Slouching towards Gomorrah,

Or goose-stepping to Armageddon? When neo-cons label North Korea ‘evil,’ it implies that hawkish posturing is the moral high ground; they’re fighting evil after all. It makes diplomacy sound like a character flaw.

North Korea may be evil, and appeasement is certainly not virtuous, but it seems now is a time for genuine diplomacy. We need allies, and consensus, and probably (gasp) compromise. Our morality (or self-righteous pretense) doesn’t hold much sway with Kim Jong Il. He has no use for morality and US belligerence only validates his paranoia.

After years of deriding the UN, we need to hope they can broker a conversation. We need to hope that China can influence their rogue neighbor. And we need to assure Japan and South Korea that they needn’t dive into an arms race with North Korea.

We should also give some thought to current nuclear non-proliferation policy. We’ve decided to overlook India’s non-participation in control treaties and supply them with civilian nuclear technology. If the non-proliferation treaties are only selectively enforced, how does our rhetoric against North Korea and Iran stand up against claims of hypocrisy?

Let’s see more engagement, less isolation and inflammatory posturing. Let’s see partnerships with China and others, and less unilateralism. Let’s see diplomacy; not self-righteous rhetoric aimed at the home audience.

Michael Smith

note: The post title "Slouching towards Gomorrah" is a reference to judge Robert Bork's 1996 book of that name. According to Wikipedia:

"Bork's thesis in the book is that American and more generally Western culture is in a state of decline and that the cause of this decline is modern liberalism and the rise of the New Left. Specifically, he attacks modern liberalism for what he describes as its dual emphases on radical egalitarianism and radical individualism. The title of the book is a play on the last couplet of W. B. Yeats's poem The Second Coming, which includes a description of a "rough beast … slouching towards Bethlehem." Bork contends that the "rough beast of decadence … now sends us slouching towards our new home, not Bethlehem but Gomorrah."

I assumed this was a relatively well know reference among this audience and I apologize if anyone mistook these three words for plagiarism.

Posted by Michael Smith at October 10, 2006 2:31 AM
Comments
Comment #187359

Spoken like a moderate centrist Republican, the kind of Republican I used to respect, but, has become rare in this Republican government. Well said, Michael.

(I am not saying your are a moderate centrist Republican, just that this article speaks as if it were written by one.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2006 6:41 AM
Comment #187372

I consider myself a traditional conservative; smaller government, respect for individual rights, and shunning the cultural agenda.

Regardless of philosophy, I believe the debate needs to be constructive and conducted with moderation - whether N. Korea, Iran, or domestic policy.

Posted by: Michael Smith at October 10, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #187374

Michael said: “I believe the debate needs to be constructive…”

You are right. But, more important, the legislation and actions by government have to be constructive, solving more national problems than politicians create. The current anti-incumbent backlash is resulting precisely because our current lot of politicians are creating more problems than they solve.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #187378

Michael,

I believe your philosophy would work not only in Asia but the Middle East as well.
Calling every country that we do not have as allies who have nuclear ambitions evil, makes it easier for the current GOP leaders to justify failed foreign policy that is both ignorant and dangerous. They want their base to see them as tough when really they’re just reckless and culturally clueless.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 10, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #187389

Michael, you seem like the kind of Republican I’m married to. She’ll be glad to know she actually isn’t the only one left. LOL And welcome again to Watchblog.

And David and Andre pretty took the words out of my mouth.

Posted by: Zebster at October 10, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #187393

Nicely put. I’m hoping that, if this election is as much of a disaster for the Republicans as it appears, we will see a return to real conservatism. Reasoned, rational thinking as opposed to the hysterical sloganeering that has overwhelmed the party in the last decade.

Posted by: Chuck at October 10, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #187399

Wow, a post on the right side I can actually agree with, are there anymore out there?

I’m glad the are still some real conservatives around. Our current administration has given conservatives a bad name. I think the neo-cons should be labeled as Nationalists and quit passing themselves off as conservatives.

“Reasoned, rational thinking as opposed to the hysterical sloganeering” that was “nicely put”, also.

Posted by: mem beth at October 10, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #187406

Michael,
“Let’s see more engagement, less isolation and inflammatory posturing. Let’s see partnerships with China and others, and less unilateralism.”

China is the one who is behind this N. Korean mess. They’re backing Iran and the hesbos, they backed Saddam and Iraq and their backing N. Korea; this is their test against us. They’ve been “fixing” their currency, building up their military and making “big oil” deals with the islamofascists for years now.


Partnership with China?!!!!! They are not going to work with us!! They are the ones that are behind all this mess. You better believe that!

Posted by: rahdigly at October 10, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #187407

Our nation desperatly needs fiscal conservatives at this juncture in our history. Isn’t it a bloody shame and mess that we have to look to Democrats as the only party willing to bring some small measure of fiscal responsibility to the fore.

This year we boot the Republicans from the majority. When the Democrats have had it an election cycle, it will be time to boot them as well. Perhaps in a few election cycles, both Democrats and Republicans will get the message. We the people DEMAND fiscal responsibility which preserves our future, not these tax and spend or, borrow and spend Republocrat policies that threaten the very viability of our nation’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #187409

rahdigly, what you say about China being partner with Middle East regimes is true enough. But, you are wrong on their stance with N. Korea. China has engaged in a careful and tedious process of trying to keep N. Korea from taking the step it did this week. And China is pissed off at N. Korea for having wasted their effort.

