Thursday, April 14, 2005
"Chapter 6: From Threat to Threat," by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Final Report, 21 August 2004, http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch6.htm.
In a world where President Bush raped a Japanese school girl, were Clinton's Kill Bill fantasies really that bad?
At some point during this period, President Clinton expressed his frustration with the lack of military options to take out Bin Ladin and the al Qaeda leadership, remarking to General Hugh Shelton, "You know, it would scare the shit out of al-Qaeda if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas rappelled out of helicopters into the middle of their camp." Although Shelton told the Commission he did not remember the statement, President Clinton recalled this remark as "one of the many things I said." The President added, however, that he realized nothing would be accomplished if he lashed out in anger. Secretary of Defense William Cohen thought that the President might have been making a hypothetical statement. Regardless, he said, the question remained how to get the "ninjas" into and out of the theater of operations. As discussed in chapter 4, plans of this kind were never carried out before 9/11.
"Neoconning the Media," by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 14 April 2005, http://www.juancole.com/2005/04/neoconning-media-eric-altermans.html.
After a long discourse on racism, the liberal-hawk New Republic magazine, colonialism, and neoconservatives generally, Dr. Cole concludes
Likewise, colonial occupation gives the occupiers an easy sense of self-worth and powerfulness. Thus the appeal of occupying other countries precisely for those sections of the dominant "whites" in US society that are least secure in their whiteness (e.g. lower middle class Southerners). Much about the Abu Ghuraib torture scandal can most easily be explained in these colonialist/racist terms. Likewise, the sex and power fantasy of white men saving brown women from brown men, which has figured so prominently in the new discourse of American empire, is best explained in this way.
The easy title for this post would have been "Cole: Brown Women Not Worth Saving," but here's a deeper thought.
In Empire : The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power," Dr. Neil Ferguson notes the appeal of saving white women from brown men in war propoganda. Likewise, Ferguson notes how early British NGOs fought for basic women's right in India and other places. However, he never wrote about any "sex and power fantasy of white men saving brown women from brown men."
So, the obvious questions
- Is there a meaningful "sex and power fantasy of white men saving brown women from brown men"
- Does it have a historic precedent in American or British culture?
I had never heard Cole's claim before. Anyone else?
Monday, April 11, 2005
"A Computer Model of National Behavior," by Dan tdaxp, University of South Dakota, 20 November 2004, Chapter I.
"New York Times Supports McCarthyite Witch Hunt," by Jim, Eternal Vigilance, 10 April 2005, http://btpholdings.blogspot.com/2005/04/new-york-times-supports-mccarthyite.html.
"Academic Politics," by David Wallace-Wells, Slate, 11 April 2005, http://www.slate.com/id/2116590/.
Wallace-Wells joins the criticism of Juan Cole, but gets it wrong
Cole's statement that "nations actually did not exist in the modern sense before the late 1700s … there are no eternal nations through history," draws the ire of [tdaxp]. "[Nations] did not somehow magically appear—they have existed for centuries," he writes. "Perhaps Cole means that nationalism did not exist before the late 1700s—but that's entirely different." Eternal Vigilance seconds Abbot: "We would like to know what history they have been reading that says the modern nation-state did not exist prior to the late 1700s."
Well, he gets my name wrong, but to expand the EV quote...
We would like to know what history they have been reading that says the modern nation-state did not exist prior to the late 1700s. Perhaps Cole means that feudalism ruled the day. But we have evidence that feudalism was over in England with the War of the Roses (1455-87) which brought about the destruction of the English nobility. They never recovered as a class after that time. The Tudors were the final victors late in that civil war after the Lancasters and Yorks had been diminished.
And with the advent of Martin Luther's Reformation and An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate (1520) and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537), feudalism was on the way out in continental Europe.
Note in the above that Luther refers to the German Nation. And clearly, with the rejection of the Pope as being supreme, the peoples of Europe were taking control of their own destinies by breaking with Rome.
The Nation-State did not exist before the late 1700s, or 1600s at the earliest.
