Category Archives: Foreign Policy

The-Camel-Ate-My Homework Theory Of Culpability

Britain, Crime, Europe, Foreign Policy, Free Will Vs. Determinism, Islam, Jihad, Judaism & Jews, Left-Liberalism, libertarianism, Media

“The-Camel-Ate-My Homework Theory Of Culpability” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

… Disaffected, disadvantaged, disenfranchised is how progressives prefer to depict the Muslim murderers in their midst. After all, progressives hail from the school of therapeutic “thought” that considers crime to have been caused, not committed. Misbehavior is either medicalized and outsourced to state-approved experts, or reduced to the fault of the amorphous thing called society.

The most famous advocate of the-Camel-Ate-My Homework theory of criminal culpability is Barack Obama. Obama’s flabby assumption has it that the poor barbarians of France’s burbs have been deprived of fraternité. “Europe needs to better integrate its Muslim communities,” lectured the president.

Also guilty of a social determinism that flouts their philosophy of individual freedom are libertarians. For the sins of man, hard leftists blame society and libertarian saddle the state: U.S. foreign policy, in particular. A war of aggression, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and torture are thus “principal catalysts for this kind of non-state terrorism,” argued Ray McGovern.

“The-state-made-me-do-it” argumentation apes that of the left’s “society-made-me-do-it” argumentation. Both philosophical factions, left and blowback-libertarian, are social determinists, in as much as they implicate forces outside the individual for individual dysfunction.

Myself, I despise U.S. foreign policy as deeply as any Muslim. But it would never-ever occur to me to take it out on my American countrymen.

In the context of free will, and in a week in which we remember the Holocaust, Viktor E. Frankl rates a mention.

Dr. Frankl came out of Auschwitz to found the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. The philosopher and distinguished psychiatrist said this of his experience in the industrial killing complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau: “In the camps one lost everything, except the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

To plagiarize another Jews (myself): “You can see why liberals have always preferred Freud to Frankl [my family included]. They retain a totemic attachment to the Freudian fiction that traumatic toilet training is destiny.”

Dr. Frankl lost his beloved young wife in Auschwitz, yet told poignantly of finding her, if figuratively, in a tiny bird that flitted close by. If this man was able to discovered the reality of free will and human agency in a laboratory like Auschwitz; so too can Muslims find the will to respond adaptively to events that enrage them and are indeed unjust: Western foreign policy.

The idea that the Brothers Kouachi and thousands of their coreligionists in the West who’ve joined ISIS were driven by “disaffection” to do their diabolic deeds conjures a skit from the “Life of Brian,” John Cleese’s parody of Judea under Rome. …

The complete column is “The-Camel-Ate-My Homework Theory Of Culpability.” Read the rest on WND.


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‘Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive’

Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Terrorism

The dilemmas faced by “a mulish military power which doesn’t know Shiite from Shinola” are enormous.

The Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, resigned on Jan. 22, “after Houthi rebels seeking greater political power effectively seized control of the capital, Sanaa.” (Foreign Policy)

For years, Yemenis had felt the brunt of “U.S.-trained units of elite Yemeni special forces” combined with CIA drone strikes from above. Now the superpower must decide “whether, and how, to cooperate with the Houthis — who are widely seen as an Iranian proxy force — in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni-based group that claimed to have orchestrated this month’s attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo.”

The Houthis hate al Qaeda, which is “a Sunni militant group that sees the Houthis and the Iranian as apostates.” So do we, the Americans, hate al Qaeda. But we also hate the Iranians (principally because Israel is threatened by Iran, which is no threat to the US).

Another dynamic is at play besides the Sunni-Shia dynamic. It is that between the forces of centralization, with which the US generally sides (witness Iraq), and the forces of decentralization, with which the Arab people with whom we meddle generally side, given the tribal, familial focus of their societies.

The Houthis are demanding greater regional autonomy (like the Kurds of Iraq); the US is inevitably looking to empower another puppet central power like Hadi’s so as to lord it over its Yemeni client state.

In the words of Sir Walter Scott, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”


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Republicans, As Always, Reject George Washington’s Vision For A Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy, Free Markets, libertarianism, Republicans

Conservatives are huffing and puffing because the US has inched slightly closer in its official relationship with Cuba to George Washington’s vision of a foreign policy for the future—one which Ron Paul has always articulated. In his Farewell Address, George Washington counseled that “amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated” through trade and without special favor.

… The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. … Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences;


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Guess Who Warned Against Invading Iraq?

Bush, Foreign Policy, Iraq

Who offered the following astute, if utilitarian, analysis, in mitigation of an invasion of Iraq, in 1994?

… if we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world. And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you’ve got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

Bush’s Vice president Dick Cheney, one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq in 2002, had advised against it in 1994. His predictions as to the destabilization of Iraq—he doesn’t mention the bloodshed, because Cheney was never one to count bodies—have come to pass.


