23 February 2007

The last gasp of 'Realpolitik'

I link to an article at the RIA news aggregator and their picking up the Russian Novosti article on "Iraq is no Vietnam" on 19 FEB 2oo7 by Yevgeny Satanovsky. I had emailed it out to a few folks and pointed out that there is a line of reasoning here which is startling because it actually does try to address the situation in Iraq. I do disagree with the conclusions of the writer, particularly on the concept of an Iraqi Civil War, but the ability of someone to actually put forth a construction based on the facts of the situation are startling because NO ONE in the Political Elite of the United States wants to do so. So now a Russian comes a long to give us the view from that previous era and how it might be adapted to this one... although the 'Realists' are to blame for the problems of the 21st century, it is interesting that they are trying to cope with it. Or at least one or two of them are when they can get their heads out of the sand.

I will be extracting the article and giving in-line commentary, which is not my usual methodology, but seems appropriate here. For background you may want to peruse my articles on the Unreal 'Realists' , the Faultlines shifting the status quo, Peace in the Middle East checklist, Iraq the Civil War that wasn't and the Dumb Looks on Post-Warism to get an idea of where I am coming from and *why*. As I said I disagree with the conclusions, but this is as close as anyone on the 'Realist' side has gotten to stating the problem. Highlighting will be mine throughout.

Iraq is no Vietnam
19 FEB 2007

MOSCOW. (Yevgeny Satanovsky for RIA Novosti) - U.S. allies and their opponents, American Congressmen and terrorist leaders, professional politicians and ordinary people, journalists and generals are increasingly comparing the war in Iraq with Vietnam.

They are all in the wrong. Iraq is not Vietnam. The situation in Iraq is much worse, and the majority of parallels with the Vietnam war do not apply.

The fact that in Vietnam the Americans were fighting in the jungle, whereas in Iraq they are in the desert or urban areas does not make a difference. Nor is it manifest in the level of arms and technologies, or the changes that took place in the United States over several decades.
Yes in the first three paragraphs, a mere 6 sentences he immediately demolishes the underpinning of the entire set of activists forever caught in the amber of the 1960's-'70s. He is pointing out that fighting an insurgency does not matter where it is fought, but that circumstances surrounding such insurgencies DO matter.
The main difference is that war in Vietnam was not so much between the North and the South, but between the superpowers. The U.S. was fighting the U.S.S.R., and the war reflected the rivalry of modernization models which once belonged to the same civilization. Trade and diplomacy helped alleviate the confrontation and keep it within certain limits. The Vietnam war was part of the big game. Its rules were questionable and its consequences appalling, but the rules were still there.
Here is a vital key to all of those wishing to use Vietnam as the perspective point for Iraq: it was a contest WITHIN civilized paradigms. The US and the USSR had different outlooks on how best to approach the modern world, economics, and freedom, but within the confines of a set of agreed upon Nation State rules of orderly conduct. It could *still* lead to thermonuclear holocaust, but without those rules of conduct, the conflict would have been unconstrained. By both coming from Western traditions, the US and USSR understood that there was a global 'playing field' in which the Cold War was being carried out.

I, also, question the rules that were used, but not in denying them but in their implementation. The US was an economic powerhouse even then, and the USSR was desperately doing anything it could to compete and show capability. To do that its economy stagnated until it no longer grew and started to implode while the US continued economic growth and expansion even while handing 8% of its GDP to non-productive military use. That achievement was a long-term keystone to what was a struggle of 20th century views on modern economics.

Neither the US nor USSR perfectly incorporated those views, but the proposals and their conclusions were done and put forward in the global arena of proxy conflict. Isolationist views of the US then brought much death to those that looked to the US as a bastion of liberty and freedom. The US has suffered the long-term ideological consequences of defeat in Vietnam and has been horribly crippled ideologically since then. The USSR supplied and supported something on the order of 4 complete North Vietnamese armies from soup to nuts and suffered the deep economic damage of that which put the rate of internal rot and corruption so high that the US just had to outlast them. America, however, is still suffering the bleeding of Vietnam to this day and is losing the capability to assert the Universal Rights of Man as an Individual.
The war in Vietnam was not a conflict of civilizations. As distinct from Iraq, the Vietnamese did not kill each other for religious or ethnic reasons. In Iraq, many of those that are opposing the U.S.-British coalition fanatically believe in their mission of protecting the Muslim world against crusaders. Politically correct verbiage is appropriate in Western parliaments, but not in Erbil, Basra, or Baghdad.
Here again this point is absolutely missed by the nay-sayers. Yes, he has just indicted the entire PC movement in a way that should slap them silly. Here is a RUSSIAN decrying PCism!
It was not very difficult for the U.S. to leave Vietnam. South Vietnam lost, and North Vietnam won, but this was a victory of a nation rather than anarchy generated by religious fanaticism. Those who won in Vietnam were not going to continue the war in Europe or the United States. Those who may win in Iraq have opposite intentions, and have proved by deeds that their threats are very real. Of course, the U.S. could withdraw its troops and military advisers from Iraq, and this will mean the end of the war for the U.S. Congress and administration. However, this will mean nothing for those who are fighting America in Iraq, and the West in general.
As a Russian Mr. Satanovsky can be excused for his lack of knowledge on the harm done to the US internally by the Vietnam war. It is a deep ideological wound not one of economics, and those wishing for it to never heal want the US to die due to the lack of ideological vitality.

