March 18, 2008

Dept. of "Don't Go There"

While thinking about how we could improve the state of the American economy, the thought just popped into my head: "We've got the world's best military. What can we steal with it?"

Jesus ... I've been up too long.

Fortunately, the answer to that question is: "Nothing worth the trouble."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

41 comments:

William said...

It depends, of course, on the circumstances. If the Middle East ever decided to abuse their oil assets (moreso than they already do) we'd have no trouble getting backing from most of the other developed countries, which mostly have no oil at all - so long as we agreed to divide the spoils.

9/11 would've actually made a great justification for invading Saudi Arabia, since 15 of the hijackers plus Osama bin Laden were from there.

Russia would have a fit, of course, and it has it's own oil. But what could they really do about it? Not much, I don't think.

As the economic competition heats up with China, expect Africa, wit it's natural resources, to play more and more of a role. Those years of pouring money down the African charity rathole may eventually pay off in unintended ways, buying us goodwill that China just doesn't have.

Anonymous said...

9/11 would've actually made a great justification for invading Saudi Arabia, since 15 of the hijackers plus Osama bin Laden were from there.

Not long after 9-11 Laurent Murawiec of the Rand Corporation gave a briefing to the Pentagon proposing that we do just that.

Here's an interview with Murawiec:
http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/murawiec200511220847.asp

braindead said...

"Those years of pouring money down the African charity rathole may eventually pay off in unintended ways, buying us goodwill that China just doesn't have."

Don't count on it. Africans just hate whites. Period.

White South Africans, the anti-Apartheid propaganda notwithstanding, actually did a lot of good for blacks in that country. You can read it off on the substantially higher levels of healthcare, wealth, security and education which Blacks enjoyed in Apartheid South Africa in comparison to the rest of "liberated" Africa. This may sound insane, but the facts point exactly against the propaganda of the NYT, Churches and Black caucus w.r.t. Apartheid.

But the Africans will ALWAYS prefer to entertain anybody BUT whitey. The real reason has more to do with jealousy than logic. Unfortunately.

Anyway, apart from a few key minerals most of the minerals needed in modern economies can be bought in other places like Latin America.

dearieme said...

venezuela

simon newman said...

william:
"Those years of pouring money down the African charity rathole may eventually pay off in unintended ways, buying us goodwill that China just doesn't have."

Nope - as Machiavelli pointed out, doing people a favour makes them resent you. If you want goodwill, get them to do *you* a favour. China's policy of "We just want to buy your resources, as respected trading equals" buys far more goodwill than any amount of aid and meddling NGOs.

Anonymous said...

...steal oil. its the only rational reason to be in iraq at this point. sadly, we won't do it. hence, the neurotic empire of the united states.

simon newman said...

Invading Saudi Arabia, the great font of Wahabbism and Islamic terrorism, might not have worked out, given the incompetence of the Bush administration, but at least it would have made some sense. It seems inconceivable that the Bush clan would have done so though, given their close contacts with the house of Saud.

David said...

Those years of pouring money down the African charity rathole may eventually pay off in unintended ways, buying us goodwill

When did foreign aid to non-Europeans ever buy us good will?

When people give me things insistently, I resent and suspect them, no matter how hard up I am. Gratitude can't be bought, but don't try telling most bozos that. Their understanding of human nature is very defective: "Here's some money, you helpless loser - now you love me, don't you? Of course you do!" No, we don't.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty obvious what the best target is. A thinly populated country with huge amounts of oil. And think, it's only zero miles away from our Northern border.

Anonymous said...

The Moon!

c23 said...

There's nothing worth the trouble of stealing with our present rules of engagement, which guarantee defeat in any occupation, but if we weren't so nice we could make a lot of money stealing. For example, we could just take the oil rich parts of the Middle East, expel the local population (insurgency problem eliminated), and use our own people or contractors from other countries to do the work of pulling that oil out of the ground.

Nazi Germany and the USSR found it profitable to exploit/steal from other countries in recent times. This kind of behavior has become unprofitable for civilized countries not so much because potential colonies have discovered nationalism or Maoist-style insurgent warfare, but because we don't do the kinds of things anymore that would be required to keep them in line.

Of course, if we started acting like Genghis Khan, other countries would get real armed forces to oppose us, so maybe the first step should be to use our military bases in other countries to take them over, like the Germans did to Italy in 1943. That would still leave Russia and China as credible threats, but at least the world's new number one economy would be out of the picture.

Probably a bad idea, but at least it would make for interesting headlines.

Anonymous said...

Steve's suggestion hasn't escaped my thoughts either. Would we ever contemplate angering the rest of the world the way we do if we didn't have 14 carrier groups carrying around a massive air armada atop them and 12,000 nuclear weapons?

No, we couldn't.


Why do you guys think our government doesn't care about what anyone thinks of it and what the voters think of it? They dont have to, they have the biggest stick on earth push come to shove.

RKU said...

What can we steal with it?

(1) A big hunk of Mexico? Already did that!

(2) The rest of Mexico! The Mexicans probably wouldn't object, but Steve and his friends would.

