Tag Archives: Cold War

Democracy Is Not the Answer #CPAC2013

To understand how we got to the point that spending hundreds of millions of dollars to support a government run by people who have been at war with us for almost a century is a policy that most foreign policy experts endorse, it helps to take a brief trip back in time.

In the last century, our big three wars, the two we fought and the one we didn’t, were against enemies who were seen as being distinguished by a lack of democracy, with the Kaiser, the Fuhrer and the Commissar embodying the antithesis of the American system.

The Democratic Party, which stood at the helm during both hot wars, was able to link its brand to the wars by defining them as struggles for democracy. The process of de-nationalizing war from a conflict between nations and ethnic groups was only partly realized in WW1, but was largely achieved in WW2, and made post-war reconstruction and alliance easier. National and ethnic grudges were replaced by ideological platforms. If the trouble was a lack of democracy, then all we needed to do was defeat the tyrant’s armies, inject democracy and stand back.

Democracy also made it easier to turn liberals against the Soviet Union. The liberals who had believed in a war for democracy in Europe had difficulty tossing it aside after the war was over. And that emphasis on democracy helped make a national defense coalition between conservatives and liberals possible.

This strategy was effective enough against existing totalitarian systems, but suffered from a major weakness because it could not account for a totalitarian ideology taking power through the ballot box.

The assumption that because the Nazis and the Communists rejected open elections that they could not win open elections was wrong. Democracy of that kind is populism and totalitarian movements can be quite popular. The Nazis did fairly well in the 1932 elections and the radical left gobbled up much of the Russian First Duma. The modern Russian Communist Party is the second largest party in the Duma today.

Democratic elections do not necessarily lead to democratic outcomes, but the linkage of democracy to progress made that hard to see. The assumption that democracy is progressive and leads to more progress had been adopted even by many conservatives. That fixed notion of history led to total disaster in the Arab Spring.

Cold War America knew better than to endorse universal democracy. Open elections everywhere would have given the Soviet Union more allies than the United States. The left attacked Eisenhower and Kennedy as hypocrites, but both men were correct in understanding that there was no virtue in overthrowing an authoritarian government only to replace it with an even more authoritarian government; whether through violence or the ballot box.

As time went on, Americans were assailed with two interrelated arguments. The left warned that the denial of democracy was fueling Third World rage against the United States. And on the right we heard that tyranny was warping Third World societies into malignant forms. The left’s version of the argument directed more blame at America, but both versions of the argument treated democracy as a cure for hostility.

The argument that democracy had made the Muslim world dysfunctional was always chancy. The best counterargument to it was that second and third-generation Muslims in Europe were often more radical than their immigrant parents. If democracy were a cure for Islamism, it was working very poorly in London, Oslo and Paris.

The assumption of the argument was that the tyranny that a people were living under was unnatural while the outcome of a democratic election would be natural. And yet, if a people have been warped for a thousand years by not living under a democracy, how could they be expected to choose a form of government that would not be warped? Was there any reason to expect that such efforts at democracy would not lead to tyranny?

The Arab Spring has taught us to question the idea that democracy is an absolute good. Initially the outcome of the Palestinian Arab elections that rewarded Hamas was thought not to apply to the wider region. That assumption proved to be wrong. We now know that Hamas’ victory foreshadowed the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory. And we know that Islamists have the inside track in elections because they represent a familiar ideology that has not been discredited in the minds of a majority of Muslims.

We can no longer afford to be bound by a Cold War argument against Communism that has outlived its usefulness, especially once liberals turned left and defected from a national security consensus. Universal democracy has proven to be about as universal a panacea as international law or the United Nations.

Classifying ideologies as democratic or undemocratic has blinded us to their content and gives our enemies an easy way to take power while leaving the champions of democracy voiceless. Too many Republicans were flailing after the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Egypt; unable to articulate a reason why the United States should not support a democratically elected government.

Democracy was once viewed, rightly or wrongly, as a form of American Exceptionalism. But reducing that exceptionalism to open elections misses the point. It isn’t open elections that make Americans special; it’s Americans who make open elections special. Instead of looking to systems, we should look to values. Instead of looking to governments, we should look to peoples.

The assumption that exporting democracy also exports our values is clearly wrong. It isn’t democracy that makes free people; it’s individual responsibility. Democracy with individual responsibility makes for a free nation. Democracy without individual responsibility is only another name for tyranny.

We have spent too much time looking at systems, when we should have been looking at values. We have wrongly assumed that all religions and all peoples share the same basic values that democracy can unleash for the betterment of all. That has clearly been proven to be wrong.

If we had looked instead at a poll which showed that 4 out of 5 Egyptians believe that adulterers should be stoned and thieves should have their hands cut off, we would have known how this democracy experiment was going to end and how much damage it would do to our national interests.

