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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on September 4th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Richard Epstein, Rand Paul’s Fatal Pacifism:

    There is nothing in libertarian theory that justifies dithering at home as conditions abroad get worse by the day.

    This point has been one of the main differences among people who consider themselves libertarian. Libertarian isolationism in response to threats of aggression from overseas is like a self-defense strategy in which you let an assailant shoot at you before you think yourself justified in shooting back. In reality you sometimes have to take preemptive action if you want to survive. Life isn’t a court of law where you have the luxury of due process before deciding if you are justified in punishing the accused. An individual, group or nation that behaves in a way that reasonable people see as threatening should have no expectation of being left alone by potential victims.

     

    64 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. Jim Says:

      The biggest threat to this country is the invasion from Mexico. I don’t give a rat’s ass who controls Donetsk or for that matter Jerusalem.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      You may not care about jihad but jihad cares about you.

      We should reserve the option to attack our enemies before they arrive at our southern border.

    3. Jim Says:

      Yes, I expect ISIS will march into Peoria any day now.

    4. Jim Says:

      The security threat to the US from Mexico is many orders of magnitude greater than the security threat from ISIS.

    5. John in KC Says:

      The highly porous southern border allows those desiring to harm US citizens, whether by direct violent action or the simple parasitism inherent of the open border welfare state, easy access to our citizens, their lives and their wealth. A government that values its citizenry would not permit the present conditions.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      Defending our southern border and defending against our enemies abroad are not mutually exclusive.

    7. Jim Says:

      Intervention in the Middle East is a huge distraction from the real threats to our contry. Sealing the US – Mexican border could be done at a tiny fraction of the cost of our idiotic and disastrous wars in the Middle East. We should get out of the Middle East, seal our borders and let the peoples of the Middle East butcher each other to their heart’s content.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Voted for Ron Paul, did you?

    9. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I’m surprised how many conditions I see around the world today remind me of the 1930’s.

    10. Knucklehead Says:

      The butchers of the Middle East will never be happy with only butchering among themselves. They have masters that need to be served and those masters need PR wins to use to attract resources to continue the butchering. Striking at the Great Satan is a big PR win.

      Which is all to repeat Jonathan’s comment that you may not care about Jihad but Jihad cares about you.

      Despite the enormous cost, having bases on two sides of Iran was not a bad thing. Those were sunk costs and giving them up for nothing was strategic idiocy.

    11. Mike K Says:

      “Intervention in the Middle East is a huge distraction from the real threats to our contry. ”

      Which include jihadis working at the Minneapolis Airport. You are a nice example of libertarian tunnel vision. They seem to think that law and order is the normal state of nature.

    12. veryretired Says:

      You can argue all you want but the blunt fact is that the military has been decimated by cutbacks in both troop levels and weapons systems, and a significant part of the citizenry is either opposed to any military action in the Mideast, or anywhere else, and/or exhausted from the past years of effort in that region.

      Given the strategic vision of the current regime, or lack of it, there is little possibility of significant and effective action in any area, and that definitely includes the Mideast and our southern border.

      We are a laughingstock around the world, and it will take a significant change in electoral belief, administrative purpose, and military capabilities to affect any change in that situation.

      Given the relentless antagonism of the media and academia to any form of military action by the west, and especially the US, it will be a long and difficult course to regain any international credibility.

      As I have said many times at Samizdata in regards to the question of military action, there is little will, money, or capability left for the US to undertake anything more than cosmetic military action. The rest of the world, we are told, has been clamoring for this type of uninvolved posture from this country for a long time.

      Well, now they, and we, are getting exactly what all the “right thinking” people have said was best for everyone.

      It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or whether you are an ally or an enemy—you’re on your own.

