March 21, 2004

Before the Second Storm

That was the original title to my new Tech Central Station column: Are the Jacksonians Sated?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 21, 2004 09:05 PM
Comments

Great article Michael.

Posted by: FH at March 21, 2004 09:12 PM

Excellent. Just excellent.

Posted by: Mincy Evans at March 21, 2004 09:52 PM

Instead of "pacifist Wilsonians" I prefer the term "pussies."

Posted by: Mikey Likes It at March 21, 2004 10:34 PM

Should we coast along on the Wilsonian momentum from the past, as the Democrats wish to do? Coast along? Felt more like free fall into the abyss, to me...

Posted by: lewy14 at March 21, 2004 11:05 PM

Michael, great article. As a true Wilsonian Neo-con myself, I have always said that Bush was no Neo-con, but a Jacksonian implementing Neo-con policies, tactics and using Neo-con advisors to achieve those ends, because his gut, and Jacksonian sensibilities told him to. I also believe that Bush is no liar and deceiver, but brutally honest if anything. When he said he didn’t believe in nation building he said the truth. He probably still believes this. However this will not keep him from being a nation builder because his Jacksonian instincts inspire him to nation build, and probably would through a third term if he were eligible. I am grateful we had a true Jacksonian in office when 911 occurred. I had also said Jacksonian sensibilities are what dropped a bomb on Hiroshima, and took out Sadaam Hussein in Iraq as well. One minor not necessarily disagreement but point…

Neoconservatives are on the right, but they are neither Jacksonians nor Hamiltonians as one might expect. They are aggressive, hawkish, and forward-thinking Wilsonians. As Woodrow Wilson sent American troops to Europe to make the world safe for democracy, the neoconservatives push to liberalize and democratize the Middle East.

The Democrats, insofar as they have a foreign policy, stress the importance of multilateralism and the United Nations. This, too, is Wilsonian. Though Woodrow Wilson had nothing directly to do with it, the UN was created as a post-World War II improvement on his failed League of Nations that came before it.

I’ll use the terms “Hard Wilsonian” and “Soft Wilsonian”. Neo-cons are Hard Wilsonians and you correctly describe the forward thinking aspect to their foreign policy. Where I disagree is the “neither Jacksonian nor Hamiltonian” unless of course you mean they are flexible to using both as needed, if that is the case than you are more than correct. But as you pointed out the biggest difference between these two types is that when push comes to shove Neo-cons (Hard-Wisonians) are more willing to go Jacksonian whereas Soft-Wilsonian are more apt to go Hamiltonian, and that is one of the reasons why Neo-cons cast their lots with Republicans as they are more apt to put Americas interests first telling a Chirac to go to hell if necessary. Of course it always wasn’t that way, but it is what it is and has become such.

I also believe at this point Bush like Reagan will win the majority of the Jacksonian vote. They (Jacksonians) may decide they would prefer to be isolationist, but Bush will do to Kerry what Nixon did to McGovern, convince Americans that Kerry is not capable of being Jacksonian if necessary, while Bush has already proved he is more than capable, in fact in my opinion one of the truest Jacksonian President’s ever, besides of course Jackson himself. Remember Vietnam was already a pariah of an issue in 1972. The Jacksonian’s have a “just in case” clause built in there hearts, after all he is the Commander and Chief. If Kerry is smart he’ll go economy, economy, and economy and hope gas prices and other economic issues keep Security/Foreign Policy issues of the table. If Bush is smart he will do everything he can about the economy trying to just equalize that issue, but keep the Iraq issue on the table bad or not. Why even if bad? Because that is home field advantage, and all close calls will go his way. People will accept Bush’s explanation no matter how bad the news, way more than Kerry’s finger pointing, blaming and hand wringing, so un-Jacksonian indeed.

Jacksonians can have their minds changed. Ironically Kerry and the Democrats carping over and over about lies, deceptions, missing WMD's is directed at the Jacksonians because if this is or were to prove true their will be hell to pay by Bush, and their has been some traction on this. The danger however is if Bush comes back hard and convinces the Jacksonians these accusations are not only incorrect but ill-willed, Kerry is dead, mark my words.

Posted by: Samuel at March 21, 2004 11:41 PM

They are reactive, not proactive, and they are waiting to see who has the guts to mess with us next.

I haven't noticed anyone waiting. I find little to disagree with in your article but I think you have fallen into the "Jacksonian=Brutish" fallacy. That might come from your political starting point in your younger years (wink, wink).

Jacksonians believe that if force is to be used it should be overwhelming force. If it is worth life and treasure then that life and treasure should be spent in a fashion that will provide the quickest path to a permanent solution. To spend that life and treasure twice would be truly criminal.

That doesn't mean it should be used without careful thought and consideration. Nice article.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at March 22, 2004 04:09 AM

MJT,

Interesting article. Two points. First, as you know, the boundaries between these kinds of ideological categories are imprecise. Given a choice, some may choose "all of the above." I consider myself a neocon-Wilsonian-Jacksonian. Second, I'm not sated.

I'll be sated when the UN is shutdown and replaced by an organization that demands minimum standards of liberal democracy for admittance. I'll be sated when France is kicked out of NATO, isolated and left to face their coming Balkanization on their own. I'll be sated when Yasser Arafat is dead. I'll be sated when the Iranian mullah's are overthrown. I'll be sated when Kim is overthrown.

I'm not sure what to do about the Saudis, Pakistanis and Syrians at this stage.

Posted by: HA at March 22, 2004 04:30 AM

I'll be sated when the Iranian mullah's are overthrown.
Posted by HA at March 22, 2004 04:30 AM
***********************************************
Here's a video to whet your appetite about Iran

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iran/vid22001.html

Free Iran News can be found here.

http://www.activistchat.com/

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at March 22, 2004 05:11 AM

Good job, MT.

HA: I consider myself a neocon-Wilsonian-Jacksonian.

I had the same reaction, only a tension lies in in the point about isolationism. To the extent that, as MT defined them, Jacksonians are isolationist and nonchalant about the Wilsonian foreign democracy project, they're paleocons and can't be neocons. (For example, my paleocon friend was for bombing Iraq, ousting the rats, and then leaving the country penniless to pick up the pieces by itself and adopt whatever political system - he couldn't care less.) But yes, a Wilsonian neocon who supports ruthless destruction of the enemy - this is an attractive position.

Posted by: Jim at March 22, 2004 05:59 AM

Are the Jacksonians Sated?

Excellent article! Instead of democrat/republican parties that don't stand for what they did only 20-30 years ago - we need to establish your four parties!

They would be much more honest breakdowns (honesty & politicians? they'd hate that!)

Jacksonian
Wilsonian
Hamiltonian
Jeffersonian

We should add the communist party (aka DNC & friends like j.carter). It is good to know who your true enemies are.

Posted by: Steplock at March 22, 2004 06:50 AM

I saw the Mead article a few years ago, It was very convincing. I haven't heard much about it since then though, your article is one of the few times that I've heard it mentioned. I wonder why that is?

As to the article itself, I think the only reason that there isn't much of a push towards opening another front is that the Jacksonians know that the US doesn't have the resources immediately available. They don't want to leave Iraq because they dont want to risk it turning into a dicatorship again. They might be reactive but they know not to make things harder for yourself later on. I think that if the US and allies could safely pull out of Iraq, they'd be pushing for a full scale invasion of Iran or Syria. Until then they're hoping that internal pressures get rid of both dictatorships.

Posted by: sam at March 22, 2004 07:21 AM

Steplock, you must remember those 4 labels are for people who feel America is a valid and worthwhile expression of Statehood. I would argue that many of the DNC and friends do not share this opinion.

Posted by: billhedrick at March 22, 2004 08:06 AM

Jim,

But yes, a Wilsonian neocon who supports ruthless destruction of the enemy - this is an attractive position

This tradition also has a namesake. It is the Churchillian tradition:

"In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will."

Posted by: HA at March 22, 2004 09:54 AM

Unfortunately most politicians operate on slightly different principles:

"In defeat: Malice. In victory: revenge"

Posted by: sam at March 22, 2004 10:02 AM

Nicely put, Michael. I came across Meade's article last year via Instapundit and recognized most of myself as a Jacksonian. To be honest, if the Muslim world wanted to turn itself into a mullahcracy but left the rest of us alone, I'd be happy to let them and not waste one American life on them. But that is not the case, is it?

You might find it tiresomely predictable to know that One Worlder Jim Garrison's book America as Empire uses Meade but against Bush. My local Jungian friends in SF (I am that oddest of creatures, an SF Jungian Jacksonian) are in a frisson of ecstasy because this guy called the four styles "archetypes".

I am a gay man who is likely not going to be comfortable in the Jacksonian South, for example, but I am damned glad that this country has actual diversity, not the fake potted-plant diversity of the left, so that in a time of national crisis, I can rely on my ill-tempered fellowcountrymen to do for us what my urbane, sensitive, socially conscious and caring brethren are utterly clueless and self-deceived about.