It’s time to stop putting our faith in democracy. Democracy for all is not the answer. Responsibility for all is. Our responsibility is not to agnostically empower other people to make the choices that will destroy our way of life, but to make those choices that will keep our way of life alive.By

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#myjihad: Live by the Sword, Die by the Drone

Ronald Ernest Paul, the nation’s last best hope for Internet gambling and the gold standard, responded to the murder of a Navy SEAL by saying, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” But the question is whose sword is it?

To the anti-war movement, all conflicts between the free world and the world of slaves are reduced to a pithy formula of moral equivalence. America lifted the sword and has gone on swinging it. It never puts the sword down and therefore it dies by it. Chris Kyle becomes a metaphor for the great beast of war, unleashed by the Rockefellers, the CIA, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve, that goes around swinging the sword until it destroys itself.

The far left and the far right agree on few things, but they both agree that America’s wounds in the War on Terror are self-inflicted. America creates terrorism through its foreign policy and fights terrorism thereby perpetuating terrorism. Islamic terrorism is just a figment of our foreign policy. Put down the sword, is the implication, and the fighting can stop. Keep fighting back and eventually more planes will fly into your skyscrapers as blowback for all the fighting back that you did before.

Moral equivalence would have it that all swords are created equal, much as gun control advocates insist that a rifle in the hands of a hunter is no different than a rifle in the hands of a serial killer. A gun is a gun and a sword is a sword. If you own one, you’re likely to use it. And if you use it, then you are utterly evil, regardless of the reason you use it and the purpose that you use it for.

In the school of thought embraced by such students of history as Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky and Ron Paul, the sword is the massive steel blade of empire that is borne by the strongest power. Followers of this school of thought style themselves realists. Their sword of empire realism, however, fails to encompass the history and ambitions of over a billion people, their theology, their dreams and their internal conflicts.

To the realists, over a thousand years of Islamic history hardly carries any weight compared to the doings of ARAMCO and the CIA. There is a certain unrealism to such realism. The realist may be a cynic, but if he, like the World War II labor unions in the UK who told their members that the American soldiers weren’t coming to fight Hitler but to break up labor strikes, follows a realism mired in petty cynicism that cannot see past last week, then his realism is really ignorant cynicism masquerading as history.

The revisionist history of the realists blames America by beginning with America. America is the axis around which the world revolves. There was no Islam before America and if America sinks into the ocean, the realists must assume that Islamic terrorism will go with it, unless the Zionist Entity sticks around and continues infuriating the otherwise peaceful peoples of the Middle East whose brief history of violence only commenced in 1948 or 1917.

Anti-war activists cannot spend too much time contemplating the other side. The anti-war position automatically picks the other side and because of the innate whiff of treason in such a choice, it must justify that treason by utterly damning and demonizing its own side. It cannot afford nuance at home, though it often calls for it abroad, because to concede complexity is to endanger its own moral standing.

The only thing standing between the anti-war movement and treason is its ceaseless effort to demonize its own government, soldiers and people as monsters. If it lowers that sword of invective for a moment and accepts that they are less than monsters, then its moral standing falls apart.

The anti-war movement can only maintain its moral standing through extremism and hate. Its activism is an eternal war fought against an endless war whose existence justifies their existence.

Each war, whether it is against Communism or Islamism, tribal warlords or world powers, reaffirms their thesis that their country is a bloody monster, an empire of skulls ruled over by warlords who live by the sword and then die by it.

Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania and the Maine, September 11 and the Pueblo Incident all blend together into one false flag operation; a single continuous historical event with a single explanation. And the explanation is the Great American Sword that sets up bases to extract oil, drugs and arms deals along with all the other trappings of empire. It is the answer that answers everything. Even the question of why the wars don’t stop.

And what of the sword of Islam, its hilt inlaid with emeralds, its blade clotted with infidel blood, which was sweeping across the world a thousand years before some Virginia farmers got together to discuss theories of government? What was it that made that sword rise and fall, before the oil companies and the Israeli lobby, before arms dealers and neo-conservatives, and all the other crutches on which the realists hobble their lame revisionist history?

Uncle Sam did not raise the sword. Uncle Mohammed did, more years ago than anyone can count, and the sword has never been lowered since. As long as Mohammed is at the gates, Sam cannot put down the sword and spend all his time discussing monetary theory or social justice. Not if he expects to still be wearing his head by morning.

A war is not a dance, though there is some circling and some tricky steps. It is not a mutual agreement, but a historical collision. It does not take two to wield a sword. It does however take two to achieve a stalemate. It is this stalemate, a war that falls short of war, whether it is a Cold War or a War on Terror, that the anti-war movement hates and needs. It is this indefinite endless war that animates its thesis and sustains its ideology.

