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The percentages of Americans, by selected demographics, who support and oppose “the peace deal the U.S. signed with the Taliban agreeing to full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan”:

A plurality of the total, 43%, responded “not sure”. That’s understandable on account of a lack of details, I suppose–but we’ve been there for nearly two decades. If the war was a person, he’d be able to drive, vote, and be looking forward to buying booze soon. It’s not called the graveyard of empires for nothing.

We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party. The Democrats are simultaneously shedding their anti-imperial instincts. As long as the empire is imposing the correct diet–diversity, inclusion, equity, tolerance–the imperial march of progress may go on. On the latter bit, though, we shouldn’t be hyperbolic–support for withdrawal is greater than opposition to it is among all major demographic groups.

 
• Category: Culture/Society, Ideology • Tags: Afghanistan, Polling, War 
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  1. If the war was a person, he’d be able to drive, vote, and be looking forward to buying booze soon.

    LOOOL!!! And don’t forget, he could even be drafted into or sign up to serve in another war!!!

    Reminds me of this ice cream cake my dad once got me for my birthday. It was a fudge wrapped in a circle with vanilla ice cream in the middle (so far, so good), but then it was riddled all over with tiny bits of maraschino cherries which no one in our family liked. We only took a few bites and then the cake sat in the corner of the fridge for God-only-knows how long until it got the title of our “pet cake”. Finally, after a few years, my mom suggested we throw it a birthday party and get it its own cake.

    Peace.

  2. We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.

    Republicans support the deal because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they’d have opposed it.

    Democrats are lukewarm about it because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they’d have enthusiastically supported it.

    The worrying thing is that the young seem to be much more pro-war than the old.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    The worrying thing is that the young seem to be much more pro-war than the old.
     
    Some of that is an illusion caused by the "Uncertain" residual not shown. The youngest especially seem uncertain about this war, which is not surprising since they aren't even old enough to remember it starting.

    The Republican result makes me proud to be a member of the party. That actually happens once in a while.

    Note how the Democrat numbers are identical the the Black numbers. LOL. The Imperial D.I.E. party is also the Black Party. Blacks played a big part in deciding who the nominee is this time around, and therefore maybe who the next Commander in Chief of our eternal imperial wars might be.

    , @nebulafox
    I don't think that's true at all. The only political belief that basically everyone in my generation seems to share is that the last few decades of interventionist foreign policy have been nothing short of a disaster, hence the appeal of Trump and Sanders types.
    , @Almost Missouri
    Hmmm ... the most bloodthirsty seem to be ... let me check the chart .... young, black, Democrats!

    Huh, whodduthunkit?
  3. There is a chance for peace in Afghanistan – a low-grade peace. Give it 50 years or so, and urbanization might start to dissolve these tribal ties. It might become something like the low-grade conflict in Columbia – at least Columbia in recent years. It all depends on whether the cities continue to grow after the pullout.

  4. Now for those of you who apoparently have no clue what giving up look like.

    This is it. Now this deal which cedes control of the country, that occurred despite the US presence can legitimately call this matter a loss by the US. And those of you who supported the invasion should have future supposed wise ideas regarding the strategic use of force into question.

    It was never a sound choice on any level. The only thing that we could have done differently is engaged in full out war against the Taliban and all comers.

    So the US has lost three conflicts outright

    War of 1812
    Iraq 2003 and
    Afghanistan

    Whether or not this peace deal will hold is inconsequential.

    • Replies: @Talha
    It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world's newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest "grand" ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.

    Peace.
  5. @EliteCommInc.
    Now for those of you who apoparently have no clue what giving up look like.


    This is it. Now this deal which cedes control of the country, that occurred despite the US presence can legitimately call this matter a loss by the US. And those of you who supported the invasion should have future supposed wise ideas regarding the strategic use of force into question.


    It was never a sound choice on any level. The only thing that we could have done differently is engaged in full out war against the Taliban and all comers.

    So the US has lost three conflicts outright

    War of 1812
    Iraq 2003 and
    Afghanistan


    Whether or not this peace deal will hold is inconsequential.

    It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world’s newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest “grand” ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "there was zero need to invade the entire country"
     
    Both the Afghan war and the Iraq war started with the strategic logic—and public justification—of what was essentially a raid ("let's get that bastard Osama" and "let's get that bastard Saddam") and both somehow morphed imperceptibly into grand Utopianist projects ("feminism for Afghans" and "Kumbaya to democracy Sunnis-Shiites-Kurds").

    As far as I could tell, there was never any popular support for more military intervention than a raid, something the US had done casually and successfully as recently as the Panama invasion to capture Manuel Noriega a decade before, but since about 2003 the US has apparently lost the ability to do anything fast, light and limited. Now everything has to be a messianic remaking of the world.

    It's not just the military. Civilian life is full of this. In 2008 Obama won the national election on "We are the ones we've been waiting for" and "Change", and all politics since then has been an all-or-nothing theological death match. Even commercial advertising is no longer just trying to sell you a product anymore, now they're trying to sell you a world made new.

    I don't know why this is.

    But it is strange.

    , @anon
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    This used to be called an "expedition" and it was carried out by "expeditionary forces", in the US case typically Marines, in the French case the Foreign Legion, etc. A clearly defined objective, a force structure adequate to the task, and no occupation. Kick over the coffee table, make the point, and leave.

    Derbyshire described it as "Rubble doesn't make trouble". Do this, get trashed. Do it again, get trashed again. Don't do that.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world’s newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest “grand” ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.

    It fits perfectly with the technocratic ideal of all human carbon-units being essentially interchangeable under the skin, with virtually identical desires to be producer-consumers. Under that myth, if some artificial-construct "country" isn't having Vermont Town Meetings it must be because of a lack of financial incentives and Good Governance. That was part of the theory for invading Iraq, to make a formerly backward country into a showplace of Democracy! and therefor influence the rest of the M.E.

    Part of the problem is the socio-cultural-economic elites are cloud people. They've "met an Arab" because they hobnobbed with some Saudi princeling. They've "met a Pakistani" because they once spent 48 hours in Islamabad at some conference where they talked with a government official (ISI agent tasked to follow them) over three cups of tea.

    Guarantee no cloud-person has ever done a patrol in an Iraqi town, slipped around a corner and found some native in a courtyard banging his donkey. That sort of thing can change a man's mind about "universal values". Perhaps that's why the ordinary boots on the ground aren't so keen on nation-building, they've seen up close what the human materials look like.

    It's enough to make Smedley Butler look credible.


    Removing US and Allied forces makes the latest Afghan war into an extremely long version of "Rubble doesn't make trouble". We could have been out of there 10 or more years ago with the same result strategically and fewer dead Americans, Afghans, Europeans, and others.
  6. There are sons that have walked same paths their fathers walked in ’02 and ’03. Let Iran and Pakistan squabble over the God-forsaken place. It’ll keep them busy by turning their see-saw relations for the worse.

    I strongly suspect that one of the reasons the military establishment constantly argues that we need to stay in Afghanistan is to contain the Iranians, further exacerbated by the close, often personal ties that Rawalpindi has with them. (The Pakistanis don’t send dummies to West Point.) But when you consider the Taliban have no love for the Shi’ites and we’re supposedly, you know, against the Taliban…

  7. @dfordoom

    We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.
     
