Operation American Greatness

2016November11-29
11-28
11-27

In the terms coined by Walter Russell Mead, Obama is a Jeffersonian, while Trump is a Jacksonian: The former believes that the United States should perfect its own democracy and go “not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” whereas the latter believes that “the United States should not seek out foreign quarrels” but that it should clobber anyone who messes with it. What unites Jeffersonians and Jacksonians, in spite of their substantial differences, is that both support quasi-isolationism — or, if you prefer, noninterventionism — unless severely provoked.

Obama has been intent on pulling the United States back from the Middle East.Obama has been intent on pulling the United States back from the Middle East. The result of his withdrawal of troops from Iraq and his failure to get more actively involved in ending the Syrian civil war has been to create a vacuum of power that has been filled by the likes of the Islamic State and Hezbollah. Undaunted, Trump has said he wants not only to continue the pullback from the Middle East (he wants to subcontract American policy in Syria to Putin) but also to retreat from Europe and East Asia. He has suggested that he may lift sanctions on Russia and pull U.S. troops out of countries (from Germany to Japan) if he feels they are not paying enough for American protection. It is quite possible, then, that Trump’s foreign policy would represent an intensification rather than a repudiation of Obama’s “lead from behind” approach.

American power survived eight years of an Obama presidency, albeit in diminished form. If the president-elect governs the way he campaigned (which, admittedly, is not necessarily a safe assumption), there is good cause to wonder whether U.S. ascendancy will survive four to eight years of Trumpism. The post-American age may be arriving sooner than imagined, ushered in by a president with an “America First” foreign policy.

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11-26

Observers from center right to left, and including recognized security experts as well as pundits or political intellectuals, are now claiming that the Russian government under Vladimir Putin made war upon the United State of America; that the government and people of the United States, under the presidency of Barack Obama, failed to offer a serious defense; and that we in America as well as friends and allies have suffered an historic defeat.

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11-20

Deliberate disregard of language poses a worse danger to political discussion and to the public realm than do ignorance and lies. Ignorance can be met with education. Falsehood and deception can be called out as illusion; they can be challenged in the name of what actually appears to be. Even insults can be acknowledged and addressed. When, by contrast, speakers and hearers routinely disavow or neglect the utterances that they hear or make, they cast words adrift, and language no longer shows us a shared or common world in which to take our bearings.

Such indeed is the situation in the U.S. in the days of disorientation, unease, and unrest following the election of Donald Trump as President. Regardless of what kind of president Trump turns out to be, or of the policies he puts in place, the rhetoric of this election season has shaken our faith in the possibility of meaningful public exchange. This is not because persons are afraid to speak, although some will be. Nor is it because mainstream media has missed or mischaracterized the story, although it has. Our faith is shaken because to deny one’s words is to disregard what is. When this disregard coincides with more talk than ever before, the upshot is a mistrust in the possibility of genuine public exchange.

From: When Words Cease to Matter – Amor Mundi – Medium

(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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11-16

Questioner: What do you think is the major threat today, to the Judeo-Christian Civilization? Secularism, or the Muslim world? In my humble opinion, they’re just trying to defend themselves from our cultural invasion. Thank you.

[Question restated by Harnwell]

Bannon: It’s a great question. I certainly think secularism has sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals, right?

If you go back to your home countries and your proponent of the defense of the Judeo-Christian West and its tenets, often times, particularly when you deal with the elites, you’re looked at as someone who is quite odd. So it has kind of sapped the strength.

But I strongly believe that whatever the causes of the current drive to the caliphate was — and we can debate them, and people can try to deconstruct them — we have to face a very unpleasant fact: And that unpleasant fact is that there is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global. It’s going global in scale, and today’s technology, today’s media, today’s access to weapons of mass destruction, it’s going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act...

From: This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World - BuzzFeed News

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11-13

[T]he broader failure of the left was the same one made in the lead-up to 1914 and the Great war, when, in the apt phrase of the British-Czech philosopher, Ernest Gellner, a letter sent to a mailbox marked “class” was mistakenly delivered to one marked “nation.” Nation almost always trumps class because it is able to tap into a powerful source of identity, the desire to connect with an organic cultural community. This longing for identity is now emerging in the form of the American alt-right, a formerly ostracised collection of groups espousing white nationalism in one form or another. But even short of these extremists, many ordinary American citizens began to wonder why their communities were filling up with immigrants, and who had authorised a system of politically correct language by which one could not even complain about the problem. This is why Donald Trump received a huge number of votes from better-educated and more well-off voters as well, who were not victims of globalisation but still felt their country was being taken from them. Needless to say, this dynamic underlay the Brexit vote as well.

So what will be the concrete consequences of the Trump victory for the international system? Contrary to his critics, Trump does have a consistent and thought-through position: he is a nationalist on economic policy, and in relation to the global political system. He has clearly stated that he will seek to renegotiate existing trade agreements such as Nafta and presumably the WTO, and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he is willing to contemplate exiting from them. And he has expressed admiration for “strong” leaders such as Russia’s Putin who nonetheless get results through decisive action. He is correspondingly much less enamoured of traditional US allies such as those in Nato, or Japan and South Korea, whom he has accused of freeriding on American power. This suggests that support for them will also be conditional on a renegotiation of the cost-sharing arrangements now in place.

The dangers of these positions for both the global economy and for the global security system are impossible to overstate.

From: US against the world? Trump’s America and the new global order

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11-11

Late on election night, after the matter and the immediate after-matter had passed, I turned, only a little drunkenly, to the latest episode of Aftermath on my DVR. The production is far from the level of premium TV product like, among newish shows, Quarry and Westworld, but the scenario and its development seem even more timely now than they did before 11/9...

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11-05
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+ My pleasure.Agree about the song, though I think the "haunting" aspect mostly comes from the historical context, as I discussed way back when, also [. . .]
"Wiegala," by Ilse Weber
+ Thank you. I know I have "orphan pages" on my website many broken links and even the "blog" of my mother's letters home to [. . .]
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+ This post (almost ten years old!) was from a discontinued blog, but it turns out I still had the MP3 file in the archives. So [. . .]
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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want to support his work or simply want something readymade, you can also buy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and journals emblazoned with the symbol through Threadless.“I really just want to spread the image as much as possible and cement it in history,” Mitchell says. “In all honesty, the amount I’ve made from my Threadless shop so far is still less than my hourly rate, so I don’t really see it as a big deal. If you look at my Twitter, half the replies are people wanting to know where they can buy a shirt. Threadless is happy to help them out with that, and so I’m happy to let that happen.”Now that the symbol has flooded our streets and our timelines, Mitchell just has one request: “Impeach this idiot already,” he says.

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This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance. They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

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