That said, the 'Realist' conception is not far off the mark, although the people of Laos and Cambodia were *also* part of the withdrawal of US troops, and their Nations suffered for the US lack of will. And in both of those there *were* ethnic rivalries that came to the fore as well as in Vietnam against the Hmong. But that was confined *to* Nations and not seen as a global imperative of Nations across the world. The stark difference between genocidal Nazi Germany and these confined conflicts are clearly seen as there was no attempt to track down entire *peoples* for killing, just remove them from the political class or from individual Nations.

Against radical Islam, there is no breathing space as the Globe is the aim for them and Empire is their credo. And the fights *within* Islam, not only the main sectarian fights, but those between parts of the same sect, are horrific, religious based and with high levels of ethnic adherence. Bosniaks are different from Albanian Muslims, and those differences arise in conflict as has been the situation in Chechnya where a common population is split by sectarian influences. Within and amongst sects are some of the nastiest and bitter infighting seen which the West should be able to identify from the 30 years war. No one is so blasphemous as someone who agrees with you on 95% of everything.

That is what the US is facing, and this next paragraph is telling in the description of things.
The war in Iraq involves everyone. The Iraqis believe that it is a war of insurgents against the occupants; the West believes that it is the war of the coalition forces against the terrorists; a war between Arabs and Kurds; and a war between Kurds and Turkmen. It is also a Shiite-Sunni war, and Iraq is the main front of this war which is unfolding in the entire Muslim world - from Lebanon to Pakistan. The war in Iraq is Sunni strife and Shiite elite clashes; a war between Baath Party proponents and al-Qaeda advocates; local Shiite sheikhs and Iran-oriented quarters; the puppet government's opponents and its few supporters. This is also a war of all these groups against the Christian communities, which will have to leave what has been their homeland for almost two millennia in a couple of years. Family clans are at loggerheads; tribes are locked in mortal combat; and the locals are fighting against all foreigners regardless of where they have come from and what they are doing. This is what the Iraqi war is all about.
Here is yet another stark realization that needs to be made by the US Political Elite: this conflict includes THEM. Yes, Mr. Satanovsky is actually trying to address all that my previous work has pointed out: that there is no clear division of the Middle East and that tribal and ethnic affiliation are more powerful than religion and that religious strife crosses tribes and that cultural strife crosses religion. From Sinai to China, the Empty Quarter to Russia there is NO coherence in the Nations built in the Middle East. And as the place where the majority of all the faultlines of the Middle East run through, Iraq is the #1 place of concern in that region. When it was under authoritarian or despotic rule it was difficult for ANY Nation in the region to not be that way. The Turks have tried, but only by allowing their military to stamp down on these tensions which flow THROUGH Iraq and TO Turkey.

Also note a bit of misdirection: there has been NO conflict between the Kurds and Arabs. There has been between the Turks and Kurds and Persians and Kurds, but not between the Arabs and Kurds. This is a key and critical misrepresentation. And the jab at the democratically elected government, also. Apparently those are easily made into 'puppet regimes' via Nation-wide elections under the scrutiny of outside observers. Strange kind of puppet, that.
In Vietnam, the sides were fighting for control over the country, whereas Iraq has become a territory a long time ago. Not a single conflicting party, including the coalition forces and the Iraqi government, controls this territory. Nobody is able or even seriously claims to control it. Iraq is no longer a country. It is a country-size grey area.
And here is the first bit of problem avoidance by Mr. Satanovsky and it is damned subtle for what he does *not* compare it to, because it was a failure of the Communist ideal: The Balkans. That failure of BOTH parts of Western ideology, the Western European after WWI and the Communist in post-WWII both failed in the one place that is as highly divided as Iraq. Yugoslavia by being its own authoritarian Nation under Tito broke with Stalinist Communism and the USSR, although retaining affiliations with it. It was a pressure cooker with the heat slowly turning up as the Cold War disappeared. And while Vietnam has a long historical record of Empires and such over them, they have been central enough in their region to be a required piece of territory to take over. As for being a Nation, that can only be said to date back to 1802 under French rule and a more modern National conception slowly evolved due to that but it came to an end in 1945 and the Communist revolution. So while they are coherent as a People, do note that they have ethnic affinity and even that did not stop political and social upheaval.

