March 12, 2013

"The neocons are paranoid. The neocons are paranoid because Rand Paul comes from his father's gene pool."

"This isolationist wing is worried about maybe there's something more going on here than simply opposing drone strikes. There's all kinds of ramifications. Well, they might think he's a kook, but they're worried that he's a kook that nobody thinks is a kook, and so they'll follow him. He's a stealth kook."

164 comments:

rhhardin said...

My impression was that Rush was siding with Paul's taking something to Obama, not his particular position.

edutcher said...

Paul has them really scared.

Good!

Shouting Thomas said...

I don't know much about Rand, and I'm not one to get excited about politicians.

But, we need to pull back from all the foreign adventures and dramatically reduce the size of our military.

Fred Reed, as usual, emerges from his drinking long enough to talk some basic sense.

We are not the selfless savior of the world and purveyor of democracy that we imagine ourselves to be. That stuff is nonsense. We need to identify our self-interest and reduce our military in that light.

Tim said...

One of the great ironies of the European/Democrat opposition to the American war on terrorism as executed in Afghanistan and Iraq is that when one lightly scratches almost any American, but especially a Republican strong on defense and national security, one will find an isolationist.

Complain too hard about the American security umbrella, and someday, one might find that umbrella gone.

Lots of Republicans are shrugging their shoulders at the apocalyptic sequestration defense cuts.

Ingratitude has a price.

Nonapod said...

The entire premise of this article seems to be that Rush reversed himself, that he's being hypocritical. But if you actually read all those excised excerpts you'll notice that at no point does Rush commit to saying he agrees with this theoretical isolationalism of Rand Paul.

jr565 said...

He comes across as more level headed than Ron Paul. But he still has his fathers genes.
Until this stunt I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't his fathers son. But now I'm skeptical.

AJ Lynch said...

Name the last time a neocon like William Kristol was right about anything? I don't know why Fox still employs him.

Hagar said...

I do not know why we are in Afghanistan, Libya, and wherever, but I am fairly certain it is not for the reasons we are being told.

So. a little honesty would help. Explaining to us why we really are in these places would also be a good exercise for our fearless leaders to explain it to themselves, and once we all have a handle on the reasons why, then we can maybe make some rational decisions on what is worth doing, or not, and perhaps device some better strategies for achieving the worthwhile purposes.

Bob Ellison said...

That Friedersdorf essay reads like a hen pecking on an old log. Does he have a point?

Robert Cook said...

"I do not know why we are in Afghanistan, Libya, and wherever, but I am fairly certain it is not for the reasons we are being told.

"So. a little honesty would help. Explaining to us why we really are in these places would also be a good exercise for our fearless leaders...."


Our "leaders" are never going to offer truthful explanations for our military intrusions into Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc., because they have no justifiable reasons.

We are not fighting to "defend" or "protect" anyone, to "bring democracy" (sic) to anyone, but to expand our power, to crush those we deem to be threats to our hegemony, and to justify the expansion of government and military authoritarianism (and the concomitant filleting of our civil liberties).

Power is its own justification, and the expansion of power its only goal.

Shouting Thomas said...

Isolationist is a strange contrived term, which apparently means "minding our own business."

The meaning of the word "defense" seems pretty clear. The U.S. is on "offense."

Lyssa said...

ShoutingT: We are not the selfless savior of the world and purveyor of democracy that we imagine ourselves to be. That stuff is nonsense. We need to identify our self-interest and reduce our military in that light.

I would agree with this, but it should be approached with caution. Ron Paul would go much further than this, IMO. His attitude of "just leave them alone and they'll leave us alone" is as unrealistically idealistic as any liberal redistribution scheme.

I do not know whether the same can be said for Rand Paul, and I am withholding judgment on him as a possible presidential contender until I do.

edutcher said...

Robert Cook said...

"I do not know why we are in Afghanistan, Libya, and wherever, but I am fairly certain it is not for the reasons we are being told.

"So. a little honesty would help. Explaining to us why we really are in these places would also be a good exercise for our fearless leaders...."

Our "leaders" are never going to offer truthful explanations for our military intrusions into Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc., because they have no justifiable reasons.

We are not fighting to "defend" or "protect" anyone, to "bring democracy" (sic) to anyone, but to expand our power, to crush those we deem to be threats to our hegemony, and to justify the expansion of government and military authoritarianism (and the concomitant filleting of our civil liberties).

Power is its own justification, and the expansion of power its only goal.


It hasn't changed since it was first written in 1932 in thew 5th sub-basement of the Kremlin.

Shouting Thomas said...

I don't know much about Rand, and I'm not one to get excited about politicians.

But, we need to pull back from all the foreign adventures and dramatically reduce the size of our military.


No, we need an Army and Navy about the size it was under Reagan.

And all those "adventures" came as a result of being attacked. What's happened in the last 4 years is that things have suffered because Commandante Zero is leading from his behind.

Cut and run don't work.

jr565 said...

Nonapod wrote:
The entire premise of this article seems to be that Rush reversed himself, that he's being hypocritical. But if you actually read all those excised excerpts you'll notice that at no point does Rush commit to saying he agrees with this theoretical isolationalism of Rand Paul.

He took it to Obama. As such, I'm sure he was happy about that. But Rush spoke out for things like Gitmo and the critics of the war on terror.
As such I can't think he'd agree with a premise of libertarians that we should govern war by due process, or that we should hinder a president abililty to wage war by applying someone bullshit standard that never governed war before.
Ron Paul was ok on the economy. But he was full of shit on foreign policy. If Rand Paul goes in that direction, he will gain the Paulians but will lose the rest.

Remember, and this is a warning I gave democrats when Bush was still in office, if you win the WHite House you are then responsible for waging wars, and keeping this country safe. You don't hobble the presidents legitimate power and apply a standard that has never been applied because of appeals to your kook base. Because if you win YOU will be responsible for protecting the country and presidential war powers are NOT governed by due process for a reason. If you hobble the presidents powere you will then do so for you.

Why is Obama such a hypocrite? Why is he carrying out the war the way Bush did? Because despite playing to his base to get elected, once in office he has to realistically wage war and requires certain powers to do so.

IF your argument appeals to COde Pink you should rethink your position. (that goes for Rand Paul)

bagoh20 said...

"We are not the selfless savior of the world and purveyor of democracy that we imagine ourselves to be. That stuff is nonsense. We need to identify our self-interest and reduce our military in that light."

I have long been a neocon and supported the Iraq war, Afghanistan, Vietnam and WWII.

I think we have been in fact saviors and purveyors of democracy, and have saved millions from despotism at great cost to ourselves. It may not be entirely selfless, but it is damned close, when you consider what we spent and who gains from it.

Despite that, I too am coming around to the idea that we just need to stop most of that effort. Not because it's the wrong thing to do, but because we don't seem to be able to do it. We don't have the excess capacity, either moral, political or economic that we once did. We sacrificed far far more in WWII than anything since, but politically we just can't get behind anything like that and accomplish much.

The fact that the actual warfare has gotten easier means that half the country can comfortably be against any particular action and sabotage it from within, which greatly increases the real costs to us, and destroys the ability to make a clean powerful difference. Everyone knows it will eventually fall apart politically, regardless of how many battles we win.

I'm very proud of what we have done and how we do it. Who else sacrifices so much and tries so hard to save people around the world with ROE that are practically suicidal at times while trying to make a difference to innocent people being treated like livestock in their own countries. There is no other nation even in the same universe on that. We have been exceptional, and we still can be, but we need a different approach. We simply can't afford the sacrifices needed, and everyone knows our weakness. We have a political glass jaw. We will pummel you, but in the end the judges will call it a tie, and you will still be there to do your shit.

If we withdraw from the world, we will be ashamed of what we will stand by and watch, but we will survive, live a little better, and be able to afford to support more sloth among our people. Maybe it's just the power of entropy winning out.

Colonel Angus said...

Lots of Republicans are shrugging their shoulders at the apocalyptic sequestration defense cuts.

Ingratitude has a price.


Indeed. As a matter of fact, with the nuke rattling coming from North Korea, I can't think of a better time to pull our troops out and let the ROK and Japan look out for themselves.

Shouting Thomas said...

And all those "adventures" came as a result of being attacked. What's happened in the last 4 years is that things have suffered because Commandante Zero is leading from his behind.

There's no doubt we were attacked.

But, you've got to know when to cut your losses and get the hell out. The time to do that in regard to Afghanistan is now.

We no longer have any idea why we're there. We're now the sole support of a completely corrupt society, and we're killing people for no sane purpose.

Colonel Angus said...

We're now the sole support of a completely corrupt society, and we're killing people for no sane purpose

I agree. I think we should leave then to go back to killing each other for no sane purpose.

Bob_R said...

I don't think the neocons are paranoid. Their fears are entirely justified. They have had a lot of influence in US foreign policy for twelve years. They can't exactly proclaim great success. The best they can do is, "well it would have been a lot worse if we hadn't been in charge." Rand Paul's neoisolationist stand is in no way kooky, and it looks bad to call it that. It may be wrong, but it's not obviously wrong. It's something that everyone can understand, and it has some obvious advantages over the current "USA World Police" policy. I don't know how big it can get, but a serious "bring the boys home" movement can make some headway the in the Republican party. It has certainly done it before.

Larry J said...

I spent 13 years on active duty (Army and Air Force), two more years in the reserves and 18 years as a defense contractor. I'm not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do believe that the US has carried the load for far too long when it comes to defending our "allies" in Europe and Asia. If they don't see a military threat, then why should we spend over $100 billion a year protecting them? And if they do see a military threat, why aren't they doing more to address the issue instead of leaving it up to us?

