only in the context of over-the-top black humor do Americans ask the obvious question, namely: What are certain countries doing there in the first place? Merely suggesting that some of them might not need to be there made [Sam] Kinison, who died in a 1992 car crash, the deepest foreign-policy thinker of his generation. ... Emulating Michael Ledeen, who sometimes channels the late James Jesus Angleton via an Ouija board, I have asked the late Carlin to comment on this from the afterlife. ... 'People speak 7,000 languages. Does that mean we need 7,000 countries? That's never going to happen. That would give us 7,000 UN missions with diplomatic plates, and no one in New York would ever get a parking spot. Nobody would be able to haul garbage. The mafia would send an army from Bensonhurst to kill them all. ... Most of these countries don't need to be there. ... NATO is a military alliance, right? Military--doesn't that mean soldiers? What if we get a country in NATO that doesn't have any people who are able to be soldiers? Suppose they were all paraplegics. Would we still let them into NATO? How about a motorized wheelchair brigade? ... The Mormons claim that they can pray dead people into heaven after the fact. Why can't we recruit extinct countries into NATO? ... That would really show the Russians were serious! We'll sic the Scythians and Etruscans on their *****! ...' Not everybody is going to make it. That should be America's mantra. American was settled by people who didn't think that Europe was going to make it, and decided that the better part of valor was to bail out and start something new. Georgia and Ukraine are not going to make it. They are past the point of no return. ... America's obsession with a happy ending for all--otherwise known as Wilsonian idealism--is the ultimate source of the problem. The Georgian crisis began, as everyone knows--but nobody in Washington will say--with the Bill Clinton administration's decision to bomb Serbia in defense of Albanian Muslims in the Serbian province of Kosovo. ... One can blame naivete, or Saudi influence, or any number of factors, but the fundamental weakness of American policy lies in the inability of Americans to conceive of unhappy endings for some important stories. That is what has turned America's foreign policy into a George Carlin routine", Spengler at, 9 September 2008.

"Many in Washington have described Russia's attack on Georgia as a turning point in international affairs. ... The attack on Georgia will go down not as the dawn of a new era of Russian power but as a major strategic blunder. ... The truth is, we're not in the 19th century, where the Russian intervention would have been standard operating procedure for a great power. ... Its actions are deplorable but the reaction to them--worldwide--is a sign of how much the rules have changed. ... The problem is not that Russia has been integrated into a world order that has failed to deter it, but rather that the country reamins largely unintegrated--and thus feels it has little to lose by breaking the rules", my emphasis, Fareed Zakaria (FZ) at Newsweek, 8 September 2008.

"'At no time did the U.S. attempt to train or equip the Georgian armed forces for a conflict with Russia,' [LTC Robert Hamilton] says. ... Even so, Newsweek has learned, NATO didn't bother to formally assess any of the new members' defense needs before they joined. 'The attitude was, the more the merrier,' says retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Charles Wald, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Europe through the early years of this decade. 'NATO didn't really look at the Article 5 part of it'," Newsweek, 15 September 2008.

Black humor? Do I detect racism afoot? I remember the Washington, DC school district banned the use of the word, "niggardly". Ouija board? Who needs one if you have a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar? I may have grown up with Spengler. He talks of the mafia in Bensonhurst and NY's parking problems. I thought for decades it would be a pleasure to get rid of the UN and its army of rude "diplomats" armed with "DPL" and "FC" plates double-parking all over NY! Bensonhurst, no way; Bay Ridge! Yeah, Colonial Road in the 90s! Brilliant, I never thought of a motorized wheelchair brigade! Go Spengler. I add, domestic policy too! Victor Davis Hanson, please read this. I suggested "showing the Russians" with my "Paulson-Gates-Rice" position swap, 15 September 2008 post.

What really happened FZ? Your illusions were blasted into oblivion by Czar Putin's tanks. Grow up. That's how the world works. Read Thomas Hobbe's Leviathan, 1651. You might learn something. Nations exist in a "state of nature". What is it you don't understand? What does FZ think we should do with Russia, send it to bed without any supper? Put Russia in detention? Keep Russia after school? FZ, read Oliver Wendell Holmes comments at my 25 April 2008 post.

I return to 1960 and Katanga's revolt against the central Congo government in Leopoldville. The USSR backed Patrice Lumumba. Moise Tshombe, backed by Belgium and certain Western interests, led Katanga's revolt. The US airlifted a UN force into the Congo to fight for Lumumba. At times, the UN forces fought Tshombe's. The US backed another group, Joseph Kasavubu's and wanted to keep the Congo, now Zaire, intact. In 1963 the UN forces defeated Tshombe's reuniting the Congo. I remember thinking at the time: what is Ike doing? Why are we involved in a civil war on the other side of the Atlantic, fighting on what seems to be the USSR's side against our "ally" Belgium? I now add, in "reassembling" the Congo, we established a precedent opposed to our treatment of Kosovo.

Didn't look at Article 5 of NATO. Amazing.

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