February 4, 2012

The Great Game ain't so great anymore

No, this isn't about the Super Bowl. It's about something much less important. (Or so it increasingly seems.)

Charles Krauthammer waxes strategic in the Washington Post:
Which is why the fate of the Assad regime [in Syria] is geopolitically crucial. ... But strategic opportunity compounds the urgency. With its archipelago of clients anchored by Syria, Iran is today the greatest regional threat — to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states terrified of Iranian nuclear hegemony; to traditional regimes menaced by Iranian jihadist subversion; to Israel, which the Islamic Republic has pledged to annihilate; to America and the West, whom the mullahs have vowed to drive from the region. 
No surprise that the Arab League, many of whose members are no tenderhearted humanitarians, is pressing hard for Assad’s departure. His fall would deprive Iran of an intra-Arab staging area and sever its corridor to the Mediterranean. Syria would return to the Sunni fold. Hezbollah, Tehran’s agent in Lebanon, could be next, withering on the vine without Syrian support and Iranian materiel. And Hamas would revert to Egyptian patronage. 
At the end of this causal chain, Iran, shorn of key allies and already reeling from economic sanctions over its nuclear program, would be thrown back on its heels. ... It’s not just the Sunni Arabs lining up against Assad. Turkey, after a recent flirtation with a Syrian-Iranian-Turkish entente, has turned firmly against Assad, seeing an opportunity to extend its influence, as in Ottoman days, as protector/master of the Sunni Arabs. The alignment of forces suggests a unique opportunity for the West to help finish the job. ... Force the issue. Draw bright lines. Make clear American solidarity with the Arab League against a hegemonic Iran and its tottering Syrian client.

Krauthammer would make an outstanding television color announcer in case anybody ever forms the National Risk League and broadcasts that old board game where you try to conquer the world. He'd get really worked up over how holding Australia and South America are the keys to the early game and make the whole thing sound kind of exciting. He's really good at this.

Krauthammer is an amazing man. He graduated on time with his class at Harvard Medical School despite being paralyzed for life during his studies.

As you'll recall, a decade ago, Krauthammer was banging the war drums for overthrowing the anti-Iranian Sunni Arab regime in Iraq. We invaded Iraq and handed the country over to Shi'ites whose leaders had gone into exile in Iran. So, Krauthammer has helped empower Iranian hegemony, which is why I guess we should listen to him now on the need to fight Iranian hegemony.

But, here's a question: Exactly, how harmed are you by the extension of Iranian influence over Iraq that Krauthammer helped bring about? Let me make clear I'm not talking about the trillions of dollars wasted invading Iraq and all the dead and crippled. I'm just asking here about the outcome: many of Iran's favorite Iraqis coming to power in Iraq. Obviously, in the Great Game it's an absurd and humiliating own goal for America.

But, what are the tangible harms to Americans of greater Iranian influence? I really don't know. Are we paying more at the pump for gas? Have the Iranians used the power that Krauthammer helped hand them to corner the global pistachio nut market?

If greater Iranian influence is as big a disaster for Americans as Krauthammer makes it sound in this column, then surely Krauthammer would have been fired from his gig at the Washington Post. Instead, everybody in Washington acts like Krauthammer just got his Super Bowl prediction wrong. No biggie.

Maybe they are right.

In the real world, more and more decisionmakers in other countries are just kind of checking out of this whole Great Game thing. Consider Iran. In Krauthammer's fevered imagination, Iran is a dynamic hegemon, but according to the CIA World Factbook, Iran is 62nd in the world in terms of military spending as percentage of GDP at 2.50 percent as of 2006.

Yes, but, what is Iranian military spending at today, you ask? I dunno. Why not? Because the CIA has barely updated its entire list in about a half of a decade. For example, according to the CIA's listing, the United States is 23rd in the world at 4.06 percent for "2005 est."

Presumably, somebody at Langley has a number for the U.S. that's less than seven years old (I hope), but there just doesn't seem to be much demand from the public or the press for fresher figures.


There are, as far as I can tell, no military spending moneyballers poring over this table to discover crucial trends. Fewer and fewer people care about the Great Game. Of those who do, an ever-increasing fraction live within the home delivery circulation zone of the Washington Post


If you were an Iranian subscriber to the Post who works at Iran's "Interests Section" inside the Pakistani embassy in Washington, what would be your considered judgment? What would you report home to Tehran after reading the Post day after day? I think you'd end up saying: "We can't compete with the Krauthammers. They are better than us at putting together words. Therefore we can't guarantee that the ruling class in Washington won't work itself into another frenzy like it did in 2003 and do something stupid. So, we'd better get ourselves a few nukes as a deterrent."


Map from Juan Cole.

125 comments:

gummi said...

OT. I wonder... most people who serve in the military are not white liberals or Jews. Most are white conservatives, blacks, and Hispanics. In Iraq and Afghanistan, most of the people who did the dying were white conservatives.

Do you suppose liberals are so eager to have gays in the military because it gives the impression that (privileged)progressives are fighting and dying too in foreign wars?
Of course, few gays will die in foreign wars, but 'gays in the military' symbolically makes it seem as though liberals are over there fighting too.

the great gum is still great said...

Iraq was supposed to have worked out. But with Shia majority in power, it is leaning to Iran. So, Since Syria is pro-Iran, it could mean Syria-Iraq-Iran as one political block.
So, it is necessary for US to have Sunni majority to come to power in Syria to make a clean break from Shia-dominated Iraq-Iran.

Since we gave Iraq to Shia majority, maybe it's time to give Syria to majority Sunni majority.

PS. Where was Krauthammer when Israel was pounding Lebanon under Bush and Gaza under Obama?

Anonymous said...

Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life.

I'm in my 20s, and everyone I ever encountered who enrolled did it because they needed it. You have your occasional Pat Tillman story here or there, but even then he's on a self aggrandizing narcissist.

It's a job like any other job. I never saw the difference between a Blackwater contractor and a marine besides the bullshit prestige gullible people ascribed to the latter.

Jews and yuppie whites don't need those jobs.

I'm Jewish though, and K-Mac would probably say I'm just critiquing this to serve my ethnic interests. Even if he is correct, that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

@ gummi

Gays in the military is a hedge against military coups

anony-mouse said...

Just because you're not interested in the Great Game...

Works as well as that other quote.

Kaz said...

@the great gum

The same Iraq and Iran that were at war a few decades ago?

Chipper said...

Everybody knows the Great Game is about oil these days. While true, it's by no means the whole story.

Other crucial factors are the 1) oil money that enables Iran to build nukes and ballistic missiles, 2) Iranian dreams of Islamic Imperialism, 3) Russia and China competing as a team against the US and Europe, with Iran/Syria/Iraq as the location of the current battle.

Iran can't build nukes without foreign help and billions of petro-dollars.

Iran is not France, or even Pakistan. Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war. We can't take the chance.

Chipper said...

I understand that ever since the US has permitted 'gays in the military', there has been an outbreak of homophobia among the Taliban...

Dennis Dale said...

Krauthammer would make an outstanding television color announcer in case anybody ever forms the National Risk League and broadcasts that old board game where you try to conquer the world. He'd get really worked up over how holding Australia and South America are the keys to the early game and make the whole thing sound kind of exciting. He's really good at this.

Yeah, he's name-checking every country in the region to disguise the fact that he's thinking Israel, Israel, Israel...

Chicago said...

The guy is a wheelchair bound warhawk who has been banging the war drums for way too many years now, a mad psychiatrist who wants to set the world on fire. But yet somehow he's always had a podium and generous exposure. He doesn't seem to merit it yet somehow he's always had a megaphone handy.

Orthodox said...

I was reading about the Russians and Afghanistan recently, that the invasion was partly based on fear of the Iranian revolution. Both the revolution and the Afghanistan invasion are said to be linked to the weakness of Jimmy Carter.

When conservatives/GOPers think of a Ron Paul foreign policy, they think of disaster. But they don't think of the disasters that the U.S.'s enemies will enter into. Many of them believe in the "Great Game" as much or more so than the neo-cons. And what are the odds that instead of being bad for Israel, a Ron Paul foreign policy would more likely lead to another type of Iran-Iraq intra-Muslim feud.