Here's to Andrew J, warts and all!

Posted by: Stephen at March 22, 2004 10:26 AM

I just remembered something about Jackson, when he was running for president didn't he have something in his platform about banning corporations? He did't like the idea of there not being a single individual with responsiblity for the companies actions. I think the actual quote was something like "neither bodies to kick, nor souls to damn". No wonder the Hamiltonians are generally opposed to Jacksonian policies.

I wonder if any of the anti-outsourcing arguments being made in the US today are influenced by Jacksonian ideas?

Posted by: sam at March 22, 2004 10:34 AM

Quite interesting. Uncritical w.r.t. "Jacksonianism," but once again MJT seems much less responsible for this than Mead.

Here is another take: "jacksonianism" has been a live wire in many so-called civilized countries - only somewhat earlier than in the U.S. It used to be called "nationalism" or (a technical term in France) "chauvinism." It strongly correlated to, among other things, colonial enterprises. And yes, Mead is quite right that it is based on "instincts" rather on reason.

Of course, the good question is why Mead thinks this (j.) is such a virtuous tendency. It is not. The other question is why think of this as a peculiarly American tradition: on the contrary, this was an exquisitely European perversion. Admittedly, its appeal in Europe has nearly vanished -- good riddance, indeed.

Posted by: pierluigi at March 22, 2004 10:42 AM

Pierluigi, it's a fair point that Jacksonianism originally had some unsavory correlations. But I think its meaning in common parlance today has shed them. A person who says he's "Jacksonian" today isn't likely to mean, or be interpreted as meaning, that he favors subjecting innocent people to domination. The essays appear uncritical to you, but they perhaps actually aren't. Jacksonianism, as they mean it, is indeed a virtuous tendency. It is the tendency to crush the wicked as soon as possible.

Posted by: Jim at March 22, 2004 10:59 AM

I don't believe that we're sated yet, Michael. This is the calm in the eye of the storm.

Posted by: Ironbear at March 22, 2004 11:00 AM

pierlugi:

It sounds like you have only a very vague idea of Meade's classifications. You really should read Meade's book -- Jacksonianism isn't nationalism the way you describe it -- Jacksonians can be very isolationist (along with the Jeffersonians). The "empire drive" corresponds more closely to Hamiltonian interests than with Jacksonian ones.

Meade doesn't think Jacksonianism is necessarily a virtuous tendency -- he's merely describing what he sees as a particular strain of foreign policy thought in the U.S., and one that has been particularly understudied in the past.

Posted by: Michael Parker at March 22, 2004 11:05 AM

MJT,

I think the article makes great sense as a way to look at differing reactions to both the war on terror (invasion of Afghanistan, increased law enforcement activity) as well as the invasion of Iraq.

It seems that to get a Jacksonian out of isolationist mode he/she need is a perceived enemy state to label as 1) pure evil and 2) a threat to American citizens. Once achieved, the rest of the reaction is just mind-numbed autopilot. Bombs away.

I think this explains the administrations tortured Kabuki to paint the clearly evil Saddam regime as also a threat to the US. It would seem that in order pound the oddly shaped peg into Jacksonian hole, sometimes the truth is the victim. The move worked but the utter dishonesty involved is now taking its toll on the perpetrators.

Nobody on this thread seems the least bit interested in supporting a US invasion of Saudi Arabia, the nationality of the 9/11 terrorist and their continued source of funding nor Pakistan, the state that has nuculer technology for sale to our sworn enemies. Both represent far greater threats to the US than Iraq and perhaps should have been higher up on the list of priorities but unless we can paint them as pure evil, the Jacksonian case can’t be made and they won’t leave the sidelines.

I haven't read Mead but I am guessing that his analysis didn't take into account an enemy that is essentially stateless. What is a Jacksonian to do? Find a state that you can label as pure evil and attack it even if is nothing to do with our attackers? What then?

If a Jacksonian needs the enemy to be a state, the enemy to be a threat to US civilians, and the enemy to be cast in a black hat, then perhaps this isn’t the time for a Jacksonian to be the leader of our country.

Posted by: g2 at March 22, 2004 11:14 AM

Michael, I will meet you halfway on this one.

You are right that the Jacksonians are sated, in the sense that they aren't demanding action NOW, like during the immediate aftermath of 9/11. I can remember going to a resteraunt with my family on 9/11, and saying excitedly (and probably in a loud voice) that "We need to kick a--! I want to start dropping bombs today!" A group of police officers at the next table had been watching me rant and rave with ill-concealed fascination, and when I said "let's drop some bombs," they all nodded gravely.

So in the sense that Jacksonians aren't calling for the immediate use of force, you are right, we are not sated.

But I think that most Jacksonians (a) realize that much work has yet to be done, and (b) are more than open to the idea of additional war. I certainly am.

If Bush were to call for an invasion of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria -- the Jacksonians would be up for it. Their support wouldn't be automatic -- Jacksonians make their own decisions and will never just blindly follow the President -- but it wouldn't be too difficult to convince us. We still have an appetite for war.

On a related note, if Bush were to call for another war, the Jacksonians would not be receptive to leftist peaceniks. They might have their doubts about the necessity of an invasion of, say, Yemen, but they certainly wouldn't join forces with the International ANSWER types. For this reason, the Jacksonians would grudgingly support most any march to war in the Middle East. Until the left offers an alternative that Jacksonians can live with -- and such an alternative does not appear to be forthcoming -- the Jacksonains will always choose a strong interventionist over a weak isolationist.

Also, Jacksonians know that the threat of terrorism hasn't abated. Just becuase we haven't been attacked for a few years doesn't mean that we won't be hit again in the future (knock wood.) For this reason, I think that Jacksonians see the present as a sort of halftime, rather than the end of the whole game. We're ahead, adn if the other side wants to forefit, we are more than willing to shower up and go home. But if someone blows the whistle, we are more than eager to hit the field and finish the game. We're certainly not willing to consider forefiting ourselves; if the coach were to call for such a thing, we'd quit the team.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at March 22, 2004 11:25 AM

Joe, I think its more of a timeout, rather than half-time.I don't think we are that far in the game yet...

Posted by: FH at March 22, 2004 11:35 AM

For those who want a much more extensive look at the four different core belief systems driving American foreign policy read Walter Russell Mead's Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World. Mead's analysis does a lot better job of explaining current splits than the old left vs. right, Democrats vs. Republicans dichotomies.

Although I don't fit into the Jacksonian mold in many respects I do have a Jacksonian streak running through me on the issue of war and peace. That's why I've done 180 degree turn on George W. Bush (who I voted against in 2000) since 9/11...he's very much a Jacksonian.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at March 22, 2004 11:45 AM

Ahem...

You plan on citing me for any of that stuff about Woodrow Wilson, Michael? You really should. ;)

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 12:23 PM

PS...

And for all those claiming Bush to be a Jacksonian, you may be right. 9/11 did kind of bring out the bad-ass cowboy within (which is a good thing).

But Bush isn't the driving force behind his Administration's foreign policy. The NeoCons are: Mainly Paul Wolfowitz. And if there ever was a Neo-Wilsonian idealist on the Right, it's Paul Wolfowitz.

You can't simply look to Bush as the embodiment of the Bush Administration, and in the words of George Will: "The Bush Administration is serving out Woodrow Wilson's third term."

The "Hard Wilsonians" rule the roost. As a self-describing liberal hawk, I've got no complaints.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 12:34 PM

g2...I think this explains the administrations tortured Kabuki to paint the clearly evil Saddam regime as also a threat to the US...the utter dishonesty involved is now taking its toll on the perpetrators.

Nobody on this thread seems the least bit interested in supporting a US invasion of Saudi Arabia, the nationality of the 9/11 terrorist and their continued source of funding nor Pakistan, the state that has nuculer technology for sale to our sworn enemies.

As you can read in my post above I think Bush will rather easily dispense of this crap. A head of State that puts out a hit on a former President is certainly descriptive of a dangerous regime. I don't recall Saudi Arabia putting out that hit. As far as you and the rest of those who wish to use such arguments to discredit or bring this President down, you will certainly fail.

It reminds me of the recall election in California when the Democrats and Women’s Right's Groups tried to discredit Arnold Swartzenegger for mere accusations that didn't even come close to what was proven about President Clinton. This of course is also an act of the worst type of cynicism. In fact these people could have cared less about Swartznegger’s peccadilloes, but cynically knew the conservatives might and brought it up for that very reason. Well you do the same. All those who say “What about Korea, Saudi Arabia, blah, blah, blah?” When all the Jacksonian’s in their hearts know you would have gone after none of these anyway. Your argument is cynical and so un-Jacksonian that like in the recall, it will backfire.