(3) A Mid-East country with lots of oil! Nope, hasn't worked out...

gcochran said...

"Nope - as Machiavelli pointed out, doing people a favour makes them resent you."


Machiavelli was wrong, not for the first time.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing worth the trouble"

Cripes, where's the imagination? The problem with your scenario is that its too simplistic. A more sophisticated power would charge protection money. All oil tankers exiting the straits of Hormuz, the Panama canal, some of the Southeast Asian chokepoints, have to pay a freedom of the seas tax, to compensate the US for its fine navy that keeps pirates out, etc. If they don't, we board and take them. This could probably be dressed up in a way that would give us and other countries cover (for example, maybe we just stop ships for lengthy and laborious inspection, *unless* they've gone through a registration process which involves payment of fees). Oil and gas pipelines are also uniquely vulnerable, as are offshore drilling rigs.

Also, why not space? Tons of resources up there and we don't even have to use a military to sieze them. We just have to sieze them.

Anonymous said...

When did foreign aid to non-Europeans ever buy us good will?

Machiavelli's dictum is NOT universally true, as this comment points out. Primitive honor cultures (which renaissance Italy was in many respects) don't have the same gratitude instincts that Westerners do. But culture isn't everything and I would be surprised if we didn't have at least *some* gratitude for aid that we've given that has actually been helpful and is known to come from us. Our enemies wouldn't work so hard to cover up our aid or to spread stories about its nefarious purpose if they didn't think it was helping us at least a little.

David said...

Bush intends to steal Mars, remember? Meh, he's welcome to it.

William said...

It's pretty obvious what the best target is. A thinly populated country with huge amounts of oil. And think, it's only zero miles away from our Northern border.

We wouldn't have to steal all of Canada - just Alberta. And Albertans are conservatives, so they might actually be grateful if we stole them.

Just as a question: if the greatest post-founding president ever, James K Polk, had actually stuck with his 54'50 or bust promise, would Alberta's oil resources be in our hands today?

I would be surprised if we didn't have at least *some* gratitude for aid that we've given that has actually been helpful and is known to come from us. Our enemies wouldn't work so hard to cover up our aid or to spread stories about its nefarious purpose if they didn't think it was helping us at least a little.

There's certainly some gratitude. But it isn't just gratitude, it's what boots on the ground can buy - knowledge and contacts. No matter how much or how little good the charity has done, we have people with knowledge of the region that the Chinese don't.

That also is the (quite small, I'll admit) upside to having an immigrant population.


What can we steal with it? A Mid-East country with lots of oil! Nope, hasn't worked out...

Well we never really tried to steal it. But if we plan on staying "100 years" then the least we should do is mandate some form of payment from Iraq, in the form of X barrels of oil a year - at least 10% of whatever they produce.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: We've got the world's best military. What can we steal with it?

I still can't get over the fact that Mao offered Kissinger 10,000,000 Chinese chicks and Kissinger was too damned obtuse to take him up on the offer.

Argent Paladin said...

The North Pole.
Think about it. Russia planted a flag there, there might be billions of barrels of oil there. If Global Warming is true, it will soon be ice free in the summers. The only way to explore/extract is to enforce jurisdiction by militarizing it. But no one lives there, so there would be little controversy. Except with Russia, but who cares.

William said...

I still can't get over the fact that Mao offered Kissinger 10,000,000 Chinese chicks and Kissinger was too damned obtuse to take him up on the offer.

I'll have to paraphrase "Erik the Viking": Your small-breasted Chinese women give me no pleasure!

Yes, conquest through breeding - the Third World's grand new idea: cheaper, more fun, and more efficient than any other form of conquest - and the West actually let's you get away with it!

Anonymous said...

If we are going to go this route, we had best take some lessons from the PRC. Those guys aren't worried about nonsense like bad press or bullshit about people "liking" them.

Anonymous said...

"We've got the world's best military. What can we steal with it?"

How about Canada's oil? It's not fair that we pay full price for that oil when Canada pays whatever it choses to for the drugs our pharma companies plow billions of dollars in R&D to discover. Besides, Canada is a lot closer than Saudi Arabia.

- Fred

David said...

This is such a good comment, I will try to get it or the substance of it past Steve again.

Our challenge is not to steal anything novel, but to hang on to what we have.

For example, when China discuss its "nuclear option" of bowing out of the dollar, in order to pressure us, our response might be:

"China would do well to remember that the United States, too, has a nuclear option."

Or consider our amazing debt. More than 7 trillion. A combination might attempt to call a rasher of those notes. Unless such a potential combination is given to understand...well, you know what.

Slim Pickins straddling the nuke while waving his cowboy hat (in Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove") may have been even more prophetic than we think. This makes me sad, but there is the fact.

Anonymous said...

Machiavelli is always right. People who say he's wrong assume somehow human nature magically changed. Dumb.

Look at Europe. We protect them at our cost and they resent it.

Under current ROE of course we could not seize anything. However if we could manage our own press and leftists that would change. Others as long as they got cheap world-wide oil that keeps economies going.

