Sunday, September 30, 2007

Comment and Response

OK, Anonymous is going to force me to write a book review that has gone wanting for months (read Anonymous's comment below).

Before discussing the US involvement in any foreign affair, especially war, one must first read and consider the insights found in the book, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A critical examination of the foreign policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and its aftermath, Edited by Harry Elmer Barnes with the collaboration of William Henry Chamberlin, Percy L. Greaves, Jr., George A. Lundberg, George Morgenstern, William L. Neumann, Frederic R. Sanborn, and Charles Callan Tansill.


This book, published in 1953, takes the reader on a journey through the period of world war. Along the way, the reader will be challenged by chapters that show how US ended up in each war; the reasons and the outcomes.

The reader will reach the aha conclusion that Iraq, and soon to be Iran, are simply extensions the public policy of many politicians; a policy of perpetual war in order to achieve perpetual peace.

Yet, we never ever see the peace dividend, though we continue to invest in war and death. Along with the hope for prolonged peace, the propaganda about democracies always straying from war can finally be discarded.

Many of the same folks that truly believe government is an abject failure with regard to social policy and domestic matters truly believe that government is the altruistic force with regard to foreign affairs. It as if government abroad is righteous, always seeking the ethical and moral ends, while government at home is incapable of ethical and moral ends.

Certainly, I agree with the second part, yet I don't understand the leap of faith that one can hold in government which allows logic to clear the chasm between the vision of government abroad and its historic actions.

Anonymous claims that US involvement in WWI was moral, the right thing to do, when, in actuality, US involvement in that horrible European war was strictly a matter of Wilson's grandiose plan for the US Empire -- a plan that Bush and the neocons have adopted wholeheartedly. The reality is that our entrance into WWI simply extended the war another year, added almost 1 million dead, and led to the rise of Hitler some fifteen years later.

What about WWII? Weren't American soldiers fighting for freedom for hostage Europe? Well, they may have been fighting for that cause, however Roosevelt sold out to Stalin, thus muting their efforts and lives. You see, the end result of WWII was over half of Europe enslaved under communist rule. The same result occurred in China where the politicians again sold out to the communists.


In the end, close to 100 million noncombatants were murder under communist rule. So much for world freedom.


Oh, and by the way, Roosevelt was so enamoured with Stalin and Mussolini that he tried to establish their policies on American soil, to ingrain these policies in the American soul. In the end, he and subsequent presidents have done an effective job at instituting socialism in the land of the free.1 So much for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Perpetual War details the steps taken by politicians to drag the US into war. The intentions then were the same as today: the broadening of US borders and sphere of control, plus money and power. Its the same old same old, some things -- evils -- never change.


By the way, WWII and the Korean Conflict have never ended. We are still act as the occupying force in both Germany and South Korea. Does Anonymous truly believe that the government has any intention of leaving Iraq, especially given the construction of a $1 billion plus embassy, a fortified embassy that is nothing less than a military base for long term occupation?

So, we agree that government is incapable of good intentions within our borders, but Anonymous still holds onto the vision of the well-intentioned government abroad. I challenge him to read Perpetual War so that we can continue our discussion. Oh, did I mention, the book is free for download at Mises.org.

Of course ... Go Ron Paul ...


note:
1. Of course, Wilson wanted to institute the Prussian socialism of Bismarck.



Anonymous said...

I have to say that this article is way below the usual high standards of this blog. Then again, there aren't very many articles on Ron Paul so the pickins must be slim.

Ron Paul is a novelty act, and the GOPs Dennis Kucinich. Dr. No's career position on taxes and spending is the object definition of integrity--and a model that his colleagues in the GOP should aspire to; but his positions on global affairs and national security are so thoroughly discredited that he appears insane uttering such silly musings. Ron Paul opens his mouth and it sounds like he's channeling the feel-good mumbo jumbo from Hoover's "Peace Programme" at the outset of WWI (or, for that matter the other isolationist junk that Harding and Coolidge espoused before him).

WWI showed them wrong, just as WWII showed them wrong. The detente-loving isolationists ("peaceniks") showed what non-intervention did in Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, etc. Then came Reagan who reminded us all just how ridiculous that mindset was. And now the isolationists will try to make us believe that playing nice with the Chritian loathing, West-hating psychopaths in the Middle East will charm them into liking us.According to Paul's (and the Paulians') twisted logic, if we stop putting out fires then fires will never happen.

History shows us just how ridiculous Ron Paul's positions are.