I read what you say on Pakistan and laugh. We have them fighting in an areas of Pakistan where their military has never ventured before, taking casualties going after Al Queada. Khan the nuclear scientist has been exposed, Libya has cracked and thrown in the towel, Syria and Iran are starting to wear thin, and that is all you have to say? You will be swept aside by a Jacksonian tide my friend, just like I was in 1980, 1984 and 1988 when I voted for Carter, Mondale and Dukakis, I have learned my lesson, you may need more time if there is any hope at all.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 12:49 PM

Grant...But Bush isn't the driving force behind his Administration's foreign policy. The NeoCons are: Mainly Paul Wolfowitz. And if there ever was a Neo-Wilsonian idealist on the Right, it's Paul Wolfowitz.

Grant, that is shallow, I'm sorry. Bush's Jacksonian anger is the driving force my friend. The foreign policy is the vehicle he chose not anyone else, I know you struggle in justifying supporting Bush for President, but please quit minimizing Bush as if he is on the sideline while Wolfowitz, Cheney etc. run the show. A true neo-con like myself would never take such credit away from this President. David Frum himself called Bush’s neo-conism a natural extension of his soul and gut level. I’ll take his word over yours, keep trying. A gut level neo-con is a Jacksonian biased neo-con. As is said earlier. A Hard-Wilsonian when push comes to shove will go Jacksonian, a Soft-Wilsonian will go Hamiltonian. That is why neo-cons are on the right, period.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 01:12 PM

Mr. Totten:

GREAT article. Call me a Jacksonian - but I believe that the core validity of the Bush Doctrine is that it seeks to remove the clear and present danger by implementing a Wilsonian solution.

I accept that the masses of people in the mideast have no voice in the actions of their government. Their religous or political beliefs aside, they cannot bear the responsibility that their masters do, thus we cannot indiscriminately target them. If they declare themselves as willing agents of our destruction by seeking us out, then they can expect the full brunt of our force.

The last three times Islam and the west fought entire regions died. We are in a race to end the cycle before it comes to that this time around.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 22, 2004 01:35 PM

Hi Michael,

Great article. One problem though, John Kerry doesn't fit into your political taxonomy.

He seems to be a classic "Fillmorian" (See Compromise of 1850).

Posted by: bob at March 22, 2004 01:59 PM

Samuel,

“As far as you and the rest of those who wish to use such arguments to discredit or bring this President down, you will certainly fail.”

I am perplexed by the rationalizing and defensiveness that can be done to try to justify the actions of this administration. I do not think that they have done enough to fight our current terror threat to deserve your far-fetched defense.

This whole argument about Iraq is a red herring from both sides. There are lot’s of bad people in this world and many of them want to do harm to the citizens and lifestyle of the United States (Western World) for a variety of reasons. You are certainly more than welcome to disagree but I think the organizations that, like Al Quaeda, derive from radicalized Islam are the greatest threat and the most likely to end up killing someone in my family. I would love to see a comprehensive approach to all of threats (Jihadists, Bathists, North Korea. et al) but I want the greatest focus on the greatest threat.

Iraq is a sideshow and the point that I endeavored to make is the greatest threat to all of us is no longer from a country that can be invaded but from a stateless enemy. If we (US and others) could invade “Al Quaeda”, I think we would and I don’t think any of past US presidents would hesitate to do so.

I am as happy to see Saddam gone as the many Iraqis hoping to soon implement Sharia are. But I am more worried about those that want to implement and export Sharia (Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, et al) than I ever was about Saddam.

I am not sure of the source but I recall the expression “To the man with the hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Invading Afghanistan was a move in the right direction and the Jacksonian persona (as well as the vast majority of US citizens) rightly supported the effort. Iraq took a lot more coaxing to get the public aboard and when first proposed, the public was clearly not in support of the invasion of Iraq, reasons for urgency were needed and trumped up. (Note Rumsfeld’s recent attempts at revisionism about the “imminent threat”.) I don’t think we are going to see that “nail” or anything that can be made to look like it anytime soon.

But there was an imminent threat then, just as there is now. The threat is from groups more welcome in some countries than in others but the threat isn’t from a country. This all strikes me as a situation that calls for leadership and decisive action. If this president or any candidate to take his place is unwilling to take action against our most dangerous enemies or is going to get distracted by issues like Iraq then they don’t deserve my support and they certainly don’t deserve your defense of them.

If this somehow reminds you of California recall politics, I’m not interested.

Posted by: g2 at March 22, 2004 02:19 PM

g2

The way your arguments have a tendency to undermine themselves do remind me of the recall. And I properly referred to what you are doing as carping and offering nothing. And...

The threat is from groups more welcome in some countries than in others but the threat isn’t from a country.

Of course it is from any state that harbors terrorists and Iraq was one of them. Iraq gave Bush the pretext and he took it. Iraq is our “Normandy" or beachhead in the Middle East and we have it. A strategy you may not agree with but I and many others certainly do.

I would love to see a comprehensive approach to all of threats (Jihadists, Bathists, North Korea. et al) but I want the greatest focus on the greatest threat.

We are eating and Elephant on bit at a time and I am glad he gets his advice and will continue to from the neo-cons and not the "strain at a gnat but swallow the camel whole crowd" that you are part of. His plan is comprehensive but rooted in reality and not the comprehensive dream that you describe. You don’t share his vision, fine. But vision he has. Because you don’t see it, is meaningless to those who do.

This all strikes me as a situation that calls for leadership and decisive action.

This President has been decisive, you just don’t agree with him. My advice, vote Kerry, Nader or sit out. I’m happy with the choice of President Bush on these matters, and he is certainly much more decisive than Kerry. Nader maybe not, but Nader is wacko and no-show on this issue as far as I’m concerned.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 02:42 PM

I think you could make the argument that a vast majority of the American people fit this "Jacksonian" mold, Michael...

Most the time they just want to be left the f*** alone in the world (isolationism), but if you piss them off they'll gladly overreact and wipe your country off the face of the earth given the opportunity. There's a pretty solid history of this phenomenon in America (think WWII) and Bush fits the mold, perfectly.

Back in 2000, he attacked Clinton and Gore during the debates as being TOO ambitiously interventionist. Bush advocated a more "humble nation" approach, instead. In essence, he was calling for a peace-time Jacksonian isolationism. (And in doing so, by the way, he lost my vote.)

Samuel, you tell me that Bush's anger is the driving force behind the Administration's foreign policy. It's only the driving force in so much as it creates a vaccum into which the Hard Wilsonian NeoCons can effectively pitch their age-old policies to an angry Jacksonian President. Bush wasn't a Neo-Conservative before 9/11, my friend, he was more of a peace-time Jacksonian realist aligned with the Powell/H.W. camp. I believe, he merely adopted the Hard Wilsonian Neo-Conservative position to meet the needs of his true Jacksonian character in a time of War. If we won the War on Terror tomorrow, I'd be my guess that Bush would quickly revert to the former isolationism. But this is beside the point and I'm getting sidetracked.

The point is to say that we're a staunchly Jacksonian people. Wilsonian interventionism, be it hard or soft, liberal or conservative, has never been the norm. We've never been truly committed to moral interventionism nor have we ever committed ourselves to imperial adventures for any sustainable length of time. Teddy Roosevelt flirted with the imperial side at the turn of the century but it never lasted. Woodrow Wilson flirted with the more humanitarian side 20 years later and the people firmly rejected it, as well.

This pattern of relative isolationism will return, soon enough. As both a hard-and-soft Wilsonian, it irks me to no end to know that the American people can't stomach these type of things for too long. The "return to normalcy" is inevitable.

There's nothing I hate more in politics than calls for a renewed sense of "normalcy". Normalcy is the epitome of conservatism. Why on earth are Democrats acting like conservatives?! Sorry if I rambled.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 04:28 PM

PS...

And I didn't mean to say that we overreacted in World War 2. We didn't. I was simply trying to point out that we stayed out of it, thanks to the Republicans of that era I might add, and ignored what was going on for far too long.

The day that Nazi Germany invaded Poland should have been the day that America declared War on Nazi Germany. That was all I meant: That we have a pretty strong history of ignoring shit in the world until it's too late.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 04:34 PM

Samuel...

George W. Bush:

"The deepest beliefs of our nations set the direction of our foreign policy. We value our own civil rights, so we stand for the human rights of others. We affirm the God-given dignity of every person, so we are moved to action by poverty and oppression and famine and disease...We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings...The last President to stay at Buckingham Palace was an idealist, without question. At a dinner hosted by King George V, in 1918, Woodrow Wilson made a pledge; with typical American understatement, he vowed that right and justice would become the predominant and controlling force in the world...Our part, as free nations, is to ally ourselves with reform, wherever it occurs...It is suggested that the poor, in their daily struggles, care little for self-government. Yet the poor, especially, need the power of democracy to defend themselves against corrupt elites...It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it...We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold...As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found."

When President Bush speaks like this, however, like a true Wilsonian, I have to second guess my Jacksonian assumptions of him. He needs to speak like this more often. The more he does, the more I'm liable to vote for the guy.