Anonymous said...

Chipper: "Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war. We can't take the chance."
You're begging the question here. The question as usual is: 'who is WE, paleface?'
Gilbert Pinfold.

Whiskee said...

Steve, once again your isolationist, Ron Paul-loving naivete is showing. The United States and Israel need to stop acting like beta males and control the excess virility of the alpha male Iran. If we don't do that, the alpha male Iran will impregnate all the females of the world and destroy the nuclear family in the process. There will be billions of kids growing up without fathers unless Iran, Tom Brady, gangster rappers and George Clooney are stopped. Already, yuppie women in Manhattan are throwing themselves at the thug alpha male Iran. Civilization cannot survive if sexy alpha males like Iran and Tom Brady are allowed to prevail. Ugly betas like Eli Manning and Israel are what support Western civilization and allow it to prevail.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
You are wrong.
A very great proportion of wites who enter the military do so from a desire to be a soldier, a sailor or an airman - "the profession of arms" as it was called.In the European countries the armed forces were always the most respected and respectable segment of society - and always closely linked to the ruling class if not the monarchy.
Think of England's illustrious military and naval history for example.The best English families were always linked to the army or navy, if not the conservative party which is or was part of the same establishment.Militarim, pride in victory, glory and the very essence of Englishness are all tied up in it's military history - just watch those parades on the Queen's birthday.
Also, it's true to say every little boy dreams of being a soldier and most of his childhood play is fantasising about it - no doubt there is great evolutionary and psychological import in this fact.
Perhaps some of the above pertains to the USA, I don't know.
Perhaps its a 'gentile thing'.

Wes said...

Great article. It is shocking that there is no reappraisal of our "Iraq Experience" at this point. No conservatives, no NeoCons, no one seems interested in revisiting the whole exercise to see if it made sense. I guess they are all tainted by mindless support.

To be fair, nations seem to pursue nuclear weapons regardless of fear of US invasion. So, I'm not sure it's us "making" them do it. And I would love to keep number of countries with nukes low.

Anonymous said...

"the greatest regional threat"

Trouble is, there's ALWAYS going to be one "greatest" threat at any time - it's just a question of how great "great" is. Saddam, invading two of his neighbours, fitted the bill. Not sure you can say the same about Iran.

Anonymous said...

The Israel/Iran nulear standoff is the great big 'what if' of 2010's history.
It's rather like the European standoffs of 1914 or 1939 - there is huge potential there for a 'big bang' then again the standoff might prove to be a damp squib as other potentaily catstrophic standoffs in history (eg Fashoda)proved to be.In these cases you can never quite tell.
Points in favor of Iran is the natural wiliness and cunning of the Iranian which runs the cunning of the Hebrew a very close second.
Look how they have twisted, turned, lied and cheated to get where they are - bomb ready - with the west tied up like incompetent fools.Compare and contrast with Saddam Hussein's bull-headed bedouin stupidity.
Of course Israel wants the USA o do its fighting for it, but there are so many unknowns (eg oil at $110+, risk of catastrophic recession), that one cannot be sure.For one thing Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran.Outright Israeli air strikes are probable.
More likely is fomenting of internal Iranian dissent by Israel/CIA.

Heliogabalus said...

gummi: "In Iraq and Afghanistan, most of the people who did the dying were white conservatives."

I keep hoping that at some point, they will realize that they are fighting pointless, futile wars for people who despise them, and will stop enlisting.

I think it's not just "a job" to them either - a lot of them enlist because they actually believe in that patriotism stuff, but haven't yet figured out that the US armed forces are now an imperial police force rather than a self-defence force.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey's going to tell you how much of an idiot you are for not seeing the Iranian- Mexican drug dealer connection. Texas could be nuked!

Anonymous said...

If I was an English teacher I would take this paragraph in and have the kids circle all the awesome words and what emotions they elicit.

The Drama! The Action!! The Heart Pounding Excitement!

In the distance I hear the steady thud of the drumbeats of War...

And I like it!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

What a fun homework assignment it would be to "Write a story in the same style as Charles Krauthammer"!!!!

Anonymous said...

Man I just read it again...

That is like orgasmic-ly good action writing.

I'm like panting.

Anonymous said...

neocons had nothing to do with iraq. There's no such thing of neocons by the way. It's all the fault of the dumb goy. Neocons...er.. people like wolfolwitz, have been saying iran is the problem all along... Thats what paul wolfowitz said.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 20s, and everyone I ever encountered who enrolled did it because they needed it. You have your occasional Pat Tillman story here or there, but even then he's on a self aggrandizing narcissist.

You know 'cos you were there! Lol, okay buddy, sure.

Silver

Anonymous said...

"Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life."

Perhaps you don't realize that there's a long international tradition of service in the military as being honorable and patriotic.

That's true in the United States also, perhaps not usually among Jews. Many families I know have a tradition of sons following their fathers into the military, including going to West Point and Annapolis.

Many of these folks are quite upset these days at being sent out to wars which they believe are not actually in the interests of the United States.
Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

there has been an outbreak of homophobia among the Taliban...
the taliban had put a stop to the 'dancing boys of afghanistan' - which flourished again when we came.

I truly fear, I am not joking - that this ugly trend is going to make its way back to the US_ - very many liberals are advocating lowered ages of consent, child sexuality (there is some psychiatrist , levin or some similar name who says children should be able to have sex with adults legally)

RKU said...

Well, consider matters from the perspective of Krauthammer and all the other individuals who promoted the Iraq War from within the DC/NYC corridor. Iraq didn't work out too well for America as a whole, but was there any significant downside for any of them? Not really.

I think there's an applicable biological metaphor here, but I can't quite put my finger on it...

spandrell said...

Now some military insider must comment here with the 2011 figures for US and Iranian military spending. That's the whole point of this point, no?

Conatus said...

When it comes to war isn't the question "Do we still have a country?" I mean if we are not enforcing our borders and we are letting a million legal immigrants enter every year to take our jobs, then what is the point of having this fiction called the United States of America? Why am I paying taxes for my national defense if I am not being defended?

The idea of The United States as a sovereign country worth defending is only trotted out to get southern white boys with lots of testosterone to sign up to catch a twenty five cent bullet in Krauthammer Wars. Realistically in a globalist Davos Man age where all countries are climbing up the eternally distracting, consumer driven economy pole, isn't war is kind of an atavistic macho throwback? But in a world where Professors of Economics hold sway perhaps we need a world wide conflagration to get us out of this deflationary spiral? WW2 certainly did the job nicely.

But no matter what "we have the Maxim gun and they do not." Oh wait a minute, its not that, it's "No matter what we have the Atlantic and the Pacific, our two greatest military defense attributes ...and they do not."

Propeller Island said...

US has it's own reasons to carry the grudge against Iran. Hostage crisis...rings a bell? Or all is forgiven now?

BTW, did you know that US already fought a hot war with Iran? Apparently it included the biggest naval battle since WWII.

Hunsdon said...

For approximately nine years I have been wondering about the geopolitical genius of people who advocated overthrowing Saddam Hussein. I can forgive, I suppose, George W. Bush, since "geopolitical genius" was never really an apt descriptor for the man.

But certain simple questions, to my mind, ought to have been asked before ginning up against Iraq.

What is the religious preference of the majority of Iraqis? (Shia.)

What is the religious preference of the government of Iraq? (Secular, but from the Sunni minority.)

Is there a Shia majority state nearby? (Yes, Iran.)

Does the nearby Shia majority state have a Shia government? (Yes, Iran.)

To the extent that there is opposition to Saddam's government, is any of it based in Iran? (Yes, SCIRI, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.)

I tried to tell myself that our great geopolitical thinkers had thought great geopolitical thoughts about these issues, especially since the US-Iranian friendship was somewhat tattered. As time went by, however, the whole thing reminded me more and more of the end of Robert Redford's 1972 movie The Candidate.

"Marvin, what do we do?"

I think I read somewhere that pride goeth before a fall.

Anonymous said...

