2004/10/10

Oh No Po Mo!

Via a comment on Roger Simon's blog, I was led to this piece.

The sentence that got my juices flowing was "Your war on terror is like draining the lake to catch the fish." Well, yes. Exactly. By George, I think she's got it. Let's consider: why do we not catch all of the fish today by draining lakes? Answer: because we want to be able to catch some fish tomorrow, and there will be no fish to replenish fish stocks, because there will be no environment in which they can live, if we drain the lake.

So, since we don't want to maintain the world's stock of terrorists, we want to drain the lake, exactly. Sounds like Ulrike instead wants to ensure we don't run out of the (not-so-)scarce resource of terrorists. Maybe I'm just sane, and civilized, but I find myself naturally inclining more toward the camp of those who'd like to see terrorists using terror as a political tool become extinct. Maybe we'll never get there, but I prefer the asymptotic approach to zero over the nurturing of terrorists' lakes to keep our stocks up.

I was going to leave a comment, but I think a fisking is more appropriate.


No deal, September 2004, by Ulrike Guérot
A German foreign policy expert says the US should become postmodern


Well, you know right there she's lost me. First of all, because I have little tolerance for 'experts'. If this broad was a former SecState (German equivalent), or has worked for X years at doing Y, or etc., etc., then let's hear a credential or two. For all we know, her expertise is that she worked on the Oil-for-Palaces-&-Oppression gravy train out of the UN, or maybe she turned her dissertation on deconstruction of the idiom of FP into a book no one's read. Some magazine editor's evaluation of someone they've already decided to publish as an "expert" is distinctly unimpressive in my book.

And don't get me started on the whole postmodrun angle as if it had any relationship to real power and decision-making. Listen, if you want to imagine that you can project any meaning you want onto text and it's as "valid" as any allegedly objective (PoMo mantra 1: nothing is objective) alleged reality (PoMo mantra 2: there is no reality), then smoke a clove cigarette, get a tattoo, and have a blast. Oh, I'd rather you not spend any tax dollars on your idiocy, but I suppose that has to be fought case by case.

But if you want to converse with the big boys about things that empirically affect real (yes, Ulrike, there is reality), real-live life-and-death, then take off the beret, scrub your greasy hair, turn the lights on, and prepare to do some work thinking about facts and other hard stuff that have tangible consequences.

(deep breath) Okay, let me pace myself a little better ...

The new deal proposed by Philip H Gordon (Prospect, July) to help drag transatlantic relations out of their post-Iraq low is too nostalgic.

Are our relations at a low, or have Germany and France dropped off the US's radar since they're so self-evidently On The Other Side? (tmHeWhoBlendsPuppies) I say the latter.

America should be nicer to Europe, he suggests, and then Europe will support America again. But, as David Marquand pointed out in the last issue, the status quo ante will no longer work.

All too true, since (a) we don't want to be nice to "Europe" -- meaning you, Germany, and of course France, (b) we don't trust France and Germany, and you're going to have to earn that trust back, so (c) the former status quo is busted forever.

Sorry d0odz. We're all growed up now. You cried a few crocodile tears after September 11 because you thought it would mean we'd buy into your oh so tragic pomo self-hatred. And indeed, some Americans have. But luckily they're not the ones running things. And don't kid yourself they will be any time soon, either.

We'll be nice. When it suits us. When it's in our interests. Not because we think France and Germany have some mystic Auld Countriye knowledge or insight into what ought to matter to us (but doesn't) or how the whirled ought to work (but doesn't).

You think you know cowboy? Wait till you really absorb what's happening here; get a load of post-terror pragmatism.


How can Europe respect America's special responsibility for global security when large majorities in Europe believe that the way the US handles foreign policy puts them at greater risk?

It is better to be feared than loved. For a modern/classic rendition of this approach in more detail, please see FrankJ. Go ahead, this can wait.


We do not want to provide legitimacy for international actions of which we disapprove. We do not believe in your enforcement of democracy (at least not through regime change) or in the desire to fashion other countries in your image.

All of that is cool by me, since you're essentially irrelevant.

Will we help you in Iraq? We will help an America that returns to the rule of international law, and that ranks "soft power" as high as military power.

Chortle. Well, honey, we'll have to agree to disagree and go our separate ways. Good luck with whatever you're after, as long as you're not in our way. When that happens, though, sparky -- all bets are off. You've decided we're not friends; live with the consequences.

Many Europeans believe that we have a better idea of security.

Many Yurripeons believe some weird stuff. Where's the evidence that you have a better handle on security? I see absolutely none.

Your war on terror is like draining the lake to catch the fish.

You betcha, insha'allah.

Europe is developing a more flexible security system, which stresses collective responsibility rather than just our own interests.

yaaaaaawwwwwwnnnnnn. Pretend I'm from Missouri, and Show Me.

The strength of Europe today is that is has no enemies.

Shirley, you jest.

But if you're serious, then you're in for a rude awakening. Belgium didn't have any enemies but the Germans sure marched in and ruined their day. Oh, I guess that historical nugget has a different connotation for you, Ulrike. No offense.

And if power means getting what you want, then Europe is pretty powerful. Jeremy Rifkin grasps the new mood in his book The European Dream: "The American dream is far too centred on personal material advancement and too little concerned with the broader human welfare to be relevant in a world of increasing risk, diversity and interdependence. It is an old dream, immersed in a frontier mentality... The European dream emphasises sustainable development over unlimited growth... and global co-operation over the unilateral exercise of power."

Wow. That's simply stunning. A book about a dream of Yurrip lectures the US on being too practical? Yeah, we'll sure take that piercing criticism to heart.

