Tag: War

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for May 30, 2017 it’s the “Pagophobia” edition of the podcast, brought to you by ZipRecruiter and SimpliSafe.

This week, we focus first on the only really important issue going on right now, which is the imminent breakout of nuclear war. It’s a hard topic to be flip about (though we do our best). Two articles frame the discussion. First, a piece discussing a speech by an investor named George Friedman, founder of Geopolitical Futures, claiming that war with Kim Jong Un is essentially inevitable. Saying that North Korea appears to have “offered the US no alternative” to a clash, Friedman goes on to say:

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After the “war to end war” they seem to have been pretty successful in Paris at making a “Peace to end Peace.”—Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell, GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, KStJ, PC Lord Wavell was born this day in 1883. He was an interesting character who, among other books, put together […]

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Hello to the Ricochet Family! It has been a long time since I made a quick post on here that wasn’t just my podcast stuff. More

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I love the Ricochet team. I really do. There are lots of wonderful contributors. There are few things I enjoy more than geeking out to @richardepstein throwing out the names of obscure legal precedents or @jonahgoldberg discussing Burkean conservatism. I would even say on pretty much everything I’m in agreement with the majority of the […]

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for March 21, 2017, it’s the Victor Davis Hanson Interview edition of the show.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. America Faces a World of Trouble

 

Americans, their new president and his team, and the 115th Congress face a world that, in former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s memorable words, is “exploding all over.” New Secretary of Defense James Mattis asserted in his confirmation hearing that the world order “is under the biggest threat since WWII.” Hostilities, atrocities and weapons programs are escalating around the globe.

Syria is a cataclysm of war and despair. Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Venezuela, and Ukraine are in crisis. The Middle East is beset by terrorism and the growing influence of Russia and Iran. Iran and North Korea are ever closer to becoming serious nuclear powers. China is flexing its geopolitical muscle, expanding its military power, and aggressively building islands in the South China Sea. Russia is bullying and destabilizing Eastern and Central Europe, and pressuring the NATO alliance itself. Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism, persecution of Christians, targeting of religious minorities, and severe human rights violations are on the rise.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Family Memories: An Introduction

 

I didn’t know my paternal grandfather. I didn’t know how he looked like. No pictures of him had survived. He was killed along with his eldest son by the Khmer Rouge shortly after Pol Pot came to power. Under a regime which anonymity was the way to survive, returning to your birthplace was a big mistake. Unfortunately, that was exactly what my paternal family and many other Cambodians did when the Khmer Rouge evacuated residences out of the capital and other urban cities.

As an educated man, my grandfather was a prime candidate for eradication and having an older brother who was on the Khmer Rouge’s traitor hit-list guaranteed his execution. Miraculously, my father along with his mother and all three sisters were left alive. I didn’t really know my paternal grandmother either. She passed away when I was very young. Of my paternal family, I know just bits and pieces. My father won’t revisit old memories. In a way, he’s more like my maternal grandfather than he thought. Until the day he passed away three years ago, my maternal grandfather hardly ever talked about the past, especially what happened to my family under the Khmer Rouge’s hellish regime.

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Not that @concretevol is the only Ricochetois who’d appreciate this: The Most Effective Weapon on the Modern Battlefield is Concrete Ask any Iraq War veteran about Jersey, Alaska, Texas, and Colorado and you will be surprised to get stories not about states, but about concrete barriers. Many soldiers deployed to Iraq became experts in concrete […]

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club podcast for October 18, 2016 it’s the Rigged Podcast edition of the show. We are thrilled to have the chance this week to talk matters philosophical and transcendent (and Supreme Court) during our exclusive interview with Emily Bazelon of the New York Times Magazine and the Slate Political Gabfest who joins us again at HLC.

The Trump Train continues to clatter down the tracks and the days of rigorous speeches and focused message in late August and early September that brought the race to parity seems to be a thing of the past. Trump continues to draw tens of thousands but The Donald’s focus seems to be on polls and process. We discuss this and we also discuss a powerful piece by Hoover Institution historian and overall conservative big cheese Victor Davis Hanson – in The National Review no less – arguing the case for conservatives to vote for Trump. (We thought that was a no-brainer long ago).

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. West Point: Sparta on the Hudson

 
Hugh Liebert
Hugh Liebert

Over the years, I have spent a considerable amount of time in Greece and in the parts of Turkey that once were Greek. I do not know how many times I have taken a bus down to Laconia and Messenia or driven there, but they are numerous. I have visited the site where ancient Lacedaemon was situated over and over again, and I have also hiked on the slopes of Mt. Taygetus and in Messenia on the western side of the mountain with some frequency. But I never had the sense that I was actually in Sparta until the 29th and 30th of September this year — when I visited West Point and gave a lecture there entitled “The Grand Strategy of Sparta.”