What makes this even murkier is the fact that Israel's motive to have the US fight Iran are not that clear. Granted, there's the Hezbollah gadfly on their border with Lebanon, but that's not enough.

Also, Shiites and Sunnis hate each others guts far more than they hate Jews. Why not leave them busy squabbling together ?

Anonymous said...

"...to Israel, which the Islamic Republic has pledged to annihilate"

Is that true? I remember a couple of years ago that Ahmadinejad made a comment that Israel was not going to survive long term as it was a foreign implant in the Middle East, and the Western media deliberately mischaracterized that as he was going to destroy Israel.

gummi said...

"Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life."

There is some truth to this, but even when Jews were poor, they weren't too crazy about serving in the military.
And Rahm did serve but in the Israeli and not American military.

Though many people sign up for mercenary reasons, many also do for cultural reasons, just like cop families produce sons who also wanna be cops.

And even among low-income white liberals and white cons, cons are more likely to serve.

Anonymous said...

Al-quaida is a anti-Shia Sunni extremist organisation. The anti-Assad grouping is Muslim Brotherhood, a cousin of Al-Quaida.

Assad is an Alawite, a minority sect in Islam, that protects Syrian christians.

And why is democracy not good for Shia majority Bahrain ?

Anonymous said...

"@the great gum

The same Iraq and Iran that were at war a few decades ago?"

That was when Iraq was ruled by Sunni Hussein. Now it's controlled by Shias who feel little animosity toward Iran.
Things change in politics. It's like when Nixon met China.

gummi of arabia said...

Whatever happens, the Zionist-dominated West is acting as a vulture of events already happening in the Arab world. Most of the blame must go to men like Mubarack, Gaddafi, and Assad who did so little to advance their nations. People have a right to be restless.
If we were ruled by such lunkheads, wouldn't we rise up and resist?

This opens up opportunities for Western interventionists to play the 'humanitarian' game and support one side over the other.
One good thing about Kraut is he's more honest than most. He knows it is a power game, not do-goody project.

Anonymous said...

"In Krauthammer's fevered imagination, Iran is a dynamic hegemon, but according to the CIA World Factbook, Iran is 62nd in the world in terms of military spending as percentage of GDP at 2.50 percent as of 2006."

Kraut's just exaggerating to fool the American public. He knows Iran is no great power. What he fears is Iran gaining nukes. Not because Iran will use them but because it will tie Israel's hands when it comes to conventional warfare. Suppose a nuclear-armed Iran sends shiploads of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon and to Palestinians in the Occupied territories. If Iran didn't have nukes, Israel could use its conventional muscle to send a strong message to Iran--maybe a few Iranian targets. But if Iran has nukes, Israel would be far more worried about using ANY kind of force against Iran.

And, no, it doesn't matter to us who rules Iraq. And I don't think Iraq Shias are gonna be puppets of Iranian Shias, no more than Italian Catholics are gonna bend over to French Catholics.
It's not about how WE feel but about Israelis feel.

I also think Sunni Arab nations are with Israel on this--though more quietly--and pressuring US to do something. They don't want Shia-Iran with nukes either.

bjdubbs said...

Apple's market cap is bigger than Iran's economy. Quite a bit bigger.

jtollison78 said...

"Everybody knows the Great Game is about oil these days. While true, it's by no means the whole story."

Worse that not being the whole story, it seems like it becomes a self full-filling prophecy. We're just going to fight for oil and use oil until the oil supply is in freefall and we're left with the hot potato, an oil dependant economy.

John

Anonymous said...

While I agree with you that war with Iran is crazy, you are unnecessarily weakening your own argument by presenting a unrealistic view of the Iranian regime as innocent and peace-loving.

If the Iranian regime only cared about self-defense, they wouldn’t keep going on TV and threatening to destroy Israel (no other country does this to any other country on the planet). They wouldn’t threaten to close international waterways if the west sanction them, and they wouldn’t aid Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, once they own enemies.

The Mullahs being somewhat nuts and itching for a fight doesn’t mean America should fight them, it may be even stronger argument to leave them alone. But they are not the Swiss.

Irans *official* military spending, the numbers you report, was $12 billion in 2011.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120202/DEFREG04/302020003/Iran-Plans-127-Percent-Defense-Budget-Increase


No one in Iran believes the official regime numbers, but I am glad Americans are still trusting in regime statistics.
Fore one, “The figures for Iran do not include spending on paramilitary forces such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards“

The revolutionary guard is more advanced than the regular army, having their own air force and navy. Billions disappear from oil revenue each year, some likely going to the military. The revolutionary guard has its own private business revenue of $12-15 billion per year according to the LAT, in addition to what the state gives them. Not all of this gets spent on arms, but some certainly do.

Iran’s nominal GDP was around $330 billion 2011 according to the World Bank (you don’t fight wars with PPP). If total Iranian spending is +25%-+100% higher than the official numbers, their spending is 5-8% of GDP, not 1.8%.

Iran’s active forces are about 250.000 official military and 130.000 revolutionary guard.

Difference Maker said...

I'm Jewish though, and K-Mac would probably say I'm just critiquing this to serve my ethnic interests. Even if he is correct, that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

I have thought the same as your comment; nevertheless, there is an aspect of masculinity involved that is attractive to men and women and is very primal.

candid_observer said...

Yeah, every time Krauthammer mentioned how great it would be to shore up the Sunnis, I had a little LOL. Dr.Krauty, I thought in my head, do you even hear yourself?

But, then, I realized that it seemed to be just another one of those jokes only I found funny.

Difference Maker said...

Also, Carthage got owned in the old days because of that very same attitude, did it not? ;)

Difference Maker said...

I'm Jewish though, and K-Mac would probably say I'm just critiquing this to serve my ethnic interests. Even if he is correct, that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Furthermore, if our military becomes full of liberals it will not only be less effective for various reasons but also be easily used against ourselves. Perhaps the true, ulterior, motive?

Grumpy Old Man said...

Krauthammer is the Millan Astray of contemporary American politics.

Anonymous said...

Krauthammer isn't even smart about achieving his own goals. He's nuts if he thinks that empowering Syria's Sunni majority over the current Alawite regime will result in a government that's friendlier to Israel.

Anonymous said...

"Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to."

And when we had a draft during the Vietnam war, Jews still served in disproportionately small numbers. As Michael Lind wrote in Vietnam: the Necessary War: “Although Jews accounted for 2.5 percent of the U.S. population, Jewish men accounted for only 0.46 percent of the war-related deaths in the Vietnam War. The evident explanation for this discrepancy is the use of college deferments by the higher than average proportion of Jewish men in college to avoid military service." (p.110)

Jews, like wealthy or influential WASPs, received medical, hardship, and college deferments largely denied to similarly situated working-class and ethnic Whites (e.g., Poles, Italians), Blacks, and Hispanics. As this 1967 article in Stars & Stripes explained, many college students were drafted despite their college attendance: http://www.stripes.com/news/is-the-draft-unfair-1.141416 (There were no objective standards; draft boards could arbitrarily decide who went to college and who went to Vietnam.) Hardship and medical deferments were also granted or denied arbitrarily. Jewish political clout and emotional manipulation regarding the Holocaust ensured that draft boards were receptive to Jews' claims.

After Jewish antiwar activists took up Black and Hispanic complaints that too many Blacks and Hispanics were being sent to Vietnam, the WASP establishment “solved” the problem by sending more non-WASP, non-Jewish Whites in their place. American Catholics were, according to Lind, the only US demographic group to die in disproportionately high numbers.

Of course, that proves your point. Jews did not go because they did not have to. (Instead, Jews were able to stay home and lead antiwar protests against those the then-reigning WASP elite forced to go in their place. )

SFG said...

"Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life."

True (and the SWPL gentiles on the coasts have checked out as well). Still, arguably risking your life for something greater than yourself is considered noble, and historically nations' fortunes have risen and fallen on the strength of their military. It was after the Romans started using German mercenaries more loyal to their tribes than Rome that the empire started to collapse.

(No Nazi jokes...the Goths, Franks, etc. were basically the NAMs of their day. Beethoven, Kant, and Wagner were over a thousand years in the future.)