France was the first Nation-State. There were no nation-states before the dawn of the Modern Age. While sometimes the borders of nations and states did not, this was not a driving force of organization or loyalty. A farmer's land was important, a man's lord was important, even how a man worshipped -- but language and culture were not worth dying for.
Or taxing for. That Luther mentioned "the German nation" does not mean he believed that the German nation needed a central government.
In my last post I quoted my definition of nation:
A nation is collection of people that share a language, culture, and ethnicity. “French,” “German,” and “Occidental” are nations in western Europe.
Well, my definition of state is
Finally, a state is political subdivision usually possessing sovereignty. The geographical borders of states can closely coincide with places and nations. States can sometimes be subdivisions of other states. Lower Saxony, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the European Union are all examples of states.
So, a nation state is a political subdivision usually with sovereigny that is mostly comprised of people sharing a language, culture, and ethnicity.
This was nearly impossible before the modern era. The closest that we see in the past were the ancient City-States. Before modern communication languages could change noticeably every twenty miles or so. .
Cole is wrong, nations did exist before the modern era. And Jim of Eternal Vigilance is wrong, nation-states did not.
Friday, April 08, 2005
"A Computer Model of National Behavior," by Dan tdaxp, University of South Dakota I.D. Weeks Library, 20 November 2004, Chapter I.
"New York Times Supports McCarthyite Witch Hunt," by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, 8 April 2005, http://www.juancole.com/2005/04/new-york-times-supports-mccarthyite.html.
After canceling his New York Times subscription, Dr. Cole stumbles very, very close to my graduate research
Historians are unkind to nationalism of any sort. Nineteenth century romantic nationalism of the Zionist sort posits eternal "peoples" through history, who have a blood relationship (i.e. are a "race") and who have a mystical relationship with some particular territory. The Germans, who were very good at this game, called it "blood and soil." Nationalism casts about for some ancient exemplar of the "nation" to glorify as a predecessor to the modern nation. (Since nations actually did not exist in the modern sense before the late 1700s, the relationship is fictive. To explain what happened between ancient glory and modern nationalism, nationalists often say that the "nation" "fell asleep" or "went into centuries of decline. My colleague Ron Suny calls this the "sleeping beauty" theory of nationalism.)
Juan informed us that 19th century romantics defined a nation as a group of people of the same race and land. Presumably, modern definitions of "nation" exclude the race part. I defined it as
A nation is collection of people that share a language, culture, and ethnicity. “French,” “German,” and “Occidental” are nations in western Europe.
Unless Cole means something entirely different (like a "state"), this is the "modern sense" of the word nation. While nations do evolve, nations did not somehow magically appear -- they have existed for centuries. Perhaps Cole means that nationalism did not exist before the late 1700s -- but that's entirely different. "Nationalism" is a category of political beliefs -- "nation" refers to a collection of people who may or may not be nationalistic.
Update: More on nations and nation-states, for Slate readers.
"Teen Birth Rates Continue to Decline," InfoPlease, http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0193727.html.
"CDC pleased with efforts to reduce teen pregnancies," by Robert Longley, About.com, 19 November 2004, http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/healthcare/a/teenbirthsdrop.htm.
"Ummm...," by Seth, Clean Cut Kid, 8 April 2005, http://www.cleancutkid.com/2005/04/07/seeing-gaping-wounds-conservatives-offer-band-aids/#comment-822.
I'm posting this as a story because CCK's comments page is acting up. Maybe this will work?
Seth implies the American teen birth rate is exploding
Also, the American Prospect notes that there were 700,000 to 800,000 abortions per year during the 1950s and 1960s [Seth gives no reference -- tdaxp]. And that was before explosions in the number of teen prgnancies, during a period when sex out of wedlock was pretty taboo, etc.
Good thing that isn't true
The U.S. birth rate among young adolescents aged 10-14 has fallen to the lowest level since 1946 according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Better news? For older teens, itt's the lowest. Ever.
