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The Suicide of a Great Nation
Ebola and ISIS Are Symptoms of Decline
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Yale Professor Paul Kennedy’s seminal 1987 work the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers explores how powerful nations tend to self-destruct economically based on their tendency to take on responsibilities and missions that are peripheral to their core interests and which stretch their resources to a point where they go into political decline and eventually either retrench or collapse. He notes that deficit spending on the military is the single most important element in the decline of great powers. Basing his analysis on the Spanish, British, French, Austro-Hungarian and Russian/Soviet Empires, he called the tendency “imperial overstretch.”

Kennedy’s observations have sometimes been cited by contemporary historians to illuminate the decline of the United States over the past twenty years. To be sure, there are elements of imperial overstretch in the inside the beltway consensus that America must be the leader of “the world’s democracies.” It relies on the assumption that overwhelming military superiority of necessity translates into the ability to shape developments thousands of miles away. This has proven a fallacy as one sits back and watches Iraq and Syria deconstruct due to misguided American policies while a malignant and monstrous new presence called ISIS strives to fill the vacuum created by US missteps. For Afghanistan the only lesson learned, questionable at that, is apparently that to avoid a replay of Iraq a permanent US garrison or expeditionary force must remain as guarantor of a modicum of stability, which presumably will only be maintained until the 2016 elections in the United States so the Democrats can avoid being blamed for having “lost” Afghanistan on top of being blamed for having “lost” Iraq.

Given the eye on elections, it should surprise no one that domestic politics drive much of how the United States interfaces with the rest of the world, but the problem is actually much larger than that. Recent kiss and tell memoirs by Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta are in agreement on the fallibility of the decision making process in the White House. They reveal that President Barack Obama was often at odds with his advisers, not necessarily over specific policies, but more often due to the White House’s implementation thereof and its unwillingness to provide the kind of consistent leadership that distinguishes actual strategy from what becomes all too often after-the-fact disconnected reactions to developments.

To be sure, Obama suffers from not having had the kind of preparation needed to head any large organization, much less the United States government. His two-year tenure in the Senate was undistinguished and those who lampoon him as little more than an ex-community organizer are not far from the truth. Like the Lord High Executioner in the Mikado he was elevated “by a set of curious chances,” to include Republican adversaries who were considered completely toxic by large parts of the electorate.

Like his predecessor, Obama has compensated for his deficiencies by surrounding himself with cronies. Obama’s are ideologically compatible but often have even less experience than he does. But they are loyal to him personally and maintain an essentially politicized agenda that only occasionally is supportive of genuine national interests.

So Obama’s course in on the job training leaves a lot to be desired. But there is still more than that, unfortunately, because what we are seeing now is doing grave damage to our country even as constitutional liberties are stripped away and the stagnant economy offers little hope for the struggling middle and working classes.

I would cite two recent developments that are symptomatic of the inability or possibly even the unwillingness of the federal government to advance the wellbeing of the American people. First is the escalating war in Iraq and Syria being fought against the terrorist group ISIS. The military action is in response to the brutality of the group, to include the beheading of two Americans and two Britons, but the actual genesis of ISIS has “Made in the USA” all over it. ISIS is filling a power vacuum created by Washington. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the removal of Saddam Hussein destroyed a secular regime that did not threaten the United States in any way which was a bulwark against the ambitions of neighboring Iran and which was terrorist-group free.

Exit Saddam and repeat something of a similar strategy to remove equally secular and equally anti-terrorist Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria and one winds up with a huge no man’s land hole in the heart of the Arab world. And the US support of insurgency in Syria has been meant to accomplish what? Stopping Assad from abusing his own people apparently, and bringing in free elections just like have taken place so successfully in Egypt, Libya, and Eastern Europe. Indeed, one might reasonably predict that the current conflict will be a replay of the fiasco in Libya where a tyrannical but basically pragmatic ruler was replaced by chaos.

