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Domestic Confidence in the US Military Over Time
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Trust in American institutions is in secular decline. One salient exception to this trend is the US military. The way the military was regarded and soldiers treated after Vietnam is a far cry from how it’s regarded and they are treated today:

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the obliteration of Iraqi forces in Desert Storm, confidence in the military spiked before settling back into a pattern of modest but steady climb. After two decades of bleeding out in Iraq and Afghanistan, baseline confidence is now where it was after Saddam Hussein was kicked out of Kuwait.

Is it sustainable? A humiliating backing down in the face of Chinese revanchism against Taiwan will provide an answer in the next few years. For the little it’s worth, this blogger views such a putative humiliation as prudent for reorienting America towards a humbler foreign policy and avoiding an unnecessary military escalation drawing in much of the world over a dispute within China’s immediate sphere of influence.

GSS variables used: CONARMY, YEAR, POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)

 
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  1. I don’t think Biden and his tribe of warmongering fools will wait to tussle with China over Taiwan. They appear hell bent to get roughed up by Russia in Ukraine. I believe that the last 21 days have been the most humiliating to American foreign policy in my lifetime. The combination of arrogance and ineptitude embodied in Biden’s team gives the impression that my country is hollow. It is like watching an old, out of shape and drunken uncle pick fights with his nephews at a picnic. At some point the old man will either fall down, pass out, or get his ass kicked. The best he can hope for is to be ignored until he sobers up.
    Lavrov’s comments summed it up. “As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. These are exactly the values that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.”
    The team in Washington scares the hell out of me.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    @Mule Named Sal


    As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. These are exactly the values that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.
     
    I cannot help but recall what I read in, I think, TheSilk Roads. Talking about Ribbentrop and Nazi German diplomacy, it's not hard to remember that many countries joined Germany in the war. Hungary and Romania were both allies, and Hitler actually pretty fairly divided Transylvania between them after the travesty of Trianon. But once the unfortunate allies had been signed up for the Soviet Invasion, the author mentions about how the role of diplomacy basically vanished: there was no longer any need/desire/time to persuade people, only to pursue military policy.

    Lavrov recognizes the pattern in an opponent. They're not going to allow a 1000-mile incursion into their territory this time.
  2. The rising confidence in military is even more troubling than the raw numbers of the chart shown by the author, given that in general, the confidence in all branches of the government (local, federal, congress, executive, judiciary…) and confidence in most private sectors (high tech, mass stream media, healthcare, higher education, wall street…) are ALL falling.

    Americans’ rising confidence in military displays deepening sickness that is rotting through the core of the society.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @d dan


    Americans’ rising confidence in military displays deepening sickness that is rotting through the core of the society.
     
    It's what you expect in any militaristic society - a mixture of arrogance, paranoia and hysteria. An insane paranoid belief that America is surrounded by enemies.

    To some extent we're seeing the same pattern in other Anglosphere countries. Militarism is on the rise in Australia. The Americans are spreading their madness to their puppet states.

    In America it's worse because Americans have always had the mad idea that it is their destiny and their duty to impose their values on the rest of the planet. They've been doing that since 1917.

    This madness is not the result of multiculturalism or diversity or cultural marxism or the machinations of the Left. It has nothing to do with Left or Right, Republican or Democrat. It's a madness inherent in the United States.

    To a degree it's a madness inherited from the English. You can see some of this imperialistic hypocritical moralising in 19th century England. The worst features of 19th century England seemed to be a result of Protestantism but the much more virulent and deranged nature of American Protestantism has magnified the madness.

    There were signs of sanity in the US in the 60s and 70s when militarism briefly went out of fashion. Unfortunately that temporary bout of sanity soon passed.
  3. The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath. As things stand, I currently have more confidence in the Myanmar military to do what is right than in the US military.

    • Agree: James Braxton
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    @BlackC

    Expected a Rubiconcrossing, did you?

    Replies: @BlackC

    , @V. K. Ovelund
    @BlackC


    The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath.
     
    Speaking for myself, were I polled, 2021 marks the first year ever during which I would have expressed lack of confidence in the U.S. military. So that makes two of us.

    @TomSchmidt


    I’m pretty sure the military can defend the government from attack. The nation? Or at least the territory of the United States? Not so much.
     
    I think that we'll be all right. Too much has been made of U.S. ineptitude in the so-called War on Terror. Not even Anatoly Karlin's beloved Russian Army could fight well under such restrictive rules of engagement.

    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense. Moreover, unfortunately, these days, the United States has rather a large number of the most practically experienced soldiers on the planet. They'd make a great cadre if you had to expand the Army in a hurry.

    No disrespect is offered to Karlin and his Russians, who are undoubtedly deadly, but Russia has no such cadre. Russia lacks much of what the U.S. has. Russia has hypersonic missiles, which seem to have a lot of propaganda impact at any rate; but to the extent to which hypersonics is an aerial threat, I assume that the Air Force is working on it.

    As for the Navy, U.S. Marine Raiders alone would give the Chinese a lot of trouble, not to mention the SEALs. And that's just the tip of the spear.

    If it sounds like jingoism, I gave that up years ago. I do not recommend picking a fight with Russia, China or Iran if the U.S. can help it, much less all three at once, but proportionality is still warranted.

    @Mule Named Sal


    Lavrov’s comments summed it up. “As a matter of fact, [the Americans] have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy."
     
    Would it do harm to furlough the entire U.S. State Department for one year? Any harm at all?

    That might afford the secretary some time to figure out just what the heck he's thinks he's doing.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Anatoly Karlin

  4. anonymous[138] • Disclaimer says:

    The most likely war of the decade is the Iran War. A Taiwan War would also get Iran to wage war against the US with or without any encouragement by China. Iran figures that if the war is going to come anyways, it should take advantage of a war in the Western Pacific. It beats crushing sanctions for several more years and waiting for the Iran War to start on the US schedule.

  5. Does “confidence in the military” mean they expect them to win wars or they expect the military to be on their side when things get to point when they need take sides in a civil war?

