December 22, 2018

"Unlike my colleagues, I’ve been a bemused spectator during this week’s Syria follies."

Writes Andrew C. McCarthy at The National Review.
When ISIS arose and gobbled up territory, beheading some inhabitants and enslaving the rest, Obama began sending in small increments of troops to help our “moderate” allies fend them off. But the moderates are mostly impotent; they need the jihadists, whether they are fighting rival jihadists or Assad. Syria remains a multi-front conflict in which one “axis” of America’s enemies, Assad-Iran-Russia, is pitted against another cabal of America’s enemies, the Brotherhood and al-Qaeda factions; both sides flit between fighting against and attempting to co-opt ISIS, another U.S. enemy. The fighting may go on for years; the prize the winner gets is . . . Syria (if it’s the Russians, they’ll wish they were back in Afghanistan)....

If we stayed out of the way, America’s enemies would continue killing each other. That’s fine by me. I am not indifferent to collateral human suffering, but it is a staple of sharia-supremacist societies.... We should hit terrorist sanctuaries wherever we find them, but it is not necessary to have thousands of American troops on the ground everyplace such sanctuaries might take root....

When we look a little deeper, though, we see why Americans will no longer support Washington’s incoherent Middle East adventurism. When we made our arrangements with the Kurds, we knew the backbone of their fighting forces was the PKK, which the U.S. government has designated a terrorist organization....

I hold no brief for Trump on Syria... But I find it remarkable that... congressional critics never paused, ever so slightly, over the fact that the troops they want the president to keep in Syria were never authorized by Congress to be in Syria....  Obama did not seek congressional authorization for combat operations in Syria because Congress would have refused. And Congress does not want any president to ask for authorization because members do not want to be accountable — they want to go on cable TV and whine that whoever is president has been heedless, whether for going in or for pulling out....
ADDED: Here's "Good Riddance to America’s Syria Policy/As usual, Donald Trump has done the right thing in the wrong way" by Harvard international relations professor Stephen M. Walt (in Foreign Policy).
Instead of obsessing about who is supposedly “winning” and who is supposedly “losing,” the United States should start by identifying its core strategic interests....

What if the remnants of the Islamic State manage to reconstitute themselves, regain some territory, and sponsor new terrorist attacks abroad? Such a development is obviously undesirable, but the danger does not justify keeping U.S. troops in Syria for another one, two, or five years. The ideology of a group like the Islamic State is not eradicated by bombs, drones, artillery shells, or bullets, and the idea of violent resistance can live on even if every member alive today is killed or captured. The ultimate protection against such groups is not an open-ended American commitment but rather the creation of effective local governments and institutions. Legitimate and effective local authority is not something the United States can provide, however; its presence in such places may even be counterproductive. After all, the Islamic State’s ideological message rests in part on opposition to foreign interference, and it has long used the U.S. presence in the region as a recruiting tool. Getting out of Syria won’t neutralize that message right away, but it could make the group less persuasive over time.

Moreover, despite its fearsome image and the hype its brutal tactics have received, the Islamic State was never an existential threat to the United States....

196 comments:

Mark O said...

The government we have should be shut down.
Wait. What?

Michael McClain said...

DJT has accomplished the impossible. He's turned the DemCong into Hawks who support unauthorized military interventions.

Earnest Prole said...

The branch of government the Founders designed to be strongest is instead the weakest.

EDH said...

The fighting may go on for years; the prize the winner gets is . . . Syria (if it’s the Russians, they’ll wish they were back in Afghanistan)...

That was my first thought. The place is rubble. Will the Russians and Iranian devote the resources and lives necessary to pacify much less rebuild Syria?

Can't the US continue to conduct anti-terror operations from Iraq and other places?

Iraq, although costly, was different strategically, for many different reasons, including now containment of the Syrian conflict, possibly to the exclusion of Iranian influence.

Right now, advantage Trump here militarily, strategically and with respect to domestic politics.

Trump should challenge Pelosi to pass authorization once she becomes speaker.

pacwest said...

That pretty well sums up my thoughts on the Syria withdrawal. Next up, Afghanistan.

YoungHegelian said...

Obama did not seek congressional authorization for combat operations in Syria because Congress would have refused. And Congress does not want any president to ask for authorization because members do not want to be accountable — they want to go on cable TV and whine that whoever is president has been heedless, whether for going in or for pulling out....

And all the "peace-loving" Congressional Democrats didn't want to be seen in public pissing in the face of the Thrice-Holy Light Worker, so they put their principles in abeyance & let the Obama admin send troops to two new different countries without a Congressional AUMF.

The left believes it really is okay to kill brown people as long as it's another brown person doing it. Don't believe any lefty who says otherwise, because from Chicago to Tripoli, it's the reality on the ground.

iowan2 said...

Gee, fantasize if you will, President Trump formulating an evil plot. Find something Democrats have fought with great moral authority, and then take action that the Democrats then must pontificate against. Or visa versa.

President Trump comes back on January 2cnd with a 3AM tweet. "Syria decision is being questioned by both parties. Will re-establish troops the moment a bill from congress authorizing military use hits my desk".

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

"If we stayed out of the way, America’s enemies would continue killing each other. That’s fine by me. I am not indifferent to collateral human suffering, but it is a staple of sharia-supremacist societies.... We should hit terrorist sanctuaries wherever we find them, but it is not necessary to have thousands of American troops on the ground everyplace such sanctuaries might take root...."

Hillary Clinton disagrees- but only when it's politically expedient. Her mind is subject to change based on politics alone. Same with Maddow.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I agree with McCarthy insofar as I can even follow the cast of characters in Syria. I feel for the Kurds; I used to tell poli sci classes that the Kurds qualified as a "nation," let us say by UN standards, but they would probably never get a country. I may be proved wrong. McCarthy often stipulates that he is no great fan of Trump's, yet he offers good criticism of the Trump haters. The somewhat incoherent hatred of the Trump haters sometimes helps one to see that Trump has a point.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

"Syria decision is being questioned by both parties. Will re-establish troops the moment a bill from congress authorizing military use hits my desk".

