From The Free Dictionary we can pull up a list of things with the DIME acronym, of which one is the most pertinent to modern conflicts: DIME- Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic.
These are cited time and again as the necessary underpinnings for creating a successful Counter Insurgency (COIN) plan for integrating local populations with the help of external forces to the population involved. These are, quintessentially, 20th century industrial views on what an integrated society *is* and what its underpinnings *are*. They are meant to be representative of a governmental effort to coordinate between external abilities of a government to create a stable societal environment so as to have a basis for successful COIN operations. Note that this is true not only for external, invading armies of a Nation, but internal to Nations as well, especially ones that have high levels of ethnic and social differences internal to the Nation. While the first is highly touted in post-war conflicts of external military ventures, the second is also indicative of internal conflicts against separatists or resentful peoples who have strong disagreement with their National government. For the first most would cite WW II, Philippine-American War, and similar Nation State to Nation State conflicts like the Napoleonic conflicts of the 19th century. Coming to a equitable agreement for a new accountable government that will uphold the Law of Nations between Nations is the litmus test of DIME operations for such conflicts. This does not ensure peace or stability, but does ensure the understanding of reciprocity between Nations is paramount in world affairs.
The second set, however, needs to be explored as it is no less of a need to bring accountability and responsibility to the forefront, but for the goal of stability and peace internal to the Nation involved. Here things are far from good and the list of conflicts gives one a feel for the direction of these internal accommodations: War of the Roses, US Civil War, Serbian independence movements pre-WWI, Spanish Civil War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia, Lebanese Civil War, Shining Path in Peru, FARC in Columbia, Bosnian-Serbian Conflict, Kosovar Conflict, Rwandan genocide, Eritrean independence movement, East Timor Conflict, Kasmir uprisings, Chechnya separatist movement, Moro insurgency and even such things as the Chiapas region of Mexico or the ethnic strife in Darfur. Each of these needs commitment on a scale for their governments no less than that of an external conflict, and yet some of these governments are so poor as to be unable to properly muster any ability to address such needs. One cannot utilize economic capability if there is very little of it to start with and any uprising or conflict puts *that* into doubt. Military means requires a relatively reliable and cohesive military system that has accountability to governmental authority, yet that is eroded by criminal activity, 'insurgent areas' and outright terrorist bribes to the fighters on the ground. To get reliable information one needs a reliable infrastructure for reporting, be it by telecommunications or pony express, and to have representatives of the government that will *not* be bribed and will act as intermediaries that can be trusted for their reliability. And that gets to the diplomatic realm of understanding that working agreements out without force is preferable to using force, but that diplomacy, of itself, cannot stop war if there is no ability to accommodate on disagreements by all parties.
DIME, then, has serious lacks when put on the stage in the actual, physical world that has individuals that are human, mortal and have the negatives of same. Further, these conflicts have moved from highly organized Civil Wars, with actual new governments and societal structures being instituted, to more and more dispersed and distributed affairs that no longer abide by the concepts of Nation State - accountability, responsibility to those in a region, and can, in places like Kasmir, Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon, Chechnya, represent the fomenting of war by organizations that seek only global disorder so that they may rule. DIME has some basis against those that hold society to be a basis of government, and are willing to work out equitable agreements after bloodshed as the cost of sacrificing civilians between belligerents is a losing proposition for both. Against those that are *not* part of the local society, however, THAT is not a problem, and continual foment and killing forever onwards until the collapse of the society is seen is the actual GOAL of it. These latter day affairs see more in common with that, as a concept, than in the previous era of the Nation State civil wars as the goal was to create a government accountable to a given part of society. And as these non-Nation State actors are more than willing to utilize ideology, ethnic tension, religious differences, sectarian differences within religions, and, in fact, things like criminal extortion and oppression as means to their ends, the legions of those that can be recruited are vast. Every society has disaffected social elements represented by individuals that feel that they are no longer part of the process of the Nation State and are being suppressed by it.
That leaves DIME in a dilemma as the basis of having common society, even in disagreement, must not only be in the majority, but it must reach near unanimity. Even .1% of any society may bring death, destruction and intimidation with it as a means to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with society and government and create a high death toll. Mere handfuls of anarchists in the 19th century assassinated Kings, Princes, and Presidents on a relatively random killing spree across decades and that would only burn itself out as the activity of anarchy was that to create disorder. Their means to organize on a larger than local or even National scale was limited. Anarchists burned themselves out as the pointlessness of their activities pointed out a pointlessness of the lives involved. Limited internal organization due to credo limited scope of destruction and the flames of anarchy burned hot and then to completion as they created nothing in their wake. Modern day creators of havoc, those called transnational terrorists, have a different goal and have means to achieve it. The goal is to overturn the order of Nation States so that their outlooks will be the supreme order amongst mankind. Their means to achieve this is provided by the very international global trade system which seeks to enforce the lowest cost of goods to individuals with no accountability attached to that trade beyond *payment*.
Those who have created this global internetwork of trade have also utilized DIME, but in a different form. The goal has been to achieve this thing known as 'open markets' and to have 'economic stability' and the global movement of capital as the means of production to those places that have the lowest wages for that production. These organizations have been part of Treaty negotiations on the diplomatic side and have utilized systems of pay-offs and buy-ins from repressive regimes so as to get their way. Their information capability piggy-backs not only on that of the Nation State, but via other actors that are either local, regional or global that already have a presence in markets. The military side was far more present in the 19th and early 20th century with the concept of having Nation States enforce treaties favorable to companies, which became known as 'Gunboat Diplomacy'. The economic power that was utilized would even keep one President from waging war against an enemy and used economic loss of companies as an excuse not to do so. The leverage of international and now transnational capitalism is used to benefit those organizations for means of production, distribution and sales, but have very little adherence to the concepts of liberty and freedom.
These two movements that are transnational in scope and diametrically opposed on the concepts of stability do, however, work hand-in-hand as neither has a view towards 'creating a better world' beyond sloganeering. Conceptually transnational terrorism seeks to utilize the cheapest means possible to disrupt Nation States and cause societies to decohere. These organizations are supplied by transnational capitalists more than willing to sell all the goods that are needed at a low price. As both sides of this have deep inroads to the criminal and black market sides of things, these transactions will take place no matter what the edict of any individual Nation State is or any group of Nation States due to the influence of the global trade community. Putting a *price* on dealing with those seeking to bring Nation States down is worked against by transnational capitalists which refuse to have any burden put upon trade nor accountability of trade to anyone in a responsible manner. Here the activities of individual companies and their outlook matters less than the global transport and transaction systems which operate on both the 'white' and 'black' side of trade. Attempts to make producers 'responsible' for where their goods end up has fallen flat on its face because the laws are such that only hard and fast ties to those that would bring down societies and Nations is required before any accountability can be had. And as the focus is upon the trade and not the manufacturing, the system of international trade, itself, is found to have no basis of accountability outside of treaty.
Treaties made to accommodate the movement of goods at the cheapest price to any paying customer.
On top of this comes a third conception of transnational affairs and that is transnational progressivism. This is a system of elitist viewpoint that puts forward that current liberal democracy or, indeed, any system that does not recognize differences between groups of people first is the cause of problems. To that end the elements supporting this put forward that the rights that one is to get is not based upon individuality but, instead, group affiliation. As this is an elitist outlook, any group designated as a 'victim' is then given more leeway and rights than 'oppressors', and 'victims' are not held accountable for their actions. Thus there is no advancement in society for the individual, what one has at birth in the way of groups, be they ethnic, religious, or societal minority, matter more than being a citizen of a Nation State. Individual rights are by association at birth and whatever the elite class determines can be handed out as a reward depending on whim and factional strife. This outlook has been utilized to actually foment discontent amongst ethnic populations that cross borders due to reasons of history and Nation State creation. A short listing of such illuminates this outlook: Kurds, muslims in Kasmir, native Americans across the Americas, North African muslims in France, and muslims, generally, across Europe, ethnic Chechens, ethnic Albanians, ethnic Serbs, ethnic Bosnians, latinos in the US, ethnic Malay, Timorese, Moros, and the muslims across North Africa. These groups by ethnicity and religion are further dissected downwards via sect and intermarriage until the plethora of groups means that one starts to find 'victimless' crimes being perpetrated by terrorists because they are of some designated 'victim' group. In the US this meme has been inculcated so that poor individuals who commit crime blame society for their upbringing, not their lack of character to make a responsible individual out of themselves as the motivation behind crime.
This system of outlook that is elitist and authoritarian in outlook utilizes the DIME concept to its advantage also. On the diplomatic fronts a number of associations in the West have created the 'Arabists' and other 'regionalists' that put forward that individuals, groups and Nations can't be held to a higher standard, such as adhering to treaties, because of the 'circumstances of their Nation' and the 'repressive nature' of their society. Poverty is put forward as the root cause of everything, because it is an insoluble problem short of socialism: in any achievement based economic system there will always be a bottom 10%. Socialism, luckily, makes everyone equally poor so there is no bottom 10% as no one can achieve anything. And the best way to make economic 'divides' WORSE is to get high capability capitalists in to put in transnational manufacturing sectors utilizing the lowest wages possible to 'exploit' the 'poor'. While many transnational progressivists take to the streets to decry the 'low wages' that this or that company gives to the workers there or decries the 'working conditions' because they do not meet Western standards, they never, not once, decry the overall poverty of such Nations nor that these 'bad jobs' are better than anything else to be had in that Nation. It is, instead, creating a 'impoverished class' of individuals who are being 'exploited', while those very same jobs create an 'economic divide' inside the Nation where the jobs are. Apparently one can be both too rich and too poor in this outlook: poor enough to be a victim, but rich enough to become affluent.