    • Replies: @Nodwink
    @neutral

    That's an important question, given the number of troops still stationed in the US capital. My guess is that most people are thinking of the military's ability to defend the nation from attack. Hard to know, though, without an explicit definition.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    , @Wency
    @neutral

    On surveys like this I think you get closest to the truth if you just view the results as "Hooray, military!" vs. "Boo, military!", or possibly "Meh, military."

    I think back to all of those surveys during the Obama years where cable news would breathlessly report: "According to a recent poll, 52% of Republicans think that Obama is a Muslim atheist lizard-person from Nigeria who is gay-married to King Kong. How is this possible?!?!"

    Really all those people were just looking for a way to say "Boo, Obama!" and went with the choice that best corresponded.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  6. @neutral
    Does "confidence in the military" mean they expect them to win wars or they expect the military to be on their side when things get to point when they need take sides in a civil war?

    Replies: @Nodwink, @Wency

    That’s an important question, given the number of troops still stationed in the US capital. My guess is that most people are thinking of the military’s ability to defend the nation from attack. Hard to know, though, without an explicit definition.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    @Nodwink

    I'm pretty sure the military can defend the government from attack. The nation? Or at least the territory of the United States? Not so much.

  7. The US Military is a woke appendage to the war profiteers. I am confident that it is capable of war crimes and will continue to commit same until Imperial Washington can no longer pay them. I am an Army Vet from back in the sixties.

    • Agree: TomSchmidt, Dutch Boy
  8. @Mule Named Sal
    I don’t think Biden and his tribe of warmongering fools will wait to tussle with China over Taiwan. They appear hell bent to get roughed up by Russia in Ukraine. I believe that the last 21 days have been the most humiliating to American foreign policy in my lifetime. The combination of arrogance and ineptitude embodied in Biden’s team gives the impression that my country is hollow. It is like watching an old, out of shape and drunken uncle pick fights with his nephews at a picnic. At some point the old man will either fall down, pass out, or get his ass kicked. The best he can hope for is to be ignored until he sobers up.
    Lavrov’s comments summed it up. “As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. These are exactly the values that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.”
    The team in Washington scares the hell out of me.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. These are exactly the values that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.

    I cannot help but recall what I read in, I think, TheSilk Roads. Talking about Ribbentrop and Nazi German diplomacy, it’s not hard to remember that many countries joined Germany in the war. Hungary and Romania were both allies, and Hitler actually pretty fairly divided Transylvania between them after the travesty of Trianon. But once the unfortunate allies had been signed up for the Soviet Invasion, the author mentions about how the role of diplomacy basically vanished: there was no longer any need/desire/time to persuade people, only to pursue military policy.

    Lavrov recognizes the pattern in an opponent. They’re not going to allow a 1000-mile incursion into their territory this time.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  9. @BlackC
    The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath. As things stand, I currently have more confidence in the Myanmar military to do what is right than in the US military.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt, @V. K. Ovelund

    Expected a Rubiconcrossing, did you?

    • Replies: @BlackC
    @TomSchmidt


    Expected a Rubiconcrossing, did you?
     
    What matters an oath not honored?
    False in one, false in all. No more confidence.
  10. @Nodwink
    @neutral

    That's an important question, given the number of troops still stationed in the US capital. My guess is that most people are thinking of the military's ability to defend the nation from attack. Hard to know, though, without an explicit definition.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    I’m pretty sure the military can defend the government from attack. The nation? Or at least the territory of the United States? Not so much.

  11. I think the phrase “thank you, for your service” has been a propaganda coup for neocons.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund, dfordoom
    • Replies: @My SIMPLE Pseudonymic Handle
    @songbird

    I'm thinking that from now on when I go out to eat at a restaurant or have pizza delivered or receive service where a tip is expected I'll say:

    "Thank you for your service" in lieu of that tip.

    And,if they don't like that I'll salute them and shake their hand.

  12. I was reasonably confident in US military capabilities at the time of the Iraq and Afghan invasions. Regardless of how you felt about the need for those wars they did give US forces combat experience something China and Russia lacked. But most of the veterans of those wars have either retired or are nearing retirement and the years since Obama became president have seen the rise of ‘woke’ generals and PC rot in our armed forces. Trump couldn’t find a Defense Secretary he could trust and the Joint Chiefs were in active opposition to Trump.

    Biden’s Defense Department is a military disaster waiting to happen. All the modern equipment Trump lavished on the military will be useless if we do not have effective soldiers and officers at the battalion level to use it. Accusing soldiers of ‘racism’ and threatening to kick them out of the service if they do not support leftist ideology is crazy. Got news for Lloyd Austen, most young white men who make up the majority of our combat forces are not ‘leftists’. They like guns and toxic masculinity. That’s what makes them effective soldiers. Without them the US military will be a toothless paper tiger.

    • Replies: @Nodwink
    @unit472

    I didn't know that Iraq & Afghanistan were over.

    One true thing Trump said was that soldiers were "suckers" and "losers." Anyone who kills for the State is a criminal, anyone who dies for the State is a fool.

    , @JohnPlywood
    @unit472

    Sorry, but you're wrong. USA can do without them, because all future battles will only use drones, electronic warfare equipment, and small numbers of special forces.


    A small number of US special forces annihilated a Russian private army and 200 of their Syrian followers a few years ago. The BLU-114/B was the primary tool for the US victories in Iraq and Serbia, and explains the huge rise on AE's chart in '91 and '99. Most US activity involves air strikes, often via drones... the days of grunts on the ground or at sea are over; those punks will get smoked like a Swisher Sweet by special forces or drones. The invasion of China will be completed with special forces and weapons small enough to fit in your hand, not armies or missiles.

  13. @BlackC
    The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath. As things stand, I currently have more confidence in the Myanmar military to do what is right than in the US military.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt, @V. K. Ovelund

    The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath.

    Speaking for myself, were I polled, 2021 marks the first year ever during which I would have expressed lack of confidence in the U.S. military. So that makes two of us.