J Farmer was right.

narciso said...

and the Jordanians and the Saudis moved forces into support positions a month ago, this puts the khashoggi kerfluffle in sharp relief doesn't it, what McCarthy leaves out are those free Syrian rebels, operation tumbleweed, that the us supported to the tune of 250-500 million dollars, to little success,

Mike Bunge said...

What gets me are the times when someone like Larison will blast Mattis as being wrong on Syria, credit Trump with being right on Syria, but then complain that Mattis won't be around to "restrain" Trump's worst impulses. There are few out there more critical of America's perpetual war machine than Larison, yet even he still believes the folks who've been running that war machine for a quarter-century are the smart people we have to trust because ORANGE MAN BAD.

Mike

Ralph L said...

I suspect the main reason the Europeans are there is to stem the flow of refugees. That's their problem.

narciso said...

larison is a strange creature like a puyallup

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/12/21/checkmate-saudi-crown-prince-mbs-sends-replacement-troops-to-defend-kurds-in-syria/#more-158042

Derek Kite said...

But he might use the money saved to build the wall!

Rusty said...

I kinda agree with McCarthy. I hope the Kurds are strong enough to hold their own.
It would be interesting to hear from J. farmer on this. As much as we disagree his reasoning is often sound.

n.n said...
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n.n said...
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n.n said...

lefty... kill brown people... from Chicago to Tripoli, it's the reality on the ground

They will also happily sacrifice white people from San Francisco to Kiev when it is politically congruent. Not even selective-child, but rather selective-person. Democracy dies with social justice and, apparently, progress.

n.n said...

use the money saved to build the wall

Mexico will pay for the wall through taxed remittances and a shared energy market. Station environmentalists on the border to keep the PV safe and clean, and the greenbacks flowing.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Rachel Maddow and her beloved Hillary Clinton disagree.

Because they are hypocrites of the highest order.

EDH said...

How many US soldiers were supporting the Kurds for how long? Aren't the Kurds up to speed by now?

Can the US do that support now with special forces and fewer regular troops barracked in Syria itself?

mockturtle said...

If we stayed out of the way, America’s enemies would continue killing each other. That’s fine by me.

IIRC, the US profited by the Iran/Iraq wars by arming both sides.

narciso said...

the post tries to hide the detail that khashoggi, was a tool of Qatar, which supports the Taliban, hamas and Islamic state,

MayBee said...

McCarthy is right about Congress.

As to the public- who among us can even begin to feel well enough educated about what is going on over there? Only those who have actively sought out much more information than our current "news" sources give us.

narciso said...

except didn't iran emerge stronger, saddam had to extort Kuwait and the kingdom, hence the gulf war.

mockturtle said...

except didn't iran emerge stronger, saddam had to extort Kuwait and the kingdom, hence the gulf war.

Yes and I didn't mean to imply that it was a good thing. If we and Russia could agree not to arm any ME countries it would be a big plus.

MayBee said...

Also, Obama told al Asad to step down years ago. Are we sure he's still in power?

narciso said...

see Kissinger's cynicism see the kurds in '75, his pushing for the shah to be admitted into the country, then backing saddam without reservations, and saying 'why couldn't they both lose' I guess a similar notion optains in Syria, we don't want the islamist in idlib to win, nor the Iranian backed alawite govt,

Lawrence Person said...

Ann: You bolluxed the link to the McCarthy article.

M Mott said...

Why isn't anyone talkin' Turkey? An enormously important ally with direct interest in Syria. They will fill the vacuum of an American pull out to their advantage....and ours

narciso said...

they aren't, but this was the why behind the khashoggi kerfluffle, bueller, bueller,

Ralph L said...

saying 'why couldn't they both lose'
Weinberger famously said that, though Henry K may have also.

Britain and then the US have a >century old standing policy of trying to keep Russia/USSR out of the ME. Let them deal with it may be the best strategy.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The rest of the west needs to start doing their share.

narciso said...

yes Weinberger was providing logistical support to Iraq, as well, that's why the tow missile shipments in principle, shouldn't have been a bigger deal, timmerman in fanning the flames, showed the whole sordid mess,

Jupiter said...

MayBee said...

"As to the public- who among us can even begin to feel well enough educated about what is going on over there?"

No amount of knowledge would enable one to predict what will happen in the Syrian clusterfuck. They all want to kill each other, and for very good reasons. The only thing one can predict with confidence is that sending American soldiers to that useless shithole will get American soldiers killed. Syria is never going to be a vacation spot.

And before you get too warm and fuzzy about the Kurds, you might want to consider that the Armenian Genocide was a policy of the Turkish government, but was carried out largely by Kurds. They killed the Christian men, then marched the women and children to slow death by starvation, exhaustion and exposure. I guess they didn't sell them as sex slaves, so by the standards of the region, they're the good guys.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

btw- the link to Andrew's article doesn't seem to work.

Bob Boyd said...

"btw- the link to Andrew's article doesn't seem to work."


Here's one:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/syria-troop-withdrawal-middle-east-policy/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Saturday%202018-12-22&utm_term=NRDaily-Smart

Hari said...

Getting out of Syria and Afghanistan are necessary steps before we can get out of Japan, South Korea, and Germany.

Mark said...

When ISIS arose and gobbled up territory, beheading some inhabitants and enslaving the rest, Obama . . .

Mostly didn't do a damn thing, except to call it ISIL, while Kerry was going around calling it Daesh. And fucking Hillary said it wasn't "our problem" that the people of the area -- the defenseless people being butchered in systemized genocide -- should be protecting themselves. (Another reason why that evil person should never be allowed within ten miles of the White House.)

And, sure, there plenty of Republicans too along with those Democrats who basically took a "eat shit and die" attitude to the suffering of others. But let's not pretend that any of the Dems were in favor of actually military troops going in to destroy ISIS.

Mark said...

"As to the public- who among us can even begin to feel well enough educated about what is going on over there?"

A LOT of groups, such as In Defense of Christians, have been reporting on and trying to raise awareness about genocidal ISIS for many years. But too many people have their heads up their asses and wouldn't care if they did not.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Thanks, Bob Boyd.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Fucking Hillary is a fucking opportunistic hack.
She cares about anyone as long as they can enrich her and give her power. Everyone and everything else is useless.