    13. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Agreed, VR. I am not an expert and haven’t done very much recent heavy research on this among the mil-blogs – but my sense is that the military is tired and unenthusiastic about going full-tilt in the middle-east at the bidding of the current Plastic President.Just tired, tired and tired once again. He gave away all the work done in blood to stabilize Iraq. The purge of the higher ranks – which appears to be politically motivated, and the purge of the mid-ranks, for which the given rationale is economic … that does leave a mark and a memory. I watched a link (http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/26/obamas-speech-to-the-american-legion-was-painfully-awkward-video/) of the so-called Commander in Chief making a speech before the American Legion convention. It was … at the very least, embarrassing. They were sitting on their hands, listening in stony silence, save for the small claque, reported to be sitting up in the front row.

      President Bush was reported to have met privately with the next of kin of every war casualty incurred during his administration. Has Obama done the same?

    14. vxxc2014 Says:

      Whether you like it or not we’re now focused on ourselves.

      Jihad happens. Take your medicine, you too are mortal. Learn it.

      We were there, we were stabbed in the back with ROE, Abu Gharib, witch-hunts, investigations. ISIS is the same people with Syrians thrown in. You should have let us win. You wanted to be righteous. Choke on it.

      Our soldiers and marines are tired, our Generals are hollow imitations, the active military is going through a post-war drawdown, PC games. Of course they don’t want anymore turns at being target practice.

      Screw. Screw you. If anyone did anything nasty – defined as looks bad on camera – you’d be discussing Rule of Law, process and all the rest. You – you America, you Dems, You GOP, You Libertarians, you University of Chicago, you Academe – you aren’t only impossible to defend due to your own backstabbing nonsense, you’re frankly not worthy of it.

      Oh I will if and when the time comes, again. But that’s for me.

      You can go screw yourselves, and you did. Take your medicine. Faithless, False, Fickle, Weak.

      And of course I’m an Iraq Vet. 2X.

    15. Mike K Says:

      ” He gave away all the work done in blood to stabilize Iraq.”

      I keep saying this but it is how I feel, and we all know that feelings are most importent these days.

      I keep thinking of 1940 France. We are almost there.

    16. TMLutas Says:

      I think that Epstein is asking the wrong questions. Rand’s father actually introduced legislation to make use of the letters of marque and reprisal power after 9/11. It would actually be an interesting hypothetical to put before Senator Paul. Did he think that his father was onto something in 2001 and 2007 when he introduced that solution and does he think that America and the world would be better off with that approach?

      I’m not holding my breath for the media to pursue that line of questioning.

      Libertarian foreign policy doesn’t really map very well to the conventional camps inside the beltway and I was disappointed that Epstein, who is generally smarter than this, pretended that Sen. Paul’s Aug 29th comments about IS just didn’t happen.

      In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

      That is not the statement of a pacifist.

      Epstein’s article ran September 2nd, four days later. There should have been time to pull the article, fix it, or at least mention it.

    17. Jonathan Says:

      TMLutas,

      That may be a significant correction re Rand Paul. OTOH, Paul has thought it necessary to update his foreign-policy statements on at least one other occasion (to reassure pro-Israel voters), so it’s not obvious to me where Paul really stands. Perhaps Epstein would have done better not to make Paul the focus of his column.

    18. tyouth Says:

      ” He gave away all the work done in blood to stabilize Iraq.”

      The jewel in the crown of the 0. administration’s inadequacies.

    19. RonaldF Says:

      Ron Paul has the ability to say what he wants, as he is in a protected district. Any challenger to his seat would be at a great disadvantage ;however, he has grown lazy in this position and needs to let those, who have the energy to change, to emerge with new ideas and he certainly must help his friends in their battles against the current system.

    20. Jim Says:

      Jonathan – No, I did not.

    21. TMLutas Says:

      Jonathan – It’s not obvious to me either where Paul actually stands because few people seem to be asking him the right questions to elicit exactly what sort of libertarian foreign policy he would pursue. This would lead to strategic miscalculation both at home and abroad in the case of a successful Paul run for president. Paul certainly isn’t going to go out of his way, volunteering to lay out a new approach to foreign policy. The people who actually vote on the nuance of foreign policy are sub 1% of voters so the upside available is miniscule. A larger number will, however, shy away from the weird, the new, the untried, so the downside risk is considerably larger.

