Archive for the ‘War’ Category.

Blue Lives Matter

Although nothing that I say about it, or you say about it is going to stop people gunning down cops. Dead cops doesn’t fix dead innocents killed at the hands of cops. But Black Lives Matter has now made Blue Lives Matter. It’s 1969 all over again, just with crappy music and no moon shots.

Update: 7/19/16 -  Another day another dead cop: “Kansas City, Kansas, police Captain Robert David Melton was killed in a shooting Tuesday afternoon.”

This is not the country I want.

More Gun Violence In Europe

A truck plowed into a crowd of Bastille Day revellers, running over hundreds before coming to a halt. The driver and an accomplice emerged, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and opened fire. 77 are reported dead and hundreds injured. Police shot the driver dead but the accomplice escaped. The truck was filled with grenades and automatic weapons – all of which are illegal to possess in France (and by civilians in the USA too).

This is the second large-scale terror attack in France in less than a year. France has some of the strictest gun control laws on the planet, yet terrorists seem to have no difficulty in finding guns and grenades to use in their attacks.

Should we be surprised?

Right now there’s a heroin epidemic in my community, replacing the painkiller epidemic when pill-mills and shady prescribers and pharmacies were raided and closed. People in rural America are still dying using a completely illegal drug from a plant that is grown, whose resin is then processed, packaged, shipped and distributed from central and south Asia to rural North Carolina on the other side of the planet.

Prohibition never works. It didn’t work with alcohol in the US, it doesn’t work for drugs and it doesn’t work for guns in Europe. Yet that doesn’t stop otherwise intelligent people from wanting to ban guns in the US.

No one is complaining about the gun laws in France tonight. There are no terror euphemisms like “gun violence” being using to describe tonight’s events in Nice. But it’s important to keep this in mind for the next terror attack in the US, when the “T” word is avoided and the “gun violence” term is bandied about, along with the assumption that San Bernardino and the Pulse Nightclub attacks would have been prevented with European style gun controls.

Gun control in Europe hasn’t worked to stop terror attacks, and it won’t work here either.

Plain Facts

1. Too many black people are being gunned down by the police without justification. Black Lives Matter didn’t start for no reason. We have seen too many grainy videos of black men being shot in circumstances that don’t justify the death penalty. Broken taillight. Selling single cigarettes. In these cases unarmed civilians are shot by law enforcement. Under these circumstances the standard police tactic of overwhelming force – aggressive demands, guns drawn – failed. Such shock and awe tactics may work on the battlefield but they should be the last resort in a civil society. There is a place for SWAT tactics, but that place is not in America’s streets during traffic stops.The best tool a cop has is his or her brain, and they must be trained to use it. Currently cops rush in and their goal is to gain the upper hand and control a situation. This tactic minimizes the danger to law enforcement but strips civilians of all power and dignity, leaving them vulnerable to police misconduct. Such vulnerability can often boomerang and lead to more physical aggression by those detained. Instead cops must be trained in deescalation tactics and learn how to operate in an uncontrolled environment. American gun owners are often told how we could learn from gun-free societies such as the UK and Australia. Perhaps American cops can learn new tactics from law enforcement that don’t escalate into a fight/flight situation for everyone involved.

2. It is possible to be pro-cop AND pro-black. Trevor Noah is a liberal asshat in my view, but he’s right on this one topic: It’s possible to be pro-cop and pro-black. This is America in the 21st century. We shouldn’t have to choose between living in total anarchy or a police state. If we cannot come up with a solution that navigates between these two extremes than we do not deserve to live as a free people and our society is doomed.

 

3. Dead cops won’t fix dead black people. 5 dead cops in Dallas do not increase the sympathy for dead black men like Philando Castile. Neither does this fix the problem unless you believe the problem can only be solved by a full-on race war, and if that’s the case then pick up your shit and leave my country.

4. We have a problem and we have to fix it. As the parent of a teenager and one who is considering becoming a LEO I don’t want my kid to be gunned down for no reason, either for a broken taillight as a civilian or in revenge as a cop. Our leaders continue to fail us, so it us up to we Americans to step up and begin to fix this problem ourselves. The first thing that we can do is to recognize we have a problem. The second thing we can do is accept that we can be pro-cop and pro-black. We shouldn’t have to pick sides. The next thing we can do is reach out to others and search for solutions that don’t involve promises that lead to anarchy or a police state.

There will be more videos. There will be more dead civilians and likely dead cops. This is not the America we want and it is our responsibility to change it.

PS: Yes, white kids and Hispanics are being gunned down by cops too, but the fact remains that most of the incidents are white cops shooting black men. The solution, whatever it is, will be color blind.

Gun Violence In Turkey

Just a reminder that both full-auto and semi-auto weapons such as this AKM (AK-47 variant) dropped by ISIS attackers at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul are illegal to possess or own in Turkey, as are the two 30 round mags. Full story here.