Mark said...

Obama's number one priority in Syria was always to overthrow the Assad regime. Defeating ISIS was not a big concern. In fact, he supported many of the Islamic extremist groups because they too sought to overthrow Assad.

Jupiter said...

Mark said...

"But let's not pretend that any of the Dems were in favor of actually military troops going in to destroy ISIS."

If the US military is to be used to put an end to murderous gangs of well-armed savages, I suggest that we begin with the ones in Mexico. Or maybe South Chicago. The foremost goal of most Syrians seems to be killing other Syrians, and they're good at it. I don't think they need our help.

Mark said...

You remember the Obama campaign when ISIS was at its height of raping and killing and beheading and destroying ancient historical sites, don't you? The campaign on social media with sad-faced Michelle and State Department officials holding #hashtag signs?

Jim at said...

Trump turns leftists into chickenhawks.
Is there nothing he can't do?

chuck said...

I'm not clear on this "right thing, wrong way" thing.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

I kinda agree with McCarthy. I hope the Kurds are strong enough to hold their own.
It would be interesting to hear from J. farmer on this. As much as we disagree his reasoning is often sound


In principle, as a nationalist, I support the Kurdish right to national self-determination. However, I do not believe the US should do anything to help bring such a state into existence. The creation of a de facto Kurdish state in northeastern Syria simply cannot be tolerated from Turkey's point of view, since any such territory could be used as a launching ground for terrorist attacks against Turkey, which has suffered attacks from Kurdish terror groups for 40 years. Turkey has already made frequent ground and air incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan.

robother said...

One of the great ironies of American history is the re-naming of the War and Navy Departments as the "Defense Department" just as nuclear strategic missiles and the mutually assured destruction strategy made defense of the homeland militarily impossible. Starting with Korea, proxy wars that could never be prosecuted to victory (lest the other side retaliate with nukes) became the "Defense" Department's main occupation. Battles won, but never wars.

Listening to Lindsay Graham on Fox chronicling the number of ISIS/AlQeda attacks in the US and Europe over the last 15 years, as evidence that we have not defeated ISIS. he shows no awareness of the absurdity of his position. After trillions spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria, one would think any illusion that Middle Eastern invasions can ever solve the problems of Islamic terror in Europe or the USA is destroyed. But to neo-cons, like their leftist cousins, failure just means we haven't tried hard enough.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The collective hypocrite left are VERY scared. So scared.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

If Hillary is so concerned, what exactly did she do to help the Kurds?

Mueller? Bueller?

glenn said...

Two things:
1. It’s too late now but we should have sent the Air Force along about October 2001.
2. If all those folks who are complaining about the Syria withdrawal are serious planes leave every day. Hat up. Somebody in the region will sell you an AK-47 and you can be a war hero.

chuck said...

One of the great ironies of American history is the re-naming of the War and Navy Departments as the "Defense Department"

Yes, I agree. It was an early symptom of the PC disease.

Not Sure said...

I'm not clear on this "right thing, wrong way" thing.

I'll hazard a guess.

Right way: President calls a meeting with the Secs of Def & State, Nat Sec advisor, and whoever, with the stated purpose of determining future Syria policy. He opens the meting with "Here's what I think. Tell me what you have to say about it, and then I'll mull it over and decide." Then issues carefully crafted statement explaining his decision.

Wrong way: President goes with his "gut feeling," tweets his new policy, doesn't bother to tell his Sec Def, thereby inducing his resignation.

FullMoon said...

@J Farmer

I keep seeing starving Kurds. Kinda like 'kids in cages' pics.

Is it a situation of Kurdish terrorists embedded within civilian populations? As average ignorant person, I am not sure what the situation is.

Lydia said...

Israel-hating Stephen Walt is happy with anything that will help Hezbollah because that will hurt Israel.

For Israel, as well as for the Sunni states in the region, this is a nightmare. The presence of the US troops in Kurdish-controlled areas in eastern Syria kept Iran from being able to complete a Shia arc leading from Iran, through Iraq and Syria and into Lebanon.

The US presence in that region is all that prevents Tehran from being able to convey overland state-of-the art weapons along that arc into Hezbollah’s eager hands in Lebanon. This was a critical buffer zone.

J. Farmer said...

@FullMoon:

I keep seeing starving Kurds. Kinda like 'kids in cages' pics.

Is it a situation of Kurdish terrorists embedded within civilian populations? As average ignorant person, I am not sure what the situation is.


Because neither the Syrian government nor Turkey is going to accept a large chunk of Syria being cleaved away into a de facto Kurdish state. It will likely have to be abandoned and the area returned fully under the control of Demascus. A state that can only exist as a US protectorate is not a particularly viable state.

J. Farmer said...

@Lydia:

Israel-hating Stephen Walt is happy with anything that will help Hezbollah because that will hurt Israel.

Walt is not "Israel-hating." He has been critical of the Israel lobby and its effect on US foreign policy, but I am willing to bet money that you have never read his and Mearsheimer's work on the subject. Attempts to bring down Assad and thus hand a defeat to Iran is part of what has created so many problems in Syria in the first place (e.g. ISIS).

And speaking of Stephen Walt, his recent book The Hell of Good Intentions is a good discussion of whats went wrong with US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.

FullMoon said...

Because neither the Syrian government nor Turkey is going to accept a large chunk of Syria being cleaved away into a de facto Kurdish state.

Hmm, I am more ignorant of the situation than I realized. And, I imagine most Americans know even less than I do.

Guess I will have to bite the bullet and actually do some research.

rcocean said...

According to the Liberals and the Never Trumpers, Donald Trump is always:

1. Selling out the world to Putin and the Chicoms

OR

2. a belligerent madman who's trying to start WW III


One thing Trump never does? Be in the right.

rcocean said...

BTW, we've been in Afghanistan for 17 years, but according the "experts" victory is just around the corner.

Just like it always is.

FullMoon said...

rcocean said... [hush]​[hide comment]

According to the Liberals and the Never Trumpers, Donald Trump is always:

1. Selling out the world to Putin and the Chicoms

OR

2. a belligerent madman who's trying to start WW III


Forgot, lining his own pockets, getting richer.

traditionalguy said...