We can get away with a lot here because, as Bismarck said, we're surrounded on two sides by weak neighbors and on two sides by fish.

tanabear said...

When was the last time Iran/Persia started a war?

When was the last time the United States started a war?

MQ said...

This is nothing new though. Remember the domino theory, which proved that if Vietnam fell all of Asia would go Communist and there would be some (unspecified) massive threat to the U.S. homeland? People who want public funding to play imperial games have to tell these crazy stories to get money.

Iranian dreams of Islamic Imperialism

Huh? What dreams? What invasions has Iran ever undertaken? I think you want to say "Iranian dreams of diminishing Israeli influence in the region".

3) Russia and China competing as a team against the US and Europe, with Iran/Syria/Iraq as the location of the current battle.

Go team go! Can't lose the game!

Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war.

Huh? On what basis do you say that? Iran's leaders seem highly pragmatic to me. Unfortunately by backing them into a corner we are almost forcing them to build a nuke for pragmatic reasons. For the past decade we've been basically running around yelling "WE WILL NOT RESPECT SOVEREIGNTY UNLESS IT IS BACKED UP BY A NUCLEAR WEAPON".

Anonymous said...

Too bad America is controlled by Jews. That's the only reason why such rubbish as what passes for the US foreign policy in the mideast is what it is. In reality America is no more "threatened" by Iran then Mexico is.

Anonymous said...

Being Canadian, I don't follow U.S. pundits very closely. The first time I remember reading Krauthammer wafts in 2001, during the invasion of Afghanistan, at a time when the Northern Alliance's offensive against the Taliban seemed to be faltering.

Krauthammer's recommendation? Drop warning leaflets over Taliban-held cities and, 24 hours later, bomb the sh*t out of them.

I wrote the man off as murderous crank.

Cennbeoc

G Joubert said...

This is the same guy who spent the latter 70s working in the Carter Administration, including as VP Walter Mondale's speechwriter, after which he worked at The New Republic under Michael Kinsley. It was after that he ostensibly began tacking right. With that context, and considering Carter's Mid-East policies (such as they were), in short, I don't know what Krauthammer really believes and when he started believing it. I more see him as an opportunist.

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha! Great article Steve -- you are brilliant! Please keep it up.

beowulf said...

Our trade deficit is a bigger problem than whether Iran has nukes (Israel can exterminate Iranians just as efficiently as we could). The trade gap is a tremendous demand leakage (effectively a $600B a year tax) that could be eliminated by Warren Buffett's ingenious import certificate plan. But Obama, for God knows what reason, would rather talk about Buffett's secretary and the taxes she pays. The 25% to 40% discount that imports from China gain by currency manipulation has poisoned an awful lot of wells.
In 1995, more than 40 percent of all silicon-based solar modules worldwide were made in the US; now it’s 6 percent. In less than two years, at least eight solar plants have closed or downsized, eliminating nearly 3,000 American manufacturing jobs, including the 1,100 employees who saw their jobs disappear with Solyndra’s spectacular September 2011 bankruptcy. China now accounts for more than half of global photovoltaic output, and Chinese-made modules are up to 20 percent cheaper than American ones.
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2012/01/ff_solyndra/all/1

Anonymous said...

In reply to Chipper:

It's not about oil.

In fact, our decades-long war-romp through the Middle East & North Africa has only caused the price of oil to skyrocket.

It's about the USA taking out all the enemies of Israel, so that the Zionists can continue ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

We NEVER, NEVER have to fight to obtain oil, because that's the only thing they have to sell. If they don't sell oil, they starve. The only interaction we need in the Middle East, is to back up the tanker, fill it with oil, toss a truck load of Dollars on the dock and sail away.

There is absolutely no need for us to get in the middle of a 1,300-yr war between Jews and Muslims.

Anonymous said...

So, we'd better get ourselves a few nukes as a deterrent.

Deterrence? So "destroying Israel" is just rhetoric? Yeah, you're probably right. They're terrified someone will institute no-fly zones.

gwern said...

> 3) Russia and China competing as a team against the US and Europe, with Iran/Syria/Iraq as the location of the current battle.

As a team? Did you miss the whole 19th and 20th centuries vis-a-vis Russia & China? They will be a team only so long as they think they can score points off the US by doing so, like the Syria veto.

(Remember, Russia came close to nuking China.)

Paul, certified Kosher said...

Best article about Paul Army winning the Kosher Caucus with Adelson himself present:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/kosher-caucus-nevada-2012-gingrich-6651676

"There were supposed to be all these observant Jews here," muttered the octogenarian to my left. "I see two yarmulkes." We waited. A few more popped up amid the 400 people, but his point — where are the Hasidim? — was a good one: this was not the crowd anyone expected...

...it was largely a Ron Paul crowd, robo-called into action on his campaign's suspicion that Adelson was pulling a fast one. They packed the place, Paul-ites young and old, filled with earnest passion and fluent in the vocabulary of "non-intervention," "integrity," and, but of course, "end the Fed."

A truck circled the parking lot again and again, its signs unmistakable: RON PAUL 2012 — RESTORE ISRAEL'S SOVEREIGNTY.

...It was only fair, if you think about it, that the well-oiled Paul machine beat the well-funded one, and that the kid screaming about the unfair Hasidic ID check got as much vocal support as he did here at the Adelson Educational Campus. And that at one point, near the end, he was but a couple chairs away from Adelson himself — yang and yin, rabble-rouser and money-raiser, within lunging distance of one another. The guy next to me noticed it first: "That's democracy, motherf....."

Anonymous said...

Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life.

I'm in my 20s, and everyone I ever encountered who enrolled did it because they needed it. You have your occasional Pat Tillman story here or there, but even then he's on a self aggrandizing narcissist.

It's a job like any other job. I never saw the difference between a Blackwater contractor and a marine besides the bullshit prestige gullible people ascribed to the latter.

Jews and yuppie whites don't need those jobs.

I'm Jewish though, and K-Mac would probably say I'm just critiquing this to serve my ethnic interests. Even if he is correct, that doesn't mean I'm wrong.


What a despicable comment! America has been manipulated into sacrificed so much blood, treasure,
national security, and popularity fighting the Iraq war for Israel, and instead of being grateful to the non-Jews who sacrificed their lives and limbs protecting your ethnicity, you insult them, calling them dumb opportunists. America's support for Israel has come with great costs, including being targeted by the likes of bin laden in 2001, the least you can do is appreciate the sacrifice.

jody said...

the sooner iran gets a couple nuclear weapons and good missiles to deliver them, the safer we will all be. then leon panetta can go home and worry about his hemorrhoids instead of figuring out how to defend israel to the last american.

iran just wants to be left alone, so it can sell barrels of oil for 100 dollars a pop for the next couple decades. they're sitting on a giant mountain of free money and they'd like to enjoy that. they have no interest in mutually assured destruction.

it's the israelis and americans who want war, as usual. missiles with nuclear warheads assure relative safety from US navy carrier groups showing up off your coast in the middle of the night. during all of GW bush's blustering about the "axis of evil", how many times did he mess with north korea, an actual evil empire?

sometimes i even wonder if it's actually the fact that iran wants to trade oil in something other than US dollars, which helps whip the neocons into a frenzy.

Anonymous said...

How much are we willing to pay in Scotch-Irish for cheap oil? If we could only keep monetary costs down and limit the amount of social change that the military and our recent wars bring about.

Anonymous said...

Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life.

...

I'm Jewish though, ...



Wow. The scary thing is you don't know anything about Americans or America. But you apparently think you do and probably think you are the smartest guy in the room even when you know little about the topic of discussion. If you're American and think your comment reflects reality, you're not that smart. It seems to be a common failing.

Sid said...

It's true that Krauthammer was wrong that Iraq had WMD. For that, he has deservedly seen his credibility take fusillades of flak.

Regardless, that doesn't mean that because America invaded Iraq, and thus increased the Iranian sphere of influence, that no measures should be taken against Iran's geopolitical power. The Soviet Union's political power went up precipitously after WWII, but that didn't mean that the Nazis weren't a threat at the time. You wouldn't condemn Churchill for campaigning against Communism in the 1950s, even though he earlier helped expand their sphere of influence by helping to take out their most ruthless foe.