The American horse in the race is difficult to discern, but the air war against ISIS has already cost nearly a billion dollars and is sure to go up dramatically even as the results go down because no one seriously expects bombing to accomplish anything. And the costs are characteristically unfunded, relying on borrowed money just like in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Given the clearly visible downside, if one searches real hard for reasons to support American military engagement in the Middle East at the present time it would be difficult if not impossible to come up with a good answer. ISIS does not actually threaten the United States and is not likely to do so in the foreseeable future. If the group is to be destroyed it must be done by the local people who are most affected by it, not by bombers sent from Washington and if the locals don’t want to do it, it’s their problem, isn’t it? Involvement in unnecessary wars, including World War I, is what brought the empires to their knees in the early Twentieth Century. Will Afghanistan and the Middle East be the graveyards of American pretentions? It sure looks that way.

Second is the Ebola virus, which both the President of the United States and the Secretary of State have described as a major international problem and a serious threat to our own national security. So what have they done about it? They and their minions have fumbled and bumbled just like their predecessors did with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, only this time it’s worse because they knew this particular health crisis was coming. They are sending a few soldiers, including national guardsmen who are not medical specialists and will likely be at risk, to Liberia as they build operating tents and other infrastructure to confront the crisis, assistance that was by the way originally sought months ago when it might have actually made a difference.

Meanwhile the domestic public policy aspect of what the government is doing to keep Americans from contracting the disease is mired in political correctness. It consists of taking foreigners’ temperatures at airports and asking them to fill out a questionnaire on whether they have had contact recently with Ebola patients. Everyone who actually wants to enter the US and who has just suffered through a twelve hour plane ride answers “no.”

Given the open door policy and as not every Ebola victim is feverish while any symptoms take a while to develop it will not take long for West Africans who have the resources to do so to move en masse to the US for the expensive medical treatment that is not available back at home. And it will be free for them as they have no insurance and cannot be turned away when they show up at the hospital door while thousands of Americans will contract the disease from them. And when the visitors die there will be the inevitable lawsuits, alleging that they received inferior treatment because they were both foreign and black.

There are reportedly only four hospitals with isolation wards totaling 23 beds that are currently equipped to deal with Ebola in the US. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), following the lead of the White House, is studying the problem after having first established a fool proof medical protocol which apparently failed to work in Dallas. There are reports that “rapid response” teams are now being assembled to assist local hospitals in spite of previous government assurances that there was no reason to panic. And there is even a Democratic political hack who has been named “Ebola Czar,” a sure sign that the government doesn’t have a clue about what it is doing.

One Worlders, globalists, generic bleeding heart types and some Libertarians have no problem with potentially infected Africans entering the United States because they believe for various reasons that borders are somewhat irrelevant anyway. And, of course, the slightest whiff of a hint that anyone might be discriminating against Africans drives them crazy. Appropriately named White House press spokesman Josh Earnest expressed it this way “Putting in place a travel ban could have a pretty perverse effect on people who are seeking to travel to this country.”

Plus the lovers of mankind in the abstract are inevitably assuming that even if a lot of sick Africans are brought to the US they themselves and their upper middle class families will not become victims. They are basically the same people who want illegal immigrants to remain in this country just as long as they do not choose to move in next door.

One commenter on The American Conservative website, ironically using the name Public Defender, put it this way “My question is why would you think that quarantining whole countries would do any good? Wouldn’t Ebola patients infect a lot fewer people in a spread-out, advanced country with a comparatively strong public health system than in a jam-packed, third-world country with a third-world health system?” This takes the Obama White House’s “responsibility to protect” to a whole new level. Let diseased foreigners come over here so we can provide them with expensive medical care while they are simultaneously infecting and killing us. The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker is somewhat tongue in cheek as she recounts the argument being made that we should not stop the African visitors because we are, after all, a “nation of immigrants.”

Realistically the federal government can do certain things to minimize the potential impact of Ebola on the US that would not disrupt international air travel and not amount to a blockade on the countries where the disease is prevalent. First and foremost, all non-American citizen travelers intending to come to the States whose connecting flights originated in the three African countries in question should be denied that privilege until the disease has been brought under control. Sorry if it is inconvenient, but no one has a “right” to travel to the United States except American citizens.

Opponents of such action maintain that a travel ban will not keep all infected persons out and CDC Director Tom Frieden even argues absurdly that it is better to let the African travelers move freely as those who are diseased can be “tracked.” He doesn’t explain exactly how that works once someone enters the US and disappears into the local African community, probably because it is completely impractical. Both he and other open borders types miss the point: fewer infected African visitors means fewer infected Americans as a consequence of their presence.