    22. Ginny Says:

      Surely part of the reason the border frightens is it trashes of the rule of law, dissipates and dirties our common vision & responsibiity & heritage (at least as much by identity driven politicians and social workers who work against rather than for assimilaton). Still ISIS weights those worries – as it weights our fear of the porous border. Large importations of Somali to the heartlands is worrisome in itself, perhaps, but more so when we see what Minneapolis exports. The rumors (or are they rumors) that ISIS has a cell or more in Juarez underlines the connections between our worries as does Putin’s influence to our South and his powering of the anti-oil groups. He’s playing a more complicated game than our leaders (unless their’s is covert). And those people who ignored Ukraine in the twenties and the Hitler/Stalin pact of the 30’s soon found the birds in Kiev and Donetsk dying in the coal shaft might have been seen as warning – and weren’t. God, I wish Romney’d been elected. But I don’t see any Republicans, even the isolationist wing, delusional or subversive (it is hard to tell with people like Obama and Reid, Jarrett and the msm, which it is).

      Of course, Americans don’t want to go back into the east or up aganst Putin. Would you follow Obama anywhere? Or assume he had your back? I’d be looking for a shiv in my back.

    23. Jim Says:

      Knucklehead – The various factions in the Middle East left to themselves would be far too busy fighting each other to concern themselves about the US if we would just get out of the Middle East and control our borders to prevent the entry of dangerous groups like Muslims or low IQ Mexican Mestizos.

    24. Jim Says:

      Mike K. – I am not a libertarian. If we didn’t allow Muslim immigration into the US we wouldn’t have jihadis working at the Minneapolis Airport.

      I don’t think that law and order are the normal state of nature. I have noticed that Hussein and Ghadaffi seemed to have been a lot more successful at imposing law and order in places like Iraq and Libya than we have been.

    25. Jim Says:

      Ginny – If you wish to die for Donetsk go there and fight for Kiev. I do ‘t give a damm about Donetck.

    26. Jim Says:

      Ginny – Bringing Somalis into the US is utter madness. The best case is that they will wind up as welfare parasites. The worst case is terroism and violence.

    27. Jim Says:

      Mike K. “1940 France”. Get a grip man. ISIS is not Germany. They have no ability to significantly harm the US. They’re not going to march into Peoria. For that matter Germany in 1940 was not going to march into Peoria and posed little threat to the US.

    28. Jonathan Says:

      Jim,

      Good to see that I guessed wrong about your voting, and that you are elaborating somewhat on your opinions.

      The reason ISIS is a problem is not that it’s extremely strong but that it’s demonstrating hostile intent to us and we aren’t responding effectively as it rolls over our allies. Thus it grows stronger, our allies grow weaker, and other players (Putin, e.g.) are encouraged to exploit our weakness. As a matter of tactical self-interest we would do better to attack ISIS now rather than risk attack, possibly closer to home, from a strengthened ISIS later. Libertarians such as, perhaps, Rand Paul, as well as isolationists such as yourself, do not take adequate consideration of such issues in their eagerness to elevate non-interventionism as a principle.

      The other, related, problem is the threat of WMD, either from a loose bomb if Pakistan falls apart or from Iran or somewhere else. This threat isn’t going to go away if we attempt to walk away from foreign involvement and barricade ourselves at home.

    29. Jim Says:

      ISIS is no more a threat to us than Boko Haram or whatevfer the hell it’s called or any other of the myriad of bloodthirsty groups running around the world. The Mexican drug cartels are far more of a significant threat than ISIS.

    30. East Anglian Says:

      Jim:“Intervention in the Middle East is a huge distraction from the real threats to our contry. ”

      MikeK: Which include jihadis working at the Minneapolis Airport.

      Are you saying that those jihadis are Minnesota Swedes, Norwegians, and Anglo-Saxons who converted to Islam? Otherwise Jim is correct. If it weren’t for your immigration policy (fully endorsed by virtually all Republicans, especially George Bush) you wouldn’t have this problem.

      Voted for Ron Paul, did you?