    Republicans support the deal because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they'd have opposed it.

    Democrats are lukewarm about it because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they'd have enthusiastically supported it.

    The worrying thing is that the young seem to be much more pro-war than the old.

    The worrying thing is that the young seem to be much more pro-war than the old.

    Some of that is an illusion caused by the “Uncertain” residual not shown. The youngest especially seem uncertain about this war, which is not surprising since they aren’t even old enough to remember it starting.

    The Republican result makes me proud to be a member of the party. That actually happens once in a while.

    Note how the Democrat numbers are identical the the Black numbers. LOL. The Imperial D.I.E. party is also the Black Party. Blacks played a big part in deciding who the nominee is this time around, and therefore maybe who the next Commander in Chief of our eternal imperial wars might be.

  8. We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.

    Even when I was a pro-(legal) immigration mainstream conservative, I was skeptical of foreign interventions. After the longest war in American history, it would be an understatement to say that that skepticism of mine has increased.

    I want our country to withdraw military forces from not only Iraq and Afghanistan (the latter being of no strategic importance to our country, especially, on which not one more drop of our blood should be shed), but I also want most of our forces brought home from Germany and South Korea (I’d still keep residual forces in the UK and Japan).

    And, of course, I am today an ardent immigration – both legal and illegal – restrictionist.

    America First is right. I don’t even call myself a conservative anymore (though I am, by temperament, a Burkean conservative). I identify as a nationalist.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    but I also want most of our forces brought home from Germany and South Korea
     
    You can withdraw your military bases from Australia as well while you're at it.

    (I’d still keep residual forces in the UK and Japan).
     
    What's your justification for continuing the US military occupation of the UK and Japan? Just curious.
    , @iffen
    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn't it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn't they demand that we go back to Korea?
  9. @Twinkie

    We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.
     
    Even when I was a pro-(legal) immigration mainstream conservative, I was skeptical of foreign interventions. After the longest war in American history, it would be an understatement to say that that skepticism of mine has increased.

    I want our country to withdraw military forces from not only Iraq and Afghanistan (the latter being of no strategic importance to our country, especially, on which not one more drop of our blood should be shed), but I also want most of our forces brought home from Germany and South Korea (I'd still keep residual forces in the UK and Japan).

    And, of course, I am today an ardent immigration - both legal and illegal - restrictionist.

    America First is right. I don't even call myself a conservative anymore (though I am, by temperament, a Burkean conservative). I identify as a nationalist.

    but I also want most of our forces brought home from Germany and South Korea

    You can withdraw your military bases from Australia as well while you’re at it.

    (I’d still keep residual forces in the UK and Japan).

    What’s your justification for continuing the US military occupation of the UK and Japan? Just curious.

    • Agree: LondonBob
  10. @Twinkie

    We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.
     
    Even when I was a pro-(legal) immigration mainstream conservative, I was skeptical of foreign interventions. After the longest war in American history, it would be an understatement to say that that skepticism of mine has increased.

    I want our country to withdraw military forces from not only Iraq and Afghanistan (the latter being of no strategic importance to our country, especially, on which not one more drop of our blood should be shed), but I also want most of our forces brought home from Germany and South Korea (I'd still keep residual forces in the UK and Japan).

    And, of course, I am today an ardent immigration - both legal and illegal - restrictionist.

    America First is right. I don't even call myself a conservative anymore (though I am, by temperament, a Burkean conservative). I identify as a nationalist.

    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn’t it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn’t they demand that we go back to Korea?

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    The ROKA is no pushover. The main problem from my understanding is that Pyongyang genuinely believes that the only thing preventing some kind of step toward closer ties are the damned Yankees bast***s hanging around, rather than the reality that North Korea is, well, North Korea.

    That's a political and messaging issue, not a military one.

    , @Lars Porsena
    No, I think not.

    This is not 1970 anymore. The Soviet Union no longer exists and China has as good of a relationship with South Korea as it has with North Korea. At this point in time South Korea should be able to pretty much annihilate North Korea. It would be a very costly war that I think neither of them wants. The north could definitely inflict a lot of casualties. But if SK can't win, they probably don't deserve to exist. They have practically every advantage now.

    Economy way larger, population twice as large, technology way more advanced. Looking around for statistics, according to armedforces.eu, North Korea has a defense budget of $15B making up 21% of their GDP, South Korea has a defense budget of $37B making up 3% of their GDP.
    , @Twinkie

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn’t it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South?
     
    That would be the end of the current regime in North Korea.

    North Korea's artillery and ballistic missile threat to Seoul is quite exaggerated. If it decided to launch a suicide invasion/attack on Seoul, I expect the civilian casualties to be in the thousands, not millions (though there would be significant structural damage to Seoul). Within weeks, the obsolte North Korean military would be annihilated by ROK forces supported by U.S. air and naval assets (assuming that U.S. Army's 2nd ID has been withdrawn).

    North's regime is not suicidal. It's quite rational and does all it can to retain automony and survive.
    , @nokangaroos
    If you look at the map, Korea (South), Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore are just forward positions to bottle up China (as is Afghanistan, of course).

    Sooner or later the US will be squeezed out of there - but it will be kicking and screaming.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    The South has the money, the men, and the height to trounce the North on their own.
  11. It seems to me that American imperialism is most popular closest to the center and becomes less popular further out in the fringes. I don’t know that the far-left, Antifa and the like, will ever be more pro-Imperialist than the right-of-center, no matter how diverse and inclusive NATO becomes. They’re the ones who walked out at certain tech companies due to cooperation with the US military.

    However, interventionism might shift from being more favored by the right-of-center to more favored by the left-of-center. This is basically how it was prior to WW2, and I suppose it more-or-less tracks whether the greatest foreign foes are perceived as rightist or leftist (noting that non-whites are basically treated as leftists by both sides, whether they’re Communists or Wahhabists).

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    It seems to me that American imperialism is most popular closest to the center and becomes less popular further out in the fringes. I don’t know that the far-left, Antifa and the like, will ever be more pro-Imperialist than the right-of-center, no matter how diverse and inclusive NATO becomes. They’re the ones who walked out at certain tech companies due to cooperation with the US military.
     
    Agreed. Imperialism is a core American value. Americans who are not on the political fringes are devoted to the idea that America has an imperial mission to tell the rest of the world how to live and to turn the entire planet into a copy of America.

    Imperialism is as American as apple pie and baseball.

    However, interventionism might shift from being more favored by the right-of-center to more favored by the left-of-center. This is basically how it was prior to WW2, and I suppose it more-or-less tracks whether the greatest foreign foes are perceived as rightist or leftist (noting that non-whites are basically treated as leftists by both sides, whether they’re Communists or Wahhabists).
     
    Yep.
  12. @iffen
    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn't it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn't they demand that we go back to Korea?

    The ROKA is no pushover. The main problem from my understanding is that Pyongyang genuinely believes that the only thing preventing some kind of step toward closer ties are the damned Yankees bast***s hanging around, rather than the reality that North Korea is, well, North Korea.

