“Governments behaving badly: The battle of our time is being waged right now”

From a characteristically astute column by J.E. Dyer:

The point of the Treaty of Westphalia was not that religion is ugly and divisive, or that it must be subordinated to the political. The point was that the armed force of the nation-state, which is useful and does good service for the right purposes, must not be used to enforce universalist philosophies or settle their irreconcilable disputes.
The Westphalian commitment is that universalism will not take precedence over national sovereignty. Instead, national sovereignty will protect nations from movements for overweening universalism.
In 1648, the conscious commitment to this principle helped end the wars of Catholic and Protestant monarchs on the European continent (although the effect was not immediate). In the Napoleonic era, it was instrumental in beating back Bonaparte’s encroaching supranational vision: a hybrid of Roman imperial concepts and French revolutionary declarations.
The Westphalian commitment to respect for national sovereignty was also a key enabling factor for the success of the United States, once we established the “national” and “sovereignty” conditions. America is not possible without Westphalianism.
And in the 20th century, it was the continued commitment to the Westphalian nation-state that allowed the free West to face down ruthless, radical, universalist Communism, even though the latter expanded with each decade into more and more territory, and became equipped with vast conventional armies, nuclear weapons, and seats in the United Nations. The UN was useless for defeating state-armed Communist aggression. It was a specific group of nations acting in their own right, led by the United States, that achieved that goal.
In 2019, the confrontation is in some ways harder to discern than in earlier centuries. It isn’t between nations; it’s within them. Urban “elites” align with each other across borders, the leaders of the biggest cities consciously identifying not with their compatriots from the hinterlands but with the leaders of foreign megalopolises. Conversely, many of the people outside the “elite” circles, wherever in the world they are, take to the streets cheering America’s Donald Trump. His brand of politics cares about them.
The nation-state is what makes the protection of liberty and rights possible. Undermining the nation-state is the project of today’s universalist collectivism, and the government crises in the U.S., UK, and France are visible signs of that battle being waged. This is not a battle over theory or mere programmatic choices. It’s a battle for the future of mankind.

In a way that seems psychologically analogous to price trends in financial markets, the civil war is what’s happening now while people focus on lurid predictions that don’t materialize.

Read the whole thing.

44 thoughts on ““Governments behaving badly: The battle of our time is being waged right now””

  1. “The model is the “Treaty of Westphalia” commitment to respect national sovereignty instead of fighting to make sure only one side of each proximate philosophical dispute is left standing.”

    So does this apply to Venezuela? Right now it looks like you are about to commit another crime against a national government. Elected recently, with one of the highest scores ever given for election fairness.

  2. PenGun loves him some Socialist dictators.

    I assume you are also a mullah fan in Iran. Those stupid people who want to rule themselves.

    Shoot a few and all will be peaceful.

  3. I love everyone. Its part of what I am. ;)

    Your neocon take over seems to bother you not at all. I find that a bit disturbing. As for the rest of the world I refer you to what I quoted above.

  4. Pengun, you manage to miss the point as usual. National sovereignty isn’t an end in itself. Like honest elections and representative govt it is a means to help attain and preserve the goal of ordered liberty. Venezuela’s corrupt elections no more certify the Maduro regime’s legitimacy than Nkruma’s steel mills made Ghana an industrial power. Thousands of Venezuelans are voting with their feet and they aren’t fleeing to other left-wing dictatorships. The Maduro regime uses military force to block food imports that it reasonably fears will sap its power over Venezuelan citizens. The USA and the other countries that support the Venezuelan opposition are hoping that they will persuade the dictatorship to cede power to the voters before there is even more bloodshed, destruction and mass-flight that seem inevitable otherwise. Why is it wrong for us to do this?

