There are three important points about the role of Russia in the international community.
In order of importance:
Live from Riga: Why not just say that the candidate is ignorant and underbriefed, rather than pretending that he is informed and briefed so you can try to play "gotcha"? You have a candidate who is trying to say that "the U.S. will not be a sap" and only that "the U.S. will not be a sap". But you push him into saying things that others will interpret very differently:
NYT: "[The Baltic Republics] are NATO members, and we are treaty-obligated..."
Donald Trump: "We have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills."
Must-Read: Philip Stephens: America Can Survive Trump. Not so the West: "History can veer off course... in 1914... the first age of globalisation was consumed in the flames of the Great War... [in] the 1930s when economic hardship, protectionism and nationalism nurtured the rise of fascism...
I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it. XXXI pieces, from soup to nuts, below the fold:
October 28, 2016 at 01:02 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Strategy, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XXI: Educating the American People:
Here Romney expresses his low opinion of the American electorate. In this, he sells them short. I believe that in order to win the center of the American electorate in a presidential race, you need to demonstrate to them two things:
It's not that the voters are uninterested in policies, it's that they know they cannot learn enough to judge. So they--I think accurately--focus on values and competence.
Successful Republicans have traditionally focused on the first--or had a complaisant press do the first for them. But it is very difficult for Republicans to do, because the requirement that they cling to their base has made it hard since Reagan's retirement for them to claim that they share American values--unless they luck into or frame the contest as a khaki election.
Romney's message, however, was more of the second: that Obama was a jumped-up affirmative action candidate, who--like all affirmative action candidates--was unqualified for the job. He left the "Obama is a Kenyan Muslim socialist" for the fever swamps of his coalition. But he did little to stamp it out, either...
October 28, 2016 at 06:47 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Strategy, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (0)
I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XIX: We Need a Bigger Navy:
This is the type of thing that makes those of us experts who support Romney say: "He's just pretending to be this dumb. When he says that the navy is smaller than at any time since 1917 and the Air Force smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1946, he knows that the navy and air force aren't really weaker than they were then--he just wants to boobs in the debate audience to think that they are weaker."
Not a very high regard for the citizens of the United States of America, I must say...
And Obama's comeback--in the debate--is masterful:
The one thing Obama got wrong is that he did not believe that the Republican congressional leadership would decide that it was so enthusiastic about the sequester.
And, of course, once the Republicans decided to go for the sequester in early 2013, Romney no longer cared about the size of the navy and the air force. Urgent and important before the election. Not worth his time in the public sphere after.
I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XII: Palestine:
The biggest long-run problem with respect to Israel and Palestine is that Palestinian political leaders do not dare abandon the ultimate goal of erasing Israel, somehow, from the page of time. But the second biggest long-run problem with respect to Israel and Palestine is that Israeli political leaders want to keep large chunks of the West Bank. They are trapped by the curse of Arik Sharon--that he wanted to get religious fanatics building settlements on every Judaean and Samarian hilltop where he wished he had had a firebase in 1948.
And so, if you had to ask which human cities are most likely to become seas of radioactive glass over the next half century, the list has to start with: Damascus, Tel-Aviv, Cairo, Tehran.
And that is a big problem.
What does Romney have to say? That trying over and over again to be an honest broker does not work, and that the only thing that works is for us to somehow "show our strength.... American strength, American resolve..." and someday, somehow...
This is not confidence-inspiring in the least. Especially when viewed against the background of Romney's knee-jerk assumption that talking to people makes us "VEAK!!"
Part XI: Iraq: Status of Forces:
This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable!
The Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011...
"This president's failure"? For domestic political reasons, the Iraqi government wanted a promise of the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces, and President George W. Bush agreed. So Romney wanted Obama to... what? Threaten to pull all support from the Iraqi government if it did not pronto allow us to unilaterally alter the deal? Invade Iraq?
The drunk, abusive daddy party at work: Mitt Romney's Green Lanternism--which we see here shining quite brightly--made him, IMHO, no prize as a potential president...
Part X: Obama Is Weak and Naive: :
One way to look at American foreign policy since 1945 is to draw a contrast between the Kennanites and the Kissingerites. The Kennanites believe, by and large--except for when George Kennan and his followers would get into depressed Spenglerian moods--that the tide of history is running our way. They believe that our system and our values are immensely attractive They believe that all we need to do is to contain sources of trouble and then in the end--not too distant an end either--our soft power will win through for us.