FWIW, the full-auto version of this weapon is also illegal to own in the USA. I showed  this pic to the in-house weapons expert (the Kid). He confirmed it was an AKM with a sawed-off flash-hider and noticed it was set to full-auto. “Idiot,” he smirked. “Everyone knows semi-auto kills more.”

I find it interesting that the only difference between whether an attack is called a “terrorist attack” or “gun violence” is where it occurs. Anything happening abroad is a terrorist attack. Anything occurring within the United States: Gun violence.

A Presidential Apology to the People of Japan

Mr Prime Minister, distinguished guests. It is an honor to speak to you here today. This history of our two nations is long and at times painful, and I believe the time has come for me, the president of the United States to apologize to you the Japanese people for the actions of my predecessor over 70 years ago.

On August 6, 1945 he made what he believed at the time was the best decision for my nation and yours. History has proven him wrong, and for that I stand before you as his direct successor to offer you my deepest personal condolences as well as those of my office and my nation. So, to the people of Japan, please accept this apology as I bow deeply in complete humility to you.

I do so knowing that my actions are controversial. There are many Americans who believe that the President’s action that day do not warrant an apology from our nation to yours. But the horror that the world witnessed starting that day cannot be dismissed by any human being. And as the last survivors of those terrible events are silenced one by one, Time becomes pressing for an adequate accounting by my office and my people. Here it is.

As every Japanese and American school child knows, on August 6, 1945 President Truman rescinded the order to use the atomic bomb against Hiroshima. During his impeachment proceedings in 1948 he stated that he could not in good conscience authorize the destruction of tens of thousands of innocent Japanese men, women and children even if it meant millions would die during the invasion that followed. President Truman followed his conscience and in doing so changed History forever, levying a high price on you, the Japanese people as well as on the countless Americans who husbands, sons, and brothers left the shores of our nation never to return.

His biographers have argued that he could have achieved complete victory without loss of any more lives had the first atomic bomb exploded on Bikini Atoll in front of the Japanese contingent invited by the Swiss ambassador as planned, but the failure of the bomb to detonate properly only hardened the resolve of the Japanese junta running your country. After the incident the second bomb was sent back to New Mexico for further testing even though it was of a completely different design and would never be used. The controversial shelving of the Manhattan Project rages to this day.

Instead the final stages of Operation Downfall to attack the island of Kyushu were put in place, even though the US lost one third of its invading forces in Okinawa, an island that wasn’t even viewed by most Japanese as a part of Japan. The civilian death toll there was even worse, with between 100,000 and 150,000 civilians killed during the 82 days of fighting. Extrapolating from that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had predicted upwards of 300,000 American casualties and at least a million civilian deaths from the invasion. It’s hard to believe that these were on the high end of the estimates given what we now know, but we must not dishonor the additional million American dead and the five million Japanese lost in the years that followed, for their sacrifices were not in vain. Victory was purchased with a terribly high price and Japan now is free and prosperous, at least the half below the 38th parallel. For those of you whose relatives still reside above that line, rest assured that America has not forgotten them.

It is my dream, as I know it is your dream, for Japan to emerge from decades of occupation as a united, independent and peaceful nation, ready to take its place on the world stage. In the remaining months of my presidency I will do whatever I can to make this dream a reality. The destinies of our peoples have been intertwined, forged in the fire of a long and debilitating war, and it our duty to make this bond endure for decades to come.

Thank you, and may God bless the peoples of Japan and the United States of America.
—————-

Thanks to The Glittering Eye for inspiring this post.

The Islamic Terrorist Attack Narrative Arc

On Rome

I’ve recently returned from a long vacation in Rome Italy, a city that I had never been to and had only seen through the eyes of the great historians Suetonius, Livy and Cassius Dio. Recently I’ve become an otaku on all things ancient Roman, so it was easy for me to spend time walking in a city where every few minutes a piece of that history comes into view. Sure the major attractions like the Colosseum and the Forum are impressive, but so are smaller sites like the Theater of Marcellus, an ancient Roman amphitheater capped by Renaissance era apartments, and the Largo di Torre Argentina, ruins of 4 ancient temples that host a no-kill cat shelter.

While not an overpowering presence, Italian soldiers stood every few blocks bearing holstered Beretta 92FS sidearms and SCAR 17 automatic rifles. A fan of both weapons I resisted the urge to tell them how much I particularly love the Beretta line of weapons. Given their no-nonsense appearance it was clear to all, even idiot foreigners like me, that they were there for a purpose and were fully trained in executing their mission well.