Actually the strategic eastern Syria area in question can be occupied by 20,000 Saudi Arabian Special Forces just as well as by 2,000 American Special Forces. The Saudis are better fighter than the Turks or the Iranians. And we have trained them and armed them with our latest super infantry weapons and they have practiced with using in the Yemen War for several years as we perfected the weapons.

The sole issue is civilian control over the Military who want no changes in strategy. Like Truman and MacArthur, Mattis will retire or he will run for President / Vice President as a Democrat. Why not, everybody else in DC is voluntering to take Trump out before it is too late. And every General that moves up over a 1 Star rank is a politician at heart.

Trump's only war today is an open war to the death with the CIA and Obama's deep state allies. But the death is not going to be his.

Lydia said...

I am willing to bet money that you have never read his and Mearsheimer's work on the subject.

You'd lose that bet. I read their original article on "the Lobby" in the London Review of Books. That article is here; the comments are very much worth a read. This is part of one by Alan Dershowitz:

It is not only Mearsheimer and Walt’s words that invoke stereotypes and canards. It is the ‘music’ as well – the tone, pitch and feel of the article – that has caused such outrage. Imagine if two academics compiled an equivalent number of negative statements, based on shoddy research and questionable sources, to the effect that African Americans cause all the problems in America, and presented that compilation as evidence that African Americans behave in a manner contrary to the best interest of the United States. Who would fail to recognise such a project as destructive?

Sebastian said...

Convergence between Walt (a nasty piece of work), Farmer, and yours truly -- is there anything Trump can't do?

Jupiter said...

FullMoon said...
"Because neither the Syrian government nor Turkey is going to accept a large chunk of Syria being cleaved away into a de facto Kurdish state."

If present demographic trends continue, a large chunk of Turkey will become a de facto Kurdish state. Which is why the Turks are so worried, and Erdogan is eliminating democracy.

wildswan said...

It's quite ironic that, as Trump said, we are supposed to stay in Syria to defend the Kurdish borders but we aren't supposed to do anything about our own border. These two border issues are happening in the same week and the left is taking diametrically different stands on them and also stands different from those in its own recent past. Easy to know what to think about that.

But Mattis resigning - not so easy to know what to think about that.

Unknown said...

I read that 8 months ago trump gave mattis 6 months to wrap up syria. Get accomplished what you plan or get out. Well mattis failed so trump got out. Then mattis got his panties in a wad and quit.

gadfly said...

Andy McCarthy needs to get his facts straight in this important statement:

It has been 17 years since 9/11 and 25 years since radical Islam declared war against the United States by bombing the World Trade Center.

Angelo Codevilla, whose intelligence background gives him an advantage, disagrees:

Consider: We know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) planned and carried out 9/11. But there is no independent support for KSM’s claim that he acted at Osama’s direction and under his supervision. On the contrary, we know for sure that the expertise and the financing for 9/11 came from KSM’s own group (the U.S. government has accepted but to my knowledge not verified that the group’s core is a biological family of Balochs). This group carried out the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa and every other act for which al Qaeda became known. The KSM group included the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings Abdul Rahman Yasin, who came from, returned to, and vanished in Iraq, as well as Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of that bombing, who came to the U.S. from Iraq on an Iraqi passport and was known to his New York collaborators as “Rashid the Iraqi.” This group had planned the bombing of U.S. airliners over the Pacific in 1995. The core members are non-Arabs. They had no history of religiosity (and the religiosity they now display is unconvincing). They were not creatures of Osama.

The real Osama bin Laden, like the real al Qaeda over which he presided, was never as important as reports from Arab (especially Saudi) intelligence services led the CIA to believe. Osama’s (late) role in Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet resistance was to bring in a little money. Arab fighters in general, and particularly the few Osama brought, fought rarely and badly. In war, one Afghan is worth many Arabs. In 1990 Osama told Saudi regent Abdullah that his mujahideen could stop Saddam’s invasion of the kingdom . When Abdullah waved him away in favor of a half-million U.S. troops, Osama turned dissident, enough to have to move to Sudan, where he stayed until 1996 hatching sterile anti-Saudi plots until forced to move his forlorn band to Afghanistan.

There is a good reason why neither Osama nor al Qaeda appeared on U.S. intelligence screens until 1998. They had done nothing noteworthy. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet [then mistakenly or perhaps deliberately] imputed responsibility for 9/11 to Osama “game, set, and match.”


The last time that I read an analysis of the warring parties in Syria, some nine separate fighting forces had aligned themselves with one side of the fighting or the other. Regardless of which side the US chose, some forces on our side would be anti-American. Our biggest contribution to the war has been close air support from our worn-out but otherwise irreplaceable A-10 Warthogs, usually flown by Reservists called to active duty.

So right, wrong or indifferent, war means people are getting killed, including many innocents. So I agree that we need to get out and shut down Bolton's neo-cons but we need to arrive at these decisions outside Trump's daily irrationality. We need to cease giving recognition to these many names adopted to put a face on our enemy in the Middle East. When truth is known, there are real countries with a real governments creating these guerilla actions.

CWJ said...

"Instead of obsessing about who is supposedly “winning” and who is supposedly “losing,” the United States should start by identifying its core strategic interests...."

Agreed. But just out of curiosity, did Professor Walt pose this sentiment anytime during the last administration?

"Moreover, despite its fearsome image and the hype its brutal tactics have received, the Islamic State was never an existential threat to the United States...."

Ah, now it becomes clear. Robert Cook? Is that you? J. Farmer?

Birkel said...

gadfly,

Thanks for contributing.
Have you yet confirmed that 2015 and 2017 were different periods of time?

Birkel said...

I like how so many commenters (paid and unpaid) have to start or end (or both!) their comments with OrangeManBad.
Trump ran on a policy of fewer foreign misadventures.
He gave Mattis 8 months to develop a plan of withdrawal.
And people who wanted fewer foreign misadventures must ritualistically denounce the man whose policies they claim to prefer.

We are at an odd crossroads.