    I’m pretty sure the military can defend the government from attack. The nation? Or at least the territory of the United States? Not so much.

    I think that we’ll be all right. Too much has been made of U.S. ineptitude in the so-called War on Terror. Not even Anatoly Karlin’s beloved Russian Army could fight well under such restrictive rules of engagement.

    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense. Moreover, unfortunately, these days, the United States has rather a large number of the most practically experienced soldiers on the planet. They’d make a great cadre if you had to expand the Army in a hurry.

    No disrespect is offered to Karlin and his Russians, who are undoubtedly deadly, but Russia has no such cadre. Russia lacks much of what the U.S. has. Russia has hypersonic missiles, which seem to have a lot of propaganda impact at any rate; but to the extent to which hypersonics is an aerial threat, I assume that the Air Force is working on it.

    As for the Navy, U.S. Marine Raiders alone would give the Chinese a lot of trouble, not to mention the SEALs. And that’s just the tip of the spear.

    If it sounds like jingoism, I gave that up years ago. I do not recommend picking a fight with Russia, China or Iran if the U.S. can help it, much less all three at once, but proportionality is still warranted.

    Lavrov’s comments summed it up. “As a matter of fact, [the Americans] have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy.”

    Would it do harm to furlough the entire U.S. State Department for one year? Any harm at all?

    That might afford the secretary some time to figure out just what the heck he’s thinks he’s doing.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense.
     
    You could cut that capability by three-quarters and it would still be wildly excessive.

    The United States has no actual enemies. The US faces no external military threat whatsoever.

    The US military is entirely offensive in nature. The US military exists solely in order to fight wars of aggression.

    The Australian military exists solely in order to fight American wars of aggression. You could say the same about the British military, and the militaries of all America's vassal states.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    @V. K. Ovelund

    I don't "love" the Russian Army in the sense that I engage in boosterism, I mean, my own index has Russian military strength at less than a third of the US.

    That said, I think you vastly overestimate the importance of "experience" in warfighting (as in, a peer or near-peer competitor, not goat-herders). Said experience may even translate into negative value added because things they rely upon by default in fighting them, such as absolute air superiority and reliable satellite comms, will become much less so in the event of a serious conflict with China or Russia.

    The human capital in the US military has declined drastically and its not just or even mainly on account of the women and trannies but the secular decline in the quality of the officer corps as military service has become much less prestigious over the past generation relative to spheres like tech and finance. Happily for the US, there have been analogous trends in Russia. Perhaps not so happily for the US, I am conversely not sure to what extent this has happened in China - nationalism is strong there, and with 1.4B people for a 2.7M man military, they have the luxury of being able to be very selective.

    Replies: @Wency

  14. @unit472
    I was reasonably confident in US military capabilities at the time of the Iraq and Afghan invasions. Regardless of how you felt about the need for those wars they did give US forces combat experience something China and Russia lacked. But most of the veterans of those wars have either retired or are nearing retirement and the years since Obama became president have seen the rise of 'woke' generals and PC rot in our armed forces. Trump couldn't find a Defense Secretary he could trust and the Joint Chiefs were in active opposition to Trump.

    Biden's Defense Department is a military disaster waiting to happen. All the modern equipment Trump lavished on the military will be useless if we do not have effective soldiers and officers at the battalion level to use it. Accusing soldiers of 'racism' and threatening to kick them out of the service if they do not support leftist ideology is crazy. Got news for Lloyd Austen, most young white men who make up the majority of our combat forces are not 'leftists'. They like guns and toxic masculinity. That's what makes them effective soldiers. Without them the US military will be a toothless paper tiger.

    Replies: @Nodwink, @JohnPlywood

    I didn’t know that Iraq & Afghanistan were over.

    One true thing Trump said was that soldiers were “suckers” and “losers.” Anyone who kills for the State is a criminal, anyone who dies for the State is a fool.

  15. @unit472
    I was reasonably confident in US military capabilities at the time of the Iraq and Afghan invasions. Regardless of how you felt about the need for those wars they did give US forces combat experience something China and Russia lacked. But most of the veterans of those wars have either retired or are nearing retirement and the years since Obama became president have seen the rise of 'woke' generals and PC rot in our armed forces. Trump couldn't find a Defense Secretary he could trust and the Joint Chiefs were in active opposition to Trump.

    Biden's Defense Department is a military disaster waiting to happen. All the modern equipment Trump lavished on the military will be useless if we do not have effective soldiers and officers at the battalion level to use it. Accusing soldiers of 'racism' and threatening to kick them out of the service if they do not support leftist ideology is crazy. Got news for Lloyd Austen, most young white men who make up the majority of our combat forces are not 'leftists'. They like guns and toxic masculinity. That's what makes them effective soldiers. Without them the US military will be a toothless paper tiger.

    Replies: @Nodwink, @JohnPlywood

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. USA can do without them, because all future battles will only use drones, electronic warfare equipment, and small numbers of special forces.

    A small number of US special forces annihilated a Russian private army and 200 of their Syrian followers a few years ago. The BLU-114/B was the primary tool for the US victories in Iraq and Serbia, and explains the huge rise on AE’s chart in ’91 and ’99. Most US activity involves air strikes, often via drones… the days of grunts on the ground or at sea are over; those punks will get smoked like a Swisher Sweet by special forces or drones. The invasion of China will be completed with special forces and weapons small enough to fit in your hand, not armies or missiles.

  16. @songbird
    I think the phrase "thank you, for your service" has been a propaganda coup for neocons.

    Replies: @My SIMPLE Pseudonymic Handle

    I’m thinking that from now on when I go out to eat at a restaurant or have pizza delivered or receive service where a tip is expected I’ll say:

    “Thank you for your service” in lieu of that tip.

    And,if they don’t like that I’ll salute them and shake their hand.

  17. a humbler foreign policy

    is a good goal, but

    a humiliating backing down in the face of Chinese revanchism against Taiwan

    is not a good way for it to come about, because

    a dispute within China’s immediate sphere of influence

    is analysis more appropriate to the 1920s than the 2020s.

