Monday, October 19, 2009

... and what if America just shrugged ...

Well predating 9/11, GWB, and all that - I have been a supporter of America's slow, stead, but not complete loosening of its oversight of the gratis training wheels, gutter-bumpers, and Sugar Daddy Goodie Bad access that most of the developed world has become accustomed to over the last 65+ years.

We have gone in debt and they have grown dependent. We should only go where we have to, proactively and unilaterally when we must, overseas. We should not be the world's cost-free police force and low-cost security methadone clinic. We should be your friend and trading partner - not your Daddy or your b1tch.

Our nation was not designed to be an empire or to act like one. We were designed to be a Representative Republic with a mercantile, freedom based culture with a focus on individual freedom - not a collectivist nanny. At best, we should be an example for others to aspire to, but besides that - keep to ourselves unless faced with an existential threat to our nation, or people, or our economy.

We cannot afford, in the long run, to do otherwise. It is natural when such threats to our nation, people and trade such as when Nazism, Communism, or Islamism are on the rise that we should join our friends in opposition and solidarity. If our friends are weak, we should bolster them.

If our friends are lazy or ungrateful; then perhaps we have better things to do with our blood and treasure - as a nation that is weak, not willing to stand for itself, and ungrateful to its friends will never be able to stand on its own in the long run.

If other nations wish to be other things, then so be it. If they expect us to do their work while they do other things with their blood and treasure - then they should go pound sand.

There are good people who desire to do good things - as they define good things. They are convinced that not only are they right, others are required to agree with them. Not content to just lean in with their own effort - they are convinced that they need to have others to do the same. Most of these do not focus on individual effort - no, as collectivists they think of government.

Governments do things through the application of money through various means be it aid, military, or buying jobs. Governments get their money through taxing its citizens, or borrowing money from its citizens' children. When someone asks, or demands, that a government do something - it is asking for a government to use the force the law to take more from its citizens to do something else with that money.

When someone wants your government to spend money - make no mistake, they are asking you to be forced to do something.

Into this issues comes Bono. A nice guy with nice ideas --- but one goofy idea about what the US Government is here on the Earth to do. A typical European, he confused the American Guv'munt with the American People. The American People are great, good, and generous. The US Guv'munt is a bi-polar, inefficient, bloated clutz. He also has only a partial understanding of the American Idea.
In dangerous, clangorous times, the idea of America rings like a bell (see King, M. L., Jr., and Dylan, Bob). It hits a high note and sustains it without wearing on your nerves. (If only we all could.) This was the melody line of the Marshall Plan and it’s resonating again. Why? Because the world sees that America might just hold the keys to solving the three greatest threats we face on this planet: extreme poverty, extreme ideology and extreme climate change. The world senses that America, with renewed global support, might be better placed to defeat this axis of extremism with a new model of foreign policy.
Can we talk to this "World" dude for a moment?

There are not enough printing presses on the planet to print enough of our rapidly diminishing USD, to solve poverty. Poverty is a local issue that derives from poor governance, too much regulation, corruption, individual choices, bad economics, and sectarian violence.

Extreme ideology within a nation will only be defeated by soft power and the desire to be free internally by that nation's people - and if they turn that extremism externally - by the rapid and violent application of military power from the outside. If the people of Iran and other places do not want to be ruled by extremism - then they need to earn their freedom like we did - fight for it. We'll help you - but prove you want it first. If Pakistan wants to avoid becoming like Afghanistan under the Taliban - then fight like you don't. In both cases, Uncle Sam should not be leading the charge while those who live there have the ability to achieve what they want through serious effort.

Extreme climate change? Where is that exactly? Seriously - are we freezing or burning up? I know - both. The Earth's climate has always changed, is changing, and will change. In any event, the USA is 5% of the world's population and only 20% of its GDP - get China and India to get on board, and then we will talk....but get your science right first so we can do a cost benefit analysis about what the impact is or is not. Having the American people unilaterally undermine their competitive edge so you can feel that you are doing something about "climate change" makes about as much sense as asking a family to throw their 12 yr old girl into the volcano to save the village from having to move to the next island.

America's job in the world as a nation is not to handicap itself to let some other people feel good.

To use the Marshall plan in this paragraph also demonstrats a sever lack of objective education - and is just goofy. That plan only came about after Continental Europe was a beaten, worn out, defeated shell of what it once was. It was faced with going in a worse direction as the Soviet Union licked it wounds, digested Eastern Europe and then looked West. The Marshall Plan was 2 out of the 3 Lines of Operation in the post-WWII stability operation (Governance, Development, Security). Give me a break.
It is a strangely unsettling feeling to realize that the largest Navy, the fastest Air Force, the fittest strike force, cannot fully protect us from the ghost that is terrorism .... Asymmetry is the key word from Kabul to Gaza .... Might is not right.
There is no terrorism ghost. It is all over the place. Given how restrained we have been since 2001, of course there isn't full control. If you knew how many attacks have been foiled, you might have a different opinion. If you knew ... but you don't.