Go McCain.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Books, books, books… I bet I can find a book that “proves” Abraham Lincoln to have been a transvestite. Let’s look at history:

WWI: Wilson stubbornly maintained a position of neutrality prior to, and well into, WWI but Germany repeatedly violated America's neutral status by, among other provocations, sinking passenger ships and asking Mexico to attack the US. A read of the “Zimmerman Note”, sent by Germany’s ambassador to the president of Mexico illustrates what Germany had in store for the United States. Also at stake (and most important) was America’s annual $3B trade with the Allies, which would be threatened should they lose the war. This all had nothing to do with a supposed Wilson “grandiose plan for the US Empire”, but rather, to answer to an increasingly provocative Germany and to protect vital trade we already had achieved (without military endeavor, thank you). Ironically, it was the protection of free market-forces that mostly brought us into WWI, not American hegemony or “militarism”, which was the 1917 epithet-equivalent of “neo con”.

What Fedako doesn’t mention about our involvement “extend(ing) the war for another year” is that, Germany would have won had we not entered the war. It took another year to turn it around for the Allies. The world would have looked much different—and for the worst—if the United States had not entered the war. Certainly, it was moral and right to stop Germany in its tracks in WWI, just as it was moral and right to do so in WWII. This understanding is intuitive for 99.99% of Americans and Europeans.

Roosevelt’s gift of Poland to “Uncle Joe” Stalin at Yalta was disgraceful (and the subsequent giveaways of Czechoslovakia, et al), but that has nothing to do with the larger moral argument of our involvement in WWII, which was to stop the Nazis and Imperial Japan. And the Marshall Plan—the largest “big government” plan in history—happened to work fabulously.

Warfare is a normal byproduct of civilization, despite what intellectuals say about it, and despite whatever fashionable pretensions about such matters they hold at the moment. History shows us that peace is not a normal state, but the absence of war. Peace is the coexistence wrought by understanding of conditions and boundaries. When civilizations have mutual understanding of each others’ conditions and boundaries they coexist; when they do not, there’s war. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the way of the world, and always has been. What history also shows us is that the meek and defenseless become the subjugated, and the first ones shot are always the intellectuals.

Jim Fedako said...

"Books. books, books ..."

You have to love that quote. Kind of like saying, "Don't confuse me with facts. I bought into all that was taught in government-run schools, so don't try to question my myth."

I suggest that Anonymous reread history books to understand the genesis of WWI. But, then again, I have already challenged Anonymous to look beyond the mush he was fed in his youth, so I don't hold out much hope for any further research. He has grown comfortable in his myth, unwilling to question it.

WWI was the extension of the mercantilist policies that still pervade international politics. And, the US continues to be a driving force behind such guarantors of war. The Germans were no more evil than any other country in the years leading to execution of the Schlieffen Plan in 1914 (nor during the war for that matter -- read about Belgium in the Congo to see true evil). It was either Germany declaring war, or the French and/or the Russians doing the same within the year.

Chasing around the globe for colonies and the conquest of areas with natural resources in a world of protectionist policies is bound to lead to general war. Always has, always will.

You have to love the comment about moral victory in Europe. ... a view that throws me for a spin. Somehow, the Nazi's, Fascists, and Imperial Japanese were worse than the communists. It's this logic that leads to the worship of Mao and Che Guervara by the Left and Center, and, it appears that Anonymous also gives a pass to the communists: as if 100 million lives are nothing. But, then again, McCain loves to mention Roosevelt in speeches. Yet, I do not doubt that McCain is another Roosevelt: looking for war, only to sell out to evil in the end.

I don't hear Anonymous rallying for a US invasion of Myanmar, Libya, North Korea, the Congos, etc. He also forgets that al Qaeda and the Taliban are training in Pakistan. Yet, I don't hear him advocate war in either country. Though, I'm certain that if a Republican president sought war, he would run to join the parade and crusade.

I have to question Anonymous: If the Marshall Plan was such a success -- based, it appears, solely on the amount of money spent, then why are the domestic versions such failures. We currently spend more on public education per year than was spent on the Marshall Plan (in inflation-adjusted dollars). But, then again, his comment on its success it telling. Remember, we still have 75,000 troops stationed in Germany (as well as another 40,000 in Japan). Wars are not fought to restore democracy and sovereignty. No, wars are fought for conquest alone.

To worship the Marshall Plan and question the efficiency of today's socials wars (poverty, drugs, etc.), has to be giving Anonymous quite a headache.