      If he did he threw away his vote as RP supports the replacement of Americans with cheap labour foreigners. There is only one thing libertarians care about? $Money$

    31. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>There is only one thing libertarians care about? $Money$

      If there’s one thing you can count on modern Brits to do, it’s explain everything they only vaguely understand using Marxist theory. They’re saturated in the stuff.

    32. Jonathan Says:

      The “distraction from the real threats” assertion is bullshit, a rhetorical diversion. It’s like saying we shouldn’t have fought Nazi Germany until after we defeated Japan. Why a country should restrict itself to dealing with one threat at a time is never explained.

    33. Jim Says:

      If we hadn’t fought Nazi Germany there would probably have never been a Communist takeover of Eatern Europe. Best thing wuold have been to let the Nazis and Communists slaughter one another to exhaustion. Going for the unconditional surrender of Germany was a huge gift to Stalin.

      If we had played our cards right in the Far East we could probably have avoided war with Japan and allowed it to bleed itself to exhaustion in China. Probably never would have been a Connunist China.

    34. Jim Says:

      Jonathan – ISIS’ demonstrations of hostile intent to the US is about as significant as a dog baying at the moon.

    35. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      If we hadn’t fought Nazi Germany there would probably have never been a Communist takeover of Eatern Europe. Best thing wuold have been to let the Nazis and Communists slaughter one another to exhaustion. Going for the unconditional surrender of Germany was a huge gift to Stalin.

      If we had played our cards right in the Far East we could probably have avoided war with Japan and allowed it to bleed itself to exhaustion in China. Probably never would have been a Connunist China.

      When you’re hypothesizing like that it’s easy suppose any outcome you desire, because it’s fictional.

      Let’s play though. Suppose they fought to a standoff. You still have Stalin in power in the USSR and Hitler has conquered Europe and the UK. Stable world? Positive outcome?

      Japan had SE Asia and much of China under its firm grasp, it was no contest there. An expansionist Japanese Empire in control of most of Asia is a positive outcome?

      By the 1950’s we may well have had the Japanese navy off the coast of California and the German Navy off the Atlantic coast. Better outcome then actually transpired or not?

    36. Jim Says:

      Germany had no chance of invading the UK. A bloody stalemate on the Eastern Front would have left both Germany and the Soviet Union exhausted. Same thing for Japan in China.

    37. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I don’t history supports your assertions.

    38. Jonathan Says:

      You have no way of knowing what would have happened in 1942 and later if the USA had somehow stayed out of the war. We might have ended up facing Germany and Japan alone and from a worse strategic position than the one that existed in Dec. 1941. There are some risks that a responsible national govt can’t afford to take, and worse things for a country than overseas military interventions. For example, being attacked at home. In this regard your error is of the same kind that the libertarians make: you are either foolish enough to imagine that you have the ability to predict which of our enemies will be the most dangerous, or you are naive enough to believe that we will remain undisturbed as long as we don’t intentionally disturb our enemies. Either error is likely to lead eventually to attacks against us.

    39. dearieme Says:

      If the Japanese had had the sense not to attack the US she presumably would have stayed out of the war, because then Hitler would have had no reason to declare war on her.

    40. Jonathan Says:

      Yes, if. And then additional ifs on top of that.

    41. Grurray Says:

      FDR made the decision to support England and France by 1937.
      The American public was neutral until the UK won the Battle of Britain. By the end of 1940 the nation was behind the war effort.

      We were going into the European Theater whether or not Japan attacked us.

    42. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Grurray, I’m not sure I agree with that. I seem to recall FDR won the election of 1940 on a platform promise to keep us out of yet another European war. I think the American public were OK with arming allies like the UK, but I think Pearl Harbor was a complete shock. It changed everything. I wasn’t there, but that’s what I read.

    43. Ginny Says:

      The pacifism of words is the first hindrance to clarity. Russia invaded the Ukraine, ISIS are Islamists, and those who lawlessly come across the borders are illegal. This may be off topic, but no matter how we set our priorities we need to acknowledge the true categories.

    44. tyouth Says:

      Jim said “ISIS is no more a threat to us ….”. Shouldn’t you have qualified this with the word “now”?

