CONTENTION OF THE DAY – America abscondita

Those resentful of American power — including the liberal academic environment that shaped President Obama’s worldview during his formative years — should take notice of what a retreat of American power means. Not a kinder, gentler world, where the oppressed of the earth, finally free from imperialist chains, are able to realize their full potential. It means that authoritarian regimes assert themselves. The oppressed will remain so — more so. As for all those considerations that tame Western powers’ pursuit of their national interests (ethical concerns, respect for local cultures, protection of the environment, rule of law, and the like), forget about it. Power will be raw, at its most ruthless, heads will roll, and blood will flow, while the regional order is reshaped by the new powers that be.

Emanuele Ottolenghi The Middle East Vacuum | Contentions.

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26 comments on “CONTENTION OF THE DAY – America abscondita

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  1. is that what happened when the British empire receeded?
    or did America just take over as the Superawesome World Police?
    John Stuart Mill;

    There is a country in Europe, equal to the greatest in extent of dominion, far exceeding any other in wealth, and in the power that wealth bestows, the declared principle of whose foreign policy is, to let other nations alone. No country apprehends or affects to apprehend from it any aggressive designs. Power, from of old, is wont to encroach upon the weak, and to quarrel for ascendancy with those who arc as strong as itself. Not so this nation. It will hold its own, it will not submit to encroachment, but if other nations do not meddle with it, it will not meddle with them. Any attempt it makes to exert influence over them, even by persuasion, is rather in the service of others, than of itself: to mediate in the quarrels which break out between foreign States, to arrest obstinate civil wars, to reconcile belligerents, to intercede for mild treatment of the vanquished, or finally, to procure the abandonment of some national crime and scandal to humanity, such as the slave-trade.

    I say, enough of meddling.

  2. “Anticipating this, the market price for oil immediately rose substantially, from $3 a barrel to $12.[12] The world financial system, which was already under pressure from the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement, was set on a path of recessions and high inflation that persisted until the early 1980s, with oil prices continuing to rise until 1986.”

    Emanuele Ottolenghi is correct in his analysis,but he forgot to put this in context. The Embargo/price of oil should be seen as economic war on the Western World. Had we reacted wisely,the largest transfer of wealth in human history(up to that time) would have been averted. That wealth was/is the fuel that has made the attacks on the west from 1975 to the present possible. The collapse of the Twin Towers came from our collapse of will then,this was our Munich. If you have the stomach for it,read the Wiki summary of this,and it is plain that most every current policy debate we are experiencing today sprung from these events.
    AND,all of this resulted from the redaction of Bretton Woods in 1971 which gave us the Fiat Dollar Era.

    End of Bretton Woods
    “On August 15, 1971, the United States pulled out of the Bretton Woods Accord taking the US off the Gold Exchange Standard (whereby only the value of the US dollar had been pegged to the price of gold and all other currencies were pegged to the US dollar), allowing the dollar to “float”. Shortly thereafter, Britain followed, floating the pound sterling. The industrialized nations followed suit with their respective currencies. In anticipation of the fluctuation of currencies as they stabilized against each other, the industrialized nations also increased their reserves (printing money) in amounts far greater than ever before. The result was a depreciation of the value of the US dollar, as well as the other currencies of the world. Because oil was priced in dollars, this meant that oil producers were receiving less real income for the same price. The OPEC cartel issued a joint communique stating that forthwith they would price a barrel of oil against gold.
    This led to the “Oil Shock” of the mid-seventies. In the years after 1971, OPEC was slow to readjust prices to reflect this depreciation. From 1947-1967 the price of oil in U.S. dollars had risen by less than two percent per year. Until the Oil Shock, the price remained fairly stable versus other currencies and commodities, but suddenly became extremely volatile thereafter. OPEC ministers had not developed the institutional mechanisms to update prices rapidly enough to keep up with changing market conditions, so their real incomes lagged for several years. The substantial price increases of 1973-74 largely caught up their incomes to Bretton Woods levels in terms of other commodities such as gold.”

  3. For leftists, anti-Zionism was always the top priority, and so Islamists had to be allowed to get their nuclear weapons, continue their acts of terrorism, etc. Nowadays, this attitude is spreading to liberals. This is very strange. Liberals, one would think, care about women’s rights, gay rights, and minority rights more than they care about hating Israel and its toady, the USA. Unfortunately, insanity is contagious.

