There’s No Going Back – Ever

 

We can never go back to the “good old days.” That was a thought that occurred to me today, and I realized how that fact—and I believe it is a fact—defines not only how we see the world, but how we see our political reality. It colors how we see those who agree with us, and those who vehemently disagree with us. I also realized that all the Trump/Never Trump arguments are not really about Trump at all. The people who get stuck on either side of that conflict are struggling with something else entirely. And realizing that truth, with honesty and sincerity, might actually bridge the seemingly insurmountable polarization that has plagued this country, particularly the Conservatives, for years.

Think about it. There is no denying that life today is vastly different from the life we experienced, say, 20 years ago. And many people have a predisposition to living lives that are relatively predictable, familiar, and consistent. When they have occurrences that disrupt that predictability, they can feel beleaguered—life has turned upside down and has let them down in a way, so that they become confused, stressed, and even angry at the new and unanticipated outcomes. They feel betrayed and disappointed, and once they wrestle down these reactions, they are ready to go to war. They can decide to fight for what they once anticipated for their lives, demand that life return to some kind of normalcy, and rebel against those who think they should be prepared to go in a new direction. Even if that direction has some merit, they will reject it because it is not the life that they expected or desired.

I propose to you that this mindset evolves from that sense of life’s betrayal, and Donald Trump has become the scapegoat for those who reject Trump and life’s demands.

Before you reject my proposal, let me describe those who are on the other side of this chasm.

Many of us do prefer to have predictable lives, for one reason or another, but we have learned that life doesn’t acquiesce to our expectations. The best planning in the world can be victim to life’s vagaries, and no matter how strenuously we’ve worked to correct course, life seems determined to design its own path. We learn, either as a child, or sometimes not until we are adults, that rejecting life’s whims doesn’t always work—it smiles at us, even laughs sometimes, at our foolish beliefs that we have the power to change its course. Eventually, we learn how to ride the rapids, tolerate the roller coasters, and even swim with the sharks. Over time we begin to learn how to balance the usual patterns of our lives with the unforeseen events that meet us. If we are wise, we learn that the changes we encounter can even be enjoyable and rewarding, stretch us beyond our understanding or our limitations and expand our possibilities. The patterns we follow allow us to grab hold of the familiar so that we can take a breath and find our footing, but also free us to try something new and creative, ripe with potential.

I propose to you that this mindset characterizes the people, whether reluctantly or with vigor, who support Donald Trump.

*     *     *     *

How can these descriptions of these two groups of folks be helpful? For those of us who hope that one day the disruption among Conservatives can be mended, these factors are important and valuable to understand:

The Trump/Never Trump conflict is much deeper and primal than a fight over one man.

For those who reject Trump-

  • This conflict has to do with the loss and dread that comes with losing the past, either the past of our imagination or the past that truly existed. (In many respects, it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not—we are wedded to it.)
  • It is more comforting to hold onto our memories than to have the uncertainty of creating new ones.
  • They confuse “preferences,” such as decorum and good manners, with “values” such as truth and integrity, and struggle with having to compromise either type.
  • It’s so much easier to create a scapegoat, than to find a way to work with the reality of “what is,” rather than to insist on “what should be.”

For those who accept (however fully or reluctantly) Trump—

  • For our own peace of mind, we benefit from reminding ourselves of the depth of the rejection of Trump by others and what it represents.
  • We can find a way to talk about Conservative values and what they mean to us, and see if the people we support can live those values, and to what degree.
  • We can remember that both sides of this disagreement can be determined to win over the other side, denigrate those who disagree with us, or simply “make them wrong.”
  • Remember that the differences in beliefs are often not “values based”; they are also not fact-based but opinion based. We can accept, therefore, that we are unlikely to change the minds of those who prefer to fight to maintain the past rather than suffer through creating a new future.

For me, I have some empathy for those who desperately hold on to the past. I understood, and at one time even preferred, that outlook on life. It is the outlook with which I was raised.