J. Farmer said...

@Lydia:

You'd lose that bet. I read their original article on "the Lobby" in the London Review of Books. That article is here; the comments are very much worth a read.

I was referring to the book, not the original article. But since you have read the article, do you care to quote a single "Israel-hating" statement from it?

narciso said...

if Islamic state, acquired a nuclear weapon, and detonated in the middle of England, where it would contaminate the thames and much of the other rivers, would that be existential enough for dr. walt?

J. Farmer said...

@Jupiter:

If present demographic trends continue, a large chunk of Turkey will become a de facto Kurdish state. Which is why the Turks are so worried, and Erdogan is eliminating democracy.

That is all well and good. As I said before, I am supportive of the existence of a Kurdish state in theory. I just do not believe the one should be brought into existence under US security guarantees. As I mentioned before, Turkey has already used terrorist attacks inside Turkey to launch ground and air incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan. Should the US start a military conflict with Turkey to prevent this? I certainly don't think so.

narciso said...

I'll agree that ksm was a much more able organizer and trainer, than ubl ever was, al suri aspired to that level of complexity, but you see with madrid and London, the limits of his capacity,

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

if Islamic state, acquired a nuclear weapon, and detonated in the middle of England, where it would contaminate the thames and much of the other rivers, would that be existential enough for dr. walt?

That sounds an awful lot like a rehash of Dick Cheney's one percent doctrine.

narciso said...

and that was when the 4th infantry division was firmly ensconced in the northern region, so can be people stop being so agregiously stupid,

narciso said...

what kind of impact would that have on englands infrastructure, or conversely if they were ambitious to detonate a device or two in antartica, what be the impact there,

Rusty said...

Thanks J.
I would like to see more western support of an Iraqi Kurdistan, I am opposed to our unilaterally supporting it with anything other than humanitarian aid.

Leland said...

What is the right way? Asking the establishment of State and DoD what to do? That's why we are in Syria. Asking Congress? As McCarthy note, Congress neither authorized troops to be there. And based on their impotent outrage, they wouldn't pass a resolution demanding the President withdraw the troops or authorize and fund troops sufficient to end the war quickly. I think Stephen Walt still wants to be invited to certain parties and receive certain Christmas cards.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

I’m confused. What lesson are we supposed to draw from your nuclear thought experiment?

narciso said...

dr. walt says it was never an existential threat, well the point is to preclude such a thing,

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

dr. walt says it was never an existential threat, well the point is to preclude such a thing,

Even your own example, as absurd as it is, would not be an example of an "existential threat." A nuclear bomb in the middle of London would be a monstrously devastating attack but it would not be the end of English existence anymore than an explosion in the center of Manhattan would mean the end of America or the American people. The Soviet's nuclear aresenal was an existential threat not because the possibility of detonating one bomb in one city but because it had the capacity to completely obliterate the US.

Also, on the notion of ISIS obtaining a nuclear weapon, this obviously could only happen if (a) a nuclear power state gave them a weapon or (b) they created themselves, in which case where would ISIS obtain the scientific and engineering capacity to enrich fissile material and then move it from wherever it was created to London?

Birkel said...

Existential threat: nation versus millions of people

J Farmer thinks one would be a tragedy and the other a mere statistic?

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Existential means having to do with existence and an existential threat is a threat to existence. The Soviet Union posed an existential threat because it had the capacity to obliterate life in the US. A single nuclear weapon in a single city does not pose an equal threat. And yes, while a million deaths would be unimaginably horrific, 300 million deaths is still orders of magnitude different.

Birkel said...

Who or what, J Farmer.
That is the question.

A threat to kill me is an existential threat TO ME!
A threat to kill you?

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Who or what, J Farmer.
That is the question.


The statement of Walt's under discussion is, "the Islamic State was never an existential threat to the United States."

I think the who or what is pretty clear in that statement.

Birkel said...

Sure, but I care not at all what Walt said or wrote.
If it is me that faces the threat of death, I care a lot more than if it is a threat to you.

Your idea that a made up thing (the United States is an idea) will not cease to be cannot move the needle.
It is an abstraction about an abstraction and obscures the truth.
When we personalize the facts (the death of real people, like me or you) we get closer to the truth.

And that is why the "10 million is a statistic" jab was entirely accurate.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Sure, but I care not at all what Walt said or wrote.

Well what Walt wrote was the topic under discussion that you injected yourself into.

In any event, simple question for you: what is an existential threat?

Birkel said...

If I am credibly threatened with death, it is an existential threat.
That is plain as day.

J. Farmer said...

And do you believe a nation can have an "existential threat?" If so, what does that mean?

Robert Cook said...

"Listening to Lindsay Graham on Fox chronicling the number of ISIS/AlQeda attacks in the US and Europe over the last 15 years...."

What" "ISIS/Alqeda (sic) attacks in the US...over the last 15 years"?

Birkel said...

Did Rome cease to exist when it was invaded?
Maybe Atlantis is the example for you, J Farmer.

Robert Cook said...

"If I am credibly threatened with death, it is an existential threat."

Who has posed a credible threat against your life?

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Did Rome cease to exist when it was invaded?
Maybe Atlantis is the example for you, J Farmer.


The Roman Empire certainly ceased to exist. But there is a difference between a nation and a state. That is the concept behind the entire notion of a "genocide." It is not about the ability to destroy a government but to destroy a people. Do you believe a nation can cease to exist or not? If so, the threats to that nation's existence can accurately be described as "existential."

Birkel said...

Well, Robert Cook, a few individuals.
Every communist, ever.
Every socialist, of course.
Every Muslim extremist.

And Hans Gruber.

Birkel said...

J Farmer,
Mocking you is less fun when you pretend not to know it is happening.
Still fun, just less so.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Trump's instincts are going to be proven correct - once again- over time. Because he is less invested in all the benefits that accrue to those bureaucrats - civilian and military - that benefit from our interference in other's affairs he can make rational decisions. The hypocrisy of Congressional critics ( who would never vote aye, if asked, to retain troops in Syria) is laughable.

Robert Cook said...

As has long been apparent, Birkel, you're not just a paranoid, but a grandiose paranoid.

Produce one credible threat any of these amorphous boogeymen have directed against you, personally.