The Kissingerites believe, by contrast, that we are, as Romney quotes Kissinger, "VEAK!" We are "VEAK!" because our people are unwilling to send our soldiers to die in substantial numbers in distant places over lengthy periods of time for dubious geopolitical advantages. We are "VEAK!" because the media, members of congress, and occasionally presidents do not have the stomach to bomb and burn things down in ways that kill substantial numbers of civilians.
Since we are "VEAK!", the Kissingerites think, we need to be scary-weak. We need people to fear that we will respond irrationally and destructively to whatever is going on if it crosses our interests. We cannot be predictable. We need to be drunk and abusive, so that people know that they must tiptoe quietly around this.
The fact that pursuing such a Nixonian-Kissingerite foreign policy strategy of rationally acting irrational is unfit for any self-respecting American to adopt, and furthermore greatly undermines our most powerful foreign-policy instrument--our soft power--is something that the Kissingerites do not grasp. Why? Because they do not understand that we have the soft power and that it is very strong indeed.
Kissinger did not start the Kissingerite strain in Republican foreign policy. John Foster Dulles did. Neither "massive retaliation" nor Nixon's four-year extension of the Vietnam War to get in 1972 the agreement of 1968 nor supporting Pakistan in its attempt to kill everyone in Bangladesh with a college education nor letting the Argentine generals think they had a blank check nor George W. Bush's many misadventures have served us well. But at least George H.W. Bush was a Kennanite.
Part IX: Iran:
If you ever thought the Republican Party was in any sense "the responsible Daddy Party" on foreign affairs. This should disabuse you. Mitt Romney is as good as it gets for Republicans as far as foreign policy is concerned since the retirement of George H. W. Bush. And this is "the drunk, abusive Daddy Party" in action:
Romney: Please. Yeah—I heard a voice, please.
Harold Nicolson (1936): Germany and the Rhineland: "What are we to do? We are between two incompatible rights...
...I think I can indicate how far in my own conscience, and within the orbit of my own knowledge and experience, a middle way, a way between war and dishonour, can be found.
I think in the first place we must convince the French that we are not dealing with a reasonable person [in Hitler], that we are dealing with somebody who is a pathological neurotic. I think we should say to the French:
We quite agree with you about all this, but we have got to treat these people carefully, or they will do something mad.
This speech is usually summed up in the quote (that I believe to be fake) that: "France and Britain had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour and will have war!"
That "war and dishonour" phrase is, I think, actually that of Sir Harold Nicolson on the Rhineland.
Nevertheless, the speech has, I think, great wisdom on when to evade and kick the can down the road, and when to take a stand on principle. Here is the Hon. Member for Epping:
Winston S. Churchill: On the Policy of His Majesty's Government: "If I do not begin this afternoon by paying the usual, and indeed almost invariable, tributes to the Prime Minister...
...for his handling of this crisis, it is certainly not from any lack of personal regard. We have always, over a great many years, had very pleasant relations, and I have deeply understood from personal experiences of my own in a similar crisis the stress and strain he has had to bear; but I am sure it is much better to say exactly what we think about public affairs, and this is certainly not the time when it is worth anyone's while to court political popularity.
Live from the Senate's Self-Made Gehenna: Jennifer Williams: [The Obama administration's case against the 9/11 bill, explained for Congress (and you)]:
The Senate on Wednesday voted 97-1 to override President Obama's veto of... JASTA, that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for its alleged financial support of al-Qaeda. And then things got weird. Almost immediately after the vote, 28 senators who had just voted for the bill sent a letter to the bill's Senate sponsors, Republican John Cornyn of Texas and Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, saying they were concerned about the "potential unintended consequences that may result from this legislation for the national security and foreign policy of the United States"....
Ada Palmer (2012): Machiavelli I:
My year in Florence has flown by, leaving me to face up to a life without battlements and medieval towers, without Botticelli and Verrocchio, without church bells to inform me when it’s noon, or 7 am, or 6 am, or 6:12 am (why?), without squash blossoms as a pizza topping, without good gelato within easy reach, and without looking out my window and realizing that the humungous dome of the cathedral is still shockingly humungous whenever I see it, and the facade so beautiful that it hasn’t started to feel real, not even after so long.