    The world is no longer integrated simply via sending goods across borders and technology has qualitatively changed how spheres of influence work. The world is far more integrated economically and socially than it was even several decades ago. As we have already seen with Google and the NBA, global corporations represent a serious threat to the ability of polities to maintain internal political and social standards by simply stopping trade and travel with a powerful country. A humiliating military defeat at this point would push big tech companies into the arms of an increasingly totalitarian regime and its influence would inevitably spread across the ocean, even if not by design. We don’t want to live in that PRC-ified world.

    Moreover, Taiwan is a major player in basic technology like computer chip production as well as a major trading partner for both the USA and Japan and a gateway for the PRC to the rest of the South Pacific, including Japan (the PRC is already arguing over the Senkakus, and next would be Okinawa and then Honshu) and the emerging market of Indonesia. The PRC’s self-declared “sphere of influence” will only grow larger with each peripheral acquisition. A century ago, Japan saw the entire East from Mongolia down to Singapore as its “sphere” and there is no reason the PRC wouldn’t develop the same mentality. And post humiliating defeat, it is much less likely that Australia, Africa, and the Middle East would resist aligning with a PRC-dominated world order. So beyond the questions of social influence the PRC would exert on the USA via (1) dominance of tech companies and (2) simply being the winner, the fall of Taiwan would be in itself a negative for the USA as well as setting up the PRC for extending political dominance much more widely.

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening. What we should be doing instead is working with Russia to prevent a PRC-Russian alliance from growing stronger and then trying to organize the rest of the world around opposition to PRC-style governance. Maybe we could achieve a permanent Cold War state with an isolated regime. Probably the USA is simply going to lose at some point in the next decade, but that is not to be wished for.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Chrisnonymous


    We don’t want to live in that PRC-ified world.
     
    Amen.

    Moreover, Taiwan is a major player in basic technology like computer chip production...
     
    They do finished product as well. ASUS, Acer, and MSI are three companies that all crank out high-value finished products that are usually a better deal than Apple or Dell.

    Don't forget South Korea either...they currently produce 65% of the world's memory chips. Xi would order Kim to take them out in a heartbeat.

    ...the emerging market of Indonesia.
     
    Don't quite agree with that, Indonesia is a G20 member and has an economy that is capable of developing aircraft and launching satellites.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesia#Economy

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening.
     
    Absolutely.

    What we should be doing instead is working with Russia to prevent a PRC-Russian alliance from growing stronger and then trying to organize the rest of the world around opposition to PRC-style governance.
     
    This is what made all the Russiagate garbage so infuriating.
    , @dfordoom
    @Chrisnonymous


    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening.
     
    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the United States, but it is hard to see that happening.

    FIFY. No charge.
  18. @d dan
    The rising confidence in military is even more troubling than the raw numbers of the chart shown by the author, given that in general, the confidence in all branches of the government (local, federal, congress, executive, judiciary...) and confidence in most private sectors (high tech, mass stream media, healthcare, higher education, wall street...) are ALL falling.

    Americans' rising confidence in military displays deepening sickness that is rotting through the core of the society.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Americans’ rising confidence in military displays deepening sickness that is rotting through the core of the society.

    It’s what you expect in any militaristic society – a mixture of arrogance, paranoia and hysteria. An insane paranoid belief that America is surrounded by enemies.

    To some extent we’re seeing the same pattern in other Anglosphere countries. Militarism is on the rise in Australia. The Americans are spreading their madness to their puppet states.

    In America it’s worse because Americans have always had the mad idea that it is their destiny and their duty to impose their values on the rest of the planet. They’ve been doing that since 1917.

    This madness is not the result of multiculturalism or diversity or cultural marxism or the machinations of the Left. It has nothing to do with Left or Right, Republican or Democrat. It’s a madness inherent in the United States.

    To a degree it’s a madness inherited from the English. You can see some of this imperialistic hypocritical moralising in 19th century England. The worst features of 19th century England seemed to be a result of Protestantism but the much more virulent and deranged nature of American Protestantism has magnified the madness.

    There were signs of sanity in the US in the 60s and 70s when militarism briefly went out of fashion. Unfortunately that temporary bout of sanity soon passed.

  19. @Chrisnonymous

    a humbler foreign policy
     
    is a good goal, but

    a humiliating backing down in the face of Chinese revanchism against Taiwan
     
    is not a good way for it to come about, because

    a dispute within China’s immediate sphere of influence
     
    is analysis more appropriate to the 1920s than the 2020s.

    The world is no longer integrated simply via sending goods across borders and technology has qualitatively changed how spheres of influence work. The world is far more integrated economically and socially than it was even several decades ago. As we have already seen with Google and the NBA, global corporations represent a serious threat to the ability of polities to maintain internal political and social standards by simply stopping trade and travel with a powerful country. A humiliating military defeat at this point would push big tech companies into the arms of an increasingly totalitarian regime and its influence would inevitably spread across the ocean, even if not by design. We don't want to live in that PRC-ified world.

    Moreover, Taiwan is a major player in basic technology like computer chip production as well as a major trading partner for both the USA and Japan and a gateway for the PRC to the rest of the South Pacific, including Japan (the PRC is already arguing over the Senkakus, and next would be Okinawa and then Honshu) and the emerging market of Indonesia. The PRC's self-declared "sphere of influence" will only grow larger with each peripheral acquisition. A century ago, Japan saw the entire East from Mongolia down to Singapore as its "sphere" and there is no reason the PRC wouldn't develop the same mentality. And post humiliating defeat, it is much less likely that Australia, Africa, and the Middle East would resist aligning with a PRC-dominated world order. So beyond the questions of social influence the PRC would exert on the USA via (1) dominance of tech companies and (2) simply being the winner, the fall of Taiwan would be in itself a negative for the USA as well as setting up the PRC for extending political dominance much more widely.