Per one thousand 15-19 year old females, there were 42.9 live births. This bests record low years 1980 (53.0) and 1940 (54.1)
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Mark at Zenpundit linked to my better posts on 4GW. This post is an attempt to explore the evolutio of Fourth Generation War and how it may be fought today. The post is based on The Sling and the Stone, as well as a blog article I can no longer find. Basically, I'm thinking out loud.
4GW way invented by Mao. Roughly it had three stages
- Terrorize the Government
- Contest Land
- Seize the Government
Different parts of the country may be in different stages at the same time. This continues until victory. It may be shown as
It worked. The Communists won.
This is not a perfect diagram. It is possible to enter 4GWS3, fail, go back to 4GWS2, and try again. But the chart gives a good idea of the stages involved.
The Vietnam Wars were also 4GW. Ho's contribution was to add a new component -- a political effort against the distant enemy. He directy targeted the politics of his enemy's homelands. He told the Left that his cause was just ("They are brutally fighting poor revolutionaries!"), and the right that his opponents were not anti-Left enough ("They are corrupt and take money meant for anti-Revolutionary activities!").
It worked. The Communists won.
Ortega's Sandinistas in Nicaragua were the next to try 4GW. And again, they changed it. The swapped the final conquest for coalition politics. This allowed them to take Nicaragua with little conventional fighting. That they lied to their coalition partners and kept power for themselves is irrelevent.
It worked. The Communists won.
Now comes the greatest departure. The Sandinistas jettisoned 4GWS3. The Infifada Palestinians would ignore 4GWS1. The first Palestinian uprising saw neither final battles nor government terrorizing. It saw contest land (stone throwing teens keeping Israeli Defense Forces out of refugee camps) and political efforts against distant enemies (propoganda aimed at world opinion and the Israeli Left). It took decades less time than Mao's or Ho's version, and years less than Ortega's, but it worked. This refinement, which Colonel Hammes still calls 4GW, looks like
The Israelis lost, but the fighters did not win. The hard-won land was given to Yasser Arafat's corrupt regime which proved worse than the Israelis. No peace treaty was signed and progress was lost. But the Infitida drove the Israelis out of the West Bank.
Perhaps a victory could have been won if there was true coalition politics, instead of a spontaneous movement and then Arafat. Perhaps if the political effort and coalition forming had preceeded the Intifadah it might have been successful. It would have looked like:
This last graphic describes Ukraine's Orange Revolution.
First, a foreign enemy was politically attacked while coalitions were formed. Year's of criticism against Yelstin's and Putin's Russia delegitimized Kuchma's Ukraine's main sponsor. These attacks occured in Ukrainian and Western media. Hand-in-hand with this, would-be revolutionists formed common bonds. Alliances were formed between regime elements like Yushchenko, antiregimists like Yulia Tymoshenko, and most other Ukrainian-language organizations.
Both efforts manifested themselves in Leonid Kuchma's choice of Victor Yanukovich as his successor. Successful political efforts to weaken Kuchma meant he had to rely more on Russia and the Russian-speaking east. However, successful efforts to weaken Russia meant this support was observed skeptically by the Ukrainian people.
The last stage was contested terrority. Kiev and other cities were contested as Palestinian refugee camps were. Popular on-the-ground organizations prevented the police from doing their job. At one point during the Orange Revolution Yushchenko appealed to his followers to let the President enter his own capital building. The country was never conquered, but the capital was fully contested by an unconventional force.
Also like the Palestinian Intifada, the Orange Revolution was short. Indeed, its successful use of coalition building (not to mention the absense of an Arafat equivalent) allowed the revolutionists to peacefully acquire their land more fully and quicker than the Palestinians were able.
The success of popular regime tranformation in Ukraine, George, and Kyrgyzstan shows that the formula can be repeated.
I may be wrong. How?
Monday, April 04, 2005
"Traducianism," Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 edition, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15014a.htm.