But as I walked through the large crowd in St. Peter’s Square or the throngs the crowded between the Colosseum and the Forum, I knew danger wasn’t far away. Islamic State is as far away from Rome as Dallas is from New York City, and the chaos of Libya is only a short boat ride away. The security of Rome struck me as very fragile, and the government ill-prepared for the onslaught rising on not-so-distant shores. For 500 years Ancient Rome had no walls, and it was illegal to station soldiers within its boundaries. Instead the security of Rome was guaranteed by its legions stationed at the frontiers of its empire. The presence of the well-armed and trained soldiers was meant to assure visitors like me, but instead it made me realize just how endangered the city is.

Two days after my return the jihadis struck Paris.

I haven’t been to Paris, and really had no urge. For most of my life the contemporary French have struck me as a bunch of spoiled slackers. Over the past 14 years I have written several essays critical of the free-loading French, but the attacks weren’t on the French. They were on Civilization, the one that Augustus Caesar helped lay the foundation of, the one that so many Leftist intellectuals take for granted.

Fourteen years of living in a post-911 world and Civilization feels more under threat than ever. Rome was sacked in 410, 135 years after the Emperor Aurelian surrounded the city with walls. I’ve often wondered what the Romans must have felt as they remembered their former greatness and reveled in their past accomplishments but knew, instinctively knew that Darkness was closing in on them fast. The loss of allies, the presence of soldiers within the cities, the gradual decline in the power and pride of being “Roman”. With each passing day it must have seemed that society was getting more fractured, more incoherent and ultimately more disturbed.

I now have a pretty good idea.

The Razor Celebrates 14 Years (of Disgust)

14 years ago I bought an available domain name for Occam’s Razor, created a few HTML pages in the Dreamweaver editor, and figured out how to upload them, all because I felt that I had to express myself. There was grief and anger from the World Trade Center site, still a smoking heap of rubble and ash, and while my anger flamed white hot for the men who murdered thousands of innocents, they were not the focus of my writing and were incidental characters in my first published essay, “Rohrschach Test for the Left.” Instead that essay, and The (Occam’s) Razor that I slowly built around it, was inspired by the self-delusion and self-hatred of the politically correct Left that justified the attacks in the days immediately after the attacks.

Coming of age in the 1980s I was subjected to PC dogma in college, and watched it infect the Left that I identified with at the time and gradually change the American Left from a grassroots labor-based ideology rooted in classical liberal thought into an elitist derived identity-based movement we find today. This Left had little to do with the government programs that kept my family alive during the Depression or helped my father find a job after the War, but the draft-dodging elites of the 1960s who had prospered in the Ivory Tower and become ascendant by educating an entire generation of policy makers derived not from the working class but from the Bourgeoisie.

There was no shared experience between working class leftists like me and the leftists that controlled the college campuses at the time. They saw me as a “Reagan Democrat” and I saw them as arrogant, narrow minded fools who had been cocooned for so long from reality that they had no concept what the real world was like. The jump from America’s college campuses to the government by this elitist-derived Left was first attempted in Howard Dean’s candidacy of 2004, and was resurrected by his takeover of the DNC the eventually lead to the election of Barack Obama.

Obama is one of them. He was picked from Academia and pushed into increasingly higher levels of power by academics or their powerful acolytes in government. Obama represented them completely. For a group that is nearly all white but ashamed of their skin color (known euphemistically as “white privilege”) he was a minority. But unlike minority politicians like Jesse Jackson he had been educated by them and shared their belief that America is the root of all evil in the world, and that our nation could only be saved by a repentant America apologizing to the world for our sins, embracing our enemies, and dropping our allies who supported our evil doing.

Starting with his Apology Tour in 2009 Obama did just that, following it up with the “reset button” with Russia, an extended hand to Iran and rude gestures towards American allies such as the UK and Israel. He then let Iraq fall into Iran’s hands and ignored what he once called the “good war” in Afghanistan. He put into practice exactly the foreign policy the elitist Left had been demanding for years, using the power the Constitution grants to the Executive to achieve its aims, but was stymied by domestic opponents from putting into place their domestic agenda.

Today they control not only America’s campuses but they control our government, and worse, our military. If America is the root of all the world’s problems, why are the problems getting worse without American involvement? Shouldn’t they be getting better?

America is not the root of all evil in the world no matter how many books Chomsky writes or how many professors say it is so. America created a prosperity and peace unseen in the world since Augustus Caesar ruled 2000 years ago. Pax Americana was not perfect, but it did create an order that allowed smaller nations to prosper. The ranks of the world’s middle class grew under Pax Americana in ways that the average ancient Roman, 95% of whom lived in abject poverty, would marvel at. It also allowed the freedom of an elite to coalesce around an idea that would eventually lead to its demise.

Today a morally and economically bankrupt Russia invades any territory it desires without consequence. In the US a wealthy elite rigs the economic system against small business and the working class. A group of jihadis too radical for al Qaeda now hold sway over the very territory purchased through American blood a decade ago. Red-lines crossed in Syria and a “leading from behind” effort in North Africa results in failed states, creating a tsunami of refugees in Europe.  China extends its territory and influence without constraint. A decade ago the sound of North Korea rattling its cage would have made the headlines. Today it barely warrants mentioning.