      Also, have to disagree with you about the possible invasion of England. 25 to 40 miles of the English Channel to cross, IF the efforts of German air force had been successful….

      (Newt Gingrich, in one of his historical novels argues that the Luftwaffe should have concentrated on airfields and radar installations rather than bombing docks, industrial areas, and London,s population. Given the close-run nature of the air Battle of Britain, destruction of Britain,s air power could have paved the way for Normandy in reverse.)

    45. tyouth Says:

      Partial isolationism served us well in WWII and WWI. We should strive for it now. If we act as the world’s defender in every case we create a dependent class of nations (I’m reminded of the nurturing by the US govt. of inner city slums and impoverished people in general these days, the creation of a “dependency”) and we get played. We should gradually but surely withdraw form other nations businesses. We are 70 years on from WWII and our deep involvement in the world stems from that event. It is time to move on.

      We should extend military power only when it is in the interest of the U.S. Extending it to ISIS is in it’s interest if only for the morale of U.S. citizens and as an object lesson and reminder to the potential bandit/thugs of the world. The propaganda value to the existing bandit/thugs is too effective to go unanswered.

      IF the U.S. gov’t. insists on imperialim it had better become more and not less draconian in the administration of empire and make the imperialism pay for itself while making life better for the occupied peoples; else it doesn’t mak any sense. A very tall order for a country that can’t or won’t control it’s own border.

    46. Grurray Says:

      Michael,

      See FDR’s 1937 Quarantine Speech.
      He was hamstrung by The Neutrality Act but worked around it.

      The non-interventionists were in the Republican Party, but the eventual nominee Wilkie was not in their camp.
      After he was nominated, FDR dropped all pretense and signed the Destroyer Deal and implemented the draft in September just before the election.

    47. Jim Says:

      I don’t have the time or inclination to answer everybody in detail but a general comment – No strategy in the real world is risk-free. Sure one can hypothesize all kinds of possible dangers to the US coming from any conceivable place, South Ossetia say, but we do not have the resources to counter every conceivable threat our imaginations can come up. The Bush Administration seemed to have convinced itself that Hussein was a threat to this country. Their fevered imaginings of Hussein’s WMD turned out to be totally delusional. However it lead them to spend huge amounts of money on a disastrous war.

      By the way if it is so easy to launch an invasion across the English channel how come nobody’s done it since William the Conqueror.

    48. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Grurray, I’m not arguing about FDR’s personal outlook on the world situation. I’m simply saying those who voted for him, and the American public in general, wanted to stay out of the war. They didn’t see it as our problem. And the memory of the WWI bloodbath was only 20 years in the past. I think Pearl Harbor pulled us into the war like no lesser event could have. Very much like 9/11 but with the Japanese Empire as the perpetrator, which then became a focus of our wrath. And rightly so.

    49. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      By the way if it is so easy to launch an invasion across the English channel how come nobody’s done it since William the Conqueror.

      Because there were easier and richer targets close by that didn’t require a navy and amphibious landings.

    50. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      The Bush Administration seemed to have convinced itself that Hussein was a threat to this country. Their fevered imaginings of Hussein’s WMD turned out to be totally delusional.

      Let’s not rewrite history to support a debate point. Many intelligence services in the West believed Saddam had an ongoing nuclear weapons program which he was hiding. Saddam was clearly insane, or insanely brutal, or both. Arm that with nuclear weapons and now you have a real problem.

      I didn’t support going into Iraq when we did. I also didn’t see an immediate threat. However badly he was being dealt with, I didn’t see a war as necessary. Mainly because war is unpredictable, not just the fighting but the long term aftermath, as we’ve seen. But I could see and understand the other viewpoint as well. It was not an easy call, like the situations we see now. A lot of damned if you, damned if you don’t situations.

      IF the U.S. gov’t. insists on imperialim it had better become more and not less draconian in the administration of empire and make the imperialism pay for itself while making life better for the occupied peoples; else it doesn’t mak any sense.