That is DIME working to near perfection as a way to erode the capacity of Nation States to have internal accountability without outside interference and gain any prosperity at all. And any attempt to use internal means to suppress riots, terrorism, etc. is decried as utilizing the military to 'suppress the victims'. To do this transnational progressivists use the media to their advantage as much of their elitism is held by the very same media organizations they decry these problems to. Thus a single side of any problem is put forward and the 'way forward' is always for the 'victim class' to 'gain power' and not be held accountable for their actions. The information gained via media outlets on diverse ethnic, cultural and religious populations then serves the transnational progressivists as a way to identify which will be the next 'victim class' to be uplifted above others. Western manufacturing plants in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Columbia, Argentina... indeed anywhere there is relatively cheap labor to fulfill manufacturing needs then serves as a place to foment divisions within society by putting forth that economic means cause inequality and that minorities are 'oppressed' by 'majorities'. Soon 'labor activists' show up, decrying things that, to Western eyes, look harsh, but to local eyes may seem otherwise. Yet the only thing that gets put up is the gold standard of 'inequality' and 'exploitation'. Never mind that folks making a good wage and a good life may be the upshot of such 'exploitation' as that is just another 'social divide' being caused by transnational capitalism.
With that these three transnational concepts come together as an interlocking whole. Expanding capitalism causes 'divides' as localized income increases, 'activists' arrive to help engender a feeling of being a 'victim', and those feeling the pressure of 'repression' be it real or imaginary, then fund organizations that further expand the 'problem'. Soon the concept of terrorism arrives from various groups, be they Nationalist, Communist, criminal or religious, and the killing starts which requires, perforce, National military action.... which is decried as suppression. In no time at all a factory or two suddenly gets a society in unrest, money flowing out from local affluent 'victims' to fund further agitation and then the killings begin, perhaps only one or two at start, but more as 'repression' is felt from those 'in power'. With the capitalists completing the cycle of making cheap and affordable arms available by white or black market means.
Each of these outlooks wants to ensure that strife remains in place for their own reasons. The transnational capitalists use this as a means to ensure that locals are kept on edge without having to increase pay to them and, if they leave to join 'insurgent' or terrorist groups, then they will need supplies provided by other parts of transnational capitalism and the local plant now has a low cost, entry level worker.
Transnational progressivists can utilize the 'exploitation' and the 'oppression' and not hold terrorists accountable as they are merely 'poor and exploited', ignoring that most of those doing the killing are actually well paid and have an education. By putting down a 'root cause' that cannot, ever, be addressed save by making everyone poor, exploitation is assured and any response by any government that does not meet the demands to turn more power over to smaller groups is met as an 'oppressive' response. As more 'repression' happens, upon designated minorities, foment is spread by 'activists' and the media to start larger scale 'solidarity' often across Nation State boundaries.
Having turned over the soil and added the fertilizer of actual jobs, then watering it with discontent and adding such seeds, is it any wonder the noxious plant of terrorism sprouts and grows from there? Terrorism is not done by the poor save for low level killings and such, but is actually guided by the affluent and college educated. Only the rich and well off can have time to make fine distinctions between texts, tracts, religious books, and other treatises and find cause to feel the 'will to power' via the sword. Would that it were only hand crafted swords and not mass produced weapons involved, as that would take a bit to establish. Instead any minor cash infusion to a terrorist organization creates the ready purchase of cheap small arms to be used in attacks to gain media attention and claim 'victimhood' while committing crimes. And when this is seen as an effective outlet either through lack of governmental response or by governments pressured to 'accommodate' problems, more local money flows into such 'successful' organizations.
Creating, of course, more 'repression' and more spreading of cheaper arms under the limelight of the media.
And the Nation State?
'Obstacle to trade'.
'To be opposed for the purity of ethnicity/sect/class'.
DIME has a problem in that it serves equally well to set up the structures to collapse society as it does to uphold it. DIME is known as a set of 'vectors': pathways of major parts of society and systems that need to move in coordinated fashion to achieve ends. They are a set of 'means' not 'ends'. And, as such, can be used in any number of paradigms for how to have society, how to govern and, apparently, how *not* to do those things. As a method of COIN we must recognize that the opponents of Counter Insurgency, namely Insurgency, utilizes these exact same vectors in opposition to orderly society. That is because these vectors are neutral to ideology and only means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. If we treat DIME in isolation to the underpinnings of society, then we shall soon have no society in common as it fractures under the multiple forces of transnationalism which seek to gain by that destruction. To counter that the actual goals of what DIME is utilized for must be clearly and succinctly stated and all activities traced directly back to those goals. DIME utilized without such goals then can be utilized in opposition and that opposition will tear up any society upholding group that does not put forward the goals first. In the military parlance this is known as the 'Grand Strategy'. It is more than just 'victory' but the reasons why victory is worthwhile and the goals of that victory BEYOND mere victory. If these are not clearly upheld at entry into a conflict, then there is no way to trace any lesser level strategy or tactics (the implementation tools and locales for strategy) back to the larger goal. In the realm of business this is the Corporate Business Plan or Outlook document, to sort out the major goals to be achieved by said business, and hiring folks to work in a business unit is mere tactics. In this realm of thought, DIME is a way of implementing Grand Strategy and NOT Grand Strategy in, and of, itself.
The original Marshal Plan had a Grand Strategy outlook to rebuild Europe along democratic lines and equality of rights and make sure that Germany never posed a threat to the world again. That took nearly two decades to finally come to a conclusion and it did not succeed fully in that so many Nations fell under Communism. Yes it was not fully successful because the will to uphold it was not present and a counter-strategy was able to thwart it. Without the on-the-ground tactical will to support Eastern European democracies, those Nations did not GET democratic rule until they got it for themselves. The Marshal Plan FAILED them, and cannot be seen as a full success because the M part of DIME was no longer seen as viable after a World War. What we got was DIE, and many, many did under repressive regimes, re-education camps or just such simple things as low standards of living. By not meaning what we said about democracy and putting for Military support of our Grand Strategy, we were barely able to save Western Europe from Communism.
So, when folks try to propose a 'Marshal Plan for the Middle East' just *what* exactly are the goals of that and will you back that with US military might? If not, I suggest you go peddle such elsewhere, as any plan without that element of reciprocity tends to fail.
Finally this brings us to what is necessary to oppose the transnational use of DIME via its three major formats: capitalism, progressivism and terrorism. To do that requires a 'Grand Strategy' that will not utilize just DIME but also create a societal factor for stability, accommodation and reciprocity internally and externally to Nation States. These are not tactics, nor programs, nor ways to spend money, but this is the outlook of what those things are to work *towards*, not only in Iraq but globally. DIME, on its lonesome, supports anyone willing to utilize it for their own ends, be it in the use or degradation of any of its elements to support other goals. To change that, there must be one major factor as a goal: accountability.
The First Goal is: Accountable Government. That is not only to the people internal to the Nation but between Nations. To do this requires acknowledging that there are consequences to actions taken and that the best way to solve adverse consequences is via accountability and the concept of reciprocity to hold government accountable for its actions. And the laws internally must also be accountable and those within it must acknowledge that a law between those in the Nation is primary above all other things.
The Second Goal is: Rule of Law. Again this is not only internal to a Nation but between Nations via this thing known as 'Treaties'. Internally law is applied to sustain society and the order of society, and law must be a product of accountable government. Governments create and sustain laws via the activity of law enforcement, but that means can vary from Nation to Nation so long as law is upheld in an accountable fashion. One of the major goals of accountable law, internal to Nations and via Treaties is that they be comprehensible to the 'common man' in the Nation(s) involved. If a law or Treaty cannot be clearly stated and defined it opens up the opportunity for abuse and invites same by those trying to shift emphasis from the intent of the law to the wording of the law. If the intent of a law or treaty is not clear, then no fine verbiage can allow it to be adhered to. And laws and treaties with exacting goals will be lost in a sea of verbiage if the meaning of words trump the intent of laws or treaties. Laws and treaties differentiate between activities, but do not discriminate between those doing the actions. Treaties in their own class may have discrimination on single State-to-State affairs, but multi-Nation Treaties are non-discriminatory as to ethnicity, religion, or any other physical or societal factor.
The Third Goal is: Equality before the law. This means that all citizens of a Nation are treated equally before the law, and that those multi-Nation Treaties must adhere to non-discriminatory language so that actions are addressed not intent. This does not mean that all individuals in a Nation are free, by any means, and many forms of government offer very little in the way of rights to citizens and yet can sustain equality of all before the law without regard to placement, stature, income, race, or belief system. That system of accountable law is held by government which is accountable to its people. People can, indeed, have very few rights and repressive laws, so long as the highest leader and lowliest beggar are equal before that law and no means are present to prevent the intent of the law from being carried out. Amongst those in multi-Nation Treaties, all Nations are equal to them and they agree to the Treaty, in full or in part, and will be held accountable to those parts they sign up to. Here the accountability is by other Nation States.
The Fourth Goal is one of the oldest to the Nation State system: Religious worship is not to be dictated by the State. The Westphalian concept that Nations may adhere to religions, but they may not force religion upon all the individuals inside their Nation are upheld. All religions are allowable and individuals must be given leave to practice same without interference or discrimination by governments. Religions have proven singularly incapable of governing large, mutli-ethnic, multi-cultural Nations, and the dead from the religious wars in Europe that caused the Treaty of Westphalia to come about is a 'lesson learned' on that score. Governments can, indeed, have religious adherence, but the ability to force anyone to decide ONLY for the religion of that government should be anathema to the West and, indeed, to all Nations.
The Fifth Goal is one to counter transnationalism: The basis for diplomacy and the accountability by Nations to each other is Nation State based. No other actors may be put on that stage from individuals to NGOs. Charities are organizations that give aid and succor to the poor and help in disaster relief. They are not a permanent conduit of unaccountable cash, arms and goods to any region or people. That is the realm of Nation States who can agree to have such organizations or *not* between them. There is no legitimacy in warlike activities outside of the realm of the Nation State system. International corporations are not to be a party to any Treaty negotiations between Nation States and as legal entities are fully amenable to the laws and treaties involved between Nations and may not seek to sway them via any form of lobbying. Commerce between Nations is conducted by groups and individuals that have accountability to those laws and treaties and that activity of commerce is only afforded by the system of Nation States which allows it to operate. If Nations like the idea of 'free trade' they can offer it because it is seen as good for their Nation and those they offer it to, not because it will benefit businesses. And accountable governments may, indeed, place restriction upon trade in the form of ban, travel restrictions, tariff, or designating those breaking those laws as Pirates and seen as out only for the welfare of themselves, not the Nation they are part of in that doing. Nations make the basis for trade and create the framework in which it exists and individuals, companies or any other non-Nation actor has no business dictating what they want upon Nations and are Pirate and Outlaw if they break those agreements.