As for the China’s other international relations, guess what, they are following their own self interest. Which by the way, is the very core foundation of America, her government and way of life. Just as our dependency upon the Taiwanese markets forces us to stand behind our position of non-invasion by China, China’s dependency on energy with the Middle East is in their own interest.

This is where diplomacy and sophistication in negotiations is required. Something largely absent from this Bush administration. Our way or the highway is what Bush’s government was all about until it lost its military clout to Iraq.

China does not want a war economy anymore than we want to prolong ours. It gives a short term boost, but, drains the long term foundations for a healthy economy. Domestic physical and human development infrastructure suffer in wartime economies, creating massive deficits down the road trying to recover it. The Chinese know this, as do our own economists. War between China and the U.S. is not desireable by either nation.

That my friend, provides incredibly sound common ground upon which to negotiate and develop agreements in mutual interest to both parties. If only both parties have leadership capable of of it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #187411

Way to poach Robert H. Bork’s book title.

Posted by: Mortimer N. Cobblepop at October 10, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #187417

David,
“you are wrong on their stance with N. Korea. China has engaged in a careful and tedious process of trying to keep N. Korea from taking the step it did this week. And China is pissed off at N. Korea for having wasted their effort.”


It’s a sideshow, jerk us off, by them sometime; just as Iran did with the hesbos in Lebanon. They want to “shake the grass to rattle the snakes”; it’s a time tested strategy that you do to your enemies or potential enemies.


“As for the China’s other international relations, guess what, they are following their own self interest.”


Of course they are, that’s the point! Their interests, which is “Big Oil” by the way, is keeping them from “diplomacy” on every major issue. Look at Iraq, they didn’t do anything about Saddam b/c they were bribed by the former “Democrat” (Saddam). Look at Iran, they (and Russia) wouldn’t agree to sanctions when Iran wanted to go nuclear (NUCLEAR!!)—Man, it doesn’t get more major of an issue than that. Look at N. Korea, earlier this summer they fired missles and China didn’t do anything. They won’t do a thing, I’m not sure how much more they need to prove to you that they won’t do anything and that they’re truly against us. Maybe you could tell us how much (more) defiance you need to (finally) say that enough is enough from China.

Posted by: rahdigly at October 10, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #187425

Cheers! At first I was convinced I wasn’t reading an article in the Red column.

Michael, I looked over your platform, and while I don’t agree with you about everything, I do find much I like. Good luck.

Posted by: Trent at October 10, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #187444

Diplomacy is the art and science of identifying those self-interests shared between the parties. It requires an acknowledgement and respect for the self-interests of others. It is the arrogance of the neo-cons and their followers in devaluing others’ self-interests that has resulted in the utter failure of GWB foreign and domestic policy.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 10, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #187446

Interesting how some of you keep referring to this admin as the “neo-cons”. Why don’t you explain exactly what the definition (your definition) of neo-con means.


This ought to be good…

Posted by: rahdigly at October 10, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #187451

David Remer,

Good post! We need to engage in more realpolitik and drop the rhetorical posturing, especially when we are either unable or unwilling to back it up. We need to look at what China’s interests are, weigh them against our own, and find the best solution.

In the case of Korea, I have a similar view. China’s interests are in keeping the status quo on the Korean peninsula. They are willing to prop up North Korea because the alternative, a unified Korea under the Seoul government with a border on China is extremely unpalatable or intolerable, especially if the North collapses and a reunified Korea was a nuclear power. If China doesn’t go along with us, we should at least offer no resistance to South Korea, Japan, and especially Taiwan to go nuclear. It is bad enough for China to be under our missles as allies to three important neighbors, it would be far worse for China to see these nieghbors nuclear powers.

There’s also another dimension to China’s Middle Eastern relations. China needs energy, but both China and the Middle Eastern nations they buy oil from have horrendous human rights records. China has veto power on the UN Security Council and no desire to see human rights violations by anybody brought up. They offer not only a massive demand but a shield against the West that we and Europe can never offer as the thier primary antagonists. An example of this was an incident in the late 90s when Pakistan considered bringing India to the UN for alleged human rights violations against Muslims in Kashmir. China convinced Pakistan not to do this, then turned around and successfully pressured India into backing off of those aforementioned violations. In the process, they also built a lot of soft power and gained credibility in the Middle East.

We need to start realizing that we need to get off of our moral high horse and recognize that the rest of the world doesn’t feel the need nor the desire for a nagging mother hen, especially when it provokes nations by calling them an axis of evil. They are indeed an axis of evil, but telling them they are and then invading one of them only encourages them to arm themselves in response. This adminstration has come into this war with ideologically rose colored glasses. We’re here now, and we need to win, but we also need to remember that we need to base our foriegn policy on facts, not ideology. We should plan for the worst and hope for the best, rather than plan for the best and hope against the worst.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 10, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #187452

rahdigly: It is better to allow the neo-cons to speak for themeselves. You should read Max Boot’s article, “The Case for American Empire,” published in the Weekly Standard. The article’s content is summarized by Boot thusly: “The most realistic response to terrorism is for America to embrace its imperial role.”