Khesanh 0802 said...

I wonder why Trump's actions are considered irrational. He is the C-in-C. If he wishes to withdraw troops because he does not think that the cost is worth the candle that is perfectly rational. Lee sending Pickett up that hill was an irrational military decision.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Mocking you is less fun when you pretend not to know it is happening.
Still fun, just less so.


I never mind being charitable to those less fortunate than myself.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

p.s. And I probably wouldn't be so damn smug if I wasn't so damn correct so damn often.

J. Farmer said...

And the award for the most hysterical reaction to the Syria withdraw goes to Dana Milbank...

It's official. We lost the Cold War.

How detached from reality must one be to write such piffle.

Birkel said...

See, J Farmer!
See how Robert Cook responds to mockery?
That's how you do it.

As for whether you are correct, please tell me our points of disagreement and when I have been wrong.
That should be a fun exercise.

narciso said...

I didn't say London I said the UK, one could use an example with the Rhine river in Europe, or it could be bacteriological chemical contamination.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

I didn't say London I said the UK, one could use an example with the Rhine river in Europe, or it could be bacteriological chemical contamination.

Well now technically we were both wrong. You didn't say London (my apologies) or the UK, you said the middle of England. And even that, as devastating as it is, would not mean the destruction of England. And even then you did not disagree with Walt's assertion that ISIS was never a threat to the Untied States (not England). You are merely positing that under certain circumstances they could become an existential threat at some indeterminate time in the future.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

As for whether you are correct, please tell me our points of disagreement and when I have been wrong.

"Your idea that a made up thing (the United States is an idea) will not cease to be cannot move the needle."

Wrong. Unless you want to evacuate the word "existential" of all meaning.

Birkel said...

I am wrong that it does not move the needle for me?
Damn, and here I thought you didn't have a mind control device!

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

I am wrong that it does not move the needle for me?

Well now you have added the phrase "for me." What a perfectly solipsistic construction. Imagine the following exchange in the mid-1950s.

Person 1: Luxembourg is a bigger threat to the US than the Soviet Union.

Person 2: What?! That's a ludicrous statement.

Person 1: It's a bigger threat for me!

Person 2: Oh, in that case, we can't argue it.

narciso said...

Well the Soviet union had the capacity as well as the intent, you were a child when that no longer applied, al queda has the second but no first yet,

Birkel said...

Unlike you, I cannot claim to make the needles of others to move.

The detachment with which you argue is precisely why I disagree with your conclusions.
The potential deaths would matter to the families of the departed.
Move their needles by your argument; I do not think you can.

Birkel said...

You: How dare you only speak for yourself.
Me: I am a monster, am I not?

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

The potential deaths would matter to the families of the departed.

That is completely beside the point. Every family who has lost a loved one in a school shooting has suffered terribly for it. That does not make school shootings an existential threat to the United States.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

Well the Soviet union had the capacity as well as the intent, you were a child when that no longer applied, al queda has the second but no first yet,

Precisely why Al Qaeda is not and has never been an "existential threat." Is there some imagined future scenario where they could be? Of course. But that and three bucks will get you a gallon of milk.

Also, I am not sure if you have been explicit on the subject, but do you support Trump's troop withdraw or not? Your analysis sounds like a prescription for endless, preventive war. As I said initially, it's a rehash of Cheney's one percent doctrine (i.e. were must treat a 1% likelihood of something the same as if it were 100%).

Birkel said...

Are you intentionally missing the point?
I suppose you don't want to address the point I am making and pretending to miss my point is somehow safer for you.

Very well.
You cannot lose if you do not engage.

narciso said...

Yes he is in the 80s, they used the excuse of the Soviet threat to surrender to them on several battlefronts.

Birkel said...

Shop at Aldi and you can get a gallon of milk for $1.60.
They may not be in Tampa...
Searches internet...

One in Holiday and one in Tampa.
If you are shopping for more than a single person, it can be worth a drive.
Take a quarter to get a shopping cart and bring bags to carry the groceries home.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Are you intentionally missing the point?

Perhaps. Try explaining it clearly and concisely and I'll answer. But statements like, "The detachment with which you argue is precisely why I disagree with your conclusions." A lot of people are extremely attached to the notion that Trump is a Putin stooge. What does level of attachment have to do with the correctness of an argument.

And just to rehash where this all began: narciso took issue with Walt's claim that "ISIS has never been a threat to the United States." I agree with Walt's statement and explained why. Unless you have something to add to that particular discussion, perhaps we should just end this with a couple of pleasantries.

Birkel said...

I will not support foreign military engagements because I know half of this country will actively try to cause our armed forces to lose if given an opportunity.

Mine is pragmatic.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

I'll repeat: do you agree with Trump's Syria withdraw? Why or why not?

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

I will not support foreign military engagements because I know half of this country will actively try to cause our armed forces to lose if given an opportunity.

As I know you are well aware, you and I are in complete agreement on that subject. Whether or not something is an "existential" threat is a different question, and of course it doesn't really say anything about how that threat should be faced.

Birkel said...

Arguing about existential threats to abstractions (eg countries) misses the point.
The thing that is threatened is individual human life; it is not abstract.

Mark said...

Some people really should be embarrassed to call themselves human.

Birkel said...

Walt was arguing in the same vein as Stalin.
One life is a tragedy.
A million is a statistic.
It is grotesque whether framed by Stalin, Walt, or J Farmer.

narciso said...

Seeing that other powers are filling ths gap, I'm less concerned about the fate of the Kurds,

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Arguing about existential threats to abstractions (eg countries) misses the point.
The thing that is threatened is individual human life; it is not abstract.


A pipe bomb in a garbage can in Times Square threatens individual human life. A nuclear bomb in the middle of time square also threatens individual human life.

Are these threats of equal value?

There is a reason people call things "existential threats." And it most often has little or nothing to do with an accurate assessment of said threat. See threat inflation.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Do you believe it is possible to prioritize or rank threats? If so, how?

Birkel said...

Threat to me = #1 threat

Threat to you = secondary threat

Birkel said...

In order to answer your question, am I in Times Square beside that trash can?