For a great article breaking down the differences between liberal interventionism, conservative interventionism, liberal isolationism, and conservative isolationism...you might want to check out the following:

coloquio.com/coloquioonline/0312dewitt.htm

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 05:05 PM

Grant,

thanks to the Republicans of that era I might add, and ignored what was going on for far too long.(referring to WWII)

Ah yes Grant those were the days unfortunately things have changed, the south votes for Republicans and the North votes for Democrats. And yes Republicans now own the Security/Foreign Policy as far as credibility with the public goes. And yes Grant, Bush chose the Neo-cons, not vice versa, something I feel is lost or undervalued many times in your arguments. If you saying…he was calling for a peace-time Jacksonian isolationism. (And in doing so, by the way, he lost my vote.) was as prescient as you claim, you voting for him would not be in doubt. You are a “Soft Wilsonian” because looking at the alternatives would repulse you immediately if you weren’t.

Also as far as…I'd be my guess that Bush would quickly revert to the former isolationism. I predict Bush will not follow the public sentiments back into isolationism but rather dig in and with resolve and pull it back out of them as he is a leader, and that is what a true leader does and will continue to do. He talked us into Iraq, when ready he will do likewise again, like I said he has enough "Hard Wilson" left in his tank to take him through a third term if he were eligible for such. And you are right Jacksonianism is the politics of the Heartland, no doubt about it the others are for the elitists, neo-cons included. There are however variant strains of Jacksonian temperance. In some parts it might lend itself to a more libertarian tendency, and in some parts a more law and order tendency, of course it is always a matter of degrees.

As Stephen rightfully stated above…

I am a gay man who is likely not going to be comfortable in the Jacksonian South, for example, but I am damned glad that this country has actual diversity, not the fake potted-plant diversity of the left, so that in a time of national crisis, I can rely on my ill-tempered fellowcountrymen to do for us what my urbane, sensitive, socially conscious and caring brethren are utterly clueless and self-deceived about.

Yes the Jacksonian South my friend. That flavor of Jacksonianism is the one that rules the day and Reagan “Rust Belt” Democrats will accept this as well. It is patriotic and takes don’t tread on me to higher levels and is the one practiced by this President. I am a Jew, I grew up in Washington D.C., but my father however is from Atlanta and what I will call a “Driving Miss Daisy” Jew for lack of a better phrase. The South’s version is the model being used and it is gentlemanly and tough. It politely asks for legitimate deserved right of way, and if not given apologizes for the actions about to be taken as a result. Action is then taken without regret, and they move forward. My father always demanded of me to be polite, to address people, “Yes Sir” and “Yes Mam”, and did call me “Boy” when he was pissed off. I never called him boy though, I suspect no one better call Bush boy either, as he is still in a Jacksonian mindset. Neoconism is just his weapon of choice and will be as long as he is President.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 05:21 PM

g2 -

"Iraq is a sideshow and the point that I endeavored to make is the greatest threat to all of us is no longer from a country that can be invaded but from a stateless enemy. If we (US and others) could invade “Al Quaeda”, I think we would and I don’t think any of past US presidents would hesitate to do so."

Sideshow? Hardly.

Freeing Iraq, even twelve years late, showed the world that at least ONE member of the UN security council should be taken seriously.

That the rest of that August body continues to be a long-running bad joke is their affair.

The root cause of Islamofascism is the abject failure of the vast majority of predominantly muslim nations to rise above despotism. Period. You can cite historical injustice via colonialism, or proxy wars resulting from the West/Sov friction during the Cold War, but there is no historical precedent of self-government above the tribal level throughout the Arab mideast. Monarchies or dictators, theocracies or secular hellholes, they exist today as victims of their own governments before anybody outside their borders even gets a chance to contribute.

There's plenty of precedent for what happens when ascendant Islam boils out of the region. The vital difference this time around is that the world has changed to the point that not only can the Islamists not compete, their theology cannot survive even behind sealed borders against the attraction western secular civilization so clearly presents to the peoples trapped by the theocrats and dictators.

We have very limited options. The Back-to-the-Caliphate crowd cannot produce flush toilets, telephone systems, or reality TV shows but they CAN buy whatever weapons might come up on the market, and they have plentiful resources with which to shop. Their key strategic consideration seems to be insanity, with a healthy dose of suicidal intent.

What is there to negotiate? What common ground can we propose to meet on? We can't.

What we can do is specifically target those leaders and individuals actively engaged in organizations or regimes bent on harming us. Since that target set leaves out the hostage populations beneath the despots, it makes clear sense that we strive mightily to replace what we destroy with a workable system that we KNOW tends not to produce the conditions that fostered the terrorists in the first place.

The Jackson in me demands clear targets and nothing less than victory as a result of engaging them. The Wilson says clean up afterward properly, so the job doesn't need to be done twice. We save our lives...and give the peoples of the mideast an escape from four thousand years of serfdom.

I think it's worth fighting for.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 22, 2004 05:24 PM

Grant I said...

And yes Grant, Bush chose the Neo-cons, not vice versa, something I feel is lost or undervalued many times in your arguments.

Stick with your 5:05pm post and I permanantly retract this statement.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 05:25 PM

Samuel...

I'm not at all a Soft-Wilsonian, by the way. I'm not entirely 100% a Hard-Wilsonian though, either. I'm just a Wilsonian-Wilsonian, which is what Woodrow Wilson was, which is kinda somewhere in between.

Hard-Wilsonians tend to favor the ends of Wilsonianism more than they do the means, being the means of international cooperation. True Hard-Wilsonians would have supported going into Iraq even if every country in the world had opposed it.

Soft-Wilsonians, on the other hand, are exactly the other way around. To them, international cooperation is slightly more important than making the world safe for democracy. I know alot of Soft-Wilsonians in academia who thought the War in Iraq was a good idea but who inevitably opposed it when the UN refused to sign on.

I happen to favor the means and ends, equally, by the way, and I supported the War as such. I hate the United Nations for what it's become, but I wouldn't want to do away with the ideal. I'd remake and purify the UN as a moral body if I had the power to, if only to make IT more powerful.

The Hard-Wilsonians most prefer armed conflict. The Soft-Wilsonians most prefer diplomacy. Truth is, however, the two are wholly dependent upon one another. Diplomacy won't work if you're not willing to back it up with force and force loses it's effectiveness if you're not willing to seek a peaceful cooperation (when eventually the world unites to strike you back, i.e. the death of the Roman Empire).

At the end of the day, I most prefer diplomacy at the point of gun. It's the best of both worlds. And there you have my foreign policy in a nutshell.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 05:44 PM

Nobody's answered my Taiwan question, by the way.

Samuel...

Do you think that if we threatened to intervene on behalf of Taiwan that China would back down?

We can't keep saying that we're supportive of Taiwan's independence when Taiwan actually starts to act on it and we're suddenly nowhere to be seen. It is extremely bad timing on their part, at least for us I mean, but this flip-flopping bullshit is gonna have to end one way or another.

We can't be truly supportive of their independence if we're only supportive of their independence on our timeline. If they demand independence now and we say "no", that's not support.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 05:54 PM

And, seriously, go read that article I gave you the link to. It's maybe the best goddamned telling of 20th Century political history I've ever read.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 06:10 PM

And it kind of serves as the last and final word on the War in Iraq. Logically flawless.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 06:23 PM

Grant,

We can't keep saying that we're supportive of Taiwan's independence

We're not supportive of their independence. At least not technically. We have a "One-China" policy.

Posted by: HA at March 22, 2004 06:38 PM

"we're not supportive of their independence. at least not technically"...

Technicalities can be a real bitch like that.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 22, 2004 06:51 PM

No Grant, nice try, pure Wilsonian is soft Wilsonian in a modern world, and the default Democratic version.

The Hard-Wilsonians most prefer armed conflict. The Soft-Wilsonians most prefer diplomacy. Truth is, however, the two are wholly dependent upon one another

This just is not true Grant, not at all. Neo-cons are the ones that are wedded to neither. Neo-cons are neo-liberals and prefer free-trade and diplomacy over all else, they will use whatever is useful. Hard-Wilsonian does not imply War-Wilsonian. It does however place more respect on the end goal and is not faint hearted and unlike soft Wilsonians shy from such things, again that is why most are Republicans, the more wavering ones stuck somewhat in softland are New Republic types. There is no such thing as a plain Wilsonian, if one balks at legitimate conflict in the face of multilateral disinterest than they are Soft period. If not they are Hard, period. Maybe Grant you are really a Jacksonian turned Hard-Wilsonian and it is the Jacksonian part that allows acceptance of such things.

A 911 is not needed for a Hard-Wilsonian as diplomacy was already breached. Would you have agreed pre-911 to all the actions of this President post 911, I mean think about it, unilateral, Iraq everything. Well most Republican neo-cons would have, not because they are war-mongers but because all the reasons had been breach and they don’t need a “Jacksonian” fire under their buts to react as they are already hardened. I guess my main point is that War or "prefering-armed conflict" as you put it is not the true difference, it is the willingness to go it alone that is, think about it.