One might say that the Mullahs are a joke compared to the Politburo in terms of power. That's very fair to say, but Iran getting a nuke would make the world an unsafer place. The Mullahs, for example, have Hezbollah to plant a nuke in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv might not be in America, but it'd be better if Iran and Israel didn't lob nukes at each other.

The Mullahs have shown that they are very aggressive and reckless, and aren't afraid to pull stunts on our soil: http://www.infowars.com/u-s-says-iran-of-plotted-with-mexican-drug-cartel-to-assassinate-saudi-ambassador/

I'd prefer they not have nukes. I'm not going to say that Iran has hordes of conventional military strength, but they're still crafty. If we launched a full on assault, our ships would be in for a nasty surprise: http://www.lewrockwell.com/reed/reed179.html

If this is The Great Game, then there are smarter ways to play it than barging in and trying to make people like us by shooting at them like we did in Iraq. I'm not here to say that we should start a war, but I am saying that Iran getting a nuke, or having extensive terrorist networks, isn't some hopelessly provincial concern.

Anonymous said...

"Iran is 62nd in the world in terms of military spending as percentage of GDP at 2.50 percent as of 2006."

Since most of US government spending is waste and pensions it is actually possible that Iran makes up in efficiency what they lack in resources. I noticed they have flotillas of mini submarines and light aircraft, while the US spends billions on nuclear submarines and the non existent F-35. Notice how shoddy the state of the art US drone that was captured was. SInce you like sports analogies, Iran punches way above its GDP.

Anonymous said...

I'm Jewish though, and K-Mac would probably say I'm just critiquing this to serve my ethnic interests. Even if he is correct, that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

No no, you just totally blew the "unpatriotic Jews" thing out of the water.

Anonymous said...

Iran is not France, or even Pakistan. Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war. We can't take the chance.

Right. But North Korea's leaders aren't. Maybe we have one of those "proximity to Canada" things going on here, except with a certain unsinkable aircraft carrier substituting for Canada...

"They're crazy" is every douchebag's excuse for going to war with their favorite boogeyman, and discarding all civilized behavior in the process.

Anonymous said...

I STILL don't see Iraq as in Iran's orbit.

They don't need Iran for anything.

Without dependency -- just how does vassalage work?

-----

We were right to knock of Saddam. Bush went entirely off the rails -- listening to Powell and Rice.

( "You break it, you own it..." )

We should've thrown the keys to the locals all the way back in 2003; and left them to their own efforts.

The VAST bulk of our 'Marshall Plan' ( nee Truman Plan ) aid was BLOWN UP by the opposition.

Talk to Sisyphus about that....

We'd have enormously greater street cred if we left after we nailed his heirs. ( The boys )

It was unnecessary to stick around to pick off daddy. Without his apparatus of terror he'd be an object lesson for all of the tin pot tyrants in the area.

By running up the price tag, Bush, Powell and Rice have produced an 'own goal' to beat all.

As for Rumsfeld, he was against the 'project' from the start. Garner would've handed the keys over by late summer at the latest.

----

If that scenario had happened we'd not be facing the nightmare of today.

----

Your % calculations are absurd.

The issue is: with a manifest ICBM program -- at terrific expense -- fulsomely underway -- in blazing lights...

Just what do the mullahs intend to cap them off with?

I'd say: bottled sunshine.

No sovereign power since the atomic age has EVER built ICBMs/ IRBMs WITHOUT topping them off with atomics. NONE.

I very much doubt that Iran is going to directly nuke anyone. Rather, such atomics will be a shield -- behind which no end of anti-asset attacks will be launched by deniable elements.

The primary targets must be the Sunni OPEC powers. Since the oil flows from Shi'ite soils -- figure on Tehran gaining a chokehold on liquid energy.

After that you'll see jizya in box-car size.

Tehran has already got New Delhi seeing the light.

Anonymous said...

So you're in your twenties and you've never served in the military AND you believe only blacks, hispanics and dumb whites do so AND only because they have to (economics, you imply). It is evident that you are unfamiliar with military history and/or foreign affairs going back very many decades, not to mention hundreds of years. I recommend you do so. Some trite sayings (including this one) are trite because they ARE true. Freedom isn't free. Often young men have to go out to protect their families, towns, nation-states. Read and know. BTW, if someone is attempting to kick down your door, don't call the police (they are from the same group as above) call a stock broker or your lawyer. You have heard of the Weimar Republic, the Anschluss, Munich, the Western Part of Czechoslovakia, yes? Didn't think so. Do some more reading, the world is a dangerous place for lots of reasons and us having Marines (capital M, btw), CVBGs (Carrier Battle Groups), Boomers and Attack Boats (SSBN - Ballistic Missile Subs and Attack Subs [no long range missiles]) and could you tell the difference between a frag grenade and a smoke grenade? See. We "Happy Few" don't claim to be brain surgeons nor writers of great plays, we claim not to be among the chattering classes....but, there would BE none of those without those who stand in the cold night rain in places you've not heard of, or launched off the bow of a carrier, or endured more physical and emotional pain than you'll probably ever know. Finally, bullets, if they miss you, have a CRACK or SNAP sound as they go by...depending on their velocity and size of the round.

SGI said...

@Anonymous Jew:

Gummi asked why libs so eager to have gays in the military. After many words, you never even touched the question. Relevance problem?

Neil Templeton said...

Dredging my distant memories of Dr. Kissinger describing American involvement in Middle East politics circa 1970, my perception of the fundamental characteristic regarding our involvement was "delicate". The strategic balance was always precarious, quivering with minor shifts in alliance. All negotiations must be conducted with the greatest measure of delicacy, and only by those endowed with the highest regard for the gravity of the enterprise.

In such a game of palace intrigue where all the players are intransigent, unstable, and never to be trusted - except Israel of course, it makes sense that loyalty would be be an exceedingly rare commodity that could only be purchased at very high cost.

No wonder we always lose at this game.

sunbeam said...

? I'm puzzled by something.

All this rhetoric is fine, but what exactly could Israel do about Iran?

Not much I think.

Mount an invasion?

Bomb them aerially? Not going to do much, plus they have to overfly a bunch of other states to do it.

They could use nukes, but well someone else can analyze that one.

The US is in the same boat. I think it is theoretically possible to invade Iran.

Success is not guaranteed. I think an invasion would fail.

Now say you won. Then what? Occupy it? This job would be 3 or 4 times tougher than Iraq was. And I have noticed not one sign along the way, other than what was printed in the US media that the Iraq occupation was ever going to succeed.

The US could blockade Iran by sea. Sea transport is more important economically than land transport, so it's got that going for it.

Note that you can't very much about neighboring countries (Russia in the end,though some stans are in the way) providing land routes.

Then you have to deal with the political fallout, and the direct financial costs of maintaining a blockade that benefits you in absolutely no way.

And all the frantic people that use Iranian natural gas and petroleum directly. And all the people who are suddenly pissed off energy prices went through the roof.

The US, nor Israel can do much about Iran one way or another. (Fortunately there's pretty much nothing Iran can do to either directly as well).

I've seen some people fantasizing about getting some non-persian ethnics in Iran starting a revolt.

Whatever, I'd advise someone to sit this out if they could. It's got fail written all over it.

Unless you think Seals have magic powers, which I think a lot of people do.

I suppose the US cold bomb them.

But as someone once wrote "Full of Sound and Fury, signifying nothing."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Krauthammer, here is a blast from the past from Israel's Haaretz entitled "White Man's Burden".

Reading the opening to this 2003 article, one wonders what would happen to its author if it were written in the US.

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible. But another journalist, Thomas Friedman (not part of the group), is skeptical

NOTA said...

anon 1151:

Why do you think Iran is likely to be enormously more efficient in its military spending than the US? Bribery, nepotism. cronyism, featherbedding--those things are hardly unique to US culture, pr foreign to Iranian culture.

Further, I don't think Iran's performance in its war against Iraq makes much of a case that they're punching far above their weight via moneyball-like military spending.

Anonymous said...

