What’s the old adage? Never engage in a land war in Asia? Well we tossed that one out a while ago and now it looks like we might be heading for one on the high seas. No kidding. China is building island bases in the South China Sea, right over massive deposits of oil and smack dab in the middle of Asian trade routes, and we are not happy about it. In fact we’ve ordered China to essentially stop immediately. They are not complying, and are using diplomatic talk of the kind which isn’t very diplomatic.
We have gotten to the point where sober minded people (well probably most of the time) with serious skin in the game are getting concerned.
So a generally libertarianish guy who believes in free markets, lowering taxes, and actually reducing the size of the government is a “liberal Democrat”? Well, gee, this country is better off than we may have thought. Our colleges must be filled with professors calling for deregulation and the protection of property rights because we know that our university system is “liberal.” Ted Kennedy was actually for liberty and freedom not an ever expanding state, you didn’t know that?
And the guys who want to spend tons and tons of money America doesn’t have nation building and generally expanding the size of government are actually CONSERVATIVES! Holy moly, this changes everything. Good thing we have “conservatives” like Bill Kristol, whose political lineage extends back to a bunch of Trotskyites in the 1930s (the neoconservatives) to explain to us what a “liberal Democrat” is.
As I’ve written many times before, I grew up around the military industrial complex. I am a Navy brat and am still a Navy Football fan. (Pretty much the only team I care about these days.) I know the squeal of an F-14 as it banks in at sunset to land with its wings open. I can practically recite Top Gun to you. At one point I thought I might want to be a navy SEAL. My mother used to take us to the beach and we’d watch the giant hovercrafts ramp over the dunes. I used to go surfing right next to a gunnery range. (No joke. The break is called Pendleton and one could watch the shells splash into the water just to the south.) The point is when I post articles about the Military Industrial Complex I do not come from a position of ignorance. I do not come from a place of jaded familiarity either. But I am a tax payer. And it disturbs me that the weapons industry is the juggernaut of cronyism it is. It’s not healthy for our republic. To say the least.
It concerns me even more to think that war is perpetuated officially because behind the scenes powerful interests want to see warfare continue. I don’t want to believe that’s true. Most Americans don’t want to believe that’s true. And it may even be less true than many critics believe. But I think most informed individuals think that the MIC drives foreign policy at least to some extent. And even some is pretty messed up and not the way it should be in the United States.
And let’s be real honest. They aren’t just lapdogs for Obama. They are lapdogs for Sheldon Adelson (Graham’s new sponsor) the billionaire head of Las Vegas Sands who hates Rand Paul and Paul’s father and anyone else who thinks that aid to Israel isn’t sacrosanct.
That’s $45 billion dollars the military can’t track and the reason is … ridiculous. According to SIGAR, the Pentagon didn’t check a box on an electronic form when it filed the information in government databases.
Many believe that the precipitous decline in the price of oil that the world just saw was Saudi Arabia’s reaction to Obama cozying up with Riyadh’s sworn (literally) enemy, Iran. Saudi Arabia essentially dropped an “oil bomb.” The blast from which the world appears to have absorbed for the most part.
Now the spigots are still on but the flow of oil isn’t increasing. As such the price of crude has more or less stabilized at between $45-$55/barrel. The bombing for the time being has stopped, or at least isn’t escalating.
Nick Gillespie is a great writer and advocate for liberty. Here he analyzes Rand Paul’s proposal in the Senate which will increase military spending by billions. Something which has disappointed many small government conservatives and libertarians.
I am disappointed to see this, but presidential politics are presidential politics. Overall what he is proposing is a large overall net decrease in expenditures which is excellent. His amendment reduces the size of government which is the point. Still, I hate to see more bloat at the Pentagon.
No big deal. What could terrorists possibly do with $500 million in US weapons?
I’ve noticed a pattern and it goes like this:
We engage in some desert state chock full of terrorists and soon to be terrorists. We engage militarily via different means. Sometimes we invade. Sometimes we arm the local “government” army. Sometimes we start droning bad guys from the sky. Usually it’s a combination.
Then at some point we pull out for whatever reason. Or the local government forces are defeated. Either way we leave behind plenty of high powered playthings for our enemy.
“And who could forget Eurocorps here in Strasbourg last year, virtually goosestepping that ghastly flag around the courtyard outside.”
Farage believes that the current rising tensions with Russia are being used by some in Europe as an excuse to expand EU military powers. Powers some in the EU have long coveted.
But an armed European Union with all of the Continent under 1 flag is a worrying development as far as Mr. Farage is concerned. And one he feels should be of concern to his countrymen and to the broader world.
The “goosestepping” jibe while the EU Parliament was meeting in Germany was calculated.
There is no doubt that this is a soft spot for the Russian leader. Putin is a crony of the highest order and he is surrounded by a constellation of lesser cronies. Russia is pretty much a cronocracy and has been for a long time.
It should be noted that no one is clean here. It’s not like Britain isn’t full of all sorts of financial nastiness. One need only look at the LIBOR scandal to see this. But the Russian oligarchs are a particularly brazen breed. For a Russian public which is now suffering through yet another currency crisis the oligarchs’s ostentatious style may be off putting and could provide a propaganda win for the West. On the other hand many Russians blame the West for their economic woes, not Putin.
A few weeks ago we wrote about the “mandarin class” which populates official and think tank Washington DC. We argued that many of the people making important policy decisions are dangerously out of touch with the real “blood” of America, the grit, the nuts and bolts. Many of this group of folks come from the same northeastern schools and have similar political dispositions (which is to say establishment liberal). This wonky concentration has only increased over the years.
In our prior post the emphasis was on domestic policy technocrats. But many of the same things can be said for some at Defense as well. “War mandarins” move up through the ranks of academia to find perches within official “Defense.” It is there that their theories can be executed on the world stage. Where they can play Risk with real armies and with real lives. Often with disastrous results.