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 10, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #187454

1LT B: Your last paragraph is well said and demonstrates a keen understanding of international relations.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 10, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #187460

Dr.,
“Diplomacy is the art and science of identifying those self-interests shared between the parties.”


Yeah, that “Champagne” diplomacy (certainly) worked for the Clinton Administration w/ N. Korea, didn’t it?! I mean, it kept them from going nuclear. Right?!!


Spare us from the “art and science” crap; the N. Koreans are backed by China and neither of them are going to give up anything. That’s just the way it is, no matter how bad you don’t like it.


“It is better to allow the neo-cons to speak for themeselves.”

No, how about you (YOU!) speak for yourself!! You should define it, not someone else. That’s like going up to an attractive woman and giving her your number, instead of displaying confidence by asking for hers.

Posted by: rahdigly at October 10, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #187461

If you’re going to title a thread after a Robert Bork book, at least give the man some credit.

Posted by: Bob at October 10, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #187468

Well, we may not have Neville Chamberlain anymore BUT we still got the Michael Smiths of the world and lots of them. More talking thats just what we need. Let’s keep talking about Darfur until the last baby is dead. We can take the moral high ground because after all we engaged in “diplomacy”. I guess we just didn’t have enough diplomacy in Rwanda but it’s not our fault because it was our intentions that matter.
What was our intentions anyway? After North Korea nukes someone we can blame us! If we just would have engaged more maybe Adolf would have acted better.That darn FDR he should have tried more “diplomacy”. You guys sure are right we need
more of that “Diplomacy” thing it’s sure worked in the past.

Posted by: Rodney Downie at October 10, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #187470

rahdigly: I spent 35 years in uniform addressing the very issues of this thread in order to keep this country safe. I do not need to turn to talking points in order to speak. I have original thoughts based on objective fact. You asked a question and I gave you a reasoned answer. Perhaps, you should try the same.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 10, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #187479

Bob, I ask because I don’t know. Did Bork acknowledge Yeats?

Posted by: Trent at October 10, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #187482

Dr.,

A very nice way to answer rahdigly…very diplopmatic I would say. By the way, I enjoy reading your posts as well as Remer’s and Trent’s.

Michael,
excellent post!

Posted by: Tom L at October 10, 2006 5:19 PM
Comment #187487

Regarding the title “Slouching towards Gomorrah;” I’m not thoroughly steeped in Bork’s book, but from what I’ve heard from his public interviews, the title implies something that the neo-cons have adopted to the detriment of public debate - specifically the notion that if you don’t buy our view, you’re evil. It is often expressed as liberal = evil, and too frequently extrapolated to mean that dissent = evil.

This has been adopted as the “conservative” view but has little to do with a conservative approach to government where state power is wielded with restraint. It more frequently is manifest in conservative social and religious values wielded freely by a government intent on legislating morality and intruding on individual liberties.

Thus a “neo-con,” in my view, is nothing like a traditional conservative. A traditional conservative shuns big, intrusive government. A traditional conservative avoids interventionist foreign activities. And a traditional conservative adopts a much more “live and let live” social policy. (I wrote a bit on my campaign blog about some great quotes by Barry Goldwater on this subject.)

The “neo-con,” by contrast, seems OK with growing government to advance his personal values at home and around the world. The neo-con seems to willingly sacrifice individual liberty for the sake of perceived security. The neo-con selectively defends concepts of sovereignty when talking about the UN usurping US rights, but flexibly denies sovereignty to evil regimes to justify pre-emptive military actions. A neo-con is an intellectual opportunist without integrity of principle. They bemoan media bias, then call their partisan view “fair and balanced.”

Give me a traditional conservative, or even a liberal, any day of the week. I’d prefer to disagree with an honest man, than to coincidentally agree with a neo-con. Neo-cons have alienated many from the Republican Party and undermined the traditional Republican values of smaller government, individual accountability, and personal liberty.

(Am I winning any votes here? Oh, well… )

Michael

Posted by: Michael Smith at October 10, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #187496

Michael, the term “neo-con” actually has a meaning and your pretty far off from it.

You’re simply using it as a catch-all for everything you don’t like about every and any part of the Republican party, many sub groups of which have nothing whatsoever to do with the neo-cons.

By definition “neo” means new. Hence, neoconservatism actually has many of is intellecutal roots in the left as even a quick glance over the names of the founders of the movement will show. Lots of them are disillusioned liberals, even former socialists. Irving Kristol famously defined a neoconservative as a “liberal who has been mugged by reality.”

Neo-cons are FAR more socially liberal than traditional conservatives, and the “Christian Right” is definetly not part of the neoconservative movement. One of the people who most captures the spirit of the neo-con movement on the current scene is Joe Lieberman, a social liberal and foreign policy hawk (though he’d probably not like to label himself as such because of the rabid reaction the term elicits among Democrats).

In fact, today’s neo-cons are primarily involved and interested in foreign policy and have relatively little involvement at all on the national stage with domestic policy (each member may have different views, but domestic policies are not nearly as important a part of the movement as a whole).

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 10, 2006 5:57 PM
Comment #187509

Pilsner,

Thanks for the info. I’ll follow up on it.

It just one of many examples where political labels can come to mean many things (sometimes inaccurate), to many people.

