ISIS: It is ____’s Fault!

 

No points for filling the blank correctly.

In a new op-ed published at Project Syndicate, Joschka Fischer, former Foreign Minister of Germany (1998-2005), has a theory on what he calls “the staggering accumulation of crises and conflicts facing the world today – in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Libya” and it all has to do with America’s decline or, as he sees it, the waning of Pax Americana. While he is not entirely clear whether this decline is self-imposed or brought about by the inevitable march of history, Fischer is extremely clear on one thing: A great deal of it is George Bush’s fault! This certainty is delivered in one sleight of hand sentence with no further explanations.

George W. Bush squandered America’s brief moment as the only true superpower.

Boom! It will be remembered that Fischer was in office when the 2003 Iraq war started and that he was vehemently opposed to it. This is how The Telegraph described a meeting Fischer had with Donald Rumsfeld in February 2003:

Thumping his hand on the table, his voice rising, Joschka Fischer delivered the most memorable performance of his career as he took on the might of the United States administration and told them he was not convinced of the case for war.

(…)

Mr Rumsfeld maintained a grim face throughout, gazing at Mr Fischer through a tropical plant so that, as one observer put it, “he looked like a tiger in the jungle, ready to pounce”.

I suppose that Mr. Fischer has forgotten that there were many brutal wars and unspeakable atrocities during the “seven decades” of Pax Americana over which he now waxes nostalgically: Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Arabs vs. Israel, Iran vs. Iraq, Angola, Lebanon, Yugoslavia and many others. Many Russian-led invasions too: Afghanistan (1979); Czechoslovakia (1968), Hungary (1956). Not to mention some genocides at the hands of the Khmer Rouge and the Bosnian Serbs. These events far outstripped the current crises in horror and magnitude.

Many parts of the world did indeed have a moment in the sun during the 1990s, but only the naïve and forgetful thought that it would endure for a long time. Current events are alas a return to the pre-1990 world rather than something unseen in the last seven decades.

As to George W. Bush, a different reading of history was that he was right to assert America’s strength and power. Bush’s decisions seeded the Arab Spring, but there was no follow-through from the Obama Administration, which let down the Iranians in 2009 and the Syrians in 2012-13. Obama’s restraint is viewed by many as a possible reason for the current turmoil. Fischer’s op-ed does recognize this restraint but it is positively strange that it does not mention our current President a single time.

I suppose that if events evolve against your wishes and biases, you blame the Man (Bush). But if you are positively disposed towards the Man (Obama), you blame the course of events on nebulous or uncontrollable factors.

There are 20 comments.

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  1. dgahanson@Reagan.com Inactive
    dgahanson@Reagan.com
    @kowalski

    Well said.  Fischer’s screed on Bush and world events has also diverted attention from one big inconvenient truth: Germany was a key trading partner with a lot of these bad actors, especially Iraq.  In the months before the war, I brought this up during discussions with a few Germans and the answer was always the same.  “Don’t worry, we are taking care of that!”  Yeah, sure.

    • #1
  2. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    “Thumping his hand on the table, his voice rising, Joschka Fischer delivered the most memorable performance of his career as he took on the might of the United States administration and told them he was not convinced of the case for war.”

    Don’t you just love real manly men who can speak truth to power. It’s thrilling.
    Dennis Prager says that the Germans didn’t learn the right lesson with the Nazis. Instead of learning to fight evil they learned that fighting was evil. I suspect that Mr. Fischer’s motivation was more of this latter kind than his ability to predict that Obama would refuse to fight evil, too.

    • #2
  3. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Marion,

    You know in today’s world I don’t think the last resort of a scoundrel is patriotism. Patriotism has been given such a bad name by cheap one-world marxists that it’s awfully hard to survive as a patriot today.

    As a matter of fact, I would say that in today’s world a grand historical thesis, however illogical or unwarranted by the facts, is the last resort of the scoundrel.  The krypto-marxist mentality so adores ludicrous historical extrapolation that it uses it to deny reality itself ad infinitum. 

    Needless to say, Mr. Fischer is a major fool.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
  4. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    kowalski:

    Well said. Fischer’s screed on Bush and world events has also diverted attention from one big inconvenient truth: Germany was a key trading partner with a lot of these bad actors, especially Iraq. In the months before the war, I brought this up during discussions with a few Germans and the answer was always the same. “Don’t worry, we are taking care of that!” Yeah, sure.

     Bush’s axis of evil trio were/are proxies and client states of:
    – Europe in the case of Iraq (for economic reasons)
    – Russia in the case of Iran (for strategic reasons)
    – China in the case of North Korea (for strategic reasons)

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Marion Evans: Current events are alas a return to the pre-1990 world rather than something unseen in the last seven decades.