14 years ago I saw the enemy and it was us – or rather the Left that I had once considered myself part of. At the time I was determined but hopeful that 9-11 would shake the Left off of its anti-American foundation, but it didn’t. And the results are self-evident.

I’ll admit I am pissed. Leftist ideology was always so naive and lacking in detail. The world could have been so much better if we had kept the levers of power from them, but we failed and now everyone from the retiree living on a pittance thanks to near-zero interest rates to the Iraqi Christian trying to stay alive in her homeland pays the price.

Happy anniversary.

September 11, 2015

American Magical Thinking – Flag Edition

I remember immediately following the 9-11 attacks everyone needed to fly the American flag. Suddenly they were hard to come by, even the flag stickers that people slapped on their cars to show their patriotism.

Today something similar is happening to the Confederate battle flag. Because of the Charleston Church attack people have decided to remove or outright ban the sale or display of the flag to show their anti-racism.

Both cases show the power of symbolism to the American psyche, and their meaningless outside of it. In the aftermath of 9-11 people felt they needed to do something to help, so they waved flags. Today a week after the church attack people want to do something, so they want to burn the Confederate battle flag.

The sudden appearance of the American flag didn’t damage al Qaeda, the perpetrator of the 9-11 attacks, and the removal of the Confederate battle flag from our society will not stop racism. Islamic terror and violent racism won’t succumb to such magical thinking no matter how well-intended the gestures may be.

Update: Reason.com, in “Massacres and Magical Thinking“, points out several examples of magical thinking in statements of the Left and Right.

Grow Up Europe!

Here’s the cover of this week’s Economist magazine.

In this issue The Economist argues the US should avoid pulling out of the region. First, America has interests in the Middle East, “Today’s chaos is trashing human rights and torching values that many, including this newspaper, look to America to defend. Not everyone will agree—some Americans are tired of their country acting as a global policeman, and others rightly point out that its geopolitical priority is China’s growing ambition… But even allowing that, the Middle East still matters.” Second the Economist states that even though America is becoming petroleum self-sufficient, “If it cannot keep the oil flowing, its economy will suffer grievously and so will its claim to global leadership.” Finally it must stop nuclear proliferation, “it must be a brake on other regional powers who might think of launching weapons programmes of their own.” In the detailed analysis that follows the lead, it goes on to blame Bush’s excessive hubris for wanting to remake the region while taking Obama to task for his neglect and reticence to engage there. “One president went too deep into Iraq, the next got out too soon; the first over-reached, the second under-shot; the Republican wanted to use American power to strike enemies everywhere; the Democrat often seemed to treat American power itself as dangerous. But whereas Mr Bush improved in his second term, writes Mr Rothkopf, Mr Obama has not learnt from his mistakes.”

Yet nowhere in the 3,000 word piece does it state why Americans have to be the ones who have to die in order to “save” the Middle East. Why does it always have to be us?

Is it because the Europeans have shown themselves time and again to be able to stand on their own and protect themselves? The weakness of the European states during the Cold War was understandable, but the EU was unable to sort things out in the former Yugoslavian states in the 1990s. It couldn’t counter Russia when it partitioned Georgia in 2008 and rolls on its back when Russia does the same to the Ukraine today. Even taking Khaddafi out wasn’t possible without the US “leading from behind.”

It’s been 70 years since the end of World War 2. When will Europe be able to stand on its own?

Anti-American sentiment has grown like a cancer throughout Europe and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by those of us who travel there frequently. I don’t understand why I as an American have to put up with snide comments from complete strangers while traveling on one hand, then be expected to put my military-age son’s life at risk on the other. When we act in our own best interest we get criticized for doing so unilaterally, but when we step back from the line, thereby forcing the Europeans to step forward we are slammed for isolationism. For 14 years we have faced a barrage of criticism for our imperialism in the Middle East from the Europeans, and now we face complaints about wiping the region’s dust from our boots.

I am not an isolationist as 14 years of writing in this journal proves, but I do recognize that isolationism runs red through the veins of our nation. America was founded by people trying to escape  some place, whether religious tyranny in Europe or economic stagnation in central America and Asia. People didn’t come here to integrate with the rest of the world, they came here to avoid its insanity and stupidity. Every American realist or neo-con recognizes this yet outsiders (and our own idiot Left whose ideas were imported for the most part from Europe) are so quick to label us as “imperialists” whenever we act in our interest or whine when we fail to act. I don’t even agree with Obama’s policy of abandoning the Middle East yet take offense at the Economist, a magazine which supported not only the Iraqi Invasion of 2003 but the election of Barack Obama not once but TWICE, chiding us that we must not abandon a region that Europe has done f**k all to help. That’s chutzpah, but then again chutzpah is a word Jews thought up while living among Europeans.

