Monday, September 19, 2011

Third World News Service

To those of us saturated in the age of the television and internet, the events of 9/11 were experienced nearly simultaneously.  Yet we forget that there are hosts of people who've never heard of 9/11 nor the city where it took place.

This fascinating report from Afghanistan shows that large portions, if not the overwhelming majority, of that nation have never heard of 9/11, and hence, have no conception of why American forces are present in their country.

Surely the ignorance of the population, as to our mission, does not invalidate the righteousness of our cause (at least initially), but it should put doubts into our minds as we enter a new decade of presence there.  It should also cause concern that we're breeding contempt for America in a new generation of Afghans.


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Friday, September 16, 2011

Self Determination

Woodrow Wilson is famous for advocating "self determination" in matters of government--without external coercion.  It has been a doctrine of the United States since--at least in theory.  In reality, it is more a rhetorical device intended as a veneer for the more sinister doctrine of "American interest."

This article about a the presidential election in Taiwan is ample proof of the imperial reach of America over its client states abroad.  The article begins, "The Obama administration has warned that a victory by Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwanese opposition leader, in the island's January presidential election could raise tensions with China."

The article then quotes a "Senior US official as saying, "Ms Tsai, the Democratic Progressive party leader who is visiting Washington, had sparked concerns about stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is 'critically important' to the U.S."  But why is "stability in the Tawain Strait" "critically important to the US?"  Well, primarily, because the United States has given Taiwan its absolute assurance that we will defend Taiwan against China.  But why have we given such a guarantee?  We've wanted to defend Taiwan against a communist aggression and maintain "self determination."  But this begs the question--why would the United States pledge such a thing to a tiny country on the other side of the world?  What is the real American interest there?

But the question remains, if America is in a position to bless or curse Taiwan's presidential candidates, what kind of "self determination" does Taiwan possess?  It would seem to be a sham.  It is ironic, that the same article states, "During her visit to Washington, however, Ms Tsai appears to have failed to convince the administration that she would keep the improved relationship with China on track."  Yet it confesses, ""Beijing has not commented on Ms Tsai's candidacy."

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Idols for Destruction Endorsement

I've plugged Herbert Schlossberg's book Idols for Destruction repeatedly on this blog, but this is perhaps the best endorsement I've yet encountered.  It comes from Gary North in his "Select Bibilography" in the book "Wealth & Poverty: Four Christian Views of Economic."


"The other book which is absolutely vital is Herbert Schlossberg's Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and Its Confrontation with American Society (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983; $8.95 soft cover, $14.95 hard cover). This is the finest presentation of Christian social theory ever written, period. It covers politics, inflation, taxation, poverty, foreign aid, the establishment of Christian alternatives to humanism, education, the evils of the corporate State-in short, everything.  In my opinion, anyone who speaks in the name of Christ on social theory, and who has not mastered this book, need not be taken seriously."

I thought the book was absolutely remarkable, myself, but North's endorsement has emboldened my high opinion of the book even more.


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Republican Militarism

Lew Rockwell shared a commentary on the most recent Republican Presidential Primary debate from David Franke.  His comment on Ron Paul was perhaps the best insight into the state of the Republican party that I've seen.  He writes:

The small loser was Ron Paul.  Since he has never risen consistently above 15% (and more often 10%), he doesn’t have that far to fall.  I don’t think he fell tonight, but it was very clear that he will not be able to break that 15% barrier—not in the Republican Party primaries.  If by some miracle he could get the GOP nomination, Gallup and other polls show he would be competitive with Obama.  But the Republican Party is a militarist party, which puts a ceiling on how far he can go.  He probably got as many cheers as boos when he talked about foreign policy, but the boos were what you noticed.  They served as a reminder of just how militarist the Republicans are.  They want to cut spending, but not the military budget—impossible!  And this is why I think the Republicans would be basically as hopeless as the Democrats at handling the crises ahead.


Franke understands perhaps the primary deficiency in the Republican Party.  The Republicans, at their core, are militarists.  They are not defined by social policies, fiscal conservatism, or constitutionalism, but by their militaristic theology.

Every person I've spoken with regarding Ron Paul says something to this effect: "Ron Paul is great on the Constitution and money, but he's terrible on foreign policy."  I said the very same thing myself in 2008 before finally agreeing with Paul.

Republicans have embraced the rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson's doctrine of democracy.  Democracy has become an idol--the new gospel for all nations to embrace.  We claim to want to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq (and others), but in reality, this is hollow rhetoric, for American foreign policy has been propping up dictators in countless countries across the globe in the name of "American interests."  Our government would be content with whatever form of government Afghanistan or Iraq chooses, as long as they follow our dictates.

The Republican Party's doctrine of "American Exceptionalism" is the national manifestation of Friedrich Nietzsche's "Übermensch" or  "Superman."  Nietzsche argued that the "Übermensch" was above the rules of the rest of humanity--he makes his own rules. Indeed, America does play by its own rules.  When Ron Paul asks what would we think if China were to dictate to us what we could or couldn't do, we too, would be indignant.  Yet the very question is ignored, as though it is incoherent.  Paul's question simply defies the categories of the "Übermensch" theology.  It is akin to asking, "What if a bird dictated what you could or couldn't do?"

Without a change in theology, America will never be able to truly embrace a statesman such as Ron Paul.  Nor will America ever come to terms with its deficit spending.  Militarism is the true third rail in Republican politics.  Franke is right, the Republican Party, as it is currently constituted, could never embrace Paul. America does not deserve someone of Paul's caliber.  Paul is as a pearl, and we are the swine.
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Blowback, Ron Paul, and 9/11

Ron Paul caused quite a ruckus when he in a recent debate, he argued that 9/11 was the result of years of foreign policy intervention in the Middle East.  Rick Santorum, among others, was incredulous and, not a little self-righteous in his condemnation of Ron Paul's assertion.


Jack Hunter responded to this same objection to Ron Paul during the 2007 Republican Presidential Primary.  I commend the video to you, as it demonstrates the reasoning behind Paul's claims.


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