What Democrats Are Ignoring About Russia

Vladimir Putin, President (for life?) of the Russian Federation

Vladimir Putin, President (for life?) of the Russian Federation
DailyPnut.com

While Democrats continue to obsess  over imaginary connections between Donald Trump and the Russian Federation, they seem to pay little attention to what the Russians actually are doing, and what their motivations might be. Yet, as current events involving North Korea and China remind us, allowing wishful thinking about our foreign adversaries to blind us to their very real threats is the height of folly. Chickens almost always come home to roost

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The Nation States Refuse To Dissolve!

Painting of "The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster".

Painting of “The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster”. This is one of the treaties leading to the Peace of Westphalia, in which the concept of the modern nation state was defined.
Wikimedia Commons / Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681)

Today,  I read a very thoughtful essay by a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, Sohrab Ahmari, based in London, on why international events have taken such a disastrous turn for the West. Entitled How Nationalism Can Solve the Crisis of Islam, its subtitle is “Transnational liberalism breeds resentments and anxieties that are only beginning to surface across the developed world.”

With that title and subtitle, you can already sense the beginning of an attack on the conceits of modern day multiculturalism.

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The French Elite Is Snubbed

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, winners of the April 23, 2017 first round of the French presidential election

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, winners of the April 23, 2017 first round of the French presidential election, will face off in the second round on May 7, 2017.
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris for Emmanuel Macron on the Left, Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle for Marine Le Pen on the Right.

The French people unmistakably delivered a repudiation of the French political establishment yesterday when they chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen to advance to the second round of the presidential elections.

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Does the Revolt of the West Against Its Elites Continue?

The major French presidential candidates for 2017.

The major French presidential candidates for 2017. From Left to Right:
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Communist (Wikimedia Commons / MathieuMD),
Emmanuel Macron, Center-Left En Marche! movement (Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris),
François Fillon, Center-Right Les Républicains  (Wikimedia Commons / Marie-Lan Nguyen).
Marine Le Pen, Far right National Front (Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle)

This Sunday, the 23d of April, 2017, will see the first round of  the French presidential election. The burning question it poses is: Will the many revolts of Western civilization against its leftist, dirigiste elite be continued with the French election?

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More Historical Lessons From Europe

GDP per capita in Europe in 2014

GDP per capita in Europe in 2014. According to the World Bank, the U.S. GDP per capita in the same year was $54,540.
Wikimedia Commons

In this post, I will continue my look at what history can tell us about economics and politics. In my last essay, I briefly examined what lessons the major leftist revolutions — the French Revolution and the communist revolutions of Russia and China — could give us. In this post I will investigate how the economic and political history of post-French Revolution Europe might cast a light on the current American progressive-neoliberal conversation.

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The U.S. Interactions With Other Nations

United Nations Headquarters in New York City

United Nations Headquarters in New York City
Wikimedia Commons / Neptuul

Very little divides American citizens more  than questions about how the U.S. should interact with other nations. This has always been true about questions of national security for most of my not inconsiderable lifetime of 70 years. Lately, it has also become true about questions of international trade. What general rules should the U.S. follow in reacting and adapting to the challenges of other nations? It might be popular nowadays to assert the U.S. should not engage in nation building, but should that always be the case?

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The Fraud of Multiculturalism

The Monument to Multiculturalism by Francesco Peril in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Four identical sculptures are locate in Buffalo City, South Africa; Changchun, China; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Sydney, Australia

The Monument to Multiculturalism by Francesco Peril in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Four identical sculptures are locate in Buffalo City, South Africa; Changchun, China; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Sydney, Australia
Wikimedia Commons / paul (dex) from Toronto

Much of the impetus toward political correctness and identity politics  in the U.S. and Europe has been imparted by the political philosophy known as multiculturalism. The acceptance of multiculturalism by many of the American Left is the one cultural threat (that I know of) to our present, commonly accepted basic human values at the very top level of our differing value hierarchies. For now at least, the most basic human values, which I discussed in The Basic Values Needed for Our Politics, are common both to most progressives and neoliberals (aka conservatives). As I discussed in Values, Reality, and Politics, the reasons for why progressives and neoliberal conservatives go for each other’s throats has little or nothing to do (at least currently) with differing fundamental values at the top of their respective value hierarchies. The gulf between them comes from how their clashing ideologies generate divergent lower level values to achieve the higher level values. Each ideology gives a different picture to its adherents of what Reality would allow us to do to achieve those most basic values.