    In the USA we have a different kind of agency problem as members of our political elites want us to follow policies that many voters think help rival countries at those voters’ expense. Some members of our elites assert that Trump is an illegitimate president even as they themselves seek to impose unpopular globalist policies on US voters by fiat. I don’t agree with all of Trump’s policies, especially as regards to trade, but it seems to me that the people in our govt should always seek to act in the interests of Americans rather than of the “planet”, Gaia, the international community, or globalist elites in other countries. The members of our political classes used to participate more frequently in our wars and in diversified private business activities than they do now. Perhaps a healthy dose of nationalism would do them and the rest of us some good.

  5. He has been voted in with large majorities in carefully vetted elections. After the western cabal nixed the asked for UN monitors, for the last election. An intentional consortium sent its own people. They adjudged it to be eminently fair and found little to worry them. YMMV of course.

    If you think you can just appoint a new head of state, then you do not believe at all in The Treaty of Westphalia.

  6. Jimmy Carter thought Chavez’s elections were fair. You can find people who think any election is fair. The question is whether Jimmy Carter or UN bureaucrats or other observers who come from afar and then leave are better judges of elections than are the people who have to live with the results. This isn’t a difficult question to answer. Yanqui imperialism is of much less concern to most of its putative victims than are abuses by their own govts.

  7. Mark lloyd the previous administration’s political commissar cheered how private media had been muzzled, In order to allow ‘the wonderful democratic revolution’s that has deprived the Venezuelan people of freedom food and even toilet paper

  8. I dunno if the Venezuela elections have been “fair” or not. It’s entirely possible that some or all of them have been legitimately won by Chavez & Maduro. It’s also possible that is true, AND that they’ve actively and violently suppressed the opposition to increase their margins, just to be sure, and/or just for fun. It’s a third world country, after all, with a massive part of the country in desperate poverty. It’s quite possible to destroy 25% of the population, and make the other 75% either slightly marginally better off, or make them worse off but still happier because those wealthier than them have been crushed. But I think it’s fair to say that if people are actively leaving your country in massive numbers, your government is a failure. And I don’t believe that a 350 year old treaty that predates our own country by more than a century should determine what we do about it.

    By the way, it does occur to one that if you are an organization whose goal is political power, you have an incentive to turn your country into something like Venezuela, because it’s easier to seize total power. And it does seem like this has been the active plan of the California Democrat Party over the last quarter century…

  9. All I can advise those threatened by you, is to fight like wolverines.

    Fair enough. Your friends in ISIS are doing just that. No doubt you would be happy to accept a few in your home.

    Pennie, you are out of date (no surprise) about neocons. The few remaining neocons are at the heart of the NeverTrump rump party.

    We are mainly interested in Venezuela as a human misery subject. The elections are not really an issue. The Chavez election was probably valid and those now starving and dying of treatable illness were those voters. Venezuela had the economy typical of former Spanish colonies. They had a pretty good sized middle class and a very large underclass. That underclass supported Chavez and are now starving≥ The Venezuelan middle class is now in Miami and doing pretty well, just like the Cuban middle class before them.

    Idiots who vote for Socialism deserve what they get. We just don’t want them trying to invade us.

    The neocons thought that democracy and free economies could be exported. Iraq proved that was not true.

    There are very few neocons left.

  10. “We are mainly interested in Venezuela as a human misery subject.”

    Pure bullshit. If you cared you would not have killed millions of innocents all the world. Your sledgehammer to a fly response to 9/11 was classic overreaction and its killed probably a million innocents. Your support of the Saudis and their support of Al Queda in Syria is well documented in that bloodbath.

    Bullshit, you want their f&*^%*# oil.

    Bolton and Pompeo are almost pure neocons and they run your foreign policy now. As I said the deal is in and Trump gets to stay if he goes along..

  11. Nice of PenGun to shawm his true anti-American face here.

    Bullshit, you want their f&*^%*# oil.<

    We are exporting oil and gas, dopey. They have killed their own oil industry. Many oil workers from PVSD Went to Canada to work in Alberta.

    This is the same lie that lefties like you tried to spread about Iraq.