Instead of criticizing the US for abandoning the region why don’t the European take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves why they can’t stand up for themselves in the first place. Why does America need to provide them with not only their spine, but their brains, hearts and claws? Why are the EU nations cutting defense budgets a year after Russia shot down a plane full of Europeans, annexed the Crimea and is about to take serious chunks out of Ukraine? Why is the UK facing “inevitable” defense budget cuts a month after Russia flew a bomber carrying a nuclear missile over the English Channel? It’s easy to develop extensive socialist safety nets while living under a protective umbrella paid for by the American taxpayer and built from skin and bones of American youth.

Nearly 100 years ago the United States came to Europe’s rescue, and our soldiers returned home carrying Spanish Flu, killing 675,000 Americans, double the number killed or wounded in Europe. America then turned its back on Europe, which quickly birthed Stalin and Hitler. 25 years later Americans were once again dying for Europeans, and that time we stayed. And what has it gotten us?

The Economist may fret about America abandoning the Middle East. I wonder how it would feel about America abandoning Europe, but regardless of how it feels, perhaps it’s time America returned to its isolationist roots. Think of it as a “growth experience” for Europe, which would have to either learn how to take care of itself or speak Russian (given the laziness of the Greeks I know which way they’d go.) Perhaps then the Europeans wouldn’t be so quick to attack the US for acting – or not – in a region that is much closer to and much more important for Europe. But given that the Europeans can’t even clean up their own sport, relying upon the newly installed US Attorney General to take down FIFA’s Sepp Blatter, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the EU to shoulder the burden of its own defense. Oh, and of course the Europeans are already whining about American overreach there.

My ancestors may have been Slavic peasants and Irish sod-cutters, but at least they had the brains – and chutzpah – to leave Europe.

Shoutdown

We’ve lived under the Obama administration for 6 years, 2 months. During that time we have witnessed a world turned upside down, one where our allies are treated like our enemies and our enemies are courted. Alliances that can be measured in lifetimes have been ignored, such as the “special relationship” with the UK. Others like Israel have been actively undermined. Even the Canadians have suffered at the hands of this administration as it has pivoted to China and kept the Keystone Pipeline mired in indecision and red tape.

Russia annexes the Crimea, the first territorial annexation in Europe since the Third Reich. It assassinates and jails the critics of its leadership. It invades Ukraine and even shoots down an airliner full of Europeans without consequences. Russian propaganda broadcasts throughout Russia unopposed, developing an ultranationalism straight from a work of fiction or video game. Critics of this coddling are accused of Cold War era thinking, and the administration continues to engage with the regime even as the US people view it as the single greatest threat.

The Obama administration leaves Biden to negotiate the status of forces agreement with Iraq, wasting the blood and treasure expended during the Bush administration. Any physics student or poli-sci major can tell you that nature abhors a vacuum, so Iran takes over in the East and an Islamic Death Cult rises in the West. An ignominious Vietnam-like defeat would have been preferable as Obama wouldn’t have been able to interfere in the region as he has done so. No love letters to Iran and certainly no attempt to overthrow the only friend we have in the region.

Leading from behind a harmless loon is attacked in Libya, leading to a failed state in Libya and the death of our first ambassador in two generations. What difference does it make? Evidently none because there are no consequences for the man in the White House or his Secretary of State minion who orchestrated the affair, the latter of whom is measuring the Oval Office for drapes as the 4th Estate gives her a standing ovation.

In 2008 I worried we had elected Carter. It turns out we elected Nixon instead, although one with a press who would call modern-day duo of Woodward and Bernstein racist. When Nixon went to China the Right had no fear that he would sell out our country to the Communists, a political fact that made it into of all things a Star Trek movie. There is no such comfort with Obama’s obsession for a nuclear deal with Iran. The Mullahs can write any deal they want, chanting “Death to America” all the way to the Bomb.

The Obama administration took power, sneering at the apparent ignorance and failures of the previous administration. Yet this supposedly bright and intelligent group of people have done some incredibly stupid things, mistakes so bad they can only be made by extremely intelligent and ignorant people. Boko Haram in West Africa, al-Shabaab in East Africa, ISIS in North Africa and the Middle East, Iran and Pakistan in Middle East and Central Asia, Russia in Europe and Asia, China in East Asia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina and Venezuela in Central and South America. All these actors are stronger in the world today than they were 74 months ago. America and its allies are all weaker thanks to the efforts of this narcissist and his administration.

Can America survive the next 22 months, and if it can, will it have any allies left?

 

As Ferguson Burns Again The Ironies Abound

 

Looters celebrating the burning of Juanita’s Fashion R Boutique, a black owned business. If the Klan did it there would be hell to pay but when a bunch of thugs do it it’s called “righteous outrage.”