Posted by: Michael Smith at October 10, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #187517

Yes, indeed, “Now is the time for genuine diplomacy.”

When I write about the need for talking, I’m derided by the Republicans on this blog. They want to fight and bomb and kill. So it’s refreshing to find a Republican who want more diplomacy.

Keep it up, Michael.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at October 10, 2006 7:41 PM
Comment #187518
it seems now is a time for genuine diplomacy

NOW is the time for diplomacy? WRONG. SIX YEARS AGO WAS THE TIME FOR DIPLOMACY. Now that they (presumably) have the bomb you’re ready to talk?

Let’s see more engagement, less isolation and inflammatory posturing. Let’s see partnerships with China and others, and less unilateralism. Let’s see diplomacy; not self-righteous rhetoric aimed at the home audience.

Maybe you should have voted for somebody else? Bush’s “leadership” has led us where we are today. McCain’s out there blaming Clinton. Heh. Indeed. You’ll receive no benefit of the doubt from me.

Your administration has pursued an outrageously stupid policy with regard to every foreign affairs matter it’s touched.

Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? North Korea? What exactly have they done right? What country haven’t they insulted repeatedly? Now they want to talk? You make me laugh.

Posted by: Jeff Seltzer at October 10, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #187533

Whoa there Seltzer. Take from a flaming lib himself here, you’re getting a bit excited without reasonably considering what Michael Smith wrote.

Smith is recommending diplomacy. That’s what it appears you are exactly for. Nowhere does he indicate that Bush wants that, he’s only suggesting that diplomacy is a better way. You’re jumping on him for the failures of Bush to pursue diplomacy, when Smith is advocating diplomacy. While your premise that Bush should have taken a more forward-looking foreign relations position years ago, I don’t see how your blast fits with Smith’s post. And I don’t really see anyone in the White House indicting that ‘now we want to talk’ as you write.

Perhaps we all need a bit more diplomacy rather than immediately attack the messager because their post is headlining the red or blue blog. With more reason, perhaps there are better ways.

Posted by: Boomer at October 10, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #187535

I don’t know why we cannot have an arms race. That’s how we beat the Soviets.

If we began serious negotiations with Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea to arm them with nuclear capability to defend and offend North Korea, we might get someone’s attention.

We need to commence similar negotiations with Afghanistan and the former Soviet republics near Iran.

Then, we tell Iran and North Korea that:

if terrorists explode nuclear WMD on US soil, we will eliminate all life in their countries for “probably” providing the nukes to terrorists.

If Chavez gets nukes in Venezuela (as he wishes from Iran), we can put our nukes in Gitmo aimed at Venezuela.

That’s what I call “diplomacy.”

Posted by: Jimmy at October 10, 2006 9:30 PM
Comment #187537

Jeff Seltzer

The reason anybody is blaming the Clinton is because it is their fault. In 1994 Clinton with his good friend Jimmy Carter entered into the Framework with N. Korea. They agreed to not go Nuclear and we agreed to bend over forwards and give them whatever they wanted.

Korean Framework

Posted by: Keith at October 10, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #187542

I see no benefit in dwelling on Clinton since he is not going to be any part of solving the problem.

He struck a deal, probably thinking it would be honored, but terribly misjudged the true nature of the North Korean regime. It’s a little like Bush the elder’s cease-fire agreements after the first gulf war. We can’t put all the blame on ourselves for the actions of liars and cheats.

There is no point at all in carrying on any more misguided diplomacy with North Korea. All they’re going to do is demand to be bought off, and if they are bought off, go right back to what they were doing before.

What needs to happen is for the US to turn the tables on China, the real problem, and apply just enough pressure in the right places to make them put the squeeze on North Korea. China has played a dishonest game here long enough. We hold more cards than they do anyway, and it only requires the political will and imagination.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 10, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #187551

I like the way you think. While the rouge nations accumulate nuclear weapons keep the democracies from getting any. That way when Kim ding dong tells S Korea to surrender or be nuked, they wont have any choice but to surrender…..peace for all! Good going. If Hillary wins you can be her seretary of state.

I thought the democrats were beating Bush up for working with the Chinese instead of going it alone…so that’s this we need to work with China stuff? WE ARE!

China needs to KNOW that if North Korea has nukes….S. Korea, Japan, and Taiwan will build nukes. That’s the only real pressure we have here and you want to take it away.

Hey you don’t work for Kim so Il do you?

We need China to be under the gun….to know they force S. Korea to abandon nukes or face the possiblity that nuclear Japan, S. Korea, and Tawain will be a counter to their nuclear power in the region.

I think China will do whatever it takes to stop N. Korea…unless you can get the US to promise China that no nukes will be made by the free democracies…then China wont have to deal with N. Korea….get it?! No, you don’t.

By the way diplomcy dude….don’t you think that Clinton tried “genuine” dipomacy? The UN is going to broker a “conversation”? Hell Rome is burning and you want to talk about it. This is about putting out a fire not haveing a tea party while rogue states build nukes.

Posted by: Stephen at October 10, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #187554
The reason anybody is blaming the Clinton is because it is their fault. In 1994 Clinton with his good friend Jimmy Carter entered into the Framework with N. Korea. They agreed to not go Nuclear and we agreed to bend over forwards and give them whatever they wanted.

