Posts Tagged ‘War’

Science

This comment thread wandered into a discussion of science, of considerable intricacy and originality. The post in question is focused upon Heidegger, who has very definite ideas about natural science, but these ideas — dominated by his conception of  ‘regional ontologies’ — are not especially noteworthy, either for an understanding of Heidegger’s principal pre-occupation, or for a realistic grasp of the scientific enterprise. For that reason, it seems sensible to recommence the discussion elsewhere (here).

The first crucial thesis about natural science — or autonomous ‘natural philosophy’ — is that it is an exclusively capitalist phenomenon. The existence of science, as an actual social reality, is strictly limited to times and places in which certain elementary structures of capitalistic organization prevail. It depends, centrally and definitionally, upon a modern form of competition. That is to say, there cannot be science without an effective social mechanism for the elimination of failure, based on extra-rational criteria, inaccessible to cultural capture.

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July 12, 2013admin 19 Comments »
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Our Ally, the Enemy

It’s not exactly a formal pact between the United States and Al Qaeda, but no one honestly thinks it’s anything really different. Either it’s a rough triangles play, or it’s sheer insanity.

Time won’t tell, but it will hint, as the intervention proceeds. If it makes things worse, before guttering out into indecision, stalling resolution, then it might make sense. In any case, it’s big.

(Drew M. at AoS is a seriously hard-core rough triangles guy: “We should help whichever side is losing at any given moment but only to the extant that it enables them to fight on to take and inflict more casualties. There’s no scenario where one side winning helps us.”)

June 14, 2013admin 15 Comments »
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Peace Dividend

Glenn Reynolds notices an emerging interpretation of PRISM as a phenomenon internally connected to geopolitical pacifism. Making unilateral peace requires infinite vigilance.

First Steyn:

The same bureaucracy that takes the terror threat so seriously that it needs the phone and Internet records of hundreds of millions of law-abiding persons would never dream of doing a little more pre-screening in its immigration system … Because the formal, visible state has been neutered by political correctness, the dark, furtive shadow state has to expand massively to make, in secret, the judgment calls that can no longer be made in public.

Then WRM:

PRISM and similar programs aren’t a ghastly misstep or an avoidable accident. They are the essence of Obama’s grand strategy: public peace and secret war. To cool down the public face of the war, he must intensify the secret struggle.

Richard Fernandez comments.

There’s some kind of conservation law at work there, and they always have the potential to trip people up. Bad outcomes are conserved might be too harsh, but it gets close to something.

June 8, 2013admin 11 Comments »
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Rough Triangles II

On learning that Hamas and Hizbollah are now fighting each other in Syria, Peter Ingemi writes:

This sets up the possibility that the greatest threats to Israel and the US will be clashing in Syria & Lebanon, in a long and bitter struggle and moreover as Iran doesn’t want to lose their clients and the Saudis and others want to bleed Iran this has the potential to become a mass killing ground for the most vile and despicable enemies the western world has faced.

And all of it happening without us, or Israel lifting a finger.

For a foe of radical Islam it’s practically a wet dream, we just have to sit back and let them slaughter each other and if one side starts to lose, we aid third parties to reenforce [Sic] them enough to keep the fight going until the cream of the jihadist crop finds themselves, shot, gassed or blown up.

And at this point where you contemplate the solution to so many problems that pesky Christian belief comes in. … That’s when you look at your glee at the death of your enemies and feel ashamed.

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June 2, 2013admin 13 Comments »
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Cui bono?

Terrorism is notoriously resistant to strict definition, and the most obvious reason for this is generally understood. Unlike (for instance) guerrilla warfare, ‘terrorism’ is not merely a tactic, but an intrinsically abominated tactic. Whatever the technical usage of the word, it adheres to the register of propaganda, as a partisan denunciation. It is what the other side does.

This partisan skew is reinforced by technical considerations. Even more than guerrilla warfare, terrorism is a tactic suited to relatively disorganized non-state actors. When even guerrilla warfare is impractical, terrorism is the mode of violent ‘resistance’ that remains. In the sentimental language of the Left, it is the warfare of the weak.

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April 23, 2013admin 12 Comments »
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Rough Triangles

The elementary model of robust plural order is the tripod. Whether taken as a schema for constitutional separation of powers, a deeper cultural matrix supporting decentralized societies, or a pattern of ultimate cosmic equilibrium, triangular fragmentation provides the archetype of quasi-stable disunity. By dynamically preempting the emergence of a dominant instance, the triangle describes an automatic power-suppression mechanism.

From the Romance of the Three Kingdoms to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, triangular fragmentation has been seen to present an important and distinctive strategic quandary. In power balances of the Mexican Standoff type, initiation of force is inhibited by the triangular structure, in which the third, reserved party profits from hostilities between the other two.

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March 27, 2013admin 5 Comments »
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The Unspeakable

To prepare for an excursion into the real-world workings of strategic triangles, this harshly illuminating conversation between David P. Goldman (‘Spengler’) and the ghost of Cardinal Richelieu is worth recalling:

“We are a bit confused about Syria,” I began. “Its leader, Bashar al-Assad, is slaughtering his own people to suppress an uprising. And he is allied to Iran, which wants to acquire nuclear weapons and dominate the region. If we overthrow Assad, Sunni radicals will replace him, and take revenge on the Syrian minorities. And a radical Sunni government in Syria would ally itself with the Sunni minority next door in Iraq and make civil war more likely.”

“I don’t understand the question,” Richelieu replied.

“Everyone is killing each other in Syria and some other places in the region, and the conflict might spread. What should we do about it?”

“How much does this cost you?”

“Nothing at all,” I answered.

“Then let them kill each other as long as possible, which is to say for 30 years or so. Do you know,” the ghastly Cardinal continued, “why really interesting wars last for 30 years? That has been true from the Peloponnesian War to my own century. First you kill the fathers, then you kill their sons. There aren’t usually enough men left for a third iteration.”

“We can’t go around saying that,” I remonstrated.

ADDED: DrewM at AoS channels Richelieu from the id: “Personally, I’m happy to let [the Syrians] fight it out amongst themselves for a good long time. Hell, let’s arm both sides.”

March 21, 2013admin 3 Comments »
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