Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"The New Great Game"

The United States faces two kinds of vulnerabilities in dealing with rogue states such as Pakistan and North Korea. The external and the internal.

External constraints are imposed by the system and prevent or impede us from undertaking certain courses of action. For example we are constrained from eliminating the North Korean problem by dropping 20 nuclear weapons on that country, even though doing so would decisively solve that problem. The reason that we feel constrained from taking what might be an effective course of action is that the resulting effects of such an event would severely degrade our relations with Japan or other places downwind.

Internal constraints include limitations that we have imposed on ourselves with either no external compulsion or a fraudulent collaboration between internal and external actors. An example of that is the abandonment of missile defense systems. The argument that we did it to obtain goodwill from outside parties rings as false as if a left wing municipality arranged to be sued by an outside agency that they had a prior relationship with in order to compel a consent decree that imposes conditions without submitting to the normal legislative process.

If we had engaged on a program of thorough rearmament then Kim and Chavez and Putin would have to recalculate. That would have made the world a safer place. We did the opposite and the world is more dangerous.

Israel attempted to assume the role of protector of the christian community in Lebanon in 1982. That didn't exactly work out. Israel should have annexed Bethlehem when she absorbed the neighboring district of East Jerusalem in 1967. That would have made Israel explicitly the protector of the arab christian communities and would have revolutionized the relationships of all parties with the Vatican and center-right Europeans. The failure to do so was one of those administrative oversights that proves that history is not explainable simply through cartesian logic.

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