Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Swinged Cats Strike!

And those dusky border ruffians are put on notice! The Mount Rushmore State Mosstroopers - a whole platoon of the hardened veterans! - will fan out and become The Wall! No pasaran!

Seriously. Some Republican fatcat is paying for a whole platoon or so from the South Dakota Guard to TDY down to Texas to stop the Brown Hordes. 

Be assured that now the Republic is safe from La Raza.

Hey, Abbot? Hey, Noem? I seem to recall we tried this once. It didn't go all that well.

"We left the border for Parral
In search of Villa and Lopez, his old pal.
Our horses, they were hungry,
And we ate parched corn.
It was damn hard living
In the state of Chihuahua
Where Pancho Villa was born."

Update 6/29: Dan Nexon wins the Internets:

Friday, June 18, 2021

Unloading Chekov's Gun


The U.S. Congress has, in the usual scatterbrained and dysfunctional way that body seems to work, taken up the issue of repealing the 2002 "Authorization to Use Military Force" that was the legal cover for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the mess-o-potamia that followed.

I trust that no one who regularly visits this place has forgotten the appalling clusterfuck that resulted from that cynical bit of Great Power stupidity, so it's obvious on its face that it is time and past time to flush the boneheaded and dangerous thing, full of more lies than nuts in a fruitcake, and I wish they'd 86 the 2001. 9/11, version while they're at it.

The notion of having a political rule just lying around that provides any U.S. government who wishes the "legal" authority to start throwing projectiles around the globe seems dangerously stupid. It's not like illegality will stop a cabal that wishes to do that, but to give them a sort of real-life "C'est par mon ordre et pour le bien de l'Etat que le porteur du present a fait ce qu'il a fait."?

That 's a Bad Idea.

Both of the 2000's AUMFs are Bad Ideas spawned by my country's weird and ugly combination of geopolitical hubris and laziness, the sort of mindless aggressive response to any sort of provocation that makes every problem a nail to be militarily hammered.

It's unfortunate that the mindset that produced them cannot also be repealed. But at the very least - given the lessons that the mindless ruin and merciless hatred that the two have spawned should have taught us - these two loaded guns need to be unloaded.

We'll see if there's enough political sanity left in the U.S. capitol to do that.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunk Cost and Lessons Learned?

We had a fairly long discussion here about the "lessons learned" - or, rather, whether lessons that seem obvious in hindsight were, in fact, too difficult for the military boffins of 1914 to discern - in the first catastrophic war of the 20th Century.

Now the NY Times discusses a pointless (and "catastrophic" in the sense of "blood and treasure wasted for no geopolitically valid objective") war of the 21st Century, the mess that the United States has made in the Grave of Empires:

"It’s not as if Mr. Biden is being pressured to stay in Afghanistan with a cogent argument; most analysts freely admit that the United States has no plausible path to victory, that the military isn’t trained to midwife democracy and that the Afghan government is grievously corrupt.

Rather, the national security community cannot bear to display its failure. That’s why many who advocate continuing the war are left grasping for illogical or far-fetched justifications. In a meeting of National Security Council principals, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, reportedly made an emotional plea to stay in Afghanistan, after “all the blood and treasure spent” there."

This is the classic "sunk costs" theory that has been used to justify military shenanigans since the Peloponnesian War, and certainly we've seen modern Great Powers do this repeatedly (I'd argue that the real problem isn't that the U.S. foreign policy establishment was "traumatized" by the disaster in Vietnam but, rather, that the lessons IT taught were not learned, either...)

To me, the big question that the rolling clusterfuck that is the U.S.'s misadventures in the whole "land war in Asia" business is "is there a way for Great Powers - or, indeed, most polities - to make foreign policy decisions that are based on "national interests" that are, indeed, based on the interests of the bulk of the people in the polity"?

It's hard to see too many examples that prove that there is, so my question for the readership is "can you think of an example of a policy (or set of policies) or decision(s) that show that this sort of intelligent geopolitics IS possible?"

Is there (are there?) examples that, say, the "blobs" of various nation-states could look to for a way to see their way through to avoiding the very sort of complete clusterfuck on display when you look at the U.S. foreign policy camorra and it's work in Afghanistan since 2001?

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Over the Hegemon

I get that there is a fairly large subset of the U.S. public (and the pundits that natter to it) that refuses to use the word "empire" for the United States.

Imperial is as imperial does, but, fine, whatever.

But I can't think that there would be any disagreement that the U.S. has been the global hegemon for quite some time.

My question for the readership would be, then, is this worth going to Cold War with the PRC over?

I won't even argue with Rubio's contention that the PRC wants to replace the U.S. as the global hegemon.

Would that, however, present "as great a threat as any in history"?

Threat of what?

Would it harm the U.S. public in a material way if the U.S. was no longer the premiere Great Power but, instead, the second behind the PRC?

Keeping in mind that mainland China has a fairly horrible human rights record, would that translate into a worse world in general if the PRC had the ability to conduct whatever they'd call the "Ledeen Doctrine" on regional powers? A worse United States?

I have some ideas, but at this point I'm curious to hear yours; is this an actual thing (or is it just scaremongering)? If it IS a thing, is it really the MOST scary thing ever? And if it IS...is it worth hatting up for a new Cold War (with the attendant sorts of small Hot Wars between proxy states and non-state actors of the sort fought between the US and the USSR between 1945 and the 1990s)?

Let's discuss in the comments.