Rough Triangles III

Déjà vu time at XS, courtesy of the Mesopotamian death spiral, and Fernandez’s strategic framing. The background is important, and relates the topic to a wider question of conservation laws.

The collapse in the Middle East feels like Black April, 1975, the month South Vietnam fell [*]. And it should, because just as the collapse of Saigon did not happen in Black April, but in a political American decision to allow South Vietnam to fall after a “decent interval”, so also is the ongoing collapse rooted, not in the recent tactical mistakes of the White House, but in the grand strategic decision president Obama made when he assumed office. […] This is the plan. It would be crazy not to acknowledge it.

A humanitarian foreign policy is as much a hostage to dark humor as any other affront to Gnon. Hell doesn’t go away just because you don’t like it. So instead it slides diagonally in the only direction left open, from bloody (and incompetent) hegemonism into radically cynical catastrophe tweaking:

Deep in their hearts the Washington Post and the New York Times must realize they endorsed Obama precisely because they knew that when this moment came he would harden his heart and refuse to re-engage, except for show. Since this is the plan, the only effective strategy, the only sane thing to do is to accept the liberal gambit and continue it. […] The obvious continuation is not to dampen the sectarian conflict, but to exacerbate it to the greatest degree possible. America, like Britain in the Napoleonic age, should adopt the policy of supporting first one side then the other, or preferably both at once, so that the combatants inflict the maximum degree of damage on each other. […] … To a cynic, what follows next is quite simple: to be the winner stand back and watch while the Arabian peninsula, Levant and North Africa destroys itself. Take every opportunity to make it worse. Clearly a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented scale will result. Hundreds of thousands are already dead and millions of displaced persons are on the road. That will only grow in scale and number to millions of dead and tens of millions of refugees. Therefore steps like preparing to sink the people smuggling boats, as the EU is doing, are in order. […] If you can stomach it, it can work like a charm. […] The main problem with this strategy is that Obama may not be able to contain its effects. …

(For the Rough Triangles XS log, see 1, 2, 3.)

* Cited over-excitedly here, with walk-back here.

May 19, 2015admin 16 Comments »


16 Responses to this entry

  • Rough Triangles III | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Rough Triangles III […]

    Posted on May 19th, 2015 at 3:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mike Says:

    Moldbug already explained how this works (I don’t think he used Iraq specifically, but the template is easy enough to apply).

    Even if you don’t Moldbug, the answer isn’t too hard to figure out: the Iraqis were Red Team clients, so not surprising, Blue Team is trying to screw them as part of the red-blue civil war. That means the Iraqis are in the same position as South Vietnam, South Korea, and the Chinese Nationalists, Maliki and Abadi are in an analogous position to Thieu.

    Likewise, wars suddenly become of great national duty when it’s Blue Team clients (ie. communists) being helped. This is why we’re told 400k American deaths in WW2 was a necessary sacrifice, but some fraction of that in Vietnam or Iraq is a national disaster.

    BTW, is anyone else having problems with Belmont Club’s RSS feed? It doesn’t display for me. I can download the feed with wget (and it looks fine), but Firefox isn’t loading it as a live bookmark for some reason.


    admin Reply:

    Yes, but Red Team picking Iraqis as clients has to count as the greatest blunder in its stepwise decline to date.

    (Kurds would have been another story …)


    Mike Reply:

    Yes, choosing Arabs as clients isn’t the smartest thing anyone has ever done. And yes, Kurds would be a smarter choice of ally, but they’re landlocked – so getting men and materiel in and out in case of fireworks would be a problem (unless they wanted to take a strip of Syria to the Mediterranean for Kurdistan, to give them sea access – and how could they defend it?). Being landlocked gives blue team a whole load of strategic options (look what it did to Rhodesia, for instance).

    And of course, you still have the problem of blue team reflexively undermining any red ally. Improving the quality of red allies can only do so much.


    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    Similar issues with the Belmont Club RSS feed. I use Feedly, if that is relevant


    Posted on May 19th, 2015 at 4:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Anonymous Says:

    They will have to do something, they like failed states, but not that much. Haiti, not Somalia, is their favourite kind of country, a NGOistan where they can rule from safe neighborhoods while the gangs fight outside the walls, not a place where the gangs can get inside the walls.


    Posted on May 19th, 2015 at 5:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rough Triangles III | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on May 19th, 2015 at 6:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    another question is that middle east tension going to spread on europe, this way or another and it may arrive to this point, when who is killing whom is not important any more. what will be important just numbers. with isis killing machine already in europe (ukraine), EU degenerative ratchet ready to unfold quite soon and seems like nobody, but russians who is only able to stop them.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Then no one will laugh at the Russians for having so many tanks, I guess


    SVErshov Reply:

    russia can win military, but they cant afford taking care of burned down and ruined ukraine.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    True, though given it isn’t too broken, it will be cleared ground rather than ruins. As I understand, Ukraine is a rather good farming area.

    Posted on May 19th, 2015 at 8:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Blue team liberals in the USA support blue team liberals abroad. From a liberal perspective, the best victory would be (1) a weakening of US prestige, as part of liberal revenge against the strong and (2) a win for liberalized forces in the middle east, causing all the parties there to eventually self-destruct in a mushroom cloud of transgender porn, broken families, and neurotic quests for self-discovery.


    Posted on May 20th, 2015 at 1:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    @E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) farming can be good, sure, but you will have to bring new farmers from africa every spring, I doubt they will be in good shape after harsh ukranian winter, without russian gas. still can work, tough.


    dantealiegri Reply:


    That is beyond silly. Russia would never import Africans. You are mistaking them for the clowns running the EU.


    Posted on May 20th, 2015 at 4:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Xoth Says:

    From the article, ” Politico quotes a source who says that Hillary “sold her soul for money” to the King of Morocco”

    Poor King of Morocco, not to mention the other buyers. They will find there is more like a 100x leveraged short on Hillary’s soul, one which is riding on a bailout by the appropriate authorities. Her presidency and the clearing of all those OTC contracts will form an interesting chapter of the decline.


    Posted on May 21st, 2015 at 2:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    Get a load of this comment by “cfbleachers” at The Belmont Club.

    “You hand him an Etch a Sketch of the colonialist, capitalist drawn Middle East…he is going to shake it violently and erase those borders.”

    What if Obama is trying to get the Sunnis and Shi’ites to work together to take down the Evil Empire (USA) and its satrapies (e.g. the Saudis), and is being frustrated by their unwillingness to cooperate with one another?


    Posted on May 22nd, 2015 at 12:33 am Reply | Quote

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