    Can't you learn a new script ?

  12. I thought Penny had left forever.

    Hey Penny, how about this–I predict that Trump will use military force to overthrow ZERO foreign governments. If I’m right, on election day 2020, you go away for Trump’s second term. Wanna bet?

  13. Q: I’m genuinely curious about whether Venezuela tried to obtain nuke tech from/with Iran. You have to think that back in the early days when they were flush with cash they must have realized their system would never last, and the best way to safeguard themselves was to get nukes. Or would they have thought that that would have been a line that their neighbors and the US wouldn’t let them cross, and would have justified immediate regime change?

  14. *yawn* Want their oil? It’s what they call heavy and crude, apparently a bear to refine: IIRC, there’s only one refinery in the US set up to refine Venezuelan oil. We got plenty of our own.
    As for Venezuela itself – they voted Chavez and Maduro in, cheered them on as long as the goodies got delivered. They brought this on themselves, they can damn well figure their own way out of it. No real need for us to get involved.

  15. there’s only one refinery in the US set up to refine Venezuelan oil. We got plenty of our own.

    PenGun was promised there would be no math.

    Now, leave the poor guy alone.

  16. Hes not even original in their talking points, their industry cant supply nuclear processing technology, there was that trial balloon re backfire bombers at orchila island but 5hats all it is.

  17. Actually, I think this misses the biggest point of Westphalia–The issue of accountability for the nation-state. Before Westphalia, if the Duke of Wherever felt like aggrandizing his territory, he was within his rights to make war on whomever he felt like, except those territories belonging to his feudal superiors. Even then, it was possible for him to do things like invade the neighboring barony, making war on a peer.

    Westphalia set the bar for making war at the nation-state level; it also set the standard such that you were responsible for the acts of your citizenry, in terms of what they did on the territory of another nation-state. This pair of principles vastly decreased the amount of conflict, and regulated it to a point where things like the depradations of the Barbary Pirates were finally put down by the nation-states of Europe. This has been a general good, for all concerned, and it’s a thing that hasn’t been recognized much when we discuss this sort of thing.

    A world where H. Ross Perot can hire himself a mercenary army, and go after Iran for taking his employees hostage is not a world we want to live in, especially if nuclear weapons ever go on the open market. Keeping armed conflict in the hands of the nation-state is a net good, and one we would do well to reinforce rather than weaken.

    And, I’m going to continue to point out that the real lasting legacy of the Bush Administration will eventually be seen as his feckless weakening of the principle. Allowing Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to essentially sub-contract an attack on the US via a third-party cutout was a huge error, and because they were seen to be able to “get away with it”, even profiting hugely in the case of Pakistan, well… There’s going to be hell to pay, in the form of some lost cities, sometime in the future.

    Had Bush possessed wisdom, instead of feckless “care for humanity”, he’d have laid it on the table up front, demanded satisfaction from Pakistan (for the ISI’s knowledge and probable involvement in 9/11) and Saudi Arabia (for the very obvious participation by members of the Saudi government in providing clean passports and vetting the hijackers for visas), and if they had not turned over all of the responsible connivers that enabled al Qaeda, well… He should have turned both countries into salutary lessons on why it is not acceptable to make war outside the confines of Westphalia and the other generally accepted Western conventions of war.

    Instead, his foolishness means we’re going to see more and more of this chaotic sort of conflict, resulting in the inevitable use of WMD by non-state actors. Lovely legacy, is it not? It’s one that they’ll be teaching in whatever passes for the academy, in a few generations–Supposing there is any such thing in existence.

  18. “there’s only one refinery in the US set up to refine Venezuelan oil. We got plenty of our own.”

    Why not let Citgo have their approximately 9 billion US you are holding then? That’s where you got that refinery, an award winner apparently..