What was not seen is the degradation of inter-tribal affiliation as has been the case in Iraq and the total break-down of structure with the downfall of the Ba'athist regime. Due to the type of regime it *was* and how it operated, and due to previous political problems in Iraq, there has not been a coherent nor stable situation there since its founding post-WWI. And it has not helped things that the actual treaties to end that war were not abided by on the Turkish side and to some degree from Iran, also. In trying to cement temporary gains in non-affiliated ethnic regions, the borders of Nations were dividing Peoples, not bringing them together. Just like Iraq, the Balkans are a 'country-sized grey area'. Unlike Iraq it does not have tens of billions of dollars from petro-revenue flowing through it. I shudder to think of what ethnic Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, Slavs, Slovenes, Bulgarians, Greeks, Croats, Bosniaks, Albanians and such would have done along with the multiple religions crossing through that area. Europe would have had a hard time surviving that, I think, if every radical could get lots of funding for murder and mayhem. As it is one gunman at Sarajevo was more than enough for my taste.
On October 11, 2006, the Iraqi parliament adopted a law on the nation's federative structure, giving the official seal to the division of Iraq into autonomous regions. The majority of experts believe that this decision will lead to its disintegration in the near future. Imam As-Sadr is the most radical Shiite. He thinks it is possible to establish in Iraq an Islamic state on the Iranian pattern. In 2006, the extremist Mujahideen Shura Council reported the formation of an independent Islamic state in the Sunni regions. Kurd and Shiite leaders who control major oil-producing areas support the idea of a federation.
And these autonomous regions are called? Provinces. Here, again, Mr. Satanovsky is unfamiliar with this as a concept and so were, I suspect, most of the folks in the Middle East. There is a large and vast difference between talking about the United States as something other than a Nation and realizing that the internal structure is one that guides the Nation. Differences via locale are allowed, but departure from the Union is not. Common Law is only common amongst those areas that have had long-term affiliation with the Anglosphere, and Iraq has never really had that. Do remember that the then 'majority of experts' also believed that the United States would fail in the 1770's and nearly DID after the Revolution. Coming together to make Federalism *work* is a long and ongoing job and the US is just as likely to fail today as it was in 1787. And with Iraq finally looking to put oil profits out to its People, via the provinces, the ability of any province to shift away from the Nation puts *its* share of the pie at stake.
Does President Bush understand the situation when he talks about his new "strategy"? Probably. In any event, he is prepared to assume responsibility for what is taking place in Iraq, and this is a heavy burden for any politician. Will he follow in the wake of his critics? No way, and not because in this case he will kill his presidency - he has already been called America's worst president of the 20th century. He will not do this because it is pointless. It is one thing to alleviate military defeat, minimize U.S. losses, and reduce the damage done by his actions to the Republican Party. But adopting a decision which will allow for the repetition of September 11 attacks on the U.S. is quite a different thing. Not a single American president can allow this to happen again, certainly not Bush, who has unleashed this war for no reason and conducted it poorly.
Here he does parrot some of the maunderings of the Defeatocrats. The President may ask for war but only Congress may provide it, and then Congress may not point to anyone else in their failure of conception and understanding. Those wishing to say that Congress was lied to need to address that this had happened across two Administrations, multiple Congresses and Congress actually changing hands during that span. One may criticize the conduct of a war upon a President, but the reasoning behind it can only be stated by Congress.