Comment of the Day: LosGatosCA: bin Laden:
"I don't know whether George W. Bush genuinely did not understand that Osama bin Laden could do this and survive was genuinely offensive, and worth spending a lot of resources to prevent, or whether he did understand it but just thought the Washington press corps he faced was really stupid." First, he didn't care about bin laden...
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Rice: If Rumsfeld, Pentagon Had Done Their Job, Iraq Might Have Turned Out Different:
Condi Rice: First, we didn’t invade Iraq to bring democracy — but once we overthrew Saddam, we had a view of what should follow. If Don and the Pentagon had done their job (after claiming the rights to lead post-war rebuilding—things might have turned out differently). Don should just stop talking. He puts his foot in his mouth every time.
Colin Powell: Doug and Paul claims they had a plan (turn Iraq and our Army over to Chalibi) and leave. 43 knew what had to be done, specifically rejected the Chalibi crowd and as you say the boys in the band were brain dead.
Live from George W. Bush's Self-Made Gehenna (March 2002): [President Bush Holds Press Conference]:
THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know [Osama bin Laden] is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is--really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just--he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is--as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide--if, in fact, he's hiding at all.
So I don't know where he is.
You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.
Scott Pelley: Do you think of waterboarding as a dark time in the history of your agency?
John Brennan: Sure. Waterboarding was something that was authorized. It was something that I do not believe was appropriate. It is something that is not used now and as far as I'm concerned will not be used again.
Scott Pelley: You were in management here at the time. You didn't stop it.
Comment of the Day: Oldster: Liveblogging World War II: August 10, 1945: Post-Nagasaki:
Anami told the other cabinet ministers that, under torture, a captured American P-51 fighter pilot...
Dean Acheson: From "Sketches from Life":
General Maxwell Taylor, then Commandant of our Sector in Berlin, had a reception for me to which the other three Commandants were, of course, invited. General Chuikov, he said, would not come: he had not attended any Western social function for months. I offered a ten-dollar bet that he would. General Taylor took it. The reception had been going for an hour and my chances seemed pretty dim.
And GOD! DO I NEED A SHOWER!!
Trish Regan playing hide-the-ball and gulling her viewers: The Intelligence Report
Hoisted from the Archives from Six Years Ago: Dean Acheson, FDR's Wishes, and the Origins of U.S. Engagement in World War II: I am always intrigued by Dean Acheson's account in Present at the Creation of how the U.S. escalated the Pacific crisis in 1941 by embargoing the export of oil from the U.S. (and Indonesia) to Japan. Roosevelt, it appears, had decided against embargoing oil exports as too provocative. Roosevelt, however, was willing to freeze Japanese assets--so that Japanese assets could be used only for purposes of which the U.S. approved.
Dean Acheson as Assistant Secretary of State responsible for implementing this policy decided that Japan should buy its oil not with frozen funds but with either (a) funds from Latin America not covered by the freeze, or (b) funds in the U.S. that had evaded the freeze. The Japanese government refused to admit the existence of any such funds. So no oil.
Live from the Cleveland Republican Dumpster Fire: The very sharp Brian Buetler points us to the Senate Majority Leader:
Mitch McConnell: Trump 'Wrong' on NATO:
I disagree with [Donald Trump]. NATO is the most important military alliance in world history. I want to reassure our NATO allies that if any of them get attacked, we'll be there to defend them.... I think he's wrong on that. I don't think that view would be prevalent or held by anybody he might make secretary of state or secretary of defense...
U.S. Constitution: Art. II: §2:
The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States...
The President. Not the Secretary of State. Not the Secretary of Defense. Not the Chief Officer of the
Praetorian Guard Secret Service. Not the Commander of Joint Base Andrews.
Live from the Cleveland Dumpster Fire: Donald Trump: Transcript: NATO, Turkey’s Coup Attempt and the World:
SANGER: So what we want to do is pick up where we left off in March. We were listening to Speaker Ryan last night, and he presented a much more traditional Republican, engaged internationalist view of the world. One in which he said that the United States would never lead from behind. In our conversation a few months ago, you were discussing pulling back from commitments we can no longer afford unless others pay for them. You were discussing a set of alliances that you were happy to participate in.
TRUMP: And I think, by the way, David, I think they will be able to afford them.
Live from the Cleveland Dumpster Fire: Donald Trump rejects the North Atlantic Treaty.