  4. I assume the Ottolenghi is describing a Lieberman-ruled Israel, a possible consequence to our abandoning the area.

  5. @ George Jochnowitz:
    George, for leftists, Zionism is something to be politely scorned and looked away from unless the headlines thrust it into attention.
    Anti-Zionism sure as hell isn’t the main ring in the circus.

  6. @ fuster:
    Why did North Korea send not only its planes but its pilots to fight Israel in 1967 and 1973? Why is Iran Venezuela’s best friend? Anti-Zionism, that’s why.
    Why have Iran and Libya gotten seats on UN committees concerned with women’s rights and human rights? Anti-Zionism.
    Why are you incapable of recognizing the threat posed to Israel and all its people–Jews, Arabs, and Russians–by Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Anti-Zionism.

  7. I agree with what Ottolenghi says (and presumably you do too).

    Where I disagree is with what you and he don’t say, but seem to believe: that the Left actually thinks that the decline of the US would be beneficial to most of the world’s people. In reality, they know that it would be enormously harmful, and are tinkled pink, basically sexually excited, by their fantasies of the chaos that would follow.

    Essentially, Leftism today is a sort of secular Satanism; the love of all sin, the desire to hurt others. (The reason that they are so obsessed with sex is that that is their gateway sin to worse sins like murder, robbery, and rape). Read some of their posts sometime. These people are more evil than Hitler, and as with Hitler, we shouldn’t be trying, Chamberlain-like, to negotiate with them.

  8. Ken wrote:

    Read some of their posts sometime. These people are more evil than Hitler, and as with Hitler, we shouldn’t be trying, Chamberlain-like, to negotiate with them.

    To say the least, that’s an extreme and odious charge to make, and it’s absurd for you to expect anyone to accept it on the basis of your testimony. I won’t ask you to provide evidence, however, because the claim, or rather calumny, is unsupportable: “The left” is not sundry people who’ve written sundry posts – though search around a little longer and you’ll find some of the same people, or their commenters, explaining why right-wingers are “more evil than Hitler,” and on remarkably similar grounds. We used to run into them at the old Contentions comments all of the time: They are legion, and sooner or later turn up anywhere that commenting is open. The only thing that excuses such talk from either side is that it’s impossible to take seriously.

  9. Newsflash, Ken: That delightful comrade in the video is not “the Left,” and deluded weirdo nonentity “revolutionary” that he is, he’s still several black masses short of “more evil than Hitler.” The main reason that he’s not worth negotiating with isn’t that he’s “evil,” it’s that he doesn’t matter very much.

  10. I place the ’73 assault in light of the reaction to the ’69 Santa Monica
    spill, which began to curtail our own domestic production capacity, this
    I don’t think was the point of Hubbard’s peak

  11. @ Ken:
    If you think that people such as the one speaking in that vid are in control of this country, you probably can read the patterns in and are receiving secret instructions from John Bolton’s moustache.

    viva la vida loca !

  12. Onluy a select few receive the signal from Bolton’s stache, you aren’t cleared LG. Like the Brecht Forum, the CAP,the group that Jeff Jones
    was a part of, the Apollo Alliance, all have their imput into the system

  13. narciso wrote:

    Like the Brecht Forum, the CAP,the group that Jeff Jones
    was a part of, the Apollo Alliance, all have their imput into the system

    The American way.

  14. @ strangelet:
    Our world is not the one that Mill knew.

    Your morally dubious position aside, isolationism ensures our eventual conquest because those who refuse to stand against tyranny have already yielded to it. Denial and pretense notwithstanding.

  15. Who would fill the gap, if we were out of the picture, the Indians if we are lucky, the Chinese if we are not. The Russians for a whole host of reasons may only have influence in eastern Europe and possibly the Caucasus

  16. I think Ken has a wonderful way with words.

    We could debate all night about the meaning of evil, but I think it’s easier to spot than pornography. Some people do not recognize evil, even as they are being marched to the nearest railhead.

    As they set the stage for continued assaults on free speech, we mustn’t call them evil. As they paralyze the economy with mountains of debt, new taxes, old taxes and new libraries on top of the old libraries full of regulations, we mustn’t get too alarmed, nor should we seem paranoid as they groom millions of new voters and dozens of new ways to vote for them. And we mustn’t quote their words saying they want to fundamentally remake Amerika and remake our laws. Such literalism is not sophisticated, ya know!

    Shall we call it evolving progress, then?