    Statistically-speaking, is this accurate?  If we are speaking in terms of lives lost due to conflict, are current events truly as bad as they were pre-1990, or is it possible that current events are actually less severe than those of the past, but the increased media coverage (thanks to the Internet explosion and 24-hour news) overexaggerates the actual scale of modern conflict?

    In evaluating Iraq, the question shouldn’t be “are things better or worse now than they were in 1989”, but rather, “are things better or worse now than they would be if Saddam Hussein was still in power?”

    It’s a pretty difficult, if not impossible, question to answer without the benefit of a TARDIS.

    • #5
  6. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Misthiocracy:

    Marion Evans: Current events are alas a return to the pre-1990 world rather than something unseen in the last seven decades.

    Statistically-speaking, is this accurate? If we are speaking in terms of lives lost due to conflict, are current events truly as bad as they were pre-1990, or is it possible that current events are actually less severe than those of the past, but the increased media coverage (thanks to the Internet explosion and 24-hour news) overexaggerates the actual scale of modern conflict?

    Agree it is smaller and more amplified by social media. Also 9/11 has made us realize that a small group can cause a lot of damage. In the 1960s or 1970s, a small army like ISIS wouldn’t have worried anyone. The world was less integrated back then and it was more difficult to move across borders. There was also a mystique about America which earned us respect in other countries and which is sorely lacking nowadays, so that any punk with a kitchen knife can now sow terror.

    • #6
  7. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    It’s a contradiction to say that America’s brief moment of being the only superpower was squandered when America decided to act like  … a superpower. Quite the contrary, to the extent that America squandered anything, it was because Obama has deliberately refused to act like … a superpower. 

    Fischer is essentially arguing that the current chaos was provoked by America’s refusal to act as the global policeman in Syria. Fischer argues that in the vacuum, Europe has to step up to provide order. (Pause for chuckle here.) I suppose Fischer expects Europe to provide order by committee; I have no such hope. 

    It’s frustrating that Obama is so quiet in the face of this threat. Most people assume he’s doing nothing. We can only hope that despite public silence, secretly Obama is gearing up the military for a strong response. But even if so, that’s kind of insulting. A president’s job is to lead a nation, not act on his own in what he thinks is our best interests, which only he is entitled to decide. If he intends to act in our name, he’d better get our approval first.

    • #7
  8. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Misthiocracy:

     

    are current events truly as bad as they were pre-1990, or is it possible that current events are actually less severe than those of the past, but the increased media coverage (thanks to the Internet explosion and 24-hour news) overexaggerates the actual scale of modern conflict?

     I tend to agree. The human mind has an amazing ability to amplify today’s problems and forget how much worse yesterday’s were.

    That being said, some conservatives are just as guilty as Joschka Fischer at falling into this trap. I have read on many occasions about how Islamic terrorism or Islamism is a greater threat to us than the Soviet Union was. Really?

    While it’s true that Al Qaeda spilled more blood on US soil than the USSR did, a group whose most sophisticated weapon to date was a razor blade and whose best-trained fighters usually succumb to our forces at loss ratios of 100:1 or more is not a more dangerous threat.

    • #8
  9. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mendel:

    That being said, some conservatives are just as guilty as Joschka Fischer at falling into this trap. I have read on many occasions about how Islamic terrorism or Islamism is a greater threat to us than the Soviet Union was. Really?

    While it’s true that Al Qaeda spilled more blood on US soil than the USSR did, a group whose most sophisticated weapon to date was a razor blade and whose best-trained fighters usually succumb to our forces at loss ratios of 100:1 or more is not a more dangerous threat.

    Could it be argued that Islamic terrorism is a less predictable threat than the USSR was, due to a greater cultural divide and the West’s superior anti-Soviet foreign intelligence apparatus during the Cold War?

    • #9
  10. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    KC Mulville:

    It’s a contradiction to say that America’s brief moment of being the only superpower was squandered when America decided to act like … a superpower. Quite the contrary, to the extent that America squandered anything, it was because Obama has deliberately refused to act like … a superpower.

    It’s worth asking, how is a unitary superpower supposed to act? I think it’s a lose-lose situation.

    When a superpower flexes its muscles, it will always end up stepping on – and breaking – a number of toes. In the Cold War, this was morally justifiable: the other superpower was so evil that we could still retain the moral high ground even if we caused some collateral damage.

    There is a big difference between containing and destroying a specific evil empire, and containing evil whenever and wherever it pops up. The former is a defined mission, the other is a rat hole.

    • #10
  11. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Misthiocracy:

    Mendel:

    Could it be argued that Islamic terrorism is a less predictable threat than the USSR was, due to a greater cultural divide and the West’s superior anti-Soviet foreign intelligence apparatus during the Cold War?