It's understandable that we picked up most of the load immediately following WWII. Those other countries had been ravaged by war (often by our own bombs) and there was reluctance to rearm Germany and Japan. The war ended almost 68 years ago. Germany and Japan are far from the aggressive nations they were then (perhaps too much so) and things are much better now economically. It's time for them to pay for a larger share of their own defense.

Michael K said...

Iraq was a reasonable attempt to see if a democracy could work in a Muslim country. I think they overestimated the chances and State screwed it up by imposing a lengthy occupation but it was a reasonable concept. It didn't work. Now we know.

There is no reasonable prospect that Afghanistan, a primitive tribal society a thousand years from civilization, could be a democracy. When the King still ruled 50 years ago he was "the mayor of Kabul."

We need to get out today and get out of Pakistan and tilt toward India, which Obama has not been doing. He sure seems to love Muslim countries. I wonder why ?

If Pakistan gives nukes to terrorists, our only real strategic interest there, we would find with decent intelligence, and could flatten the place.

Don't expect Obama to do this. That column shows the lefties usual inability to understand the right.

Colonel Angus said...

If we withdraw from the world, we will be ashamed of what we will stand by and watch,

Speak for yourself.

jr565 said...

SHouting Thomas wrote:
The meaning of the word "defense" seems pretty clear. The U.S. is on "offense."

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

jr565 said...

Colonel Angus wrote:
Speak for yourself.

How do you propose we "withdraw from the world"? Do you really think Fortress America is remotely feasible?

Nathan Alexander said...

We need a strong Navy to ensure freedom of navigation along major Sea Lines of Communication. The rest of the world free rides on our efforts, but as the world's largest economy and with a largely free-trade based information economy, we still benefit most.

We need a strong Air Force to maintain global strike and global transportation capability, as will as being the main source of international intelligence at all levels.

The global strike Air Force could support insurgents to topple oppressive terrorist-supporting regimes. No need to send the US Army afterward...let nations rebuild themselves, and build a peaceful nation if they want peace. If they rebuild another terrorist-supporting oppressive govt, you use the Air Force to topple that govt as well. Repeat as needed until a peaceful group obtains and retains power.

We need strong Army and Marines to protect Embassies and other outposts, and to support insurgencies where the oppressive dictator has too much power. But we only go in with the understanding that once combat operations are done, we are out again.

That's what I'd do. We would still spend less, because we wouldn't have the long-term costs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Iran and Syria and maybe NK would already be working on rebuilding themselves.

TosaGuy said...

The presidential selection process on the GOP side does a pretty good job of winnowing out the flavors of the month.

It is up to Sen. Paul to build himself into a candidate with a broad enough coalition to win. He cannot do his filibuster thing too many times (if ever again) or he will risk becoming a one-trick pony.

I like what he did because he used the right platform and the right principles and tone to express his ideas. As a result, I don't have to agree with him on all the nuts and bolts of the issue.

jr565 said...

Bob_R wrote:
It's something that everyone can understand, and it has some obvious advantages over the current "USA World Police" policy. I don't know how big it can get, but a serious "bring the boys home" movement can make some headway the in the Republican party. It has certainly done it before.

If you are still in the midst of hostilities it may not be wise to bring the boys back home. What might happen if you do.
And the Wordl does need a policeman. It may not be a good idea for it to be the US but then who?

Beach Brutus said...

Bagho20 at 10:04 -- One the most thoughtful post I've read here. I think since the Marshall Plan we've had the attitude that we can't simply blow our enemies up - we have to help rehabilitate them. This leads to nation building. Instead I propose a throw-back policy, to wit:

"America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet on her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world; she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind."

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, address to U.S. House of Representatives, Jul. 4, 1821
ropse

AJ Lynch said...

Bago said:
"If we withdraw from the world, .......we will .....be able to afford to support more sloth among our people"

That is what the Dems and Obama want but they refuse to admit it.

Colonel Angus said...

How do you propose we "withdraw from the world"?

Well for starters, I would withdraw forces from Europe. I think we still have around 100,000 plus over there and since the Warsaw Pact has been dissolved for oh, 20 years, don't see our purpose there. Japan and ROK are both modern and wealthy countries that can easily afford defense forces capable of fending off attacks. No reason we should be pulled in.

Do you really think Fortress America is remotely feasible?

Sure. Much moreso than our current international footprint. Unless of course you can tell me why NATO is even remotely relevant today. Other than for bombing Serbians or Libyans that is.

bagoh20 said...

The real problem with modernity is democracy. The people willing to attempt great altruistic and difficult things have always been outnumbered, and now eventually it comes down to a vote. That has it's benefits and costs. I hope we don't adopt a policy of just closing the curtains when trouble comes to our neighbors house. We have usually been better than that, and we really are the only big guys in the village.

jr565 said...

Nathan Alexander wrote:
We need strong Army and Marines to protect Embassies and other outposts, and to support insurgencies where the oppressive dictator has too much power. But we only go in with the understanding that once combat operations are done, we are out again.

That's what I'd do. We would still spend less, because we wouldn't have the long-term costs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Iran and Syria and maybe NK would already be working on rebuilding themselves.

But operations include leaving behind a stable environment so we dont have to resume operations shortly at a later date.
AFter WWII was over we stayed in Japan and Germany for decades.

A certain amount of nation building may be required.

THe alternative, dropping bombs and leaving nothing but rubble may seem like the more expedient way to wage war, but many people will not really be up for scorched earth war fare where we just kill all the men women and children we can find and let god sort them out as our default war position.

Then again, Bush was actually blamed and called a warmonger for trying to not target the populace in Iraq. so maybe you're damned if you do and don't anyway.

jr565 said...

Colonel Angus wrote:
We need strong Army and Marines to protect Embassies and other outposts, and to support insurgencies where the oppressive dictator has too much power. But we only go in with the understanding that once combat operations are done, we are out again.

That's what I'd do. We would still spend less, because we wouldn't have the long-term costs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Iran and Syria and maybe NK would already be working on rebuilding themselves.

Removing assets from places that are no longer required to hold is not Fortress America. We'd still have assets in places that we needed to hold.
I certainly agree that Europe should start paying its fair share, but that's a totally separate question ultimately.

Shouting Thomas said...

We have usually been better than that, and we really are the only big guys in the village.

The problem here is that we are now exporting feminism and gay activism to traditional societies that don't want either.

I don't see any great value in military adventures for this purpose.

Back when I was in college, leftists called this "cultural imperialism." They seem to have forgotten that term.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, for the lefties, here's a challenge.

How about if we stop fighting abroad for oil, and, instead, exploit to the fullest our now ample domestic oil and gas reserves?

If you buy the "war for oil" motto, why do you insist on shutting down U.S. fossil fuel production? Are you just trying to export the potential source of pollution?

sonicfrog said...

Shouting T... We don't always agree on things, but we agree here. And glad to see some are finally coming around to see the folly of our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Should we have gone into Afghanistan and bombed the crap out of them after 9/11.... Hell Yes! Realistically, if we weren't so damned entangled in Saudi Arabia, we should have take out targets in that country that were complicit. If we're attacked without provocation, these countries, and peoples should know there will be a heavy price to pay. But what we're doing now is extracting in some ways as much of a price on our country as it is on the other two.

It's a dead-end conflict with no strategy for victory. And don't blame Obama specifically for that. His predecessor didn't have a clue how to win either. He though once they got a taste of democracy, all the bad guys would give up and everything would be hunky-dorky. What a naive fool....

Man... I'm bitter this morning.

Colonel Angus said...

I hope we don't adopt a policy of just closing the curtains when trouble comes to our neighbors house. We have usually been better than that, and we really are the only big guys in the village.

Well here is my problem. I don't think we need to maintain a couple hundred thousand troops stationed around the four corners in the off chance trouble comes knocking on our neighbors.

There is providing a helping hand and then there is military welfare which what we are largely doing.

Writ Small said...

It relates to what you think caused 9/11 and why you think it hasn't been repeated. Father and son Paul, not to mention Bob Wright and Jeremiah Wright, attribute 9/11 to blowback and chickens coming home to roost from our foreign policy. Why they think we've been relatively safe for eleven plus years I couldn't say, but given that Jeremiah’s former parishioner continued the policies of GWB once he reviewed the security briefings speaks volumes.

We’re war weary and broke, so it’s natural for people to want to conserve resources and tend to our own. Given the election results, maybe neo-isolationism is inevitable. But for those who elevate individual rights above all other considerations, ask yourselves what’s going to happen to those rights when the next big attack against us succeeds.

TosaGuy said...

It's best to defend the US from someplace other than the US. We have benefitted immensely from not having to fight on our soil those who will do us harm.

That doesn't mean we stay in involved in decade-long wars and engage in nation building. Nor does it mean that we subsidize the defense of an entire first-world continent.

It does mean that we maintain our ability to project force where and when it is needed.

edutcher said...

Shouting Thomas said...

And all those "adventures" came as a result of being attacked. What's happened in the last 4 years is that things have suffered because Commandante Zero is leading from his behind.

There's no doubt we were attacked.

But, you've got to know when to cut your losses and get the hell out. The time to do that in regard to Afghanistan is now.

We no longer have any idea why we're there. We're now the sole support of a completely corrupt society, and we're killing people for no sane purpose


And blame for that goes right to Little Zero, who wanted to show the world he knew more than everybody else.

If, by some miracle, we are rid of the current junta in less than 4 years, my advice to the incoming Republican (or whatever) President would be to turn A-stan back into a Special Forces fight, which it was while Dubya was there.

As for Iraq, we can't know what might have happened because Choom was more interested in massaging his ego than doing what was right.

Robert Cook said...