Goals create, classify and define objectives to be met: they are the stated objectives for which the basis of underlying program scope and activities can be done. Within such a common framework one can create and craft a wide array of Foreign Policy for a Nation and uphold that Nations are the representatives for the people that are contained within it. A hard and fast Foreign Policy that upholds these concepts allows for a common framework between Nations to be held, although it guarantees neither stability or peace it is one that allows such to be formed. And from those times when the framework breaks down or even reciprocity breaks down, a policy for National action across the spectrum can be made to protect the Nation, the people and the system of Nation States. Without such things the basis for creating a war strategy is very difficult as one has no basis for stating the objectives in warfare and the aftermath of such conflicts. And without that the basis of COIN work is damned near impossible as it requires the underpinnings of understanding what the civilized discourse between Nations is and what is and is not acceptable within that framework. DIME is only one set of vectors in COIN, and are amenable to any who would utilize them to their own ends, and they do not define the entire gamut of National interest, power or ability, just major sections of same.
Again, these 5 goals are *not* Foreign Policy but serve as the acceptable basis upon which Foreign Policy can be built. And it does, indeed, allow us to discriminate between Nations and decide which ones would be good to have Treaties with and which ones are not so good for that. It also puts forth what the National view is towards international outlaws, who threaten the discourse amongst Nations, seek to overturn Nations or just seek to profit by preying upon the commerce of Nations. In this actual world such are very hard to implement as this Nation called The United States of America has helped those that do not stand up for these basics of civilization held between Nations. Sticking to these things define what the Nation can support in the way of other Nations and activities, and realize that a price will be paid by the Nation and its Citizens in trying to bring other Nations to this outlook of civilization. But then, there has always been a cost in time, effort, money and blood in creating and upholding civilization. And quite some more in trying to bring it down. It appears to be a never ending task, and the only one worth the cost.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
From The Free Dictionary we can pull up a list of things with the DIME acronym, of which one is the most pertinent to modern conflicts: DIME- Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The following is a foreign policy outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.
Such great things have been accomplished by 'Realism' in Foreign Policy, right? How about a meandering around some of the recent part of the 'Realism' era of Foreign Policy.... time to slip back in time to when the War was Chilly, the Nukes were kept at the ready, and the rest of the world wondered just what it was that was going on between the US and USSR...
How about the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 in which Henry Kissinger worried that India had become a true client state of the USSR and so backed Pakistan in a bloody repression against West Pakistan... soon to become Bangladesh. And, it is reputed, truly bad-mouthing a leader of another Nation, that being India. That worked out so pleasantly, with the thousands dead and a region that would then have problems developing any stability for decades. Still, it kept the USSR out of things. Why Mr. Kissinger would *never* do anything to let something like *that* happen, would he?
The Paris Peace Accords birthed by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1973. The North Vietnamese were to *stop fighting* when the US left... remember that? 'Peace with Honor'? Say, how IS South Vietnam doing with that 'Honorable Peace' the US brokered? Hmmm... seems that Communism actually spread because of this with quite some millions dead due to this 'Honorable Peace'. Well, at least the peaceniks got satisfied and went home! So they could prove the bravery of their 'peace' outlooks and do absolutely NOTHING to help build a just peace.
Then there was the Yom Kippur War, which saw Henry Kissinger which he did support the attacked Nation, Israel. He would then go on to establish this concept of Israel giving back captured territory for 'peace'. It has bought stability with Egypt and Jordan, but, somehow, Syria and Libya and a few other Nations just don't think much of this 'land for peace' concept. Never bought it, even with Jimmy Carter handing out billions of dollars to try and buy peace.
Chile would come in for special attention with the victory of Socialist Salvadore Allende, who would do his best to turn around Chile's failing markets, get inflation under control and put folks back to work. As a Socialist, mind you. But, after a good start, Socialist politics and running the printers day and night at the treasury soon made things worse, and threats to shift control of private companies out of the hands of their owners worried many of the US holders of those companies. Soon the concept was that of getting the CIA to start causing trouble... which would lead to the 1973 coup in Chile.
Kissinger's support for the end of the Rhodesian Bush War would see South Africa pull out support for Rhodesia and the civil war there then degenerate for some time, until it went from minority rule to dictatorial rule under Robert Mugabe.
"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves." - Henry Kissinger speaking about the Coup.
So much for the concept of democracy.
Zbigniew Brzezinski would prove just as adept at 'Realism' in the outlook that strengthening ties with Communist China was more important than supporting the prosperous break-away province of Taiwan. Yes, we are *still* using that designation to this day, when Communist China still has State controlled elections and Taiwan has multiparty, democratic elections. All the US had to do was break the treaty we had with Taiwan and pull out our forces... and so it was done, a friend and ally turned away for the 'realism' of a Communist counter-weight to the USSR. Not that the USSR and China had been on good relations very much for a decade or two, by that point.
Now Mr. Brzezinski would *also* support Islamic Fundamentalists in Afghanistan after the Soviet Invasion and, if some accounts are true, *before it* so as to bog down the Red Army in a central Asian 'quagmire'. Yes, as National Security Adviser he saw supporting totalitarian, fundamentalist Islamic radicals as a *good idea*. And once the Afghan War started, the support for those radical elements would not only remain, but increase under Ronald Reagan.
Just about the same time, in 1978, Mr. Brzezinski assured the Shah of Iran that the US would 'back him to the hilt'. Even when members of the State Dept. were saying otherwise. The whole fiasco of not doing a damned thing against the Iranian Shia Revolutionaries, the hostage taking of the US Embassy staff, and the entire fact that those actions are casus belli remains a major stain on all concerned in the Carter Administration, starting from the top. Iran was a US ally, not a Soviet one and the USSR made NO inroads there after the revolution. Actually came to hate the regime quite some bit and upped its supplies to their neighbor's dictator ascendant - Saddam Hussein.
"I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. I encouraged the Thai to help the Khmer Rouge. The question was how to help the Cambodian people. Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him. But China could." - Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1979
This brings us to the wonderful era of Ronald Reagan where he did, indeed, call for a wall to be torn down and an Evil Empire to be confronted! Kicked the Armed Forces back into the procurement concept and got a few new weapons systems started, which would prove the final straw on the Soviet back. Some few may say the view of getting the Red Army bogged down in Afghanistan and funding radical Islamic groups was *worth it*! Not like the USSR was involved in more partisan conflicts than one could easily shake a stick at across the world and was ready to spend itself blind to do that little thing. What President Reagan did *not* do is stand up for the Nation against non-Soviet threats... the little things like terrorists bombing the Beirut Embassy a couple of times, gratis of Syria and Iran. Also bombing the Marine Barracks there who were in place to try and stop the fighting from going from bad to worse. The American dead from the Embassy bombings was only 19 out of the total of 85 dead, and the Barracks bombing would netting 241 US servicemen and 58 French allies dead, along with some civilian staff. While the Vice-President spoke brave words about the US staying and that we 'would not be cowed by terrorists', what would happen is the US *would* leave within 6 months after a minor bombing campaign and no ground work to take out the terrorist safe havens. This was a defeat for the US in a non-Soviet venue: the USSR had little to care about as Iran and Syria were making their own plans for Lebanon.
From there comes the entire and ongoing Iran/Iraq war which the US had decided to give some help to Saddam Hussein against Iran. The old 'enemy of my enemy' not being too nice a guy in his own right. Still, compared to the USSR and the amount it was channeling into Iraq, and no one has done a good comparison of the economics between that support and the funds needing to go to Afghanistan, Angola, Ogaden, Uganda, etc, was quite small. That does not indicate level of technical expertise gained, but it does point out that material support in equipment and infrastructure were not on par between the US and USSR. That extension of support on a global basis and in particular for Iraq really was quite an overstretch by the USSR by any accounting, but Iran was willing to expend lives cheaply, including children, to stop Iraq, and so the death toll mounted and little in the way of equipment would have changed that outcome.
What did happen, however, on Ronald Reagan's watch, was the Iran-Contra affair, in which Ollie North, Richard Secord, John Poindexter and a cast of variegated players, decided it would be 'a neat idea' to send arms to Iran for hostages, supply money to an international arms dealer so as to get arms to the Contras. Such a fun idea that! Unfortunately, beyond breaking some Congressional prohibitions on that and the word of the President that we would have nothing to do with Iran nor EVER negotiate with terrorists, this little cabal introduced one of the most able and noxious characters to hit the international arms circuit into a whole new line of business: exporting terrorism.
Anyone reading the past few months of posts at my other site know that man: Monzer al-Kassar. From this one, single man being introduced via secure association with Administration officials into Latin America would come a truly awful tide of events that would continue on far past the 'neat deal' of Ollie North. Before Mr. Kassar arrived on the scene in Latin America there was very little in the way of Islamic terror that was not associated with Fatah, and those few events were either of the assassination sort or the 'joint venture' with some minor 'Red' faction doing something in the amateur leagues.
Starting with Mr. Kassar would come ties between him and the child of Syrian ex-pats in Argentina: Carlos Menem. As Carlos Menem was running for office he was getting direct aid from Syria and brokering deals to give the Syrians advanced missile technology and nuclear technology... all that before he ever got into office. The man doing that brokering was Mr. Kassar, who's wife was of the Assad family. Even though that deal was scotched by the US at high levels, the outcome of those contacts would be to funnel Argentinian arms to Bosnia to equip Iranian fighters. Also out of that would come the establishment of the Iranian intelligence network for its Foreign Legion - Hezbollah. Mr. Kassar was also in a fine position to use his narcotics trafficking background to reach out to FARC and work out deals with them on the 'arms for cocaine' concept.