What we are seeing is not the failure of a President, but the bleeding from the ideological wounds of Vietnam now withdrawing legitimacy of the US Federal Republic by no longer holding Congress accountable to anything. A President can put forward Foreign Policy, conduct wars and run the government, but the Congressional rationale for funding and outlook upon such things is guiding. These are checks and balances within the Federal system and Congress is removing its checks and so unbalances the system. When Congress complains that others are the cause of problems that are theirs, whole and entire to direct and solve, the US Public dares not buy into that as it begins the process of destroying the Federal system of government.
In 2006, the U.S. contingent fluctuated between 123,000 and 150,000 officers and men. As of January 1, 2007, the figure stood at about 140,000. The strength of the allied coalition forces went down from 21,000 to 16,500 in 2006. A 21,500-strong new contingent merely makes up for the past year's withdrawal and adds some strength to the U.S. positions in those areas where it suffered the biggest losses - in Baghdad and Anbar province in the west of Iraq, where 30,000 American troops are unable to curb the local insurgents and al-Qaeda militants.

President Bush's "strategy" has nothing to do with real strategy, but makes sense as a tactical step. The Americans will have to redeploy and withdraw to bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Gulf monarchies. By establishing control over oil pipelines, terminals and fields, as well as the embassy district, parliament and the government in Baghdad, they may go away, while retaining their presence. Successful redeployment under fire is only possible after pre-emptive strikes against the enemy. To do this, it is necessary to increase the strength of the troops and build reserves for screening the moving units. These are the ABCs of military art.
Here, again, he does cut to the chase and I do understand this part and agree, in part, as to the rationale behind the change in tactical outlay, but not towards the strategic goal. Americans no longer know the difference between 'problem solving' and 'troubleshooting', thus mistaking one for the other. By not bothering to look at the exact context he is placing this struggle in and then looking at how the US Armed Forces have worked it, he is missing the overall objective of the mission. This is where 'Realists' fall down on strategy: they prefer to make economics the sole and ONLY goal of warfare and National Interest, and so get blind-sided by those things that have nothing to do with economics and take place in realms of National Affairs that are not guided by things monetary. This 'strategy' is pure 'Realpolitik' aimed at some nebulous 'ensuring supplies' while letting everything go to hell elsewhere. This has FAILED repeatedly in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and in the Balkans right there on the doorstep of Europe, not to speak of the ex-Russian Republics now going their own way and not liking the Russian intrusion into their affairs.

By citing all of those lovely ethnic, sectarian, cultural, political and religious differences, Mr. Satanovsky misses that the very things he says the US can 'withdraw to' cross ALL OF THEM. You cannot get any 'peace' or 'stability' along those infrastructure portions without doing something to the rest of the Nation. The surest way to let the entire place be over-run, save for the Kurdish regions, is to retreat in the face of opposition. That gets you bullets in the back faster than anything and, in this case, proves that you cannot *keep* the word given by the Nation to help things get better. That is the non-economic part of things that 'Realists' miss and so decide to fritter away National Sovereignty at the feet of 'economic stability'.

Just don't mind the knife in the back when you run from someone you told you were going to HELP.

Because you deserve it.
What else can the U.S. president do? The civil war in Iraq has become irreversible. The war started in the name of democracy (if we forget about Saddam's fictional nuclear bomb) has brought neither security nor peace to the Iraqi people. They lived better under Saddam's dictatorship. Today, they have electricity for 12 hours a day, and in Baghdad for six to seven hours. Unemployment has reached 70% in some areas. Iraqis are fleeing from their country. About 500,000 to 1 million Iraqi emigrants are in Syria; 500,000 to 700,000 in Jordan; and some 100,000 in Egypt. In the official Iraqi estimate, about 100,000 people left the country every month in 2006; the total number of refugees has surpassed 2 million since 2003. More than 18,000 are doctors, scientists, engineers and teachers. Inside Iraq, more than 500,000 people left their permanent residences and moved to their religious communities' abode.

By the beginning of 2007, the Iraqi communities controlled three out of Iraq's 18 provinces. In 2006, the Iraqi army increased its strength to 119,000 and the police to 199,000. But the majority of Iraqi units are unable to resist the insurgents and terrorists without U.S. army support. The 100,000-strong Peshmerga forces are under the exclusive command of the Kurd leaders.
Here, again, is missed so much from the non-economic side that those trying to put forward 'Realism' have no chance of understanding what warfare means and is using outright lies to put forward a point that is not sustainable or even defensible. Even to the simpletons: who wins in a three sided Civil War when only two sides fight? Side Three. Between Sunni and Shia Arabs who wins? The Kurds. The Joint Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force does *not* put democracy as the reason nor does it even depend overmuch on WMDS. It does see regime change as necessary and critically, it cites the removal of terrorist support and activities as one of the main goals of the entire war. So long as the terrorists keep on coming in, we have to keep killing them. And as to the 'fictional nuclear' program, I would like to hear the Russian FSB special operation that went into Iraq in the weeks prior to the invasion to find out exactly what they were doing, why they were going into various Iraqi industrial sites and why those sites were so 'clean' once the US got there.