    That’s a political and messaging issue, not a military one.

  13. @dfordoom

    We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.
     
    Republicans support the deal because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they'd have opposed it.

    Democrats are lukewarm about it because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they'd have enthusiastically supported it.

    The worrying thing is that the young seem to be much more pro-war than the old.

    I don’t think that’s true at all. The only political belief that basically everyone in my generation seems to share is that the last few decades of interventionist foreign policy have been nothing short of a disaster, hence the appeal of Trump and Sanders types.

    • Agree: LondonBob
  14. @iffen
    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn't it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn't they demand that we go back to Korea?

    No, I think not.

    This is not 1970 anymore. The Soviet Union no longer exists and China has as good of a relationship with South Korea as it has with North Korea. At this point in time South Korea should be able to pretty much annihilate North Korea. It would be a very costly war that I think neither of them wants. The north could definitely inflict a lot of casualties. But if SK can’t win, they probably don’t deserve to exist. They have practically every advantage now.

    Economy way larger, population twice as large, technology way more advanced. Looking around for statistics, according to armedforces.eu, North Korea has a defense budget of $15B making up 21% of their GDP, South Korea has a defense budget of $37B making up 3% of their GDP.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Any war would mean the end of the Kim dynasty, no question about it. But it would also mean millions dead in the Gyeonggi killbox, to say nothing of the costs after the war.

    Not to mention the fact that the North has nuclear weapons. Like Japan, the South has nuclear latency, but nevertheless, you don't gamble with the prospect of nuclear attacks.

    Re: China, there's a reason Kim III killed his father's cronies who he deemed too subservient to Beijing and is carrying Putin's favor. He's diversifying.

  15. @Lars Porsena
    No, I think not.

    This is not 1970 anymore. The Soviet Union no longer exists and China has as good of a relationship with South Korea as it has with North Korea. At this point in time South Korea should be able to pretty much annihilate North Korea. It would be a very costly war that I think neither of them wants. The north could definitely inflict a lot of casualties. But if SK can't win, they probably don't deserve to exist. They have practically every advantage now.

    Economy way larger, population twice as large, technology way more advanced. Looking around for statistics, according to armedforces.eu, North Korea has a defense budget of $15B making up 21% of their GDP, South Korea has a defense budget of $37B making up 3% of their GDP.

    Any war would mean the end of the Kim dynasty, no question about it. But it would also mean millions dead in the Gyeonggi killbox, to say nothing of the costs after the war.

    Not to mention the fact that the North has nuclear weapons. Like Japan, the South has nuclear latency, but nevertheless, you don’t gamble with the prospect of nuclear attacks.

    Re: China, there’s a reason Kim III killed his father’s cronies who he deemed too subservient to Beijing and is carrying Putin’s favor. He’s diversifying.

  16. @dfordoom

    We are watching the Republican electorate, in fits and spurts, transforming into the America First party.
     
    Republicans support the deal because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they'd have opposed it.

    Democrats are lukewarm about it because it was proposed by a Republican resident. Had the same deal been proposed by a Democrat president they'd have enthusiastically supported it.

    The worrying thing is that the young seem to be much more pro-war than the old.

    Hmmm … the most bloodthirsty seem to be … let me check the chart …. young, black, Democrats!

    Huh, whodduthunkit?

    • Replies: @Talha
    Who are women apparently...?

    Peace.
    , @dfordoom

    Hmmm … the most bloodthirsty seem to be … let me check the chart …. young, black, Democrats!
     
    As I pointed out earlier, Republican voters will support the foreign policy of a Republican president while Democrats will oppose it. When there's a Democrat president, Democrat voters will support the foreign policy of a Democrat president while Republicans will oppose it.

    If Obama had proposed a peace deal with the Taliban Democrat voters would have supported it while Republican voters would have opposed it.

    That part of the survey result simply reflects political tribalism. It does not imply that Republican voters are in general less bloodthirsty than Democrat voters.
  17. @Almost Missouri
    Hmmm ... the most bloodthirsty seem to be ... let me check the chart .... young, black, Democrats!

    Huh, whodduthunkit?

    Who are women apparently…?

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Mmmm ... I was about to hit "agree", but then I checked the numbers...

    Ratio of support peace deal vs. oppose peace deal:

    Men: 2.6
    Women: 2.7

    So women appear slightly more peaceable than men here. Their lower "support" of and "oppose" to the peace deal probably just reflects feminine uncertainty and indecision.
  18. @Talha
    It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world's newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest "grand" ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.

    Peace.

    “there was zero need to invade the entire country”

    Both the Afghan war and the Iraq war started with the strategic logic—and public justification—of what was essentially a raid (“let’s get that bastard Osama” and “let’s get that bastard Saddam”) and both somehow morphed imperceptibly into grand Utopianist projects (“feminism for Afghans” and “Kumbaya to democracy Sunnis-Shiites-Kurds”).

    As far as I could tell, there was never any popular support for more military intervention than a raid, something the US had done casually and successfully as recently as the Panama invasion to capture Manuel Noriega a decade before, but since about 2003 the US has apparently lost the ability to do anything fast, light and limited. Now everything has to be a messianic remaking of the world.

    It’s not just the military. Civilian life is full of this. In 2008 Obama won the national election on “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” and “Change”, and all politics since then has been an all-or-nothing theological death match. Even commercial advertising is no longer just trying to sell you a product anymore, now they’re trying to sell you a world made new.

    I don’t know why this is.

    But it is strange.

    • Agree: Talha
    • Replies: @RSDB

    I don’t know why this is.
     
    Causation is often hard to attribute, but cui bono is a good way to start.
  19. @Talha
    Who are women apparently...?

    Peace.

    Mmmm … I was about to hit “agree”, but then I checked the numbers…

    Ratio of support peace deal vs. oppose peace deal:

    Men: 2.6
    Women: 2.7

    So women appear slightly more peaceable than men here. Their lower “support” of and “oppose” to the peace deal probably just reflects feminine uncertainty and indecision.

    • Replies: @Talha
    Good points.

    Peace.
  20. @Almost Missouri
    Mmmm ... I was about to hit "agree", but then I checked the numbers...

    Ratio of support peace deal vs. oppose peace deal:

    Men: 2.6
    Women: 2.7

    So women appear slightly more peaceable than men here. Their lower "support" of and "oppose" to the peace deal probably just reflects feminine uncertainty and indecision.

    Good points.

    Peace.

  21. @Almost Missouri

    "there was zero need to invade the entire country"
     
    Both the Afghan war and the Iraq war started with the strategic logic—and public justification—of what was essentially a raid ("let's get that bastard Osama" and "let's get that bastard Saddam") and both somehow morphed imperceptibly into grand Utopianist projects ("feminism for Afghans" and "Kumbaya to democracy Sunnis-Shiites-Kurds").

    As far as I could tell, there was never any popular support for more military intervention than a raid, something the US had done casually and successfully as recently as the Panama invasion to capture Manuel Noriega a decade before, but since about 2003 the US has apparently lost the ability to do anything fast, light and limited. Now everything has to be a messianic remaking of the world.