As far as Taiwan is concerned. The neighborhood kid subject to being bullied needs to learn not to antagonize his bully while his enforcer friend at that very moment has his hands full with another bully.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 07:04 PM

TmjUtah: "I think it's worth fighting for".

When will you be leaving to join the fight?

Posted by: flipster at March 22, 2004 07:07 PM

Samuel/TmjUtah,

Ah, the “beachhead in the Middle East” theory.

Q. How do you get a Jacksonian to support a war to create a “beachhead in the Middle East”?

A. You don’t; you make up an imminent threat and hope he/she is too proud to be angry when they find out you lied.

The perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudi and Egyptian nationals bankrolled by Saudi money and as far as I can tell, the Madrasas are flourishing and two and half years after the attack (and one year after the invasion of Iraq), the money continues to flow.

I have a hard time getting all that excited about the “beachhead in the Middle East” as anything other than an over intellectualized symbolic act used to rationalize the countries lack of resolve to directly address those that chose to attack us and those that harbor them.

Furthermore, the law of unintended consequences may well come into play if after June 30th the fundamentalist that were fighting with Saddam end up in control of the “beachhead”.

I get the let’s do something rather than nothing. I get the let’s show people in the region that we are serious. This must be the symbolic war on terrorism. If only we were fighting symbolic terrorism.

Posted by: g2 at March 22, 2004 07:14 PM

TMJUtah, do me a favor don't respond to flipster. Remember the words of John Moore. Don't feed the tools!

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 07:14 PM

G2, what would you have suggested instead of invading Iraq?

Posted by: Jim at March 22, 2004 07:18 PM

Samuel,

Where was this neocon "diplomacy" you talk about during the rush to war predicated on phony charges of WMD's? The UN inspections beforehand found no WMD's, but that didn't phase the neocons, did it? No, this was just another case of a powerful country smiting a pissant. This bunch occupying the White House showed their devotion to diplomacy when they told the UN and millions of people around the world who didn't want this war to fuck off, we're doing it anyway. Very diplomatic indeed. My ass.

Posted by: flipster at March 22, 2004 07:19 PM

Flipster, why don't you read some counterarguments to that old saw? Or if you have, then please paraphrase three of them for us, and show us where they fail.

Posted by: Jim at March 22, 2004 07:31 PM

Tell you what, Jim. Why don't you lay a few counterarguments on me. I got tired of reading the empire builders' propaganda a long time ago, so my memory's a little rusty.

Posted by: flipster at March 22, 2004 07:58 PM

g2

First of all I want to thank you for putting me with TMJUtah as he is one of the posters I most respect. It is you g2 that deceives, first you say...

you make up an imminent threat and hope he/she is too proud to be angry when they find out you lied.

Bush never said imminent threat, he said we will not wait for a threat to become imminent, learn English, or be honest. Either way, get it right. If you think Iraq wasn’t an imminent threat, fine. It still doesn’t argue against this President’s policy because his policy is to not wait until threats become imminent...

the Madrasas are flourishing and two and half years after the attack (and one year after the invasion of Iraq), the money continues to flow.

I have no disagreement here, I’d like all the Madrasas to be shut down. However as usual no alternative strategy or policy given just backbench bomb throwing. Well the back bench is where you are destined to stay until you come up with better...

I have a hard time getting all that excited about the “beachhead in the Middle East” as anything other than an over intellectualized symbolic act used to rationalize the countries lack of resolve to directly address those that chose to attack us and those that harbor them.

If there is a lack of resolve, it isn’t Bush’s fault as he is squeezing all he can out of it. I do believe that if anyone can spark what possible resolve there is, it is President Bush, certainly not Kerry. If anyone can do it this President can. Besides, according to you he duped us once right? I’m sure he can dupe us all again and then you can go through your whole “He Lied!” frustrating sequence again...

Furthermore, the law of unintended consequences may well come into play if after June 30th the fundamentalist that were fighting with Saddam end up in control of the “beachhead”.

First of all the joke is already on us because the law of unintended consequences already rained down upon us on September 11th after a generation of doing nothing. Thank God a Jacksonian occupying the Whitehouse and not the guy I voted for Al Gore. Also how is Saddam going to end up in control of the beachhead????? He’s in jail soon to be executed I assure you...

I get the let’s do something rather than nothing. I get the let’s show people in the region that we are serious. This must be the symbolic war on terrorism. If only we were fighting symbolic terrorism.

Now we see the real truth, you feel Bush is waging a symbolic war. Funny, Uday and Qusay would probably have something to say about that, but they were symbolically killed. Hell maybe you can get a special press pass and interview Sadaam Hussein because as he sits symbolically in prison, maybe you were talking about symbolic control by Saddam after June 30th? But then again none of these were terrorists. Maybe that was a symbolic hit that Sadaam Hussein put on a former President, no harm done, it was all symbolic. Maybe those hundreds of thousands murdered by this man were just symbolically snuffed out right? No harm done. Maybe Mohammed Atef, Osama’s original number two guy killed in Afghanistan can speak symbolically from the dust and testify to the validity of you words as well. Hell maybe Osama can send you one of his back-dated videos and testify that he is strong and in everyone’s face, in a symbolic way of course. Of course this is a symbolic war so why bother?

Well guess what, your arguments are symbolic as well, they symbolize nothing of value other than to remind me why I no longer share your views (yes I once did) . And you have further solidify my resolve to go the way of Zell Miller and Ed Koch and vote for my first Republican ever, George Walker Bush. I thought you would like to read the whole name for symbolic purposes.

Posted by: Samuel at March 22, 2004 08:00 PM

Well, once again I challenge a hawk's bogus assertion, once again I'm ignored. That's okay, though. Samuel and the rest of you Bushites are just solidifying in my mind what I already know. As Jack Nicholson said in "A Few Good Men","You can't handle the truth!" So just keep ignoring me,go to the polls in November and vote for this empty suit masquerading as a great leader and guardian of freedom who is nothing more than a shill for big business and the super-rich at the expense of all the rest of us. I shudder to think what this country, not to mention the world, will look like by 2008 if this leech gets another term. But, of course I'm being overly dramatic here. Dubya will keep protecting the nation he loves so much. Just as he did from January 20 to September 11, 2001...Oops, sorry, I forgot. You're not supposed to talk about that. Please forgive this treasonous transgression.

Posted by: flipster at March 22, 2004 08:38 PM

Samuel,

Back to you solo. I doubt TmjUtah would dissemble like this.

"No terror state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq." - Rumsfeld, Sept 18 2002

OK?

You misread my concern about the future of Iraq but, admittedly, my statement was poorly phrased. The unintended consequence that I am concerned about is the potential that Islamic fundamentalist Ali Sistani (who was fighting against Saddam) may well end up with control of Iraq meaning we will have traded a Bathist regime for an Islamic one.

With regard to the Madrasas, Saudi Arabia would have been second on my list after Afghanistan. I doubt that an invasion would be necessary but I would like to have seen great pressure brought to bear on the Saudi’s to crack down on fundamentalists and their flow of funding. Initial leverage through threats of freezing US held funds, restricted visas, trade embargos, and if need be threats of military intervention. Given the direct relationship of these requests to the actual 9/11 attack, my sense is that we would have been able to bring most of the western world with us in this effort without having to stretch the truth. Iraq would have also been on my list but only after the more immediate threat of Islamists was making progress.

With regard to symbolic action, you choose to completely ignore my point and go off on a neocon fantasy rant rather than address a serious issue. You yourself pointed out earlier this evening that the rational for the invasion was to establish a “beachhead in the Middle East”. Our attackers were real and they weren’t from Iraq and as far we have can tell, have never been to Iraq, and their fundamentalism wouldn’t have been welcomed by the Bathists in Iraq. The 9/11 attackers, US Cole attackers, the initial WTC bombers, the Embassy bombers didn’t need nor want anything from Iraq to carry out their terrorism. Pursuing those that did participate and directly aid and abet our attackers would be fighting a real war or terrorism. Invading Afghanistan was not symbolic and truly disrupted and likely killed some of those that contributed to 9/11. As a target, Iraq had no potential to disrupt or kill anyone who had contributed to 9/11 but other countries that did, like Saudi Arabia have so far barely slapped on the wrist.

Please vote for whomever you’d like. Your “born again” enthusiasm for the right seems to be extrapolated from a bunch of assumptions about what Democratic Presidents did or didn’t do under very different circumstances. You may feel differently but I don’t think that any of our generation of presidents would have hesitated to invade Afghanistan. The question for me is what would be been done next and really what should we be doing now. Getting rid of Saddam is a good thing and may work out well in the end, but it isn’t reducing the ability of Al Qaeda to attack the United States. The right move would be one that does.

Gotta put the kids to bed, thanks for the dialog.

Posted by: g2 at March 22, 2004 09:15 PM

Flipster -

I already served my time.

My war started in 1983. I buried a good friend after Beirut. This war is NOTHING new. Having leadership in place with the will, discipline, and vision to deal with it is.

