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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on March 20th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Michael Rubin in Commentary:

    What self-described realists misunderstand when they pursue their cost-benefit analysis without emotion or regard for principle is that friendship and trust have value. In one chapter of Dancing with the Devil, I explore the history of intelligence politicization. Iraq may now be the marquee example upon which many progressives seize, but intelligence politicization occurred under every president dating back at least to Lyndon Johnson, if not before (the scope of my book was just the past half-century or so). Iraq intelligence was flawed, but the world will get over it, especially since it was consistent with the intelligence gathered by almost every other country and the United Nations. The betrayal of allies, however, is a permanent wound on America’s reputation that will not be easy to overcome.

    This is a chronic problem. We were able to get away with being a fickle ally when we acted like a superpower. Our allies had no choice but to deal with us; our adversaries had to be cautious lest they provoke us. We betrayed Kurds, Iraqi Shiites and other groups without paying much of a long-term price. It was easy to be casual about our alliances. We could afford to see one-dimensional cynical calculations of national interest as realism.

    But now that we behave like just another country we are beginning to pay more of a cost for our unreliability. Our design margin, in Wretchard’s phrase, has eroded. It is increasingly difficult for us to protect our remaining interests. The Obama foreign policy is an inverse force-multiplier.

    Our geopolitical situation is going to deteriorate faster than most Americans expect.

     

    13 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. TMLutas Says:

      The unfortunate truth is that the next president of the United States serious about foreign policy and global influence is going to have to shock the world by actually using American power in support of its interests and its allies in a way that convinces them that President Obama was an aberration. It isn’t going to be pretty.

    2. dearieme Says:

      JFK nearly blew up the world as a consequence of his lying to the US electorate about an entirely ufictional “missile gap” by which the US lagged the USSR. The truth was vice versa, of course.

      “Iraq intelligence was flawed, but … it was consistent with the intelligence gathered by almost every other country …”: that’s hard to believe since the British government went to some pains to bully the Intelligence Services to exaggerate the threat from Iraq. Still, the chap who gave in to the bullying got a nice promotion out of it, so that’s OK.

    3. tomw Says:

      Wretchard being Richard Fernandez, the owner operator of pjmedia.com/richardfernandez AKA ‘The Belmont Club’ in case anyone is not aware.

      To my mind, the thing glossed over so readily is the Liberal sides use of demagoguery to attack the Bush administration, all for political gain, regardless of the effect on national and extra-national affairs.
      They ‘voted for it before they voted against it.’
      The Rubin article in Commentary does not make much mention of the damage done to international respect by such abandonment of principle.
      tom

    4. MikeK Says:

      Some of us have forgotten that Chamberlain, after surrendering allies and opportunities to deter Hitler, finally felt force to declare war when there were no useful options to help Poland. Even then, he and the cowardly French avoided an opportunity to attack Germany when the German army in the west had been stripped to support the east. The attack on France in May 1940 was the last possible moment to resist and the French failed miserably. Their tanks were better than the Germans’ and their army was larger. German invasion plans had been changed by Hitler to the Ardennes route but that was not the decisive factor. The French were simply not willing to fight.

      If Putin decides to stop with the eastern Ukraine, it will be for domestic reasons, not any fear of the US or NATO. He knows none of us will fight. Actually, we wouldn’t have to. Just a show of resolve and some steps toward preparedness, like reversing the gutting of the military and energy development. The Congress, especially the Democrats, could help by speaking up as Arthur Greenwood did in 1940. He was a Labourite with a history of pacifism.

      Greenwood became deputy leader of the Labour Party under Clement Attlee. Arguably his most famous moment came on 2 September 1939 when, acting for an absent Attlee, he was called to respond to Neville Chamberlain’s ambivalent speech on whether Britain would aid Poland. Preparing to respond, he was interrupted by an angry Conservative backbencher, Leo Amery, who exclaimed “Speak for England, Arthur!”[2]

      A flustered Greenwood proceeded to denounce Chamberlain’s remarks, to the applause of his colleagues.

      A Democrat could be the same champion but, I fear, there is no one left.

    5. Kirk Parker Says:

      MikeK,

      “Where have you gone, Scoop Jackson?
      A nation turns its lonely eyes to you…”

      I’m afraid you’re right.

    6. Kirk Parker Says:

      From the article: “The next time some future Colin Powell goes before the United Nations to reveal a case for war…”

      The UN? Surely that “next time” should be never. A more wretched hive of scum and villainy, I can hardly imagine. Instead, we should always be working with the much-maligned (by the wrong sorts) but actually useful Ad Hoc Coalition Of The Willing.

    7. Ken Hoop Says:

      “Our” geopolitical position can’t deteriorate fast enough. Russia and Germany will eventually for a healthy Eurasian bloc and Palestine will eventually be freed.
      Which latter is Rubin’s probable real concern.

      Of course he lies here. Sen. Graham demonstrated Cheny-Bush had intelligence they cherrypicked and which was not permitted released to the public and even balance of Congress, if not mistaken. Greg Thielmann, Powell’s chief aide resigned over the suppressed, more authoritative intel.

      Turkey and Saudi Arabia even Kuwait told us their intelligence demonstrated Saddam was not a threat to anyone in the region, told us better to stay out.
      Hans Blix said he was all but convinced Saddam had no WMDs and Scott Ritter had earlier confirmed the same.

      Rubin says “the world will get over it” even as Iraq writes in bloody anarchy to this day. Jewish supremacism in verbal action.

    8. Kirk Parker Says:

      Wow, the antiSemites have found Chicago Boyz.

    9. PenGun Says:

      “The unfortunate truth is that the next president of the United States serious about foreign policy and global influence is going to have to shock the world by actually using American power in support of its interests and its allies in a way that convinces them that President Obama was an aberration. It isn’t going to be pretty.”

      I know you have not been paying attention so I’ll try to help out a little bit here.

      Your heroes have fought only savages without useful weapons and no air power since Vietnam. You should understand given that truth your performance has not been all that impressive. If you seriously think about taking on the bear you are even crazier than I thought. If you think about intervening further in your various failed regime change events, it’s quite obvious that will improve nothing.

      Your superiority is slipping away as is perfectly natural. We do not need another moron like Bush to accelerate that process.

    10. alanstorm Says:

      “We do not need another moron like Bush to accelerate that process.”

      Unfortunately, we have someone worse.

    11. Michael Kennedy Says:

      “Your heroes have fought only savages without useful weapons and no air power since Vietnam. ”

      Yes, I could guess that you could call Saddam a “savage.” How many hours did his Soviet trained and equipped army last ?

    12. Sgt. Mom Says:

      *blink* *blink*

      Gosh, I thought everyone was claiming in 2003 that we had armed Saddam with Russian tanks, modern fighter AC and AK-47s and European-sourced weapons, missile systems and air raid shelters and all.

      You mean we didn’t? And all they had were bows and arrows and simple mud huts?

      Well, I learn something new every day on the internet.

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      The Rubin article in Commentary does not make much mention of the damage done to international respect by such abandonment of principle.

      I am 55 this year, and in my entire life I never seen the left stand on any principle that accorded with the national interest. Their only principle is personal power for themselves by any means necessary. There is nothing they would not do this country or to their fellow citizens to achieve that end. See Ken (above) for an example thereof. See also: Venezuela, Cuba, or any of the Eastern Bloc countries under the old Soviet Union for the endgame results. It’s never pretty, is it?