Mike Brown doesn’t deserve to die because he robbed an immigrant, but conservative blogger Gateway Pundit does for being conservative?

 

Kick Turkey Out of NATO

Lord Palmerstone once noted that nations do not have permanent allies, only permanent interests. This statement assumes that a nation always acts in its own best interest, and this assumption is the basis for the realist school of international relations. Realists always expect national actors to do what is best for themselves. If an action does not benefit the nation in any particular way, or worse threatens it, then one cannot reasonably expect it to act even though one might think and others might agree that it is the right course of action. In international relations at least according to the realist school, there are no completely altruistic acts by nations or their actors.

I’ve been rooted in the realist school of international relations well before I got my degree in political science, having grown up while Henry Kissinger acted as Nixon’s national security advisor and later secretary of state under him and his successor Gerald Ford.Realists not only expect nations to act in their best interests, but regimes and the organizations constituting them to do the same. In statecraft realists aren’t surprised when regimes do what’s best for them even when it might compromise or damage others, but are willing to act in their own best interest when the opposite party acts in theirs.

Case in point: Turkey. Under the regime of Recep Erdogan for the past 12 years Turkey has been acting in the best interest of Erdogan and his ruling party the AKP. Erdogan is an Islamist in a nation where political Islam had been banned for decades after its re-founding under Kamal Ataturk. While Ataturk and the secularists saw Europe as a useful ally that would strengthen Turkey and their regime in the Middle East, Erdogan has instead positioned Turkey as the next Islamic Caliphate more in line with the Ottoman Empire of the 17th century rather than secular and Democratic Western Europe.

Perhaps the biggest interest Erdogan has besides the desire to remain in power is to avoid empowering the Kurdish minority within Turkey. Unlike the Palestinians, the Kurds  have a much longer claim to their land stretching from northern Syria across southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq to Iran. One commonality between Erdogan and his secular predecessors has been the oppression of the Kurds in Turkey and their nationalist aims. The no-fly zone established in northern Iraq after the first Gulf War led to autonomy under Saddam and later the post-Saddam Iraqi government. Iraqi Kurds are as close to independent as Kurds have ever been, and their Syrian, Iranian and Turkish cousins recognize this.

From Erdogan’s perspective the decimation of the Syrian Kurds by the Islamic State (IS) is welcome. It weakens the Kurdish cause by reducing the number of Kurds in the region. Plus the Syrian Kurds were also strong supporters of the PKK, Turkey’s al-Qaida. From the realist perspective Erdogan will not act against IS on behalf of the Kurds unless there is an even greater, more pressing interest to do so.

And that’s the problem. Current American and European leadership is run by idealists not by realists. American and Europeans leaders simply do not understand why Erdogan  and to more worrying degree Vladimir Putin  act the way they do. To them bombing Kurds in Turkey instead of IS in Syria makes absolutely no sense just as annexing Crimea and dismembering Ukraine. They do not see the world the way Erdogan and Putin do, but realists do. Realists recognize that Putin and Erdogan will only act when the pressure applied to them is real and painful.

For Erdogan that pressure should include Turkey’s rejection from NATO and any possible future admittance to the EU under his regime. If Turkey acts in its own interests, so should the EU and the United States. The truth is that instead of being a beacon of secular Islam as Turkey once was, Turkey under Erdogan has become just another corrupt, Islamic Middle Eastern dictatorship with caliphate dreams. Turkey has condoned the rise of IS as well as backed  other terrorist groups such as Hamas. It has kept a tight leash on the American base in Incirlik, preventing it from participating in the second Gulf War and in attacks on IS.

Switching from Erdogan’s perspective, what is in America’s best interest? The dream for a secular Islamic state isn’t dead, it’s just moved to the southeast. As Iraq and Syria fall apart, the US should throw their backing behind the Kurds. The Kurds are not infected with the anti-western, anti-Semitic and anti-American ideology of Shi’a Iraq and Iran, or Erdogan’s Turkey. They are our only natural allies in the region besides the Israelis and should be supported not just with rhetoric, which the current administration excels at, but with military and logistical support against IS as well as diplomatic backing for an independent Kurdish state.

Doing this would pretty much end the alliance with Turkey, but the alliance is pretty much all but dead. Would the US actually send troops to Turkey if it invoked Article V? What if it invoked it against Israel, as some had suggested when the Israelis raided a Turkish ship attempting to break the embargo of Gaza?

What would the consequences be? Turkey would likely ally with Russia, but this is happening anyway as the Europe of the early 21st century looks increasingly like the Europe of the early 2oth century. After all, what’s the point of having a military base in a country if you can’t use it? Let the Turks and Russians try to get along on their own as they did in the 19th century.

