Mr. X, as I will call him, does not wish to publish this under his own name. He has, however, given me permission to do so. "The Russian regime under Putin," he begins, "doesn’t advance because it is especially devious or intelligent ...
"It scores its victories because its opponents are weak or unintelligent. There’s much that could be done to reverse its gains and deter its aggressions.
"Eastern Ukraine could, with some judicious engagement, become a real cauldron that grinds Russian armor and aircraft to pieces. The airspace-violation game could be pursued as much by the West — which arguably invented the practice — as by Russia.
This is a good column, @dandrezner, and you may well have been right: “My fear is that the Trump White House will choose to tighten its relationship with foreign adversaries because they are viewed as less immediately threatening than either Congress or the special prosecutor.”
The article in question about "omnibalancing"--by Steven David, World Politics 1991, “Explaining Third World Alignment”looks like it's no longer available on line. Does anyone have a PDF? I reckon I should read that. I skipped it in school. That was a mistake, it seems.
The remedy for this is not a special counsel, but impeachment. I find it almost impossible to believe there are insufficient numbers among the GOP to recognize this is an emergency. They've been receiving open and closed briefings--they know what's at stake.
They *cannot* all be in denial now--that idea no longer makes sense. They cannot all be compromised, can they? But the only alternative is that a significant number are out-and-out nihilists who feel *no investment* in our country and what it means.
We're not a nation of nihilists. Idiots, sometimes, but nihilists? None of this is making sense to me. How could anyone in possession of the knowledge of what this *means* -- and they all are -- allow this to happen?
No doubt, France does not always live up to this ideal. Nor do Americans always live up to the ideals in the Bill of Rights. But the French take this principle--and its implications for *citizenship* -- as seriously as we take the Bill of Rights. The words are quasi-sacred.
You might say, "But wouldn't it just be *nice* to say to Africans, 'Come join in our celebration! Let's all be proud?" Yes, it would. But to say that would genuinely negate France's highest ideals--ideals that, believe me, you want to encourage, not scorn.
NB: Russia has not hesitated to attack the UK -- a member of NATO -- with chemical weapons, largely because they felt like it and knew they'd get away with it. Let me quote a friend who will not allow me to use his name:
"We should be clear on what has happened here: the Russian state has murdered a British subject on British soil. A mother of three children is dead, and the Russian government — including its dictator — is to blame.
"Set aside what Britain will do. It is an enervated and weak state that will never summon the wherewithal to expel the Russian money that undergirds so much of its capital’s economy. Ask instead what America will do.
Opinion | If you work for Trump, quit now wapo.st/2mjNWuW?tid=ss… Staffers, Kelly, Pence, Mnuchin, Haspel, Coats, Sessions, Ross, O'Rourke, Mattis, Pompeo: #RESIGN
Whatever fantasy you had about saving the country by containing Trump's worst impulses was utter self-delusion. The only good you can do for your country now is to resign. Preferably, all together, in a single news conference.
You are *not* the only thing standing between Trump and his worst impulses. You are *not* obliged to stay in place because otherwise you'll be replaced by even more irresponsible toadies and flunkies. You *are* those toadies and flunkies: He doesn't listen to a word you say.
So this is a well-known, much-lamented problem. Dramatic changes in the broadcast news market, cable, talk radio, and the advent of social media have fragmented and polarized the news industry. Partisans tend to get news *only* from sympathetic outlets.
We choose the outlets that reinforce our existing views. Social media exacerbates this trend, allowing Americans to expose themselves only to congenial and egosyntonic opinions. Thus we have no basic agreement about facts, let alone interpretation.
So, I'm wondering: Could prominent media outlets on both sides be convinced to invite the most influential journalists from the opposing side to televised, three-hour debates? Say, Fox v. NBC. WSJ v. NYT. Breitbart v. Mother Jones.
I just received the most thoughtful, moving note from someone on Facebook condoling me for my loss yesterday in the World Cup. "...Externally, you have been defeated ... but internally, you have won ...
"A small country of only four million population ... you told the world that if you have courage and the spirit to excel among others then nobody can stop you ...
Do not lose hope, a new beginning is waiting for you!
"In today’s world, big powers are proud of their technological advancement, particularly in the defense field, and owing to this, big powers threaten other countries and impose their decisions on others through illegal means ...
All those Russian bots serve two functions--a propaganda function, but also a huge empirical testing ground to see which of these messages sounds credible and holds the most appeal for US voters. They have in effect a huge wealth of polling data.
The advantage over conventional polling is that they can see in much greater detail how, exactly, Americans react to these arguments, which ones have the most valence, how we rephrase them, what we add to them. Like a country-wide focus group.