  17. At a certain point, one can’t just chalk it up to coincidence. The role of Maurice Strong. the father of the Rio treaty, and who was spouting eugenicist sentiments ahead of Holdren, Ezekiel, Susstein, who proposed this idea of collapsing industrial civilization in order to save the planet, in a novel you understand that was never published.

    Yes, individually they are all nots, Power, the genocide historian who seems to have missed the point on Israel, Brooks, the Soros sponsored GU professor who’s now at the Pentagon, Lloyd, the Chavez loving academic now FCC zampolit. Collectively, they are
    are very bad news

  18. Dear Dr. Bones,

    Here’s some great stuff, sir!

    Why, ’tis such great stuff that Freelord Zombiemaster MacLeod was too excited by it to get the URL right. Allow me.

    Signorino de’ Ottolenghi has the Mind of the Sophomore [1] down pat. Second only to St. Rudyard of Kiplin’ in the field is their Emanuele! (“VITTORIO Emanuele, I presume?”)

    Naturally one speaks of a ‘field’ only metaphorically in conjunction with the subtribe of Neoterics who wanna bring back The Jungle (®) so they can run with Akela and Bagheera and Father Wolf and all those obvious good guys, and of course — who can doubt it? — emerge vittoriosi massimi wherever they run.[2] Better watch out, Sheer Con!

    Speaking of cons, you will notice that VEdO drags in Western Sievalisation, “con of cons, all cons excellin’”. Though to be sure since the Commonterror neoladdie is but treadin’ boldly in a snow job by M. Michael d’Young de Beyrouth [3] — with Zombiemaster Mac right on his heels. And ain’t that a pretty neoprocession, sir? (“Move over, Wenceslas! You too, boy! Make way for quacklin’s!”)

    There’s never a dull moment up the slippery slope at Castle Podhóretz. No doubt about it.

    As to the incomparable Sieve Con, though, does it not seem a little inconsistent that a signorino that deploys ‘tame’ as if it were a four-letter word should want anythin’ at all to do with sieves? Even Kiddiemaster Huntin’ton of H*rv*rd never came out fair and square against ‘tame’. Indeed, I am not sure he would have decided he wanted to badmouth ‘civilization’ all across the board. A pity we shall never know for sure, Uncle Sam Jr. havin’ been sadly sidetracked into the War Against the Wetbacks (Pat. Pend.) towards the end. To be sure, it was prophetic of Neocomrade S. Ph. Huntin’ton to be doin’ business at that stand from Zip Code 02138 long before even Arizona saw the flashin’ blue light. Unfortunately for us (and possibly for Master Vittorio Emanuele and M. d’Young), whether “wetback civilization” be distinct from, or only a subcomponent of the True WC product, has little do with either ‘tame’ [4] or with the neo-Levant.

    Mac the Z. does not permit (what I take to be) the crux of this triune neoscribble to bubble up to the surface. It reads as follows, with Don Manuelito first paraphrasin’ and then directly quotin’ M. d’Young: and finally ‘remindin’’:

    “A less discussed point deserving of more scrutiny is that the vacuum created by a U.S. retreat will not be filled by powers of a gentler kind:

    ‘The notion sounds absurd. America lose the power that it has managed to retain for as long as most of us have been alive? Perhaps it is absurd. But consider this: given President Barack Obama’s lack of a coherent strategy for the region, everywhere we see deepening vulnerabilities, when not a conscious decision by Washington to downgrade its ambitions in the face of more dynamic regional actors. These actors have shortcomings of their own, but they appear to be better prepared to deal with the consequences than the United States.’

    “Just a reminder of what this means in practical terms: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has just signed agreements to build nuclear reactors with both Syria and Turkey.

    Read through M. d’Young’s original effusion of verbiage, Dr. Bones, and let me know whether you agree that the signorino from Common Terror magazine is rather readin’ its ‘gentler’ into the Urtext [5] than extractin’ it thence. I see no sign of it myself, unless one would care to announce that Mussolini preferred a Hitlerite Old Europe to any available alternative because that afforded “a gentler kind of” arrangement for Italy. Perhaps one could find or fadge up a particular context in which ‘gentler’ is as good as synonymous with “more advantagous to me.” But it would take some doing.

    M. le Néoediteur’s correligionisers and ideobuddies are almost certain to find life in le Mini-État beyrouthienne more agreeable if they could be confident (though perhaps mistakenly confident) that Uncle Sam will always send in the cavalry to rescue them should worst come to worst. Everybody who ever sat through Globopolitics 101a knows that. But what it has to do with ‘gentler’, I dunno. Since M. le Néoediteur says nothin’ about ‘gentler’ himself, I betcha he took the course and dunno either, Mr. Bones. Probably it is V. E. de’ Ottolenghi who cut classes.