No, not that kind
Traducianism (tradux, a shoot or sprout, and more specifically a vine branch made to take root so as to propagate the vine), in general the doctrine that, in the process of generation, the human spiritual soul is transmitted to the offspring by the parents. When a distinction is made between the terms Traducianism and Generationism, the former denotes the materialistic doctrine of the transmission of the soul by the organic process of generation, while the latter applies to the doctrine according to which the soul of the offspring originates from the parental soul in some mysterious way analogous to that in which the organism originates from the parent's organism. Traducianism is opposed to Creationism or the doctrine that every soul is created by God. Both, however, against Emanationism and Evolutionism (q.v.) admit that the first human soul originated by creation. They differ only as to the mode of origin of subsequent souls.
In the early centuries of the Christian Church, the Fathers who touch upon this question defend the immediate creation of the soul. Tertullian, Apollinaris, and a few other heretics advocate Traducianism, but the testimony of Saint Jerome (Epist. cxxvi, 1) that "the majority of Oriental writers think that, as the body is born of the body, so the soul is born of the soul" seems exaggerated, as no other writer of prominence is found to advocate Generationism as certain. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius, Rufinus, Nemesius, although their views on this point are not always clear, seem to prefer Generationism. After the rise of Pelagianism, some Fathers hesitate between Generationism and Creationism, thinking that the former offers a better, if not the only, explanation of the transmission of original sin. Among them Saint Augustine is the most important. Creationism is held as certain by the Scholastics, with the exception of Hugh of Saint Victor and Alexander of Hales, who propose it merely as more probable. In recent times Generationism has been rejected by all Catholic theologians. Exceptions are Froschammer who defends Generationism and gives to the generation of the soul from the parents the name of secondary creation; Klee and Ubaghs who leave the question undecided; Hermes who favours Generationism; Gravina who advocates it -- and Rosmini who asserts that the sensitive soul is generated by the parents, and becomes spiritual when God illuminates it and manifests to it the idea of being which is the foundation of the whole intellectual life.
Among the errors which the Armenians must reject, Benedict XII mentions the doctrine that the soul originates from the soul of the father (Denzinger, 533). Hence, although there are no strict definitions condemning Generationism as heretical, it is certainly opposed to the doctrine of the Church, and could not be held without temerity.
When fundementalists insist that only their Young Earth dreams are "Christian," or scientists read without understanding, it highlights a failing in American culture. For thousands of years the Catholic Church has undertaken serious discussion on the origin of reality, the origin of humanity, and the origin of souls. The Church has an ancient intellectual tradition that marries the faith with other ways of knowing.
Life is more complex than science v. religion. Or anything versus religion.
We wait for a Conclave to chose the next Holy Father. The next Pope will deal with economics, oppression in China, the doctrines, and many other issues. But the next Pope will also be another link in a great chain. The Holy See was there to see the creation of the Byzantine Senate, the creation of the Byzantine Empire, the fall of the Roman Empire, the dissolution of the Roman Senate, the creation of the Caliphate, the creation of the Holy Roman Empire, the dissolution of the Byzantine Senate, the creation of the Ottoman Empire, the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the dissolution of the Caliphate, the the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The Holy See was here before us. It will be here after us.
Monday, March 28, 2005
"Selective Restraint," by John Fund, Opinion Journal, 28 March 2005, http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110006480 (from Drudge Report).
Amid the sloppy arguments and emotional appeals of the Terri Schiavo case, John Fund has wise words.
The sad case of Terri Schiavo has raised passions not seen since five years ago. Then another bitterly divided family argued in Florida courts over someone who couldn't speak on his own behalf: Elian Gonzalez.
In both cases, those who were unhappy with the courts' decisions strained to assert the federal government's power to produce a different outcome. The difference is that in Mrs. Schiavo's case, Congress backed off after passing a bill that merely asked a federal court to hear the case from scratch, something that U.S. District Judge James Whittemore declined to do. By contrast, those who wanted the federal government to intervene in Elian Gonzalez's case went all the way, supporting a predawn armed federal raid on the morning before Easter to seize the 6-year-old boy despite a federal appeals court's refusal to order his surrender.