How to accomplish it? If the travelers in question are actual citizens of the three countries they should be denied visas to travel to the US. If they already have visas they should be canceled. If they are residents of the three countries but traveling on European or other passports that do not require visas they should be willing to submit to a three week quarantine at their own expense before entering the US.

This can be easily accomplished as the US State Department controls visa issue and the Department of Homeland Security can access flight manifests to determine who has been traveling from where before attempting to fly to the United States. It is essential that this be done. Continuing to let in 150 Africans every day from the three affected countries is not sound public policy. It is committing suicide by act of omission.

Why is the United States taking steps to destroy itself? Well, the lack of any political leadership that really is interested in benefiting Americans is a serious problem, but Obama is only the heir of a lot of bad ideas that have been circulating for a long time. Coming from the right (including the politically hermaphroditic Hillary Clinton), there is the assumption that the United States must exercise global leadership and make itself safer by starting and fighting war after war in places that most Americans would be unable to identify on a map. From the left there is the fiction that Washington has some kind of responsibility to play a benevolent role, using violence if absolutely necessary, to bring peace, justice and the American way. This thinking has brought us a world in chaos exemplified by surging ISIS and Ebola. And inter alia the decline and eventual fall of America will follow. There is no sign that anything will change soon.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Ebola, ISIS 
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  1. Don Nash says: • Website

    We have met the enemy and the enemy is inside the Beltway.

    • Replies: @The Grate Deign
  2. As I noted in my blog, this is all about building a new military base in Africa, which fits your over-extended empire warning.

    Oct 5, 2014 – The Empire Expands

    The American empire never gives up conquests. You may have heard that the U.S. military is pulling out of Afghanistan. It is just downsizing to free forces for new conquests elsewhere, like Syria. Read this story about new permanent base construction in Afghanistan, to include movie theaters. Many people assumed our empire had given up control of Iraq, but were wrong. We have thousands of troops there now, and forever.

    Our empire is also building bases in Africa under the guise of humanitarian assistance. This has been a goal ever since the new Africa Command appeared a few years back, but Congress and the American people strongly opposed intervening in that continent’s perpetual wars. Earlier this year, over 150 American Marines were dispatched to Uganda to fight “Kony” and the Marines quietly announced they have established new “staging” bases in Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon.

    The U.S. Army has begun construction of a base in Liberia using the “Ebola” excuse. The “we must save kidnapped girls” was not a successful marketing effort to dispatch troops to Nigeria. Therefore, the CIA propaganda arm is going all out selling the “threat” of Ebola. Various strains of foreign influenza “the flu” kill 36,000 Americans each year, Ebola has killed one! The flu is far more dangerous because is transmitted through the air by coughs and sneezes. Ebola is spread by an exchange of fluids, just like HIV. Several other diseases kill more Africans each month, but no one reports on them. Avoid sex with West Africans and don’t touch dead African corpses and you will not get Ebola.

    Nevertheless, our media is flooding the nation with fear to explain the deployment of 4000 American GIs for a new base in Liberia. It remains unclear exactly what these troops will do since most will be needed just to operate the new base. It would be much faster, cheaper, and safer to dispatch Navy ships to help from offshore. The US Navy could dispatch one of its two hospital ships to perform this mission, which is why they exist! Help could be provided immediately without exposing troops to local illnesses, like bullets. The Army says its new base will have 25 hospital beds, while the USS Comfort (pictured) has 1000! With 4000 troops in West Africa, the U.S. Army will need these 25 beds just to care for deployed American GIs! The only explanation is that our empire is not deploying troops to Africa because of Ebola, but because it is building a new permanent military base.

  3. I clicked on the “reportedly,” ha-ha. It links to an e-mail from an anonymous ER nurse, who apparently has no expertise in infectious diseases. She even seems to contradict herself on whether this type of hospital room is even necessary to treat Ebola patients.

    “Reportedly.” I had often wondered about the reliability of the unidentified sources used by Mr. Giraldi in his TAC articles.