Uh huh… Americablog:

ThinkProgress has the video of John McCain now blaming Bill Clinton for the fact that North Korea didn’t build any nuclear bombs during his entire presidency, but has now been allowed to build one six years into the Bush presidency. The buck apparently never stops here in the Bush presidency or Republican-controlled Washington, DC.”

Sounds about right…

Posted by: Jeff Seltzer at October 11, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #187557

Jeff

You’re right. Just the other day he got out his do it yourself nuclear bonb kit built the bomb and tested it.

Posted by: Keith at October 11, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #187560

Dr. Poshek,

Thanks for the kind words and your service. If you don’t mind my asking, what branch of service did you serve in and did you ever serve in Iraq? Just curious.

I’ve read that Norht Korea has possibly tested a second bomb and is now threatening to launch a nuclear tipped missle. I think that we should take North Korea up on face to face talks to point out one thing. The United States has stated as its official policy that we will not launch a nuclear first strike against non-nuclear powers. I would point out that based on thier tests, North Korea has forfeited this and also point out that any attacks against South Korea or Japan will result in a massive retaliatory nuclear counterstrike designed to destroy North Korea utterly.

With regards for blame for this issue, both Clinton and Bush bear blame. In my opinion, Clinton was too soft on North Korea’s nuclear and missle programs and showed weakness before North Korea. Bush’s bellicosity linking Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the Axis of Evil, coupled with the invasion of Iraq, no doubt encouraged Iran and North Korea to attempt to go nuclear to attempt to protect thier own corrupt regimes. In the end, Bush’s devisiveness has undermined our ability to deal with international threats. We can recover from this, but as I said before, we need to start looking at things as they are, not as we want them to be. Nations do not have friends, they have interests. Only by seeing these and coupling them with our own are we going to successfully maneuver in a changing world.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 11, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #187563

A short note: If Bush’s aim is to confront North Korea, and lay out for it what is tolerable or not tolerable, why are we going about this in such a roundabout way? Bilateral talks, by definition, are the perfect venues for such confrontations.

Whatever we can say about how Clinton’s plan didn’t stop the nuclear program in Pyongyang, we can surely agree that no progress was made on refinement of plutonium until Bush shot off his big mouth and made bluff and bluster the key portions of our policy towards the North.

Bush is like a lousy player who’s good at trash talking. He gets chuckles from the boys and girls who know him, but nobody else will take him seriously.

You know, in the end, it’s not our job to make sure everybody in the world’s honest with us. People are going to lie to us, mislead us—

Let them. If they’re going to make the mistake of lying to us, let’s hit them with consequences we can actually muster, then let them make the decisions as to whether to grow up and face us more maturely. Let’s not have America become a fidgety hyperactive adolescent, perpetually bristling over others not playing fair. Let’s send them two messages:

1)American is generous and understanding, slow to anger;

2)But don’t screw with us. We do what we say, and we can work some real unpleasant mojo on the mofos who think they can push us around or deceive us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #187564

Stephen


It sounds so much better when you say it then when the administration does it.

Posted by: Keith at October 11, 2006 1:52 AM
Comment #187578

yes right… appease appease appease…… baaaaaaa!!!!

Posted by: j foley at October 11, 2006 7:49 AM
Comment #187580

We do not have the time, patience or man power to confront North Korea or Iran; therefore, diplomacy is our only option.

Remember that world leaders are human and will, eventually, die. Our goal should be to contain our enemies until we can work with the next regime. In this way, we save American lives, taxpayer dollars and gain the respect and cooperation of the world community.

Posted by: mac6115cd at October 11, 2006 7:58 AM
Comment #187588

mac6115,

I’m not going to disagree with your statement about not having the time or pateince to deal with Iran and Korea, but the idea that we don’t have the manpower to confront them is wrong. What we lack is the willpower to use it. The US has a population of 300 million people, and the military estimates taht we would have about 31 million people eligible for military service if we were forced to use it. That’s enough to put one Soldier in Iraq for every single Iraqi citizen, plus 6 million more to deal with Iran and North Korea.

For a variety of reasons, the military decided that it was best for it to be a volunteer only force. This has had the effect of making the military far more efficient and disciplined than it was in the draft days, but at the expense of divorcing Soldiers and civilians from each other and, in my opinion, fostering a lackadaisical “let someone else do it” attitude about service.

Personally, I think that at least 2 years of service should be mandatory for all citizens upon graduation from high school. I wouldn’t support mass conscription as not everyone is cut out for military service, but some form of service, be it as a firefighter, the Peace Corps, etc would be valuable and help to instill proper civic virtue.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 11, 2006 8:43 AM
Comment #187593

1LT B,

If I had more faith in our political leaders or if I believed in the hegemonic ideology most recently manifested in the current crew in power, I might be able to support mandantory service, even if exclusively military.

But I don’t have this faith.

Posted by: Trent at October 11, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #187595

1LT B: My battle days were in Vietnam (3 tours) and I retired in 1998. After Vietnam, the powers-that-be wanted my brains rather than my brawn because I had an interesting academic background and some pretty good analytical skills: doctorates in nuclear physics, international relations, & law. I did lots of teaching, research, & writing. I cannot say more than that about what my work was. Sorry. My time abroad was significant; I have spent lengthly periods of time in Korea over the years as well as 6 weeks early this summer in Iraq. Again, I can’t say more than that.

