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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on February 17th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Richard Fernandez:

    Why would anyone believe, even for a moment, that any Western state could “pre-emptively” nuke the Muslim world when it cannot muster the will to secure its borders, balance its budget, get Pakistan to release a diplomat or get Argentina to release a C-17′s cargo load of equipment? That would be like thinking that man who can’t run 50 yards can run the 100 meter dash in 9.5 seconds.
     
    The path to nukes is far more probably going to take the path of use in desperation. And in fact a country which secured its borders, drilled for its own oil, got Pakistan to release diplomats, and did the normal things would be the only kind of country which might use nukes pre-emptively because it conceive of such a strategy. Yet ironically it would be the kind of country that wouldn’t have to attack pre-emptively. The idea of country going straight from supine behavior to nuking pre-emptively is a fantasy built on the awareness of weakness. Solve the weakness and then your enemies will consider you capable of pre-emption. But guess what: solve the weakness and you won’t have to pre-empt. They will back away.
     
    This is all elementary game theory; and tried, true and hoary deterrence theory. Be strong and you won’t need to use nukes. Be weak and you’ll use them for sure.
     
    The problem of radical Islam is the problem of Western weakness. That is the problem to which the policy nuking Muslims is an impertinent answer. Who’s going to do it? Obama? And yet if Obama lost the next election in favor of someone who might actually resist, then the probability of having to pre-empt declines dramatically.
     
    The logical problem is that any strategy which requires pre-emptively nuking the Islamic world implies a President who is too weak to do it anyway. But that doesn’t mean it might not happen. As I’ve argued ad nauseam, the biggest danger to nuclear use, in both the Israeli and general Western case, is via the act in desperation.
     
    As long as Israel’s strategic position is strong, it will not unleash the nukes. But only in its dying gasp will that be certain. So what do the geniuses at State do? Bring Israel to the point of strategic death.
     
    For the same reasons, the weaker Obama makes America the more its enemies are emboldened. Yet this does not bring pre-emption closer. That becomes more and more unthinkable until the last push, when desperation takes hold. Then the probabilities go from near zero to near 1.
     
    The Pakistanis and even the rapists in Tahrir Square are testing, testing. And they are finding no resistance. Therefore they will push and sooner or later, they will push too far. Why not since no stop signal will be received from the Smartest Man in the World.
     
    Then when things go too far, desperation, not calculation, will unleash the Apocalypse. It’s happened before. In 1939. It’s not impossible, just conveniently forgotten. The Western elite are like the Bourbons, who remember everything and have learned nothing.

     

    5 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Great Minds think alike:

      http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/enemies_foreign_domestic/when_push_comes_to_nuke.php

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Nice map he’s got there.

    3. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Post No. 85 in that thread, by JC in KZ, is also worth reading.

      http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2011/02/15/in-and-out-of-eden/#comment-144218

      “85. JC in KZ

      The backup plan for the atomics dropped on Japan was likely to be “gassing them like bugs”. As in, obliterating entire cities and any other concentration of people using the US’s extensive chemical weapons stocks. This, because the planners both realized how the Japanese would fight over the islands, and because they had the decoded orders to the remaining, far-flung army outposts which amounted to “kill everyone and everything you can find and die fighting.”

      America and the American people would have happily gone ahead, at that time, with the utter genocide of the Japanese. Why? Because they had completely dehumanized themselves in our eyes, demonstrated both the will and capability to kill Americans and those we cared for, and refused any future but their own. At the time, there were precious few options for dealing with such a people available to Truman. That he chose the most surgical approach first is, along with the dehumanized view America held of the Japanese soldiery, a testament to the paradoxically balanced yet extreme nature of American strategic thought throughout its history.

      We, Americans, when aggregated may at once be as cruel and as caring as humanly possible, and hold that tension in check until it snaps one way or another. To some it appears feckless, or erratic, or insane, that we could go literally overnight from utter, crushing devastation and murder of sworn enemies, to gently caring for their wounded and consoling them with help to rebuild.

      This kind of attitude, however, flows naturally from the scriptural underpinnings of American, and even English, civilization. An expression, that is, of the tension in God between perfect justice and perfect mercy. An unwillingness to unleash righteous obliteration until absolutely necessary because of the innocents. We, being human rather than divine, lack the perfect knowledge of how to balance our own responses, especially in the complex realm of international actions, but it’s easy to see and say that along the route to the present we have misses many many moments when “gentle” correction of one sort or another could have drawn even the Muslim world back from their in-built brink–if for a time. Jefferson understood this and put it progressively into action, for example.

      But here we are. Thinkers (and emotion-ers, if you disagree with that word) such as Habu and many others simple observe the ballistic trajectory of history vis-a-vie the Muslim world, our own foreign policy and failures to act, and note that the impact point of this all will cost many, many dead American friends and loved ones. Someone’s sons–and daughters. Dead for lack of action. And, even more dead in the Muslim world, plus knock-on effects for everyone else specialized in the global economy. This is the end of the Three Conjectures, which I have never seen a plausible refutation for.

      This is where we are headed. The major point of disagreement is whether right now, at this time, there are no other options that could in theory be applied to produce a kind of change in the Muslim world in line with the re-assertion of the Emperor’s authority to surrender after the atomics. If you will forgive my placing words to people, Habu would say at minimum I think “No, there is no more time”. I continue to believe that they dynamics at work in the Muslim world–and the very corrosive nature of fundamental Islam–demand a bit more patience and exercise of more limited measures. Obama and his camp, however, would do nothing but words and just wait out the clock.

      I live submerged in a nominally Muslim country. I can assure you of two things:

      1) Muslims are not monolithic creatures, and vary widely at the minimum in seriousness toward their faith (ditto Christians, of course); and

      2) Muslims love their children too.

      My experience and faith tells me to give them more time, for the sake of conscience and the existence of American civilization. Your experience and faith (in whatever) may, dear reader, lead you to a different conclusion. Regardless, I doubt very much that the American people have reached the point where, as an aggregate, they consider the Islamic enemy as dehumanized as the Japanese in 1945. As such, it will take more, more blood, before they are willing to consider or countenance nuclear sterilization.

      –JC

      February 15, 2011 – 8:26 pm”

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      This is all elementary game theory; and tried, true and hoary deterrence theory. Be strong and you won’t need to use nukes. Be weak and you’ll use them for sure.

      Leftists will never acknowledge this because they simply don’t believe in the existence of any external enemies. For Leftists, the major threat to peace is always their own domestic social and political competitors. Leftists believe that all wars and similar events in the world occur because of evil actions of the Western non-Leftists.

      With that model it logically follows that the way to prevent wars is to reign in the Western non-Leftists. Hence the groveling. They believe so strongly that the non-Left is at fault that they genuinely believe that apologizing for the non-Left through word and deed will stop wars cold in their tracks.

      Yet another side effect of the Left’s intense selfishness and self-absorbtion. They have to make every event center on them somehow and make every solution one that benefits them.

    5. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “Muslims love their children too.”

      It is just that they have a funny way of showing it. Turning your child into a suicide bomber is not a manifestation of love that most of us degenerate westerners can understand. And murdering your daughter because you don’t like her boyfriend, is also something we can’t quite quite wrap our heads around.