  19. For someone living in south florida In the 80s this appears terribly familiar, Maduro is like Ortega, Borges was the power behind the throne the fmr Jesuit interior minister, they had a contingent of minfar troops and dgi officials in the ministry along with various south American insurgent auxiliaries like vital Roberto gauguine the last carried out the attempt on pastora that became the category of the Christic institute.

  20. The Christics were a public interest (lawfare outfit,) spun off by Daniel Sheehan, he was private maytag (elder Phillips)* paymaster. They believed a Libyan exile amac Galil was responsible they borrowed their theory from fletcher prouty, landsdales first mistake,

  21. Prouty having later joined the liberty lobby and served as the tent pole for JFK blending in much of the dezinforma the Soviets had funnelled through le himanite and paesa de serra.

  22. Probably, they strongly influenced tip o’Neil against the salvadoran regime and the Nicaraguan resistance. The ones known as the contras. The Venezuelan political class supported the sandinistas and other left wing insurgents but were diligent against the red flag, the wannabe guerillas, which Chavez was strongly sympathetic cabello the last of his inner circle, who runs the sun cartel. Who were bribed by Derwick partners the associates of fusion GPS which laundered their cash into south Florida real estate as well as hit pieces against regime opponents like thor halvorson

  23. Certainly in the 70s when the late ali Rodriguez (future head of opec) and a whole host of other insurgents were being driven to ground by their security service disip notably their chief deputy Luis Posada carriles who passed away last may. That name may ring a bell, but not for the reasons you may think. Simultaneously the establishment expanded relations with the Castro regime

  24. PenGun:
    So does this apply to Venezuela? Right now it looks like you are about to commit another crime against a national government. Elected recently, with one of the highest scores ever given for election fairness.

    In the 2018 Presidential “election,” major opposition figures like Leopoldo Lopez were not permitted to run. I am reminded of the Mullah’s setup in Iran, where the Mullahs vet candidates. Only those meeting approval of the Mullahs are permitted to run for office. Maduro did likewise in the 2018 Presidential “election.”

    The opposition won two-thirds of the seats – 112 of 168- in the December 2015 National Assembly Elections.Maduro did not want to deal with a legislature that the opposition dominated, so he or his Cuban friends came up with the idea of a National Constituent Assembly to bypass the National Assembly.Venezuelan election turnout figures manipulated by one million votes: election company.

    Turnout figures in Venezuela’s Constitutional Assembly election were manipulated up by least 1 million votes, Smartmatic, a company which has worked with Venezuela since 2004 on its voting system, said on Wednesday.

    “We know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said at a news briefing in London.

    Mugica said Smartmatic, which has provided electronic voting technology for elections around the world, was able to detect the overstated officially announced turnout because of Venezuela’s automated election system.

    “We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least 1 million votes,” he said.

    Consider this about the 2010 National Assembly elections. Venezuela News and Views: He didn’t say that! Did he? Your Christmas idiot on the loose.

    Sin nombre @ 8:07 a.m.
    5.Chávez: “El sistema electoral venezolano es el mejor del mundo. Aquí es imposible hacer fraude”
    Translation: “The Venezuelan electoral system is the best in the world. Here it is impossible to commit fraud.”

    Translation: We are going to commit fraud and there is no way you can prove it!

    Actually, electoral fraud has been instituted into the system, in the drawing up of electoral districts. Very easy to prove. I do not know if sin nombre is aware of this, so I will repeat what I previously wrote.

    Hugo Chávez and his minions feel no obligation to draw up voting districts with more or less equal populations, in spite of what the Venezuelan Constitution says about proportional representation. “I am the law,” Hugo says.

    The Venezuelan Constitution, in Article 293 10) states:
    “Electoral Power organs shall guarantee the equality, impartiality, transparency and efficiency of electoral processes, as well as implementation of the personalization of suffrage and proportional representation.”

    This is from the Constitution the Hugo wrote. He sees no need to follow it. Proof follows.