Europe, unlike America, does not aspire to western supremacy

Whoa, Nellie. Actually, in our heart of hearts, America aspires to be left the hell alone. Please, kindly, get over yourselves.

- the assumption that there are things we have the right to possess but that we need to keep out of the hands of others.

We want everybody to have democracy, liberty, money to spend, and enough of their own business to take care of to leave them little time or energy to muck about in ours.

This idea is fertile soil for anti-western attitudes and even for terrorism.

Everything seems to be fertile soil for anti-western attitudes and terrorism, at the moment.

The principle of western supremacy seems unlikely to survive the 21st century, but the US is committed to resisting its decline - widening the gulf with Europe in the process.

I've been hearing about the decline of Western Civ (and market economies) for a long, long, long time from Yurripeons. As an Africanist, I've personally been calling Yurrip "the Dying Continent" for a lot longer.

ObUsenet: I'm right, and you're wrong.


Let us take a current example: Iran. You suggest a common, Euro-American carrot and stick approach to prevent the country from getting nuclear weapons. But whatever we do, Iran will do everything in its power to get the bomb.

You sound like John Kerry. Everything should be multi-multi-lateral, as many laterals as imaginable ... except when that's *exactly* the approach we want to take (N. Korea). Then it's, Oh you naive fools, you aren't paying attention to realpolitik.

It feels threatened and it knows that the bomb is the route to real clout as a global player. Rather than thinking about how to keep them in their place, why not take their interests seriously? Nuclear deterrence worked for us for more than 40 years.

Smile when you say "us", you ungrateful bint. And it worked under the American nuclear umbrella because America stationed tons of troops in your misbegotten land and several other places to back up the conventional deterrent as well, and in case you haven't noticed, we're pretty much through with that policy. And it's not likely to "work" with Iran because Iran's mullahcracy is likely to pass their nukes to terrorists, who are -- in case you didn't notice their little oopsie in September of 2001 -- far from unwilling to leap with glee into the philosophy of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Why should it not work in the middle east?

Iran of course would be most likely to use its nukes against a secular democracy emerging nearby (Iraq) or one just a little further away that they think would look better pushed into the sea, but they'll settle for vaporized. I know the New! Europe! (especially the French and German portion of it) is again less shy about its scorn for the Jews, but I really don't think the path to equilibrium is through nuclear war in the Middle East.

Or between India and Pakistan? In any case, we cannot durably prevent proliferation through military force.

You're a little slippery on those pronouns. You can't prevent anything through military force. Israel prevented Iraq from nuclear capacity when Saddam was getting a little too close, and it wasn't with a dozen red roses. We're making double-dog sure of it, there, and I think have an excellent chance of success, which couldn't have remotely begun to happen through Hans Blix and his many blind mice, or your slick-n-greasy sanctions-breaking aid and comfort to Saddam under so-called sanctions. It's beginning to look like the main effect of the sanctions was to ensure that the only people making money were Saddam's hand-picked Beezelbubs, domestic and foreign. You should be so very proud, oh ye of the multilateral, anything-but-military, except when the US wants it, approach.

The US needs to acknowledge that the EU is a state in the making - it will soon have a foreign minister and its own diplomatic service.

Speaking for the US, let me just say, consider yourselve so acknowledged. And speaking for myself, with a hearty guffaw lurking beneath the surface, just how many divisions will your foreign minister and striped-pantsers be mobilizing? Mobilizing effectively?

Yeah. I thought so.

And since Nato can no longer carry transatlantic relations as it did in the cold war,

Translation: since the US is bored with being jerked around by tinpot bureaucrats posturing over increasingly crippled economies that can't even begin to pretend to carry their weight in NATO (all caps, you dillhole), a few rational people in this new "state" of the EU are getting very, very nervous.

Quite rightly so. Too little too late, but quite rightly so. This is Europe, getting up with fleas.


the US and the EU should agree on a treaty that focuses on new spheres of interdependence.

I believe she misspelled "the EU doesn't have a hope in hell of anything better than supine dependence, begging for scraps, but we hope the US won't be so gauche as to mention it." Gosh, sorry, but we're nutbar cowboys, you know. Simple people. And we're tired of bearing all your burdens for a sharp stick in the eye.

The task of the EU is to spend more on security and become more effective;

Good luck with that, guys. No, really. Let us know when you begin to grasp what "effective" means in the modern world. Here's a hint: it looks an awful lot like our effectiveness, and it will continue to look a lot like that (only better) even if you confuse reality with your so-called postmodern world.

the task of the US is to join us in the postmodern world.

Missing the point by several kilometers, Ulrike doesn't understand that they're the ones behind, and when it comes to security there is no PoMo world. No matter how much the EU spends (and they don't remotely have the cash), they'll never catch up -- unless we decide it's in our interests. If we want them to catch up, we could catch them up -- technologically, at least. But no amount of money thrown at this problem is going to create an EU military worth a damn functionally, much less one that the EU (oh so pomo, and with no! enemies!) would ever use.

Internal inconsistency, smug insularity, lack of situational awareness (how many Muslims in Germany? What's their fertility rate? What's their employment rate? What's the social safety net's financial state?), and blame America first. Why, she's practically a Kedwards Democrat.

Ulrike Guérot runs Europe policy at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin

Oh. My. Goodness. This is simply Too Rich. Her expertise is that she wanks away at an organization that I have to guess is built on the US's forward-thinking actions to support rebuilding the political economy systems, infrastructure, and capacity of farkin' Germany after they lost the Second World War they started?

Words fail me. But I do wonder if her pomo sensibilities include any appreciation of that basic civilized concept, irony.

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