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No Regrets For Playing With Lives

Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Military, Terrorism

You can play with lives when you are the POTUS. You give life; you take it. President Barack Obama, like his predecessor, likes to use the levers of powers to score political points. Hoping to score, he launched a failed operation to rescue two hostages from al Qaeda in Yemen: American Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie. As a consequence, both hostages were killed mid-raid.

Here’s the rub, via The Hill:

… “A second hostage, South African Pierre Korkie, was also killed by his captors during the raid, to the dismay of his family, who believed they had brokered a ransom payment for his release.
Earnest said the U.S. had no knowledge of the negotiations being taken for Korkie’s release. South Africa’s government, like the U.S., does not negotiate for the release of hostages, but the Korkie family had pursued such a deal privately — although some reports indicated U.S. officials might have been aware of the proceedings.”

Eminently quotable is one of the bimbos on MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” who, when reporting on the dismal failure of Rome’s army to liberate these men, went on to scoff at the “amateur hostage negotiators” who, but for Obama, had in fact accomplished their their mission to ransom their loved one.


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Gruber Or Curveball?

BAB's A List, Foreign Policy, Free Markets, Healthcare, Iraq, Republicans

By Myron Pauli

Ann Coulter, columnist and perpetual Republican apologist, recently wrote an article [1] contrasting “health care expert” Jonathan Gruber with the row over memos leading the US to War with Iraq. Much as I loathe appearing to be defending Obama against Republicans, Ann is very much wrong in exonerating Republican fabrications vs. Democratic ones.

Let me start with Gruber. However arrogant he is and however much his comic book [2] dumbs down health care complexities to sell this to the American voting booboisie—he embodies precisely what politics is about. Koch, Soros, Rockefeller, Adelson, and Bloomberg spend millions on largely retarded 30 second spots like “Smith is a corrupt pedophile who hates whites, blacks, men, women, gays, old folks, Hispanics, Asians and dogs … ” because they work. Politics is the art of dumbing down and dumb usually wins when repeated often enough.

I also have no intrinsic objection to a Ph.D. “expert” economist making money consulting on health care. In fact, if health insurance were deregulated, there would arguably be a market for consultants to help consumers decide between Missouri Aetna, Pennsylvania Kaiser, Idaho Blue Cross, etc. – with various deductible, co-pay, premiums, maximums, waiting periods, PPO’s, HMO’s, HSA’s, ad nauseum to choose from. If Congress cannot read a 2900 page bill, do you expect the average small business owner or truck driver to sort through all the fine print of competing insurance? In fact, there is a market for insurance agents, travel agents, stockbrokers, hedge fund operators, and career consultants who make money off their expertise on complex matters. My objection is only to Gruber seeking his living by using coercion of the taxpayers, rather than in the private sector. Because health care decisions are both complex and personal, they should be the responsibility of free citizens [3].

But if Gruber was peddling semi-socialized Romneycare and Obamacare to the quasi-ignorant masses, what does one say about an Iraqi Shiite conman named Curveball [4] – a failed engineering student, embezzler, and taxi driver who was put up by friends of neocon hero Chalabi to fabricate ludicrous tales of WMD threats to the $70 billion a year American “intelligence community.” This “intelligence community” passed on these fabrications to be amplified repeatedly with leaks confirming rumors confirming “intelligence” on “Iraqi WMD.”

The price of Curveball has so far been $2 trillion of a wasteful war, destabilization of the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and millions of people driven into exile. The Republicans and Democrats could (but most likely will not) permit free markets in health care (but will probably not do it) and thus Obamacare could be a temporary change in raising or lowering premiums, co-pays, deductibles and paperwork. The damage of a Gruber could be a temporary blip. On the other hand, how do you put the Middle East back together after a decade of destruction and destabilization?

The commonality between the Grubers and the Curveballs is that both involve national coercion – the former to get everyone behind coercive health care mandates and the latter used to commit the nation to an endless series of wars. Welfare State and Warfare State are both part of an ever expanding government and ever expanding debt.

As for Republicans vs. Democrats, you have two rival gangs vying for the levers of power without ever reducing either the welfare state or the warfare state. At best, they can both express hypocritical shock that the other side would “lie to the American people.” And the American people go along with the “good cop/bad cop” deception as if in the interrogation room of a Law and Order episode. To reduce critical thinking to arguments of the relative merits of Gruber’s vs. Curveball’s deception is merely to go along with the larger partisan deception.

Gruber and Curveball are just able to make a buck along the way from willing government customers. In physics, a thermodynamic quantity called entropy (related to disorder) always increases. Similarly, as Jefferson noted, “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

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[1] http://townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/2014/11/19/isnt-jonathan-gruber-worse-than-the-downing-street-memo-n1921260
[2] http://video.mit.edu/watch/mit-economist-gruber-clarifies-health-care-law-in-a-comic-book-11139/
[3] http://barelyablog.com/only-a-sicko-trusts-the-state-with-his-health/
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball_%28informant%29

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Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.


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