Regarding manpower… we don’t have the manpower… it takes serious time to increase manpower even assuming a draft… and the days of “cannon fodder” are long past…. further, we don’t have the equipment to equip the force we have much less a larger force… the nature and conduct of military operations have changed radically over the past 50 years largely due to technology…. it took 2-1/2 years for the US to build and equip the full military forces that would win WWII… it would take nearly 2x that time to build and equip a force of the size and qualities required for today….

Finally, military action would not be effective in Iran or Korea… also, remember the most effective military power is the credible threat of military action, not the actual military action. There is a strong consensus in both the military and foreign relations communities that Iran & Korea have been the problems they are because the US cannot project a credible threat of military action and it certainly complicates diplomatic efforts.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 11, 2006 9:25 AM
Comment #187612

Dr. Poshek,

Thank you for your response. Your brief background sounds interesting, please let the post know if you ever publish a biography, I’d enjoy reading it. I’d like to return the favor and give you a brief background of myself so that you understand where I’m coming from in this and future posts. I was branch detailed through Field Artillery and served for a year in Korea in an MLRS battalion north of Seoul. Since then, I’ve gone over to the Signal Corps and currently work in the Corps 6 shop. I’ve had an opportunity to see things from the platoon to Corps level and am interested in your thoughts on my analysis of things, especially since I don’t get to converse very often with either a very senior CSM or General officer.

Your analysis of manpower is correct, I was arguing more that we do have a lot of men if we need them than that it would be easy to man ourselves to the levels you describe from WWII. With regards to the equipment, do you think that it would take as long as you describe to build up our levels if we switched to a total war footing as in WWII? I do think our potential conventional military capacity far exceeds our current levels, though you and mac are correct in saying that we don’t have the troop levels to engage both Iran and North Korea while currently in Iraq, at least not with a massive draft and conversion to a war footing such as I described earlier.

With regards to Korea, I wonder if ground forces would really be that necessary, aside from some specific needs. My impression of the ROK Army is that they are very well equipped, disciplined, and motivated. I entertain very serious doubts that even with their manpower they could advance very far into South Korea, though they could artilerize it in ways I fear to imagine. I would think the type of military assistance we would need to provide South Korea would be more along the lines of air and naval support, which, to my knowledge, is not being stretched by operations in Iraq.

In the same way, I think that while we can’t occupy Iran, we can bomb the hell out of them and probably repel an armored invasion of Iraq, should that ever become necessary. In both cases, I would rely on deterrence and an understanding that any attack by either Iran or North Korea against any allies of ours would result in massive retaliation using nuclear weapons. I don’t think anything short of military action will prevent further provocative acts from North Korea nor development of atomic weapons by Iran, so I tend to think that a clearly stated policy of massive nuclear retaliation is the best way to go.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 11, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #187627

Doc,

Thanks for your service; though, you don’t need to hide behind your service to dodge a question. If you’re afraid to answer a question about “the definition of Neo-cons”, then (darn it) just say so. Heck, all the other loudmouths are just avoiding the question altogether. You guys will run-off at the mouth about “neo-cons” this and “neo-cons” that, all day long; yet, when confronted on it, you dodge it or hide behind your service. That’s bull. I was in the service myself; though not in Vietnam and not as long as you did, yet it’s enough to say I’ve served my country and got what I needed out of it…I’m no “lifer” is my point. Ha! (little humor for all the veterans)…


So, stand up and step up to answer a simple question.


Posted by: rahdigly at October 11, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #187631

Dr. Poshek said:

“US cannot project a credible threat of military action and it certainly complicates diplomatic efforts.”

We were able to do it with the Soviets. So, why not now?

Not because we had a bigger army for a land invasion of Russia. It was mutually assured destruction (for both sides), if one attacked the other. Why does that credible threat not exist now?

My answer: The entire world believes that U.S. lacks the will because of the liberal wimps in the U.S. and Europe. If we got back to where the world believed us, we could influence both Iran and North Korea (and anyone) else that we would/could destroy their entire nation, if they use nukes on us, or sell/give them to terrorists to use on us.

You do not get there by playing “nice-nice” in the UN or appeasing them with freebies.

Our enemies have to see action to convince them that we plan to survive and they will not.

Posted by: Jimmy at October 11, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #187635

I think we’ve bought the best army money can buy. That, in fact, is the whole problem. $60 billion goes a long way, but its not going to Iraq, where the need is immediate, its going to fund missile defense against an enemy that can’t shoot missiles straight or detonate a nuclear device. Moreover, as currently constructed, its ability to intercept a target is limited.

This is just one program that’s wasting money. This isn’t new, nor has it gone away. I first wrote about this two years ago after being disgusted by the details of a 60 Minutes report. Here’s the original report in text form.

I think we could find the money to recruit and train more troops if we were willing to do a real accounting of the usefulness of most of our weapons programs. An obsession with technology was fine as long as we weren’t having to field large armies, but now we have to deal with consequences of putting too much faith in gadgetry to win wars. Transformation can and should take place, but it will not sweep away the realities of war and the need to balance the ideal technological environment with a workable manpower situation. If the Bush administration is going to pick all these fights, they should be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to pay for more soldiers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #187637

Don’t worry, folks. We have a new way, called Christo-imperalism, that will solve all problems, even those of the Islamo-fascists.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at October 11, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #187643

Did anyone notice that the Federal Deficit is being “cut in half” ahead of schedule?! That’s inspite of all the money we are spending on this War on Terror and the “perfect storm” we’ve had to endure (dot com bubble; Clinton/Gore recession; and 9/11)!