The thread in this post about who fights wars is interesting to me. In general, it appears that Southerners have always made up a disproportionate number in the military.
One thing that I've noticed, and this has been commented on before, is how our switch to an all volunteer army is making it more professional, and probably more insulated and regional. The continued closing of bases on the coasts, and even in much of the midwest, is further reinforcing the Southern nature of the military. I'm a Southerner, and when I talk to prog types in other parts of the country about the military, I tell them that they might want to have second thoughts about letting the South become the overwhelming area to locate our country's military might.

NOTA said...

Pundits who have been wrong on every important claim about the world that has been tested keep on being successful pundits. That's how you can tell that they're not in the correct prediction business. Instead, they're mostly in the entertainment and propaganda businesses.

So if you want to know about reality, you want to find sources of information who are in the business of trying to get the truth and report it to you, and people whe make mney when they get their predictions right snd lose money when thry get their predictions wrong. Krauthammer, Goldberg, Frum, etc., are simply not in that business. Going to them for advice on what foreign policy we should have is like going to a palm reader to ask whether you should undergo chemotherapy for your cancer.

Anonymous said...

sunbeam - not only would Iran be a much harder task. Worse than that its hard to imagine many of the allies who joined in for Afghanistan/Iraq being cajoled into an attack on Iran. No Brits, no Aussies on board.

Brazilian said...

just a little off topic

Like everyone here already know the Latino US population don't stop growing and the Scotch-Irish are already courtin them trying to create a hispanic neocon movement

In Brazil there is already Neocon intelectuals, they already preparing when the US white population hold less political influence with the rise of "hispanics".

FF said...

I must say I am surprised that possibly the world's most strategic country - New Zealand, is left off the Risk playboard entirely!

Hunsdon said...

Chipper said: Iran is not France, or even Pakistan. Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war. We can't take the chance.

Hunsdon replied: Chipper, on what do you base the statement that Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war? I mean, I hear this a lot, but I never hear any supporting evidence. I mean, "never" as in "not once."

On what, exactly, do you base your statement that Iran's leaders are crazy enough to start a nuclear war?

Anonymous said...

If you want to understand why the USA has been involved in a 15-yr long war to bring "freedom and democracy" to the Middle East, go to Google, select "video" and type in he following title: "The Plan — according to U.S. General Wesley Clark"

Now you know the rest of the story!

Anonymous said...

Brazilian,

Very true. People have many misconceptions about Latinos. Blacks think they will form some allegiance with them. Well, they should see how blacks are treated in Lat Am to see how that allegiance will play out, same thing for the "Scotch-Irish". (LOL, BTW for who ever came up with the moniker. You know someone is or is believed to be poweful when you can't even name them directly. Guess it's sorta a yaweh thing desert god of wind and fire.) I know the typical Lat Am is not a Spaniard, but don't forget the hispano influence on them. Don't forget the Spanish Inquisition, and the lesser known Mexican Inquisition. Looks like the Scotch-Irish opened the doors to their own demise. There's a difference in being clever and being intelligent.

Anonymous said...

We should get Krauthmammer to take up another hobby, like online gaming. Let's all chip in and send him a free copy of Warcraft. We'd all be better off.

vinteuil said...

I don't think it's necessary to whitewash Iran's leaders in the course of rejecting the sort of foreign policy advice offered by Krauthammer et al.

Ahmadinejad & Khamanei are genuinely nasty pieces of work - superlative little Muslims, ready for any type of madhouse - and they habitually carry on about about Israel as a cancer that must be excised and other suchlike religious hysteria.

The point is that, in the first place, they're militarily much weaker than Israel, and, in the second place, they're no danger whatsoever to the U.S.

So let Israel deal with them. No one has ever been able to explain to me any upside whatsoever *for us* to keep involved.

Anonymous said...

neocons had nothing to do with iraq. There's no such thing of neocons by the way. It's all the fault of the dumb goy. Neocons...er.. people like wolfolwitz, have been saying iran is the problem all along... Thats what paul wolfowitz said.

yep:

Or, as the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank put it, “Prince of Darkness Denies Own Existence.” Richard Perle promoted the idea of preemptive war and was influential in convincing the administration to go into Iraq. Now, Perle says, “There’s no such thing as neoconservative foreign policy.”



And about the 1996 report that he co-authored saying Saddam should be removed? ”My name was on it because I signed up for the study group,” Perle explained. “I didn’t approve it. I didn’t read it.”



What about the two letters he wrote Bush 43 giving a “moral” basis for removing Saddam by military force? ”I don’t have the letters in front of me,” Perle replied.

Anonymous said...

"let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'....It's a job like any other job. I never saw the difference between a Blackwater contractor and a marine besides the bullshit prestige gullible people ascribed to the latter."

The implicit morality in people saying American boys shouldn't die in wars for Israel is that it's a betrayal of what they enlisted for i.e. fight for (or even just defend) their own country. Saying it's just a job like any other undercuts that implicit moral argument.

.
"I'm Jewish though, and K-Mac would probably say I'm just critiquing this to serve my ethnic interests."

.
"Russia and China competing as a team against the US and Europe"

The elites who run the US and Europe are the enemies of the peoples of the US and Europe.

.
"Apple's market cap is bigger than Iran's economy."

Bomb them!!!

Anonymous said...

"I must say I am surprised that possibly the world's most strategic country - New Zealand, is left off the Risk playboard entirely!"

Stealthed.

Anonymous said...

Civilization cannot survive if sexy alpha males like Iran and Tom Brady are allowed to prevail. Ugly betas like Eli Manning and Israel are what support Western civilization and allow it to prevail.

You were doing great until the very end - the Mara family are vile pro-life shkotzim, whereas the Krafts are, well, Scots-Irish.

Anonymous said...

Obama seems to be doing a MUCH better job keeping American troops out of silly foreign wars than the any republican in the past fifty years.

Nixon got us in to war in Cambodia and Laos, Reagan got is in to more skirmishes than I can count, Bush one of course led us in to Iraq the first time, Bush two led us in to Iraq the second time plus Afganistan.

Contrast that with Obama. Out of Iraq, and mostly out of Afganistan.

Add to that McCain wanted war with Iran and Obama has skillfully avoided such a war.

Seems clear to me who someone who believes in "America First" should vote for.

Perhaps Obama's willingness to stand up to the warmongers is what is leading Sheldon Adelson to spend all that money to defeat Obama

Anonymous said...

RE Anonymous....02/05/12 9.59am
Agree for the most part but don't forget the triangulation that has now appeared. China needs oil more than we do since they are committed to an industrialized rural sector, and that means tractors, not oxen. The increased demand and the apparently limitless ability to pay for it means China is actually determining policy for us in ME. We can't attack because the Gulf would go up in flames and China can't have that. We want to have oil; they have to have it.

Amerigo Vespucci said...

What's the problem?

According to the colors on that map, Iran is now submersed under a shallow ocean that connects the Persian Gulf with the Caspian Sea.

Whiskee said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whiskey's going to tell you how much of an idiot you are for not seeing the Iranian- Mexican drug dealer connection. Texas could be nuked!

2/5/12 3:24 AM"

Yes, thank you for mentioning that. Iran will soon have a million Revolutionary guards massed at the Mexican border along with the millions of thugs working for the drug cartels. If we don't allow Israel, Eli Manning or the United States to use our nuclear weapons and make a statement, Iran, Tom Brady and the drug cartels will attract all the women from the beta American males who make this country work. At least beta Eli Manning just beat the sexy, alpha thug Tom Brady. Now, if only Israel and Iran can end the alpha dominance of Iran and the Mexican drug cartels working together, humanity will be saved.

S.Anonyia said...

"A very great proportion of wites who enter the military do so from a desire to be a soldier, a sailor or an airman - "the profession of arms" as it was called.In the European countries the armed forces were always the most respected and respectable segment of society - and always closely linked to the ruling class if not the monarchy."