J. Farmer said...

And what does the phrase "threat to the United States" mean?

Birkel said...

Hillary Clinton, obviously.

J. Farmer said...

And what's the point of using the word "existential" to describe a threat? What's the difference between an existential threat and a garden variety threat?

Birkel said...

You just won't see the point.
And if I hold your head under water it won't help.
#ExistentialThreat

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

You just won't see the point.

I am well aware that you inject yourselves into discussions with nothing useful to say and only to get attention. I am more than happy to indulge that petty, childish need of yours. But as I do, I try to get a little something out of it as well.

So just to recap: narciso says that ISIS is an existential threat. I said they weren't. And Birkel has apparently no opinion on the subject, he just likes attention from internet strangers.

Got it!

Birkel said...

Correct, you willfully missed the point.
ISIS members and sympathizers are an existential threat to lots of people and have proven themselves so.
But do go on about threatening the existence of a concept like the United States.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

ISIS members and sympathizers are an existential threat to lots of people and have proven themselves so.

No one has argued otherwise. That is a strawman.

But do go on about threatening the existence of a concept like the United States.

It is the people defining ISIS as an "existential threat" who are going "on about threatening the existence of a concept like the United States." I suppose you need to make this point to narciso and not to me. The US has faced existential threats before. I gave up the example of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. ISIS is nowhere near that level of threat to the United States.

In other words, you agree with me that ISIS is not "an existential threat to the United States."

Happy to have you on my side, buddy. Merry Christmas!

Birkel said...

Facts are not strawmen.
Facts are true statements.

You continue to avoid the obvious point that existence is threatened against things that can die, namely people.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Facts are not strawmen.
Facts are true statements.


Arguing against a point that no one has made is what makes it a strawman.

You continue to avoid the obvious point that existence is threatened against things that can die, namely people.

And a nation is a collection of people. Nations can be destroyed. See genocide. The Soviets had the power to kill not just a lot of Americans but every American. That is what made them an existential threat to America. ISIS does not have the power and thus, unlike the Soviets were, are not an existential threat to the United States.

Now if you can find an untrue or factually incorrect statement in what I have just said, please elucidate.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"I get that. "
Mhat did K ipling gdt he wouldn't lawel that.

You get allthat nothing nada.

narciso said...

Recall Stephen walt was the fellow who visited Tunisia in the early days of the Arab spring and assured us bin Ali would remain, he lasted a week.

Hes not an isolationist hes for smart engagement whatever that id.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I get that society allows me unlimi bullshit. i get that.

So whg? Name o. No God then name it. You get standing on shoulderls but wilting.'Cause.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I merely hope we all have Billy Idol.American aspirations.

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053459/

Birkel said...

I have continued to make the point and you have continued to ignore it.
Setting the terms as "threats to the continued existence of an abstract idea, like the United States" and not recognizing that doing so is to construct a strawman... well, you're just incapable of seeing that such a standard is worthless.

So I have rejected that standard and focused on the existence(s) that are threatened: human lives.

You continue to argue at the theoretical level... a million is a statistic... and I say you and Stalin are welcome to that position.

ISIS, left to its own devices, would try to kill as many as it could.
Maybe even you.
And at that point I would not think it an existential problem.

But you cannot see my point because your world view requires your inability to do so.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

Recall Stephen walt was the fellow who visited Tunisia in the early days of the Arab spring and assured us bin Ali would remain, he lasted a week.

Please provide a source for this. I am pretty familiar with Walt's work and do not recall him ever traveling to Tunisia and making a prediction about Ben Ali. What he did write, and was completely wrong about, was Why the Tunisian revolution won’t spread. You can read Walt's mea culpa about this prediction in What I got wrong about the Arab revolutions and why I’m not losing sleep over it

Hes not an isolationist hes for smart engagement whatever that id.

Walt's actual preferred strategy is offshore balancing. I have issues with that strategy, but you can read Walt's defense of it at The Case for Offshore Balancing.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

You continue to argue at the theoretical level... a million is a statistic... and I say you and Stalin are welcome to that position.

The fact that the Soviet Union had the power to destroy the United States is not arguing "at the theoretical level." It is a plain description of empirical fact. A person armed with a machine gun and a person armed with a nuclear bomb both have the capacity to destroy innocent human life, but the one with the bomb is by far the greater threat because of the massively increased capacity to do said damage.

narciso said...

So he wasnt prescient on that score, did he predict the rise of Islamic state, did offshore balancing

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

So he wasnt prescient on that score, did he predict the rise of Islamic state, did offshore balancing

I don't believe so is my response to the first question, and I have no idea what the second one means. If you read someone who is 100% right about everything, please point me in their direction.

Birkel said...

Greater threat: Am I in Times Square or not?

You must maintain the will never to see my point.
I commend your effort.

narciso said...

How about on one major consequence, before 1946, who predicted that the Soviet union would be such a threat, well besides Bertrand russell.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Greater threat: Am I in Times Square or not?

You must maintain the will never to see my point.
I commend your effort.


I presume you weren't in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon on September 11th. Why care about it? You weren't hurt.

Donatello Nobody said...

JFC, J. Farmer -- why are you so hung up on the "existential threat" thingy?! I don't really think that there are any threats out there that have a reasonable chance of actually causing the United States to cease to exist -- does that mean there aren't genuine threats to us or our interests? I sure as hell would find a dirty bomb, or even a car bomb, in Times Square to be pretty threatening.

J. Farmer said...

Also, Birkel, you seem to be obsessed with intent to the complete detriment of capacity. Being an Olympic sprinting gold medalist could be a personal obsession of mine, but since I lack the capacity or ability to do so, who cares?

Birkel said...

Swing and a miss, J Farmer.
My point is just over the horizon from you.
And you'll make sure it stays that way.

narciso said...

Russell, before becoming uber peacenik urged preemptive war on Russia. Before it developed nuclear weapons

J. Farmer said...

@Donatello Nobody:

JFC, J. Farmer -- why are you so hung up on the "existential threat" thingy?! I don't really think that there are any threats out there that have a reasonable chance of actually causing the United States to cease to exist -- does that mean there aren't genuine threats to us or our interests? I sure as hell would find a dirty bomb, or even a car bomb, in Times Square to be pretty threatening.