And, Maggie Haberman and David Sanger: it's not "extend the security guarantees"; it's "honor the promises and obligations":
Maggie Haberman and David Sanger: Donald Trump Plays Down Role of U.S. in Global Crises: "He even called into question whether, as president...
Dylan Matthews: No, Really, George W. Bush Lied About WMDs: "The best estimates available suggest that more than 250,000 people have died as a result of George W. Bush and Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq in 2003...
...A newly released investigative report from the UK government suggests that intelligence officials knew ahead of time that the war would cause massive instability and societal collapse and make the problem of terrorism worse — and that Blair and Bush went ahead with the effort anyway.
John Quincy Adams (1821): Independence Day Speech (July 4):
It is not, let me repeat, fellow citizens, it is not the long enumeration of intolerable wrongs concentrated in this declaration; it is not the melancholy catalogue of alternate oppression and entreaty, of reciprocated indignity and remonstrance, upon which, in the celebration of this anniversary, your memory delights to dwell.
Must-Read: I confess that I haven't been following Brexit, because it has seemed to me that--whatever you think of the European Union--Britain's strategy is obvious. It is large enough and important enough either to get an explicit carve out from European Union institutions it does not like (i.e., the Euro) or, if necessary, to nullify them. As long as it is in, it has a powerful voice to shape what happens in Brussels. Thus the right strategy is: Use your voice to pressure Brussels in positive directions, nullify the application inside Britain of European Union policies that are intolerable, and let the "leave" decision by theirs--make them throw you out if they don't like your attitude.
"Leave" has always seemed to me to be a destructive attempt to summon the demons of nationalism, and "leave"'s advocates have seemed to me to have careerist rather than public-spirited motivations...
Dan Davies: The absolute height of irresponsibility...:
Must-Read: Hervé Morin: Massacre Scene in Prehistoric Alsace: "In Achenheim, west of Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin are rarer...
Hoisted from the Archives from Two Years Ago: At least, slavery and serfdom are good things when done by Communists like Uncle Joe Stalin, according to Genovese:
Eugene Genovese: On Eric Hobsbawm (1995): "But still Hobsbawm raises hackles...
...especially with his argument that the collectivization of agriculture saddled the Soviet Union with economic inefficiencies from which it never recovered. Here he betrays a small dose of the Bukharinite romanticism that would have had the Soviet Union choose a slower, steadier economic course. His evidence, and the soberest parts of his generally lucid analysis, suggest what he finally and virtually concedes, which is that Stalin knew what he was about, while Bukharin was whistling Dixie.
June 04, 2016 at 06:29 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Strategy, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (16)
Live from America's Best Self: There is something deeply, deeply wrong with everybody who is not actively supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton against Donald Trump right now. Deeply, deeply wrong. I do not want any of them to ever be a controlling voice over anything in this country, ever.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Remarks on National Security and Choosing a Commander-in-Chief: "It really matters that Donald Trump says things that go against our deepest-held values...
...It matters when he says he’ll order our military to murder the families of suspected terrorists. During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not get it, but that’s what honor looks like...
Andrew Batson: What Xi Jinping really said about Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong: "I looked up the original remarks by Xi, which he made on January 5, 2013...
...in a speech entitled ‘Some Questions on Maintaining and Developing Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.’... There is an official summary... including the statement that Browne and Nathan focus on: ‘we cannot use the historical period after reform and opening to deny the historical period before reform and opening, nor can we use the historical period before reform and opening to deny the historical period after reform and opening’ (不能用改革开放后的历史时期否定改革开放前的历史时期，也不能用改革开放前的历史时期否定改革开放后的历史时期). But I also dug up the full text of the speech... which makes it easier to understand what Xi is getting at. Here is my translation of the most relevant section of the speech:
Live from the Roasterie: Yes. Reading David Samuels in The New York Times is like drinking bilgewater. Why do you ask?
Matt Yglesias: The Raging Controversy Over a Profile of Ben Rhodes, Explained: "What does [David] Samuels get wrong?...
...Virtually everything. For starters, neither Obama's foreign policy in general nor the Iran deal in particular is especially popular. So if you, like Samuels, believe Obama's approach to these issues has been bad, there is genuinely nothing to explain about his communications strategy.
Comment of the Day: Scott P.: From Halberstam's 'War in a Time of Peace': "When Scowcroft briefed the president...