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening. What we should be doing instead is working with Russia to prevent a PRC-Russian alliance from growing stronger and then trying to organize the rest of the world around opposition to PRC-style governance. Maybe we could achieve a permanent Cold War state with an isolated regime. Probably the USA is simply going to lose at some point in the next decade, but that is not to be wished for.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @dfordoom

    We don’t want to live in that PRC-ified world.

    Amen.

    Moreover, Taiwan is a major player in basic technology like computer chip production…

    They do finished product as well. ASUS, Acer, and MSI are three companies that all crank out high-value finished products that are usually a better deal than Apple or Dell.

    Don’t forget South Korea either…they currently produce 65% of the world’s memory chips. Xi would order Kim to take them out in a heartbeat.

    …the emerging market of Indonesia.

    Don’t quite agree with that, Indonesia is a G20 member and has an economy that is capable of developing aircraft and launching satellites.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesia#Economy

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening.

    Absolutely.

    What we should be doing instead is working with Russia to prevent a PRC-Russian alliance from growing stronger and then trying to organize the rest of the world around opposition to PRC-style governance.

    This is what made all the Russiagate garbage so infuriating.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
  20. @V. K. Ovelund
    @BlackC


    The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath.
     
    Speaking for myself, were I polled, 2021 marks the first year ever during which I would have expressed lack of confidence in the U.S. military. So that makes two of us.

    @TomSchmidt


    I’m pretty sure the military can defend the government from attack. The nation? Or at least the territory of the United States? Not so much.
     
    I think that we'll be all right. Too much has been made of U.S. ineptitude in the so-called War on Terror. Not even Anatoly Karlin's beloved Russian Army could fight well under such restrictive rules of engagement.

    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense. Moreover, unfortunately, these days, the United States has rather a large number of the most practically experienced soldiers on the planet. They'd make a great cadre if you had to expand the Army in a hurry.

    No disrespect is offered to Karlin and his Russians, who are undoubtedly deadly, but Russia has no such cadre. Russia lacks much of what the U.S. has. Russia has hypersonic missiles, which seem to have a lot of propaganda impact at any rate; but to the extent to which hypersonics is an aerial threat, I assume that the Air Force is working on it.

    As for the Navy, U.S. Marine Raiders alone would give the Chinese a lot of trouble, not to mention the SEALs. And that's just the tip of the spear.

    If it sounds like jingoism, I gave that up years ago. I do not recommend picking a fight with Russia, China or Iran if the U.S. can help it, much less all three at once, but proportionality is still warranted.

    @Mule Named Sal


    Lavrov’s comments summed it up. “As a matter of fact, [the Americans] have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy."
     
    Would it do harm to furlough the entire U.S. State Department for one year? Any harm at all?

    That might afford the secretary some time to figure out just what the heck he's thinks he's doing.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Anatoly Karlin

    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense.

    You could cut that capability by three-quarters and it would still be wildly excessive.

    The United States has no actual enemies. The US faces no external military threat whatsoever.

    The US military is entirely offensive in nature. The US military exists solely in order to fight wars of aggression.

    The Australian military exists solely in order to fight American wars of aggression. You could say the same about the British military, and the militaries of all America’s vassal states.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom

    Traditionally, Americans will not join foreigners when foreigners criticize the United States. Regrettably, I have broken the tradition, but am trying to do better, so let me note your remark and let it pass without further comment. (And if I fail to respond to future remarks of yours of this kind, the reason is probably similar.)

    The tradition did not envision the imposition of international Internet fora within every citizen's home, so I don't know how that will work out; but anyway, the United States is my country and I will keep her.

  21. @Chrisnonymous

    a humbler foreign policy
     
    is a good goal, but

    a humiliating backing down in the face of Chinese revanchism against Taiwan
     
    is not a good way for it to come about, because

    a dispute within China’s immediate sphere of influence
     
    is analysis more appropriate to the 1920s than the 2020s.

    The world is no longer integrated simply via sending goods across borders and technology has qualitatively changed how spheres of influence work. The world is far more integrated economically and socially than it was even several decades ago. As we have already seen with Google and the NBA, global corporations represent a serious threat to the ability of polities to maintain internal political and social standards by simply stopping trade and travel with a powerful country. A humiliating military defeat at this point would push big tech companies into the arms of an increasingly totalitarian regime and its influence would inevitably spread across the ocean, even if not by design. We don't want to live in that PRC-ified world.

    Moreover, Taiwan is a major player in basic technology like computer chip production as well as a major trading partner for both the USA and Japan and a gateway for the PRC to the rest of the South Pacific, including Japan (the PRC is already arguing over the Senkakus, and next would be Okinawa and then Honshu) and the emerging market of Indonesia. The PRC's self-declared "sphere of influence" will only grow larger with each peripheral acquisition. A century ago, Japan saw the entire East from Mongolia down to Singapore as its "sphere" and there is no reason the PRC wouldn't develop the same mentality. And post humiliating defeat, it is much less likely that Australia, Africa, and the Middle East would resist aligning with a PRC-dominated world order. So beyond the questions of social influence the PRC would exert on the USA via (1) dominance of tech companies and (2) simply being the winner, the fall of Taiwan would be in itself a negative for the USA as well as setting up the PRC for extending political dominance much more widely.

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening. What we should be doing instead is working with Russia to prevent a PRC-Russian alliance from growing stronger and then trying to organize the rest of the world around opposition to PRC-style governance. Maybe we could achieve a permanent Cold War state with an isolated regime. Probably the USA is simply going to lose at some point in the next decade, but that is not to be wished for.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @dfordoom

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the PRC, but it is hard to see that happening.

    The best case scenario would be for something to cause political chaos and dissolution or regime change within the United States, but it is hard to see that happening.

    FIFY. No charge.

  22. @TomSchmidt
    @BlackC

    Expected a Rubiconcrossing, did you?

    Replies: @BlackC

    Expected a Rubiconcrossing, did you?

    What matters an oath not honored?
    False in one, false in all. No more confidence.

