Tag: War

Why Wars Break Out: Bucharest Declaration Edition


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.

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.

Bravo for Paul Ryan’s statesmanship. But a new AUMF must be accompanied by a clear US declaration of war against ISIS. We will never destroy them without a full-blown war declaration.

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(courtesy of American Conservative) http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-to-fight-isis-and-how-not-to/ This presents some new ideas, I think.  My only concern is letting the ME have at each other without us refereeing.  What becomes of Israel?  Would all the countries pile on her?  As the title suggests—go for it! Preview Open

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Can America Be The World’s Maine Game Warden?


maine-game-wardens-find-missing-childrenRecently, one of my esteemed fellow Ricophiles said the following: “Our armed forces should be the most efficient in the world at killing people and breaking things.”

Though I probably wouldn’t use such hair-raising terms, I agree. Sometimes, the only thing that can make a very bad situation marginally better is a whole lot of lethal force, energetically applied.

However, the reality is that our armed forces are already being used for other things … namely, humanitarian response in the aftermath of natural disasters. We should have our troops do more of this, more deliberately, and with a whole lot more fanfare.

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When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. But when we disarmed They sold us & delivered us bound to our foe & the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.” That’s […]

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Iranian Animation Shows Massive Missile Attack on Saudi Arabia


A group in Iran has uploaded an animation showing the destruction of Riyadh, oil fields, and military installations across Saudi Arabia. Originally posted on the Internet over the weekend, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the video created by Fatemh a’Zahra. The animation group claimed it is in response “to the hallucinations and empty threats of the Saud clan” and that “the arm of vengeance of the Islamic world will emerge from the sleeve of the Yemenis.”


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Mr. Goldberg is one of the most pleasant people American conservatism can now boast. He seems very humane & loves dogs. One reads his comments on American politics with a sense of ease–moral ease–this is a man who distinguishes principle from expedience & who desires to be intellectually honest, like Max Weber told educated people […]

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The report at Hotair.com of the Article 32 hearing officer recommending a Special Court Martial for Bowe Bergdahl (who never should have been promoted from PFC after leaving his post) is rather disgusting. I’ve not seen his report but indications are that he recommended against prison time or a punitive discharge. It’s been a few […]

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As you might have already heard, from the Washington Examiner:  A Russian air force jet was shot down after it violated Turkey’s airspace, according to unconfirmed reports. Witnesses say they saw a large explosion in Huraytan, northern Syria, as three fighter jets flew above. Preview Open

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Am I missing something in this Doctors Without Borders tragedy, which is now turning into a comedy? Aren’t surgeons educated enough to know that friendly fire, including mistaken targeting, is an unfortunate aspect of every war?  I suppose it should be expected that highly educated professionals like physicians, so long indoctrinated in hippie mislogic at […]

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President Obama’s Downsized Foreign Policy – Is It Conservative?


Obama & Abe Review Troops.Speaking ten years after the conclusion of the calamitous Crimean War, Conservative Prime Minister Lord Derby cautioned that foreign policy should avoid “quixotic action – inimical to the welfare of the country.” Six years later, in 1872, Conservative Party leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli spoke, “though so momentous are the consequences of the mismanagement of our foreign relations, no one thinks of them till the mischief occurs, and then it is found how the most vital consequences have been occasioned by the mere inadvertence.” With these statements in mind, one might question whether President Obama may have been channeling conservatives when he allegedly uttered his rule of foreign policy, “Don’t do stupid [expletive].”

Traditionally, conservatism has not valued bellicose talk nor attempted to find the next “Munich” behind every negotiation. All conflict was not seen as equal – and all agreements were not as tough as some may suggest. Instead, conservatives tried to see the bigger picture. Conservative foreign policy acknowledges power is precious and ephemeral and, thus, best applied sparingly, primarily to protect the nation’s sovereignty. Righteous, courageous, humanitarian, or moral crusades might have merit, but outlay must always adhere to dominion.

Prior to the 20th century, American foreign policy was by and large a bipartisan affair centered on nationalism, placing American interests first. It was one of realism; i.e., the belief that all states desire power and expansion for self-preservation. The United States foreign policy focused on preserving itself as it negotiated, intrigued, and fought its way westward. Teddy Roosevelt promoted the idea that national security is enhanced when power is distributed or balanced, and believed America must be a world power to ensure security. In 1919, Woodrow Wilson took a different approach advocating morals are universally valid and democracies quell the instinct for power (war), therefore the promotion of democracy and international conventions were the best tonics for peace. Conservatives looked askance at Wilson’s internationalist approach, claiming it would threaten American sovereignty and interests with entanglement. Realism, not internationalism, was their view.

One Year Later: Still No Vote


WarIn case you missed it, this past weekend marked one year of America’s latest war. The intervention in Syria/Iraq began a year ago.

It’s not a real war, right? Sure, America’s military is killing people. Sure, it’s cost more than $3 billion. Sure, we spend $10 million every day. Sure, seven Americans have died so far. But it’s not really a war, right?