You know what would help? If European governments would build up their own navy, air force and army to help out - that would be great. If they would stop hosting extreme Imams - that would be great. If they would stop blunting Israel's attempts to protect itself - that would be great. If they would stop ankle bitting our efforts at every step, that would be great.

Bono then tells us that he just discovered water is wet.
The military man also offered me an equation. Stability = security + development.

In an asymmetrical war, he said, the emphasis had to be on making American foreign policy conform to that formula.
Bono, this is well known in military circles as you know your way around a stage. This. Is. Nothing. New. In almost every interview with a 4-star for the last half decade involved in the Long War this has been repeated if anyone was willing to listen.

While Jones was in Mons, you know who wasn't supporting the efforts in AFG to the degree needed for either a security or development? IRL, FRA, POR, BEL, LUX, AUS, SWE, SWZ, FIN, CZE, SLK, HUN, and a few other "polite European nations."

Bono, you mean well - but we don't live on this planet.
Mr. Obama has put together a team of people who believe in this equation. That includes the general himself, now at the National Security Council; the vice president, a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; the Republican defense secretary; and a secretary of state, someone with a long record of championing the cause of women and girls living in poverty, who is now determined to revolutionize health and agriculture for the world’s poor. And it looks like the bipartisan coalition in Congress that accomplished so much in global development over the past eight years is still holding amid rancor on pretty much everything else. From a development perspective, you couldn’t dream up a better dream team to pursue peace in this way, to rebrand America.

The president said that he considered the peace prize a call to action. And in the fight against extreme poverty, it’s action, not intentions, that counts. That stirring sentence he uttered last month will ring hollow unless he returns to next year’s United Nations summit meeting with a meaningful, inclusive plan, one that gets results for the billion or more people living on less than $1 a day. Difficult. Very difficult. But doable.

The Nobel Peace Prize is the rest of the world saying, “Don’t blow it.”

But that’s not just directed at Mr. Obama. It’s directed at all of us. What the president promised was a “global plan,” not an American plan. The same is true on all the other issues that the Nobel committee cited, from nuclear disarmament to climate change — none of these things will yield to unilateral approaches. They’ll take international cooperation and American leadership.

The president has set himself, and the rest of us, no small task.
I appreciate what you are trying to do with this article, but it ain't working. You expect the USA to be the Big Nanny and Officer Friendly all wrapped up into one. We can't do that - and every time we try, the Eurocrat ankle bitters come at us every time. We have enough problems right now. Just because you have such a good pack mule does not mean you can keep putting sacks on his back and expect the same performance. Our pack is full.

At the end, he does seem to get it - this I mostly agree with - but it seems disconnected from the rest.
That’s why America shouldn’t turn up its national nose at popularity contests. In the same week that Mr. Obama won the Nobel, the United States was ranked as the most admired country in the world, leapfrogging from seventh to the top of the Nation Brands Index survey — the biggest jump any country has ever made. Like the Nobel, this can be written off as meaningless ... a measure of Mr. Obama’s celebrity (and we know what people think of celebrities).

But an America that’s tired of being the world’s policeman, and is too pinched to be the world’s philanthropist, could still be the world’s partner. And you can’t do that without being, well, loved. Here come the letters to the editor, but let me just say it: Americans are like singers — we just a little bit, kind of like to be loved. The British want to be admired; the Russians, feared; the French, envied. (The Irish, we just want to be listened to.) But the idea of America, from the very start, was supposed to be contagious enough to sweep up and enthrall the world.

And it is. The world wants to believe in America again because the world needs to believe in America again. We need your ideas — your idea — at a time when the rest of the world is running out of them.
Our idea and ideal is there. But you, the world, need to take the action on your own. Good googly moogly, the EU has a greater population and GDP than we do. Take some of that money that you have us spend for your defense and do something more with it than pay millions to not work.

I am sorry - but most of the American public does not want to borrow more money from their children just to be popular with the rich, spoiled kids on one side, and the mean snarling bullies on the other side of the international playground. We want to be left alone by large measure and to work with others on issues that are important to both. We don't want to go broke making other people feel good. Is that selfish? No. Look at who gives more to charity on a personal basis worldwide (gov'munt goodies don't count). No, that is the proper function of government.

One more thing Bono. If you want government to do more, why don't you move your HQ back to Ireland and pay the taxes you are avoiding? That way, Ireland can take that money and do nice things with it. That is what you are asking everyone else to do - let their government take more of their hard-earned money to do stuff you want done.

Lead from the front.

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