Quote of the Day

“Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” has often struck me as the Bourbon Restoration attempted with rotgut whiskey.”

Wretchard T. Cat, on Facebook

His earlier comment in the thread provides context: “The key to [the Greatest Generation’s]  success was that they did not try to restore the pre-WW2 system. They let the British and European colonial empires die. The world was rebuilt on first principles. Subsequent generations have done the opposite. They’ve focused on preserving the World Order.”

7 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Strauss and Howe didn’t get everything right but they got a lot right.

    Wretchard is right in a way. We’ve been coasting on the Global Order created by the GI Generation to fight the Cold War since at least 1992. We had an opportunity to refashion it in the years after the breakup of the USSR. Billy Jeff and W both made an attempt to justify it based on engagement civilizing China and using the End of History theory to claim the cost was going to be acceptable, or even a net benefit, to the US but that opportunity blew up with the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11. He’s wrong in the sense that no Generation has had the Crisis opportunity to remake it that the GIs did at the end of WWII. I don’t even know if getting into a real shooting war before the end of the current crisis period will give us the opportunity again.

  2. “ They let the British and European colonial empires die. ” Another phrase for surrendered to communism and Islam, whose consequences we live with today.

    EUropeans exported socialism and communism instead of Christianity. All those abandoned “African” ways of Nkrumah, Nyerere (and that’s just the Ns) or Asians ways of Mao, Ho, and Pot weren’t native inventions, but Marxism, born and bread in that most imperial of European capitals, London.

  3. The old order was exhausted and in the hospice after WW1. WW2 was the lethal cocktail.

    Before 1945, there had never existed world wide free trade. Thanks to the US everyone who could get to Sea, could trade with anyone outside of a colonial network. ( Russian and China excluded )
    Since Nixon and Soviet collapse, the largest increase in wealth, population, health has occured.
    The release of potential of Eastern Europe, Russia and Chinese.
    Putin, Xi and others think that they did this. They didn’t. They are grifting beneficiaries. With nuclear weapons.
    Right now Putin, maybe, is dimly discovering what reverting to a colonial power costs. Maybe he’ll be happy with that. Meanwhile the world is large and has plenty of whatever Putin thinks the World must have from him. ( See Venezuela, Iran…). Xi thinks, maybe, the world, still full of low employed labor, can’t live without China.

  4. I don’t think the quote is particularly accurate. Germany had been divested of its colonies after WWI, mostly in Africa (remember “The African Queen”) and the South Pacific, ironically, mostly to Japan. The French tried to regain their control of French Indochina, otherwise known as Vietnam and their African colonies. Likewise the Dutch. The Britts spent about fifteen years getting pushed out of East Africa while retaining Rhodesia and South Africa for as long as they could. I’m sure there are other instances and the colonial regime ended eventually but not gracefully or in any way by choice of the colonizing nations or, except for India, proximate to the end of WWII. And aren’t all those former colonies now beacons of comity, justice and enlightenment.

    The Philippines being an exception as their voluntary independence was planed and underway when WWII intervened.

  5. As far as old orders go, I think it’s always helpful to read history with a degree of empathy as opposed to simply dragging up things from the past to serve present-day battles. Going back to the early 1990s and the end of the Cold War the belief was that great power rivalry was dead and that nations would submerge their foreign policy within a global economic order. The world was going to be free and rich and we were truly at the end of History, all very Hegelian. Well even if that wasn’t a delusion. we don’t live in that era anymore

    Two examples come to mind of world leaders who when faced with a changed world, rapidly changed their thinking. After Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Chamberlain abandoned his policy of appeasement and put Britain on a war footing. Indeed he was Britain’s PM for the first 8 months of WW II until he got the boot over Norway. Everybody’s favorite foreign policy wimp Jimmy Carter? After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan he realized that Detente was dead and began the rearmament effort that Reagan put into overdrive.

    What about Biden? If Afghanistan didn’t signal the end of the post-Col War era or Russia invading Ukraine what about Iran’s proxy launching 10/7 or Iran’s other proxy shutting down the shipping lanes or Iran’s other proxy about to start a regional war from Lebanon? What about Chinese expansionism and its not so veiled threats to Taiwan to come along peacefully and for other east Asian countries to choose sides?

    The Biden Administration has talked a good game about dealing with some of these threats on an individual basis, such as supporting Ukraine or convoying ships in the Red Sea, but it still acts like nothing has really changed, that these all aberrations. If you thought the world just became a much more dangerous place you wouldn’t be gutting the warfighting capability of your military with crazy DEI schemes, strained supply systems, and dysfunctional procurement programs. You wouldn’t be crippling your economy by virtuously switching to green energy programs at the same your rivals are negating your efforts by burning more and more coal. You wouldn’t be sending billions of dollars to gain the favor of a regime that thinks you are the Great Satan and is building nukes. Biden’s mouth says the world has changed, but his eyes and actions say business as usual

    The problem here with Biden is one that has been present since day 1 of his Administration; the man doesn’t run his own presidency but rather the different pieces are farmed out with him as the figurehead, all concessions he made in order to be President. No one is running the show, no National Command Authority, that can knock heads and make leadership decisions that will make our foreign and military policy actually represent American national interests and not some Democratic faction. The other, more frightening, explanation is that to deny that the global rules-based order has changed is to concede that Trump was right and that would bring about the existential crisis. Either way unlike Chamberlain or Carter, Biden will not change.

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