    An examination of the number of registered voters in voting districts shows how Chavez and his minions structured electoral fraud into the system. A more egregious example follows. You can click on Miranda-3 and Miranda-7 to find out the number of registered voters. We find out that in Miranda-3, which went oppo, there are 321,909 registered voters. We find out that in Miranda-7, which went Chavista, there are 137,843 registered voters.

    On the state level, Miranda and Carabobo states show the extent of Chavista Gerrymandering.The Circunscripción circuitos/voting districts that went for PSUV /Chavista candidates had on average about 30% fewer registered voters/Assembly seat than those that went for Oppo candidates.

    Registered voters/Assembly seat
    Broken down by victors in Circuitos/Circunscripciones/voting districts, not for statewide winners.

    Oppo 255,104
    Chavista 170,144

    Oppo 267,524
    Chavista 179,382

    That is how you get 64% of the Assembly seats with only 48% of the vote. All votes are equal, but some votes are more equal than others.

    Eection results are from links from the Election Results Main Page. Click on Miranda and on Carabobo for results for those states. [M.P.J. is oppo. P.S.U.V. is Chavista. In other states, there were other oppo-coalition parties running, such as Acción Democrática.]

    So, Thugo and electoral fraud go together like corn and arepas. Very easy to prove, as in the above. Anyone who claims there is no fraud is either an ignorant fool or a mendacious jerk. Or a Chavista. Or all three. Take your pick.

    Funny how PenGun’s comment sounds very much like what Chávez said about the Venezuelan electoral system being the “best in the world.”

    I am ambivalent about US intervention in Venezuela, as we will be damned if we do or damned if we don’t. What I find interesting is that those who are most vehement against US intervention in Venezuela know next to nothing about the place. The non-interventionists repeat easily refuted Chavista talking points.

  25. Now they had elections for the national assembly, but the opposition won handily so Maduro had it shutdown and human chatterbox delay Rodriguez, the aoc of Venezuela replaced the body. Guiado is just the last of the opposition leaders.

  26. PenGun:
    So does this apply to Venezuela? Right now it looks like you are about to commit another crime against a national government. Elected recently, with one of the highest scores ever given for election fairness.

    The Venezuelan Constitution- a Constitution that Chavismo wrote- provides for a recall referendum if enough signatures are collected in a timely manner. In spite of having done so, the Chavista-controlled Electoral Council used whatever pretext it could invent to successfully prevent a Recall Referendum from occurring. Advanced Google Search at Caracas Chronicles: 2016 “recall referendum” will provide information for those who are interested.

    Devil’s Excrement: mathematical models of the recall vote discusses academic papers that use statistical analysis which point to fraud in the 2004 Recall Referendum. Which Hugo won.

    And PenGun talks about “one of the highest scores ever given for election fairness.” As they say in Venezuela,¡Que bolas! (What gall, what chutzpah…Literally, what balls.)

    Factoid: Tibisay Lucena, the head of the Electoral Council, is a graduate of The New School in New York. The New School, which provided refuge for Hannah Arendt and others from the depredations of Hitler, now turns out a Chavista apparatchik.

  27. Narciso:

    Now they had elections for the national assembly, but the opposition won handily so Maduro had it shutdown and human chatterbox delay Rodriguez, the aoc of Venezuela replaced the body. Guiado is just the last of the opposition leaders.

    Some act as if Juan Guaidó came out of nowhere, but he is President of the National Assembly. For those who claim that he is “right wing,” consider that he helped found the Voluntad Popular party- which is a member of Socialist International.

    Miguel Cervantes:
    For someone living in south florida In the 80s this appears terribly familiar, Maduro is like Ortega, Borges was the power behind the throne the fmr Jesuit interior minister

    Interior Minister Borge was not a Jesuit, but yes he was powerful. Miguel D’Escoto, the Foreign Minister, was a Jesuit. He was a powerless figurehead. For example, he didn’t go on the trip to Moscow in 1980 when the Sandinistas established party-to-party relations with the USSR and also endorsed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. D’Escoto was a talking head whose function was to talk English with the Gringos. Fernando Cardenal,another Jesuit, was Minister of Education. His brother Ernesto, also a priest but not a Jesuit, was Minister of Culture.