By 1992 the first truly professional terrorist attack in South America happened: the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina. The measure of its professionalism is that it has never been tied to *anyone* due both to the Menem regime's destruction of records and the work of Mr. Kassar to obfuscate his whereabouts. Later the AMIA Jewish Center Bombing would wait over two decades until someone could be *charged* with it. This is the fallout of that 'sweet deal' of Ollie North: the establishment of Hezbollah in Latin America. The very same organization that killed Americans in Lebanon at the Embassy and Barracks.
Argentina, for all of its problems, had never been on the forefront of anyone's lists of Nations at risk due to the USSR. It was on the periphery of the 'big game' for that. It moved to the center stage of the terrorist step-stones into the Western Hemisphere, and from there the Tri-Border Area and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean would see an influx of Islamic Terrorism. Even before the 1992 bombing the effect of that was being seen in Trinidad when Jamaat al-Muslimeen staged the first Islamic coup in the Western Hemisphere. A very, very 'sweet deal' that now sees multiple and diverse radical Islamic elements across the Caribbean and Latin America. Plus, if General Contreras is to be believed, that Monzer al-Kassar actually had drug rings in the US and Europe to do final processing and distribution for him. Add in connections to Chile for arms running and to the Medellin and Cali drug cartels, and one begins to wonder just how such a 'sweet deal' could have such a nasty outcome. No, that isn't the end of it, not even close! But I will continue on to the next fun 'Realist': James Baker.
For Mr. Baker I will turn tothe articles in the BNL notebook and see what lovely things he was promulgating while in the Reagan Administration. As the head of the Treasury Dept. and then moving on, during the Bush (41) Administration State Dept., James Baker was placed in a set of critical roles for oversight on the movement of funds to Iraq via the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation. Money for 'grain sales' wound up funding procurement of 'dual use' equipment and often for funding, directly, things like the Gerald Bull 'supergun' during 1988-1990. Before Mr. Baker came into the Dept. of State, Iraq was under the CCC for $393 million/year starting in 1986 in loans, and that would skyrocket to $1 billion/year in 1990.
This policy started, however, in 1984 prior to Mr. Baker's time at the Dept. of State while he was in the Head of the Treasury Dept. that would oversee the funds moving to Iraq via theExport-Import Bank for loan guarantees. Although the EXIM Bank is a separate part of the Executive Branch, it is difficult to see how funds flowing through it and via the CCC would not attract any attention of the Treasury Dept. from 1984-89. This is especially true as questions were raised about Iraq's ability to actually repay the loans before 1989 and Mr. Baker moving from Treasury, under President Reagan to Dept of State, under President Bush. Those questions seem to have been sidelined as the Iraqi participation moved from that of a large CCC participant to the largest participant in that program.
The main bank that would be utilized for purchases was the Banco Nazionale del Lavoro, Atlanta Branch, which would famously deliver farm equipment and lose the manifest for it so have to redeliver it with the first delivery going *missing*, send G-5 Howitzers and ammunition via the 'freight forwarding' aspect of the CCC, moved nuclear triggers via the CCC and BNL that were stopped by the UK that saw a few problems with sending those to Saddam, and, of course, buy goods at inflated prices and the middlemen would resell them and keep the profit. All of that to help out poor little Saddam Hussein who got at least ten times as much from the USSR, at least twice as much from France and three times as much from China. Some of the things that Saddam bought couldn't be found from them, obviously, but the amount of influence purchased compared to the top three, who had longer term and lasting relationships meant that the US accounted for 0.45% of Saddam Hussein's support up to 1990.
What *was* Mr. Baker buying with that policy? One could argue, as Mr. Kissinger did, that the Iran/Iraq War was one that we hoped *both* sides could lose. The meager amounts put into that vast war and supporting Saddam after it point out to sheer and unabashed negligence as the US could not hope to match the Soviet and later Russian influence there. The amount of debt Saddam retained was enough to swing those top three Nations to his whims to help thwart the UN Security Council resolutions in the Oil-For-Food program. The course of 'Realism' meant investing in a genocidal tyrant well after he was known to BE genocidal. Isn't that a lovely policy for the US to uphold? Yes, it is against Iran, but the pure venom evinced by the people of Iraq against Iran was manifest by the fact that a large amount of Iraqi Arab Shia *volunteered* to die for Saddam so as to fight Iran. And then 300,000 would die believing that the US would actually step in to help them if they staged an uprising. But the US couldn't do that, after encouraging them to do so... that was 'unrealistic'. Poor saps actually BELIEVED in the US to abide by its word.
"I fear the current wave of radical Islamism is going to be a continuing problem as long as poverty and discontent exist in that part of the world. We must find a way to get beyond that and to achieve some economic development. I once made a proposal for a Middle East development bank. It was not picked up on but it's still needed, for the Middle East is the only part of the world without a development bank." - James A. Baker III, The Middle East Quarterly, SEP 1994, Volume I: Number 3.
Warren Christopher got to be the next Secretary of State during this new post-Cold War era where everything was going to be just fine in the world and history would end. Unfortunately he was as unprepared as his predecessors to actually deal with what was happening in the world, as this short listing of terrorist incidents will show, my thanks to the MIPT Terror Knowledge Base:
Bomb explodes near US Ambassador's Residence in Columbia,Probably missed a few there as I concentrated on diplomatic and military events, leaving out the vast swath of other things that are out there, but those happened just while Warren Christopher was in office as Secretary of State. Still, while a number of these are 'just' terrorist attacks, quite some few go by an older and more prosecutable concept, which no one in the Clinton Administration every bothered to do. For all the fact that the concept of 'law enforcement' being used against those waging illegitimate warfare is just plain nuts, the Clinton Administration couldn't even be bothered to actually do the work to prosecute these under *any* name. Far better to be 'liked' than respected on the world scene, I guess. I can't really lump Warren Christopher in with the 'Realists'... he just failed the US without much of a direction for it. Thus we get an idea of how President Clinton handled foreign policy in a way that safeguarded the Nation.
Carbomb explodes outside US Ambassador's Residence in Columbia,
Slayings of CIA personnel in Langely, VA,
Window smashing of US Cultural Center in Serbia,
Grenade attack on US Embassy in Serbia,
Guards at US Consulate attacked in Columbia,
ETA suspected of bombing near US Embassy in Spain,
Two US soldiers wounded by sniper fire in Somalia,
Kakurokyo attacks HQ of US forces in Japan,
Kakurokyo attacks US Camp Zuma in Japan,
Shining Path explodes carbomb outside US Embassy in Peru,
US diplomat killed in Tblisi, Georgia,
Forces of Gen. Aidid suspected in killing of four US soldiers in Somalia,
Red Brigades attack US-NATO airbase in Italy,
Three US soldiers killed when helicopter downed in Somalia,
US Embassy bombed in Estonia,
One US soldier killed in Somalia,
Shining Path attacks US-Peruvian Binational Cultural Center in Peru,
US diplomat kidnapped by Jahm tribesmen, headed by Mubarak Mashan, in Yemen, US soldiers fired upon in Somalia,
Gunmen fire shots at US diplomat in Ethiopia,
'Southern California IRA' grenade attack on British property in US,
Lebanese man fires on van carrying rabbinical students in US,
Haitian exiles fired upon in US,
Shots fired at residence of US Ambassador in Uruguay,
Mozambique National Resistance Movement kidnaps US pilot working for UN in Mozambique,
Convoy carrying US Ambassador attacked in Somalia,
FARC kidnaps American in Columbia,
Shining Path bombs US Embassy in Peru,
Grenade attack as USAID offices in Ethiopia,
Two Americans working at US Consulate killed in Pakistan,
Oklahoma City Federal Office building bombing in US,
RPG attack on US Embassy in Russia,
US Army Captain fired at in Saudi Arabia,
GIA sets US Embassy warehouse on fire in Algeria,
Hezbollah and al Qaeda attack OPM/SANG complex in Saudi Arabia,
Chukakuha and Kakurokyoha bomb US base in Japan,
Attempted kidnapping of US human rights worker for UN in Guatemala,
Territorial Anti-Imperialist Nucleus firebombs US serviceman's car in Italy,
FARC kidnaps American Citizen in Columbia,
Guard at U.S. Government Binational Center disarmed and wounded in Columbia,
Revolutionary Struggle launches RPG attack at US Embassy in Greece,
Attack on US Consulate in China,
US Consulate attacked in Mexico,
Bombing of US Information Services compound in Pakistan,
Attempted firebombing of US Cultural Center in South Korea,
Firebombing of US military compound in South Korea,
Contras kidnap USAID election observer in Nicaragua,
Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah bombing kill six US servicemen in Saudi Arabia,
US Defense Intelligence Agency employee stabbed in Egypt,
USAID vehicle torched outside US Embassy in Russia,
Nicaraguan Sandinista Liberation Front HQ set on fire in US,
Attempted firebombing of US Consulate in Indonesia,
Jamaat-e-Islami attack US Consulate in Pakistan,
FARC captures and kills US Citizen in Columbia,
Letterbombings of Saudi Arabian newspaper offices in US,
Letterbombs arrives at Ft. Leavenworth in US,
Letterbombs arrive at Saudi Arabian newspaper offices in US.
From that we get - 1) North American Free Trade Agreement - In which now that Mexico has broken its agreement to bolster its economy, stop the flow of illegal aliens northward and, instead of exporting goods is exporting its unemployed, has broken with this agreement. Mind you, that was WHILE President Clinton was in office. Far too hard to hold Nations to agreements they signed on to, I guess.
2) Allowing Saddam Hussein to break his cease-fire agreements, throw out multiple teams of weapons inspectors, corrupt the Oil-For-Food program, subvert the sanctions regime and, with impunity, killing 300,000 Shia Arabs that revolted against him and having two US Presidents do NOTHING about that. Yes, far too difficult to hold Nations to agreements, especially ones where they fire at you and undermine the concept of international law.
3) Operation Desert Fox, in response to (2) which did NOTHING to remove Saddam Hussein and emboldened him as he believed the US and the international community would do NOTHING to seriously challenge him.
4) Get involved in 'peacekeeping' operations in so many places that Congress had to start curtailing that as it was eroding the infrastructure of the Armed Forces. From that, two US Army Division fell to their lowest readiness rating since Vietnam as the CinC would not allow them proper R&R and sustainment by rotating them OUT of 'peacekeeping' duties. One of those was the 10th Mountain Division which would be unready to go anywhere right after 9/11.