But I also realized that it limited my own growth and creativity. It was an insular way to live, protecting me from considering other ways to live. It was, in fact, frightening to contemplate new directions and new ideas. Along the way, however, I encountered ideas that challenged me to explore, and people who supported my thinking about other pursuits. I enjoyed the ups and (some of) the downs that greeted me. Not everyone who resists moving forward, however, will be able to do so.

But I hope and pray they will.

Because there is no going back—ever.

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  1. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Doubtful.  He was very successful for a long time.  He made some seemingly crazy moves in a foreign policy space; however, being objective they worked out.  Also almost all of them worked out.  That argues that it wasn’t dumb luck.  It could have been the people around him rather than the man himself, but he gets credit and the blame.  That is part of the deal.

    I think the modern concept of foreign diplomacy makes absolutely no sense. Smarter people than I agree with it. I think Trump’s methods were normal in a historical framework, while appearing insane to the modern diplomacy theorist.

    Moderns think Putin, Xi, and Jong Un are irrational actors, but the only irrational actors have been the US and the West of late. While Putin et al may be personally insane, their actions wrt interfacing their countries with other countries are clear in attempting to prioritize the standing of their country relative to others. That’s what makes them rational. We can predict what they will do because we can see their motivations and their actions line up with those actions.

    Obama, Bush, and Biden (as well as Macron, England, and Merkel) are not rational actors. Their decisions do not make sense from a position of expecting them to improve the standing of their country in the world. They may have reasons for the actions they take, but they are hidden and are not aligned with their country’s best interests. That makes them dangerous and unpredictable on the world stage.

    Trump was rational and predictable. His goal was America’s best interests. He understood Putin and Xi because he knew their language – my country first.

    I am highly suspicious of anyone who has high criticism of Trump’s philosophy of foreign diplomacy. It worked. And it worked better than anyone else has, probably since Reagan. I think Reagan operated much the same way, given everyone’s praise of Gorbachev recently.

    • #91
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    Point is that Trump in trying to be an isolationist made America and the World safer. 

    Prosperity solves a lot of problems both inside and outside our country. I didn’t agree with Trump on foreign policy, but when we have some loose change in our pocket, we can help prevent or alleviate a lot of trouble around the world. And American prosperity spreads on its own. And the good faith and optimism that go with it. So even though he is far more isolationist than I like to us be, his leadership got our country to where I wanted it to be. :-) 

    • #92
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    So, maybe all of Trump’s “America First” talk

    My old Italian mother-in-law used to say to me constantly, as I tried to juggle meeting the needs of three children, “You’re no good to anyone else unless you take care of yourself.” That’s how I always heard Trump’s America First exhortation. 

    • #93
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    I prefer the “old” GOP much better.

    The “old” Neocon GOP started a land war in Asia on false premises; spent two trillion dollars and squandered thousands of young lives over twenty years, achieved nothing, and left the Taliban back in power with billions of dollars worth of American armaments. (“Biden did that last thing.” Only because the Neocons started a war and didn’t finish it.)

    The “old” GOP decided we ought to have unregulated mass immigration across open borders because American workers “just can’t cut it” (Marco Rubio’s chief-of-staff), because illegal immigrants were “fertile” (Jeb Bush), because they didn’t want their children performing menial labor (Dick Cheney).

    The “old” GOP claimed to be fiscally responsible, while doubling the national debt and nearly doubling domestic spending under the Bush Administration.

    The “old” GOP made Communist China a “most favored” trading partner and gutted the American working class.

    The “old” GOP thought it was distasteful and ungentlemanly to fight against the left’s Culture War; and now Democrats are proclaiming they want “a drag queen in every classroom,” because it’s a “blessing of liberty,” and you can lose your job if you oppose the sexual mutilation of children.

    That’s the “old” GOP … the party of failure, debt, cowardice, and betrayal.

    I don’t agree with this description of GW at all, especially the “squandered thousands of young lives over twenty years, achieved nothing” part. 

    But your comment gets to the heart of the present dilemma. You’ve described the anti-Bush side well. 

    This is not about Trump in any way. It is about 41 and 43. Trump represents the anti-Bush part of the Republican Party, and he does it well. 

    And never the twain shall meet. 

    We really are two parties. 

