Quote notes (#104)

The only thing that Neoconservatism has to offer a non-psychotic policy analyst is bitching, but sometimes the bitching can be pretty good. Bret Stephens (via Brett Stevens (sorry, I had to do that)):

… None of these fiascos — for brevity’s sake, I’m deliberately setting to one side the illusory pivot to Asia, the misbegotten Russian Reset, the mishandled Palestinian–Israeli talks, the stillborn Geneva conferences on Syria, the catastrophic interim agreement with Iran, the de facto death of the U.S. free-trade agenda, the overhyped opening to Burma, the orphaned victory in Libya, the poisoned relationship with Egypt, and the disastrous cuts to the Defense budget — can be explained away as a matter of tough geopolitical luck. Where, then, does the source of failure lie? […] The myth of Obama’s brilliance paradoxically obscures the fact that he’s no fool. The point is especially important to note because the failure of Obama’s foreign policy is not, ultimately, a reflection of his character or IQ. It is the consequence of an ideology.

The ‘ideology’ at its root, of course, is evangelical egalitarian universalism, and it is one the Neoconservatives entirely share. At the limit, which is now being encountered, what America is makes it impossible for it to succeed at what it wants.

August 23, 2014admin 9 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Pass the popcorn

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9 Responses to this entry

  • Mr. Archenemy Says:

    Well, neocons will use force to achieve egalitarian universalism, whereas Obama-style progressives think they can achieve it via national self-abnegation. Once concedes that there are roadblocks between them and their goal, the other thinks we ARE the roadblock.


    Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 5:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • dk Says:

    Why the belief in root causes? And why the insistence on ideology as root cause? Ideology is as much a product of, as a productive factor in, events. More importantly, the concept of ideology places far too much emphasis on conscious deliberation as explaining action. Sets of ideas can only be speculatively posited as leading actions and events, yet this ignores the subterranean drives at play. Lumping one ‘ism’ with another (neoconservatism with evangelical egalitarian universalism) is furthermore a sweeping abstraction that obscures far more than it reveals. Why not just extend the abstraction to the whole of politics?


    ultraZEN Reply:

    Not a sweeping abstraction, but an outlining of a derivative curvature. As Carl Schmitt insisted: the most realist perception of modern political ideology is to understand it as derived from theology.

    Far from obscuring, such identifcation of root structures as filtering devices for experience reveals the insight that history is continually shaped by the fundamental consequence of ideas. What is metapolitics? It is the appreciation that ideas and inded whole systems and clutsters of ideas gives structure to the human experience both individually and collectively. History itself is the sum of will, action and behavior – and these are themselves dependant upon neurological, cognitive, linguistic, cultural and evolutionary processes that are expressed through and perceived through what one can call ‘ideology’ – and in some ways these processes can even be modified within ideologicial frames.

    This is why Carl Schmitt thought that dealing with those afflicted with liberalism was as dealing with fanatical cultists more than dealing with political opponents. One cannot really reason with such specimen, as the liberal perceives anything and anyone not-liberal as heretic evil. Liberal politics is thus bound to be projected evangelism in one form or the other. It cannot be otherwise.

    So, far from random lumping, it is more a question of nailing the branch to its proper tree.


    Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 6:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “what America is makes it impossible for it to succeed at what it wants.”

    America is a very large country, and should at present not be defined solely in terms of it’s elites.

    Especially as they are few and we are many, our interests are divergent at the best of times and fatally conflicted now [they simply owe too much money for all of us to make it] and we really hate each other.

    However since you might reasonably point out where is the precious majority..I know. I know. Sheep. We will do our duty and all we can, with the intent to prevail. But I know.


    Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 7:55 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    Today we learn that the Russian aid convoy returned to Russia after delivering its contents, and a trojan-house army did not jump out. The defectives in charge were literally losing their minds over this aid convey.

    Putin more classically pro-civilization than most of our leadership, and has shown enormous restraint in the face of rather tremendous provocation. But our leaders see none of that; all they see is, Putin doesn’t want Russian schoolkids indoctrinated in homosexuality, the monster.


    Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 8:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • Big Bill Says:

    In a prescient 2004 essay in Foreign Policy, the historian Niall Ferguson warned that “the alternative to [American] unipolarity” would not be some kind of reasonably tolerable world order. It would, he said, “be apolarity—a global vacuum of power.”

    To the Euros, the Saudi, the Israelis and others, America is a big sugar daddy that they rely upon to protect them and settle their squabbles. Someone to change their diapers and wipe their noses and get them out of playground fights and let them spend all their pocket money on sweeties. What a pathetic life. How infantilizing.

    It is flattering for a President to be told he is God, that he, as elected leader of the United States, has an eternal world dominating role, and indeed, that his greater duty and loyalty is to the People of the World.

    It is debilitating, culturally and ethically, to those that rely upon him to be their Big Daddy.

    It is worse for us, since we have to pay for it.

    Let them grow up. Let them run their lives. Let them hire their own armies. Let them be adults and stand on their own two legs.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    USG gets plenty of benefit from the arrangement including it’s debt happy citizens who benefit as well. The oil dollar wouldn’t exist without the MIC, and the oil dollar pays for all the other government debt of which MIC is just a fraction of the cost (much of which is more beneficial than the rest of the crap USG pays for. Boondoggle aircraft programs > moar entitlement programs) Sure it’s evil and paternalistic to the foreigners in on it, not to mention a raw deal for the foreign powers who aren’t in on it. But don’t for an instant think that US citizens don’t benefit (some more than others, many of whom are solidly middle class so don’t think it’s just the political class benefiting). Mind you the system has grown uglier with domestic tumors but even so, cutting cold turkey would be painful. Also, power vacuums don’t last long, something always fills it.


    Posted on August 24th, 2014 at 1:18 am Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    There is definitely a failure of brains and thinking. Kissinger would not have missed so many obvious facts on the ground.

    * The Crimeans people wanted by and large to be part of Russia.
    * Extremists were a majority of the voting public in Egypt.
    * An Israel/Palestine peace process is impossible when the latter wants the former not to exist.
    * The rebels in Syria were largely extremists.
    * The rebels in Libya were largely extremists and Quadaffi wasn’t very extremist.
    * Al Malaki was oppressing Sunnis pretty badly.

    These are basic facts that should have been in the first paragraph of any briefing on the countries.

    Our leadership apparently has no interest in what the actual reality is and it shows. The problems with foreign policy are similar to absurdities of domestic policy, from gender politics to health care to immigration. The facts on the ground are totally ignored.

    This is a total intellectual failure. Leaders with political power think they are immune to reality.


    Posted on August 24th, 2014 at 11:50 am Reply | Quote
  • Alan J. Perrick Says:



    Posted on August 28th, 2014 at 5:24 pm Reply | Quote

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