"I spent 13 years on active duty (Army and Air Force), two more years in the reserves and 18 years as a defense contractor. I'm not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do believe that the US has carried the load for far too long when it comes to defending our 'allies' in Europe and Asia. If they don't see a military threat, then why should we spend over $100 billion a year protecting them? And if they do see a military threat, why aren't they doing more to address the issue instead of leaving it up to us?"

We're continuing our military activities, our "defense" (sic) of allies abroad, because there's money and power in it! The military gets to justify increasing budgets; the intelligence agencies get to justify increasing surveillance of the entire world, (meaning: increasing budgets); the arms manufacturers and dealers and associated corporations providing support services (e.g., Halliburton and Blackwater, and the entire metastasizing industry providing mercenaries--oops, I mean "private contractors," are beneficiaries of hugely profitable government contracts; and the government gets to justify increasing authoritarian rule.

The whole thing is a sham and has nothing to do with defending anyone. It's about power and money, two of the four perennials driving world conflict, (the two being religion and pussy).

(When you think about it, power, money, religion and pussy have always been mixed up with each other in various combinations throughout history.)

Colonel Angus said...

Removing assets from places that are no longer required to hold is not Fortress America. We'd still have assets in places that we needed to hold.

The quote you attributed to me wasn't mine. Perhaps you should define what you mean by Fortress America. What places do we need to hold, other than US possessions?

I certainly agree that Europe should start paying its fair share, but that's a totally separate question ultimately.

Actually Europe, and NATO, specifically go to the heart of the issue about reducing our overseas footprint. Like the Warsaw Pact, NATO has outlived its usefulness. There is no threat to Europe that justifies our maintaining the forces we have over there.

jr565 said...

sonicfrog wrote:
t's a dead-end conflict with no strategy for victory. And don't blame Obama specifically for that. His predecessor didn't have a clue how to win either. He though once they got a taste of democracy, all the bad guys would give up and everything would be hunky-dorky. What a naive fool....

No he didn't think that. He thought that there are people in that part of the world that are not the crazy bad guys who would respond to democracy and could over the long term become allies against those bad guys.
And that such democratization would be stablizing to both the region and our relationships.
How is that wrong?
Iraq may not be our best friend, but are we now reuqired to set up no fly zones and having the UN attempt to disarm Iraq?
These cnages also take time. Turning Japan from what it was in WWII to a stable ally (relatively) took decades and required a presense the whole time. Though, a presense that no longer has hostilities between us.

Robert Cook said...

"And all those 'adventures' came as a result of being attacked."

Nope.

The attack was just an excuse for the boys in power to do what they always wanted to do, and our response was ill-conceived, murderous, disproportionate, illegal, and a failure.

Hagar said...

And are going to continue to be, so we need to work with what we've got.
Everybody can't retire to a cabin in the wilds of Idaho.

traditionalguy said...

Rand Paul is an isolationist. But he is smarter than Dear Old Dad.

The isolationists were all of the American citizens until 1940. And then by early 1942 we were going hellbent for a victory over Germany before Russia would quit and Britain be defeated.

Stationing the Pacific Fleet in Oahu plus embargoing Japanese oil was FDR's trump card, and it came just in time to eliminate the isolationist's clout.

By the summer of 1942 the Stalingrad victory by Zhukov's Red Army and the Midway victory by Chester Nimitz's Carriers had pulled us back out of probably losing the war. But that was too close a call to soon be forgotten.

The GOP has turned its back of the religious conservatives so Rand Paul will get their support as well. This is getting interesting.

Shouting Thomas said...

(When you think about it, power, money, religion and pussy have always been mixed up with each other in various combinations throughout history.)

Well, we're human. That's the human condition.

This reality is not going to change. That's what we are. The question is how to best deal with that reality.

bagoh20 said...

"The attack was just an excuse for the boys in power to do what they always wanted to do, and our response was ill-conceived, murderous, disproportionate, illegal, and a failure."

No, you just can't see anything else once you decide you are against it, which is automatic, lazy and does not involve the use of much brain power. At least make an effort, dude. A complex part of history cannot be jammed into your silly little "Against It" box full of terrible things.

edutcher said...

traditionalguy said...

Rand Paul is an isolationist. But he is smarter than Dear Old Dad.

The isolationists were all of the American citizens until 1940. And then by early 1942 we were going hellbent for a victory over Germany before Russia would quit and Britain be defeated.

Stationing the Pacific Fleet in Oahu plus embargoing Japanese oil was FDR's trump card, and it came just in time to eliminate the isolationist's clout.

By the summer of 1942 the Stalingrad victory by Zhukov's Red Army and the Midway victory by Chester Nimitz's Carriers had pulled us back out of probably losing the war. But that was too close a call to soon be forgotten.


I wouldn't bet the farm everybody was Isolationist in the '30s.


And Stalingrad was February '43.

tg may be thinking of Dec '41 in Moscow.

We weren't assured of winning until the Battle of the Atlantic was won and we knew China wouldn't be knocked out of the war.

August '43.

The GOP has turned its back of the religious conservatives so Rand Paul will get their support as well. This is getting interesting.

That's really jumping the gun. Besides, I think most religious Conservatives would like a fighter rather than a RINO in '16.

Robert Cook said...

And all those 'adventures' came as a result of being attacked.

Nope.

The attack was just an excuse for the boys in power to do what they always wanted to do, and our response was ill-conceived, murderous, disproportionate, illegal, and a failure


Nothing like self-fulfilling prophecy, huh?

As I say, 5 sub-basement, '32.

jr565 said...

Colonel Angus wrote:
Well here is my problem. I don't think we need to maintain a couple hundred thousand troops stationed around the four corners in the off chance trouble comes knocking on our neighbors

With all respect that's simply stupid. We have trouble spots all over the world that could erupt into full scale escalations quite easily. There's all the stuff happening in the Middle East, North Korea, Pakistan, North Africa.
In fact the places where we dont have problems are the ones we pacified through war.
Just to contain Iraq in the first place required us to set troops down into Saudi Arabia.If we were to go anywhere, we need to get permission to move troops through territory, which requires us to have alliances with countries or already have bases there.

Colonel Angus said...

The attack was just an excuse for the boys in power to do what they always wanted to do, and our response was ill-conceived, murderous, disproportionate, illegal, and a failure.

Typically when you are attacked, a lethal response is not an excuse but required. Unless of course you are a pacifist.

I will submit that the follow on attempts of trying to civilize a tribal Muslim society and bring about something resembling a functioning government there was ill conceived.

EMD said...

Indeed. As a matter of fact, with the nuke rattling coming from North Korea, I can't think of a better time to pull our troops out and let the ROK and Japan look out for themselves.

That's all well and good until we HAVE to go back and clean up the mess.

You know it to be true.

sonicfrog said...

Writ Small said:

But for those who elevate individual rights above all other considerations, ask yourselves what’s going to happen to those rights when the next big attack against us succeeds.

That's what I worry about the most.

The question is, is our continued presence in Afghanistan and Iraq "stopping" terrorist attacks from reaching our shores?

Of course not! That's flawed logic.

Does our war in Afghanistan prevent the planning of an attack because we're there preventing the planning? An attack can be planned from anywhere. Just because 9 / 11 was planned in Afghanistan, or another middle East country, doesn't mean they will all be planned from there. It can be planned from anywhere.

Is our fighting taking all the Al-Qaeda soldiers from the act of terrorism and placing them on the battle field instead? Some, maybe. Does anyone think that they don't have the capacity to spare a few men to plot and try to carry out the next attack? Britain got attacked twice a few years after they also went to war.

Which brings me to point. The two wars have not stopped the next attack as much as the much tighter security, and simply the awareness to look for the next attack. 9 / 11 worked because they were able to use planes as weapons. hell, in retrospect, we made it easy for them to do so.

I have no doubt there are a few cells on Canada or Mexico, planning and plotting for the next attack. We've made it much harder to succeed than it was 13 years ago. That is why we haven't been attacked.

This isn't unlike the Anarchists at the turn of the 20th Century. They had had some successful attacks. But once they committed to a path of violence, they started to lose the ability to carry out that violence because Governments became more aware of the threats and took precautions to try and prevent the next ones, thwarting the efforts of the anarchists to do so.

But don't fool yourselves. Another attack is coming. And it doesn't matter who is in the White House. They'll find a way to do it.

And we'll find a way to overreact.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
The attack was just an excuse for the boys in power to do what they always wanted to do, and our response was ill-conceived, murderous, disproportionate, illegal, and a failure."

that's simplistic (and wrong). But even if so, wasn't the attack against us in 9/11 what the enemy wanted to do? So, if the outcome of letting our enemy doing what it wants to do means that we have the WTC in rubbble and 3000 dead, why can't we do what we want to do?
Do you think that absent an enemy doing what it wants to do to us that we'd want to attack them? Like for example, how many people want to us to wage war against Sweden?
Is there a reason to wage war against Sweden? Is there a reason to wage war against Al Qaeda?

bagoh20 said...

"By the summer of 1942 the Stalingrad victory by Zhukov's Red Army and the Midway victory by Chester Nimitz's Carriers had pulled us back out of probably losing the war. But that was too close a call to soon be forgotten."

We would have never lost that war, unless the Germans beat us to the bomb, and probably not even then. The war may have cost us a lot, but we didn't even get close to going all in. This nation had substantial reserves of resources and commitment yet to give, and thankfully it never got there. The Russians would have been even harder to hold if the Germans had beaten them. That was a fools errand by a fool. The Germans and the Japanese were both beaten on day one, when they both overestimated who they were.

jr565 said...

I will submit that the follow on attempts of trying to civilize a tribal Muslim society and bring about something resembling a functioning government there was ill conceived.

was a attempt to try to civilize a war mongering country that believed its emperor was god ill conceived?
Granted it took utterly bringing it to its knees before hand, but would you rather be dealing with Japan under Hirohito, or Japan today?