I have to disagree, even though I appreciate the romanticism behind your thoughts. Honestly, as someone from a region where a lot of guys join the military, with relatives in the military, 3/4 of them initially sign up for financial reasons. Because they want to be able to support a family on a middle class income, and aren't really sure how to go about doing it otherwise. Which is not really a less honorable intention than "wanting to be a soldier", in my opinion. I'd do the same thing if I was a young financially struggling and physically fit man. I'd imagine these are similar reasons that men were prompted to join the army in the past too- with the exception of defending an attacked country or compulsory service.

I mean, there are vestiges of the old "upper class" semi-feudalist hereditary military traditions, but they have mostly faded out.

Let's! said...

"If you were an Iranian subscriber to the Post who works at Iran's 'Interests Section' inside the Pakistani embassy in Washington, what would be your considered judgment?"

Umm...make friends with the United States, drop the batcrazy hostility, loosen up and let your people enjoy life? That is what I might do.

After all, the USSR had 10 bajillion nukes, and they don't even exist anymore.

Steve is an empathetic and caring man, but sometimes those qualities make him fall for and repeat the bad guys' excuses and grievances.

Mr. Anon said...

@vinteuil

Well said. I do not want american soldiers to serve as jannisaries for Israel, nor do I much care for the theocracy that runs Iran.

Why is it that I have to take sides, that my country has to take sides, in an affair between two other nations in which we have no real stake?

Anonymous said...

So let Israel deal with them. No one has ever been able to explain to me any upside whatsoever *for us* to keep involved.

Israel can't deal with them. Yes, they can launch a surprise strike and probably do some serious damage to Iranian facilities. But if Iran has spread out its nuclear program, the Israelis would be hard pressed to be successful. Plus their AF is not designed to to keep up the daily operation tempo that might be needed to completely cripple Iran. Think about the USAF being able to conduct large scale attacks for thirty days straight. The Israelis can't do this.

So my guess is Israel doesn't want to strike Iran unless they have our secret assurance that we will take over once the first punch is thrown.

Whiskey said...

Steve, Gas around my neck of the woods is about $3.89 a gallon, 87 Octane. Absent Iran controlling Iraq, and absent oil sanctions reducing Iranian exports, you could probably expect about $1 a gallon less. While WTI is below $90 a barrel, Brent (the index most people use to hedge) is over $110 a barrel.

What this means, is about 1.5 to 2% off GDP growth. If you don't want massive social tension, riots, ala Detroit 1967 or LA 1992 or Crown Heights, you better have high (4% or higher) GDP growth. Low growth around 1.5-2% means massive fights over ever increasing middle class taxes to pay for welfare transfers. Who wants that?

Yeah if the world ran on coal and steam power circa 1850, Iran would not matter. Newsflash it matters.

Military spending is not really indicative, Iran gets nukes and ICBMs with a 6,000 mile range, enough to hit most places of interest (Europe, parts of America). The US spends a lot on housing, pay, bases, that do not relate to military power.

Why do you think Iraq was such a problem? Bush 1 did not want to remove Saddam because he was afraid of something worse -- what happened in fact. However the costs for containing Saddam (and not having him conquer the loathesome but US dependent Saudis) became too high to sustain. We could not ultimately bomb him into submission and the sanctions regime broke down as they always do. Sanctions are always a race between regime collapse and sanctions collapse.

You're not being realistic -- Iran matters because the world runs on oil and we won't drill in the Gulf, or here at home, because the elites find it "icky" so we depend on the ME. Its all about oil. And nukes.

Iran has attacked the US in what amounts to acts of War with impunity, no response. They don't think there are any red lines because they've never been punished for crossing them. And they don't have China as leash-master (paging the Kim family).

Whiskey said...

Look at Obama. He has done as much as any President to distance himself from Israel since its creation. He has consistently run down Israel and its people. He's surrounded himself with advisors who have openly speculated about mounting an invasion of ... ISRAEL to protect Hamas and Hezbollah. He's negotiating with the Taliban. He's sent groveling letters to the Mullahs. He's withdrawing from Iraq. He's promised the same for Afghanistan. He's apologized for America repeatedly.

He's BLACK!

And what is the Iranian response?

Threatening to sink US carriers. Threatening to nuke Israel and the US. Threatening to close off the Gulf.

Now, you can match the response of Iran to GWB: muted threats; and that of Barack Obama: overt threats.

Conclusion: both failed, but Obama failed MORE because his actions have left no more options but massive bombardment and invasion, or nukes, to stop Iran's nuclear program, or basically wipe out Iran if we are hit. [Iran is clearly gambling that the US will simply surrender to what they view as a "super car bomb" and react like Khobar Towers etc.] Obama left Iraq, so we can't infiltrate, or conduct spec-ops or deniable cross border from there, ditto Afghanistan (which the Pakistanis are strangling via supply). Obama bet it all on Afghanistan (because he hates America and is stupid, both).

Nuclear Iran can close off the Gulf, gambling no President will trade LA or Rome for the Gulf. Sending oil not to $100 but $200 or more. How would you all like to live in nice, commute friendly South Central, close to the Blue Line? Didn't think so.

That nice car, that nice house in the suburbs requires oil, cheap enough and that means keeping the Iranians (and Russians) on their heels.

Syria is a side show, but now Turkey is getting involved, along with Saudi, and doubtless Russia.

The result of American withdrawal is not a Disneyland ride. It is every bad actor rushing in. To our detriment. Because the US runs on oil, not coal or solar dreams.

Hunsdon said...

Whiskers said: (Obama)'s surrounded himself with advisors who have openly speculated about mounting an invasion of ... ISRAEL to protect Hamas and Hezbollah.

Hunsdon replied: 9 out of 10 doctors agree, Whiskers suffers from a rare but virulent disease which a forthcoming version of the DSM labels "shtetl madness."

The media would have told us that Obama longs for the destruction of Israel AND America, of course, but they're co-opted by Sheldon Adelson, with his eyes on Macau riches.

Anonymous said...

Seems simple.

Founding stock white Christian Americans like Bush and McCain are for starting wars. Obama is pulling American troops out of harm's way.

How could an isolationist vote for McCain over Obama ?

Propeller Island said...

99 comments so far and I am the only one who mentioned the hostages. Why am I not surprised?

kudzu bob said...

99 comments so far and I am the only one who mentioned the hostages. Why am I not surprised?

I believe that the correct term is ex-hostages, something that they have been for almost thirty-two years now...

Hey, I think I just came up with an answer to your question!

Daybreaker said...

"No Brits, no Aussies on board."

We (Australians) got a decent trade deal for participating in the Iraq / Afghanistan fiasco.

Do the Americans have something in mind to trade for pro forma participation in an Iranian fiasco? If so, we can talk.

I hope Australia's political class stays mercenary. There's not much about our internationalist and objectively anti-White foreign policy I approve of, but the part where we get paid for getting involved in irrelevant distant wars makes sense.

I just wish our fellow-White Americans got paid too. If Israel sent America a yearly shipment of gold sufficient to compensate for the lives and resources America is spending I'd feel better about the Great Game.

Brazilian said...

Anonymous,

Any american can honestly think the partial latinazation of the US will be a good thing? Even the conservative cubans in Florida are extremely corrupt.

What awakened me to the scotch-irish is when i saw a "brazilian" one being liberal pro-immigrationist in a NYC based show but turning in a raging conservative for the Iraq War, right now is pretty clear that the war as to protect Israel, no WMD in there.

Propeller Island said...

"right now is pretty clear that the war as to protect Israel, no WMD in there."

Do you see a contradiction here?

kudzu bob said...

Even though nobody, but nobody, takes Whiskey's comments at all seriously, he nonetheless continues to bang them out grimly, like some open-air preacher screaming himself hoarse about the End Times on a some street corner while passers-by snicker.

Do you suppose that Whiskey has "DUMB" tattooed on the fingers of his right hand and "NUTS" tattooed on the fingers of his left hand?

Poor guy. Whiskey parodies have become a regular feature around here, haven't they? If I may, for nostalgia's sake I would like to link to my own contribution to this thriving sub-genre, one which I believe played a not-insignificant role in its literary development.

Anonymous said...

This commenter whiskey is so confused it is not even funny. He complains about the so called rise of Iran, but never mentions that it was the intervention in Iraq, that he and his ilk supported, that led to Iran's number one enemy being removed.