5) Allowing Iran an easy set of inroads to the Balkans by not being willing to either uphold or break or hold any other Nation to international agreements about the Balkans. Finally allowing arms *in* gave Iran the pretext to go into Bosnia and a few other places with its agents and trainers.
6) Doing nothing to confront al Qaeda even after: 2003 WTC Attack, African Embassy Bombings, the attempted bombing of the USS The Sullivans, and no warning given from that to the Navy and thus getting the USS Cole attack. Mind you, Osama bin Laden had *declared war* on the USS and was getting a body count to prove it even before 9/11.
7) Doing nothing to confront Hezbollah or Iran based on: OPM/Sang bombing killing US personnel in Saudi Arabia, a bombing by Hezbollah in Saudi Arabia killing 6 US servicemen. Mind you this is after Hezbollah had started attacking US Embassies and servicemen in Lebanon in the 1980's and the Iranian involvement in those and the later bombings showed how little the Clinton Administration cared to do anything to protect US personnel *just* on the Government payroll, not to speak of private citizens.
8) FARC, from Columbia, established a good and hard track record of going after Americans in S. America: kidnapping an American, another kidnapping, capturing and killing an American, taking over the US Embassy in Columbia, and attempting to assassinate President Clinton via a bomb on a State visit to Columbia. Apparently doing such things just was too difficult to confront by President Clinton.
9) Working out the Oslo Accords and then doing nothing to convince Yassir Arafat that he must, in actuality, carry through with his agreements. Meanwhile browbeating Israel to keep its side, even when its 'negotiating partner' has demonstrated bad faith. Failing utterly at Camp David to end the Arafat initiative to constantly change goals upwards on his side to put forth appeasement as, if he didn't get the new demands, he would 'restart the intifada'. Which, by the way, hadn't stopped anyways.
10) Brokering a deal with North Korea to end its enrichment of nuclear material and putting no structure to force North Korea to hold to that agreement. Instead North Korea attempted extortion of more than the US was obligated to give by threatening to restart its work. That agreement gave the tyrant of North Korea the ability to get food and goods to feed his people without stopping any of his other activities outside of the nuclear realm, like the creation of $100 US bank notes called 'supernotes', which was aimed at debasing the US paper currency in use.
11) Ignoring the INTERPOL testimony on the coalescence of transnational terrorism and organized crime, thus leading to much of the expansion of radical Islam into the western hemisphere by Hezbollah and al Qaeda. That plus a misguided concept to try and utilize police powers against those waging illegitimate warfare on the US made for the expansion of radical terrorism without any attempt to end it a lasting legacy of the Clinton Administration.
President Clinton was no 'Realist', obviously. He also had no Foreign Policy nor any concept of National Security or even holding Nations to their signed agreements. He escaped the verdict of al Qaeda by 8 months and 11 days. Because of these things based on some unidentified view of how the world works, the US was left with worn down Armed Forces, no ability to counter terrorism, inability to enforce treaties and with a legacy of not even treating those using the means and weapons of war against the US as actually doing this thing known as 'waging war'.
The era of 'Realism' and the post-Cold War mentality did the following:
I) Ignored threats that were asymmetrical to the Cold War, completely. These were threats that did not impact the Cold War and were outside the chilly environs of it, being done with Nations that had already 'chosen sides' but were minor to the main conflict, or were willing to take advantage of the two sides in the Cold War without regard to that conflict.
II) Moved away from the traditional American support of democracy and accountability as the basis for Foreign Policy, and putting in its place a brokering of despotism to counter outside threats. This has not safeguarded the US and, instead, empowered tyrants on a global basis that could exploit 'regional necessity' to get US backing. The US was unwilling to counter or reform these Nations and, instead, empowered tyrants through a slogan of: trade helping individuals to democracy. The tyrants saw this, I'm sure, as: cheap goods to keep their people quiet. America is a Revolutionary Nation born on principles that the basis for human liberty are universal. Whenever the US decides to give a tyrant a 'free pass' because they are a 'counter-weight' to a worse tyrant, we forget that the enemy of ALL tyrants is human liberty. The US debases its own beliefs of that foundational concept when it reneges on that as a basis of Foreign Policy. All tyrants should fear the US, not look to the Nation for 'goodies' to quell their populace so that the few may remain in power over the many forevermore.
III) Countering regimes that have come to power democratically because the US does not like their outlook. If the true power of democracy is to allow Peoples in their Nations to find the best route to liberty and freedom, then any People that make a mistake must fix it for themselves. The US was ill served by the coups against Ngo Dinh Diem and by that against Salvador Allende. This, patently, has not worked out to the best interests of the United States. The argument can be made that taking down such regimes is trying to avoid the catastrophe of WWII and the corruption of a democratic Nation. It can be counter-argued that if we mean what we say about democracy, then we will not be afraid to go to war with one like was done in WWII against such a corruption of it, if it decides to declare war upon us. Bringing down a *neutral* or *allied* democratically elected government debases our own democracy and our trust in it as a system of government.
IV) Believing that poverty is a driving force behind radical Islam or terrorism. Poverty has not been the driving force behind Islamic Radicalism or of terrorism. Indeed, al Qaeda's main operations are carried out by those that we would consider to be 'middle class', living in Nations with opportunity but coming from repressive regimes. Revolts by the poor can become ones that are radical or be radical to start off with, but many, like in the Philippines against Marcos, are seeking *justice* and *accountability* by the government to the People. Those that turn to terrorism are not seeking *justice* nor *accountability* but an overthrow of the entirety of the Nation State order to get their way. None of the terrorist organizations have restricted their fund-raising, recruiting, training or attacks to just one Nation. Even the most Nationalist of terror organizations, like some of the IRAs, ETA and Shining Path, have gone extra-territorial in their means, methods and attacks. This is not a question of poverty, it is one of corrupt and power-hungry views of the world to make it run in accordance to the wishes of the groups involved. That can be in just one Nation, but there are many that cross Nation State boundaries and seek a wider regional or global change in the ordering of the power structure in their favor. It is the middle class and affluent that can afford the education for radical teaching and can afford to follow that with what we would consider to be 'good jobs' that pay well. The poor can and are used by such organizations as foot soldiers, shock troops, and 'expendables' for various things. Their leadership are those that are well off in the realm of finances and goods, but lacking in the realm of accommodation with the rest of humanity.
V) Realists have never dealt with Foreign Policy on the basis of the Revolutionary conception of America. They have approached, one and all, even the less than capable President Clinton, on the basis of the US being a Great Power first, and a land of Freedom, second. Looking through what went on through the latter part of the era of 'Realism', we see that view permeating the air with Kissinger, Brzezinski, Baker, Scowcroft... all very much on the 'Realistic' economic stability side and not very much on the universality of human freedom side. This is not a misperception, as witness all the thugs, tyrants and despots that they urged the US to support over the years. This entire school of Foreign Policy misses the basis for what America *is*: a land that believes that all men are created equal. That the source of legitimacy is not in the power of the economy nor in the power of arms nor in the vastness of the individuals, but in the depth and sincerity of holding *to* liberty so as to be free. America does not export revolution and has no business deciding for other people what their system of government should be. America does have a stance to make that we believe all People are better off being Free and utilizing Liberty to the widest extent possible so as to lead good and fulfilling lives. We are the friends of those who befriend us, and urge our friends to find the most liberty that their people can have so that we can grow stronger together as Free People. Tyranny and despotism are the enemies of Liberty and Freedom and should be given no quarter, no rest, no succor.
In pulling in evil regimes to counter worse ones, we diminish the meaning of liberty and freedom for ourselves and the scales slowly shift in favor of the evil of tyrannical and authoritarian outlook. That has gone on so long that an entire segment of the political spectrum now adheres to authoritarian concepts about diminishment of the individual under the beneficent oversight of the State. These dwell in both the Right and the Left. They are Enemies of Freedom. 'Realistic' policies have debased the foundation of what it means to have a Nation called the United States of America. The ideals of Liberty and Freedom being universal are now widely attacked within the Nation itself, because the Government has looked towards a 'Balance of Evil' rather than the Might of Freedom as its guidepost. In that light, those that seek to give more and more to the Nation State are proceeding down the pathways set up by the 'Realists': they seek to treat Peoples as servants to events, not as the movers of them and the definers of Nations. By adhering to tyrants and despots to counter totalitarian regimes, we have come to accept that authoritarianism is an acceptable path for ourselves and the world. Those seeking to erase Nations, homogenize humanity and bring partisan based equivalence across humanity are far *worse* than dictators we have countered over generations.
America can go forward by jettisoning its support of regimes that encourage no Freedom and Liberty within their bounds. That means actually confronting them, ending our trade with them and encouraging our allies to do the same. That will hurt the Nation economically, and greatly, as we have come to accept the everyday banality of such repression of the human spirit until we accept it as the natural order of things. Both the Left and Right mouth words of freedom, but in their hearts are views of authority over mankind, not coexistence within the panoply of human outlook and cultures. By no longer daring to say that human Liberty and Freedom IS universal, we deny its protection to ourselves as well as those in desperate need of it. America, for all that she deals with the actual world on a daily basis, is a highly idealistic Nation, based on ideals and principles that transcend class, culture, ethnicity and politics. Those pushing that 'everything is political' wish to say that human liberty can now be bartered away by the political class. Those foundational aspects that give root and meaning to the American outlook are being hacked at by those wishing to uproot this Nation and all Nations.
The United States was not founded to be a 'Realistic' Nation: democracy in such a large Republic had never been tried and all Republics AND democracies had failed throughout the ages. By working to undermine the ability of the Nation to hold to its long-term views on the universality of human freedom and liberty being paramount to mankind, and by making alliances with dictators and tyrants, the position of the US to actually oppose them has weakened over the past four decades.
The Nation is now in the untenable position of having to support a 'free trade agreement' with a Nation that demonstrates no ability to regularize its democracy or to institute reforms necessary to drive out corruption in the public policy area: Mexico.
