The Bull Moose Doctrine: A Plague on Interventionists and Isolationists Alike

The Republican Party and its leaders have all but forgotten the Weinberger Doctrine, its derived Powell Doctrine and the effort that took place under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to impose discipline on the American crusading instinct. The precepts of these doctrines were imperfect and in no way a substitute for the grand strategy the nation has lacked since the end of Cold War I. But they were a step in the right direction, a step informed by a desire to forge a principled tactical middle path between the isolationism that set the stage for World War II and the sort of GloboCop interventionism that has sucked us into our current state of imperial overreach.

The Weinberger-Powell Doctrine was already suffering from a decade of neglect when Colin Powell took office, and his decision to place his loyalty to George W. Bush over his loyalty to his principles vis-a-vis Iraq ultimately buried those principles and put the US into full-bore interventionalist mode.

The nation has never looked back.

Most Americans are uncomfortable isolationists. To have in our hands the means to ease human suffering and to willfully withhold it for material reasons strikes us as moral weakness.

Yet most Americans are similarly uncomfortable with writing endless checks for blood and treasure to impose our political and economic will on foreign peoples and to give succor to those who will only resent us for our often ham-handed efforts.

We can no longer afford to allow ourselves to be alternately driven by one or another of these emotions. It is past time for The Blob or whatever passes for its alternative to forge a non-partisan template that can guide a President – regardless of strategy or ideology – in the proper employment of the means of national power.

The creation of such a template is properly beyond the means of Congress and must predate the inauguration of a president. As such, the effort must begin now.

So let us begin.

Using the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine as a starting point, I have drafted the following set of rules that combine to form the nucleus of what I call the Bull Moose Doctrine. This needs polish, and some of the concepts herein require further definition (“constabulary power,” for example.) It is a start, however, and I welcome your input.

  1. The United States has the ability to exercise national power upon state and non-state actors by a range of means. These means include, but are not limited to, diplomatic, cultural, politico-ideological, economic, commercial, technological, legal, constabulary, cyber, kinetic, and nuclear.
  2. These means are substantial but they are also limited in both measure and capability, and therefore must at all times be employed with a view to economy.
  3. The proper exercise of that power is dependent upon the clear articulation by the Commander-in-Chief of what constitutes the national interests of the United States, one that reflects the perceptions of that interest of at least a majority if not a consensus of Congress and the American people.
  4. The means of national power should only be exercised in the defense of national interests, and the employment of those means should be proportional to the importance of the national interests threatened.
  5. At any rate, military power, whether constabulary, cyber, or kinetic, should only be employed when a vital national security interest is threatened.
  6. Military power should only be employed when there is a clear, definable, attainable, and finite objective.
  7. Military power should only be employed when the risks and costs of the exercise of that power have been fully and frankly analyzed, and the potential unintended consequences in the short-, medium- and long-term given full consideration.
  8. Military power should only be exercised when other non-violent means have been fully exhausted.
  9. Military power should only be exercised when there are plausible exit strategies following either mission completion or mission failure.
  10. Military power should only be exercised with the support of the American people.
  11. Military power should only be exercised with genuine and broad international support, in particular from our allies.
  12. When national power by any means is exercised, every resource and tool within those means should be used to achieve decisive results so as to avoid unnecessary escalation.
  13. When military power is exercised, every resource and tool should be used to assemble decisive force against the enemy, minimizing casualties and ending the conflict quickly by forcing the capitulation of the enemy.
  14. Following the exercise of military power, every resource and tool should be used to enable the rapid recovery of the American and foreign communities and individuals affected by the conflict.

Thoughts?

 

The Color Yellow

I’m old enough to remember a time when we didn’t have to wonder whether or not the Kremlin has a secret video of the President of the United States paying Russian hookers to urinate on a bed in his Moscow hotel room.

Source: The Pee Tape | The American Conservative by Rod Dreher

First off, Rod Dreher’s lede above may turn out to be the single line that best sums up the through-the-looking-glass world in which we have lived Donald Trump declared his candidacy on June 15, 2015.

Second, though, the entire issue demonstrates the craven cowardice of POTUS 45. A courageous person would defy the Kremlin to release the tape, and face the music rather than live with the implication that Putin could hold him by the leash of blackmail.

Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly,) the current occupant of the Oval Office has proven himself a coward of the worst order, morally unfit for any position of responsibility for human life, much less the responsibility of command, much less the responsibility of Commander-in-Chief.

The White House’s response to this situation is a litmus test of the character of its current tenant. The grade thus far is an F-.

Racism, Axiomatically

  1. Racism in any form is abhorrent.
  2. Anyone can be a racist, regardless of their own race.
  3. Racism, even when rooted in a desire to exact retribution for racism, is unjustifiable, in part because it creates a negative feedback loop that results in increasingly virulent racism.
  4. There are different kinds of racists: some are unrepentant, but others are deeply troubled by their prejudices and seek ways to repress, redress, and expunge them.
  5. To address all racism with a single response is unconstructive. The response must match the situation and the perpetrator.
  6. Racist behavior and actions can and should be regulated by law and government as a matter of protecting the fundamental rights of all.
  7. Racism itself cannot be eliminated by government action or legislation.
  8. Racism often takes insidious forms and can hide behind ostensibly non-racist or even anti-racist behavior.
  9. At the same time, projecting racism into a situation in which it does not exist is as reprehensible as ignoring racism where it does exist, if for no other reason than it undermines efforts to address and eliminate actual racism.
  10. Historically, in the United States, European-Americans have been the primary vector of racism.
  11. That does not mean, however, that only European-Americans can be racist, nor that racism today is found only among European-Americans.
  12. De-legitimizing or ignoring European-American voices in the dialogue about racism is prima facie a racist act, especially as European-Americans undergo the transition to ethnic minority status.