At noon on the 29th, I flew from the Detroit Airport to Newburgh, New York — where George Washington once faced down a near-mutiny on the part of the Continental Army. There I was picked up by a driver and taken to Hudson House in Cold Spring on the eastern shore of the Hudson River. From there, I could see West Point looming in the distance on the western bank of that great stream. Had I not known better, I would have taken it for a prison.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. True Christian Pacifism vs. Wishful Thinking

 

shutterstock_276554057On the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 Attacks last Sunday, my church held a joint outdoor service with the church next door. It wasn’t set up specifically as a remembrance service, but the timing was on everyone’s minds, including both pastors’. Our pastor may or may not be a liberal — I hadn’t had any inkling before — but he’s never brought up politics, or issues too close to politics, in church. Yesterday, though, he followed his initial memories of the attacks with a critique of those who call for violence in response. He wasn’t talking about revenge against Muslim civilians in this country, mind you, but about our military response.

This prompted a lot of discussion between my wife and me. There are plenty of people who regard themselves as pacifists of one stripe or another and, of those among my religious friends, I think most of them would say that their pacifism comes from their Christianity. The arguments I usually see from pacifists in general are that that the world would be a better place if we did not fight back against this sort of evil. That retaliation leads to further violence, with each side claiming justification for another round of never-ending reprisals; that diplomacy and discussion are the superior and more successful ways of resolving disputes; that by not fighting back, we will somehow be safer. The Christian pacifists I know seem to make the same arguments and might extend Jesus’ admonishments for us individuals (“Turn the other cheek”) to whole countries.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Scales on War (and Murder)

 

Scales of WarI commend to you this interview with Major General (Retired) Robert Scales, on his new book Scales on War: The Future of America’s Military At Risk. The interview is good; Scales is perceptive, tough, and smart, and you ignore his input at your peril.

These are our nation’s warriors. Their job is one that requires them to leave the wire every day with the intention of finding, closing with, and killing the enemy. They do battle with their foes close in and at the small unit level. These engagements should be one-sided fights, with the odds weighted in favor of American infantrymen and special operators. Tragically, this is not the case.

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This week, the Columbian government and the FARC rebels announced that they have signed a peace treaty. With this announcement, there are now no wars in the Western Hemisphere (using the traditional definition of war, i.e. territorial conflict involving at least one state). More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Thank God for the Atom Bomb (Again)

 
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By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11964461

Ricochetti are no doubt familiar with Paul Fussell’s magnificent essay Thank God for the Atom Bomb, which is available as a top-shelf audiobook with several other essays. The narration is great, the material is timeless (Kipling would cheer), the price is right, and the criticism of our sorry culture (“Sorry!”) is as it should be. Last year, Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal penned an important op-ed echoing Fussell‘s sentiment explicitly, while illuminating it in the context of his own trip to Hiroshima during the run-up to the 70th anniversary of VJ day (which does not stand for “Shame on America” day). Trenchant quote [lightly edited to shorten]:

Modern Hiroshima is a testament to an America which understood that moral certainty and even a thirst for revenge were not obstacles to magnanimity. In some ways they are the precondition for it.

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With his usual over-the-top enthusiasm, Victor Davis Hanson provides a brief history of the Korean War via Prager University. More

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This October, millions of people young and old will be thinking deeply about WWI for the first time. Why? More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Why Wars Break Out: Bucharest Declaration Edition

 
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Claire has started two excellent discussions here and here about the causes of war. I look forward to reading her argument in subsequent posts. But I also wanted to throw out my anticipatory two cents on the subject without being constrained by commenters’ 250-word limit. In the case of The Big One – China – the causes of war, if there is to be one, will be the same structural ones identified by Thucydides 2,500 years ago. Like Athens and Sparta, this is a paradigmatic case of rising and declining powers clashing. But in the case of lesser conflicts, one can never overestimate the role of ordinary human stupidity and inability to grasp the perfectly predictable consequences of foolish actions.

Consider the current situation in Europe. In April 2008, NATO held a summit in Bucharest, Romania. At the end of this summit — as is the custom for these kinds of things — NATO issued a lengthy declaration. Paragraph 23 of this declaration states, in full (emphasis added):

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Like all of you, I ask myself betimes, what would I do if I were Mr. Trump, that is, the next president of your United States! I know some of you would go see a priest; I suspect some of you would go see Vegas. & at least one member would invest heavily in bringing […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. We Will Never Destroy ISIS without a Full-Blown Declaration of War

 

Militant Islamist fighter waving a flag, cheers as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa provinceThe speed of the news cycle and the media obsession with the presidential horseraces have crowded out a crucial development in the war on ISIS and related Islamic jihadist groups.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been sounding out colleagues for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The current AUMF, which was written in 2001 and targeted groups connected to 9/11, has not been renewed. Believe it or not.

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