  23. The USA has had essential elements of a banana republic since the beginning. The recent Zimbabwe style presidential election would be a case in point. The consequence of this corruption is that the US military has always been sub par. Like Mussolini’s army with a bigger budget you could say.

    How many American soldiers did it take to squeeze a few thousand Japanese out of Iwo-Jima? Getting bested by untrained rabble in Somalia! Allowing themselves to be exploded in Lebanon. Total inability to pacify Iraq and Afghanistan. And Viet Nam, what a joke. Remember them helicopters being pushed off the deck into the sea?

    Killing strangers video game style, as is the current habit, is not a plan with a good future.

    • Disagree: V. K. Ovelund
  24. @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense.
     
    You could cut that capability by three-quarters and it would still be wildly excessive.

    The United States has no actual enemies. The US faces no external military threat whatsoever.

    The US military is entirely offensive in nature. The US military exists solely in order to fight wars of aggression.

    The Australian military exists solely in order to fight American wars of aggression. You could say the same about the British military, and the militaries of all America's vassal states.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    Traditionally, Americans will not join foreigners when foreigners criticize the United States. Regrettably, I have broken the tradition, but am trying to do better, so let me note your remark and let it pass without further comment. (And if I fail to respond to future remarks of yours of this kind, the reason is probably similar.)

    The tradition did not envision the imposition of international Internet fora within every citizen’s home, so I don’t know how that will work out; but anyway, the United States is my country and I will keep her.

  25. @V. K. Ovelund
    @BlackC


    The data only shows through 2018. I would expect a large drop in conservative confidence and a lesser but still significant drop in moderate confidence following the 2020 election fiasco and aftermath.
     
    Speaking for myself, were I polled, 2021 marks the first year ever during which I would have expressed lack of confidence in the U.S. military. So that makes two of us.

    @TomSchmidt


    I’m pretty sure the military can defend the government from attack. The nation? Or at least the territory of the United States? Not so much.
     
    I think that we'll be all right. Too much has been made of U.S. ineptitude in the so-called War on Terror. Not even Anatoly Karlin's beloved Russian Army could fight well under such restrictive rules of engagement.

    Despite women in the ranks and other such nonsense, the warfighting capability of the United States remains immense. You could cut the capability by half and it would still remain immense. Moreover, unfortunately, these days, the United States has rather a large number of the most practically experienced soldiers on the planet. They'd make a great cadre if you had to expand the Army in a hurry.

    No disrespect is offered to Karlin and his Russians, who are undoubtedly deadly, but Russia has no such cadre. Russia lacks much of what the U.S. has. Russia has hypersonic missiles, which seem to have a lot of propaganda impact at any rate; but to the extent to which hypersonics is an aerial threat, I assume that the Air Force is working on it.

    As for the Navy, U.S. Marine Raiders alone would give the Chinese a lot of trouble, not to mention the SEALs. And that's just the tip of the spear.

    If it sounds like jingoism, I gave that up years ago. I do not recommend picking a fight with Russia, China or Iran if the U.S. can help it, much less all three at once, but proportionality is still warranted.

    @Mule Named Sal


    Lavrov’s comments summed it up. “As a matter of fact, [the Americans] have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy."
     
    Would it do harm to furlough the entire U.S. State Department for one year? Any harm at all?

    That might afford the secretary some time to figure out just what the heck he's thinks he's doing.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Anatoly Karlin

    I don’t “love” the Russian Army in the sense that I engage in boosterism, I mean, my own index has Russian military strength at less than a third of the US.

    That said, I think you vastly overestimate the importance of “experience” in warfighting (as in, a peer or near-peer competitor, not goat-herders). Said experience may even translate into negative value added because things they rely upon by default in fighting them, such as absolute air superiority and reliable satellite comms, will become much less so in the event of a serious conflict with China or Russia.

    The human capital in the US military has declined drastically and its not just or even mainly on account of the women and trannies but the secular decline in the quality of the officer corps as military service has become much less prestigious over the past generation relative to spheres like tech and finance. Happily for the US, there have been analogous trends in Russia. Perhaps not so happily for the US, I am conversely not sure to what extent this has happened in China – nationalism is strong there, and with 1.4B people for a 2.7M man military, they have the luxury of being able to be very selective.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @Wency
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Regarding experience, I've heard it said that damage control on ships is an example of a valuable skill that's basically impossible to pick up outside of battlefield experience. Having a crew that's used to the ship taking hits and keeping her running as well as possible, instead of just panicking and wondering if it's time to abandon ship -- that's an invaluable asset. It's also something that no country in the world possesses in 2021.

    A possible historical analogy to the present situation is the lead-up to WW1. The British probably had the most recent experience of any of the major powers with their various imperial wars, most prominently the Boer Wars. The British certainly weren't the worst in WW1, but I have to wonder to what degree their colonial war mentality led to Gallipoli. You could say the Russian Empire had the closest example of something like a great power war with Japan, and it didn't seem to do them a lot of good either. The Germans had a few colonial disputes of their own, but not so many or so large. They hadn't really been involved in a war since the Franco-Prussian War, yet they outperformed everyone else.

    All that said, I do think colonial/COIN scuffles CAN be helpful in military preparedness in a great power war, if the leadership class chooses to use the experience intelligently. They can be used to separate the wheat from the chaff in the officer class, or to reveal other weaknesses in equipment and preparation. The US military had a lot of chaff going into WW2, and lessons were learned even from the easy fight in North Africa. There probably is a lot of chaff in a Chinese military -- we can say at least that their officer class is almost surely nothing like the German officer class in its prime. But it may yet prove to be a lean mean machine compared to the US military.

  26. @neutral
    Does "confidence in the military" mean they expect them to win wars or they expect the military to be on their side when things get to point when they need take sides in a civil war?

    Replies: @Nodwink, @Wency

    On surveys like this I think you get closest to the truth if you just view the results as “Hooray, military!” vs. “Boo, military!”, or possibly “Meh, military.”

    I think back to all of those surveys during the Obama years where cable news would breathlessly report: “According to a recent poll, 52% of Republicans think that Obama is a Muslim atheist lizard-person from Nigeria who is gay-married to King Kong. How is this possible?!?!”