  4. donut says:

    The first step on this downward path was the Spanish-American War. Since then, the U.S. has had a significant hand in various conflicts around the world, and entered many treaties and agreements.

  5. Jay says:

    Sorry, this is simply a political rant. What exactly is “decline?” Why Obama? Why not Lincoln for freeing the slaves, as southern Confederates still claim?

    The notion of the birth, growth, and decline of nations is an old theory: only an empire protected by God will not decline, and is thus an “exception” to the theory of decline. If the US is in decline, the logic is that either the US has turned away from God, or in an age when science reigns supreme, the US has turned away from “natural law.” In either case, decline is seen as the inevitable consequence of perversions and corruptions that turn the empire away from the light of “truth. ” Hmm, rubbish, but here, once again, this theory is recycled, and oddly enough I, too, find the cases of ebola and ISIS symptomatic of national confusion, but with respect to decline, well, this is simply a subjective state.

  6. conatus says:

    I think a lot of the problem is we have a huge group of demographically naive but politically powerful people who have never experienced chaos. They have lived in well ordered suburbs all their lives and things have gone according to plan all their lives.
    They have worked hard, gone to college, been rewarded for their efforts at school and their newly discovered religion of Equalitarianism. Things have gone smoothly, no car jackings, no murders, not even any break ins to hint that Society just might rest on a bubbling sea of suppressed violence. Everyone listens to reason, no one gets mad and pulls out a gun. The minorities these people have met are exemplary, more disciplined and striving then they are. “What is the problem? They are all like that the world over. Lets invite them all in to our wonderful country”
    (We will have weird foods to tempt a tubby gourmand for the rest of their lives.)

    But Gee-Oh -Politically what should be taught over and over in school is that America was astride the world after World War 2. Europe and Asia in ruins and us, fully functioning and rich rich rich. We could afford to help the world. We did and it worked.
    But we ran out of money and now we can’t afford it. Say it again….We ran out of money and cannot afford it.
    But the time lag for mass realization of this truth, from ‘rich rich rich’ to ‘can’t afford it’ is in decades.

    and meanwhile our country collapses into impecunious chaos.

    Good luck kids.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  7. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    At the rock bottom level the destruction of the US-America is direct consequence of the vaulting-momumental greed and power lust of Mega-Corporte CEOs. Think about it…. these vile-repellant creatures could still live quite comfortable with a bank account capped at 10 million. So what is the point of acquiring billions and billions? Here is the obvious answer: they want demigod status and power in this world….the power to control millions of Americans and billions of Human Beings on the Planet Earth. This is a perfect dsription of the Mega Corporate CEO Psychopaths Bill Gates…Mark Zuckerberg…and Jack Welch.

    The passage of The 1965 Immigration Reform Act has flooded and globalized US domestic labor markets with millions of nonwhite Legal Immigrants and their US born nonwhite geneline. The scale of nonwhite scab labor in the US is enormous…and it has had the very nasty consequence of transfering the wealth of The Native Born White American Working Class to The White Liberal Mega Corporate CEO Greedy Cheating Cheating Class.. The passage of The 1965 Immigration Reform Act has become a monumental wealth theft program for the aforementioned Mega Corporate CEO Psychopaths(might as well include the very hot looking and childless IBM CEO Ginni Rometty also).

    In 2014, millions of Native Born White Americans 1) live a few paychecks from the street and 2) will experince daily incessant taunting by the Corporate Media and the various imported and now deply entrenched on US soil nonwhite Fifth Columns about their upcomming demographic-race-replacement…this all a consequence of the passage of the 1965 Immigration Reform Act.

    The enomrous economic insecurity cased by the passage of the 1965 Immigration Reform Act…living a few paychecks from the street..has made it impossible for millions of Native Born White Americans to challenge The US Mega Corporate Empire.

    But, Peasant Revolts are a fact of European-US History…The US is long overdue for one……a Peasant Revolt that will be Native…White…and highly racialized…. you have been warned…Psychopathic Mega Corporate CEOs.

  8. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    I want to add one last thing in light of the very recent news that the Obama adminstration is seriously thinking of importing very soon 34 million nonwhite Democratic Party Voters. The Obama Adminstrations’ dissolution of The US border with Mexico is a bona fide open declaration of a race war against The Historic Native Born White American Majority…Treason is too anemic a desription of what is going on.