Yes, Russia does not escape in this and has things to answer for as the FMSO documents have demonstrated.

Now to address some of the points.

First - Electricity. I looked at that in-depth previously and suffice it to say that 20 years of neglect, conversion of clean and efficient and high maintenance gas turbines to crude oil and the general lack of upkeep outside Baghdad allowed for Baghdad to have electricity while the rest of the surroundings went without. The 'rebuilding' phase will continue until 2015 by all schedules and estimates, and should be able to have replaced the whole damned power grid with something reliable unlike the Soviet era junk that is there now. Also note that Syria has the exact same problem under a DICTATORSHIP and no one wants to mention that they don't get 24/7 electricity there, for some reason. If dictators are so good at this stuff, why can't the Assad regime achieve this? This is a non-point, as far as I can tell, unless this also makes the case for Syria being a failure for never having anyone invade it.

Second - Unemployment rate has skyrocketed... in areas held by insurgents. Do note that before under Saddam not everyone had a job, either, and that most estimates placed unemployment Nation-wide, outside of the Kurdish regions, at 40%+ because the regime would not come clean on statistics. And while I greatly mistrust the unemployment figure from the Central Bank of Iraq a couple of years back, I saw their estimate place it at 11% which just doesn't look right *either*. The rest of their estimates were, however, reasonable and accurate. Selecting areas of poverty and insurgency and then castigating folks for those is disingenuous. Put up the National figure or not. You would think the economic bent of 'Realists' would require them to use actual figures and not cherry picked local estimates, wouldn't you? I don't see this as valid in any way, considering how many Nations have had worse than this and violence and still considered themselves to *be* Nations. Lebanon, for example. And some few South American and African regimes of today still have sky-high unemployment, and a few of those are quite repressive, to boot.

Third - No quibbles, the majority of those leaving are the well educated Sunni Arabs associated with or benefiting from the past regime. Gots a reconciliation plan handy? Because the Sunnis are only learning in the past few months or so that they WILL NOT be in charge in Iraq. The tribes are learning this and taking the fight TO the Ba'athists and al Qaeda in Anbar. That points to a watershed change in Iraq as Sunni Arabs begin to understand their role in the political process. And that total of 2 million is about 8.3% of the population while the US lost 15% to the Crown Colonies after the Revolution and 10% dead during the revolution. Iraq is facing *nothing* like that and is learning what it means to take control of their Nation. That takes time, effort and often there will be those that find themselves on the 'outs' temporarily or permanently. That said some of the cited numbers have been heavily questioned as to their accuracy, especially by Gateway Pundit. Is there a point to this? This is an excuse, not a reason to stop doing what is being done.

Fourth - Three provinces under full Iraqi control at the end of 2006... as compared to ZERO at the start of the year. (Thanks to Gateway Pundit on posting up the MNF graphic!)

End 2006

But this is also UP from just a few months previously as I put down in my post About those incapable Iraqis...

The MNF-Iraq briefing is here.

So, if the Iraqis are so incapable, how come they are controlling more of their country, more completely and allowing MNF forces to redeploy elsewhere? Such things as the recent turnover of full command to an Iraqi Army Division in Basra go unheralded, and yet that continues apace to give the Iraqi Army full and complete capability to operate on their own as they fully stand up and are prepared to do so. And the view of Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV is that by early fall of 2007, Iraqis will have operational control over all provinces. So, somehow I see progress here, not disaster.

Finally, as for the Kurds not fighting anywhere outside of their home territory... why are they fighting in Baghdad? Like in Kadamiyah district as of 13 FEB 2007. And more are coming with 3 Kurdish Brigades coming in to help set things right. This is something that most foreigners do forget: the Arabs have a long memory and they remember a time of greatness... under a Kurd. Guy by the name of Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted thought some much of him. They remember the People who brought forth Saladin. And when the Kurds say that they want to be Iraqis and will fight to keep the Nation together, they mean it. Kurds mean what they say, and the Arabs know and respect that.