He continually posts about oil going for $200 per barrel, but he never factors in that we are probably paying that and more given our expenditures on defense in that part of the world.

He says that Iran is a threat for threatening to sink our carriers, yet how is a nation supposed to respond to a nation whose presidential candidates sing songs like "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran" as McCain did in 2008, or to the current crop who openly discuss such action as part of their party's debates?

We all know how the US responded to the downing of an airliner. Over twenty years after the incident, and after making nice with Qaddafi, we supported his overthrow. Why should Iran show any more restraint for what we did to them?

Whiskey, you of course never mention that terrible misfortune. And why you mentioned that Obama is black is confusing, given how you and your brethren continue to be support the importation of every people and culture into our nation to create the world's first universal nation.

Anonymous said...

Gummi, let's stop mythologizing this 'noble' act of 'serving your country'. Jews don't do it because they don't have to. Middle American hicks do it opportunistically because they are less intelligent and have less opportunities in life.

Then what drives American Jews to serve in the IDF?

Brazilian said...

Propeller Island,

The whole WMD angle as extremely pushed by neocons and assoterd media by the time of the invasion.

But who are the neocons? the scotch-irish off course.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

We all know how the US responded to the downing of an airliner. Over twenty years after the incident, and after making nice with Qaddafi, we supported his overthrow. Why should Iran show any more restraint for what we did to them?"

Actually, we shot down an Iranian airliner:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655

And we wonder why they're pissed off at us.

And that was only a year after the Iraqis, whom we were de-facto helping in thier war with Iran, attacked the U.S.S. Stark.

And we wonder why other nations think we're crazy.

Anonymous said...

Then what drives American Jews to serve in the IDF?

-------------
They're fools as well. But having lived in Israel, there is a lot of social shaming that is involved when a young man finds a way (through medical excuses, etc.) out of 'service'.

This social shaming might deter them from having access to high quality females.

Also most 18 year olds in the IDF aren't really fighting anyone; they just kind of loaf around 'patrolling' things; not very dangerous or analogous to having to travel to Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer unnecessarily weakens his arguments against foreign entanglements by taking as gospel the traditional leftist critiques of Uncle Sam as overbearing tyrant and our adversaries abroad as cuddly bunny wabbits. In truth, our enemies are the scum of the earth. A better argument against foreign adventures would be making the point that other countries with resources comparable to our adversaries have their own defense establishments. Maybe it's time they used their own money and troops to defend themselves instead of Uncle Sam having to waste American taxpayer dollars and lives doing it for them.

Kylie said...

Krauthammer is an idiot, however bright and educated.

I really think Risk is beyond him. He's more the Dungeons and Dragons type.

Baloo said...

I'm one of those rednecks who kinda thought I ought to serve in the Army. Takes all kinds, I guess. Anyhow, you've done another classic, Steve. It's linked and related to 1984 with an attempt to start the meme "Dr. Strangehammer" HERE by Ex-Army.

Sheila said...

To Anonymous snide Jewish dweeb at 10:59 -

"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

Joe Sobran: "those who accused Jewish Americans of having dual loyalties failed to realize that that would be an improvement."

Anonymous said...

They're fools as well. But having lived in Israel, there is a lot of social shaming that is involved when a young man finds a way (through medical excuses, etc.) out of 'service'.

This social shaming might deter them from having access to high quality females.

Also most 18 year olds in the IDF aren't really fighting anyone; they just kind of loaf around 'patrolling' things; not very dangerous or analogous to having to travel to Afghanistan.


NO, I am not referring to Jews in Israel serving in the IDF. I am referring to American Jews, born in and raised in the USA, who upon reaching 18 years of age, volunteer to go to Israel for 2 or more years to serve in the IDF. These are kids that are in the pool of qualified candidates to serve in the US military, but choose to go to Israel instead.

Why do they do this?

SFG said...

"Then what drives American Jews to serve in the IDF?"


I've thought about this quite a bit. I doubt I'd feel comfortable as a grunt in the US Army--too many right-wing dudes from the most anti-Semitic parts of the country, not to mention NAMs. Of course, being only half-blooded and not having an obviously Jewish name, I personally might be OK, but I can see where some of these guys who want to do the military thing might go to Israel.

Yes, it's dual loyalty, and I don't like it either. Ironically, in the case of a draft I'd be less nervous because the army would be filled with a cross-section of Americans.

What's that you say? My distant relatives should stop filling America with NAMs? Yes, I agree with you. I assure you I have made this argument to every Jewish person I know, and they think I'm a little odd. I doubt much has been accomplished.

Tony said...

The fate of 1.4 million Christians in Syria is of no concern to the likes Krauthammer. The disgrace is it does not seem to matter to American Christians.

IHTG said...

Uh, since when is American Jews serving in the IDF some kind of widespread phenomenon? Nobody told me!

Anonymous said...

Krauthammer is an idiot, however bright and educated.

No krauthhammer is a super genius, especially from a Darwinian perspective because he used his influence to enhance the genetic fitness of his gene pool (Israel) by creating momentum to remove one of israel's most threatening enemies (saddam), and even more brilliantly, he did so without sacraficing any Israeli blood, treasure, security or prestige, and still managed to hang on to his influential media platform with which he can push for more wars that non-Israelis can fight for isreal's benefit, as krauthhammer using his considerable skills to trick them into thinking it's in their interest to do so.

Yes he was wrong about Iraq's WMD but it was probably only a matter of time before they had that. Saddam was a major threat to Israel because he had fired missiles against them and funded Palestinian suicide bombers and was also a threat because he was transforming Iraq into a secular progressive country but it's better for Israel if their enemies are kept in the dark ages clinging to religion like barbarians who can easily be discredited, not educated, liberal, empowered and taken seriously by the west. The threat of Iraq leaving the dark ages of Islamic extremism is probably one reason pro-Israel types imposed the sanctions in the 1990s, inspiring the wrath of bin laden.

Anonymous said...

Historically both Christains and Muslims have been enemies of Jews, so if you're an ethnocentric Jew, encouraging wars between these two groups is actually very clever in an extremely evil Darwinian way, because you're killing two birds with one stone.

beowulf said...

Ironically, in the case of a draft I'd be less nervous because the army would be filled with a cross-section of Americans.

That's not a bad idea. That's one thing Israel does right, universal military service (naturally Singapore followed their example, hiring Israeli officers to set it up).
http://www.cs.uwec.edu/~tan/saf_israel.htm

beowulf said...

Steve is an empathetic and caring man, but sometimes those qualities make him fall for and repeat the bad guys' excuses and grievances.
Who? Whom?
:o)

OT, David Frum's review of Charles Murray's book is pretty good. Maybe he's getting less crazy (or I'm getting more crazy), but I find myself agreeing with Frum an awful lot lately.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/06/charles-murray-book-review.html

Anonymous said...

Uh, since when is American Jews serving in the IDF some kind of widespread phenomenon? Nobody told me!

I don't know how widespread it is, but I first encountered it in college. A jewish student and I were talking about the military and he was denigrating folks who joined the US Army as losers. He then told me that in his neck of New Jersey, it was more common for the boys to join the IDF than the US military and that it was considered some sort of honor.

I do remember the story of Michael Levin from the Philly area who died in the 2006 Lebanon war. He joined the IDF well after 9-11 while his country was at war and chose to serve with Israel.

I don't have any statistics at hand, but when I read the first jewish guy's comment about people only serving in the US military because their choices were limited, I immediately thought of my college friend from above.

BTW, here is a website designed to assist non Israelis in joining the IDF.

Anonymous said...

Kylie said...
an idiot, however bright and educated.

I really think Risk is beyond him. He's more the Dungeons and Dragons type.

With all due respect, how much do you really know about Dungeons and Dragons?

D&D is hardly sn intellectual lightweight; I would honestly say that is surpasses Risk in complexity. If you meant to use the fantasy aspects of D&D to outline Germanhammer's grip on reality, fine. But please do not demean the intellectual level of D&D.

Now if only Hunhammer and his ilk were grognard wargamers, as in PanzerBlitz and Squad Leader....