For more on the subject read Michael Totten’s latest which inspired this post. Bernard-Henri Levy also states that should Kobani fall, Turkey should be kicked out of NATO.

 

 

 

The Razor Celebrates 13 Years

For 13 years I have used this medium as my soapbox, to stand and shout into the Void known as the Internet. 2,352 posts. 6,048 comments. Over that time I have swung from righteous anger in the months following 9-11, to optimism and hope in the years after the Iraqi invasion at a time when I was personally trying to change the world, to disappointment following the economic collapse of 2008 and the election of Barack Obama, to the despair of the Benghazi and IRS scandals, ending finally in the cynicism shrouded nihilism of today.

What can I say, but I’m simply stubborn. While I may no longer wish to change the world and simply want to be left alone in my current libertarian exile, there are still things I need to say and this is the only medium I have found to say them.

I have failed at essay writing, and authoring fiction and non-fiction books. I have failed at numerous small businesses and enterprises. Many of my predictions made in this journal and the positions I have argued have been proven wrong. In 2006 I said Google wouldn’t be around in 2011 and that Lindsay Lohan would die tragically in 2007. 8 years later Google is still my homepage and Lindsay Lohan is still alive, although whether her career is alive is arguable.

But my marriage of 24 years has never been stronger. I have helped raise a child over these 13 years, and while he’s not heading towards a full scholarship at MIT or Harvard, he is a very decent human being whose future in this world concerns me. I have built a writing-based career and nurtured the Wife’s education so that together we are comfortable. We have put money to work in our community, buying local products and hiring local workers whenever possible so that our success is shared with others. Our choices have allowed us to take an active role in animal rescue, saving dozens of unwanted animals from miserable deaths.

I was also right about some things. In 2005 I predicted the real estate bubble was becoming unsustainable. I was right that the soaring oil prices of 2008 would succumb to economic gravity and fall. And I was right in 2011 that removing Khaddafi from power was a bad idea.

The world may be indifferent to my existence yet I am confident I have made it a better place. So I may not be as respected as Charles Krauthammer or popular as Matt Drudge, I do occasionally write something worth reading.

I’ve picked one post from each year that is still worth reading today. Enjoy.

2001 -  Judging News Sources: Truth or Trash

The problem with bias is that it assumes the average reader or listener will believe everything that he or she reads or hears regardless of its source. However for Americans exposed to everything from sightings of Elvis to alien abductions to Clinton scandals, developing a “truth detector” (or its crudely named opposite, the “bullshit detector”) becomes an important skill. Such a skill starts early as children take on the media preferences of their parents, and is refined later in high school and often college when critical thinking skills are emphasized (one purpose of this journal is to save these skills from their demise at the hand of the Politically Correct). (Read the entire post)

2002 – October 2, 2002 – No Prize For Jimmy

President Carter’s crowning achievement was the Camp David Accords which returned the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for the end of a state of war between Israel and Egypt. While the accords ended a shooting war between the two countries, it is worth noting that the agreement was not even negotiated by the Americans – most of the diplomacy having been done by the King of Morocco and the Ceausescu regime in Rumania. Washington DC was simply the money to fund the deal. (Read the entire post)

2003 – May 25, 2003 – Censorship Today

It is important in a society for people to follow the same code of behavior. Americans are notorious for being more unmannered and direct than many other nationalities. Recent events show the impact a slow-death of civility in our society has. It is why President Ford’s saying that “We can disagree without being disagreeable,” remains a shining example that allows us to protect our rights to free expression. (Read the entire post)

2004 – June 25, 2004 – Cognitive Dissonance and Islam

The Saudi royal family has spread Wahabism around the globe, and now are about to be consumed by it. All the makings are in place for a jihadist overthrow of the kingdom: a corrupt government infiltrated by jihadists, a dying king, a large yet effete royal family containing many supporters of the jihadists, and the cognitive dissonance which prevents the leaders from recognizing the true enemies within their own ranks caused by their own inflexible understanding of their religion. (Read the entire post)

 2005 – April 12, 2005 – Visiting the Funeral Home

“These ceremonies are for the living,” the funeral director said. I commented that her job seemed more like a cruise director or wedding planner. “My job is to…” I almost got her to say it but she didn’t. She wanted to say:

Put the “fun” back into “funeral” but she artfully stopped herself from saying that although I knew deep down she wanted to. What followed was a more politically correct explanation of her duties and how much she enjoyed her job.

Well, I suppose it takes all types. (Read the entire post)

2006 – August 10, 2006 – We Are All Israelis

I stand for Israel because I see it as a desert that has bloomed through the hard work and brilliance of its people. I see a people that has suffered unjustly for thousands of years continue to suffer today. I see a people who refuse to accept the status of victims. I see a people who value peace but aren’t willing to trade it for annihilation.