      I agree with the first statement. As to the second, if it turns out our political class finds that Empire pays, it will expand Empire along with draconian tyranny without end. See the voracious, corrupt, and tyrannical US federal government nascent monster for an example. I think we have as much to fear from it as from ISIS. And it’s a closer and more powerful threat to every American.

      A very tall order for a country that can’t or won’t control it’s own border.

      The US government is perfectly capable of controlling that border. The Democrats have deliberately chosen not to, in clear violation of the law, because immigrants vote Democrat. A government that casually commits crimes against its own people is a government that needs a stake driven through its heart. Would you trust them to administer an Empire? I wouldn’t.

    51. Mike K Says:

      “The Bush Administration seemed to have convinced itself that Hussein was a threat to this country. Their fevered imaginings of Hussein’s WMD turned out to be totally delusional.”

      This is not a truthful description of the reasons for the war. In 2003, the West was dependent on middle eastern oil. The invasion of Kuwait was a threat to Saudi Arabia and that oil. That is why the first gulf war was fought.

      After 9/11, we were under pressure to remove our military facilities from Saudi Arabia and to do so, we would have had to remove the pressure on Saddam. He would have won that cold, or at least warm, war with us. That was dangerous in the aftermath of 9/11. The WMD were introduced to assist Blair in his debates in Parliament. Wolfowitz tried to explain to leftist reporters why sanctions would not work when he told them Iraq sat on “a sea of oil.” That, of course, set off the lefty hysteria of “No blood for oil !”

      I agree the occupation was botched. One reason was that Turkey stabbed us in the back by refusing to permit the northern approach in the invasion. Turkey has been turning Islamist under Erdogan and that was a surprise. When we came up from the south, the Sunni areas were a refuge for the worst elements of Saddam’s regime. Those same elements are now leading ISIS.

      We could now survive quite well without Saudi oil if we had a government that was rational about energy. We don’t. Europe is already awash in jihadis and Muslims. Imagine if the Islamists were in control of the oil.

      We still are a nation that does business, much of it with other nations. “Fortress America,” which seems to be Jim’s desire, would not work any better than it would have in the 1940s.

      Anyone who doubts that Hitler could have defeated Britain in 1940 should read “Five Days in London: May 1940” It was far closer than most remember.

    52. Grurray Says:

      William of Orange crossed the channel and invaded England in 1688.

    53. Grurray Says:

      The important lesson there is a result of The Glorious Revolution was that colonial governments in New England and Maryland were also overthrown.
      In 1940, the Brits had bases in Newfoundland, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Had they fallen to the Nazis, we would become a lot less isolated.
      Even the possibility of Britain losing was unacceptable.

    54. Jim Says:

      Mike K. – I’m a little baffled by your statement that after 9/11 our access to Saudi oil was in any way threatened. By who?

      In any event whoever controls oil in the Middle East cannot drink it. They will sell it to somebody. If they won’t sell it to us but say to the Japanese then we just buy it from the Japanese. The additional cost is minor compared to the cost of our Middle Eastern wars.

      Grurray – don’t be silly. William was invited in by members of the English Parliament. James had almost no support and his government collapsed almost immediately.

      The Nazis taking over Newfoundland, Jamaica or the Bahamas!? This is funny.

    55. Mike K Says:

      “Mike K. – I’m a little baffled by your statement that after 9/11 our access to Saudi oil was in any way threatened. By who?”

      Well, certainly not by Saddam. Actually, he had defeated the sanctions and we were in a position where we had to pull a lot of our bases out of Saudi. We moved to Qatar, which is not much of an improvement.

      Have you read “The Looming Tower” yet ? I don’t want to have to conduct a high school level seminar on the middle east.

    56. ErisGuy Says:

      In international politics, states rarely take pre-emptive action. How many times has the USA done so? Not the Civil War. Not WW1. Not WW2. Not the Cold War. Not the war against the Barbary Pirates. Perhaps 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish War.

      I can’t see the Congress or American people backing massive conquest of Arabia or Iran without some (more) provocation.

    57. Joe Wooten Says:

      Anyone who doubts that Hitler could have defeated Britain in 1940 should read “Five Days in London: May 1940″ It was far closer than most remember.