Both cases were marked with hypocrisy and political posturing galore. Both times some conservative Republicans talked about issuing subpoenas to compel the person at the center of the case to appear before Congress; they swiftly backed down when public opinion failed to support their stunt. Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, argued that by opposing Elian's return to his father in communist Cuba, conservatives were abandoning the principle that "the state should not supersede the parents' wishes." In the case of Terri Schiavo, many conservatives who normally support spousal rights decided that Michael Schiavo's decision to abandon his marital vows while at the same time refusing to divorce his wife rendered him unfit to override the wishes of his wife's parents to have her cared for.
But liberals have gotten off easy for some of the somersaulting arguments they have made on behalf of judicial independence and states' rights to justify their position that Terri Schiavo should not be saved. Many made the opposite arguments in the Elian Gonzalez case.
Well said. If one believes in law-courts and states rights, then Attorney General Reno was wrong to seize Elian Gonzales. If one believes in law-courts and states rights, then Mike Schiavo has the power to make decisions for his wife.
Fund closes with a quote by Governor Bush
According to some reports, Gov. Jeb Bush considered seizing Mrs. Schiavo, à la Elian, and taking her to a hospital so she could be fed. But he did not do so. "I've consistently said that I can't go beyond what my powers are, and I'm not going to do it," the governor says. Janet Reno and the Clinton administration showed no such restraint when it came to Elian Gonzalez.
Exactly right. Stop the madness. Bush in 2008!
Sunday, March 27, 2005
"The EU and the Arabs II -- Kojeve's Latin Empire," by Marc Schulman, American Future, 27 March 2005, http://americanfuture.typepad.com/american_future/2005/03/the_eu_and_the__1.html (from Zen Pundit).
Eastertide moves all men to ponder post-War French foreign policy. At the same time I penned by thoughts on a Carolingian (Franco-German) Explanation for a French "No" Vote, AF ponders a Latinite (Italo-Franco-Spanish) bent to French actions
The fullest embodiment of the principles of the French Revolution were for Kojeve the countries of postwar Western Europe . . . For these were societies with no fundamental “contradictions” remaining: self-satisfied and self-sustaining, they had no further great political goals to struggle for and could preoccupy themselves with economic activity alone . . . The end of history, he believed, meant the end not only of large political struggles and conflicts, but the end of philosophy as well: the European Community was therefore an appropriate institutional embodiment of the end of history.
Kojeve’s franco- and euro-centrism, which would certainly have been appealing to de Gaulle, is already apparent: the French, not the American, Revolution ushered in modernity, and the countries of Western Europe, not the United States, were the primary manifestations of modernity.
Does not the phrase “they had no further great political goals to struggle for and could preoccupy themselves with economic activity alone” apply to today’s Europe, which, in contrast to the United States, has no political goals other than stability and no faith other than materialism?
Latinité: France Looks South
More importantly, Schulman argues that the dream of Latinite propelled France's EU policy. Specifically,
The European countries in the Latin Empire have a common “mentality”:
the differences of the national characters cannot mask the fundamental unity of the Latin “mentality” . . . this mentality is specifically characterized by that art of leisure which is the source of art in general, by the aptitude for creating this “sweetness of living” which has nothing to do with material comfort, by that “dolce far niente” itself which degenerates into pure laziness only if it does not follow a productive and fertile labor (to which the Latin Empire will give birth through the sole fact of its existence).
This shared mentality is what differentiates the Latin Empire:
this mentality not only assures the Latin people of their real — that is to say political and economic — union. It also, in a way, justifies this union in the eyes of the world and of History. Of the world, for if the two other imperial Unions will probably always be superior to the Latin Union in the domain of economic work and of political struggles, one is entitled to suppose that they will never know how to devote themselves to the perfection of their leisure as could, under favorable circumstances, the unified Latin West; and of History, for by supposing that national and social conflicts will definitely be eliminated some day (which is perhaps less distant than is thought), it must be admitted that it is precisely to the organization and the “humanization” of its free time that future humanity will have to devote its efforts.
Leisure instead of work, harmony instead of conflict. Are these not building blocks of the European Union, and the sources of much of the European criticism of America?