    • #94
  5. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Stina (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Many Americans vacation and some even retire in Latin America.

    You know why they can? Because a few very narrow locations maintain tight control so it can happen. Tourist areas are tightly controlled.

    Wandering to far outside those boundaries, though? Not recommended. It’s not even recommended to stray to far from cruise destinations and approved clients.

    My point is that Americans do sometimes decide to retire in Latin American countries (except for Cuba, Venezuela) while hardly any American choose to retire in North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela.

    People from Eastern Europe, when it was controlled by the Soviet Union, did try to escape to Eastern Europe.

    When I was in college I met someone who was my age who was from Romania. One day he climbed into a truck that was headed for Italy, without the driver knowing about it, and fled his family and friends in Romania.

    Italy is far from perfect. But it wasn’t a communist dictatorship like Romania was.

    The Republican party used to be interested in freedom and representative government or their lack all over the world. Many in the Republican party still do care about such things. Is that globalist? If so, I am a globalist.

    When Trump hints that he supports Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by calling it “savvy” and “genius,” there is no way I will vote for him.

    But it doesn’t matter right? All of these elections are rigged, right?

    My point was those countries aren’t the panacea you were trying to make them out to be.

    I never said those countries were the panacea.  I said they were free and representative.  

    It would be better if Cuba were free and representative.  If that makes me a globalist, so be it.  

    • #95
  6. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    We really are two parties.

    it was hidden under the guise of cooperation as long as the bush guys got their way, but they believed they were the only ones that mattered. Yea Party and Trump disabused them of that and they started suppressing their base.

    I think American politics would be much better if the Republican neo cons returned to the democrat party from whence they fled during the peacenik movements of the 60s and 70s and they shoved out the radical lefties and left us so cons to be the radical right of abolitionists again.

    • #96
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Many Americans vacation and some even retire in Latin America.

    You know why they can? Because a few very narrow locations maintain tight control so it can happen. Tourist areas are tightly controlled.

    Wandering to far outside those boundaries, though? Not recommended. It’s not even recommended to stray to far from cruise destinations and approved clients.

    My point is that Americans do sometimes decide to retire in Latin American countries (except for Cuba, Venezuela) while hardly any American choose to retire in North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela.

    People from Eastern Europe, when it was controlled by the Soviet Union, did try to escape to Eastern Europe.

    When I was in college I met someone who was my age who was from Romania. One day he climbed into a truck that was headed for Italy, without the driver knowing about it, and fled his family and friends in Romania.

    Italy is far from perfect. But it wasn’t a communist dictatorship like Romania was.

    The Republican party used to be interested in freedom and representative government or their lack all over the world. Many in the Republican party still do care about such things. Is that globalist? If so, I am a globalist.

    When Trump hints that he supports Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by calling it “savvy” and “genius,” there is no way I will vote for him.

    But it doesn’t matter right? All of these elections are rigged, right?

    My point was those countries aren’t the panacea you were trying to make them out to be.

    I never said those countries were the panacea. I said they were free and representative.

    It would be better if Cuba were free and representative. If that makes me a globalist, so be it.

    They aren’t free and representative! You are playing really loose with this. The office for president of Mexico is largely corrupted. Colombia is off limits. Honduras is a 3rd world country for missionaries.

    I don’t know how you take a resort town like Puerto Vallarta and extrapolate to the entire country.

    • #97
  8. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Stina (View Comment):

    We really are two parties.

    it was hidden under the guise of cooperation as long as the bush guys got their way, but they believed they were the only ones that mattered. Yea Party and Trump disabused them of that and they started suppressing their base.

    I think American politics would be much better if the Republican neo cons returned to the democrat party from whence they fled during the peacenik movements of the 60s and 70s and they shoved out the radical lefties and left us so cons to be the radical right of abolitionists again.

    I am a neo-con and the main reason why I am not going to return to the democrat party is because the Democrat party also contains some isolationist (“it’s time to take care of our own”) factions within it just as the Republican party does.  Also, the Democrat party tends to distrust free enterprise/free markets.