    It's not just the military. Civilian life is full of this. In 2008 Obama won the national election on "We are the ones we've been waiting for" and "Change", and all politics since then has been an all-or-nothing theological death match. Even commercial advertising is no longer just trying to sell you a product anymore, now they're trying to sell you a world made new.

    I don't know why this is.

    But it is strange.

    I don’t know why this is.

    Causation is often hard to attribute, but cui bono is a good way to start.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?
  22. @RSDB

    I don’t know why this is.
     
    Causation is often hard to attribute, but cui bono is a good way to start.

    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?

    • Replies: @Lars Porsena
    Interesting question.

    At face value:

    https://jacobitemag.com/2019/12/14/the-geopolitics-of-liberalism/

    Behind face value, another theory on what "Feminism for Afghanistan" might be covering for, have you noticed we've been having a heroin epidemic lately?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium#Modern_production_and_use

    Recently, opium production has increased considerably, surpassing 5,000 tons in 2002 and reaching 8,600 tons in Afghanistan and 840 tons in the Golden Triangle in 2014. Production is expected to increase in 2015 as new, improved seeds have been brought into Afghanistan.[107][108] The World Health Organization has estimated that current production of opium would need to increase fivefold to account for total global medical need
     
    , @dfordoom

    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?
     
    It's an American thing. Americans like to turn things into moral crusades. Look at the last hundred years if American history. Every American war has been sold as a moral crusade. The Cold War was not about politics, it was a moral crusade. The War on Drugs was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. The Civil Rights thing was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. The War on Terror was not an attempt to solve a political problem, it was a moral crusade. American feminism was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. Back in the 70s the Sexual Revolution and Gay Liberation were moral crusades.

    The whole of American foreign and domestic policy for a century has been sold to the American public as a moral crusade. And the American public has lapped it up.

    This applies as much to the Right as the Left.

    It's probably another lingering effect of American Puritanism.
  23. @Almost Missouri
    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?

    Interesting question.

    At face value:

    https://jacobitemag.com/2019/12/14/the-geopolitics-of-liberalism/

    Behind face value, another theory on what “Feminism for Afghanistan” might be covering for, have you noticed we’ve been having a heroin epidemic lately?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium#Modern_production_and_use

    Recently, opium production has increased considerably, surpassing 5,000 tons in 2002 and reaching 8,600 tons in Afghanistan and 840 tons in the Golden Triangle in 2014. Production is expected to increase in 2015 as new, improved seeds have been brought into Afghanistan.[107][108] The World Health Organization has estimated that current production of opium would need to increase fivefold to account for total global medical need

  24. “It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world’s newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest “grand” ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.”

    Just to be clear. I have mixed feelings about the peace deal —

    I opposed the Afghanistan invasion for what I thought were fairly obvious reasons. However, the country was unhinged.

    If nee be smaller an covert would have been the way to go. I think I would have make the same choices even knowing what I know now about what waited me by doing so.

    Well, a lot has to be granted for the women’s vote. Their desire to “free” the women of both countries from supposed tyrants was a huge seller. Frankly, I remain dubious of the assertion. But still to much my surprise , even supposed advocates of restraint still defend it.

    The other staggering loss is that conservatives lost several mountains worth of credibility and we are still paying the price. An Israel is not the bailout card, neither is easy immigration, no embracing the global mercantilism that pervades Washington DC. On the heels of the mistakes, we simply had very little moral authority to push back against same sex behavior and all that has follow in its wake . . . maybe more mild tidal wave is appropriate.

    Conservative were used and use royally and left holding the bag that democrats were gladly passing around of the same and extended even after the Republicans were out of the WH an took hits in Congress. And as much as I hate to admit it — we’re still taking hits.

    It was not a stupid war, just not well advised. Since the Taliban had no idea what Osama Bin Laden intended to do, had no role in it . . . the moral force was simply not enough to sustain the level of warfare required to defeat the Taliban in full. The same applies to Iraq. Anger usually dissipates and if that’s all you have without any other cause — well unlike many I think we have an honest core

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    to do what is right by others. We have our faults . . . laugh, but as a people we do endeavour to do our fellows good.
    , @Talha

    Since the Taliban had no idea what Osama Bin Laden intended to do, had no role in it . . . the moral force was simply not enough to sustain the level of warfare required to defeat the Taliban in full.
     
    Exactly. If you're going after OBL, make it clear you are going after OBL and that you have no beef with them UNLESS they get in the way and any of them that do, you will consider complicit. Then at least you had a chance of them simply hanging back and letting you do your thing without taking on their entire organization that spans from Afghanistan and well into the NW Frontier Province of Pakistan.

    Anger usually dissipates and if that’s all you have without any other cause
     
    Basically. And by occupying their country (and for God's sake, why did we keep bombing random weddings), we made sure they had plenty of anger on hand to last for the fight.

    Peace.
  25. @EliteCommInc.
    "It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world’s newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest “grand” ideas to come out of the Neocon camp."


    Just to be clear. I have mixed feelings about the peace deal --

    I opposed the Afghanistan invasion for what I thought were fairly obvious reasons. However, the country was unhinged.

    If nee be smaller an covert would have been the way to go. I think I would have make the same choices even knowing what I know now about what waited me by doing so.

    Well, a lot has to be granted for the women's vote. Their desire to "free" the women of both countries from supposed tyrants was a huge seller. Frankly, I remain dubious of the assertion. But still to much my surprise , even supposed advocates of restraint still defend it.

    The other staggering loss is that conservatives lost several mountains worth of credibility and we are still paying the price. An Israel is not the bailout card, neither is easy immigration, no embracing the global mercantilism that pervades Washington DC. On the heels of the mistakes, we simply had very little moral authority to push back against same sex behavior and all that has follow in its wake . . . maybe more mild tidal wave is appropriate.

    Conservative were used and use royally and left holding the bag that democrats were gladly passing around of the same and extended even after the Republicans were out of the WH an took hits in Congress. And as much as I hate to admit it -- we're still taking hits.


    It was not a stupid war, just not well advised. Since the Taliban had no idea what Osama Bin Laden intended to do, had no role in it . . . the moral force was simply not enough to sustain the level of warfare required to defeat the Taliban in full. The same applies to Iraq. Anger usually dissipates and if that's all you have without any other cause -- well unlike many I think we have an honest core

    to do what is right by others. We have our faults . . . laugh, but as a people we do endeavour to do our fellows good.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    We have our faults . . . laugh, but as a people we do endeavour to do our fellows good.
     
    On behalf of the rest of the world I'd like to make an appeal to Americans - please stop trying to do your fellows good. Just try minding your own business and let other countries mind theirs. Maybe you mean well but you do nothing but harm. Just stop.
  26. @EliteCommInc.
    "It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world’s newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest “grand” ideas to come out of the Neocon camp."


    Just to be clear. I have mixed feelings about the peace deal --

    I opposed the Afghanistan invasion for what I thought were fairly obvious reasons. However, the country was unhinged.

    If nee be smaller an covert would have been the way to go. I think I would have make the same choices even knowing what I know now about what waited me by doing so.