 

 

Ease the Hammer

For the record, I think the consumption of pork is an affront to G-d. I think abortion in most cases is morally indefensible. The smell of marijuana in a public place disgusts me. But you will never in these pages read or hear of me calling for bacon to be outlawed, for the re-criminalization of cannibis, or for the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

For all of you who would use the heavy hand of legislation to stop your neighbor from doing something that has been a part of their lives or culture, know this: there are many things that you like doing that your neighbors find objectionable, if not downright sick-making, depraved, and socially dangerous. But we do not try to legislate them out of existence. We understand that tolerance is the handmaiden of liberty.

So the next time you are tempted to show support to a law that will criminalize someone else’s lifestyle, remember: that knife can cut both ways, and it is the nature of history that the further the knife cuts one way, the further it will swing back and slice the other. Deep inside you know this, and this is why books like The Handmaid’s Tale do, and should, scare the living daylights out of any thinking liberal. Payback is an unholy bitch, and all of us would be wise to remember that fact when we are tempted to overmilk the political climate on behalf of our own ideologies.

 

The Red Line on White Power

Photo from WIkipedia. Using a CC Attribution license.

True conservatives want no truck with white supremacists.

White supremacy – indeed, ethnic chauvinism of any ilk – is reactionary in both nature and origin.

To be a white supremacist is to be a reactionary, not only opposed to progress but desirous that the march of progress be reversed.

For the record, this author and this blog want no truck with reactionaries, and that includes the hate-spewing rabble who continue to treasure a vision of an America dominated by any faith, gender, or ethnic group.

 

What is the West?

Broadly speaking, what we call the West are the countries and peoples formed by the meeting of Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Hebrew religion. There’s a great deal of diversity within the West, but religion, ideas, art, literature, and geography set it apart from other civilizations.

Rod Dreher
Yes, They Really Do Despise Their Civilization
The American Conservative

Soapbox: The Safe Space Issue

UC Berkeley ‘identity’ groups protest for safe spaces, block passage to white students
The College Fix
October 25, 2016

[Stepping onto soapbox:]

Attention students of the University of California, and, by extension, students of all public institutions of higher learning across this great state:

If you need a space free from debate, from intellectual challenge, and from viewpoints that you find objectionable, I am sorry, but you have come to the wrong place.

As a California taxpayer and a UC alumnus, I am more than happy to pay my taxes to ensure that you are safe from physical harm on campus, and will not tolerate violence against you from any source as long as you do none to others or their property. I will also not tolerate racism, threats of violence, or any form of coercive pressure upon you to conform to a point of view or ethos, whether that coercion is social, physical, or academic. You have every right to expect that there is room for you to state and defend your ideas.

But I will not pay one red cent either to protect you from ideas, opinions, and images you find objectionable, or from having your ideas intellectually manhandled, disproven, and perhaps even ridiculed. You are adults, ostensibly with the discernment and maturity to handle the intellectual challenges that are an integral part of the university experience.

Neither will I support you being sheltered from poor grades, providing they come not because of the opinions you hold, but because of your failure to defend them in accordance with the accepted standards of Socratic debate. Nor will I pay to protect you from poor grades if they are the result of your failure to support your argument to the academic standards that are the foundation of a liberal education.

That is not just my selfish opinion: it is stated differently, but that’s the fine print that comes when you sign your name to your enrollment forms.

An American university is not a four-year vocational school for entitled, sheltered, pampered members of the managerial class. It is a program to inculcate in you the intellectual rigor you require to take on positions of responsibility and leadership. That program is conducted via the time-honored means of adversity, challenge, debate, growth, and learning.

So if you lack the requisite discernment and maturity, if your own opinions and self-image are so fragile that you are unable to handle intellectual challenge, may I suggest, with love and respect, that maybe you are not yet ready for a university experience, and that perhaps you should pursue a different path until such time as you are ready?

So leave.

Or, better yet, get over it. Go back to class/your dorm/the library/the coffee house. Stand up. Shout your opinions. Make yourself count. Voice your anger. Fight injustice. Go to class. Learn from your professors and your adversaries how to make your voice not just heard but persuasive. And grow.

Because you may not have noticed it, but the world is not a safe place. In fact, it is getting more dangerous by the minute. The only way you will save it is by learning – and learning early – to live in a world filled with people who think, do, and express things that you find personally execrable. More important, you will need to be able to discern between someone who comes to those believes honestly, sincerely, and thoughtfully; and those who espouse their beliefs out of fear, greed, and/or ignorance.

Hail, California, and have a nice day.

[Stepping off of soapbox.]

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