Saturday, February 07, 2015

50 Shades of Naivete

Let me enjoy the moment of Susan Rice, national security advisor to our very liberal president, describing the Cold War as a struggle against a foe that posed an "existential threat" to America:

“Too often, what's missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective. Yes, there is a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War,” Rice said.

Because during the Cold War, our liberal brethren were more, ah, sympathetic, to our communist Soviet foe that Rice now says was an existential threat.

Rather than being a black and white struggle between good and evil, they saw grey areas of complexity in that struggle.

Some thought we'd lose to their "superior" vision.

Others figured we were no better or worse.

Others said our systems would "converge" (well, after the last 6 years, they may have had a point) .

But few on the left--only those who finally recognized the evil nature of communism--really believed the Soviet Union was a foe and saw them as an existential threat. They became the dread--from the liberal point of view--"neo-cons" (new conservatives).

Funny, Rice doesn't look Neoconish.

This is just one more case of liberals not wanting to face our current threats by pointing to another threat that conveniently doesn't require them to do anything other than what they already want to do (the real threat is climate change!) or by pretending that they supported a war already won (the Cold War!), which proves that they would vigorously oppose an enemy if it was only real or imminent enough.

Hah! Our Left is always looking for Mr. Good War:

Yes indeed, for much of the anti-war side, the war we are in is never as good as the last war we fought or the potential war against the "real" threat we aren't fighting. And that is always true, even of the last war or the next war against the now-potential threat.

Rice's statement that downplays current threats--thus justifying inaction strategic patience is just the formalization of the Obama administration's then-emerging Karma Doctrine (quoting Jonah Goldberg):

When the president tells Putin that he’s on the wrong side of history, the upshot is: “You’re winning right now and there’s nothing I can (or am willing to) do to change that fact. But you know what? In the future, people will say you were wrong.”

The phrase is utterly lacking in feck because it outsources the bulk of the punishment to an abstract future rather than the concrete here and now. But the fecklessness goes deeper than that because people like Putin and Assad either completely disagree about what the future holds or they think they can change it. And the people who try to bend the future to their benefit tend to be the sorts of people who believe they can.

As I commented:

The fact is, the administration knows that relying on the fullness of time to solve international problems at best consigns people to live under tyranny for generations longer than they might otherwise. The administration just likes an excuse for not trying to bend history to our advantage.

This recalls President Carter's claim that we suffered from an "inordinate fear of communism" (I guess he didn't get the Rice memo that the USSR was an existential threat) by vigorously opposing the Soviet Union.

Yes, he said that in the context of expressing a confidence that we'd ultimately win. But this doesn't excuse his statement as really being strong if we get the lighting right and squint.

It was a statement that we really didn't have to do anything now to win. In the fullness of time, the Soviet Union would get what they deserve without us resisting them.

It's the same thing now with this strategic patience nonsense. At least the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan was a cluebat that convinced President Carter to increase defense spending:

History teaches, perhaps, very few clear lessons. But surely one such lesson learned by the world at great cost is that aggression, unopposed, becomes a contagious disease.

Yes, it's come to this. I'm quoting President Carter to complain about our current president. But our current administration seems immune to the clarifying impact of the cluebat.

(And in bonus territory, Carter claimed that our "inordinate" fear of communism led us to support dictators who would oppose the Soviet Union--which is basically the policy our left wants for the Arab world if they will oppose jihadis! Remember, many said Saddam was useful to "contain" Iran. But now that Saddam is gone, President Obama wants Iran to be our partner.)

I just don't trust the Obama administration to defend us. They find a potential partner and think that being tied up is a sign of love. But deep down, they just believe we deserve to be hurt.

Hey, our president did promise Putin more "flexibility" after 2012, after all.