    Really all those people were just looking for a way to say “Boo, Obama!” and went with the choice that best corresponded.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Wency


    On surveys like this I think you get closest to the truth if you just view the results as “Hooray, military!” vs. “Boo, military!”, or possibly “Meh, military.”
     
    There's also a lot of blind political partisanship. Democrats love the military when the military is fighting wars started by the Democrats. They weren't so keen on the military when it was fighting wars started by George W. Bush.

    A lot of Americans (especially on the Right) also seem to think that patriotism and worship of the military are one and the same thing. They think that if they don't worship the military then that makes them un-American. They think that in order to be patriotic Americans they have to support every war of aggression started by the United States. It's a very crude and unintelligent kind of patriotism.

    How did militarism gain such a foothold in the United States? The US is now the most militaristic society on Earth. There was a time when "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were the core American values. And there's a lot to be said for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What happened to transform America's core values into militarism and imperialism?

    Replies: @Wency

  27. @Anatoly Karlin
    @V. K. Ovelund

    I don't "love" the Russian Army in the sense that I engage in boosterism, I mean, my own index has Russian military strength at less than a third of the US.

    That said, I think you vastly overestimate the importance of "experience" in warfighting (as in, a peer or near-peer competitor, not goat-herders). Said experience may even translate into negative value added because things they rely upon by default in fighting them, such as absolute air superiority and reliable satellite comms, will become much less so in the event of a serious conflict with China or Russia.

    The human capital in the US military has declined drastically and its not just or even mainly on account of the women and trannies but the secular decline in the quality of the officer corps as military service has become much less prestigious over the past generation relative to spheres like tech and finance. Happily for the US, there have been analogous trends in Russia. Perhaps not so happily for the US, I am conversely not sure to what extent this has happened in China - nationalism is strong there, and with 1.4B people for a 2.7M man military, they have the luxury of being able to be very selective.

    Replies: @Wency

    Regarding experience, I’ve heard it said that damage control on ships is an example of a valuable skill that’s basically impossible to pick up outside of battlefield experience. Having a crew that’s used to the ship taking hits and keeping her running as well as possible, instead of just panicking and wondering if it’s time to abandon ship — that’s an invaluable asset. It’s also something that no country in the world possesses in 2021.

    A possible historical analogy to the present situation is the lead-up to WW1. The British probably had the most recent experience of any of the major powers with their various imperial wars, most prominently the Boer Wars. The British certainly weren’t the worst in WW1, but I have to wonder to what degree their colonial war mentality led to Gallipoli. You could say the Russian Empire had the closest example of something like a great power war with Japan, and it didn’t seem to do them a lot of good either. The Germans had a few colonial disputes of their own, but not so many or so large. They hadn’t really been involved in a war since the Franco-Prussian War, yet they outperformed everyone else.

    All that said, I do think colonial/COIN scuffles CAN be helpful in military preparedness in a great power war, if the leadership class chooses to use the experience intelligently. They can be used to separate the wheat from the chaff in the officer class, or to reveal other weaknesses in equipment and preparation. The US military had a lot of chaff going into WW2, and lessons were learned even from the easy fight in North Africa. There probably is a lot of chaff in a Chinese military — we can say at least that their officer class is almost surely nothing like the German officer class in its prime. But it may yet prove to be a lean mean machine compared to the US military.

  28. @Wency
    @neutral

    On surveys like this I think you get closest to the truth if you just view the results as "Hooray, military!" vs. "Boo, military!", or possibly "Meh, military."

    I think back to all of those surveys during the Obama years where cable news would breathlessly report: "According to a recent poll, 52% of Republicans think that Obama is a Muslim atheist lizard-person from Nigeria who is gay-married to King Kong. How is this possible?!?!"

    Really all those people were just looking for a way to say "Boo, Obama!" and went with the choice that best corresponded.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    On surveys like this I think you get closest to the truth if you just view the results as “Hooray, military!” vs. “Boo, military!”, or possibly “Meh, military.”

    There’s also a lot of blind political partisanship. Democrats love the military when the military is fighting wars started by the Democrats. They weren’t so keen on the military when it was fighting wars started by George W. Bush.

    A lot of Americans (especially on the Right) also seem to think that patriotism and worship of the military are one and the same thing. They think that if they don’t worship the military then that makes them un-American. They think that in order to be patriotic Americans they have to support every war of aggression started by the United States. It’s a very crude and unintelligent kind of patriotism.

    How did militarism gain such a foothold in the United States? The US is now the most militaristic society on Earth. There was a time when “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were the core American values. And there’s a lot to be said for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What happened to transform America’s core values into militarism and imperialism?

    • Replies: @Wency
    @dfordoom


    The US is now the most militaristic society on Earth. There was a time when “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were the core American values. And there’s a lot to be said for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What happened to transform America’s core values into militarism and imperialism?
     
    I again think this is going too far. But my sense is that isolationism was discredited after Pearl Harbor so that a bipartisan militarist consensus started to form in the US. In post-WW2 Europe militarism was associated with imperialism, but in the US, it was associated with interventionism -- i.e., what "should have been done sooner" to stop Hitler.

    Then the left tried to break from the bipartisan consensus in Vietnam and to really go after the military, and the right portrayed them as unpatriotic traitors. Even though Vietnam was unpopular, the Democrats felt like they lost the cultural battle there, and combined with their softness on law and order, they became basically uncompetitive in Presidential elections for 20 years. So during their time in the wilderness they resolved to triangulate military support and patriotism away from Republicans and guard their right flank better on that front, creating a new bipartisan consensus. 9/11 was the first big test of their triangulation so the Democrats mostly leaned into it hard, and seeing as we're still fighting the same wars 20 years later (and our geriatric leadership class was mostly there for 9/11 and to some degree there for Vietnam), they can't really back out now.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  29. @dfordoom
    @Wency


    On surveys like this I think you get closest to the truth if you just view the results as “Hooray, military!” vs. “Boo, military!”, or possibly “Meh, military.”
     