Of course it’s a war. It’s denying reality to say otherwise. The Third Iraq War. The War Against ISIS. Operation Inherent Resolve. (That we don’t even have a name for this war is very telling). The collective agreement among the press, the political class, and people on the both left and right, to refuse to even acknowledge that we’re at war does not change that fact.

America, Where Is Your Churchill?


ChurchillWhat’s the one fact about the political situation in America that we do not emphasize enough — think through enough — try hard enough to confront? I’m sure you have your own views on that, likely better than mine, and I encourage you to publish them. My own view is that there is not one politician playing Churchill.

Do you know the phrase, America will do the right thing once it’s tried everything else? Well, America is trying lots of things and must come to the right thing, but who will do it? Who is the politician who will lead public opinion and possibly the government when necessity will be upon you?

Churchill said, upon assuming the commanding authority, that he finally felt at peace — the hour was late, but the man had come. He described not his unique competence, but his unique reputation: He had been out of power so long that no rumor or fear of partisanship could arise; he had been confirmed in so many dire predictions that no doubt as to his knowledge could arise. He was innocent of the misdeeds and could be thought to excel in facing up to events and facing down the terrible threat.

The Case For Libertarian Nationalism, Part II: Defense


armed-porcupineEarlier this week, I argued that libertarianism is wholly compatible with a nationalist policy on immigration, despite many (if not most) libertarians believing that national borders are arbitrary abridgments of the inherent right to travel, work, and settle freely. Today, I argue for why a certain kind of hawkish foreign policy is, similarly, utterly congruent with libertarianism.

It’s worth remembering that libertarianism is a political philosophy regarding the nature of the relationship between citizens and states with whom they are in political compact; a philosophy that places a high premium on individual autonomy and the enforcement of negative rights. As such the government of the United States exists for the benefit of its citizens, not those of other countries. While foreigners have the same inherent, inalienable rights as Americans, their protection is simply outside of the responsibility of the United States government.

With regard to other civilized nations — i.e., those nations who have at least a semblance of the rule of law and whose values are sufficiently in concert with our own — our federal government should seek to maintain peaceable, honorable, and open relations. Our citizens should be allowed to trade freely with theirs, and are obliged to follow their laws when visiting abroad, just as their citizens are obliged to follow our laws when here. We should seek non-aggression pacts with all who will treat us honorably, and alliances with those of good reputation whose interests align closely with our own and who can carry more than their own weight militarily.

Iraq: What Might Have Been


290165818_4058f117ce_bIn a previous thread, Ricochet member Majestyk expressed a major complaint that he has about libertarians, liberals and even conservatives who gripe about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: What is your alternate scenario?

If we could unwind the clock of history and place you inside George W. Bush’s head (a la Being John Malkovich) what is your preferred policy prescription for U.S. foreign policy in the days following 9/11?

I never hear that question answered and I barely hear it asked.

Toughness Is Not a Policy


IMG_0280.JPGWhen it comes to questions of America waging war, the conversation rarely gets past whether or not we should intervene. On the occasions that it does, it’s usually about how much we should, as if it’s a straight-line, single-dimension matter with appeasement on one end — followed by indifference, sanctions, drone strikes, and a limited air war — and a ground invasion on the other.

Stipulating that a political survey is probably not the best place to look for strategic insight, consider yesterday’s Pew Research Center poll showing that 63% of Americans now support the campaign against the Islamic State (up from 57% in October) and that support for a ground invasion has also increased to 47% (up from 39% in October). Among other questions, the poll also asked whether the greater danger is applying too little or too much force, and whether “overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism around the world.”

Fine, but what does that actually mean? To delve into just one possible line of questioning, should our objective be to punish the Islamic State and deter those who would try again — whether with or without ground forces — or should we re-occupy the place and resume the Marshall Plan-like project President George W. Bush started? Put another way, is it in the United States’ interest to try to clean up the world’s messes after defeating belligerents, or is it sometimes best to adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” attitude that doesn’t obligate us to fix what we break? Which strategy would be best in the event of a nuclear Iran? Note that these are less questions of how much force to apply, but of what kind of force and to what ends (and even these questions are hardly exhaustive on those subjects).

In Thanks to Those Who’ve Killed for Their Country


Seventy years ago today, my father and his buddies hit the beaches on Iwo Jima. They had been told that the battle would last a handful of days. The Army Air Corps had bombarded the island for weeks. The Navy, which had amassed an enormous armada, had pounded Iwo with the big guns. The Marines were told that, although it would be a tough fight, the Japanese were so outnumbered that the worst part would be over quickly.

It didn’t go down as predicted. Instead, the 22,000 Japanese defenders had spent years building a honeycombed fortress beneath the rock, which offered not only protection from the bombs and shells but a means by which to attack the Marines up top, then disappear back into the underground safe haven. There was little cover for the advancing Marines. As my dad explained to me, Iwo was black with volcanic ash. There was almost no vegetation and the ash on the beach made it nearly impossible to dig in. The rocks that could have provided cover were far away and to venture out into the open was a deadly business. I remember pop telling me that those first hours “were something else.” My dad was a master of understatement.