The Muslim world has chosen to live by the sword and the free world must learn to use the sword, if it is not to live under their swords. But there is a difference between these two swords, between the Sword and the Colt, which made all men equal, and the sword and the drone. It is the same as the difference between Sparta and Athens and between Mecca and Jerusalem.

There are nations and peoples that live by the sword, producing nothing of worth, living and priding themselves on their plunder while remaining deaf to their own worthlessness outside the realm of the sword. And there are nations and peoples to whom the sword is a tool, rather than a final answer, an implement which works alongside the hoe and the pen and the many other implements that make a society great.

A great nation does not live by the sword; it uses the sword to keep its way of life free from those who do live by the sword.

In such a society where many professions are possible, most free from risk of death, the man who picks up the sword, who pledges to hold the sword so that others may work, not only does not live by the sword, but also makes it possible for his entire society to live free of the sword.

The death of such a man is a tragedy for those who understand that the sword can only be opposed by a sword, and that freedom is won at the cost of resisting slavery, but is a cause for celebration to those who imagine that when the last of their countrymen who carries a sword dies, the endless war will finally end.By

Replace the United Nations

By //Living in a city like Vienna, one feels as if one is in a living museum. Vienna was not only the final redoubt for European civilization in 1683, but was the heart of the system that governed international relations from 1815 to 1914, known as the Congress of Vienna. The Vienna of today, exemplifies much of what ails European foreign policy and trans-Atlantic relations: the lack of a dynamic goal and a failure to build upon roots that made the civilization great. The European Union is in disarray, and NATO is searching for a redefinition. This is happening while the United States has made no clear signal as to the future of Atlanticism, NATO, or leading the West.

The world has emerged from the so called post-Cold War era transitioning through three phases of American leadership. Phase I under the Bill Clinton presidency illustrated national security and foreign policy drift. Phase II under President George W. Bush exemplified clear national and global goals driven by events in the Middle East and Central Asia. Phase III under the Barack Obama administration is similar to Phase I, but has embraced a policy of “leading from behind.” Meanwhile, the world’s geopolitical situation has shown signs of three major threats that will require a new international order. These threats are a resurgent Russia, a rising China, and the waning and waxing fortunes of Islamic extremism. This does not count the numerous middle level and low level threats that dot the international landscape. The successful Pax Romana and Pax Britannica were much more triumphant than the multipolar order making attempts such as the Congress of Vienna or Versailles Treaty. The most successful international order maker has consistently been the United States and the Pax Americana. In order to ensure the continuance of international stability many strategic decisions must be made. One of these decisions concerns the future of American international leadership: A dynamic international system must rise to meet these challenges, a system where the United States spearheads the creation of an amplification of NATO by fostering the D.A.N—Democratic Alliance of Nations.

The United Nations, an attempt by leaders like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to inject some realism into the failed League of Nations by creating five policemen has failed. It has failed to create stability and order except in those instances backed by the use or threat of American force. The current situation in the United States is one of war weariness and fear of over extension. The president will need to gain electoral support for America’s preeminence in world affairs. A new organization, one that has credibility with the American people, could go a long way to solving all of these issues. This new dynamic organization could go by many monikers; the one used here is the D.A.N. The Democratic Alliance of Nations would model itself on NATO, and if successful could replace NATO and cease the endless bickering about the future of that historically critical organization. The basic essence of NATO would remain; this would include a supreme commander that would be an American, a rotating political head, and Article 5 would serve as a similar trigger for action. However, there would be some drastic differences as well. Only nations that were willing to employ proportional military force (not token support) would be allowed membership. The Article 5 style trigger of “an attack on one is an attack on all” would be broadened. These triggers would have to include preemptive and preventative threats, as well as a mechanism to deal with genocide, massive human rights abuses, regional despotism, rogue states, and failed states. Further, there would have to be a clear mandate that military force would and could be used under these trigger conditions. This does not mean that military force would be the first or only option; but unlike the Security Council, it would be a viable coalition response. Critical to the composition of the Democratic Alliance of Nations would be that membership be reserved for only true democracies. This would be subject to scrutiny of the founding members and include such benchmarks as working democratic constitutions; the real rule of law; a vibrant civil society; the full protection of private property; and obedience to natural law. The foundation of the organization would have to start in the Anglo sphere (United States/United Kingdom/Canada/Australia/New Zealand) which would bring in elements of both NATO and ANZUS. Membership would hopefully be expanded to states such as (but not only) those in Western and Central Europe, Israel, South Korea, and Japan. Obviously, it goes without saying that some of these nations would need to make fundamental changes in their foreign policy legal mechanisms and even political culture.

It would therefore be through the Democratic Alliance of Nations that the United States could lead the free world in a dynamic 21st century, as it had through the tribulations of the 20th. It would further the security of the United States and the American people, and would serve as a way to illustrate to the electorate that the United States is not forced to act alone nor bear the only burden. It would further enhance the political and economic connections of members for stronger ties and bonds.