EMD said...

The Germans and the Japanese were both beaten on day one, when they both overestimated who they were.

The Nazis end game wasn't really well-thought out.

A master race? Yeah, sure. Rolling over the French and the Polish were the easy part.

Like Eddie Izzard said "Hitler never played Risk when he was a kid."

EMD said...

I will submit that the follow on attempts of trying to civilize a tribal Muslim society and bring about something resembling a functioning government there was ill conceived.

To 'civilize' Afghanistan, you would have to destroy it completely.

jr565 said...

The left always talks about how they hate us for our policies. Well what about us hating them for their policies? or if they react to what we do, wouldnt we react to what they do?
Are we not entitled to do so because we are the US? Or is that sin somehow uniquely ours because we are American (are we for example the only country that has a foreign policy?)

Balfegor said...

Re: Isolationism, I think Limbaugh, as quoted by Friedersdorf, has it 180 degrees backwards. Paul is the isolationist. The neocons who are worried about Paul are the opposite of isolationists. They are proponents of extensive engagement with the world beyond our borders.

Colonel Angus said...

With all respect that's simply stupid. We have trouble spots all over the world that could erupt into full scale escalations quite easily. There's all the stuff happening in the Middle East, North Korea, Pakistan, North Africa.

Well I guess you need to convince me why we need to respond to any of those places. North Korea will likely invade South Korea, not California. Let the ROK handle it. They certainly can afford the type and size of military needed to beat the North. If the Pakis and Indians decide to go to war, what are we supposed to do about it?

Just to contain Iraq in the first place required us to set troops down into Saudi Arabia.

Well I didn't think Iraq needed containing but that's my opinion. We could have bought oil from Saddam as easily as the Saudis who, by the way, don't hate us any less.

If we were to go anywhere, we need to get permission to move troops through territory, which requires us to have alliances with countries or already have bases there.

Sure and we successfully did that after 9/11 with Pakistan and several of the former Soviet 'stans.

edutcher said...

WWII came a lot closer to being lost than most people think. For most of 1942, the US Army was aiming at a force of 200 divisions, with a maximum set at 334.

Had, for example, Operation Orient, a plan for the Germans and Japanese to co-ordinate their campaigns been implemented, things would have been a lot tougher.

Thew Japanese succeeded in driving the royal Navy back to East Africa in February '42 and were looking at an invasion of Ceylon, followed by an occupation of Madagascar, and an invasion of India.

Drive the Limeys out of the Raj and you can knock China (which, similar to Russia, was holding down the bulk of the enemy's army (7/8)) out of the war. Free up 7/8 of the Japanese army for the Pacific and offer millions of anti-British Indians a chance to fight for Hitler and we lose the war.

Colonel Angus said...

I will submit that the follow on attempts of trying to civilize a tribal Muslim society and bring about something resembling a functioning government there was ill conceived.

Something like that requires the long haul.

Her Majesty in Inja.

Us in Texas.

Or Massachusetts.

Colonel Angus said...

was a attempt to try to civilize a war mongering country that believed its emperor was god ill conceived?

No because Japan was a modern and homogenous society with a culture that demanded strict discipline to an Emperor whose unifying authority made such a societal change successful. That is why we agreed to the condition that Hirohito remained on the throne.

Afghanistan is in addition to being Muslim, and the baggage that brings with it, is an 10th century, ethnically mixed tribal culture with no centralized unifying authority that can facilitate societal change.

So yes, ill conceived.

Colonel Angus said...

was a attempt to try to civilize a war mongering country that believed its emperor was god ill conceived?

No because Japan was a modern and homogenous society with a culture that demanded strict discipline to an Emperor whose unifying authority made such a societal change successful. That is why we agreed to the condition that Hirohito remained on the throne.

Afghanistan is in addition to being Muslim, and the baggage that brings with it, is an 10th century, ethnically mixed tribal culture with no centralized unifying authority that can facilitate societal change.

So yes, ill conceived.

bagoh20 said...

The reasoning for why we have forces all over the world is to prevent a huge scale war from getting going, and instead we opt for a lot of smaller ones in hopes of deescalating in the long run.

It mostly has worked, althought the cost may not be less, but the desire to actually fix things as we did in Germany and Japan is not working because we don't go for total victory and submission. I think that's now politically impossible, but we don't know how it will eventually work out. Vietnam did stop the growth of communism or at least suspiciously coincided with the end of it's march. Will Iraq's democracy eventually change the middle east for the better. It may not be immediate, but it could be decisive eventually. We just don't know yet, and looking at the short term period so far is not very helpful.

I am convinced that if left alone, the world will come crashing through our door eventually just like a street gang left unchecked. Closing the drapes and turning up the music is not a reassuring policy.

Colonel Angus said...

Indeed. As a matter of fact, with the nuke rattling coming from North Korea, I can't think of a better time to pull our troops out and let the ROK and Japan look out for themselves.

That's all well and good until we HAVE to go back and clean up the mess.


Why do we HAVE to? I can't come up with a single reason American lives should be sacrificed for South Korea.

Colonel Angus said...

The reasoning for why we have forces all over the world is to prevent a huge scale war from getting going, and instead we opt for a lot of smaller ones in hopes of deescalating in the long run.

The days of huge scale warfare is over. Wars are too expensive, costly and quite frankly, we don't have the industrial power to crank out armaments as in WW2.

Even if not left alone, the world will occasionsly crash through our window or skyscrapers. I would be far more vigilant against those threats than whether North Korea or China is going to invade.



bagoh20 said...

"Why do we HAVE to? I can't come up with a single reason American lives should be sacrificed for South Korea."

Really? I think you can. You just don't want to pay the price, and nobody does. Would you save those ungrateful fools if it was free, or would you let the the North run those millions of men, women, and children into the ground? And then what about the next move by them or someone else? Do you just keep backing up? You will have to stop somewhere. The 38th parallel looks good to me. After it falls, we will wish we had it back.

Geoff Matthews said...

I have a hard time taking Friesdorf at face value once I learned he was with Journolist, making cracks about the Tea Party. I can't read him without thinking 'How is he going to screw us over?'.

edutcher said...

Colonel Angus said...

The reasoning for why we have forces all over the world is to prevent a huge scale war from getting going, and instead we opt for a lot of smaller ones in hopes of deescalating in the long run.

The days of huge scale warfare is over. Wars are too expensive, costly and quite frankly, we don't have the industrial power to crank out armaments as in WW2.


But even a small scale offensive, like Iraq, still required about 5 divisions.

Better to have and not need than need and not have.

bagoh20 said...

"Wars are too expensive, costly and quite frankly, we don't have the industrial power to crank out armaments as in WW2."

That doesn't stop somebody from starting one. Do you ever wonder why some idiot would risk going to jail to steal 20 bucks worth of electronics out of your car? Me too, but I never doubt that they will. We could easily out-produce our 1940's war output today. We would just need to get punched in the nose first. I don't want to even drop my guard for that. These aren't friends.

We could do it a lot smarter and cheaper like forcing Europe and Japan to defend themselves, but just backing up will not end well for anyone.

Colonel Angus said...

Really? I think you can. You just don't want to pay the price, and nobody does. Would you save those ungrateful fools if it was free, or would you let the the North run those millions of men, women, and children into the ground?

That's exactly right, I don't want to pay the price, particularly when South Korea can easily afford to do so in both blood and treasure. I think the idea that a far more prosperous and populated nation like South Korea cannot handily defend itself from a country that can't even keep its lights on is laughable . If they need a bigger army than build it rather than relying on American power.

sonicfrog said...

It mostly has worked, althought the cost may not be less, but the desire to actually fix things as we did in Germany and Japan is not working because we don't go for total victory and submission. I think that's now politically impossible,

It was always impossible! The Japanese and the Germans were western(ized) countries, trained to fight an industrialized war. Both were manufacturing huge weapons of war to compete with the rest of the world militarily. Their strength, and ultimate weakness, was that their power structure revolved around a leader and specific government as much if not more as an ideology. Take out / cripple their ability to make and get a hold of the sophisticated weapons of war on which they rely (carpet bombing of industrial cities eventually did the trick) and cripple their government, and they are defeated. They cannot fight the way they thought would lead them to victory.

The Middle East model of war is quite different. They don't need a government. They don't need fancy weapons. They have their ideology. Period. It's what they fight for. This isn't Vietnam either, where the Vietcong had indeed adopted some of the western war philosophy. We are dealing with a subset of people who are motivated to fight to the very last breath if they have to fight.

In all the history of war, the only solution to this is to wipe out a civilization completely, so that there is no one left around to take up the cause. Rome had no problems with the Carthagens at the end of the third punic war. But the actions we would have to take would be much more devastating than the actions by the Romans. We would have to kill hundreds of millions of people....

Oops... Gotta go work

Henry said...

We would have never lost that war, unless the Germans beat us to the bomb, and probably not even then.

Americans may not have, but the British might.

Colonel Angus said...

We would just need to get punched in the nose first.

We got punched in the nose on 9/11 which killed more Americans than the Japs did at Pearl Harbor and having a couple divisions in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait didn't do anything to prevent that.

I guess I need to understand who the bad guy is and under what circumstance our soil would come under attack, where the attacker would think a nuclear response was impossible.

Hagar said...

Hey Colonel,

Did you see the articles today about the Luftwaffe closing their base at Ft. Bliss, TX, and moving to Holloman AFB, NM?

Robert Cook said...

"Typically when you are attacked, a lethal response is not an excuse but required."

Well, that's not a given, but if a responsive attack is called for, then one should attack those who launched the initial aggressive attack.