Onwards to more of the article!
At the same time, Riyadh and Cairo have called on the U.S. not to speed up troop withdrawal from Iraq. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan believes that the U.S. should draft a schedule for troop withdrawal and reduce the strength of its forces slowly, all the more so since the Kurd militants are creating permanent tensions on the Turkish border with Iraqi Kurdistan. The situation on the border with Iran is not calm either, although Tehran has established relations with both the predominantly Shiite government in Baghdad and the Shiite radicals, whom it is helping train militants and supplying with arms. In 2006, Syria restored diplomatic relations with Iraq after a break of more than 20 years, but blocked the border by stationing a 7,500-strong contingent there.

It seems that all possible mistakes in Iraq have already been made. The U.S. administration and President Bush may still make more mistakes in Iran and Syria, but they will not generate a regional disaster because it has already happened. New wars, or awkward diplomatic moves can only speed it up or slow it down. Time is the only cure for historic mistakes of this dimension. The experience of old colonial empires is of great help, and it says that haste makes waste. There is no sense in rushing troop withdrawal and losing face. It is necessary to come to terms with those who are ready to talk and be tough with those who are not; it is important to forget the cliches of the second half of the 20th century.
Yes, I do find things to quibble with here, too, but do note that even with that an interesting conclusion is drawn. KSA and Egypt both want al Qaeda and its associated groups concentrating on Iraq and not their own Nations, of course, and the Turks split up Kurdistan after WWI, did not keep to the treaties it signed and is the cause of the Kurdish strife in the region. Tehran has been supplying militants since soon after major fighting stopped, and Syria has done its part to keep supply lines open first to the Ba'athists and then to al Qaeda.

But the best part is this Russian thinks it is as bad as it can get! In point of fact there were lots more mistakes that could be made, like installing yet another dictator du jour in the place and letting *it* fester and support terrorists and generally destabilize things there or be so unstable as to cause a fracturing across National boundaries. That can *still* happen, but this way does not make it a near certainty. But even better is to "forget the cliches of the 20th century"!

Yes! The PCism and all the rest of the 'Realpolitik' garbage needs to be put into a dump immediately and the US if not the World has to learn that you do not give those wishing to start an Empire the least means to do so. That is just idiotic and dangerous and will wind up with large fractions of the world's population dead or enslaved. We may agree for different reasons and from different outlooks, but that is a primary thing we must learn.
First and foremost, it is essential to part with the illusion that the world community is capable of effective action. It is no more than a small group of officials, politicians, journalists and international bureaucrats who claim the role of the world government without any grounds.
Yes the UN is useless as are all the other NGO's that wish to make policy all on their lonesome. They have no idea what it means to be held accountable and they, apparently, prefer to remove accountability from their activities so that they may put them forward without being stopped and facing no questions.
It is important to monitor the situation and support the stability of any regional regimes regardless of whether they are democratic or not. Effective quarantine should be established at Iraqi borders. It is necessary to gradually build up relations with those who will take power in Iraq, or the enclaves into which it disintegrates.
I disagree, and heartily. That was the option taken for the Balkans and it has NOT worked. I do not want to give lots of money to folks looking to blow things up, kill people, and act as sectarian tyrants over the world, thank you very much. I do agree on the quarantine on Iraq's borders... but to keep al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Ba'athists and such OUT. But if you like retreat and defeat, this is the 'Realpolitik' way to go, and see if you can get out of the extremely high body count this time around.
This medicine has bitter taste. The reality is unfair, ugly and offensive. It is very far from the infantile attitudes of messianic politicians. But there is no other reality.
That is the problem with the 'Realists': they think reality is one thing and then propose draconian solutions that will only make the situation worse. There is no other reality, indeed that is a truism. But the mistakes of the past 'Realists' have made the world a more dangerous place, less stable and heading towards catastrophe because they put economics and brutal tyrannies to keep things 'stable' over advocating human liberty and freedom.

I thank Mr. Stanovsky for his cogent article, which is far better in the opposition than anything I have read from the US in recent years. I disagree heartily with many points, but also agree on many things... but for wildly different reasons and outlook. Mr. Stanovsky is limited by his background as a Russian and may prefer totalitarian regimes over attempts to help People stand up for self-government.

Personally, I prefer helping folks to stand up on their own, make sure that no one is putting a gun to their heads and then listen to what they need.

And if they need me to leave then, fine and dandy!

But picking up someone from the lion's den and then feeling a few scratches while other lions gnaw on them as an *excuse* to let them be devoured is despicable. And that is where the 'Realists' want us to go.

Perhaps it is time to give Liberty a chance and abjure Despotism forevermore.

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