Yet, multiculturalism, a political philosophy advocating a cultural relativism of basic values, threatens to change this picture to one where not even the highest level, most fundamental values are held in common. To understand this, consider how American progressivism has evolved over the past several decades. In particular, we need to understand the postmodern Left.

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European Dirigisme Continues to Unravel

Italy's Beppe Grillo, head of the Italian Five-Star Movement in 2012

Italy’s Beppe Grillo, head of the Italian Five-Star Movement in  2012
Wikimedia Commons / Niccolò Caranti

Last Sunday’s Italian constitutional referendum marks yet another step in the slow unraveling of the European Union and of European dirigisme. Following the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote to leave the EU last June 23, Italy’s vote against proposed legislative reforms is yet another popular protest against intrusive state management of society.

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Turning of the Tide of Dirigisme?

Karl Marx (5 May 1818 - 14 March 1883)

Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883): Is his time finally finished?
Wikimedia Commons John Jabez Edwin Mayall

The administration of President Barack Obama  may have marked the high-water mark of dirigisme in the United States. Brexit in Europe may have done the same for that continent. Hopefully, before the end of my life, I will be able to witness this milestone for humanity in Japan, Russia, and China as well. For Iran to achieve this may take somewhat longer, as that country has to deal with the dirigisme of a theocracy, and it is next to impossible to contradict the diktat of a god. Continue Reading…

The Ruins of Obama’s Catastrophic Foreign Policy

President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and ISIS, September 29, 2015

President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and ISIS, September 29, 2015
Wikimedia Commons/Kremlin.ru

No American president in my lifetime has had a foreign policy that has been as complete and total a failure as that of Barack Obama. Every foreign affair problem he has touched has turned to worms. The failures have mounted to such an extent that the very existence of our country is threatened. Most Americans would probably consider my last sentence to be extreme hyperbole, but taking a look at each of the threats against us, I can not see how the threats against us could be judged as anything less than existential.

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The Legacy of 9/11/2001

The North face of the Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175

The North Face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175.
Wikimedia Commons/Robert on Flickr

It has been fifteen years to the day since the brutal attacks by Islamic jihadists on the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon across the river from Washington, DC, and the aborted attack  on the nation’s Capitol that ended in an aircraft crash in a deserted field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The civilian toll of dead (2,977) exceeded all the casualties suffered by U.S. armed forces and civilians (2,403) in the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor, 60 years before.

The remains of 6, 7, and 1 World Trade Center on September 17, 2001

The remains of 6, 7, and 1 World Trade Center on September 17, 2001
Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy, Chief Photographer’s Mate Eric J. Tilford

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Russia: A Classic Fascist Power

Moscow Kremlin, the working residence of the President of Russia

The Moscow Kremlin, the working residence of the President of Russia.
Wikimedia Commons/Минеева Ю. (Julmin) (retouched by Surendil)

Will Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini have the last laugh on history? There seems to be an almost universal rush among almost all the nations on Earth to become more like their prototypical fascist regimes. And no current nation on Earth is more like those 1930s fascist powers than the Russian Federation.    Continue Reading…

The Fermenting of the West’s Discontents: Crisis of Ideology

The three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

The three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act 4, scene 1
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Johann Heinrich Füssli 1783

The Western World’s political and economic elites, standing in for Macbeth’s witches, have certainly been fermenting Western discontent in their magic cauldrons. All over Europe and North America, electorates are seething with anger, frustration, and fear. Could this be the end of … what? It is hard to see exactly how the Western World will change its many world-views, but change them we must if we are to continue existing. If reality is actually different from our views of it, it has a tendency to remind us of the difference in generally unpleasant ways.

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Are European States More Socialist Than The US?

Lamartine, before the Hotel de Ville, Paris rejects the red flag of revolution and socialism on Feb. 25, 1848. By Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux , Public Domain

Alphonse de Lamartine rejecting the red flag of socialism in front of the Town Hall of Paris during the 1848 French Revolution.
Wikimedia Commons/ Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux (1815-1884)

The American Left has a romance with European nations, particularly with Scandinavia, because of their supposed more socialist mix between the polar-opposite, platonic ideals of Socialism and Capitalism. Bernie Sanders, for example, believes we should sit at the feet of the Scandinavians and learn from their example. Last October during a Democratic Party debate, he said “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” A conservative rejoinder that it just ain’t so can take two routes. One is based on history, and one on economic data from the European countries. For the moment, I will take the data route, and discuss the history later in a following post.

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