Because within the last many years, the phrase "existential threat" has been bandied about with increasing frequency to define certain threats. I consider this alarmism and a form of threat inflation, and since it is almost always invoked to argue for or justify aggressive American interventionism, I think it is important to challenge it. At least two commenters here took issue with Walt stating the ISIS was "not an existential threat to the United States."

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

So what steps are you taking to protect yourself from the threat of ISIS? How have you altered your behavior in response to this threat?

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

I'll try again. Do you support Trump's troop withdraw from Syria? Why or why not?

Birkel said...

I built a time machine and hired a young Chuck Norris to defend me.
Naturally.

I enjoy watching the sword/shield use of "existential" as a rhetorical device.
Do you recognize when you do it?

narciso said...

I had my reservations but the Saudi and Jordanian substitution scheme is reassuring yes I know they chose poor proxies before

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

I am for abandoning the phrase completely. Almost nothing is an "existential threat" to the country. The phrase obscures more than it enlightens and is more often than not a form of alarmism. A realistic assessment of ISIS' threat would not hinge merely on intentions or desires but on what they actually have the capacity to achieve.

Birkel said...

Well quit using it today.
That was easy.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Well quit using it today.
That was easy.


I only used it to criticize it. Now if we can get the hawks and the interventionists to stop using it, we'll be getting somewhere.

Birkel said...

No, you want to believe what you just typed but that won't make it true.
You use it as a sword and a shield.
I marked you doing so above and criticized you in real time.

narciso said...

Seeing walt and mearsheimer's category error in the past, one wonders if one should credit his criticism or approval of policy in the present.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

You got bogged down in a sophomoric semantic game ("the United States is an idea"). I have maintained the following the entire time:

1) An "existential threat to the United States" is a threat to the existence of the United States

2) There is such a thing as an "existential threat to the United States," though such threats are rare. Several dozen ICBM's would be an example of such a threat

3) ISIS does not pose "an existential threat to the United States."

Now please tell me which of these is wrong and why.

narciso said...

Is that the way he defined existential threat

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

Seeing walt and mearsheimer's category error in the past, one wonders if one should credit his criticism or approval of policy in the present.

Not sure which category error you are referring to or what "one should credit" is referring to in that sentence. I think one should do with Walt and Mearsheimer's work what they do with every other work. Read it critically and evaluate its arguments on the merits.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

Is that the way he defined existential threat

That's the way the dictionary defines it. Did you have an alternative definition in mind? What do you think the word "existential" is supposed to mean in that context?

Birkel said...

Neither Germany nor Japan faced an existential threat during WWII according to your definition.
Neither did Rome as the Germanic tribes invaded.

Your status as a sophomore cannot be confirmed.
Maybe high school sophomore?

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Neither Germany nor Japan faced an existential threat during WWII according to your definition.
Neither did Rome as the Germanic tribes invaded.


It's not "my definition." It's what the words mean. If you want to propose an alternative definition, please do so.

I already addressed your Rome example earlier. The German and Japanese states certainly faced an existential threat but not the German and Japanese people. The goal of the Allies was not eradicate Germanic and Japanese people but to force a surrender of the German and Japanese state.

Birkel said...

A wind up doll that spews and ignores would do as well.
The cow says moo.

narciso said...

Properly they were the existential threat thru just were precluded from employing it.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

A wind up doll that spews and ignores would do as well.
The cow says moo.


Pitiful. I expected something better from you, Birkel. So just to recap you can't point to any actual criticism of "my definition" and you have no alternative definition to provide. So I'll just reiterate the three points I listed above and remind you that you have not contradicted a single one of them. Oh well.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

Properly they were the existential threat thru just were precluded from employing it

When were they? And what is the "it" they were precluded from employing?

narciso said...

Germany and Japan, the former Killed some 10-15 million people.

J. Farmer said...

@narciso:

Gotcha.

Small pedantic suggestion: your comments would be clearer if you didn't insist on using pronouns without antecedents.

Donatello Nobody said...

Whereupon the otherwise estimable J. Farmer reaches a Chuck-level degree of tiresomeness.

Robert Cook said...

Birkel throws many attempted punches, whiffs every one. Farmer doesn’t break a sweat, patiently tolerates childish nonsense far longer than courtesy requires,

Birkel said...

In which my point was studiously ignored.
Robert Cook knows better than most how to ignore uncomfortable facts.

J Farmer must believe I had no point.
To admit otherwise is to call into question the entire balance of his certitude.

One sympathizes.

J. Farmer said...

ISIS is not an existential threat to America.


QED

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Robert Cook: Birkel throws many attempted punches, whiffs every one. Farmer doesn’t break a sweat, patiently tolerates childish nonsense far longer than courtesy requires,

One of those rare days on which I agree with every word of a post of yours, Robert.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen.

Birkel said...

I see the shield is back.
Or is it now the sword?
A bit of both.

ISIS is an existential threat to things that can suffer death.
Can the United States die?
Rome, Germany, and Japan persist so the answer would appear to be no.
Germany will be Islamic in another three or four generations, one aupposes.
But a map will still call it Germany.

The defense, in which an absurdity is conclusively defeated, is laughable.
So I make fun of it.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Can the United States die?

Yes. See thermonuclear weapons. See mutually assured destruction.

Rome, Germany, and Japan persist so the answer would appear to be no.

See the difference between a nation and a state.

“I only debate my equals. All others, I teach.”
― John Henrik Clarke

Birkel said...

Japan is both a nation and a state.
You were saying?

Birkel said...

Granted, if the sun goes supernova you win.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@@Birkel:

Japan is both a nation and a state.
You were saying?


Correct. The Japanese state was ended in 1945 and replaced with another. The Japanese nation was not. The allies represented an existential threat to the Japanese state but not to the Japanese nation.

ISIS represents neither an existential threat to the American state nor the American nation.

Douglas said...

I would be happy if the US announced its support for an independent Kurdish state, and its willingness to provide weapons, lots of advanced weapons, to the Kurds.

J. Farmer said...

Not that anyone will read this but that would be a spectacularly stupid idea.