The Utah National Guard was polite, but had no interest in a former Marine with no ACL in his left knee, not even one with combat experience and extensive NBC/Embarkation/combat arms training. They'd be even less interested after Mrs. Utah had taken a shotgun to the other one, to be honest, but I tried.

The only way I can fight now is to support one of my old units, and keep the arguments at home honest.

I'm not a Bushite. I'm a dad with a family and an extremely clear and personal knowledge of the enemy we face. I am a citizen...that, and the fact I'm an infidel are ALL that are necessary for me and mine to be marked for death.

You, Flip, may go to hell in your own way. Just don't think that because you march under "Bush is Hitler" signs will do you a lick of good when you notice that guy sitting across from you on the bus leap to his feet screaming 'Allah Akhbar!!!' as he trips the detonator on his Semtex jockstrap.

Or when somebody parks a truckload of ammonium nitrate soaked in diesel next to your wife's hospital the day she arrives ready to deliver your son.

Or when a smiling man passes you on the street, carrying a briefcase trickling dust that disappears before it hits the sidewalk.

This war was not Bush's to choose, Flip, and if you had a lick of sense you wouldn't be wasting your time and ours generating your junior high level ad hominem pap. It is Bush's war to win or to loose, but after 9/11 it was never his choice. It is our war, and it is not of our doing.

Read the article again. One aspect of the Jacksonian that is fairly obvious but not mentioned in the piece is that our retaliation is generally limited by the amount of threat directly perceived by the population. If Bush had presumed to fight this war on the 'nuance' model, we'd have already been hit here at home several times since 9/11.

They don't attack because they know our response will be swift and even more terrible and direct than the freeing of two nations we have already accomplished. You never stopped to ask why there haven't been any more Egyptians or Saudis or Paks or Yemenis operating here since 9/11, did you? You think the Saudis and other regimes haven't gotten their confidential note? You think they don't understand implicitly the penalty for allowing terrorists to travel on their state documents, after 9/11?

There are levels upon levels of action under way right now. As I sit here banging on these keys in Utah, there are American servicemen surveilling, capturing, or killing Islamists across a third of the globe. Every day, every night, they go out in harms way so we can sit here and listen to people like you whine because your lack of education and self-centered blindness has left you incapable of dealing with the fact the world isn't behaving to your satisfaction. They go out, and sometimes they don't come back whole or they don't come back at all.

George Bush could have fired missiles at any country he wanted to on September 12th, by acclamation, but he didn't because he's got possibly the most competent cabinet in the history of the presidency AND the most effective military force on the planet with which to plan and execute a strategy for victory.

He also has a nation of free people that depend on him to do the right thing. He takes that seriously, unlike the last occupant of the oval office. There's NOTHING remotely beneficial politically about stepping up to fight world war four, especially when a sizable minority of the country refuses to frame the conflict as anything else but a political situation to be exploited for personal gain.

Three things will kill you on the battlefield, Flip. Poor leadership and stupidity are bad enough, but laziness is the one that you never can beat. Just what will it take for folks like you to engage your brains and understand the stakes? 9/11 could well have killed fifty thousand people. Would that have been enough to impress you? Maybe...but for how long?

Samuel -

I'm not feeding a troll. I'm just scraping something off my shoe.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 22, 2004 09:47 PM

Stephen,

I can rely on my ill-tempered fellowcountrymen to do for us what my urbane, sensitive, socially conscious and caring brethren are utterly clueless and self-deceived about.

Can you rely on them? Your ill-tempered fellowcountrymen are willing to fight and die for something they believe in. If what they believe in is dead, you will no longer be able to rely on them.

Our red state citizens are the ones who serve in the miltary. If the blue state citizens continue to bypass the democratic/federalist process to impose their extreme secularist agenda on the red states through judicial fiat, then there will be nothing left of traditional America to fight for. Most red state citizens will simply opt out. Some may turn their wrath on the blue states citizens who are destroying what the traditionalists love.

Traditionalists will not fight on behalf of a secularist/socialist, Europeanized shadow of America that the left would create. If the left succeeds, they will have to defend their own beast.

It is the most morally conservative portion of society that is most successful in raising children who believe in loyalty and oath-keeping and self-control and self-sacrifice.

And we're tired of being subject to barbarian rules and laws that fight against our civilized values. We're not interested in risking our children's lives to defend a nation that does not defend us.

Who do you think is volunteering for the military to defend America against our enemies? Those who believe in the teachings of politically correct college professors? Or those who believe in the traditional values that the politically correct elite has been so successful in destroying?

Let's take a poll of our volunteer military -- especially those who specialize in combat areas -- and see what civilization it is that they actually volunteered to defend.

Since the politically correct are loudly unwilling to fight or die for their version of America, and they are actively trying to destroy the version of America that traditional Americans are willing to fight or die to defend, just how long will "America" last, once they've driven out the traditional culture?

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html

Posted by: HA at March 23, 2004 03:40 AM

HA,

Very well put and a good partial explanation of why I not only decided to vote for Bush, but in the end change Political Party affiliation as well, even though I personally hold some liberal social positions. It is because conservatives seem to be the most willing to defend the right to hold both. But I also agree that the one sided assault, or in other words the willingness to use non-democratic means to achieve political gains by the liberal-left is certainly disconcerting to say the least.

Though I have no problem with Gay marriage myself, it seems so lost on some even MJT that they will refer to Bush’s Marriage Amendment proposal as an assault on the Constitution and yet see no problem with Roe vs Wade as an extra-constitutional exercise. One federal Judge and a Star Chamber of 9 amending the constitution is about as extra-constitutional as it gets. At least with something as seemingly silly as Prohibition it reflected the total will of the legislatures who people had voted in. And then it was repealed in less than a generation later. We are basically slowly ending up where we would have been with States placing their localized will on the matter. Yet the fallout of Roe vs Wade has lasted longer than a generation and almost creates a Civil War like atmosphere, especially culturally.

I have been accused by many friends and family members of recent months of becoming a Cultural Conservative which I vehemently disagree with. But the truth is that I have become a Conservative about the process in which public policy arguments should be addressed. In other words I have come to believe that conservatives have just as much the right to win political battles as the left, they certainly follow the Constitution better when waging such fights. A proposed Constitutional Amendment is a fair fight and one that will probably lose, but it is fair. Stacking courts with Activist Judges is one of the most harmful assaults on the Constitution. All political gains that thwart and shortcut the Constitutional process is better if kept on the slower more legitimate tracks because of the law of unintended consequences. If that makes me a Cultural Conservative even though I will vehemently argue against Bush proposed Amendment, then so be it. Ironically I do have a Gay brother, and he is the only immediate family member other than myself who will be voting Bush (though he does remain a Democrat), go figure.

Posted by: Samuel at March 23, 2004 07:32 AM

HEY, TMJUtah,

I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO AN ANTIWAR RALLY. I HAVE NEVER MARCHED UNDER A BANNER THAT COMPARED BUSH TO HITLER. I HAVE NEVER EVEN MENTIONED HITLER. YOU DON'T KNOW A GODDAMN THING ABOUT ME EXCEPT THAT I DON'T AGREE WITH YOU. I'M FED UP WITH YOU YAHOOS PISSING ON ME. I CAME HERE LOOKING FOR AN HONEST DEBATE, AND I ALL I'VE GOTTEN WAS TO BE CALLED A TROLL AND COMPARED TO SOMETHING YOU SCRAPE OFF YOUR SHOE. AND THEN YOU'VE GOT THE GALL TO ACCUSE ME OF EXHIBITING A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL MENTALITY???

YOU'RE NOT A BUSHITE? YOUR OWN POSTS PROVE YOU'RE LYING THROUGH YOUR TEETH. ANY HONEST PERSON WHO READS YOUR POSTS CAN SEE YOU PRAISING THIS GUY LIKE HE WAS GOD. GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK.

CAN'T ARGUE WITH YOU ABOUT HOW HORRIBLE IT WOULD BE TO BE AN INNOCENT VICTIM OF A TERRORIST ATTACK, THOUGH. I THINK YOU COULD HAVE ADDED A FEW WORDS ABOUT HOW TERRIBLE IT IS TO BE THE INNOCENT VICTIM OF A "SHOCK & AWE" BOMBING RAID, THOUGH. OH, WELL, I'M SURE IT WAS JUST AN OVERSIGHT.

Posted by: flipster at March 23, 2004 09:47 AM

flipster

I CAME HERE LOOKING FOR AN HONEST DEBATE, AND I ALL I'VE GOTTEN WAS TO BE CALLED A TROLL AND COMPARED TO SOMETHING YOU SCRAPE OFF YOUR SHOE. AND THEN YOU'VE GOT THE GALL TO ACCUSE ME OF EXHIBITING A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL MENTALITY???