    I agree with the Democrats on same sex marriage.  Also, I support the legislation passed by the US House which would reform the electoral count act, co-sponsored by Liz Cheney.  All but 9 Republicans in the House voted against the legislation.  

    Regarding military aid to Ukraine, both Republicans and Democrats have supported aid to Ukraine.  But among Democrats it was virtually unanimous.  

    So, I can’t say that I agree with either the Republican party or the Democrat party 100 percent of the time.  

    Right now, the issue of aid to Ukraine is my top issue.  

    • #98
  9. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Why did Trump endorse Dr. Oz in the Pennsylvania US Senate Republican primary?

    Just recently former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “I will defend Dr. Oz as a man from New Jersey.  The problem is Dr. Oz is running in Pennslvania.”  

    Get rid of Trump and many, though not all, of the problems that afflict the Republican party vanish.  

    • #99
  10. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Ukraine seems to me a very frivolous thing to have as a “top” issue. But I also rather envy the amount of privilege one must have to be so completely unaffected by inflation, illegal immigration, rising crime, climate cult nonsense, child mutilation, or the absolute corruption of federal authority that one can worry about a corrupt, second world country on the other side of the world as the most important issue of our time.

    • #100
  11. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Ukraine seems to me a very frivolous thing to have as a “top” issue. But I also rather envy the amount of privilege one must have to be so completely unaffected by inflation, illegal immigration, rising crime, climate cult nonsense, child mutilation, or the absolute corruption of federal authority that one can worry about a corrupt, second world country on the other side of the world as the most important issue of our time.

    Maybe we should call this “neo-con privilege.”  

    I’ve always been interested in foreign policy.  In the 1980s, when I was in college, the Cold War and America’s strategy to win the Cold War was my number 1 issue.  

    Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.  

    • #101
  12. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Ukraine seems to me a very frivolous thing to have as a “top” issue. But I also rather envy the amount of privilege one must have to be so completely unaffected by inflation, illegal immigration, rising crime, climate cult nonsense, child mutilation, or the absolute corruption of federal authority that one can worry about a corrupt, second world country on the other side of the world as the most important issue of our time.

    Maybe we should call this “neo-con privilege.”

    I’ve always been interested in foreign policy. In the 1980s, when I was in college, the Cold War and America’s strategy to win the Cold War was my number 1 issue.

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

    It really is a privilege. I’m concerned my savings aren’t growing and I have 3 kids I need to help either go to college or launch into adulthood.

    We are living paycheck to paycheck – truly unusual for us. Gas is too high, groceries are too much. I’m constantly on the watch for CRT and gender nonsense coming from the schools. If another pandemic pops up, I’ll have to fight another mask nazi on my school board to keep masks off my kids’ faces.

    There’s a lot of good going on, too, but these things are daily living for a LOT of people. Maybe learn to have some empathy for them.

    • #102
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Ukraine seems to me a very frivolous thing to have as a “top” issue. But I also rather envy the amount of privilege one must have to be so completely unaffected by inflation, illegal immigration, rising crime, climate cult nonsense, child mutilation, or the absolute corruption of federal authority that one can worry about a corrupt, second world country on the other side of the world as the most important issue of our time.

    I don’t expect this to be a convincing argument, but to me, the issue is the same as the issue with Israel: it’s about justice. And it’s about Israel’s and Ukraine’s right to exist. I think it is the most important issue for America because of our position as the most important superpower. We set the standards. And a standard not backed up doesn’t exist. For us or anyone else.  

    But I can certainly appreciate how it looks to others and why it wouldn’t matter as much. 

    • #103
  14. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Ukraine seems to me a very frivolous thing to have as a “top” issue. But I also rather envy the amount of privilege one must have to be so completely unaffected by inflation, illegal immigration, rising crime, climate cult nonsense, child mutilation, or the absolute corruption of federal authority that one can worry about a corrupt, second world country on the other side of the world as the most important issue of our time.

    I don’t expect this to be a convincing argument, but to me, the issue is the same as the issue with Israel: it’s about justice. And it’s about Israel’s and Ukraine’s right to exist. I think it is the most important issue for America because of our position as the most important superpower. We set the standards. And a standard not backed up doesn’t exist. For us or anyone else.