...he always felt [H.W.] Bush’s sense of distance on the issue. The president would seem puzzled about the complexity of the Balkans, asking again and again which side was which, who were the Bosnians, who were the Bosnian Serbs, who were the Bosnian Muslims, who were the Kosovars, and who were the Croats and the Slovenians.... It clearly confused him, all these disparate places, strange names, and different ethnic groups...
Live from the Gehenna That Was Europe in the First Half of the Twentieth Century: If you haven't read Adam Tooze, you very much need to do so...
Mossy Character: Adam Tooze Reading Group: "This came up in comments...
...who's interested in a reading group for Adam Tooze? Tooze has written two popular books, The Wages of Destruction, about the Nazi war economy, and The Deluge, about America's role in the world political economy 1916-31. Both are long, dense, and revelatory.
Henry Farrell: Today is Krauthammer Day #13: "Again, it’s Krauthammer Day...
...Today is the unlucky thirteenth anniversary of the day when the prominent pundit announced:
In which I once again fail to understand where Niall Ferguson is coming from...
...Having annexed Crimea to Russia, President Putin still has forces camped out in eastern Ukraine. And all over the Muslim world, myriad Islamist organizations, from Islamic State to the Taliban, are using violence to pursue their atavistic goals. In practice, the Obama administration has had little choice but to keep using hard power, from the airstrikes on Islamic State to the economic sanctions on Russia...
And I think: Of course hard power can be decisive--but one needs to have a lot of it, and be willing not just to threaten to use it but to actually use it, and not care that one's use of it may lead the abyss to look into you, and turn you into something you did not want to be, and so cause you to lose even as you "win".
Live from the Bellagio: Yes, there is something terribly wrong with the Republican Party's base and the establishment that has now spent 25 years feeding it. Why do you ask?
Duncan Black: Eschaton: George Bush Did One Thing Right: "I find it rather disturbing how it's 'controversial' that Obama thinks terrorist attacks mean we shouldn't blame all Muslims...
Live from Binyamin Netanyahu's and the Rumpublicans' Self-Made Gehenna: David Weigel: AIPAC’s Apology for Trump Speech Is Unprecedented: "AIPAC President Lillian Pinkus... choking back tears, Pinkus apologized... implying that Donald Trump had violated...
Must-Read: May I say that I do not understand what the entire point of labeling Henry Kissinger an "idealist" would be?
Of course, I also do not understand what the point of the idealist-realist divide is. Everyone has hopes for a better world, and reaches for them. Everyone has to grapple with the world as it is.
The true divisions among international relations specialists are, I think, twofold:
The division between those who are being smart and being stupid.
The division between (i) those who believe that international relations is non-cooperative zero sum and that one's purpose is to advance the interests or one's own nation-state or ethnolinguistic grouping; and (ii) those who believe that international relations is cooperative and positive-sum and that trust via favors with the hope of their subsequent return via gift-exchange is worth building.
Smart vs. stupid; and nationalist vs. cosmopolitan.
Kissinger is, I think, an often- (as in his Nuclear Weapons and American Foreign Policy) but not always-stupid nationalist.
Jonathan Kirshner: Machinations of Wicked Men: "[Niall Ferguson's] central claim—Kissinger the idealist—is... wrong. Simply, plainly, fundamentally, and exactly wrong...
"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow..."
Winston S. Churchill: "Iron Curtain" Speech at Westminster College in Fulton, MO:
I am glad to come to Westminster College this afternoon, and am complimented that you should give me a degree.
The name "Westminster" is somehow familiar to me. I seem to have heard of it before. Indeed, it was at Westminster that I received a very large part of my education in politics, dialectic, rhetoric, and one or two other things. In fact we have both been educated at the same, or similar, or, at any rate, kindred establishments.
Live from the Trumpublicans' and the Rumpublicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Robert Farley: #NeverTrump: "I suppose I should celebrate this letter...
...and I do applaud the work that went into it http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/open-letter-on-donald-trump-from-gop-national-security-leaders/...
Live from La Farine: Kudos to General Hayden for being a real soldier. But I am much less optimistic here than Mark about the national-security, the military-industrial, and the establishment-Republican contexts. I remember that from 2001-2008 we had not one but two buffoons in the White House giving illegal orders. And there were remarkable few peeps of complaint:
Mark Kleiman: Donald Trump, Michael Hayden, unlawful orders, and the Establishment: "Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who ran the NSA and then the CIA under George W. Bush...
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787