Afghanistan didn't attack us, and neither did Iraq.

Colonel Angus said...

Well, that's not a given, but if a responsive attack is called for, then one should attack those who launched the initial aggressive attack.

Afghanistan didn't attack us, and neither did Iraq.


I think we've been over this before, but the masterminds behind 9/11 were located and were being given shelter and support in Afghanistan. The Taliban were told to turn them over, they refused.

No argument over Iraq. Didn't support the first gulf war either for that matter.

Colonel Angus said...

Hey Colonel,

Did you see the articles today about the Luftwaffe closing their base at Ft. Bliss, TX, and moving to Holloman AFB, NM?


You'll have to elaborate on that one since I'm missing the joke/point.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Edutcher said:

No, we need an Army and Navy about the size it was under Reagan.

Really? Why?

That size military was driven by the exigencies of the Cold War. We had to maintain large army deployments in Europe, for example--and we still didn't have enough. Our stated policy was to use theater nukes if the allies couldn't withstand a Soviet invasion.

But why do we need that same size army now?

I'm not against having a good sized military--if we need it.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Somewhere I saw this argument made: that one big reason we might want to keep our military profile as strong as it is, is to keep the dollar the reserve currency. If we downsize enough, the rest of the world may decide they don't need to humor us by propping up the dollar.

Hagar said...

Good point, Padre.

Synova said...

I think that we need the large military because it takes 10 years to make an NCO.

And because "you go to war with the military you have."

There is a weird notion that if we *have* something that there is a weird compulsion to *use* it. (Which may explain certain people's irrational beliefs about the psycho-compulsory abilities of AR15s.) But of course people in the military and "hawks" are perfectly happy to spend days training in garrison.(Or whatever the term would be.) And hope never to have to use what has been studied.

And if that does end up being *never* that's a good thing, not a tragedy.

But we can't see or know the future. And if the military is needed it's needed immediately and we're left going to war with what we've got.

Synova said...

"Afghanistan didn't attack us, and neither did Iraq."

And neither did we *go to war* with Afghanistan or Iraq. We went to war with Al Qaeda.

It's not impossible that we could see a future war fought between nations, but it's unlikely. (Depends on just how brain damaged the new leader of North Korea really is.)

Synova said...

Even our focus on Saddam was weirdly (and deliberately) separated from the idea of Iraq.

Rusty said...

""The neocons are paranoid. The neocons are paranoid because Rand Paul comes from his father's gene pool.""

That makes no sense at all.

Fr Martin Fox said...

It seems to me we have a pretty large military now. How big is big enough?

I was all for Reagan's buildup in the '80s; a 600-ship navy sounded great then. I loved seeing the battleships back in action.

But I don't see why we would need that size Navy today, or anything close.

Synova said...

Rand Paul as an isolationist doesn't worry me. Partly because I believe it's true. If the SHTF I believe he'd use the military (because who wouldn't) but I believe it would actually take the SHTF and we'd not be sending our soldiers here and there in a half-*ssed manner in "kinetic military actions" while pretending not to be at war.

I trust Republicans to be more honest about military use, but less honest than Rand Paul, and I trust Democrats the least of all because they believe one thing *about themselves* and use the military anyway, but with weird half-measures that are more about keeping their own moral self-image shiny than with an understanding of what they're actually asking our citizens in the military to do (and risk) for them.

Rusty said...

Fr Martin Fox said...
Edutcher said:

No, we need an Army and Navy about the size it was under Reagan.

Really? Why?

That size military was driven by the exigencies of the Cold War. We had to maintain large army deployments in Europe, for example--and we still didn't have enough. Our stated policy was to use theater nukes if the allies couldn't withstand a Soviet invasion.

But why do we need that same size army now?

I'm not against having a good sized military--if we need it.

I don't know since we're in decline, but I would ask myself this question.
What size of a military do we need to meet all our current commitments AND to meet the largest threat we are likely to be faced with(China)?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Rusty:

OK, let's go with your suggested framing. You mention China. Exactly what sort of threat are we likely to face from China?

Seems to me a war with China, God forbid, would involve navy, air force, and strategic weapons; but how much Army? Under what circumstances would we face land combat with China, other than Korea? And why wouldn't air resources (i.e., dropping big bombs on their troops, as we did to Iraq) help?

damikesc said...

Who'd have thought "A President shouldn't be able to unilaterally murder Americans on American soil" would become "kooky"?

Well for starters, I would withdraw forces from Europe. I think we still have around 100,000 plus over there and since the Warsaw Pact has been dissolved for oh, 20 years, don't see our purpose there. Japan and ROK are both modern and wealthy countries that can easily afford defense forces capable of fending off attacks. No reason we should be pulled in.

I'd keep the AFB in Germany, simply because it's a good hospital and transporting a wounded soldier back to the US isn't always a feasible option.

Japan? Yeah, pull out. They've wanted us out for years, they claim.

Synova said...

Fr Fox...

Can you know that we *won't* face a threat from China?

In all likelihood we won't. In all likelihood conflict with China would involve the Navy and Air Force... and if not the Army, well then, a different sort of conflict might require the Army but not the Navy or Air Force so much. I've often thought that if we did go to war with Iran that it would be *with Iran* and not probably involve a large ground presence.

So what do you cut? It's all a guessing game. Do we need a large Navy anymore? Pirates seem a bigger and bigger threat to shipping. Will we address that? Do we cut the Air Force or fold it back into the Army because we didn't have F-22's dogfighting with Achmed over Kabul?

What will we do if Seoul is attacked with a nuke? Do we need the Army, then, to occupy North Korea? Because I'm not sure how much good it will do to bomb those peasants.

I think that the argument for maintaining a strong and diverse military doesn't depend on knowing the future. It depends on not knowing the future.

Baron Zemo said...

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
(George Washington)

Colonel Angus said...

I can see a conflict with China if they try and reassert control over Taiwan and we stick our nose in it.

Otherwise, there is too much trade between us.

Baron Zemo said...

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none." ~ (Thomas Jefferson)

Michael K said...

"But I don't see why we would need that size Navy today, or anything close."

We are a seagoing and trading nation. People worry about our exports. We have two oceans and thousands of miles to patrol. A carrier battle group is a lot of ships. Six of them would just about take our entire surface navy right now.

That's not safe. Obama is so ignorant about the navy that he could make the statement that he did in the debate with Romney. We could manage with a small army and a cadre of reserves. The air force will be increasingly made up of UAVs. The navy is the vital peacetime force.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Synova:

I would pretty much agree with what you wrote.

That said, we can't really prepare for anything; we have to try to anticipate what is most likely.

It's pretty unlikely, for example, that we're going to have a standing army of the size we had during the Cold War, without some rationale for it.

In the case of China, it's hard to see what sort of scenario involves large infantry engagements. Do we keep a huge infantry in case China hits us with an EMP and then tries to invade? Do we expect to engage in land engagements over Indochina? Korea? Hard to see that.

I'm guessing our defense of Korea and Taiwan rely more on air or naval power.

In the case of a Korean War, I've wondered if the U.S., China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have made any plans for how North Korea gets occupied and dismantled. If North Korea starts something, I'm guessing that will be the end of the regime. In which case, someone has to move in and both secure the nasty stuff, as well as take care of the humanitarian problems.

My guess would be that China and the U.S. have some sort of understanding? What do I know? But that would make sense.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Michael K:

I agree with you about the importance of the Navy. Do you have any reason to believe our Navy, as it is, isn't big enough? I just don't know what's "big enough"; and I'm not satisfied with "it should be bigger" as an answer--not that that is what you said.

Rusty said...

Fr Martin Fox said...
Rusty:

OK, let's go with your suggested framing. You mention China. Exactly what sort of threat are we likely to face from China?

They are building their armed forces using the premise that someday they will have to fight us. We pose the greatest threat to their hegemony in Asia.

Lydia said...

"Getting a handle on Chinese military spending is difficult because much of it is opaque and off the books, such as the People’s Liberation Army’s spending on research and space exploration. But various international think tanks estimate that China’s military spending has risen from about $20 billion in 2002 to at least $120 billion last year.

The United States still spends four times as much on its military. But by some accounts, China is on course to surpass the United States in total military spending by 2035."

What happens if China becomes the world's dominant military power? Seems worth thinking about.

Paul Brinkley said...

Biggest reason to keep troops in Europe is to keep it from regressing to the jar of scorpions that it was at the start of the 20th century. Second biggest reason is to better monitor the traffic of visitors from less stable parts of the world. This can't simply be done with satellites; human presence is required, for the same reason that you need a base 100 miles out in order to deal with something 110 miles out. We do not yet possess the ability to remotely gauge the culture or disposition of communities outside our borders; not even the Internet affords this, in the areas of greatest concern.

Presence does work, even though it may not appear to at first. Terrorist movements, like any organization, require not only planning to carry out their agendas, but also preparation, training, staging, etc. So these activities aren't atomic events; they're pipelines. You can strike the head of the pipe and still have to contend with whatever was already flowing down.

There is also swamp-draining. Everyone talks about how much of a failure Iraq is now, but I still remember Iraq in the days of Saddam and his power structure, his support of suicide bombers in the Middle East, with Uday and Qusay on the horizon; I remember Qaddafi's brazen speeches in Libya; I remember when Syria was stable enough to support Hezbollah and bend Lebanon to Iran's will. Pull all troops, and that swwamp returns. We don't have to invade to have a presence, either; if we can persuade a nation to serve as an ally, all the better.

This has nothing to do with baldfaced expansionism. We don't have to want some country's resources for pennies, to want prepared defenses against whatever our enemies are planning outside our borders, just so that we can live our lives in peace over here. And thanks to a decades-long history of international terrorism and conventional militarism, we know we aren't simply imagining such plans, either.