We also support trade to increase freedom without any demonstration that this concept works. The American History is that free people at liberty to invest and spend their hard earned wages and winnings in life as they see fit to build their lives better to benefit the Nation is an obvious one. Having cheap exports and imports with Nations that do not adhere to basic human freedoms of speech, religion and freedom from government confiscation of goods now means that the US actively supports those ends and not the ends of liberty and freedom. China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and other Nations are direct recipients of US money and investment and there is little to no overhead on that to help support pressing these regimes to become free and prosperous based on that freedom, instead of extracting funds from their populations or just repressing them for natural resources extraction.
The Nation does not bolster its free friends and allies nor encourage them to greater liberty and freedom via investment in them. A simple plan to hand the industrial and material cast-offs of the US economy to recently freed Nations and those Allies in need of such things to help them prosper would be very low cost to the Nation as we have utilized these goods to the greatest amount we can, but there is still utility and ability to make a good living with them in other Nations that have befriended us. While the US can and should work with other peoples to create freedom and liberty, we should work even harder to sustain it in our friends and allies so that we can become stronger for being free *together* and that there is large and good value in liberty and freely choosing ones own way in the world. That means no longer appeasing tyrants and gaining an iota of humility to recognize that others *trust* us, and that such trust must NOT be betrayed by 'Realism'.
These are outcomes of the Foreign Policy that I proposed earlier.
Support friends and allies with free trade and by having cross-investment with them to sustain our liberty and freedom together with them.
Put tariff and taxation upon those dealing with Nations that neither help nor oppose the US. There is a cost to support our freedom and liberty and that is not only internal to the Nation but external to it as well so that our goods and values are not exploited by those who do not care overmuch for us.
And the enemies of freedom and liberty must come to recognize that they have no friend in the US, and that their opposition to the universality of human freedom and liberty is a bane to us. They should get no trade, these Nations that seek to undermine human freedom and liberty and that openly show their hostility to the US and its friends and allies.
The Liberty and Freedom we have has a cost to it, and when we let the good of it move to support despotism, totalitarianism and authoritarianism, our liberty is perverted to unjust ends. Free People can acknowledge this cost and adhere to the rallying cry of the Revolution: "No taxation without Representation."
And those Nations that offer no representation to their People should be *taxed* for that, so the wages of Free People do not build the bonds of slavery.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
The following is an outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.
The following has been cross-posted from Dumb Looks Still Free.
My thanks to Stanley Kurtz at The Corner at NRO for a link to an article by Azar Gat at RealClearPolitics, The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers.
There is a crucial and critical flaw in the view of Left and Right about the 'inevitability' of history and a shift towards democracy. Azar Gat points out this flaw by pointing out that the wars of the 20th century were neither foreordained to turn out the way they did nor can the maxims of democracies promoting stability be put forth as a viable conception of governmental attitudes. A glaring fault of 20th century economic theory to respond to Marxist theories, was to put forth that capitalism, due to efficiencies of marketplace, would serve as a basis for democracy. This is AFTER two world wars had pointed out just the opposite:
But the reasons for the triumph of democracy, especially over its nondemocratic capitalist rivals of the two world wars, Germany and Japan, were more contingent than is usually assumed. Authoritarian capitalist states, today exemplified by China and Russia, may represent a viable alternative path to modernity, which in turn suggests that there is nothing inevitable about liberal democracy's ultimate victory -- or future dominance.Germany, in 1914 had capitalism as its economic basis, and yet that basis *supported*, and fully, the authoritarian regime of the Kaiser. The spread of socialism did temper that, somewhat, but that did not change the attitude of the Nation nor did it give rise to a people who saw anything wrong with a Germany as driving force controlling European affairs. Mr. Gat then goes into some depth on World War II and points to some telling issues on authoritarian capitalism and the dedication within Germany during that conflict:
Nor did the totalitarian capitalist regimes lose World War II because their democratic opponents held a moral high ground that inspired greater exertion from their people, as the historian Richard Overy and others have claimed. During the 1930s and early 1940s, fascism and Nazism were exciting new ideologies that generated massive popular enthusiasm, whereas democracy stood on the ideological defensive, appearing old and dispirited. If anything, the fascist regimes proved more inspiring in wartime than their democratic adversaries, and the battlefield performance of their militaries is widely judged to have been superior.One of the most telling parts of why World War II turned out as it did is that the German State control over capitalism was inefficient and a bit short sighted. An example of this is that the German regime saw no need to invest in new aircraft designs after 1939, as they were certain that they did not NEED better aircraft. When re-investment into design did re-start, it happened at many different design bureaus, each competing for scarce resources and limited factory production time. Germany, itself, did not move to a three-shift industrial basis until 1943, and then only under the duress of need to keep equipment supplies up for its military as it had used the two-shift basis to ensure that there was domestic accord during wartime. What one gets from looking at that situation and the pre-war research status of Germany, even without its Jewish scientists, is very frightening due to the lax attitude of the Western powers during that same era. Even more basic, however, is that these were capitalist societies at war and capitalism did not lead to democracy and fully supported in WWII an authoritarian Nation as it did in WWI.
The outcome of warfare and State power is contingent upon many aspects, and getting logistics, supplies and ensuring that there is enough advancement of production to meet that of opposition advances is critical. Actual reasons for Germany being unable to sustain production are due more to lack of industrial capacity and vulnerability to having critical supply components cut off for wartime production. In that realm, trade and transport capacity as the basis for logistical supplies are key, and the reliance of Germany upon oceanic supply lines allowed superior naval forces to stalemate its supply lines in WWI and to interdict them in WWII. That is *also* a contingent basis phenomena as before WWI Germany had sought out a strategic ally to remedy the oceanic supply lines and give it a thoroughly land-line basis with minimal exposure to seaborne attack. That ally was the Ottoman Empire.
In one of the forgotten portions of history, there is one element that has been almost absolutely forgotten for strategic supply of Germany during WWI. It is forgotten because it was forestalled by the war and played no part in it because it had not been completed, but it was being built. This was a movement to get an insured overland capacity from Baghdad to Berlin: The Baghdad Railroad. That had been blocked in 1911 by Great Britain, and the movement to complete it stagnated and then halted, so that by the time war arrived in 1914 it would play little to no part in the actual supply of German industrial capacity. Nothing foreordained an assassination of an Arch Duke by factional separatist in 1914, although the building to war had been a common thread of thought for many years leading up to that point in time. Nor was it foreordained that Germany would not complete the portions already in work and expand its war plans on contingent basis so that a swift delivery of arms and material down it to seize Mesopotamian oil resources from British and Persian interests. That is *not* something that capitalism would drive against and, indeed, with the support of the German government, would be seen as a necessity to sooner, or later, actually secure those resources.
The fighting stalemate and loss of industrial capacity in Germany, with those resources, would not have happened as quickly with that railroad built, and the entry of the US would not be an assured thing either: US oil needs, if minimally met by German controlled fields, would preclude the US from wanting to actually join the war. By having British control of those fields, and having resource needs met by Arab and Persian output, the US saw no need to side with Germany. Additionally the isolationist President Wilson, in our world, put forth a very limited war plan so that ALL of the enemies of the Anglo-French alliance did not need to be targeted.
With any consequential petroleum resources held by Germany and threat to take more of same, plus a stalemate in the Euoropean theater, President Wilson would be forced to put the economic needs of the US aside and join the Allies or to fully fight *all* of the Allies of Germany. There would even be the case made that supporting Germany so as to *influence* it and its allies was in the US interest for the long-term spread of democracy and liberalization of those regimes. That was a case hard to put forth with Germany relatively isolated, but a Germany with more resources and active in the Middle East then puts Germany combat expertise in support of the Ottoman Empire.
World War I was not foreordained to be the US coming in to save the Alliance bacon and then fouling up its handling of the Middle East for 90 years thereafter. With one relatively simple shift in outlook, one that the Kaiser could easily have taken umbrage to, the entire geo-strategic basis for World War I would have changed and harshly. If the Aussies had problems at Gallipoli with Ottoman Turks there, imagine the problems they would have with Germany supported Ottoman troops with more modern weapons and tactics. And securing victory against the Ottomans by the British from the south would have to be concentrated on attempting to regain natural resources and be faced with German troops attempting to isolate Persia and threaten Arabian oil supplies and other Middle Eastern natural resources. Not to speak of the Suez Canal.
That is because Germany was a *capitalist* Nation that could use the productive capabilities of capitalism to reinforce itself for Imperial means. A world of one relatively modest and simple shift, with the Schlieffen Plan then expanded by later strategists and *reworked* by them would then have yielded a truly horrific war with NO assured outcome to it in any way, shape or form. And a heavily isolationist America would see problems supporting *either* side in that conflict and German intimidation would have been much more telling against a weak President Wilson who had seen no need to actively respond to earlier intimidation against Germany until after the Lusitania had been sunk. A true German-Ottoman Middle Eastern Campaign would have been lethal to decisiveness to Woodrow Wilson who would attempt to appease the tyrants, oppose intervention and even try to use his good offices to ameliorate the conflict... which the British and French would then see as stalling while their production resource *base* was being threatened with OVERLAND interdiction that could not be addressed due to Ottoman and German reinforced fortifications along the Dardanelles that would be necessary to secure that limited waterway. As it was the cost was high in ships and men to attempt to do that with the minimal Ottoman fortifications of that era.
That 'inevitability of history' and ability of 'liberal democracy' to win, is based more on production capacity and strength and commitment to utilizing it, than is the actual forms of liberal democracy to win adherents. Here Mr. Gat has a very salient view on what the outcome of world without the US as a coherent Nation would have been:
Throughout the twentieth century, the United States' power consistently surpassed that of the next two strongest states combined, and this decisively tilted the global balance of power in favor of whichever side Washington was on. If any factor gave the liberal democracies their edge, it was above all the existence of the United States rather than any inherent advantage. In fact, had it not been for the United States, liberal democracy may well have lost the great struggles of the twentieth century. This is a sobering thought that is often overlooked in studies of the spread of democracy in the twentieth century, and it makes the world today appear much more contingent and tenuous than linear theories of development suggest. If it were not for the U.S. factor, the judgment of later generations on liberal democracy would probably have echoed the negative verdict on democracy's performance, issued by the fourth-century-BC Greeks, in the wake of Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War.This was a prime worry amongst the Founding Generation and democracy, to this day, has not won through because of superiority of system, but due to superiority of resources and ability to utilize them. It was a highly and hotly argued point during the period of 1783-87, that the track record for liberal democracy was not only not good, but had inherent flaws and weaknesses in it that made it more liable to deterioration and final movement to tyranny as the unchecked sway of public opinion would come to dominate any forum of government. The ability of government to bestow gifts and favoritism, influence debate and pander to the public makes democracy a highly unstable system of government.