    Well, a lot has to be granted for the women's vote. Their desire to "free" the women of both countries from supposed tyrants was a huge seller. Frankly, I remain dubious of the assertion. But still to much my surprise , even supposed advocates of restraint still defend it.

    The other staggering loss is that conservatives lost several mountains worth of credibility and we are still paying the price. An Israel is not the bailout card, neither is easy immigration, no embracing the global mercantilism that pervades Washington DC. On the heels of the mistakes, we simply had very little moral authority to push back against same sex behavior and all that has follow in its wake . . . maybe more mild tidal wave is appropriate.

    Conservative were used and use royally and left holding the bag that democrats were gladly passing around of the same and extended even after the Republicans were out of the WH an took hits in Congress. And as much as I hate to admit it -- we're still taking hits.


    It was not a stupid war, just not well advised. Since the Taliban had no idea what Osama Bin Laden intended to do, had no role in it . . . the moral force was simply not enough to sustain the level of warfare required to defeat the Taliban in full. The same applies to Iraq. Anger usually dissipates and if that's all you have without any other cause -- well unlike many I think we have an honest core

    Since the Taliban had no idea what Osama Bin Laden intended to do, had no role in it . . . the moral force was simply not enough to sustain the level of warfare required to defeat the Taliban in full.

    Exactly. If you’re going after OBL, make it clear you are going after OBL and that you have no beef with them UNLESS they get in the way and any of them that do, you will consider complicit. Then at least you had a chance of them simply hanging back and letting you do your thing without taking on their entire organization that spans from Afghanistan and well into the NW Frontier Province of Pakistan.

    Anger usually dissipates and if that’s all you have without any other cause

    Basically. And by occupying their country (and for God’s sake, why did we keep bombing random weddings), we made sure they had plenty of anger on hand to last for the fight.

    Peace.

  27. “As far as I could tell, there was never any popular support for more military intervention than a raid, something the US had done casually and successfully as recently as the Panama invasion to capture Manuel Noriega a decade before, but since about 2003 the US has apparently lost the ability to do anything fast, light and limited. Now everything has to be a messianic remaking of the world.”

    Excuse me . . .

    Though 9/11 was a crime as opposed to an act of war by another nation — it was still devastating in structurally an more so to the identity of who we are as a people. No the US has not lost that ability. It simply is out of context with events. It was hard to imagine that the second attempt at the WTO would be as devastating as it was.

    The magnitude was so great an thought impossible by a small band of young men flittering away in the US around college campuses, drinking carousing an learning to fly . . . that there’s plenty of reasoned individual from top notch educational systems, who say it was an inside job.

  28. anon[177] • Disclaimer says:
    @Talha
    It was a stupid war in the first place.
    1) The Taliban were willing to negotiate the whole Bin Laden thing, but they demanded proof.
    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world's newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest "grand" ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.

    Peace.

    2) Even if we said they were bluffing, there was zero need to invade the entire country, we could have gone all in (meaning no second-front war in Iraq and doubling the forces that went in Afghanistan from the beginning) on Bin Laden and just the al-Qaeda network and completely destroyed them in the particular region they were in.

    This used to be called an “expedition” and it was carried out by “expeditionary forces”, in the US case typically Marines, in the French case the Foreign Legion, etc. A clearly defined objective, a force structure adequate to the task, and no occupation. Kick over the coffee table, make the point, and leave.

    Derbyshire described it as “Rubble doesn’t make trouble”. Do this, get trashed. Do it again, get trashed again. Don’t do that.

    The idea that we could force Afghanistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century as the world’s newest Jeffersonian republic is probably one of the stupidest “grand” ideas to come out of the Neocon camp.

    It fits perfectly with the technocratic ideal of all human carbon-units being essentially interchangeable under the skin, with virtually identical desires to be producer-consumers. Under that myth, if some artificial-construct “country” isn’t having Vermont Town Meetings it must be because of a lack of financial incentives and Good Governance. That was part of the theory for invading Iraq, to make a formerly backward country into a showplace of Democracy! and therefor influence the rest of the M.E.

    Part of the problem is the socio-cultural-economic elites are cloud people. They’ve “met an Arab” because they hobnobbed with some Saudi princeling. They’ve “met a Pakistani” because they once spent 48 hours in Islamabad at some conference where they talked with a government official (ISI agent tasked to follow them) over three cups of tea.

    Guarantee no cloud-person has ever done a patrol in an Iraqi town, slipped around a corner and found some native in a courtyard banging his donkey. That sort of thing can change a man’s mind about “universal values”. Perhaps that’s why the ordinary boots on the ground aren’t so keen on nation-building, they’ve seen up close what the human materials look like.

    It’s enough to make Smedley Butler look credible.

    Removing US and Allied forces makes the latest Afghan war into an extremely long version of “Rubble doesn’t make trouble”. We could have been out of there 10 or more years ago with the same result strategically and fewer dead Americans, Afghans, Europeans, and others.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
  29. @Almost Missouri
    Hmmm ... the most bloodthirsty seem to be ... let me check the chart .... young, black, Democrats!

    Huh, whodduthunkit?

    Hmmm … the most bloodthirsty seem to be … let me check the chart …. young, black, Democrats!

    As I pointed out earlier, Republican voters will support the foreign policy of a Republican president while Democrats will oppose it. When there’s a Democrat president, Democrat voters will support the foreign policy of a Democrat president while Republicans will oppose it.

    If Obama had proposed a peace deal with the Taliban Democrat voters would have supported it while Republican voters would have opposed it.

    That part of the survey result simply reflects political tribalism. It does not imply that Republican voters are in general less bloodthirsty than Democrat voters.

  30. @Almost Missouri
    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?

    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?

    It’s an American thing. Americans like to turn things into moral crusades. Look at the last hundred years if American history. Every American war has been sold as a moral crusade. The Cold War was not about politics, it was a moral crusade. The War on Drugs was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. The Civil Rights thing was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. The War on Terror was not an attempt to solve a political problem, it was a moral crusade. American feminism was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. Back in the 70s the Sexual Revolution and Gay Liberation were moral crusades.

    The whole of American foreign and domestic policy for a century has been sold to the American public as a moral crusade. And the American public has lapped it up.

    This applies as much to the Right as the Left.

    It’s probably another lingering effect of American Puritanism.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Granted there is the City On A Hill aspect and mobilizing a democracy will always involve rhetorical overshoot, yet, as mentioned, as recently as 1990, fast, light and limited was still possible, so somehow the messianic impulse and rhetorical overshoot was handily contained for more than two hundred years.

    Maybe the Cold War—facing off against a rival superpower—was the last thing keeping American foreign policy practical and pragmatic. Once America won the Cold War and became the sole hyperpower, then all restraints on American moral ambition were broken. America could finally be whatever its elites wanted it to be, unconstrained by the need to win an immediate military confrontation. Unfortunately, at that moment the political Capitol at DC and the media capitols at NYC and LA were full of degenerate twerps whose moral ambition was as insane and depraved as their own souls. And the rest, as they almost say, is recent history.