  28. Apologies I mixed them up, I remember there were at least two fmr jesuits. Pope John Paul told then it step down. The most prominent non resistance figure was cardinal obando y bravo.

  29. OK. They will probably arrest Guaido today. Well see what happens. The last time you did “responsibility to protect” we got Libya.

  30. It has been 30+ years since I toiled in the refinery business, so my knowledge isn’t current.

    A refinery was built on the Texas South coast near Corpus Cristi by Tosco back around 1980 or so. Its nameplate capacity
    was 25,000 BPD as I recall. It was built specifically to process Orinoco Belt crude, which is very sour
    and very heavy (viscous). To process such crude profitably, requires extra crackers (to produce olefins and hydrogen),
    and extra hydrotreaters ( to reduce and extract the sour components- nitrogen and sulfur, with that hydrogen). Such crude carries
    a significant discount. That is a lot of extra, and large expensive process units. The Tosco refinery was
    very expensive for the time.

    To transport Orinoco Crude via pipeline, it has to be diluted with a lighter distillate to cut its viscosity
    to permit pumping efficiently. I don’t know what kind of indigenous refinery capacity exits in Venezuela
    presently, but apparently they have to source this diluent on the open market.

    I recall that the original Tosco refinery has had upgrades since originally built, I don’t know present capacity or owner.
    Since Tosco was built, other Gulf Coast refineries have had upgrades to enable processing Orinoco crude. I don’t know which ones,
    but am sure it has happened.

    A related issue is processing Athabasca tar sands output. It is likewise very viscous, but not quite so sour. It is also diluted for transport. Because of limited pipeline capacity, this past winter has seen truly punishing discounts needed to motivate buyers. Last November when WTI was bringing $60/BBL, Tar Sands was going for $10/BBL. Ouch!

    American refiners have spent a lot on refinery upgrades to process this heavy stuff, the margins are better.

  31. “I wish the Venezuelans well but Venezuela is not worth the bones of a single American soldier.”

    This why I advise those threatened, to fight like wolverines. Blood is all you understand. ;)

  32. Fight like wolverines? You should tell them to fight like Honey Badgers.
    Honey Badgers eat Cobras for breakfast.

    Venezuela and Venezuelans are in for a very hard row to hoe. They have eaten their seed corn.
    Their middle class has fled. Those who remain mostly just want the pipeline of freebies
    reopened. They haven’t even begun to learn their lessons. The world doesn’t need their oil.
    Call me in 40-60 years.

  33. Snark- and ignorant snark at that- appears to be all that PenGun is capable of doing. At least that is all PenGun has supplied for Venezuela.

  34. Mike K, I have been reading and occasionally sparring with PenGun for years. Here is a great quote from PenGun when he has been exposed for not having learned anything in the last 40 years.The Phobia(s) That May Destroy America

    Gringo: “Are you really so ignorant that you were unaware of George Wallace’s change of heart, or are you simply being a troll?”

    PenGun: Although I can occasionally do under/on bridge work it’s really because I am not an American and much of the minutia there escapes me.

    Time and again PenGun calls us Yanks ignorant rubes -or worse- and then when being called out for being ignorant, makes the excuse that as a furriner he doesn’t follow the US that much. Classic.

  35. Must have hit the wrong key.

    Well I try to look on the bright side of things. With Justine headed for the hoosegow, that native
    ex-Attorney General will be headed for electoral greatness. Fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples,
    forget any new crude pipelines. Woohoo! Send us all of that steeply discounted Athabasca oil ya got.

    Since you mention George Wallace in passing, it is timely to remember that when he ran for President in 1968,
    his running mate for Veep was Curtis LeMay, who was mentioned prominently in the series just posted by Trent.

Comments are closed.