Further, this Latinite is distinct from the Anglosphere or Sovietism
While the Latin Empire must be as politically united as the British Commonwealth or the USSR, it is not necessary to copy the social and economic organization of the two rival empires:
there is nothing to suggest that the “liberalism” of great unregulated cartels and massive unemployment dear to the Anglo-Saxon bloc, and the leveling and sometimes “barbaric” “statism” of the Soviet Union, exhaust all possibilities of rational economic and social organization. In particular, it is especially clear that a “Soviet” imperial structure has nothing to do with “communism,” and can be easily separated from it.
The Alternative: Carolingia
France Looks East
After a detour on French views of the Islamic "other," AF sums up
Needless to say, there is an obvious continuity between Kojeve’s advice of sixty years ago and today’s French foreign policy. Kojeve proposes nothing less than the formation of a European Union that would led by France, counter the power of the Anglo-Saxons and the Soviets (multipolarity instead of bipolarity), and keep others out of the Mediterranean area, which just happens to be where the Arab states are located. Independence from America (and Britain) was a theme in his advice to de Gaulle. The General took Kojeve’s advice; while in power, he vetoed UK membership in the European Community and withdrew France from a NATO that was dominated by the United States. In 2003, Chirac followed his advice by attempting to keep the United States (and Britain) out of what the French have long believed to be their sphere of influence. He could not stop it, but he made it more difficult.
Respectfully, I disagree. Post-War France showed no interest in reviving a Latin Empire. Among other reasons.
- Before the Great War, a Latin Monetary Union actually existed. France did not seek to revive this, and Latin Europe only shares a common currency now because of the Euro.
- While Rome and Paris signed the Treaty of Rome, Madrid did not. Spain did not even join the European Club until 1980. If a new Latin Empire was France's goal, it is doubtful the Republic would have let a little matter of dictatorship get in its way.
- French Post-War policy cenetered on harmozing with Germany. It makes no sense to call an Italo-French-German Club "Latin."
The European Union: What France Actually Got
All of these problems are solved by viewing French Post-War policy as Carolignian. France's post-1945 goal was to harmonize all things with Germany, to create a Western European nation-state. Latinite is a valid theory to the extent it overlaps with this Carolingian perspective.
Friday, March 25, 2005
"Are they winning?," The Economist, 23 March 2005, http://economist.com/world/europe/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3798465.
The thrust of the article is the sudden "no" sentiment in France to the referendum on the European Constitution, but the economic news is even more depressing
Whether they represent a new trend or not, the new polls show that a French no is now a real possibility. How to explain such a surge of Euro-hostility? Partly, no doubt, it is a protest against an unpopular government, led by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the prime minister, which seems to have lost its way at a time when voters are most anxious about jobs and pay. Unemployment is over 10%. Growth is still sluggish. Rents are rising. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. Yet the government lacks any serious plan to revive the economy or increase jobs. Moreover, a whiff of sleaze hangs in the air, after the resignation of Hervé Gaymard as finance minister over a housing scandal, not to mention the opening this week of a corruption trial that fingers colleagues of Mr Chirac when he was mayor of Paris.
As for the Constitution issue... that's more understandible. "Europe" was designed to end war in Europe forever by uniting France and Germany under one regime. Books such as Before France and Germany and Mohammed and Charlemagne persuasively argued that the "French" and "German" nations were illusions, and that a Carolingian or "European" nation truly occupied those lands. (This was one of the bases of my graduate research at USD).
Unfortunately for France, America has successfully moved to "drown" Carolingia in a a large structuer -- first a free Western Europe and now the continent-stradling behemoth we see today.
France's dream is dying. Their future worth creating is fading away. I feel sorry for them.
Update: Bizblogger shares his take
After all of Chirac's discussion of a powerful Europe to counter-balance the weight of the U.S., what an interesting twist of irony it would be if France were the country that undermined his wish.
I wouldn't view this as ironic. France may have more to fear from a federal Europe than Britain. France's actions in the EU and her opposition to America are explained by Paris's desire for Carolingia. To "end war in Europe forever," France wants to merge with Germany. First to counter the Soviet threat and now to ensure American power in Europe, Washington wants France submerged in a wider Europe. A "No" vote may hurt America more than France.