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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How Should the U.S. React to Foreign Challenges?

Aspects of U.S. Foreign Relations
Top (Left to Right):
U.S. Army soldiers in Ramadi, August 2006   Wikimedia Commons / Air Force Tech Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock
Container ship from Asia     Flickr.com / Peter Kaminsky
Center: U.N. General Assembly Hall    Wikimedia Commons / Flickr (Patrick Gruben)
Bottom (Left to Right):
Russian Sukhoi Su-24M: Russian workhorse in Syria  Wikimedia Commons / Alexander Mishin, © A. Mishin
Obama discussing Syria and ISIS with Putin, 9/29/2015   Wikimedia Commons / Kremlin.ru

In my last post,  The U.S. Interactions With Other Nations, I presented the case for why the United States should remain fully engaged with the rest of the world, whether by trade, military alliances, or by actual combat against lethal adversaries. Such engagements should not and need not be for the cause of imposing our own ideologies or values on others, but to protect against hostile enemies or to enrich our own country by trade. Neither do we have to abandon our altruism in dealing with other countries, as we can certainly offer trade, knowledge and technology that would be as useful to other countries as they are for us.

Assuming the case for international engagement has been made, I wish in this post to offer a neoliberal (i.e. conservative) vision of how such engagements should proceed.

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U.S. Detente With Russia?

Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson, then ExxonMobil CEO, with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation on April 16, 2012

Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson, then ExxonMobil CEO, with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation on April 16, 2012
Wikimedia Commons / premier.gov.ru

The Democratic Party  has found a new enemy in Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. The Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s email server along with that of the Democratic Party, which supplied Wikileaks with damaging information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign, provided Democrats with a convenient narrative for why Clinton lost the election.  More than that, when coupled with Donald Trump’s many ill-considered approving remarks about Putin, this narrative gives Democrats such as Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) an excuse to declare Trump’s presidency to be illegitimate.

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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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Clinton and Trump on Foreign Policy

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage at the third and final Presidential debate.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage at the third and final Presidential debate.

The differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on foreign policy appear to be more than they actually are. However, this fact has been muddled by the necessity for Clinton to appear to agree with President Obama’s failing foreign policy, together with the need to look different from Trump. Nevertheless, one has to question Clinton’s competence from her own record as Secretary of State.  Continue Reading…

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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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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The Weakening of U.S. Alliances and National Security

People's Liberation Army contingent at 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade

People’s Liberation Army contingent at 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade
Wikimedia Commons/Kremlin.ru

Probing of the U.S. alliance periphery is being done by more than just Russia and ISIS. In my last post I described the isolationist bent of President Obama’s administration and of the American electorate, together with the encouragement this has given to an expansionist Russia to probe NATO defenses. Russia, however, is a member of a de facto alliance along with the People’s Republic of China and Iran. All three are cooperating to find how malleable the U.S. assurances of allies’ security are. As related in my last post, Russia is mainly interested in re-aquiring the possessions they lost with the dissolution of the Soviet Union: the states of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.      Continue Reading…

U.S. Alliances: Will They Last?

U.S. Military Relations

States with U.S. military relationships: Dark Blue are the NATO members, Purple are major non-NATO allies, and Pale Blue are signatories of Partnership for Peace with NATO
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Sesmith

The short-sighted Obama administration seems absolutely determined to allow our foreign alliances, NATO in particular, to wither away through neglect. It would seem the only threat keeping us from withdrawing into a complete isolationist shell is the jihadist threat from ISIS, al-Qaeda, Iran, and other jihadist organizations. Recoiling from the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American electorate, along with the Obama administration, would like nothing better than if the world would just go away and leave us alone.      Continue Reading…

Is Western Civilization Seeking Suicide?

Siege of Vienna by Ottoman forces in 1529

Ottoman depiction of the siege of Vienna by Muslim forces in 1529.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/”Istanbul”, Hachette, Collection “Voir” (PD-Art)

It is rapidly becoming obvious to a number of people that Western Civilization as a whole may be courting suicide. As an example of these concerns, consider the post by Victor David Hanson on the National Review, Europe at the Edge of the Abyss, and my recent post, Europe’s Challenge: Evolve or DieContinue Reading…

What Is Russia’s Game in Syria?

Russian Sukhoi Su-24M

Sukhoi Su-24M: Russian workhorse in Syria    
Wikimedia Commons/Alexander Mishin, © A. Mishin

If you have been paying much attention to what is going on in the Middle East, you have almost certainly heard Vladimir Putin last Monday ordered a partial Russian pullout from Syria. This is after more than seven months since Russia made a significant commitment of troops,  aircraft, and naval assets keeping Bashar al-Assad in power. Yet ISIS is far from defeated in Syria and Iraq. What exactly can Putin be thinking?      Continue Reading…

Globalization, Xenophobia, and Donald Trump

Fear of the foreign

Views that fuel Donald Trump’s Campaign
Image Credit:
Flickr.com/Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

The political reactions working in favor of Donald Trump, or for that matter, Bernie Sanders have been a long time building. I realize to say any movement has been building for a long time is true for almost any social movement and might seem somewhat trite. Nevertheless, it is especially true for the political movement that has seized on both Trump and Sanders, no matter what their characters are like or how outlandish their beliefs might be, to smash the repressive political elites holding the citizenry down.  Continue Reading…

Libya Becoming Part of the ISIS Caliphate

Libya: A nation being absorbed by the ISIS Caliphate?
Map courtesy of
Google/Nations Online Project

The release of the movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi appears to have triggered a discussion about ISIS taking over the country of Libya. Posts on the subject have been published by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Long War Journal, the British newspapers  The Mirror and The Guardian,  Al Arabiya,  and Business Insider among others.  Continue Reading…

A Movie Hillary and the Democrats Should Fear

President Obama and Secretary Clinton honor the Benghazi attack victims at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14, 2012.

President Obama and Secretary Clinton honor the Benghazi attack victims at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14, 2012.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/US Department of State

Last Saturday my wife and I went with some friends to see the controversial film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Its effects on me  were emotionally devastating, as indeed they would be probably for any combat veteran. One can not help but relive one’s experiences in what is seen on the screen. Also, be forewarned if you decide to go see it (which you definitely should). The movie does not gloss over the effects of modern munitions on the human body. Click here for a sanitized trailer.    Continue Reading…

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