I don't have exact numbers, but I think it's safe to say that South Korea is a huge benefit as a market for trade, that we would lose if NK took it over. Enough to be worth our presence there? Well, I'm not sure, but then throw in what I said above about the value of local presence, and I'm convinced this is well worth the money. (Establishing in a new location would be another story; that's an investment that would have to be paid off over a long period.)

Colonel Angus, you may have the experience to refute me on just how high a troop level we need overseas (and I agree that Afghanistan's tribalism works against us in general), but I sure hope you've taken these other factors into account. (Perhaps you would favor re-basing a somewhat smaller number further east, and then recalling the difference?)

Fr Martin Fox said...

Lydia, Rusty:

OK, those are good points; but they still don't answer the question I'm posing.

What sort of military engagement does anyone foresee with Red China?

And from that:

What sort of military capacity do we foresee needing to be ready for that?

Do we need 200 ships? 400? 1,000?

Do we need an army with 500,000 men and women at arms? 1,000,000? 2 million? Ten million?

What sort of air force do we need?

Under what scenario, exactly, would we expect to send our army against theirs? Are we going to invade China? Are they going to invade us?

edutcher said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

No, we need an Army and Navy about the size it was under Reagan.

Really? Why?

That size military was driven by the exigencies of the Cold War. We had to maintain large army deployments in Europe, for example--and we still didn't have enough. Our stated policy was to use theater nukes if the allies couldn't withstand a Soviet invasion.

But why do we need that same size army now?


Because the best doctrine the Army's come up with since 'Nam says we should be able to fight 2 small-scale conflicts at one time.

We tried that in Iraq and A-stan and ended up having to call up the reserves. With an 18 division army, instead of a 10 division one, that wouldn't have happened.

Current thinking, which I think is right, is that the reserves and the ARNG should do what they do best which is domestic issues - natural disasters, riots, etc. Training them to go overseas takes to much time.

We also need a good-sized force if we're going to do spec ops more and more. You need the manpower pool of trained men and you'll only find that among a standing army.

Hagar said...

Besides being inefficient, repeatedly calling up the National Guard to serve in Aghanistan, etc., creates much unhappiness and dislocation at home, resulting in more clamor for disarmament and isolationism.

Michael K said...

"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible."

World War I proved that trade does not prevent war, even an irrational one. Especially the irrational one.

Baron Zemo said...

Russia is the one who has to worry about Chinese expansionism not the US.

They have their eyes on the natural
resources of Sibera and soon will have a huge excess of male population that they could take massive losses. If it remains non-nuclear it would win easily.

China would not view us as a rival if we withdrew our forces and offer them a "sphere" of influence in Asia. It need not concern us all that much.

Baron Zemo said...

As far the Middle East goes if we develop our own oil resorces we can let them kill each other like scorpions in a bottle.

It need not concern us all that much.

Baron Zemo said...

Let's have the same policy to the rest of the world that Bill Clinton had to the Hutu and Tutsi.

It might be messy but what the heck...tough luck Tutsi....so to speak.

Michael K said...

"I agree with you about the importance of the Navy. Do you have any reason to believe our Navy, as it is, isn't big enough? I just don't know what's "big enough"; and I'm not satisfied with "it should be bigger" as an answer--not that that is what you said."

The navy is currently at the smallest it's been since 1931 plus or minus 5. That's pretty small. In 2007, it was the smallest since 1900. It has a few more ships which are "brown water ships."

I don't think this is safe. If China, which I don't think is a long term adversary, does something foolish with Taiwan, it could go nuclear. If we had a bigger navy, maybe not. Japan is already starting to rearm. Do we want to see another war with China and Japan ?

Europe is much better able to survive on its own. The Muslim world will implode demographically in another 50 years. Their birth is below ours. Asia is the place that danger lurks and Obama is removing our ability to intervene.

Take a look at the numbers.

Chip Ahoy said...

Neocon is Rush's word, as contrasted with paleocon, I suppose, so in that setup then are two types of conservatives, new and old, and then something else pops up that doesn't fit either simple labeling system and the argument devolves from that. To the observation there is overlap on opposing sides, and the overlap is government getting too big for its britches and sticking itself where it doesn't belong, probing and giving and taking with too many entwining entangling arms into too many things big and small and everything in between.

But you know what's more interesting than Rush Limbaugh and neocon panic? This new dryer has a drawer that you must pull out after each load. And the draw holds water that the dryer pulled out of the clothes. The weight of the wet clothes is lifted again to dump the water. It's an extremely odd extra step to drying clothes that I've never seen before, that's what is more interesting. It amounts to at least a quart and up to a gallon for each load. And the spin on the washer goes super fast too so it's not that.

jr565 said...

Fr Martin wrote:
What sort of military capacity do we foresee needing to be ready for that?

Do we need 200 ships? 400? 1,000?

Do we need an army with 500,000 men and women at arms? 1,000,000? 2 million? Ten million?

We need as many as might cover any emerging scenarios we might experience in the next year or few years. Since we dont know what those scenarios might be you have to plan for multiple scenarios and have to have an army equipped to deal with those scenarios.

Freder Frederson said...

Biggest reason to keep troops in Europe is to keep it from regressing to the jar of scorpions that it was at the start of the 20th century. Second biggest reason is to better monitor the traffic of visitors from less stable parts of the world.

Except our troops in Europe are prohibited, by treaty, from interfering with the domestic politics of the host countries, and they have no capability to monitor visitors.

You simply do not know what you are talking about.

AprilApple said...

Pelosi is a kook.

Lydia said...

China would not view us as a rival if we withdrew our forces and offer them a "sphere" of influence in Asia. It need not concern us all that much.

It's also moving big time into Africa.

Couple of bad things about that:

"China is legitimizing and encouraging Africa's most repressive regimes, thereby increasing the likelihood of weak and failed states."

and

"...the potential long-term disruption of American access to important raw materials and energy sources as these resources are 'locked up' by Chinese firms for the PRC's domestic market to maintain China's economic growth."

AprilApple said...

Religion, pussy and kook.
er I mean Cook.

edutcher said...

Baron Zemo said...

Let's have the same policy to the rest of the world that Bill Clinton had to the Hutu and Tutsi.

It might be messy but what the heck...tough luck Tutsi....so to speak.


This assumes that was intentional.

Meantime, can you live with a foreign policy based on Tut, Tut, Tutsi, Good-bye?

traditionalguy said...

Edutcher...You are right that Stalingrad was not over as a German defeat until the winter of 42-43 was nearly over; but the Russian stalemating of the German Blitzkreig at Stalingrad took place in July-August of 1942.

traditionalguy said...

Edutcher...You are right that Stalingrad was not over as a German defeat until the winter of 42-43 was nearly over; but the Russian stalemating of the German Blitzkreig at Stalingrad took place in July-August of 1942.

Paul Brinkley said...

Except our troops in Europe are prohibited, by treaty, from interfering with the domestic politics of the host countries, and they have no capability to monitor visitors.

You simply do not know what you are talking about.


Apparently I was misinformed. I had thought that it was impossible to have any impact on a country other than by invading it militarily. I was also previously under the impression that if you're in a country, you will tend to see things in that country.

As Fred clearly shows, we should promptly declare war on Europe in order to justify our having bases there. Furthermore, if we are to monitor within our own borders, we should all move somewhere else.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go confirm whether gravity exists.

edutcher said...

Have to disagree. Efforts to cross the Volga continued into late November.

The real point about Stalingrad is that, it might have been sustainable, had not the Germans lost another half million men in North Africa just a couple of months later.

The Lefties' eagerness to thump their chests over a victory by Mother Russia ignores that Eisenhower and company achieved the first theater-wide victory of the war.

The Krauts technically still had the offensive at Kursk, when they lost it for good.

Hagar said...

And everything old is new again.

Funny how many of the comments here sound exactly like the comments from the 1920's and -30's - except for the acronyms, of course.

Rusty said...

Father.
However many it would take to make them think twice about engaging us militarily. I don't know what that number is, but you can bet the boffins at the Pentagon do.
I know one thing made them think twice. There are as many semi-auto AK variants in this country as the whole Chinese army has.
They are eyeing the Philippines. Should we protect the Philippines?They don't like Japan. Should we protect Japan?

Baron Zemo said...

edutcher said....
Meantime, can you live with a foreign policy based on Tut, Tut, Tutsi, Good-bye?

Sure. What did they ever do for us.

And as far the Chinese taking over Africa....good luck with that one.
Talk about bleeding yourself dry. Let them deal with the insurgents and nationalists.

The Chinese are pragmatic. They will cut a deal. Their economy needs a market. That us. Let them exploit the masses. That ship has already sailed. Almost everything you buy is made in China. Let them spend blood and treasure stealing stuff from the natives. We can just buy it from them and watch TV and play Candy Crush on our Obama phones.

Isn't that the plan?

Baron Zemo said...

The days of the US Military being the "Magnificent Seven" and protecting the peons from the bandido's is over.

I don't care if Eli Wallach takes over the village. If we need them they will hop in the trunk of a Chevy and come to this country and line up at the Home Depot to do the drywall. I think we got that covered thank you very much.

edutcher said...

Baron Zemo said...

And as far the Chinese taking over Africa....good luck with that one.
Talk about bleeding yourself dry. Let them deal with the insurgents and nationalists.


All they're doing is building Potemkin cities to keep their economy going. They don't need to interact with the natives.

The Chinese are pragmatic. They will cut a deal. Their economy needs a market. That us. Let them exploit the masses. That ship has already sailed. Almost everything you buy is made in China. Let them spend blood and treasure stealing stuff from the natives.