  31. @EliteCommInc.
    to do what is right by others. We have our faults . . . laugh, but as a people we do endeavour to do our fellows good.

    We have our faults . . . laugh, but as a people we do endeavour to do our fellows good.

    On behalf of the rest of the world I’d like to make an appeal to Americans – please stop trying to do your fellows good. Just try minding your own business and let other countries mind theirs. Maybe you mean well but you do nothing but harm. Just stop.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @nokangaroos
    Doom,

    this is called "ego defense"; they cannot admit to their Puritan-Manichean selves that they are the same kind of assholes as everybody else (similarities to tikkun olam are no doubt unintended and purely coincidental), and the cognitive dissonance makes them worse.
  32. “That part of the survey result simply reflects political tribalism. It does not imply that Republican voters are in general less bloodthirsty than Democrat voters.”

    I am sad to say that on this point the previous executive gets some support from me as tough as it is to do so. The above observation ha some merit (minus the blood thirsty reference). When the previous executive wanted to change course in the middle east and started by making rounds suggesting mistakes were made and under his admin they would be avoided —–

    my side of the aisle went ballistic, despite the fact that most of the country wanted to change the course as well. It was strange to see given all the failures.

  33. @Wency
    It seems to me that American imperialism is most popular closest to the center and becomes less popular further out in the fringes. I don't know that the far-left, Antifa and the like, will ever be more pro-Imperialist than the right-of-center, no matter how diverse and inclusive NATO becomes. They're the ones who walked out at certain tech companies due to cooperation with the US military.

    However, interventionism might shift from being more favored by the right-of-center to more favored by the left-of-center. This is basically how it was prior to WW2, and I suppose it more-or-less tracks whether the greatest foreign foes are perceived as rightist or leftist (noting that non-whites are basically treated as leftists by both sides, whether they're Communists or Wahhabists).

    It seems to me that American imperialism is most popular closest to the center and becomes less popular further out in the fringes. I don’t know that the far-left, Antifa and the like, will ever be more pro-Imperialist than the right-of-center, no matter how diverse and inclusive NATO becomes. They’re the ones who walked out at certain tech companies due to cooperation with the US military.

    Agreed. Imperialism is a core American value. Americans who are not on the political fringes are devoted to the idea that America has an imperial mission to tell the rest of the world how to live and to turn the entire planet into a copy of America.

    Imperialism is as American as apple pie and baseball.

    However, interventionism might shift from being more favored by the right-of-center to more favored by the left-of-center. This is basically how it was prior to WW2, and I suppose it more-or-less tracks whether the greatest foreign foes are perceived as rightist or leftist (noting that non-whites are basically treated as leftists by both sides, whether they’re Communists or Wahhabists).

    Yep.

  34. @dfordoom

    Okay, who benefits from cantankerous universal messianism, and how?
     
    It's an American thing. Americans like to turn things into moral crusades. Look at the last hundred years if American history. Every American war has been sold as a moral crusade. The Cold War was not about politics, it was a moral crusade. The War on Drugs was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. The Civil Rights thing was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. The War on Terror was not an attempt to solve a political problem, it was a moral crusade. American feminism was not an attempt to solve a social problem, it was a moral crusade. Back in the 70s the Sexual Revolution and Gay Liberation were moral crusades.

    The whole of American foreign and domestic policy for a century has been sold to the American public as a moral crusade. And the American public has lapped it up.

    This applies as much to the Right as the Left.

    It's probably another lingering effect of American Puritanism.

    Granted there is the City On A Hill aspect and mobilizing a democracy will always involve rhetorical overshoot, yet, as mentioned, as recently as 1990, fast, light and limited was still possible, so somehow the messianic impulse and rhetorical overshoot was handily contained for more than two hundred years.

    Maybe the Cold War—facing off against a rival superpower—was the last thing keeping American foreign policy practical and pragmatic. Once America won the Cold War and became the sole hyperpower, then all restraints on American moral ambition were broken. America could finally be whatever its elites wanted it to be, unconstrained by the need to win an immediate military confrontation. Unfortunately, at that moment the political Capitol at DC and the media capitols at NYC and LA were full of degenerate twerps whose moral ambition was as insane and depraved as their own souls. And the rest, as they almost say, is recent history.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Once America won the Cold War and became the sole hyperpower, then all restraints on American moral ambition were broken
     
    Yes. The end of the Cold War was a catastrophe. The Cold War kept American moral zeal at least partly under control.
    , @nebulafox
    >Maybe the Cold War—facing off against a rival superpower—was the last thing keeping American foreign policy practical and pragmatic.

    I don't think it was just foreign policy. In domestic policy, too: the lack of touch with any kind of restraint or caution isn't hard to detect, both on the Left and Right. Trade, immigration, globalization and outsourcing, social policy, and the general premises of the assumption that human beings are interchangable cogs, among many other things...

    Overall, the Baby Boomers rising to power simultaneously with the USSR's collapse wasn't a good combination. I've been pretty harsh on my own generation in some of my previous comments and I treat people as individuals first and foremost, but it doesn't change the fact that a lot of the complaints about the Boomers mortgaging our future do have an underlying basis in reality.

  35. @Almost Missouri
    Granted there is the City On A Hill aspect and mobilizing a democracy will always involve rhetorical overshoot, yet, as mentioned, as recently as 1990, fast, light and limited was still possible, so somehow the messianic impulse and rhetorical overshoot was handily contained for more than two hundred years.

    Maybe the Cold War—facing off against a rival superpower—was the last thing keeping American foreign policy practical and pragmatic. Once America won the Cold War and became the sole hyperpower, then all restraints on American moral ambition were broken. America could finally be whatever its elites wanted it to be, unconstrained by the need to win an immediate military confrontation. Unfortunately, at that moment the political Capitol at DC and the media capitols at NYC and LA were full of degenerate twerps whose moral ambition was as insane and depraved as their own souls. And the rest, as they almost say, is recent history.

    Once America won the Cold War and became the sole hyperpower, then all restraints on American moral ambition were broken

    Yes. The end of the Cold War was a catastrophe. The Cold War kept American moral zeal at least partly under control.

  36. Americans (vets excepted) think war is something that happens on TV. Is there a poll of people who have actually experienced war?

  37. @iffen
    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn't it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn't they demand that we go back to Korea?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn’t it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South?

    That would be the end of the current regime in North Korea.

    North Korea’s artillery and ballistic missile threat to Seoul is quite exaggerated. If it decided to launch a suicide invasion/attack on Seoul, I expect the civilian casualties to be in the thousands, not millions (though there would be significant structural damage to Seoul). Within weeks, the obsolte North Korean military would be annihilated by ROK forces supported by U.S. air and naval assets (assuming that U.S. Army’s 2nd ID has been withdrawn).

    North’s regime is not suicidal. It’s quite rational and does all it can to retain automony and survive.

    • Thanks: iffen
    • Replies: @anon
    NKPA armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People's_Army_Ground_Force#Armor

    NKPA is basically a Soviet-style army from the 1980's. Like Iraq in 2003.

    ROK armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K1_88-Tank
    The KI-88 is a Hyundai version of the US M1 Abrams, which devastated Iraqi armor.
    Not your sister's Sonata.