The success of liberal democracy may be in the absence of other viable forms of government, not due to inherent stability and structural superiority. That is brought up by Mr. Gat and is highly worth thinking about:
Because the totalitarian capitalist great powers, Germany and Japan, were crushed in war, and these countries were subsequently threatened by Soviet power, they lent themselves to a sweeping restructuring and democratization. Consequently, smaller countries that chose capitalism over communism had no rival political and economic model to emulate and no powerful international players to turn to other than the liberal democratic camp. These small and medium-sized countries' eventual democratization probably had as much to do with the overwhelming influence of the Western liberal hegemony as with internal processes. Presently, Singapore is the only example of a country with a truly developed economy that still maintains a semiauthoritarian regime, and even it is likely to change under the influence of the liberal order within which it operates. But are Singapore-like great powers that prove resistant to the influence of this order possible?By the polarizing influence of the Cold War, two systems were pushed hard as viable alternatives, not due to their inherent superiority as government types, but due to their economic capacity imbued in the two superpowers. From this the victory in the Cold War is not one of moral superiority of one government type over another, but the actual economic power of the two Nations involved and their ability to retain economic coherence. Moderate and small size Nations that embrace liberal democracy that succeed, as Nations, may have more to do with that underlying success in the social order of their cultures rather than the liberating influence of democracy. For every Taiwan, South Korea and India, there are Columbia, Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina, and Sudan that have shown that democracy, as a process, is not all that is necessary to succeed, nor that capitalism mixed in does much to help democracy out.
If capitalism is the great 'securer of liberty' then why are so many Nations with it having problems keeping to democratic and liberal ways? That simplistic view of Marx and many on the Right today, that economics guides society, has problems demonstrating that as an underlying fact without having to add in factors of culture, society and underlying legal structure. Similarly if democracy is the great 'cure all' for societal ills, then why are so many democratic governments so unstable and prone to overthrow and upheaval? For larger Nations inertia and size of population does play a role, also, and that must be taken into consideration when approaching this as a concept. Mr. Gat does bring this up within the modern context of Russia and China, and to any who have looked at where either of these Nations are, today, the underlying premise of the last 60 years that Nations will 'evolve' towards democracy because it is a 'superior system' are having problems in showing that. I have looked at China and the actual underpinnings of its growth are on bad debt, poor to no repayment, crony capitalism and working and environmental conditions that look more 19th century than 21st century.
Thus, on the actual ability of Nations to 'evolve' towards democracy, Mr. Gat puts forth the following:
It is widely contended that economic and social development create pressures for democratization that an authoritarian state structure cannot contain. There is also the view that "closed societies" may be able to excel in mass manufacturing but not in the advanced stages of the information economy. The jury on these issues is still out, because the data set is incomplete. Imperial and Nazi Germany stood at the forefront of the advanced scientific and manufacturing economies of their times, but some would argue that their success no longer applies because the information economy is much more diversified. Nondemocratic Singapore has a highly successful information economy, but Singapore is a city-state, not a big country. It will take a long time before China reaches the stage when the possibility of an authoritarian state with an advanced capitalist economy can be tested. All that can be said at the moment is that there is nothing in the historical record to suggest that a transition to democracy by today's authoritarian capitalist powers is inevitable, whereas there is a great deal to suggest that such powers have far greater economic and military potential than their communist predecessors did.This is an ideological blind spot of Western thought in the post-20th century era, and one that is now hitting the entire foundation of the modern Nation State very hard. In the era of hard-hearted diplomacy, the underlying foundation of international affairs was:
“Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”With that being the case, the older views of societies being represented by their government and having that government reflect much in the way of that society is one that becomes an issue. The Cold War stasis may have imposed an artificial choice upon Nations that pushed them into roles based on superpower alignment and *not* upon government as representative of societal outlook. To those who grew up in the latter half of the 20th century, that sounds like an archaic, parochial and even heavily discriminatory statement. That is exactly what it is and with good reason. It is biased and discriminatory because Nation States ARE that way by design. The entire Nation State system is one of differentiating populations by self-adherence and having common government, even if it is authoritarian, dictatorial, repressive and genocidal.
- Lord Palmerston
From this viewpoint, the United States is the safeguard of liberal democracy by its ability to hold its own democracy together. Mr. Gat does close out on the hopeful note that the US will most likely remain the foremost economic power globally, even if China realizes its potential as current forecasters are wont to forecast. What is not addressed directly, and only peripherally by Mr. Gat, is the actual essence that for the US to have such capability it must remain in its current state of affairs and not decline nor change overmuch in its outlook and internal coherence. History is, however, a contingent basis phenomena that plays upon things done and undone, both great and small, playing out from the level of individuals to that of Nation States. Small changes in perspective within a known and given scope, while seemingly trivial at the time, say the Kaiser taking a disliking to the British concept of oversight in the area of Mesopotamia, and continuing to extend rail coverage so as to exploit other resources and build a means to get troops and supplies to that region quickly. That is not a major change and, in actuality, rather trivial for the era involved, and yet the ramifications of *not* doing that led to the world we are in today.
That said the actual basis of democracy is citizen exercise of the franchise right in voting and the disturbing long term trends in the US have been evident for over 3 decades. The years of Presidential Elections typically see higher participation than in the mid-term elections for Representatives and 1/3 of the Senate.
America is no longer a majoritarian ruled Nation. On the Presidential year a bit over 58% of the population came out to vote, which means the actual selective group that voted the current Administration back into office was 53% of 58%, or about 31%. Even worse is the more representative seats in the House and 1/3 of the Senate that see a selective body size for the United States of less than 25% of the population as a whole. This is not the signs of a healthy democracy nor, indeed, OF a democracy at all. The much vaunted two-party system has significantly degraded the turn out of the population so that those interested enough to vote on a Presidential year is about the same as those willing to show up for the less interesting mid-terms.... of 1966. In 40 years 14% of the US population has moved from utilizing their franchise right to not doing so during Presidential elections, and a very similar 12% have declined to do so over that same period for the Mid-Terms. The United States has moved from bare majoritarian rule to minoritarian rule over that same time span, so that even a 'landslide' is unlikely to represent half of the voting eligible population.
During the Founding Generation there were views on what good government was and was not. In from Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 26 on 22 DEC 1787 we see the following when speaking about the improbability of the government to continue on with standing armies when not needed, but the general point is well taken:
Schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community require time to mature them for execution. An army, so large as seriously to menace those liberties, could only be formed by progressive augmentations; which would suppose not merely a temporary combination between the legislature and executive, but a continued conspiracy for a series of time. Is it probable that such a combination would exist at all? Is it probable that it would be persevered in, and transmitted along through all the successive variations in a representative body, which biennial elections would naturally produce in both houses? Is it presumable that every man the instant he took his seat in the national Senate or House of Representatives would commence a traitor to his constituents and to his country? Can it be supposed that there would not be found one man discerning enough to detect so atrocious a conspiracy, or bold or honest enough to apprise his constituents of their danger? If such presumptions can fairly be made, there ought at once to be an end of all delegated authority. The people should resolve to recall all the powers they have heretofore parted with out of their own hands, and to divide themselves into as many States as there are counties in order that they may be able to manage their own concerns in person.Is a minoritarian selected government good government by this standard? The backstops to prevent this, which Hamilton mentions earlier, are that the State Governments would serve as check and balance against the Federal Government. Thus, legislatures in the States would act as bodies to ensure good Federal Government is achieved and no State denied of its rights and protections under the Constitution. Unfortunately those have been undermined and the actual basis for the Congress changed since the founding, as I discussed in the introduction to another article looking at this, with this lengthy excerpt:
In 1909 the US had called for an International Opium Conference to start to limit the opium trade This had been spurred on by American missionaries in the Far East that had seen the social havoc of opium in China and the social decay of it there along with disrupting the counter-insurgency work of the Philippines by the US. The Hague Convention of 1912 would lead to international agreements on limiting or eliminating the opium trade. This Conference would lead to the very first legislation in the US to curb drugs: Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. This law was the very first in US history in which Congress tried to decide what an individual could or could not ingest in the way of drugs. This was done due to that missionary zeal and the feeling that such drugs were ruining the Nation as a whole. And it is hard to see where opium in cough syrup was a great help to much of anyone, since it hid tuberculosis. The use of it by mothers on children was a problem and should have been restricted by the States. This feeling by the prohibitionists to outlaw such was one that ran strongly religious communities, which saw the overseas use of such drugs and worked to marginalize or eliminate them for use in the US. Still, it was under Treaty obligations that the Harrison Act was promulgated, to uphold the US signing on to the 1912 Hague Convention. The far reaching effects of this are felt to this day with organized crime and Narco-terrorism rife in those areas that grow plants that lead to making narcotics and makes it such a profitable business in the criminal realm to this day. For the first time a social movement to limit the rights of Citizens had gained a foothold in America after the Civil War.In that short span of time the US Federal Government went from one with State check and balances against over-reach to one in which the States became secondary players to direct elective capability of the general population. By further diluting representation via the shifting to a fixed House size, as the population increased the voice of each individual would become less important over time. By the time the late 1930's rolled around the power and influence of the Federal Government would be waxing, and hard, to try and keep up with those self-same authoritarian capitalist societies that were seen as having worked their way out of the Depression, while liberal democracies were still trying to cope with those problems.