Don't know where you're going with this, but, when you get there, I don't think you're going to like the neighborhood.

Original Mike said...

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go confirm whether gravity exists."

Careful. Freder is very sensitive about matters of physics.

Revenant said...

We are not fighting to "defend" or "protect" anyone, to "bring democracy" (sic) to anyone, but to expand our power, to crush those we deem to be threats to our hegemony

I'm sorry, Robert, but the idea that anyone or anything in Afghanistan "threatens our hegemony" is clearly insane.

Revenant said...

Because the best doctrine the Army's come up with since 'Nam says we should be able to fight 2 small-scale conflicts at one time.

Just because the Army would like to be able to do something is no reason we have to do it. If they want that capability, let 'em hold a bake sale or something to raise the funding for it.

We, as a country, don't need that capability. Not once in over two hundred years have we needed it.

AReasonableMan said...

Althouse links to an interesting article, for once.

I have also noticed Rush and his listeners have become more isolationist. Like a lot of people his listeners are beginning to recognize that the competitive position of the US is not what it once was and that this has real meaning for their lives in terms of job opportunities and incomes.

One key function of the federal government is to ensure that sufficient R&D is done to keep the country the most intellectually competitive in the world. Most of the success of the country over the last century has revolved around the ability to maintain intellectual predominance. Unfortunately this is changing. The US is simply no longer one of the richest countries in terms of R&D. Many other countries in Asia and Europe are now matching or exceeding our efforts. While there is a lot of fault to go around, pissing away billions of dollars on futile wars has been one of the more avoidable problems. In part because of these wars federal discretionary spending on research will take another hit and a worrying decline will start to look more like a collapse.

Even Rush's listeners are not isolated from these bigger trends. We can't maintain our current lifestyle simply shuffling money between bankers, lawyers and politicians. People have to discover new technologies and those technologies have to be converted into products to maintain our financial strength. Although the rise of Japan was overblown back in the 70's the rise of China, and much of the rest of the world, as intellectual and innovation competitors is a real threat to US security. The first sign of the decline of the British empire was the loss of intellectual leadership to the US and Germany. The decline of the US strength in research is a very poor long term prognosticator.

Civilis said...

With regards to US protection for South Korea and Japan, I think people are not seeing the massive risks of US isolationism.

The Kim regime is probably delusional enough to think that it can win in a straight up fight with South Korea, however, not even Kim is delusional enough to think he can take on a nuclear power. Whether or not it can take South Korea is immaterial, even if South Korea wins militarily, its economy is shattered within the first hour of fighting, even without Kim using nukes, as Seoul is reduced to rubble, to say nothing of the horrendous civilian casualties and dire humanitarian situation that would result. Net result: the US loses a trading partner that also happens to be a stable democracy.

With regards to China, the risks are much higher. While China has no desire for a war in East Asia, all the ingredients for one are in place. Without the US willing to back Japan/South Korea/Taiwan/the Philippines, China has an opening to settle all those island disputes in their favor, but that opportunity only lasts until their potential opponents get nuclear weapons. It only takes one wrong move for a show of force to turn into a shooting engagement, and if China underestimates the military strength and resolve of its opponents, a minor sea border skirmish is likely to spread to land targets on both sides. End result: East Asia's trade and economy are wrecked, and the world gets a global depression.

The US presence serves as a stabilizing agent. We have mutual economic interests with all parties in the region except North Korea. Losing that stability invites an economic loss much greater than the costs of providing stability.

Revenant said...

I think it's safe to say that South Korea is a huge benefit as a market for trade, that we would lose if NK took it over.

North Korea has no way of taking over South Korea, whether or not we're involved there.

South Korea is bigger, richer, has a larger available military force, and has a vastly larger industrial base. The two nations are separated by the most heavily-defended border on the planet. North Korea can't even keep the lights on and the troops fed without regular donations of goods from its supposed enemies.

North Korea can hurt South Korea. It cannot conquer it -- not without a good deal of assistance from another nation.

Civilis said...

One key function of the federal government is to ensure that sufficient R&D is done to keep the country the most intellectually competitive in the world

This assertion is unsupported by history. Government R&D is useful when immediate results and large scale of projects is necessary, such as with military projects needed ASAP such as the atomic bomb.

Often, government R&D ends up sacrificing long term value. Yes, we made it to the moon. In the long run, however, NASA has left a monopoly on US spaceflight in the hands of a bloated bureaucracy accountable only to political whims. We have needed to go back and completely rebuild our space program, and private R&D has taken the lead (and looks to be getting us more of a bang for our buck).

The real value in R&D in the US has come at the hands of a bevy of small groups building value in ways that a bureaucracy would never have foreseen.

Revenant said...

Net result: the US loses a trading partner that also happens to be a stable democracy.

The cost of a war with North Korea would eat up all the gains from trade we'd see from South Korea from a century of trade with South Korea. Even if North Korea could reduce South Korea to rubble -- which it can't -- it still wouldn't be in our interests to protect South Korea from North Korean invasion.

AReasonableMan said...

Civilis said...
This assertion is unsupported by history.


Not sure which history you are referring to but it is not the one currently playing out on planet earth.

The real value in R&D in the US has come at the hands of a bevy of small groups building value in ways that a bureaucracy would never have foreseen.

What are scientists other than small groups of people building value in unexpected ways. There is a reason successful technology companies have clustered around universities.

Revenant said...

There is a reason successful technology companies have clustered around universities.

Yes, and the reason is "so they can more easily recruit graduates of those universities".

Not "because those universities perform valuable R&D", and certainly not "because the government funds R&D at those universities". Anyone can take advantage of university research; discoveries made by the American university system benefit the Chinese, Indians, and Europeans as much as they do us. We benefit only inasmuch as the smart people *making* those discoveries opt to leave public R&D and go work for American companies doing private R&D.

The best example of "technology companies springing up around a university" would be Silicon Valley, which sprung up around a private university which relied mostly on corporate funding (Bell, Xerox, et al) for its electronics research.

Civilis said...

Not sure which history you are referring to but it is not the one currently playing out on planet earth.

You asserted that [o]ne key function of the federal government is to ensure that sufficient R&D is done to keep the country the most intellectually competitive in the world without providing any evidence. I provided a piece of evidence that suggests government is necessary for some R&D (government R&D was necessary for the Manhattan Project). That some research gets some government money does not prove that that R&D would happen without government direction, and I provided an example where government R&D has held back American innovation.

We are competitive not because the government keeps R&D money flowing, but because we have an environment where individuals have the freedom and incentive to invest in R&D (an environment that is often hampered by government interference).

Civilis said...

The cost of a war with North Korea would eat up all the gains from trade we'd see from South Korea from a century of trade with South Korea. Even if North Korea could reduce South Korea to rubble -- which it can't -- it still wouldn't be in our interests to protect South Korea from North Korean invasion.

You've provided me with an excellent argument against going to war with North Korea, something I nether proposed nor do I advocate for.

There's lots of reasons we'd want to secure friendly relationships with foreign countries, especially when we may need to ask them for something which will cost them. Perhaps we want a free trade agreement or diplomatic assistance with a third state. Perhaps we want them to be kind to their other neighbors.

If our assistance is meaningless in the face of a real threat, then why should anyone trust our promises? Meanwhile, if we keep our promises and people believe we will keep our promises in the future, then we won't need to ever actually use our offers of military assistance. Then everyone benefits.

Original Mike said...

"South Korea is bigger, richer, has a larger available military force, and has a vastly larger industrial base."

Wikipedia says the South Korean army is about 500,000 men. It says this about North Korea: "As of 2013, with 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel, it is the largest military organisation on earth."

Having a vastly larger industrial base does you no good if you're overrun in a week.

Revenant said...

You've provided me with an excellent argument against going to war with North Korea, something I nether proposed nor do I advocate for.

You proposed that we put ourselves in a position where, if North Korea attacks South Korea, we wind up at war with North Korea.

So either you're suggesting we bluff the North Koreans and hope they don't call us on it, thereby betraying an ally and losing a lot of prestige in the process... or you're willing to fight a war with North Korea.

Which, for the reasons I pointed out, is irrational. South Korea doesn't need our help to win the war, and the cost of our involvement, to us, would exceed any benefit to us.

Revenant said...

Wikipedia says the South Korean army is about 500,000 men. It says this about North Korea: "As of 2013, with 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel, it is the largest military organisation on earth."

Wikipedia says South Korea has 639,000 active-duty and 2,900,000 reserve troops. Not "about 500,000".

North Korea has, on paper, 1.1 million active-duty and 8.2 million reserves. What it does NOT have is the capacity to actually field and support an army of 9.3 million. South Korea's forces exceed what North Korea can actually invade with, and South Korea can draft and support an additional 9 million people beyond that.

Original Mike said...

North Korea has "the bomb".

Revenant said...

North Korea has "the bomb".

And?

Civilis said...

You proposed that we put ourselves in a position where, if North Korea attacks South Korea, we wind up at war with North Korea.

The benefits of being a diplomatic good guy outweigh the slight risk of North Korea calling us on our bluff and us actually having to pay up (the costs of which will be the small garrison of US troops in South Korea + some money for bombs and such, since, as you point out, South Korea can mostly handle itself).

Likewise, the effects of nuclear war would be bad, but the benefits of a cold war nuclear detente combined with the low risk of war when compared to the high risk and not-insignificant damage of a conventional World War II Part II as the other alternative.

Original Mike said...

"And?"

I am all for telling South Korea that they are on their own in, pick a time frame, maybe 5 years. I'm tired of this burden. But to to suggest (as I think you do, but maybe I'm wrong) that South Korea can hold back North Korea on their own at the moment is Polly Anna on stilts.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

In my opinion, the only thing holding back North Korea now is our nuclear umbrella. It's why they are threatening us.

