Much has been said recently about President Trump’s decertification of Iran’s compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPOA. The Europeans are uniformly opposed to what Trump has done, and of course Democrats consider Trump’s action to be a great blunder. Yet, the most accurate evaluation is probably from a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. His view is the JCPOA is completely flawed and fundamentally unfixable.
It is not as if Donald J. Trump is a neoliberal (erroneously also called a “conservative”), which he has not been in the past. In fact, before he became a Republican presidential candidate, his expressed opinions seemed to be more consistent with progressivism. Had Democratic progressives not reacted to his election with complete hostility, they would have had a much better chance than with any other Republican presidential candidate of bending Trump toward their views. This suggests Donald Trump is not the main focus for progressive action; he merely presents an opportunity for progressives to nullify the results of the 2016 elections.
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.
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.
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.
No American president in my lifetimehas 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.
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 policyappear 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 most sacred words any human being can utter are “I believe …”, The more important that belief is, both to the believer and to the world of human beings around him, the more sacred that belief is. A very nontrivial example is the belief of a follower of ISIS in the necessity for jihad against all the non-Muslim world, but particularly against the West. You and I might consider his belief blasphemous, but for him or her, it has the sacredness of a command from Allah. If you read the link on jihad above, you can appreciate the contradictions and conflicts between people who believe many of the same ideas.
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 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.
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…
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…
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…