Hannah Arendt believed totalitarianism rested not upon the edifice of an all-powerful state, but on the erasure of the difference between public and private life. The digital age erodes that difference,, especially with the rise of social media. It primes us for authoritarianism,
most of all because every keystroke leaves a permanent record. There is no way out. No one can earn a living, transact commerce, talk to friends, participate in modern life, without the Internet and the surrender of privacy its use entails. You have to keep your head down,
Thanks for this. An editor just asked me what might happen, exactly, if NATO collapsed. Here's one of dozens of plausible scenarios that occurred to me, although I hadn't worked it out to this level of novelistic detail.
Something like this, however, was the first scenario I imagined. There are many more scenarios all-too-easily imagined. None of them are good. But think "Sudeten crisis+information/hybrid warfare."
Worst case scenario probably involves ethnic Russians outside of the Russian federation+far right+far left+devastating cyber/information warfare. A too-late realization that we *don't* have peace in our time leads to Russia "de-escalating" the conflict...with nuclear weapons.
Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.
It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.
Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.
From the political point of view, however, the salient point is that he's *behaved* as if he's under the control of a hostile foreign power. No one even argues about that, right? They try to explain it away, or make up elaborate theories about why he does these things.
But whether he's a Russian asset or not, he has swiftly brought whatever was left of the American century to an ignominious end. The only question is whether he means for us to go out with a whimper or a bang.
Well, while I'm on a roll, a few more points. Putin’s Anschluss in Ukraine shattered Europe’s Westphalian order. Moscow has openly threatened the West with a nuclear first strike. The risk of a wider European war, and a It could easily happen through miscalculation—
or indeed, through deliberate calculation. The Kremlin’s military doctrine entertains the idea of using nuclear weapons to “de-escalate” a European war, or in other words, force us immediately to surrender. This is not some wild conspiracy theory:
Any American with access to the Internet and Google Translate can confirm it independently without once leaving his couch. Yet the President of the United States has declared NATO—never before more relevant—obsolete; he has pointedly and repeatedly refused to endorse Article V;
That's exactly what it is, and I wish more people could transcend their partisan rancor to realize that Trump's policy on this is simply Obama's on steroids--plus outrageous rudeness to our allies. This isolationist instinct is entirely understandable:
Every foreign adventure we've gone on since 9/11 has been a disaster, and quite a few before that (Vietnam, say) left us with a sense that perhaps it's best if we just stay home. But the problem is that the analysis isn't fine enough: We aren't asking
why the disasters were such disasters, whereas NATO and the EU have been such a success. Or nothing the difference, which is significant. You don't want to throw the one thing we got right out with the bathwater.
1) Modern Europe – liberal, democratic Europe – is the United States’ creation. This story was once known to every American, but as the generation responsible for this achievement dies, so too has the knowledge ceased to be passed down casually, within families.
2) The United States built this modern order upon an architecture of specific institutions: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the International Court of Justice, the World Economic Forum, and above all NATO and the US.
3) The global order we built is in effect an empire, but onr far more humane than European imperialism. It rests upon two beliefs, one idealistic and the other realistic: The first is the idea that certain moral values are universal [continued]
I'm afraid I didn't. There's no "if" before, "None of this bodes well for our democracy, and the fate America faces isn’t Fort Sumter again, rather a slow, irrevocable politico-economic decline inflamed by angry identity politics ... " The "if" comes afterwards ...
But it follows the word "fate." So it just sort of falls off the page as, "I know no one wants to read such a bummer of a diagnosis, so fate be damned." You needed the word "risk," or to be more academic "the concern it makes sense to have."
(Still on Truman. Remember he'd *really* had cause to reflect on these ideas.)
It is important to recognize that the United States has heavy responsibilities here. The United States is the greatest industrial nation of the world, the leading exporter of agricultural products--
--and the greatest creditor nation. Europe and Asia, on the other hand, have been devastated by war, and with insufficient funds and materials are struggling desperately with mountainous problems of reconstruction.
In this situation the economic and financial policies maintained by the United States are of crucial importance.
We have contributed nearly $20 billion since the war to world relief, reconstruction, and stabilization.
It's actually a more interesting column than just that. Really worth reading. He's raising a question to which I don't have an answer, and neither does he, really: Why isn't the Constitution working as planned?
He writes: "Ryan and many other Republicans have become the president’s poodles, not because James Madison’s system has failed but because today’s abject careerists have failed to be worthy of it." But as he says, the system is designed to force ambition to counteract ambition.
A Congress full of "abject careerists," i.e., ambitious men, should be just the ticket. But they're not. The problem as he describes it, perhaps rightly, isn't so much the ambitiousness of our presidents as our propensity to elect betas to Congress. Why do we do that?