    But I can certainly appreciate how it looks to others and why it wouldn’t matter as much.

    Yes.  The Israel issue is very important.  

    Also, take the pro-life issue.  People who have already been born are standing up for the rights of those who have not yet been born.  

    Maybe that’s a privilege some of us have, the ability to think of people who are in situations different from our own.  

    • #104
  15. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    • #105
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    Not only that, although I appreciate Marcin’s comment about the issue being the right to exist, the Europeans should be more committed than they are, with Russia around the corner. Re Israel–they are not dependent on us; in effect we are partners in the Western world, and they can take care of themselves.

    • #106
  17. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    Ok.  I won’t vote for you.  You won’t vote for me.  

    What about Iran?  Should the United States support those in Iran who are protesting against the Theocratic dictatorship that has ruled Iran since 1979?  

    Is this another issue that shouldn’t concern ourselves with in the name of “America First?”

    • #107
  18. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    Not only that, although I appreciate Marcin’s comment about the issue being the right to exist, the Europeans should be more committed than they are, with Russia around the corner. Re Israel–they are not dependent on us; in effect we are partners in the Western world, and they can take care of themselves.

    To paraphrase former Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “You do national security and foreign policy with the allies you have, not the allies you wish to have.”  

    It would be great if our European allies were different.  For one thing, the fact that Europe, despite the EU, is not a single country, makes it much harder for Europe to have an effective foreign policy.  They have a coordination policy that the United States doesn’t have.  

    • #108
  19. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    What about Iran?  Should the United States support those in Iran who are protesting against the Theocratic dictatorship that has ruled Iran since 1979?

    How do you suggest the US “support” them? Spend two trillion dollars and thousands of lives of young working class Americans and then leave the mullahs in power with lots of new weapons? Or just run them an unlimited tab like Ukraine?

    • #109
  20. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    What about Iran? Should the United States support those in Iran who are protesting against the Theocratic dictatorship that has ruled Iran since 1979?

    How do you suggest the US “support” them? Spend two trillion dollars and thousands of lives of young working class Americans and then leave the mullahs in power with lots of new weapons? Or just run them an unlimited tab like Ukraine?

    Perhaps provide Iranians with communications capability, since the Theocrats have shut down social media?

    • #110
  21. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    What about Iran? Should the United States support those in Iran who are protesting against the Theocratic dictatorship that has ruled Iran since 1979?

    How do you suggest the US “support” them? Spend two trillion dollars and thousands of lives of young working class Americans and then leave the mullahs in power with lots of new weapons? Or just run them an unlimited tab like Ukraine?

    Perhaps provide Iranians with communications capability, since the Theocrats have shut down social media?

    How?

    • #111
  22. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    Not only that, although I appreciate Marcin’s comment about the issue being the right to exist, the Europeans should be more committed than they are, with Russia around the corner. Re Israel–they are not dependent on us; in effect we are partners in the Western world, and they can take care of themselves.

    To paraphrase former Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “You do national security and foreign policy with the allies you have, not the allies you wish to have.”

    It would be great if our European allies were different. For one thing, the fact that Europe, despite the EU, is not a single country, makes it much harder for Europe to have an effective foreign policy. They have a coordination policy that the United States doesn’t have.

    They aren’t different because they have been able to freeload off the US taxpayer.  We provide their security umbrella.  I am not an isolationist so I think the US has a role in Europe.  I do think that they have an obligation for picking up more of their own tab.  Also I think they should be doing more in terms of supplying Ukraine then they are doing right now and do even get me started on how their green fetish and NIMBYism made them dependent on Russia for energy.

    • #112
  23. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    Not only that, although I appreciate Marcin’s comment about the issue being the right to exist, the Europeans should be more committed than they are, with Russia around the corner. Re Israel–they are not dependent on us; in effect we are partners in the Western world, and they can take care of themselves.

    But in the past, they had some moments of being threatened when we lent moral and other kinds of support. 

