July 6th, 2005


Foreign Affairs at Crooked Timber

Crooked Timber has an interesting debate on foreign affairs going on.

A quick selection:

Mr. Morgan invites his reader to imagine that foreign-based terrorists someday launch large-scale attacks in Europe, and that the United States cannot offer much help, because its own military is bogged down in China or Iraq or elsewhere. Without a unitary state and a unified military, he writes, “there would be little that European leaders could—other than fulminate about U.S. isolationism—do about it.” ... “Europeans need to confront this brutal choice,” the British-born Mr. Morgan says. “Are they going to remain weak and dependent and maintain their decentralized government units, or are they going to try to become players in the world? And if they’re going to become players in the world, they need to centralize. I think presenting that brutal choice is profoundly annoying to both sides of the debate.”;

I don’t buy this particular argument. Suppose terrorists conduct a “large-scale” attack on European soil—and I assume “large-scale” means something like 9/11. Then where does a unified military come in? Is this unified military supposed to go around bombing random countries and torturing random people like the US is doing now? Or what?

If (touch wood! touch wood!) it’s the US that launches a large-scale invasion on Europe, now that’ll be a good reason to 100% unify…I’m not convinced we do depend on the US for defensive purposes. Sure, that’s the party line, but there’s no real evidence that we can rely on them nowadays.
; and

I was at a bizarre conference a few years back where Wes Clark has Joe Ralston, then NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, explain why America needed that silly missile shield thing.

His explanation? It’d be good for Europe. America would be more likely to help Europe in the case of Paris or London being threatened with a nuclear attack if she knew that New York would be safe from retaliation.

Most people in the room realised the implications of that. The mutual defence clause in NATO is meaningless. America’s not a reliable ally, but less a reliable leader of an alliance.

The nuclear umbrella is nothing but a diplomatic fiction.

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Hate: A Liberal Value?

That's the impression I get from watching self-described liberals react to things.

And, as it turns out, I'm not alone. Leftists seem not to be good at expressing their opposition verbally, with reasoned arguments, and so they resort to threats of violence easily.

Still, I know actual wingnuts on the right capable of doing the same thing: but I, and other conservatives I know, criticize them for it, argue with them about it, and insist that they stop.

There seems to be no comparable dynamic to that on the left. I wonder why. Any suggestions?
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News of a Friend

Admiral James Stockdale has died.

He was a mentor in philosophy, whose comments on stoicism were carried out in his own life. There is no higher accolade.

I will lift a glass in his honor this evening at dinner. And, also in his honor, I will enjoy the dinner, remembering, as Epictetus put it, no news affects my moral condition and his is now unchangeable.
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