I stand for Israel because Israel is a nation where Arabs, Jews and Christians live together in peace – next to states where religions and their books are banned outright. I stand for Israel because it values everyone. It holds gay pride rallies next to nations where gays are hung from forklifts. It treats women as equals in all ways, while the women in nearby nations can’t even leave their homes alone.

I stand for Israel because it is at the frontier of civilization, an outpost of honesty in a region mired in corruption. I stand for Israel because in the fight to preserve the light from the darkness, we are all Israelis. (Read the entire post)

2007 – October 7, 2007 – The Kiwi And the Eagle: Anti-Americanism in New Zealand

I recently wrote about my Wife’s experience while serving at a hospital in Tanzania with a 24 year old New Zealander. The girl was well versed in anti-American propaganda and felt compelled to heap abuse on my Wife. The Wife is quite capable of defending herself, but she lacks my background knowledge of American foreign policy and world history. During our brief phone call, I provided her with some basic facts to combat the Kiwi’s propaganda regurgitations. Afterward I decided to dig deeper into the youngster’s bigotry and did some research into New Zealand’s attitudes towards Americans. What I found changed my mind about wanting to visit the place anytime soon. (Read the entire post)

2008 – October 20, 2008 – The Good Daughter

Fenwick Island was different; our family was different. There was nothing left to do but accept these truths.

I took the box containing the ashes and at the Wife’s request I opened them and removed the plastic bag that held them shut with a twist tie. Inside were the mixed remains of both the Father-in-law and the Mother-in-law. The Wife cradled them under her pullover as we climbed the dune and walked to the waterline of the beach. As the Kid took the dog upwind, she undid the twist tie and allowed the bag to billow open. (Read the entire post)

2009 – November 19, 2009 – The Weak Horse Named Obama

A friend who voted for Obama last year (and regrets his decision BTW) asked me why I opposed the civil prosecution of terrorists and supported military tribunals. He thought that treating them as run-of-the-mill criminals was an insult, and that by convicting and sentencing them in a military tribunal elevated their status from terrorist to warrior. Here are the reasons I gave him for why I believe that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision is the worst political decision made since President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974. (Read the entire post)

 2010 – August 10, 2010 – Riders in the Storm

As with the storms, my instinct tells me that something is seriously wrong with my country. That same paralyzing fear that I had during the storm is with me everyday. The skies are ominous, yet Obama and the Federal Government are driving us deep into the storm and there is nothing much we can do it about it since both are deaf to our concerns. All we can do is listen to our instincts and take every chance we can to limit the danger to ourselves and loved ones the President and the Feds seem determined to visit upon us. (Read the entire post)

2011 – September 6, 2011 – A Short List of Lessons Since 9-11

Islam is Problematic And Our Ruling Elite Doesn’t Understand It
9-11 and the events over the past 10 years have taught us that Islam is different from all other world religions. It is not Christianity with different traditions unless the comparison is made to Christianity prior to the Renaissance. Then Christianity was a political and cultural defining force that determined all aspects of life for the lowliest peasant to the greatest emperor. It determined when each arose, what he did prior to work, his job, how he dressed, how he ate, and his relationship to his superiors (in the case of the emperor, to the Pope). There were no concepts of freedom in thought or deed at that time. The identify of “self” as inviolate would not become accepted until the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Tolerance of other cultures, ethnicities and especially religions simply did not exist at all. (Read the entire post)

2012 – January 17, 2012 – In the Belly of the Swan

Assess the situation. Keep calm. I tend to speak quickly and loudly when I’m nervous so I intentionally slow down the cadence of my words. Keep everyone calm. Crack a bad joke even though no one feels like laughing. Talk about the weather. Whatever it takes to keep everyone – including myself – from panicking. As a writer by instinct I feel myself observing myself, but that is also a task for the future; better to stay in the moment, the now. Time stretches, knees knock, keep scanning the darkness. “Safeties off?” “Yes,” I command. We are locked and loaded. The past is written, the future no longer exists. In the dense fog, in the belly of the swan, waiting for what must happen to happen. (Read the entire post)

2013 – April 3, 2013 – We Are Idiots

The system is corrupt yet we do nothing about it. We are told happy days are here again, that the stockmarket is at record highs, yet those of us who dabbled in the market prior to 2009 have still not recovered from the losses suffered then, leaving us on the sidelines of this rally. Small investors piled into the market and out of the market late back then, proving they were the “greater fools” and some are doing so today as the market skyrockets and smart money looks for the exits. Sure our 401K’s are expanding, but the numbers are meaningless for anyone other than those planning to retire in the coming months before this bubble bursts. Self employed people and contractors like myself don’t have 401K’s, we just have our wits and an ever sharpening skill set that we use to stay employed, but both are slowly being eroded by time as we age and the younger cohorts below us grow hungrier and more competitive. (Read the entire post)