  9. Once the collapse begins, you will see various extremist groups springing up here. They will be at each other’s throats quick as lightning. Everyone knows who the extremists in their neighborhoods are. People will coalesce around leadership they are most comfortable with. Balkanization, here we come.

  10. “Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
    Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild–
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.”

    The modern liberal’s version of a tired, old fantasy.

  11. The really sad thing is that if you’re fed up with Democratic misrule, the only practical choice is an electoral revolt that exchanges that for Republican misrule. If things are bad, the only hope for change is from bad to worse.

    If only other political choices could be on an equal footing, instead of the enforced political duopoly that serves Wall Street’s oligarchs. The true commitment to democratic accountability can be determined by their lack of foreign policy commitment to democracy – they are not friends of it either abroad or at home.

    Looks like the outcome for misgovernance is continued war, followed inevitably by pestilence.

  12. bomag [AKA "doombuggy"] says:

    What exactly is “decline?” (from Jay)

    Your turn. What would you consider to be the proper metric?

    We’ve got an expanding police state; declining economic opportunity; dysgenic fertility; a silly public sector. I don’t see these improving in the future.

  13. @Jay

    For the record, the “Jay” I am responding to is not me. I have only made TWO posts total to these blogs..both last week in response to Philips article then. I don’t think I could find fault with any Giraldi article.

  14. pyrrhus says:

    I think it would be easier to name things in the U.S. that are not declining, than those that are declining.
    But the only things I can come up with that are not declining in the United States are the size of Government, overall rate of taxation, illegal immigration, and the arrogance of the Ruling Class.

  15. @Jay

    the logic is that either the US has turned away from God, or in an age when science reigns supreme, the US has turned away from “natural law.” In either case, decline is seen as the inevitable consequence of perversions and corruptions that turn the empire away from the light of “truth. ” Hmm, rubbish…

    There is nothing new under the sun. The US follows the arc of all other empires, becoming increasingly gnostic in its later stage. At this point, the models in areas such as economics, public health, international relations, military strategy are lauded as the new reality.

    Thus, we get the vast American education edifice, premised on the laughable notion that all people are equally educable. Or public health models that don’t consider immigrants to be disease vectors, or that exponentially promiscuous homosexuals have perfectly healthy immune systems. Or that women and men are interchangeable: men can be women, and women can be bishops and generals. Or that there is still a viable state called “Iraq” or “Haiti,” or that Germany is not as important as Great Britain or France and therefore does not need to be on the Permanent Security Council.

    There is a great example from Australia of how gnostic models end up: a ship full of climate scientists trapped in three years of sea ice that their models told them could not exist. They were lucky (this time) and had to ask for help from mere meteorologists to determine how long they had before anybody could get close enough for a rescue. Go on that silly expevacation in a period of sharp economic contraction, and you may end up being told good-bye and good luck.

    It is absolutely inevitable that scale will increase in size and dysfunction. Then it will collapse back to an angle of repose.

  16. The Grate Deign [AKA "Bro. Steve"] says:
    @Don Nash

    To Don Nash, respectfully, we have met the enemy, and the enemy is in voting booths everywhere. Enough voters act on a single-issue only that it has subverted the whole electoral process. People vote for the candidate who promises to transfer the most money to them.

    Since this is just larceny by another name, it’s natural that the electorate is now represented by a high proportion of people willing to commit state larceny for a cut of the proceeds. People with that kind of morality don’t care about ISIS or Ebola or immigration or anything else except staying in power — which is done by doubling down on taking money from people who earn it and giving to everybody else.

    It’s a vicious cycle. It is “sick republic syndrome.” It is a fatal case of stuck in a very bad rut. It has paralyzed the political system by fostering such an obsession with the individual economic outcomes of the “taker class” that the system is now incapable of reacting well (if at all) to a threat such as Ebola.

  17. David says:

    The press has generally not picked up the detail reported by the AP that Duncan lied to admitting nurses when asked if he had been exposed to sick people in Africa.

    My favorite detail of the Jew hired to replace the Jew running the Ebola Response is that he can’t start until tomorrow.