Or, maybe he throws off such contradictions by chanting, "Facts, facts, facts ... "

Anonymous said...

LOL. Nice.
"It's this logic that leads to the worship of Mao and Che Guervara by the Left and Center, and, it appears that Anonymous also gives a pass to the communists: as if 100 million lives are nothing."
Who's sticking up for the Communists? (LOL again)

What does the Marshall Plan have to do with domestic "big government"? And are you claiming that our investments in rebuilding Europe were a failure?

And the one about McCain the Warmonger is a bute, too. The guy who spent five years in the Hanoi Hilton is just so eager to wage war....

Fedako--I love ya, bro, but you're all over the place on this one.

Anonymous said...

check it out: if only the same scrutiny was placed on the $400K gift our Superintendent received. The same garbage in DC has the administration in hot water.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070930/METRO/109300051/1001

Jim Fedako said...

Again, if you really believe that the Marshall Plan was a success, you would have to believe -- for consistency sake -- that at least some domestic plans have been successes.

So, which one are they? Education?

Regarding McCain ... let's go back the original post. Yes, McCain wants to run our lives. Not just by his positions, but also his belief that Roosevelt should be emulated.

Once more ... VOTE for RON PAUL!!!

Jim Fedako said...

re: the bonuses ...

The difference here is that the school board, superintendent, and district legal counsel, together, engaged in 1984-ish doublespeak when they created a contract that defines a guaranteed bonus as "at-risk" income.

And, the voters simply go along for the ride.

It's for the kids you know ...

mith said...

"Germany repeatedly violated America's neutral status by, among other provocations, sinking passenger ships and asking Mexico to attack the US."

How is it a violation of the neutral status of the US for German ships to attack British ships, flying British flags, while Britain is at war with Germany?

As for the Zimmermann Telegram, you over-estimate the ability of Mexico to wage war on the US at that point in time. Bear in mind that we had spent the last several years fighting with Mexico, and winning, to the extent that our nation reached all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Do you honestly think that by allying with Germany, Mexico could have somehow altered this?

"Also at stake (and most important) was America’s annual $3B trade with the Allies, which would be threatened should they lose the war."

I don't follow this logic. Are you suggesting that the US should invade countries when private businesses owned by Americans are threatened by wars in other countries? What of the Americans that did business with Germany and Austria?

"Ironically, it was the protection of free market-forces that mostly brought us into WWI, not American hegemony or “militarism”,"

Even more ironic is that we waged war on Germany for doing exactly the same thing we and all of our allies had been doing for, in the case of the US, several decades, and in the case of Britain and France, for centuries.

"What Fedako doesn’t mention about our involvement “extend(ing) the war for another year” is that, Germany would have won had we not entered the war."

And what you've failed to mention is that this is business as usual in the Old World. You've presented no real evidence that Germany would have won the war without US intervention against them. You've also not provided any evidence that, even if it were the case that Germany would have won without US intervention, that this would have somehow impacted the US negatively. How would Germany's victory over France have been any different from France's victory over Germany a few years earlier, or the victor of the various and sundry battles between Britain and France, or Britain's battles with Britain, or France's battles with France over the last thousand or so years? There's a reason America's founders recommended staying out of Europe's political games: they recognized that war was the natural state in Europe, that sooner or later some group of people were going to be killing some other group of people, because that's all they had done for 1500 years. To paraphrase Bismarck himself, the people that are defeated today are the ones that will be seeking revenge tomorrow. We saw this born out in World War II. And as long as we're out there looking enemies to defeat, we're going to continue seeing it born out.

I'm not even going to bother with your asinine statements that peace is merely the absence of war, and war is the natural state of civilization. When you can establish that I'm somehow justified in murdering my neighbors because we have a different understanding of where our yards meet, that statement might bear some consideration.

Anonymous said...

“…$379,690 in bonuses, despite the lack of contracts spelling out the goals and expectations for (his) performance….$122,465 in bonuses, despite not having individual performance plans or employee evaluations.”
“…$89,565 in awards…based on evaluations the employee wrote for (himself). The employee received bonuses between 7 percent and 8 percent of their annual salaries.”
Not knowing the details of this news story from yesterday’s Washington Times you’d swear you had just read Dr. Davis’s revised contract. D.C. government officials are in hot water because $500,000 in bonuses was distributed illegally to 15 employees. In our case it’s $400,000 given to a single employee—with 18 months service, to boot.

Back to Marshall:

"Again, if you really believe that the Marshall Plan was a success, you would have to believe -- for consistency sake -- that at least some domestic plans have been successes.
So, which one are they? Education?"