    ROK also has what is arguably the most modern tank in the world:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2_Black_Panther

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.
  38. @iffen
    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn't it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn't they demand that we go back to Korea?

    If you look at the map, Korea (South), Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore are just forward positions to bottle up China (as is Afghanistan, of course).

    Sooner or later the US will be squeezed out of there – but it will be kicking and screaming.

  39. @dfordoom

    We have our faults . . . laugh, but as a people we do endeavour to do our fellows good.
     
    On behalf of the rest of the world I'd like to make an appeal to Americans - please stop trying to do your fellows good. Just try minding your own business and let other countries mind theirs. Maybe you mean well but you do nothing but harm. Just stop.

    Doom,

    this is called “ego defense”; they cannot admit to their Puritan-Manichean selves that they are the same kind of assholes as everybody else (similarities to tikkun olam are no doubt unintended and purely coincidental), and the cognitive dissonance makes them worse.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    I can. It's true that Whiggish tendencies are deeply embedded within American psychology and animated a lot of the foreign policy decisions taken in the decades after the USSR fell. But the last 20 years have done a massive number on them. Barring some kind of direct attack on the US, foreign adventures would probably not be welcomed by the public. Just look at what happened with Syria. Both major political parties favored massive intervention in 2013. But public opinion forced them to settle for an incoherent policy of aiding "moderate Sunni groups" who had the capability of ejecting Assad and his Russian/Iranian backers, and then governing successfully and democratically without bloodshed. Or look at what happened to Romney's campaign in 2012: even amongst *hawks* who are generally unapologetically pro-Israel, the "zero daylight" comment regarding Iran and Israel was not popular with anybody save the GOP Establishment and AIPAC.

    (On Syria, if this sounds ridiculous, it should: such people didn't exist.)

    But I also know that the US, like Japan, was largely a copycat: we only started really undergoing the global imperial phase after the Europeans did, largely because the Europeans did. We weren't amazingly better than the rest of the world, but let's not pretend we were incredibly worse, OK? Especially after the really nutty ideologies began taking over in less fortunate countries after WWI.

  40. anon[368] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn’t it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South?
     
    That would be the end of the current regime in North Korea.

    North Korea's artillery and ballistic missile threat to Seoul is quite exaggerated. If it decided to launch a suicide invasion/attack on Seoul, I expect the civilian casualties to be in the thousands, not millions (though there would be significant structural damage to Seoul). Within weeks, the obsolte North Korean military would be annihilated by ROK forces supported by U.S. air and naval assets (assuming that U.S. Army's 2nd ID has been withdrawn).

    North's regime is not suicidal. It's quite rational and does all it can to retain automony and survive.

    NKPA armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People’s_Army_Ground_Force#Armor

    NKPA is basically a Soviet-style army from the 1980’s. Like Iraq in 2003.

    ROK armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K1_88-Tank
    The KI-88 is a Hyundai version of the US M1 Abrams, which devastated Iraqi armor.
    Not your sister’s Sonata.

    ROK also has what is arguably the most modern tank in the world:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2_Black_Panther

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.
     
    And if China intervened to rescue its client regime, more than a few of the ROK high command would probably not be averse to a rematch with the PLA somewhere in their lizard brains, even though the human, rational side, would suggest that China's sheer size is likely to make this a very costly exercise for the ROK.
    , @Twinkie
    While South Korean armaments are far more modern and of greater quality, that's not what the main problem is for the North. Aside from the stockpile of decaying ballistic missiles, rockets, and artillery shells, the North's military is at very low readiness due to fuel and spareparts shortages. They simply cannot sustain a high tempo mechanized operation necessary to engage in any substantial aggression.

    Once the balloon goes up, ROK and U.S. (and possibly JSDF), with complete and total air superiority, will engage in a massive air campaign to, not only destroy the missile launchers and arty, but interdict any supply between North Korean frontline units and the depots. Tanks are a hunk of useless steel unless it has fuel, ammo, and sparparts, and the crew has food.

    Within a couple of weeks, any North Korean offensive will grind to a halt and will be annhilated. I might add also that the border between the North and the South is HIGHLY fortified. There is only a couple of major transport arteries for the North to head to Seoul (the Uijongbu corridor being the main one) and these are massively protected by the ROK forces. The surrounding terrain is mountainous and are highly unsuited to large-scale mechanized movements. At least in the past, North could have moved at nights to avoid air attacks - those days are long gone as the U.S. forces excel at night air operations.
  41. @anon
    NKPA armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People's_Army_Ground_Force#Armor

    NKPA is basically a Soviet-style army from the 1980's. Like Iraq in 2003.

    ROK armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K1_88-Tank
    The KI-88 is a Hyundai version of the US M1 Abrams, which devastated Iraqi armor.
    Not your sister's Sonata.

    ROK also has what is arguably the most modern tank in the world:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2_Black_Panther

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.

    And if China intervened to rescue its client regime, more than a few of the ROK high command would probably not be averse to a rematch with the PLA somewhere in their lizard brains, even though the human, rational side, would suggest that China’s sheer size is likely to make this a very costly exercise for the ROK.

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    And if China intervened to rescue its client regime
     
    I don't think PRC will ever militarily aid a North Korean suicide invasion of the South. PRC doesn't want South Korean forces on the Yalu.

    It's more likely to stage a coup in Pyongyang, liquidate the leadership and replace it with China-friendly "reformist" generals, and immediately halt military operations and seek a truce with the South.

    Kim's nukes are as much aimed at Seoul as Beijing.
  42. @anon
    NKPA armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People's_Army_Ground_Force#Armor

    NKPA is basically a Soviet-style army from the 1980's. Like Iraq in 2003.

    ROK armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K1_88-Tank
    The KI-88 is a Hyundai version of the US M1 Abrams, which devastated Iraqi armor.
    Not your sister's Sonata.

    ROK also has what is arguably the most modern tank in the world:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2_Black_Panther

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.

    While South Korean armaments are far more modern and of greater quality, that’s not what the main problem is for the North. Aside from the stockpile of decaying ballistic missiles, rockets, and artillery shells, the North’s military is at very low readiness due to fuel and spareparts shortages. They simply cannot sustain a high tempo mechanized operation necessary to engage in any substantial aggression.

    Once the balloon goes up, ROK and U.S. (and possibly JSDF), with complete and total air superiority, will engage in a massive air campaign to, not only destroy the missile launchers and arty, but interdict any supply between North Korean frontline units and the depots. Tanks are a hunk of useless steel unless it has fuel, ammo, and sparparts, and the crew has food.

    Within a couple of weeks, any North Korean offensive will grind to a halt and will be annhilated. I might add also that the border between the North and the South is HIGHLY fortified. There is only a couple of major transport arteries for the North to head to Seoul (the Uijongbu corridor being the main one) and these are massively protected by the ROK forces. The surrounding terrain is mountainous and are highly unsuited to large-scale mechanized movements. At least in the past, North could have moved at nights to avoid air attacks – those days are long gone as the U.S. forces excel at night air operations.