Also started in 1909 was Amendment XVI to the US Constitution that would allow Congress to collect income tax. Prior to that the US used a system of property taxes and tariffs to generate income, but the first was seen as being unwieldy and the movement to income tax was pushed by a view that the wealthy were not paying their share of the burden in the Nation. While it has done that, it has also been broadened to include such things as tips, wagers on bets, and even finding something of value and selling it. All of that now falls within the power first given to Congress once this Amendment was ratified in 1913. Until that point in time taxes were levied via apportionment to the States via the census so that it would fall equally upon all in the Union. Also in this era was the Clayton Antitrust Act that would further limit monopoly power and cover problems with business sales and mergers that would unduly concentrate market power as an extension of the Sherman Antitrust Act. These were aimed at reducing the power of wealthy individuals, but also put power in the hands of Congress to apportion taxation as it saw fit upon income. While this may have made collecting taxes 'easier' the question of if such would actually lead to a 'fairer' assessment of taxes is still debated. With the ability of wealthy individuals to get loopholes and tax havens and other means to gain income outside of the income routes, the burden of this has fallen to the working class, by and large, although the wealthiest still do pay the largest amount in taxes. In the modern era the movement back to a more 'flat tax' which removes all loopholes is one that continues to be seen as more fair, even if graduated by income, as it removes the power of lobbyists to unduly influence legislation on behalf of the wealthy.
In 1911 the movement for the direct election of Senators by the public was put into what would become Amendment XVII which would also be ratified in 1913. Here the ill was seen as bribery and corruption at the State level to gain Senate seats, and these problems continued on for decades. Some States ran referenda to elect Senators and the election date was also regularized to that of the General Election. Still, the ability to 'wheel and deal' at the State level to gain Senate seats was seen as a major problem by the majority, and this Amendment was made to allow for direct selection by popular vote. This also changed the balance of power so that both Houses of Congress were now in hands of direct election instead of by dispersing power to the States and the People for the Senate and House respectively. The concentration of power in Washington via those that could win and continue to win these elections changed the turnover rate in the Senate and removed a major role for the States to play in the Federal system of governance. Previously that had been a check on Federal power via the States and a limit to the People so that more moderate voices could be heard in the Senate.
Also in 1911 came Public Law 62-5 which would permanently set the size of the House at 435 members and allow voting portion to float while keeping a set House size. With the enactment of this law in 1913, the modern Congress type would be set and the difficulties of it would take time to manifest. The first and most important of these is that as the population increased, the amount of diversity in the House remained the same. Seats would shift from State to State, instead of having States grow in their number of seats over time. Although gerrymandering or 'non-compact districts' had always been a problem, they were seen as amenable to the fact that more would be created over time. Re-draw the districts every decade and you get a different mix of communities. In a set system, the redraws come at a much lower rate and only happen due to internal shifts in proportion of population, not absolute size. With that comes House seats that become 'safe' election after election and often for decades at a time with a single member for that seat.
Finally, in 1919 would come Amendment XVIII for the Prohibition of Alcohol, and while that would be repealed, it pointed to how far social ills were seen as needing a National remedy instead of via local control. Taken as a whole, these Amendments and Public Law would greatly change the nature of representative democracy within the Republic of the United States and start a major power shift towards Washington. With that would also come the money of wealthy individuals to start influencing this new form of Government and change the outlook of the Federal system itself in that doing. Lobbying this more constant government set-up would entrench power and money over time and give affluence access to the National Government.
The solution given by the election of FDR was to increase Federal Government power by putting forth various programs to change the labor outlook of the Nation. First was to remove older workers from the workforce, via the Social Security System, so as to allow younger workers greater access to it. That temporary fix for a limited time has continued on indefinitely, until the changes in lifespan due to increasing technological capability have put the very basis for it at risk: Federal Government will be devoted entirely to this 'entitlement' and have no funds left for anything else by 2050. Before that, there will come a time when there will not be sufficient funds to actually run the government and either the government itself will have to be cut back more and more until it ceases to exist, or taxation will need to be increased, over time, until more and more of the money earned is taken and given to the older, retired generations.
Generations. Plural. Increasing lifespan has put this worker-based payoff to the retired as a lethal pill to the Republic as the number of retirees decrease the number of workers to support them over time. This has been known as a problem since the early 1980's, but this form of government that has been created has proven absolutely incapable of dealing with a structural threat that was created in the 1930's. Which was a temporary way to increase those working so as to get out of the Depression. And as the older generation votes out of proportion with the younger cohorts, the political power has shifted with it. Those feeling disenfranchised are increasingly the young and middle aged, working generations who are needing to continue on supporting older Americans who utilize Social Security as a means to retire with two or more DECADES of active retirement ahead of them. In the 1930's the life expectancy was only a few years beyond the retirement age, not decades.
In theory, 'older and wiser heads' should have self-limited this so as to ensure that a healthy means of sustaining the Republic was achieved. Yet it is those older Representatives and Senators, who have held seats for decades, that have utilized that Government transfer payment system to ensure that older individuals now get disproportionate benefit from that transfer system and vote to continue it onwards. While decreasing taxation helps to build the economy, the demographic shift is far harder and faster than economic expansion, even in the best of years. When there are times of limited growth, or 'recession', then the demographics move faster than the economic expansion can handle them. The global economy has not seen a 'depression' or actual shrinking in economies on a global scale since the 1930's.
It is exactly this marginalization of the franchise right that was worrying to one of those that stood as an Anti-Federalist, as those who saw problems with the Constitution were named. He was John Lansing, from New York, who had this to say at the New York ratifying convention for the Constitution on 24 JUN 1788:
It is further objected to this amendment, that it will restrain the people from choosing those who are most deserving of their suffrages, and will thus be an abridgment of their rights. I cannot suppose this last inference naturally follows. The rights of the people will be best supported by checking, at a certain point, the current of popular favor, and preventing the establishment of an influence which may leave to elections little more than the form of freedom. The Constitution of this state says, that no man shall hold the office of sheriff or coroner beyond a certain period. Does any one imagine that the rights of the people are infringed by this provision? The gentlemen, in their reasoning on the subject of corruption, seem to set aside experience, and to consider the Americans as exempt from the common vices and frailties of human nature. It is unnecessary to particularize the numerous ways in which public bodies are accessible to corruption. The poison always finds a channel, and never wants an object. Scruples would be impertinent, arguments would be in vain, checks would be useless, if we were certain our rulers would be good men; but for the virtuous government is not instituted: its object is to restrain and punish vice; and all free constitutions are formed with two views——to deter the governed from crime, and the governors from tyranny.Uninhibited government duration of individuals in office was seen as a major problem at the State level when the Constitution was created. With 'the establishment of an influence which may leave to elections little more than the form of freedom' has come the movement of those elected to be done by minorities within the population and moved by minoritarian agenda that purports to be good for the whole of the people but that cannot GET the whole of the people to turn out for them. Those that put forth that this disenfranchisement is a reflection of the voting whole need to demonstrate that by having an agenda that can, in actuality, get a majority of the voting population to vote for it... or even, in Congressional Mid-Terms, to even SHOW UP at the ballot box.
If agendas by the two party system are so good for the Republic, then why do they not strike more fervor in the population and get folks off their butts to come out and vote for them? That can, apparently, only be done in Presidential election years and, even with that, the slide has been ever downwards since the early 1960's and that steepest decline then points to a marginalization of a large and important segment of the US population that has been so turned off by the type of politics seen that they are and remain unconvinced, over time, that the franchise actually has meaning in America.
Democracy, at its basis for representative government, requires majoritarian participation and approval to have meaning. That 70% figure of the 1964 election was worrying *then* for it put forth that even after a Presidential ASSASSINATION there was 30% of the American people that did not see any reason to vote for a President. And that was from a President that was greatly mourned, there was a part of the population that could not be moved enough to recognize the simple act of voting would or could make a difference. In 1964. The disaffection with Americans for their political parties and those put forth to represent them has only increased since then.
Those are extremely worrying and trendlines for the Nation that is supposed to be the great supporter and, if this historical analysis is correct on the actual reasons for democracy and liberal views of liberty and freedom being correct, an overall concern of actually retaining a concept of such simple things as democracy actually being a force for empowerment of the individual over the long haul. If we now cannot convince more than 61% of the people to come and vote for a PRESIDENT, as seen in all of the elections starting in 1976, then what is the basis for any optimism on this concept of 'majority rule' by 'consent of the governed'? When 40% of the people do not show up, that IS the majority rule: to NOT vote for ANY party or individual for ANY position in government.
That is not sheer laziness or inertia.
It is a vote of 'no confidence' by staying home and withholding the franchise support of the government in all particulars. The 'inertia' part comes in on the Mid-Terms when an additional 13% just don't care enough about representative democracy to vote for a representative to do this thing known as REPRESENT THEM. That is what representative democracy means. Voting for an individual to represent YOU. There is an absolute majority in the Mid-Terms that have voted for NO representative government for the United States and that is, exactly, what we have gotten: Government that no longer represents the Will of the People.
What it does represent is the will of the ideologues and partisans in politics. And even *they* cannot get a significant plurality to claim representative government, so that 'majority rule' now is down to less than 25%. Compare that to the NSDAP in 1932 during a National election that saw 80% of the voters turn out and won 33% of the vote for just over 26% of National representation. That was enough to swing the tide of power and the 1933 election with 88% of the people showing up at the polls would see it garner nearly 44% of the vote or nearly 39% of the entire voting age population. Yes, the NAZI Party did better in a multiparty system, getting votes in their off-year, 1932, by a couple of percent BETTER than either party in the US does today and they did far better in 1933 for actual percent of the population than the US did in the last Presidential election.
And the US has a two-party system, which, in theory, should make it far *easier* to get substantive plurality of the population to get out and vote for it.
What is that about the superiority of the two party representative democracy to that of the multiparty system that voted the NAZI party to power?
How about that Senate trying to pass laws that don't go through conference and that they want to restrict debate on? Such a lovely democracy we have! Almost as good as that of Weimar Germany in 1932.
Almost as good.
Thank you to the Right and the Left for getting us this system. Apparently you can't do as well as the Nazis did, but I know you sure are trying to, aren't you?