You know flipster, I warned him not to feed you as you are a troll, well at least to the same degree that TMJUtah is a Bushite. Again you made no coherent arguments, just rants like a Junior High School kid, I mean I am the Father of three teenagers, and they are better behave than you. You language is disrespectful and that says all to me. I was the one that referred to you as a potential troll, though I did like his reference to him scraping you off his shoe. But here is your biggest problem…

I know that TMJUtah is a conservative he has always admitted so. I however have voted the following, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Clinton, Gore, so I know your mentality. I am sure your sentiments are sincere and arguments can be made with appreciable reasoning to back you view. You have chosen not to do this or maybe are not capable. As an east coast Jew with a very liberal background and pedigree I’m sure I could sympathize. But sound reasoning is not the liberal-lefts way of late, translation… you serve your cause poorly, but since I no longer support your view I leave you to bail yourself out.

Posted by: Samuel at March 23, 2004 10:26 AM

"Getting rid of Saddam is a good thing and may work out well in the end, but it isn?t reducing the ability of Al Qaeda to attack the United States"

Yes, I am sure Pakistan is fighting for us out of the goodness of their Muslim hearts. And Libya and Syria and Iran toning down their support of AQ is just manna from Allah.

Get real. Pretending that the Bush strategy has nothing to do with defeating Al Quedia is getting stale really fast. There is debate if it is working, but pretending that Iraq was REALLY based on oil, coprorations, blah blah bah and not the WoT, is just stupid and either shows 1) how little you understand Bush's strategy or 2) how much you prefer to hate Bush rather than understanding what the fuck is going on.

Posted by: Ex at March 23, 2004 10:43 AM

"The perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudi and Egyptian nationals bankrolled by Saudi money and as far as I can tell, the Madrasas are flourishing and two and half years after the attack (and one year after the invasion of Iraq), the money continues to flow."

They are hardly flourishing. And is your suggestion that the US should have instead invaded Mecca?

Why not instead intimidate hostile regimes by making an example of Iraq, while also then buying our oil from a new moderate US-backed democracy while also eliminating a genocidal dictator, killing a few terrorists and putting our army out of Saudia Arabia and into striking distance of Syria and Iran?

But I suspect is more about HATING BUSH than considering the wider strategy.

Posted by: Ex at March 23, 2004 10:50 AM

Wow.

CAPS.

I guess I've done been told, huh?

Flip, read my last paragraph up above, carefully.

Pull you head out and ask yourself what, to date, alternative policies or strategies have been proposed by the Democrat minority in this country to eliminate the threat of Islamofascist terror.

Go to the U.N.? Did that first. Go back to the U.N., seeking to enforce the U.N. resolutions ending the first Gulf War? Did that, too. Just what purpose does "We hate the ground George Bush walks on" serve when that condition clearly existed before 9/11 ever happened?

Our dead, and the fact that the stated objective of al Qaeda and other like organizations is the end of western civilization were not enough to overcome various economic and political agendas of certain key security council members.

That posture would have effectively ended any meaningful response by any Democrat 'third way' administration, certainly including the freak show lineup that would undoubtedly have comprised Al Gore's cabinet. What, pray tell, are U.S. lives compared to the affection and head patting our Left yearns to receive from The International Community? Never forget that U.S. muslims vote, too, and it wouldn't do to offend them in their enclaves in key states. Clinton went out of his way to make a murdering thug like Yassir Arafat a frequent lodger club memeber at our White House. That certainly reflected an effective investment of U.S. credibility in the high minded search for mideast peace, didn't it?

What were the priorities of the Democrats as far as defending America? Making sure the TSA became just another civil service union vote pool comes to mind...not much else.

Yes, it absolutely was Saudis and Egyptians slitting throats and thumping planes into buildings on 9/11. How many years had we KNOWN that Islamist terrorists originated from those countries yet we still didn't have meaningful immigration resources in place to track them? How tough do you think it was for CIA and FBI to coordinate activities when the very act of doing so was illegal under an act of congress? The legacy of the Church hearings has as much to do with our ill-preparedness as Clinton's final touch of emasculating any chance of our gathering human intel by placing higher background standards on TERRORISTS we might chance to recruit as agents than were enforced on his own cabinet and White House staff.

You frame your mouthfoaming arguments like nothing ever happened before Bush took the oath of office. We don't have to wonder what the difference MIGHT be in responses - the track record is stark and clear. WTC 93, Khobar Towers, the Bush assassanation plot, the African Embassy bombings, the Cole bombing...and we did indeed spend hundreds of millions of dollars on cruise missiles and we did vote for regime change in Iraq and we did declare a war on terror but it was all to little or no effect, or just a gesture with no intent to actually follow up, such as the Clinton declaration.

We arrived at 9/11 mired in two decades worth of inertia. This president assessed the threat, published his doctrine to counter and ultimately END the threat, and our Left has spent the last two and a half years praying we fail so they won't disappear completely from the stage.

As a matter of fact, I do regret the loss of life among non-combatants in Iraq. I also recognise that their sacrifice now is necessary to protect our lives, and to possibly usher in a new era of peace and freedom for their countrymen that has never existed before.

Until they demonstrate the slightest interest in contributing to the solution of the problem, they deserve nothing more than contempt.

BTW, how's that buyer's remorse thing with Kerry? Just think - he has a few more days of vacation then he gets to run for just shy of eight months, standing out there as the personification of the safe loser the Clinton's intended. He's not a danger like Dean was - Dean WAS a true democrat.

Kerry is such a vacuous nonentity not even he knows what he is. What's the frequency, John? He'll make Gore look statesmenlike before this campaign ends. Watch for it.

Get back to your worldpolitik tic-tac-toe board, Flip. Maybe you can come up with something that makes sense next time around.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 23, 2004 11:49 AM

Just so there's no confusion, the fourth paragraph from the end of my last post should have read:

Until they demonstrate the slightest interest in contributing to a solution of the problem of Islamist terror, the Left in this country deserves nothing more than contempt.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 23, 2004 03:28 PM

Ex,

Thanks for suggesting that my points were made because I am stupid.

Thanks for suggesting that the only alternative is that I am blinded by Bush hate.

Thanks for suggesting that I said things that I didn’t say and then criticize what I didn’t say.

Might I suggest at least a partial switch to decaf?

You suggest that Pakistan is cooperating with us because of our show of force in Iraq? Why were they with us before Iraq when we invaded Afghanistan? Perhaps “the goodness of their Muslim hearts?”

What makes you think that the Saudi Madrasas aren’t flourishing? Why are you so unwilling to consider more direct approach to dealing with the Saudis to strike at the core of AQ support?

I appreciate the great faith that you place in the Bush administration’s strategy and as an American, I have to hope that it works also but I am very skeptical that it will for reasons woven into the above thread. (Doesn’t deal enough in the short run with the immediate sources of AQ support; a whole lot of things need to go very right for the “beachhead in the Middle East” to pay off after a staggering investment blood and treasure, the downside of a Islamist Iraq could be a big step backwards, et al).

If you want to make this all about irrational Bush hate and oil, go ahead. For me this is about getting it right.

Posted by: g2 at March 23, 2004 05:20 PM

Wow, Samuel. I hardly know where to begin! We're complete strangers, and yet you have totally grasped every nuance of my psyche! You know that I behave worse than your teenage kids (you couldn't find one person who knows me who would buy that, trust me). You've declared my language disrespectful (I have no idea what you're talking about. I think being called a troll and compared to something you scrape off your shoe is pretty disrespectful, far more disrespectful than anything I've said to anyone on this site). I cast my first ballot for President in 1984 for Walter Mondale: I haven't voted for a Democrat since (though that's going to change this year). So maybe you're not as intuitive as you think you are.

Posted by: flipster at March 23, 2004 06:02 PM

Q2, good work. I hope you choose to comment here in the future (if you don't mind my saying so, MJT).

You're all wrong, but that's beside the point. Actually, it is the point. Good criticism of Bush's foreign policy is hard to find. This is probably simply because Bush is right, but still, a healthy forum needs you, for reasons too obvious to mention. I don't mean to be condescending; next time around, you'll be on the mark, while you're opponents are wrong.

Posted by: Jim at March 23, 2004 06:04 PM

TMJUtah,

It's been said so many times it's gotten very stale, but here it comes again nevertheless:

THERE IS NO ESTABLISHED LINK BETWEEN IRAQ AND THE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON 9/11 (I used the caps again because you enjoyed them so much the last time).

There were no weapons of mass destruction, either.

There are two big lies which were used as the basis for the invasion. Sure, there was some high-minded talk about lack of democracy, rape rooms, mass murder. All that stuff was going on when Saddam was our ally, too. Then, magically, it was suddenly unacceptable behavior which required Saddam's removal. But that extra stuff was just window dressing, the main issues were those two big ones, which were both lies. Of course, Conventional Wisdom has told us it's not about oil or empire building. So what is it? Why are we there?

Posted by: flipster at March 23, 2004 06:24 PM

We are there tactically because Saddam Hussein failed to comply with the U.N. resolutions and armistice agreement pertaining to the end of the first Gulf War. Regime change in Iraq, as official policy of the United States government, predates the Bush administration.