  43. @Johann Ricke

    The ROK army guys are good to go. Some want to wash their boots in the Yalu.
     
    And if China intervened to rescue its client regime, more than a few of the ROK high command would probably not be averse to a rematch with the PLA somewhere in their lizard brains, even though the human, rational side, would suggest that China's sheer size is likely to make this a very costly exercise for the ROK.

    And if China intervened to rescue its client regime

    I don’t think PRC will ever militarily aid a North Korean suicide invasion of the South. PRC doesn’t want South Korean forces on the Yalu.

    It’s more likely to stage a coup in Pyongyang, liquidate the leadership and replace it with China-friendly “reformist” generals, and immediately halt military operations and seek a truce with the South.

    Kim’s nukes are as much aimed at Seoul as Beijing.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    It’s more likely to stage a coup in Pyongyang, liquidate the leadership and replace it with China-friendly “reformist” generals, and immediately halt military operations and seek a truce with the South.
     
    China's neighbors, like the client states of many empires in history, have had plenty of experience with eliminating suborned domestic elites temporarily allied with the foreign hegemon. I doubt Kim Jong-un has survived this long by being complacent about the people around him. Seeing him in action through occasional articles about purges and other court intrigues is like watching glimpses of an elaborate period series produced by one of the Korean broadcast networks. The only things missing are the period costumes. But the lack of 20th centuries niceties, re the elimination of cruel and unusual punishments, shines through.

    If Kim moves south, the ROK will end up at the Yalu. The only question is what the Chinese are going to end up doing about it. I'd say even if North Korea collapses, and the Chinese move in, the pressure in South Korea to evict the Chinese will be irresistible.
  44. @Twinkie

    And if China intervened to rescue its client regime
     
    I don't think PRC will ever militarily aid a North Korean suicide invasion of the South. PRC doesn't want South Korean forces on the Yalu.

    It's more likely to stage a coup in Pyongyang, liquidate the leadership and replace it with China-friendly "reformist" generals, and immediately halt military operations and seek a truce with the South.

    Kim's nukes are as much aimed at Seoul as Beijing.

    It’s more likely to stage a coup in Pyongyang, liquidate the leadership and replace it with China-friendly “reformist” generals, and immediately halt military operations and seek a truce with the South.

    China’s neighbors, like the client states of many empires in history, have had plenty of experience with eliminating suborned domestic elites temporarily allied with the foreign hegemon. I doubt Kim Jong-un has survived this long by being complacent about the people around him. Seeing him in action through occasional articles about purges and other court intrigues is like watching glimpses of an elaborate period series produced by one of the Korean broadcast networks. The only things missing are the period costumes. But the lack of 20th centuries niceties, re the elimination of cruel and unusual punishments, shines through.

    If Kim moves south, the ROK will end up at the Yalu. The only question is what the Chinese are going to end up doing about it. I’d say even if North Korea collapses, and the Chinese move in, the pressure in South Korea to evict the Chinese will be irresistible.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    I don’t think China would wait until North collapses. It will establish a proxy regime long before that.
  45. @Johann Ricke

    It’s more likely to stage a coup in Pyongyang, liquidate the leadership and replace it with China-friendly “reformist” generals, and immediately halt military operations and seek a truce with the South.
     
    China's neighbors, like the client states of many empires in history, have had plenty of experience with eliminating suborned domestic elites temporarily allied with the foreign hegemon. I doubt Kim Jong-un has survived this long by being complacent about the people around him. Seeing him in action through occasional articles about purges and other court intrigues is like watching glimpses of an elaborate period series produced by one of the Korean broadcast networks. The only things missing are the period costumes. But the lack of 20th centuries niceties, re the elimination of cruel and unusual punishments, shines through.

    If Kim moves south, the ROK will end up at the Yalu. The only question is what the Chinese are going to end up doing about it. I'd say even if North Korea collapses, and the Chinese move in, the pressure in South Korea to evict the Chinese will be irresistible.

    I don’t think China would wait until North collapses. It will establish a proxy regime long before that.

  46. @nokangaroos
    Doom,

    this is called "ego defense"; they cannot admit to their Puritan-Manichean selves that they are the same kind of assholes as everybody else (similarities to tikkun olam are no doubt unintended and purely coincidental), and the cognitive dissonance makes them worse.

    I can. It’s true that Whiggish tendencies are deeply embedded within American psychology and animated a lot of the foreign policy decisions taken in the decades after the USSR fell. But the last 20 years have done a massive number on them. Barring some kind of direct attack on the US, foreign adventures would probably not be welcomed by the public. Just look at what happened with Syria. Both major political parties favored massive intervention in 2013. But public opinion forced them to settle for an incoherent policy of aiding “moderate Sunni groups” who had the capability of ejecting Assad and his Russian/Iranian backers, and then governing successfully and democratically without bloodshed. Or look at what happened to Romney’s campaign in 2012: even amongst *hawks* who are generally unapologetically pro-Israel, the “zero daylight” comment regarding Iran and Israel was not popular with anybody save the GOP Establishment and AIPAC.

    (On Syria, if this sounds ridiculous, it should: such people didn’t exist.)

    But I also know that the US, like Japan, was largely a copycat: we only started really undergoing the global imperial phase after the Europeans did, largely because the Europeans did. We weren’t amazingly better than the rest of the world, but let’s not pretend we were incredibly worse, OK? Especially after the really nutty ideologies began taking over in less fortunate countries after WWI.

  47. @Almost Missouri
    Granted there is the City On A Hill aspect and mobilizing a democracy will always involve rhetorical overshoot, yet, as mentioned, as recently as 1990, fast, light and limited was still possible, so somehow the messianic impulse and rhetorical overshoot was handily contained for more than two hundred years.

    Maybe the Cold War—facing off against a rival superpower—was the last thing keeping American foreign policy practical and pragmatic. Once America won the Cold War and became the sole hyperpower, then all restraints on American moral ambition were broken. America could finally be whatever its elites wanted it to be, unconstrained by the need to win an immediate military confrontation. Unfortunately, at that moment the political Capitol at DC and the media capitols at NYC and LA were full of degenerate twerps whose moral ambition was as insane and depraved as their own souls. And the rest, as they almost say, is recent history.

    >Maybe the Cold War—facing off against a rival superpower—was the last thing keeping American foreign policy practical and pragmatic.

    I don’t think it was just foreign policy. In domestic policy, too: the lack of touch with any kind of restraint or caution isn’t hard to detect, both on the Left and Right. Trade, immigration, globalization and outsourcing, social policy, and the general premises of the assumption that human beings are interchangable cogs, among many other things…

    Overall, the Baby Boomers rising to power simultaneously with the USSR’s collapse wasn’t a good combination. I’ve been pretty harsh on my own generation in some of my previous comments and I treat people as individuals first and foremost, but it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of the complaints about the Boomers mortgaging our future do have an underlying basis in reality.

  48. @iffen
    What about Taiwan?

    If we withdrew our forces from South Korea, wouldn't it just be a matter of time before the North starts committing serious military actions against the South? Unless the elites change, wouldn't they demand that we go back to Korea?

    The South has the money, the men, and the height to trounce the North on their own.

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