People, that’s big news!

Posted by: rahdigly at October 11, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #187646

Jimmy-
We’re having to do a deployment juggling act to keep our army going in Iraq. That’s telling our enemies we lack the means to pursue fights outside of Iraq. We’re simply not ready. That’s why we cannot project a credible threat short of a Nuclear attack we will not strike first with and air strikes that we know will provoke a land invasion that will leave the South Korean Capital in ruins and hundreds of thousands of people dead in a few hours.

The world knows we have a nuclear deterrent sufficient to reduce a nation like North Korea to cinders should they attack us.

As for believing we’re wimps? No, they hardly believe that. Quite the opposite. The problem is, they believe we’re full of it, because we failed to get the intelligence on Iraq right, and because we couldn’t fully win Iraq after such a devastating first round. Bush has drained our mystique by employing it in the service of an incompetently planned and justified war, and by miring us in an endless maelstrom of violence that prevents us from committing elsewhere.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2006 2:26 PM
Comment #187652

Rahdigly-
You’ve run structural deficits for the great majority of Bush’s terms. That you’ve reduced the size of your yearly addition to our debt is something to celebrate, but nothing to brag about. You’re still spending us into the hole.

As for recession? Growth slowed after 2000, but real recession did not come until Bush’s economic policies took effect. As for the bubbles themselves, I think we can lay this at the feet of those who slashed regulations of big business accounting and finance. There wouldn’t have been such a maelstrom of corporate failures and restatements where it not for the fact that the laws allowed our CEO’s to lie their asses off to investors.

Moreover, it’s not over. Haven’t you heard about the new stock options mess?

Some Republicans ride the current economic reports, claiming that all is well in the land, but the statistics that tell us what’s happening to most people (read: the middle class and poor) and what’s happening beneath the surface of the economy speak of troubling developments later on. The Housing Market, once so vaunted, is declining. The rise of the DJIA is tempered by the failure of similar growth in other indexes. Debt is up, as are bankruptcies. This is an economy that’s looked good because its been running a marvellous tab. What happens when things start coming due?

If I were to say what is the real perfect storm, it’s been this Congress, and this President.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #187660

So, you’re a “doom and gloom” kind of a guy. It’s a shame, b/c this economy is doing really well; you just have to take of the “partisan blinders” and you’ll see that.


And, you’re comment about the housing market; it was supposed to “burst” years ago, yet it hasn’t. It will eventually, though it’s a bit disingenuous to say that it’s going to burst when the housing market has been hot for years now.

Posted by: rahdigly at October 11, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #187693

1 LT B: This must be very brief as my “hell evening” of the week begins in 15 minutes.

Random thoughts for your contemplation: The “non-conclusion conclusion” of the Korean conflict over 50 years ago is still instructive today. The North Koreans are not nationalists; they are culturalists. (That is Kim’s (& his Daddy’s) secret of success.) As a result, to win you have the defeat them not only militarily, you have to defeat the people. Think imperial Japan. Think Vietnam. The North Korean terrain & climate is their greatest ally. Also, the North Korean’s have a very refined doctrine of assymetry.

Now, final questions to ponder: War is not in North Korea’s self-interest. So, what is? What do they want? What do they need? What “need” do we fulfill for them? What are they gaining in their positioning us as their “Great Satan?” AND, what do WE gain in positioning them in the “Axis of Evil?”

Consider: How many different ways can one deflate a balloon?

Have to run… BTW, your analysis is a good start—now disprove it — think vertically, horizonatally, vertically, AND diagonally.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 11, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #187694

I’d be careful quoting Wikipedia, as they change information and historical events at will to fit their own ideology. It is all “New Age” type of thinking.

Wiki is not credible.

Posted by: OTTMANN at October 11, 2006 4:43 PM
Comment #187712

Wiki is an incredible resource. Articles are vetted by many; articles in dispute are clearly marked. What ideology? New Wiki articles are created by the joint efforts of many with many political stripes. That said, any source on any subject needs to be evaluated critically. Wiki references its sources making it relatively easy to continue studying a topic and to critically evaluate the Wiki article itself.

I speak as an educator who for years dissed Wiki.

Posted by: Trent at October 11, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #187714

Stephen

Record tax revenues, 4% median increase in wages. You’re absolutely right we should all be depressed.

You must have been suicidal during the Carter years.

Posted by: Keith at October 11, 2006 7:23 PM
Comment #187733

Trent,

Wiki is very liberal and biased as are educators who preach that Gays are good and Christians are bad.

Wiki is a kind of religion of mankind against belief in Jesus, but for the new world order where the UN/EU decide everything for the world based on man made laws created on the fly that punishes individualism, corporations, democracy and all that America stands for.

In my experience, wikipedia has evil intent, following an agenda set by new agers to rule the world by a few.