The world economy RUNS on cheap oil. So we'd have lots of people dependent on us in that situation.

China might be thinking the same thing, btw.

none of the above said...

I think this sort of strategy works until everyone left has armed themselves to the teeth. Imagine what the world looks like after a decade of this. ("Today, Kenya test fired a nuclear device, becoming the 83rd openly nuclear-armed nation.")

Demanding tribute might work better than invade-exterminate-and-steal, but if you think the thought of an Islamic Fundamentalist sneaking a nuke into Manhatten, wait till the threat is that the government of France or Japan has a strong incentive to do that, leaving a false trail back to some disposable country like Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Military higher ups are trapped; they could just expropriate Lake Tahoe mansions for themselves and relocate the capital from Washington, but only if they all agree at once to trashbin patriotism, loyalty, oaths, etc. Yes! All THIS can be YOURS! Fortunately, there is a steady stream of Reganesque patriotic messages influencing opinions and fighting against the Romanesque historical norm and the strong acquire/consume impulses that the economy engenders.

simon newman said...

gcochran:
"Machiavelli was wrong, not for the first time."

I cite Michelle Obama.

Anonymous said...

It's not a matter of what we can steal but what has been stolen from (the) US. Forty plus years of welfare parasites have bled us white. It would be bad enough if these payments were made to our own indigenous indigent. In addition to these we have imported, and continue to welcome, vast numbers of the dregs of the third world to feed, clothe and educate at our own expense.

spoon said...

I cite Michelle Obama

Actually, America is very popular in Africa (and India).

Pew did not ask about the popularity of China among Africans. But the high popularity of America in Africa alone falsifies Machiavelli.

You're welcome.

uwi said...

Forget about ever invading Saudi Arabia. In anticipation of the U.S. trying such a thing, they wired their entire oil and gas infrastructure with high explosives to be immediately detonated in the event of an American armed takeover. Thats according to the author Gerald Posner.

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2601

beowulf said...

Most of our military spending is wasted. If you eliminated the US Air Force, the Navy Department (Navy and Marine Corps) would still have the biggest air force in the world. Heck, you could eliminate the Army and just expand the Marine Corps as necessary.

So take the AF budget and fund nuclear power and coal/shale to oil projects (or combine the the two, google "Project Bronco")

William said...

Most of our military spending is wasted. If you eliminated the US Air Force, the Navy Department (Navy and Marine Corps) would still have the biggest air force in the world.

The US Air Force contains most/all of our airlift capacity, most/all of our early threat detection, including NORAD, all of our land-based and air-based nuclear inventory, most/all of our anti-aircraft defense, and manages most/all of our military satellites.

It's a helluva lot more than F-16s and fighter jocs. There's a lot of back office work getting done there that gets little credit and no glory but that makes our nation's military so formidable.

William said...

In anticipation of the U.S. trying such a thing, [Saudi Arabia] wired their entire oil and gas infrastructure with high explosives to be immediately detonated in the event of an American armed takeover.

Seems unlikely given that terrorists/usurpers would be likely to take advantage of that.

But even if they did, that's just the infrastructure, not the reserves. You can't burn off billions of barrels of oil reserves by destroying the infrastructure.

KlaosOldanburg said...

we don't need to really steal anything. militarily, we own the seas. we could just start charging protection money, and whoever doesn't pay just might be robbed by 'pirates.'

same for international airspace.

headache said...

"Pew did not ask about the popularity of China among Africans. But the high popularity of America in Africa alone falsifies Machiavelli. "

Yea, that's why the ANC in South Africa and Mugabe regularly trash the US, and vote against it's interests in the UN. Go dream some more.

Anonymous said...

Forget about ever invading Saudi Arabia. In anticipation of the U.S. trying such a thing, they wired their entire oil and gas infrastructure with high explosives to be immediately detonated in the event of an American armed takeover. Thats according to the author Gerald Posner.

And we all know how ruthlessly efficient Arab governments are in making things like that happen. Seriously, though, even if the whole things was blown in some stupid Saudi Gotterdamerung, so what? Saddam had his retreating army wreck the Kuwaiti wells and infrastructure, and it was back up and running in well under the expected recovery time.

Don't forget, it's not as if the Saudis themselves actually run the equipment, drill the wells, or pump the oil to terminals. Servile work like that is done by imported Filipinos and Pakistanis who would probably love the chance to throw off their shackles. Their supervising engineers are already Western expats, too, so no change there either.

Eric said...

Regarding the Machiavelli thing, remember this picture. I'm so glad we spent billions of dollars helping those people.

simon newman said...

I think the idea of charging a toll on shipping is much better than invading anywhere.

David Davenport said...

(1) A big hunk of Mexico? Already did that!

But it would still be useful to annex most of the coast of Baja CA, not including TJ.

nzconservative said...

People love being given things, along as the person doing the giving doesn't turn on their doorstep and start telling them how to spend it.

The main problem with giving aid to Africa is not that they resent the aid, but that they use it to have more kids who then get on a boat and follow the burley trail back to the West.