Civilis said...

I see no issues with us pulling our combat forces out of Western Europe, for example. The EU has its own nuclear arsenal.

The issue isn't whether South Korea will "win", but whether Kim thinks he can win. I see no evidence that he has a firm grasp on the reality of the situation.

At this point, the only real diplomatic carrot the US can offer uniquely is a guarantee of safety for our allies. Giving that up by walking away from our commitments is my greatest fear from the isolationist thread in US politics.

Original Mike said...

I'm all for "pulling out" of Europe.

AReasonableMan said...

Revenant said...
Yes, and the reason is "so they can more easily recruit graduates of those universities".

Not "because those universities perform valuable R&D", and certainly not "because the government funds R&D at those universities". Anyone can take advantage of university research; discoveries made by the American university system benefit the Chinese, Indians, and Europeans as much as they do us. We benefit only inasmuch as the smart people *making* those discoveries opt to leave public R&D and go work for American companies doing private R&D.


This is such ideologically driven bullshit that it is hard to know where to start. First of all, US graduates are amongst the most mobile people on earth. The best ones rarely stay where they did their degree. So, even your simplest point is nonsense.

With respect to the rest of your post it just has nothing to do with reality. The US higher education system is an enormous generator of new businesses and the technical skills required to make those businesses competitive. For the US to maintain its edge, every year new ideas have to be generated that lead to new companies. Most of those ideas are coming out of universities. Every country can bake bread, many much better than the US. They can all build houses too as well as generating their share of sophistic lawyers. There are a whole lot of industries in which the US can be as mediocre as everyone else without much consequence but if it loses its lead in the most technological industries that lead isn't coming back. It was our technological lead that allowed us for many years to maintain a lifestyle for all the people employed in these purely local and largely uncompetitive industries that was much better than their equivalents in other countries. Without a highly competitive university system maintaining that technological lead we are just Yugoslavia, with crappy bread and houses, and a lot of nukes. The Russians, at least, are good at math.

AReasonableMan said...

Civilis said...
I provided a piece of evidence that suggests government is necessary for some R&D (government R&D was necessary for the Manhattan Project). That some research gets some government money does not prove that that R&D would happen without government direction, and I provided an example where government R&D has held back American innovation.

We are competitive not because the government keeps R&D money flowing, but because we have an environment where individuals have the freedom and incentive to invest in R&D (an environment that is often hampered by government interference).


This is complete nonsense. First of all government has supported scientific research from at least from the time of the Medicis. The Royal Society of London dates from the 1660's and it was what its name implies the establishments way of fostering scientific research. Western society's dominance of world affairs flows from a dominance of science and technology, largely government sponsored. It is incredible that this might not be universally recognized.

Gary Rosen said...

I share the concerns of many here about military overextension, spending, skepticism of "democracy building" and getting our allies to pitch in more. However if America is not the strongest country militarily in the world it means someone else is. And it ain't gonna be Canada, Sweden, Switzerland or Costa Rica.

pj (lowercase) said...

Hahah. A stealth kook.

Fr Martin Fox said...

There have been some good comments here, but so far, Korea seems to be the only scenario where we might need to send the infantry--if even there.

If China goes to war with Japan or Taiwan, are we sending the infantry? Are we sending the infantry to the Philippines? If so, why?

Why would China even want to invade any of these places, other than Taiwan?

We needed a huge army to fight and win in two world wars. We needed a huge army for the Cold War. Is China seeking to launch a Soviet-style Cold War? Doesn't seem so. Anyone else?

Are we going to invade Iran? Brazil? India? Africa?

About the only theoretical threat could some day be Mexico--but they're not likely to sneak up on our army.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Gary:

Given the huge disparity between the U.S. military and everyone else--combined!--there doesn't seem to be much danger we'll stop being the mightiest military in the world anytime soon.

And I'm not arguing for any big reductions; I'm just questioning the rationale for returning to a Cold War era military.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Some comparisons:

There are 21 aircraft carriers in the world, we have ten of them.

Spain, Italy, UK and France have six. India has one; China has one, as does Russia, Brazil and Thailand. (If Globalfirepower.com is accurate.)

If anything, this understates the U.S. advantage, since the quality of these carriers varies widely. Guess who has the best ones? I'm pretty sure we do.

Destroyers? US has 61; Japan has 44; China has 25. South Korea has 12, India has 8, Taiwan has 4. Russia has 18; our EU allies have 9.

Frigates? China has a bunch: 47; we have 24; Japan has 36; Taiwan has 22; India has 14; Australia has 12. (I'm not going to list them all.)

Subs? US 71; North Korea 70; China 63; Russia 58; Iran 29; Japan 16; S. Korea 14.

Again, I have to wonder about disparities in quality and readiness between, say, ours vs. North Korea.

In terms of air power, we have a total of 15,000 aircraft of all types, China has 2,700, N. Korea 1,700, Japan 1,200, S. Korea 900. (Globalfirepower.com doesn't break it down further than that.)

Nichevo said...

Rev, most obvious historic need for two front/ two war capability would be WWII: ETO & PTO. Then there is today, with Iraq & AFPAK, not to mention other little dinks like the drone wars and Libya. Aside from which, credibility. If we don't have two-war capability, anytime we go to one war, somebody else like the Norks are free to go wild.

Father Fox, or what do you wish to be called, keep in mind that like your Church, the US military does strategic planning over a very long timeframe. What we order now is what gets delivered in 20-30 years and has to last for another 20,30,50. (see B-52) They can't turn on a dime.

What I have considered is this. The Founding Fathers abjured large standing armies. Tools of oppression and expensive and no use unless used. But a navy is needed all the time.

So what we need is a full bore Navy. Enough USMC to handle day to day stuff, that would include invading Iraq, hanging Saddam, picking a new government and leaving (Garner plan not Bremer plan), but not staying a decade and "fixing" the place.

Army should be a nucleus. A hundred thousand career men perhaps if that. Enough to staff the skeleton of a ten million man army infrastructure, with some specialties like SOF, engineering, R&D. Have preparations to go to 10M if needed, but day to day, only reason for large army is inertia. Time to train advanced tech, weapons, like that.

Solution to that is a) simulators and b) voluntary universal military service combined with a Swiss/Israeli model where every vetted (sane, honorable, etc) graduate of VUMS gets a combat pack to keep locked up, a modern rifle, pistol, shotgun and a couple of thousand rounds, and a voucher for training ammo. Maybe the consist would vary, advanced trainees get a .50 BMG or a Barrett or Javelin or SMAW or grenades in their goodies bag. (Maybe not that necessary to distribute heavy weapons, but it might suit in some cases.)

Anyway a rethink is in order. But Obama & Co. only want to weaken us. Never doubt it.


Nichevo said...

This really does not cover all-the air force has to be more or less as it is to be what it is, can't mothball it effectively or grow pilots in a month; and somebody has to run the nukes. Its late I'm tired and not going to solve this from my bed tonight. Selah.

Nichevo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Civilis said...

largely government sponsored.

You keep stating facts not in evidence. That the government has sponsored R&D is true; no one is disputing that.

What you need to prove is that none of this would get sponsored without government money. It is absurd to think that private universities and companies and investors would not have made the same R&D without government funds.

One can argue that government investment keeps the aerospace industry competitive (although it is also easy to argue that it also holds back the aerospace industry.) But to argue that it is the government that keeps the telecommunications or the pharmaceutical or just about any other industry competitive is not obvious and you'd need to provide some evidence, not just pointless delcarations.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:

So either you're suggesting we bluff the North Koreans and hope they don't call us on it, thereby betraying an ally and losing a lot of prestige in the process... or you're willing to fight a war with North Korea.

those don't have to be the only scenarios. Sometimes the bluff of war suffices per actual war. And sometimes states act in ways that force a response. Doesn't mean we hae to go to war with N Korea. But it doesn't mean we hae to preclude going to war either. And "going to war" doesn't necessarily mean putting all our troops on the ground or even being the primary force.it may be inevitable tht the North and South are at war. Is it in out interest to let N Korea win that contest? What are the costs and benefits of not supporting South Korea to us?
Which, for the reasons I pointed out, is irrational. South Korea doesn't need our help to win the war,

how do you know thtat?

and the cost of our involvement, to us, would exceed any benefit to us.
Again, how do you know that?
What would the cost to us, long term in not getting involved (assuming that N Korea would prevail).

I think all your cost benefit assessments are colored by your anti war stance. To where any actual honest assessment would be overridden by your refusal to go to war.
This is not to say that war should be our first recourse, but there is a place for war. Sometimes its in our interest to wage it.

Fernandinande said...

Article: "The most popular conservative demagogue ...
In the spring of 2011, I wrote a widely ignored article ..."

No wonder.

Shouting Thomas said...
"But, we need to pull back from all the foreign adventures and dramatically reduce the size of our military."

Indeed. Ending all foreign "aid" (bribes) (how come html "strike" ain't allowed?) and "interventions" (meddling) would be a nice start, followed by cutting military spending to the same ratio by population as, say, Canada, Australia or Europe in general.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Nichevo:

Thanks for the courtesy of asking me.

People call me "Father," "Padre," "Rev. Fox," "Mr. Fox" and "Martin," all of which are polite and I don't sweat it. Call me whatever you're comfortable with. The formal protocol is "Father Fox," but this is hardly a formal setting.

AReasonableMan said...

Civilis said...
You keep stating facts not in evidence. That the government has sponsored R&D is true; no one is disputing that.

What you need to prove is that none of this would get sponsored without government money. It is absurd to think that private universities and companies and investors would not have made the same R&D without government funds.


You clearly have no clue how research in 'private' universities is funded or even how much company research is funded.

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