Posted by: Kevin at October 11, 2006 11:47 PM
Comment #187740

I’m so sick and tired of crazy Christians getting angry everytime a scientist contradicts the bible. Why do I have to respect a position that holds ignorance as its core principle? Why do I have to appease your commitment to stupidity? Why do educators and researchers and people with brains need to feel threatened by those who are so scared by the world around them that they need to find comfort in fairy tales that are two millenia old? You have chosen to abandon logic. I’m all for freedom of religion, but I think I should be allowed to take someone’s willingness to believe in something that has no logical foundation into consideration when I determine their credibility. I mean, if you believe the bible is word-for-word truth, who knows what else you’ll get suckered into.

Posted by: David S at October 12, 2006 1:18 AM
Comment #187755
Wiki is very liberal and biased as are educators who preach that Gays are good and Christians are bad.

Wiki is a technology. It’s a way of making web pages that allows for group editing. There is no way that a technology has a bias for or against anything. There are wiki pages created for and against any conceivable controversial topic.

Wiki is not a religion, is not anti-Jesus, it does not support the UN or oppose the US. It’s a technology.

Wikipedia is one prominent use of wiki to make a free encyclopedia. As Trent says, articles are vetted by many different sources, are written by people with greatly opposing viewpoints, and are marked specifically when the content is views as unbiased.

Wikipedia has no evil intent, nor does it have a bias towards new agers. I really, really hope I’m just a rube for being taken in by your joke, because there is no substance whatsoever for your claim.

Wikipedia is nothing more or less than a repository of the combined knowledge that those who choose to be involved have contributed. It is not a kind of religion, and it doesn’t hate America.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 12, 2006 9:13 AM
Comment #187806

Indeed, as Lawnboy says. Anyway, just pick a topic that you happen to know much about, and then read Wikipedia’s take. That’s what I did. I find it generally reliable. That said, it’s just one source and certainly not the absolute authority on anything.

Posted by: Trent at October 12, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #187844

Some how religion bashing is enjoyed by the person who pushes the idea that our forefathers mean freedom from rather than freedom of religion. They are hung up on a phylosophical past of “G-d is dead” or at least out to a long lunch. Science and religion have argues substance and relevence and have never denied each other. Science is the how from the human perspective and religion seeks the why. Both seek to better man’s place, one physically, the other ethically and morally (if push come to shove its a “push-you-pull-me” deal. Or you can’t have one without the other too long.).
If one looks for the religious right he may well find the religious left first.
For example The Salvation Army has had a message of a “social gospel” long before the term was used. It preaches a “right” norm but moves in circles that practice “left” ideas.
Judaism, to survive in western culture pushes a generally left social thought. It pushes freedom of speech, religion, ect. in order to enjoy its own socal and religious activities which are consevitive in nature.
So all you bashers out there are actually benifiting from things you can’t explain or understand.
AH’ the great American divide. Isn’t it beautiful even if a bit stupid.
K

Posted by: Kuzriel at October 12, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #187863

rahdigly,

I’ll offer you my definition of neocon and then direct you to a discussion of the term, of its evolution, and of its layers of sometimes contradictory meanings.

When I use the term, I mean those who follow the preventive war doctrine, who have no real commitment to fiscal restraint, and who believe that the United States can shape the world as it wants through military might. I don’t necessarily think Bush was a neocon before 9/11. As I use it, it is a derogatory term. My understanding of the term is largely shaped by a book by Pat Buchanana that I read a few years ago.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition. It does a reasonable job, I think, of discussing its evolution, some of the different ways it is used, and some of the controversy attendent to the term.

Posted by: Trent at October 12, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #187990

Here are some interesting comments Gorbachev recently made about the United States’ foreign policy after the Cold War.

Posted by: Trent at October 13, 2006 2:39 PM
Comment #188045

Rahdigly, Keith-
If I were a pessimist about our economy, I would oppose the end of Bush’s tax cuts. I would oppose the estate tax. I would oppose the end of Bush’s deficit spending, because I would have no faith in the American economy to absorb the changes in people’s income.

If I were a pessimist, I would not acknowledge the strength of the economy while I was making the case that Bush has had little to do with it.

The truth is, I believe our economy is rather strong, and so it doesn’t need tax cuts to stimulate it. I believe we could make it even stronger by guaranteeing that money flows to more places in the economy the good old-fashioned way in wages.

I would say I’m more optimistic because I believe that businesses can afford to pay people better wages without going under, and that it won’t be the end of the world if not everybody can run a business for cheap.

I would say I’m more optimistic because I think our economy can function without having to rely on illegal immigrants, or Bush’s legitimized version, guest workers.

I would say I’m more optimistic because I think Americans are capable of taking all those jobs that elitists like Bush claim they don’t want, just so long as people are willing to pay for their time what its worth.

I would say I’m an optimist because I don’t have a phobia that when money actually manages to get down to the working class, that its not going to come back up again! Economies circulate currency. There’s really no need for the rich to elbow the poor and the middle class to get suitably richer.

I don’t see doom and gloom everywhere. That’s the Republicans job when they’re trying to sell their business agenda. I just see places where a little law and order, a little fairness, a little common sense could make America more prosperous.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #188120

So a post that started out as a nice contribution about dilpomacy from a member of the red column, has descended into misguided accusations of plagiarism and reflections upon Wikipedia’s evil anti-jesusnesses.

Splendid.

Posted by: Bob Hope at October 14, 2006 12:17 PM
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