     Good question.

    In addition to your points, I would also imagine that an enemy who embraces his own death is much less predictable than one with an obvious survival instinct, as the Soviets had.

    • #11
  12. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Marion Evans:
    While he is not entirely clear whether this decline is self-imposed or brought about by the inevitable march of history …

    There is no such thing as the inevitable march of history.  There is only the course and pace we make for it.

    • #12
  13. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Mark Wilson:

    Marion Evans:While he is not entirely clear whether this decline is self-imposed or brought about by the inevitable march of history …

    There is no such thing as the inevitable march of history. There is only the course and pace we make for it.

    And by “we” I mean me and the rest of the Stonecutters.

    • #13
  14. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    James Gawron:

    Marion,

    You know in today’s world I don’t think the last resort of a scoundrel is patriotism. Patriotism has been given such a bad name by cheap one-world marxists that it’s awfully hard to survive as a patriot today.

    As a matter of fact, I would say that in today’s world a grand historical thesis, however illogical or unwarranted by the facts, is the last resort of the scoundrel. The krypto-marxist mentality so adores ludicrous historical extrapolation that it uses it to deny reality itself ad infinitum.

    Needless to say, Mr. Fischer is a major fool.

    Regards,

    Jim

     Nicely stated. Count this as 5 likes.

    • #14
  15. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Mendel: While it’s true that Al Qaeda spilled more blood on US soil than the USSR did, a group whose most sophisticated weapon to date was a razor blade and whose best-trained fighters usually succumb to our forces at loss ratios of 100:1 or more is not a more dangerous threat.

    We don’t have anything to compare that 100:1 ratio with, because we never fought a direct hot war with the Soviets.  So even though the ratio looks good, numerically more Americans have died or are dying at the hands of al Qaeda than died at the hands of the USSR — especially civilians.

    • #15
  16. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Mark Wilson:

    Mendel: While it’s true that Al Qaeda spilled more blood on US soil than the USSR did, a group whose most sophisticated weapon to date was a razor blade and whose best-trained fighters usually succumb to our forces at loss ratios of 100:1 or more is not a more dangerous threat.

    We don’t have anything to compare that 100:1 ratio with, because we never fought a direct hot war with the Soviets. So even though the ratio looks good, numerically more Americans have died or are dying at the hands of al Qaeda than died at the hands of the USSR — especially civilians.

     And what about the Korean War  (~50,000) and what about the Vietnam War (another 50,000)?
    And let’s not forget that the USSR conspired with the Nazis to start WWII. We lost about 350,000 people in that war. 
    And let’s not forget about the Bolsheviks pulling Russia out of WWI, too. That had costs.
    Please let’s not quibble about the numbers but let’s deal with the principles.

    • #16
  17. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Larry Koler: Please let’s not quibble about the numbers but let’s deal with the principles.

    My whole point was not to quibble about death ratios and numbers.  The reason al Qaeda seems like more of a threat than the Soviet Union is that they’ve killed a lot of civilians here and directly killed a lot of soldiers abroad.  And they seem to be more ruthless than the Soviets, which is saying a lot.  But the two are really non-comparable; they are different kinds of threats.  It’s like trying to compare the threat of gang violence and shark attacks.

    • #17
  18. liberal jim Inactive
    liberal jim
    @liberaljim

    Saying ISIS is anyones fault is nonsense.  Is 9/11 Bush’s and Clinton”s fault?  No, but it seems odd to me they have been absolved of any responsibility, but certainly it is  no more their fault than it is the “intelligence communities,”  which they were in charge of.   The military action in Afghanistan was certainly warranted, and to a lesser degree of certainty the same might be argued for Iraq, but allowing these actions to wharf into nation building was bonehead at best and made it almost certain the Democratic nominee would win in 08.  So one might say Obama is Bush’s fault and Obama in the long run might do far more damage to the US than ISIS.

    • #18
  19. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Mark Wilson: …numerically more Americans have died or are dying at the hands of al Qaeda than died at the hands of the USSR — especially civilians.

     Sorry to belabor the point, but I don’t get what you are saying. I completely agree with regards to civilians but numerically more Americans died at the hands of the USSR if you take how many they killed or helped (by proxy) to kill. Am I missing your point again? I suppose I am if it’s down to Soviet troops or their agents killing Americans. That must be your point so I admit to nit-picking.

    • #19
  20. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Larry Koler: I suppose I am if it’s down to Soviet troops or their agents killing Americans. That must be your point so I admit to nit-picking.

     Yeah, I was talking about direct action with the Soviets.

    • #20
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