    Can Michelle Obama fix this with a sullen picture and a hash tag? Doesn’t she care?

  18. Excellent article as usual Phil.

    John Derbyshire just wrote in the same vein about how we are now a nation no longer able to do great things because we are so tied up with our own political neuroses and internal squabbles.

    I’m glad you brought up the immigration and one-worlder aspect. Our elite class no longer reflects the interests of either our population or the actual doers who keep society humming. We are now “represented” by people who are speedily replacing our legacy population with third world peons.

    One reflection on the whole “Empire” meme though. I’m not sure we are in fact, an empire. Actual empires tend to insist on economic or social gains from their conquests. I fail to see what if anything our latest adventures get us in material terms. Our adventures in the Middle East have nothing to do with what we pay for oil. Our military relationship with Japan, Korea and Taiwan make no difference to our victimization by them in terms of fair trade. While we attempt The Chinese are buying up all the mineral rights in Africa while we diddle about there tracking tribal militias.

    I suggest that we are in the last days of republican, rather than empire status. As you point out, our leaders are corrupt beyond redemption. Our republican constitution is treated like an embarrassment. Our elites are divided between demagogues and oligarchs, just as in the last days of Rome. Kock bros, Bloomberg, and Soros play the role of Crassus. Demagogues in the shape of Kennedys, Clintons, etc. abound, but fortunately no Caesars as yet. But one will come.

    The empire will come, when all the mess we see around us collapses either of it’s own weight or due to a shock. It’s unlikely that much of the old American Republic will remain by the time that the empire takes hold. Our institutions and our population will have been utterly denatured by then. Let’s hope we don’t live to see it.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  19. See THE STRANGE RISE OF OBAMA . It’s ‘amazing’ that a CIA official can write a whole article on the failings of Barack Obama and neglect to mention the fact that Obama is the Manchurian Candidate of the CIA.

    John Brennan is running the USA’s external policies and the Wall Street Banksters, heirs to Allen Dulles’, are running the internal policies directly themselves.

    Obama is Ronald Reagan with a Harvard Degree … a front man and a not so great communicator.

  20. “malignant and monstrous new presence called ISIS strives to fill the vacuum created by US missteps. ”

    1. Am I the only person who sees in ISIS a last-ditch attempt by Muslims in the region to claim the self-determination that was denied them, in favor of the zionization of Palestine, in 1918-1919 and forward?

    2. If USA had not reacted so monstrously to the Muslim and Constitutional and at least somewhat-representative Islamic Republic of Iran, couldn’t the redress of Muslim sense of betrayal at Versailles have been achieved more peacefully than we are witnessing today?

    3. Khomeini’s Islamic Republic of Iran attempted to achieve self-respect and self-determination for Muslims thru soft-power and some judiciously dispensed covert activity. It has been countered by blatant, aggressive “western” and Israeli violence. A core tenet of the zionist-Jabotinsky ideology is that Jews must be militarized. ISIS has taken note: It has militarized, using weapons stolen from the West (much as zionists acquired their weapons by hook, crook, outright thievery and intensive lobby efforts from the West) and has set about achieving its aim through violence — Nakba redux. If ISIS is “monstrous” it is because nonviolent efforts failed time after time.

    4. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to recognize that the Arab and Islamic (and Persian) world is Arab & Islamic (and Persian); and that the zionist fantasy of “westernizing” and civilizing, a la Israelization, the benighted brown people, is arrogant and based on false historicity.

    Allow the Muslim, Arab and Persian people control of their region of the world. The US is supporting the intrusive malignancy (and it’s not ISIS) rather than the afflicted body politic.

  21. @Thomas O. Meehan

    “Let’s hope we don’t live to see it.”

    — You don’t have children, I presume?

    • Replies: @Thomas O. Meehan
  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Couldn’t have said better, brilliant! Thank you!

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I agree with everything except the characterization of Assad and Saddam as secular and basically benign t American interests. These dictators actively supported terrorist groups Hizbollah and Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood, respectively.

    Mubarak was the one dictator this description could apply to.

  24. @SolontoCroesus

    I don’t. If I did I’d be moving overseas.

  25. Escher says:

    Affirmative action nation?