    Though much abler than the other two stooges with whom he involuntarily costars, M. le Néoediteur manages to be pretty Delphic, bottomlinewise.

    I rehearse (with a couple of signposts added) , you decide:

    [A] An Obama administration trapped in the tentacles of Afghanistan makes more likely American retreats in the Middle East. And if Barack Obama decides next year that it is time to wind down his Afghan adventure, the implications for America’s view of itself, and the world’s view of America, could be dramatic, particularly if Iran uses that opening to finalize a nuclear weapon. Obama will have presided over two major military withdrawals while allowing Iran to become a major adversary in the Middle East. But there is another possible scenario. [B] Obama may realize that he’s been cornered by Tehran, and resort to the one thing he can still call upon with some sense of superiority, military power. Having stood down in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and in all probability on the Palestinian track; having seen his major allies becoming steadily more marginal; having seen all this, the president may finally decide that enough is enough, and go to war. Whatever happens, Obama’s bad choices today are pushing him in the direction he most dreads.

    [B] is plain enough, but what on G*re’s green earth does [A] add up to?

    It is strictly a guess on my part, and it feels like rather a wild one, that M. le Néoediteur anticipates that the Daughters of Virtue and Sons of Wisdom LLC will regain control of Sole Remainin’ Hyperpower in November 2012 and proceed at once, say Tuesday 22 January 2013 at 0430 hours Persian time, to give the evil Qommies a thorough course of McCain Therapy .

    Which may or may not be all very well in its way, but plainly that way is not on speakin’ terms with ‘gentler’. Which furthermore implies that the Common Terror signorino’s intrusion of “Russian … nuclear reactors [for] both Syria and Turkey” is strictly the CT signorino’s analytical problem, M. le Néoediteur bein’ concerned almost exclusively with the Mullah Menace.[6]

    Even if I misguess myself about part of the Youngian bottom line, it is clear that M. le Néoediteur and the C.T. signorino are far from broadcastin’ on exactly the same wavelength. The latter speaks of “a must-read article” but neglects to point out that that is not the same thing as a must-agree-with article. Not one of the very brightest bulbs up at Castle Podhóretz, I fear.

    But Father Zeus knows best.

    And I wish you, sir,
    Happy days through affordable healthcare.

    [1] The U.S. high-school sophomore, that is: the chronological fifteen-year-old. Of the male persuasion also, almost exclusively, if one may mention what goes without mention.

    [2] No Sophomoric Mind has ever been defeated. This glorious track record, however, is a little misleading: posthumous promotion to Junioric Mind hon. caus. is, I believe, invariable.

    [3] My gaster is flabbered that Big LEW seems never to have heard of the twinklin’est little star visible low on the northwest horizon of Hyperzion.

    Oh, well! No cloud without a silver lining, Dr. Bones. If the Learnèd Elders of Wiki had noticed M. le magistre, I might never have learned that he likes to vacation, well away from the neo-Levantine heat, out on Planet Dilbert

    But no silver lining without a cloud: I have yet to discover the Aramaic (?) surname that somehow (philologically, or maybe only matrimonially) turned into “Young.”

    Meanwhile, Big LEW does, rather unaccountably, know enough about Paddy Lit. to have admitted my own greatuncle Bob to the sacred fane. Golly!

    [4] As often, Bones, I no sooner write “has little to do with,” than I imagine a tolerably obvious connection:

    The late Neocomrade S. Ph. Huntin’ton, Ph. D. ’50, Freelord and Kiddiemaster Clashin in the peerage of Foxcuckooland, was, as we agreed years ago, interested above all in seein’ to it that there must always be a market niche for the “defense intellectual,” come what may. Or “fall what may,” as regards the Lenin-Gorbachev racket, thr immediate spur to reaction. Hence his freelordship’s ever-immortal discovery (or, as the case may be, invention) of that blessèd and mysterious mantra FFBB, “faith an’ family, blood an’ b’lief.”

    Now if one takes the F2B2 virus to be the heart of Clashist darkness, and regards the ‘civilizations’ shtyk as an inconsequential concession to bookmongers in quest of bestsellerdom, it is easy enough to make his freelordship out quite as resolute a cultivated neodespiser of ‘tame’ as even Signorino V. E. de’ Ottolenghi itself.