     

    • #113
  24. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):
    The cultural Marxist takeover of the academic and cultural institutions resulted in a combination of indoctrination and social pressures that led to a radical shift toward the cultural Left by the higher-income, accredited classes that were once the power-base of that faction of the GOP, leading to them having to either shift to the Left themselves (especially in regards to social and cultural taboos) in order to be considered even marginally tolerable by their friends, neighbors, and families, or else accept that they would henceforth be regarded as ‘deplorables’ alongside the demonized Republican base, and would need to abandon their (largely subconscious) biases against the ‘vulgar’ Republicans they viewed as embarrassing rubes in order to oppose the Left.

    Very insightful, lowtech. So I suspect that the Republican’s popularity with the middle class would also drive away the Republican elites as well. What do you think?

    Exactly; their self-image is bound to the mores, values, and taboos of the higher-income, accredited classes, which have shifted dramatically to the Left.  The middle classes and working class have not had nearly as much of a societal shift, and so their values and behaviors (previously much less divergent from the accredited classes) have come to be viewed as morally suspect at best, and at worst indicators of dangerous depravity that must be forcefully repressed and expunged, justifying ever-increasing levels of demonization and persecution against those that resist…..as well as an all-consuming fear of being relegated to such ‘deplorable’ ranks if they fail to keep up with the tightening restrictions of this new societal framework, especially among those already at the margins, such as the NeverTrumpers.

    In short, class anxiety has become about rapidly-shifting and politicized beliefs and symbolism rather than etiquette and lifestyle, and the accredited classes have become increasingly homogenized towards the progressive extremes.  

    • #114
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    They aren’t different because they have been able to freeload off the US taxpayer.  We provide their security umbrella.  I am not an isolationist so I think the US has a role in Europe.  I do think that they have an obligation for picking up more of their own tab.  Also I think they should be doing more in terms of supplying Ukraine then they are doing right now and do even get me started on how their green fetish and NIMBYism made them dependent on Russia for energy.

    Who pays says, right?

    So currently Europe/NATO is essentially prosecuting a US foreign policy wrt Ukraine, even though it’s pushing them into a recession.  if Germany had had its way Ukraine would have been told ‘no NATO for you, sorry’, the Nordstreams would have flowed and Europe would not have had a recession.

    If they were truly responsible for their own defense they might have gone with their own preferences.  You can see how keeping the US in, the Russians out and the Germans down might not work 100% for Germany?

    • #115
  26. jonb60173 Member
    jonb60173
    @jonb60173

    after Trump there will be another Trump and it has nothing to do with Trump and everything to do with the media.  They will attack and distort every conservative in office.  There are those that believe the press and those that don’t and that is our electoral process right there.

    • #116
  27. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    They aren’t different because they have been able to freeload off the US taxpayer. We provide their security umbrella. I am not an isolationist so I think the US has a role in Europe. I do think that they have an obligation for picking up more of their own tab. Also I think they should be doing more in terms of supplying Ukraine then they are doing right now and do even get me started on how their green fetish and NIMBYism made them dependent on Russia for energy.

    Who pays says, right?

    So currently Europe/NATO is essentially prosecuting a US foreign policy wrt Ukraine, even though it’s pushing them into a recession. if Germany had had its way Ukraine would have been told ‘no NATO for you, sorry’, the Nordstreams would have flowed and Europe would not have had a recession.

    If they were truly responsible for their own defense they might have gone with their own preferences. You can see how keeping the US in, the Russians out and the Germans down might not work 100% for Germany?

    I don’t know that I agree with you entirely that this is US foreign Policy?  Western Europe has been playing footsie with Ukraine for a long time and this feels more like the US got dragged/ shamed into the Ukraine policy by other NATO allies.  In fact in February through March the US was debating with itself about what aid it could give Ukraine, while other NATO countries were doing more.  That is why I don’t give Biden a lot of credit  for Ukraine.

    I do agree with your point that the US has the whip hand in the foreign policy posture of NATO, and that we should because we are paying the lion share of the budget and will bear disproportionate losses if it comes to NATO operations in Europe.  I just don’t necessarily think  that is good thing.  I would much rather German pay for its own military and NATO be an organization that has its own foreign policy posture in which the US had a say.