  26. Interpundit says: • Website

    Nobody seems to care anymore what wars we wage across the world. It’s become old hat. Amazing what a people gets used to. Permanent military entanglements which the population has no choice but to accept.

  27. Exit Saddam and repeat something of a similar strategy to remove equally secular and equally anti-terrorist Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria and one winds up with a huge no man’s land hole in the heart of the Arab world. And the US support of insurgency in Syria has been meant to accomplish what?

    The inability even to comprehend was strategy is, let alone implementing it as a process using means towards a desired end point, says it all as to government dysfunction. The US government used to be able to do this, maybe not always successfully, or with a good strategy, but the institution “understood” what strategy was and what the processed entailed. That’s all gone now, the US government has become the tool of outside interests, both foreign and domestic. What keeps this going is the notion of US exceptionalism (“too big to fail”) and the impulse to see violence as the primary means . . .

    This inability to do strategy is also reflected in our larger confusion as to politics in general. What exactly does “conservative” or “liberal” or “progressive” mean in a political system defined by subterfuge?

    Once the language becomes incoherent it is a sure sign that the political community is in dissolution, Thucydides knew that . . .

  28. There’s Only One Way to Beat ISIS: Work With Assad and Iran

    Only Assad’s Syria and Iran can and would provide plausible ground forces in short order. … Assad has thus far proved cagey. He hasn’t made the defeat of ISIS his top priority. ..t. Recently, however, Assad has been signaling that he sees things differently, but he won’t turn his attention fully to ISIS without quiet assurances from the Americans—and probably the Russians, too—that this won’t disadvantage him against the rebels. Russia, brimming with unhappy, armed Muslims, is even more threatened by the existence of ISIS than the United States. Moscow could help facilitate cooperation between Syria, Iran, and the U.S., not because Vladimir Putin is kind-hearted, but because it is in his obvious interest.

    From Leslie Gelb via Justin Raimondo.

  29. “To be sure, Obama suffers from not having had the kind of preparation needed to head any large organization, much less the United States government.”

    This is at the heart of the matter because what kind of process could possibly allow such a thing to happen? The US electoral system is deeply flawed in that the final choice of leader is done based upon showmanship and superficiality – I mean, who can comprehend how people like Hillary Clinton could ever qualify as Secretary of State, let alone President?

    In fact the candidates must be able to pass through an assault course which is set for them by special interests (not the least of which include the Party back-room boys) and which guarantees that nobody with integrity or real strength of character can emerge. Thus the candidates ultimately put forward for the people to elect, in this supposed democracy, have already been de-clawed and de-fanged and are inevitably weak characters who are easily manipulated.

    • Replies: @Chet Roman
  30. @Jay

    “Sorry, this is simply a political rant.”

    Yes, well, that’s kind of what its supposed to be.

    The question is, is it a meritorious rant? I’d answer in the affirmative.

  31. @Augustus Finkin

    If you look at who groomed and funded Obama’s rise it tells you all you need to know. The Chicago billionaire zionist Pritzker and Crown families were early supporters as were many other wealthy zionists. It was no accident that Obama named Penny Pritzker (who is anti-union and one of the biggest contributors to the 2008 financial collapse through her Superior Bank) to head the Dempartment of Commerce. A few leading zionists called Obama the “first Jewish President” early in his 2008 campaign. The financial industry was also a major supporter, Obama raised more money (with help from people like Robert Rubin whose son was appointed to fill positions in Obama’s administration regarding the financial industry) from the financial industry than his republican opponent. Obama may be a master at rhetoric but is a slave to special interests.

  32. I’ve read that, “The optimum stabilization of national population enhances culture and prevents war. And it is a wise nation which knows when to cease growing.”

    I find myself largely in agreement with Philip Giraldi’s observations.

  33. Ivy says:

    There are two strategic thrusts continuing to play out:
    1. US policy uses monetary instability to punish/guide nations that don’t want to abide by our rules, to wit, Japan, EU, China. They debase their currencies, ruin their economies, and become more beholden to US policies.
    2. “Let’s you and him fight” – proxy wars encouraged by NeoCons and their ilk, resulting in ongoing chaos around the world and disastrous results for those unfortunates.
    Continue to ask cui bono, and don’t be surprised by the answers.

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