We are there strategically because the only way we can defeat Islamofascism is to remove the root cause of the movement, which is despotism coupled with a cultural failure to coexist with western civilization. That despotism, common to every Islamic state on the planet with the exceptions of Turkey, Bahrain, and Maylasia, combined with Hussein's known links and training of al Qaeda personnell (as testified to by Sec. Powell at the U.N.) and other prominent terrorists placed the Iraq regime squarely under the set of "...or those who support them" as published in the Bush Doctrine.

I regard the WMD issue as open; Kay's final report demonstrated that extensive programs were dormant but ready to be renewed at a moment's notice. As far as stockpiles are concerned, I am still interested to see what may develop as the security situation improves across Iraq. Hussein numbered and indexed the contents of mass graves for decades; strange that he was unable to produce something able to satisfy even the laughable UN standards for documenting the destruction of his inventory after Gulf War One. The Kurds and the Iranians are both aware of his past WMD capability.

We either execute in the manner we successfully did with Germany and Japan, or some fine day we are going to have a city or region die at the hands of terrorists. We will then be forced to stop targeting specific terrorists and regimes that support them, and go back to the way it has been done four times previously.

I am not arguing ethics or morals with you, Flipster. I'm trying to explain the nature of this conflict as it exists, and the stakes that are on the table. The terrorists do not require nor do they recognise any political state. They obtain weapons via transfer of capital, not by building infrastructure. We cannot attack them on point because they are enfolded across a spread of countries that rarely rise above tribalism. They can attack us at will, limited only by the quantity or lethality of weapons they can write checks for...and they have proven over at least the last thirty years that they are more than content to keep on attacking as long as there is one of them left to attack.

There is no common ground to meet on. No points to negotiate. Their victory conditions are defined by the end of our way of life, nothing less. If they COULD live behind their border, I could accept that they have their way of life and I have mine, but that is not the case. I choose not to accept sustained nickel and dime bloodletting punctuated by massacres on the scale of, or even exceeding, 9/11, and I support leadership that will address, and solve, the problem.

Afghanistan and Iraq are battles, just part of a larger war. There will be more before this issue is decided, and we have won.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 23, 2004 11:02 PM

I'm more a small gov't libertarian, outside the 4 traditions (lots of Hamilton?), but I now know what will sate me.
A World Without Dictators.

And then, though even before, the world's gov'ts can start increasing economic growth through a real peace dividend -- and a big reduction in the need for any gov't, anywhere.

Posted by: Tom Grey at March 24, 2004 02:39 AM

Samuel,

in other words the willingness to use non-democratic means to achieve political gains by the liberal-left is certainly disconcerting to say the least.

I couldn't agree more. Even more disturbing than the trend of the courst to usurp legislative authority is the trend to cite foreign law as the basis for rulings:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/nj/taylor2004-03-10.htm

I think that any judge who cites foreign law as a basis for a ruling should be impeached. And any ruling based on foreign law in any way should be thrown out and retried.

Posted by: HA at March 24, 2004 02:43 AM

flipster,

If Saddam had no WMD programs and no ties to Al Qaeda, why does Richard Clarke - yes, that Richard Clarke - claim that Saddam and Al Qaeda teamed up to produce WMD's at the pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan that Clinton bombed in 1998?

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/3/23/221155.shtml

Posted by: HA at March 24, 2004 03:09 AM

flipster,

There were no weapons of mass destruction, either.

Hans Blix says you're a liar.

On chemical weapons:

The document indicates that 13,000 chemical bombs were dropped by the Iraqi Air Force between 1983 and 1988, while Iraq has declared that 19,500 bombs were consumed during this period. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 6,500 bombs. The amount of chemical agent in these bombs would be in the order of about 1,000 tonnes. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for.

On biological weapons:

I note that the quantity of media involved would suffice to produce, for example, about 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/transcripts/blix_012703.html

Posted by: HA at March 24, 2004 03:21 AM

HA: I think that any judge who cites foreign law as a basis for a ruling should be impeached.

I agree. A judge is by definition supposed to decide what's right according to our law and values. If he decides according to some other society's law and values, then he is by definition not doing his job, and he is also attempting to subvert our legal and moral system. Two crimes in one.

Posted by: Jim at March 24, 2004 03:42 AM

Samuel,

It is not just cultural conservatives whose vision of America is dead. Liberals - real liberals not the contemporary Democratic frauds - see it too:

http://www.victorhanson.com/

Something has gone terribly, profoundly wrong in the Democratic party. They are morally and intellectually rotten to the core. If the Democratic party fails to reform - rediscover real liberalism and abandon Euro-socialism - we are headed for serious trouble of epic proportions in this country. And the reverberations will be felt around the world.

Posted by: HA at March 24, 2004 04:10 AM

HA -

I have a long post down near the bottom of Roger L. Simon's thread at

http://rogerlsimon.com/archives/00000798.htm#comments

I registered as a Republican for the first time last night. Judicial activism has been creeping into our political landscape for literally centuries but recent history has shown the practice to be the preferred legislative mechanism of liberals incapable of accomplishing their objectives via public debate and action by elected representatives.

Laws that are imposed by fiat and not the product of public concensus weaken citizens' percieved relationship with government.

The acts that ultimately brought me to the caucus last night were the dictatatorial actions of elected executives over gay marriage; the city council in Oregon that declared THEIR interpetation of their state constitution trumped existing code was the last straw.

I agree, the Left has opened dangerous ground, and must be restrained.

On an aside, HA, your point about who actually fights our wars, and why, is a vital component of our current political landscape.

If we elect Kerry, the Dems will find themselves dealing with a tremendous outmigration of mid career military members departing the ranks; those NCO's and company grade officers that labored along under the last part of the Clinton administration performing meals-on-wheels missions without end are not going to expose themselves to the consequences of a 'nuanced' Leftist PR response to terror.

We can ask them to fight when victory is the objective but they aren't going to 'manage' jack in this era of terror. Mr. Rangel will find his call for a draft coming back to haunt him if he gets what he wants with a Kerry presidency.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 24, 2004 06:19 AM

TMTUtah and HA,

This is my last post on this site (I can here the cheers from here). I do have a couple of parting shots before I go:

TMJ: If Powell had testified in a court of law instead of at the UN, he'd probably be in jail for perjury. He referred to what they told him to say as "bullshit". But I guess the soldier in him felt he had to be loyal to his commander-in-chief, so he went ahead and said it anyway.

HA: On the WMD issue, you claim Hans Blix says I'm a liar. Is that the same Hans Blix who says that Bush & Blair twisted the intelligence in order to make their case for war?

Like I said, I'm through arguing with you guys. I've got other points I could make, but it isn't going to make any impression, so why bother? I've got plenty of better ways to waste my time. Ciao.

Posted by: flipster at March 24, 2004 09:46 AM

flipster,

Is that the same Hans Blix who says that Bush & Blair twisted the intelligence in order to make their case for war?

That is exactly my point. His conclusion doesn't follow from his facts. Its a Hans sequitur.

Posted by: HA at March 24, 2004 06:59 PM

G2

You still haven’t addressed the issues raised about your solution. Would you really have the US invade Mecca? I keep hearing arguments that our invasion of Iraq is only helping terrorist recruitment. (I think that is a short-term problem.) You don’t think an invasion of the home of Mecca wouldn’t make that much worse? The ME was already worried about a US war on Islam prior to the Iraq war and you want to play right into that? That’s why I don’t think Saudi Arabia would have believed it for a second. Plus, I’m pretty sure they could play the “sanction game” back with us with their oil.

You then claim that Iraq would be next. How? You have declared that the reasons for currently invading it are illegitimate. (No WMDs, no terrorist connection) So how would you convince the public and the UN to go to war with Iraq?

Your solution puts all emphasis on the short term and not any on long term. How do you get rid of the cause of Terrorism, which has been noted many times on this thread? If the Saudis play your game they remain in power and nothing changes in the ME. Even then, I think they could find a way to keep one step ahead of us while funding the terrorists. If they don’t then you are forced to invade and I think open a can of worms far bigger than the one we are dealing with in Iraq. Plus Iraq, despite all of its current problems, is much more suited for a democracy then Saudi Arabia therefore a better gamble. (Let’s not pretend your solution couldn’t fail either.) Of course if by US force in Saudi Arabia you don’t mean democratization, than what? How would you use the invasion in a way that is not only a short-term solution?
I believe that Iraq is a much better geographical and political Beach Head. It allows us to eventually pull out of Saudi Arabia and replace their oil with Iraq’s and therefore negate the Saudi’s oil card. It also is a perfect place to put military pressure on Iran and Syria. This will then encourage change within. The Saudi’s will eventually be punished but through political pressure and isolation. We will not need their oil and will have no troops there. Eventually they will be surrounded by democratic Islamic nations. The only means that Mecca should be changed is by fellow Muslims not by a shortsighted US.
Until the ME is democratized terrorism will thrive. That is a long term solution which requires long term thinking, involving the possibility of decades.

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