      The Luftwaffe had almost gotten the RAF on the ropes with the constant attacks on the air bases and repair facilities. They were at best only a couple of weeks from a major collapse due to pilot exhaustion. Then Hitler and Goering ordered the attacks to shift to London and the cities in retaliation to RAF attacks on German cities.

      With the RAF not able to control the skies over the English Channel, the small German Navy would have been able to get troops across with heavy air cover to go after the Royal navy ships. Those troops, along with paratroops, could have gotten a toehold in Southern England and eventually knocked England out.

      It would have been bloody and both sides would take a lot of casualties. The German Navy would probably have been wiped out and the Royal navy severely weakened. Taking Britain would probably have delayed Hitler’s invasion of the USSR by at least a year.

    58. Mike K Says:

      “The Luftwaffe had almost gotten the RAF on the ropes with the constant attacks on the air bases and repair facilities. ”

      That saved Britain almost certainly. The book, Five Days, points out that Halifax was very close to resigning which would have forced Churchill out and he was all there was between the British and surrender. Once Halifax asked the Italian to negotiate with Hitler for terms, morale, which was shaky, would have collapsed. Dunkirk was the other thing that saved them.

      Lukacs points out that Churchill does not mention those days in his Memoirs.

    59. David Foster Says:

      The other major threat to Britain was the U-boat. There were several innovations that allowed this menace to be substantially suppressed:

      1) Microwave radar, which allowed a submarine’s periscope or snorkel to be detected from an airplane

      2) High-frequency direction finding, which allowed a sub’s position to be triangulated if it used its radio for transmission

      3) The breaking of the Enigma code, aided by devices developed at Bletchley Park (as is well-known) and in Dayton, Ohio (as is not so well-known)

      Absent any of these factors, Britain would likely have had a much harder time holding on, and the US would likely have had a much more difficult time transporting the troops and equipment needed for D-Day.

      I have also read that some officers and analysts viewed the massive assignment of aircraft to the strategic bombing role as imperiling submarine defense.

    60. Jim Says:

      Getting involved in the charnelhouses of the Middle East was one of the most disastrous mistakes this country ever made. People like Marshall and Kennan strongly urged that we not become involved in Middle
      Eastern conflicts. Ignoring the advice of these men has had hugely negative consequences for this country.

      Countries like China and Japan are highly dependent on Middle Eastern oil but have wisely totally keep out of Middle Eastern conflicts. The US gets natural resources such as copper and cobalt from the Congo, a place of awesome slaughter even beyond the level of the Middle East, but we have wisely avoided much involvement in the butchery there.

    61. Mike K Says:

      “Getting involved in the charnelhouses of the Middle East was one of the most disastrous mistakes this country ever made.”

      Churchill converted the British Navy from coal to oil and that made the middle east of strategic importance to the west. After World War II, Britain could no longer maintain its control of the middle east and the Nazis had done much to stir the pot, including the Holocaust and stirring up the Arabs.

      We replaced the British and have been required to keep the lid on that particular pot ever since.

      Now we have to option of energy independence but we have loony leftists who are convinced that energy from oil will burn up the earth and who oppose our own energy industry. That keeps us in the middle east until sanity returns to politics.

      History, my good man, history would be good for you.

    62. Grurray Says:

      I think that Epstein is asking the wrong questions. Rand’s father actually introduced legislation to make use of the letters of marque and reprisal power after 9/11. It would actually be an interesting hypothetical to put before Senator Paul. Did he think that his father was onto something in 2001 and 2007 when he introduced that solution and does he think that America and the world would be better off with that approach?.

      I think it’s a good approach and we’re basically doing it with military contractors.
      The call just went out for more of them to go to Iraq.

      Now if we would just privatize the air force, we’d save a lot of money on boondoggles that will never see action and get more efficient deployments of aircraft we do need.

    63. Mike K Says:

      Maybe we need an Uber service of A 10s Kurds can rent.

    64. Grurray Says:

      Funny you should say that because John Robb shared this the other day:

      https://getbannerman.com/

      I suppose it’s only a matter of time before it goes global.