    I would also rather Germany develop its own energy resources rather than depend on Russia.  Also if Biden had not reversed course on the Nordstream 2 sanctions I doubt Putin would have invaded Ukraine.  If Germany wants a bigger say in NATO they definitely have the economy to be doing more in their own defense.

    • #117
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    I don’t know that I agree with you entirely that this is US foreign Policy?  Western Europe has been playing footsie with Ukraine for a long time and this feels more like the US got dragged/ shamed into the Ukraine policy by other NATO allies.  In fact in February through March the US was debating with itself about what aid it could give Ukraine, while other NATO countries were doing more.  That is why I don’t give Biden a lot of credit  for Ukraine.

    Germany and the US have a different cost: benefit ratio for supporting Ukraine and sanctioning Russia.

    (And Germany has a different ratio from Poland, or the Baltics, etc.  And Germany itself encompasses different voices and agendas.)

    At this point it looks like the US’ views are prevailing.  There’s the potential for Germany to have a different relationship with Russia, and it’s definitely in the US’ interests to stop  that relationship from developing.

    I do agree with your point that the US has the whip hand in the foreign policy posture of NATO, and that we should because we are paying the lion share of the budget and will bear disproportionate losses if it comes to NATO operations in Europe.

    If the confrontation happens in Europe that’s not really the case.  They’re ground zero, not the US.

    I just don’t necessarily think  that is good thing.  I would much rather German pay for its own military and NATO be an organization that has its own foreign policy posture in which the US had a say.

    I would also rather Germany develop its own energy resources rather than depend on Russia.

    Germany’s energy resources? Isn’t it dependent on importing energy from somewhere, given the size of its manufacturing sector? Do you mean alternative resources to Russia?

    I’ve read that Germany should have been less dependent on Russia for gas, and should have switched to importing LNG from the US instead.  Which is fair enough, but that’s just another dependency. Dependent on Russia. Dependent on the US.  Still dependent.

    Also if Biden had not reversed course on the Nordstream 2 sanctions I doubt Putin would have invaded Ukraine.  If Germany wants a bigger say in NATO they definitely have the economy to be doing more in their own defense.

    Yes and yes.  I’m not sure how pleased the US will be if/when the latter happens.  Germany will be a lot less biddable. imho.

    The thing is, geography dictates that Russian energy is the cheapest option for the German economy.  Fighting that has a whole pushing water uphill thing to it.  Economic gravity pulls towards a certain outcome (with the Russians no longer out) and always will.

    • #118
  29. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I see Ukraine as a European problem and a problem the Europeans are conspicuously unwilling to spend any money on solving.

    Not only that, although I appreciate Marcin’s comment about the issue being the right to exist, the Europeans should be more committed than they are, with Russia around the corner. Re Israel–they are not dependent on us; in effect we are partners in the Western world, and they can take care of themselves.

    To paraphrase former Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “You do national security and foreign policy with the allies you have, not the allies you wish to have.”

    It would be great if our European allies were different. For one thing, the fact that Europe, despite the EU, is not a single country, makes it much harder for Europe to have an effective foreign policy. They have a coordination policy that the United States doesn’t have.

    They aren’t different because they have been able to freeload off the US taxpayer. We provide their security umbrella. I am not an isolationist so I think the US has a role in Europe. I do think that they have an obligation for picking up more of their own tab. Also I think they should be doing more in terms of supplying Ukraine then they are doing right now and do even get me started on how their green fetish and NIMBYism made them dependent on Russia for energy.

    I agree.  I am not saying our current situation is ideal.  It’s just the way it is and Rumsfeld’s remarks, paraphased, apply here.  

    These are the allies we have.  That’s reality.  

    • #119
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Re Israel–they are not dependent on us; in effect we are partners in the Western world, and they can take care of themselves.

    I get that the point of Israel was for Jews not to have to be dependent on anybody’s good will any more, and that their current situation with the US is from this point of view a bit cognitive dissonancy – but even if you granted that Israel would be just fine without the US’ support their options and choices would be very different (and imo more realistic and sustainable).

    • #120
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