Livefyre Profile

Activity Stream

The odd "American mixture of complacency and outrage" doesn't quite hit the mark.  Rather our foreign policy has swung wildly between two poles, isolationism and interventionism, due to a single cause - our view that America is something special, apart from the tawdry realpolitik of Europe.  On the one hand this led to an introspective foreign policy, that we are the shining city on the hill too good to meddle in nasty international affairs, on the one hand; and on the other, that being the great society and at one time the only major democratic state in the world, we need to root out evil wherever we find it, to make the world safe for democracy.  What has never caught on with the American public is the kind of European statecraft practiced by so-called realists, such as Kissinger and the neo-conservatives - and now, apparently, President Obama.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

As I noted in the author's related article, the global warming alarmists aren't so much interested in finding cost-effective solutions as they are in pushing their leftist agenda of anti-consumption, anti-consumerism and anti-wealth.  If they were truly interested in a cheap geoengineering solution, George Soros or Warren Buffet could write out a check and solve the problem just by themselves - a few billions at most.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

And let's not forget U.S. casinos are also trying to cash in on this Chinese gambling craze.  Every casino I go to, whether it's the Indian casinos in CT where I live or the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, have Chinese games like Pai Gow poker with Chinese dealers to cater precisely to  this crowd.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

Edward Teller, the "father" of the hydrogen bomb, also favored a geoengineering solution, I read.  Most of the examples given in this article discuss solar radiation mitigation, but let's not forget geoengineering also includes carbon dioxide capture and removal.  But in the end, none of these are viable for political reasons, since the true agenda of the global warming alarmists is to change society to make it less consumption oriented, and more wealth equitable.  A geoengineering solution would cost a paltry few billions or less, and let us "have our cake and eat it too" - reduce global warming without needing to change our lifestyles.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

Well, at least Lincoln was admired by the King of Siam, at least according to Broadway

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

Although there has been some comment on ethanol as a fuel additive, my understanding is that ships run on diesel, not gasoline, so ethanol isn't the relevant bio component.  I would also qualify the opening paragraph of the article.  The increase in the price of crude had less to do with the Egyptian crisis, than a growing parity between WTI and Brent crude prices, due to the fact that WTI has become more accessible to world markets due to new pipeline access.  That's not to say, however, that there isn't a political risk premium in the price of crude, which some say is $20 per barrel or more.

1 year, 2 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

Or could this slide be disinformation? That dot right in the middle of nowhere in Australia looks improbable. But who knows?  I'm no Internet expert.

1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | FP Passport

Reply

As the author notes, Japan's population is the most rapidly aging population in the world.  And it's also declining, with projections showing its population will drop by a third over the next 50 years.  So no wonder their strategy is to replace quantity with quality.  And unless they can develop robots to man their defenses, there won't be anyone left to defend their islands within a few short decades.  Demographics is destiny.

1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

 @slugg Actually Ricks did state one of his criteria upfront when he said MacArthur tops the list for "being insubordinate to three presidents."  So clearly, as I stated, he's not using competent generalship as his overriding criterion.  By this same measure, one could even add Patton to the list for insubordination as well.

1 year, 3 months ago on Conversation @ http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/01/the_worst_general_in_american_history

Reply

An interesting question would be: what was the first democratic coup? One could make a case for the assassination of Julius Caesar. He was threatening to become a dictator, or, even worse for the Romans, a King.  He was overthrown by Senators seeking to restore the Republic, which, while not exactly democratic, at least was more democratic than the alternative.  And while not strictly speaking a military coup, these senators were military leaders, and during the ensuing civil war Brutus, Cassius, et al. became army commanders.  So the coup was conducted by the senatorial/military class. So about 5 of Varol's criteria as stated in the article are met.

1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | War of Ideas

Reply

Here's my attempt at a postscript:

 

1781 - two years later

FP - how do you now explain Great Britain's loss of the colonies?

Gen. F - I like to look on the positive side. We still own Canada and our forward bases in the Caribbean - so along with our maritime suzerainty, we have America under full containment.  And let's not forget we still control the Mediterranean through our base at Gibraltar which the the French and Spanish were unable to wrest from us - that's where the real show is after all.  Our merchants have an economic stranglehold over the former colonies of, ahem, New England - we'll soon be making more profits than we ever received in taxes from them.  Plus we share a common culture, a common language with this new America, which will keep them in our orbit as sure as Newtonian physics prescribes.  I daresay, an independent (yet dependent) America gives Great Britain all the advantages of colonialism without any of the headaches of actually having to manage colonies.  Rule Britannia!

1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

Even his statement "The revolutions of 1848 failed to produce real, immediate change" is not accurate.  They overthrew King Louis-Philippe in France and established the Second Republic, after all.

1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

Clearly the author is mixing political qualities, or lack thereof, with generalship in putting together his list.  I'm surprised he didn't add Patton for being politically incorrect.  From a purely military standpoint, I would rank Civil War generals McClellan and Burnside as worse generals than MacArthur or Arnold, to which I would add Pope as one commentor did, and not forget a plethora of Confederate generals as well, such as Pillow, Bragg and Pemberton.  No better epitaph can be given to Gideon Pillow than Grant himself, who, when told Pillow escaped capture, said "Oh, if I had got him, I'd let him go again.  He will do us more good commanding you fellows."  As others have commented, Arnold was one of the Revolution's top generals.  Gates lucked out at Saratoga but showed his true colors at his rout at Camden. To this rogue's gallery, add Charles Lee, who was so incompetent he was actually court-martialed.

1 year, 5 months ago on Conversation @ http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/01/the_worst_general_in_american_history

Reply

 @Nking I like this analogy as well - with the US today as Great Britain in the 19th/early 20th centuries and China as an emerging America in that same period.  I prefer the 19th century application of the analogy to Nking's Interwar Period.  By the 1920s the US already had surpassed Britain as an economic power, which China hasn't yet achieved.  In the late 19th century, the US  was just emerging as an economic power, as well as from a century of isolationism.  With its Great White Fleet, it was exercising its new found power on the world stage - something China seems to be doing now.  But the US did so only in fits and starts, and lapsed back into isolationism, as it did both pre- and post-WWI.  This is not inconceivable for China either, as it also became isolationist during the Ming Dynasty after its so-called voyages of exploration in the early 15th century.  But political retrenchment doesn't mean economic isolationism, which the US never did and China is unlikely to do in this age of increasing interdependency.

1 year, 5 months ago on The limits of Thucydides in the 21st century | Daniel W. Drezner

Reply

Here's a tip for Ms. Kennedy if appointed ambassador to Japan - on any issue of importance, she'll get an issues paper from her advisors with three options from which to choose.  Always choose the middle option.  At least that what Kissinger said in his memoirs - he'd always give Nixon 3 recommendations where the 1st and 3rd were extreme, and the middle one was the reasonable course that Kissinger tacitly was pushing for!

1 year, 7 months ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt

Reply

I would take exception to the first line of this interesting article "From the early stirrings of modern international law in the mid-1700s" - actually modern international law had its inception 125 years earlier, with the works of Hugo Grotius.

1 year, 7 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy

Reply

@erwinbw Since the peace treaty had already been signed, as the author notes, a British victory at New Orleans would not have resulted in their takeover of the lands of the Louisiana Purchase as suggested by "erwinbw". The other notable thing about the British loss at New Orleans is that British generalship, except for Wellington, was atrocious, a fact well recognized by the Iron Duke himself who rarely allowed his general any independent command (with the exception of Beresford).

2 years, 3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/07/03/the_whitewashed_war

Reply