    There's also a lot of blind political partisanship. Democrats love the military when the military is fighting wars started by the Democrats. They weren't so keen on the military when it was fighting wars started by George W. Bush.

    A lot of Americans (especially on the Right) also seem to think that patriotism and worship of the military are one and the same thing. They think that if they don't worship the military then that makes them un-American. They think that in order to be patriotic Americans they have to support every war of aggression started by the United States. It's a very crude and unintelligent kind of patriotism.

    How did militarism gain such a foothold in the United States? The US is now the most militaristic society on Earth. There was a time when "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were the core American values. And there's a lot to be said for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What happened to transform America's core values into militarism and imperialism?

    Replies: @Wency

    The US is now the most militaristic society on Earth. There was a time when “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were the core American values. And there’s a lot to be said for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What happened to transform America’s core values into militarism and imperialism?

    I again think this is going too far. But my sense is that isolationism was discredited after Pearl Harbor so that a bipartisan militarist consensus started to form in the US. In post-WW2 Europe militarism was associated with imperialism, but in the US, it was associated with interventionism — i.e., what “should have been done sooner” to stop Hitler.

    Then the left tried to break from the bipartisan consensus in Vietnam and to really go after the military, and the right portrayed them as unpatriotic traitors. Even though Vietnam was unpopular, the Democrats felt like they lost the cultural battle there, and combined with their softness on law and order, they became basically uncompetitive in Presidential elections for 20 years. So during their time in the wilderness they resolved to triangulate military support and patriotism away from Republicans and guard their right flank better on that front, creating a new bipartisan consensus. 9/11 was the first big test of their triangulation so the Democrats mostly leaned into it hard, and seeing as we’re still fighting the same wars 20 years later (and our geriatric leadership class was mostly there for 9/11 and to some degree there for Vietnam), they can’t really back out now.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Wency


    But my sense is that isolationism was discredited after Pearl Harbor so that a bipartisan militarist consensus started to form in the US.
     
    WW2 was seen as a moral crusade and since then Americans have seen all their wars (no matter how cynical they may have actually been) as moral crusades. The idea that foreign policy was all about moral crusades has led to so much misery and death. Moral crusades tend to be very destructive things. You can't conduct a sane foreign policy that way.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

  30. @Wency
    @dfordoom


    The US is now the most militaristic society on Earth. There was a time when “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were the core American values. And there’s a lot to be said for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What happened to transform America’s core values into militarism and imperialism?
     
    I again think this is going too far. But my sense is that isolationism was discredited after Pearl Harbor so that a bipartisan militarist consensus started to form in the US. In post-WW2 Europe militarism was associated with imperialism, but in the US, it was associated with interventionism -- i.e., what "should have been done sooner" to stop Hitler.

    Then the left tried to break from the bipartisan consensus in Vietnam and to really go after the military, and the right portrayed them as unpatriotic traitors. Even though Vietnam was unpopular, the Democrats felt like they lost the cultural battle there, and combined with their softness on law and order, they became basically uncompetitive in Presidential elections for 20 years. So during their time in the wilderness they resolved to triangulate military support and patriotism away from Republicans and guard their right flank better on that front, creating a new bipartisan consensus. 9/11 was the first big test of their triangulation so the Democrats mostly leaned into it hard, and seeing as we're still fighting the same wars 20 years later (and our geriatric leadership class was mostly there for 9/11 and to some degree there for Vietnam), they can't really back out now.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    But my sense is that isolationism was discredited after Pearl Harbor so that a bipartisan militarist consensus started to form in the US.

    WW2 was seen as a moral crusade and since then Americans have seen all their wars (no matter how cynical they may have actually been) as moral crusades. The idea that foreign policy was all about moral crusades has led to so much misery and death. Moral crusades tend to be very destructive things. You can’t conduct a sane foreign policy that way.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    WW2 was seen as a moral crusade and since then Americans have seen all their wars (no matter how cynical they may have actually been) as moral crusades.
     
    Except the greatest and most cynical of them all, the only non-Indian war after the War of Independence unambiguously to serve actual American interests, James K. Polk's Mexican War of 1846.

    That war was just a land grab. It was glorious.
  31. @dfordoom
    @Wency


    But my sense is that isolationism was discredited after Pearl Harbor so that a bipartisan militarist consensus started to form in the US.
     
    WW2 was seen as a moral crusade and since then Americans have seen all their wars (no matter how cynical they may have actually been) as moral crusades. The idea that foreign policy was all about moral crusades has led to so much misery and death. Moral crusades tend to be very destructive things. You can't conduct a sane foreign policy that way.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    WW2 was seen as a moral crusade and since then Americans have seen all their wars (no matter how cynical they may have actually been) as moral crusades.

    Except the greatest and most cynical of them all, the only non-Indian war after the War of Independence unambiguously to serve actual American interests, James K. Polk’s Mexican War of 1846.

    That war was just a land grab. It was glorious.

  32. @Audacious Epigone

    Jews, especially liberal Jews, are outmarrying at astounding rates, approaching 50%, and their fertility is below replacement. How is this reconciled with the idea that ‘the tribe’ is out for the best interests of the tribe at the expense of everybody else?

    I do not know. In a postmodern world full of dysfunction, it looks like more dysfunction to me. One would need to ask a Jew, except that few Jews seem to be very truthful about this sort of thing.

    You’re dealing with a people whose average IQ is higher than ours, whose peculiar national talents are beguilement and manipulation. As a rule, this means that they analyze us; we don’t analyze them, but with difficulty. Meanwhile, all I can do is to notice what I notice.

    If Jews wish me to notice something different, then Jews must do something different, starting with Harvard, NBC, Homeland Security, etc.

    Regarding outmarrying Jews, it appears that at least some, perhaps many, are not very hostile. The outmarrying Jews I personally know are nonhostile. I assume that Michelle Malkin’s husband (for example) is likewise nonhostile, but on the whole I know too little about Jewish outmarriage to comment intelligently.

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