    That, however, may be to fall off the other side of the analytical horse. Though pretty detestable, Neocomrade S. Ph. Huntin’ton was by no means a Sophomoric Mind. Uncle Sam the Less undoubtedly got well past the age of fifteen, ethically and intellectually and, in all probability, hormonically as well. You will recall that we further agreed, back when l’éclachisme en Amérique was a bright shiny new neotoy, that it would be safest (most likely not to be wrong) to give his freelordship the benefit of the doubt and think of his F2B2 as implying the clashin’ of bold colours rather than that of benighted ignorant armies. Despite the Strangelove film, one can be a “defense intellectual” without bein’ positively a warmonger. Until there is an inexpugnable antimissile system protectin’ the Ivy Tower, that plan has practical advantages as well as dogmatic.

    But Mars and Bellona know best.

    [5] My going on interminably has allowed the Zombiemaster time to fix his freelordship’s link in. Who says there is no such thing as progress?

    [6] This strikes me as excellent good sense viewed from M. le Néoediteur’s parochial situation. The evil Qommies can easily be imagined as deploying the God Party of Lebanon to make the parish in question uninhabitable by the likes of M. Michael d’Young. Whereas for that ilk to fear Damascus at present would be silly; to fear Ankara, clinically demented.

    None of that applies to Neocomrade E. de’ Ottolenghi. Why, the very name of Common Terror magazine implies an entirely different strategy! one different from any that would be suitable for the Christojudæans (plus the Sunni Natives, mostly) of the Beirut statelet.

    The signorino has every reason to lump together all Natives indiscriminately as likely to blow up Manhattan and Succotash City WY–as well as naturally Tel ’Avîv IL/PS–given half a chance. You just plain can’t ever trust ANY of ’em, Dr. Bones!


  19. Oh, I enjoyed that pomo semiotics cocktail, about as much as my last
    root canal, a fancy way of legitimizing the antics of the Syrian Moukharabat and the Vevak Pasdaran as they annex the Levant as their satrap. Now 2012, maybe way to late, before the likes of Cambyses former land, threatens the West

  20. narciso wrote:

    Oh, I enjoyed that pomo semiotics cocktail, about as much as my last

    Pomo? Emanations from Supercluster Fr. “Sniper” McCloskey’s ex-ist beyond aesthetic historical periodicities. Plus he seems to be the only personage actually to check the link (twice at least) (thanks).

    Fr. Supercluster also manages to isolate the key graphs from Mr. Mysteriously-Young’s article – which converge, if tremulously, with the contrarian views of Max Hastings and George Friedman. Hastings, as you may recall, viewed the Afghanistan strategy as aimed at a pretext for withdrawal, under an only slightly foxed and creased banner of Mission Accomplished (or close enough for government shirk). Friedman concurred, in effect, that the main mission should be to walk out on this interminable 3rd (4th?, 5th?) world production – every soldier presumably with his or her own CIA-approved cover story re: need to use the restroom, interest in popcorn or jujubees, etc. And, like Young tossing and turning the dream songs of the Commonterrorat, Friedman also saw an Iran-thumping as the necessarily correct, if sadly less than inevitable, strategic solution. You may have also heard one or two Obamapologetic leftoids, with frogs in their throats or throats in their frogs, portray the Iran policy as the construction of the Second Pretext, for the thumping.

    To thump or not to thump, that is the strategic question.

    Many days without thought of matters medicinal to all (physicians excluded, unless on vacation)!

  21. PS “Qommies” is a qeeper. I feel I’ve seen it before, but that’s the natural reaction to a natural, and, since I can’t bring to mind a prior sighting, Sniper gets the citing in the Zombie OED.

  22. Except it would involve a considerable effort to attack naval base, air facilities, Pasdaran staging areas, before we ever get to Bushehr,
    Isfahan, Natanz

  23. @ Ken:
    Ken, that guy’s not even in control of his own hair.

    Who is the “we” that America stole the land from? As a commentator points out, didn’t Mexico “steal” it from Spain, Spain from the natives, and presumably those natives from other natives, etc. Any point this joker has to make got lost in the slogans and hot air; terminology almost always drowns out sense.

  24. As a commentator points out, didn’t Mexico “steal” it from Spain, Spain from the natives, and presumably those natives from other natives, etc

    You left out the lizards and birds and plants and dirt – all mostly pristine until the humans with their slashing and burning and the rest moved in.

    Clearly someone cut class on anthropocentrism.

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