You cannot equate something like the Marshall Plan with any domestic entitlement program, like Head Start—that’s nonsense. That’s like me insisting that the von Mises Institute and the von Karman Institute are one-in-the-same. They’re both research institutes, right? Supported by scholarship that is grounded in universal truth, right? And they both share Germanic names. But one explores economic theory and the other, fluid dynamics.

To debate the merits of the Marhall Plan is just kooky. The Wiki page on Marshall has it mostly right, but it’s too thin on the fourth paragraph, regarding “…new laissez-faire policies that allowed markets to stabilize through economic growth”. On this point I will comment. WWI was largely caused by, and subsequently destroyed, Europe’s old protectionist trade polices and punitive system of tariffs. FDR recognized this causation and, ten years henceforth, capitalized on the weakened, post WWII state of international trade regimes to restructure the world trade system with GATT. And, in so doing he made international trade an extension of foreign policy, rather than a domestic tax policy matter. He also shifted power over tariffs from Congress, where Free Trade is more likely to be opposed, to the President, who would champion Free Trade as a foreign policy priority. Debate this point as you may, but what is undeniable is that FDR’s actions strengthened international trade and free markets, and institutionalized the tradition of presidential advocacy for Free Trade.

This, to me, is FDRs most positive, lasting legacy. FDR didn’t get the nation behind the War, the nation got FDR behind the War, and, thankfully he let the generals execute it.
It was his (and Cordell Hull’s) boldness on international trade that gained my respect of him.

So, ironically, the grandfather of the Welfare State gave rise to the free market-framework for globalization. Black and white aren’t so black and white, are they?

There’s also the GI Bill. Talk about a horrible government boondoggle. It only created the American middle class and yielded the added benefit of greatly accelerating the erosion of labor unions. Millions of vets who would have otherwise been relegated to lives on the assembly line earned college degrees that allowed them entrance into business, engineering and science, among other white collar professions.

As far as McCain and Newt go…they reference FDR in terms of leadership in wartime. I’ve heard each of them speak dozens of times and I’ve heard the same thing over and over. To insinuate that Gingrich is a “big government” type of guy is absurd. Newt who, unlike Ron Paul, actually proposed to flatline spending on the US Department of Education, NEA, CPB, Medicaid, and other wasteful expenditures, was no Big Government legislator.

Jim Fedako said...

Wow ... the state is your god, with Roosevelt as its high priest.

You are not a conservative, nor are you an Old Guard Republican. You are a statist, plain and simple.

What I still cannot understand, and you still refuse to answer, is why government -- so adept and full of vision with regard to foreign policy -- is such a failure at domestic issues?

How can that be?

In addition, I do not understand the anger toward Dr. Davis within your worldview. Isn't he just another leader guiding the unwashed masses - albeit local masses - toward a Progressive utopia?

You worship Roosevelt for his vision and his willingness to push the boundaries. To be consistent, worship your local officials for the same.

note: You may not be aware of this little point, but anyone can read Wikipedia and quote liberally. That is not a cloke of erudition. Wikipedia is supposed to provide a general background for further reading and research. Read some points of view that challenge your world. Otherwise, I can simply debate myself by clipping Wikipedia paragraphs and posting them as Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I didn't quote anything from Wiki, or any other source, much less "clip" (as if Fedako has cornered the market on original thought and composition). I don't have the time (nor interest) to debate the merits of the Marshall Plan so I checked the Wiki page on it, and it was mostly correct. I pointed out an area that required more depth of discussion and expanded on that.

Having forgotten the name of FDR's SecState, I referenced only the spelling of his name (initially believing it was Hueck).

But thank you for believing the quality of my composition is reference-grade.

How do you arrive at the conclusion that I worship at the heels of FDR? His domestic policies were some of the worst in history, and he's no hero of mine. But one cannot take a sane, contrarian position about his work on international trade, nor deny the positive effect he had on free markets.

I'm not so blinded by ideology to recognize that leaders who may have governed on funamentally flawed logic or wayward principles may also have contributed positively to our nation. While FDR may have been, say, 90% wrong on the issues that means he was right on 10% of them.

Jim Fedako said...

This is really getting old ... but, I'll try once again ...

What I still cannot understand, and you still refuse to answer, is why government -- so adept and full of vision with regard to foreign policy -- is such a failure at domestic issues?

I continue to ask this question expecting an answer. I'm beginning to think that your lack of a response has real meaning.