5 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
    But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
    She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
    She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
    She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
    She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.
    The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.

    John Quincy Adams

  2. By pointedly not getting involved, Obama is not being neutral. He is supporting Assad and the Iranian mullahs.

    Adams’s monsters are out there. We can fight them now, when doing so requires mainly words, or we can fight them later when it will be harder and bloodier.

  3. Meh.

    While I sympathize with your points, Jonathan, I tend to agree with Lex but with caveats that support your points! Dr. Metz (who has posted around here) suggests possibly supporting groups in Iran that are hostile to the ruling regime as a push back against their proxies in Iraq. This seems more reasonable than backing a bunch of people in Syria that we have no idea about and opening up a whole new can of worms.

    Our intelligence can’t have kept up. Not even the Israelis intelligence could have kept up. How could it? Events are moving too rapidly and we could get fooled like others did in Egypt. We are not good at this. The past decade has shown it.

    Our troops are tired. Really tired. We are out of money.

    Al Q has moved into Africa big time and using the seas and Somali pirates for revenue generation. Supposedly. Intelligence is a tricky game, so who really knows?

    At any rate, no-one takes us seriously on these issues, Jonathan. No-one. Not a single “our bastard” or “their bastard” – or anyone. Even if we recalled our Syrian ambassador and took a hard line. That’s because of our extreme toleranceof Sunni radicalism while trying, haphazardly, to put the screws on Iran and its horribles.

    The US tolerates mostly Pakistani (but a very few Iranian) proxies in Afghanistan against NATO troops and gives tons of aid money to Pakistan while the “get Iran” and “get Russia” crew in DC looks the other way as China-Pakistan proliferate up the wazoo and give missiles or whatnot to Iran. We follow the Saudis no matter what happens to us. 9-11 matters less than helping them with Iranian containment and keeping the oil flowing. Well, I don’t know. What am I supposed to think post Abbottabad? I don’t trust any of our traditional foreign policy strategizing for this era. It’s not good enough.

    Oddly enough, the “get Russia” and “get Iran” crews in DC kind of exacerbate this by focusing on one single issue instead of the whole picture for American security interests.

    It’s a three dimensional world which requires a certain nimbleness. I’m not sure I know the answers.

    Here is one reason people laugh at us and our attempts to “get tough”:

    Earlier this month the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, twisted his mouth into the shape of a pretzel to explain why it was okay for the U.S. to support Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal but not okay to support North Korea’s arsenal and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He also saw no problem with the United States as much declaring war on India when he sympathized with Pakistan’s need to use nuclear weapons against India in order to feel safe.

    Then Americans wonder why Pyongyang and Tehran laugh at Washington’s lectures on nuclear proliferation. The leaders of both regimes have been doing clandestine nuke business with Pakistan for decades. They know Pakistan is the biggest nuclear weapons proliferator on the planet — and so does Mullen, who is the highest ranking military officer in the USA and as such is the principal military advisor to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.

    That’s not the half of the double standard America has practiced with regard to Pakistan. Barely a day goes by that the American news media doesn’t warn of the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran because of the regime’s end-of-time religious views, which American news analyst John Batchelor has termed “hallucinatory.”

    It doesn’t get more hallucinatory than the views of Pakistani media mogul, Majeed Nizami, the owner of the Nawa-i-Waqt, The Nation, and Waqt TV channel. During a recent speech at a function given in his honor he declared that Pakistan’s missiles and nuclear bombs were superior to “India’s ghosts,” and that unleashing nuclear war against India was imperative. “Don’t worry if a couple of our cities are also destroyed in the process.”

    That would be the same Nation newspaper that cites the United States government as being behind every terrorist incident in the world, including the Times Square attack.

    If you think Nizami is an isolated nut case, you don’t know much about him, or Pakistan. He is the true face of the most powerful factions in Pakistan including its military leaders.

    But in the view of the U.S. government and news media it’s okay for Pakistan’s military to hold hallucinatory views whereas it’s not okay for Iran’s leaders because, well, because.

    It’s the same for anti-Semitic views that abound in Pakistan. In the same article that discussed Nizami’s view that nuclear Armageddon was the ticket to peace in South Asia, Pakistani journalist Shakil Chaudhary reported on a June 18 column in Nizami’s Nawa-i-Waqt paper in which Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayyum (ret), former chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills, approvingly quoted Adolph Hitler as saying: “I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them so that you can know why I was killing them.”


    What are American interests in all of this mess? And why do I get the feeling that old Cold Warriors in DC will tolerate anything coming out of “afpak” in order to block the Iranians and Russians and Chinese. And all their maneuvering got us troops killed in NATO and 9-11.

    I’m being melodramatic, but barely.

    I don’t know.

    We need a radical rethink of strategy. The Old Cold warriors (thanks for the past, but it’s new times now) just scare me.

    If there is an act of nuclear terrorism, the “hub” will be “afpak” maybe. As good a chance or better as any of the other joints.

    – Madhu

  4. There are many sources of danger. We should be responsive to all of them. We can afford to. (We can’t afford our welfare state but that is a different matter. Why is it so frequently used as a rhetorical diversion against arguments for increased defense spending?)

    US courts have sometimes treated juvenile criminals too leniently, with the consequence that many of the juveniles learned that crime pays and grew into hardened adult criminals who have caused a great deal of harm. That is how the USA tends to treat hostile countries. Some of those hostile countries eventually become big threats to us and then we start to take them seriously. But until then we often try to ignore them. I think it would be wise for us to change our policies to emphasize making it costly for foreign adversaries, no matter how small they are or how weak they appear to be in the larger scheme of things, to harm Americans or American interests. Tit for tat isn’t a bad strategy. But I fear that our strength makes us complacent.

    Pakistan is a difficult case. Gradually cutting off US aid in response to Pakistani uncooperativeness seems like a good idea. But maybe some of those bombs will be used one day, though of course one hopes not. Pakistan is a good argument for our use of force to block Iran’s nuke program.

  5. I don’t necessarily disagree with much of what you say.

    However, the devil is in the actual details. And from my vantage point I can’t see that the DOD is different from any other government bureaucracy. Money can be allocated, proirities misplaces, legacy weapon systems protected over better systems, and so on and so forth.

    “Tit for tat” can mean lots of different things in reality. Part of our problem in “AfPak” is not that we didn’t spend enough money but that we spent too much and people got taken by a variety of local con men.

    Specific study of a region and its history outside of Americna domestic wishful thinking seems not to be a strong suit of ours….


    – Madhu

Comments are closed.