31 October 2008

Why I am not a fan of 'rightroots'

This article is spurred on by reading a number of authors on the concept of a 'rightroots' to be an equivalent of the Leftist version of the same.  Articles of interest are by Patrick Ruffini and Rick Moran.  I will not take the 'remaking' or 'rebuilding' concept: what has been in the past represented the Nation as it was then, and cannot be 'rebuilt'.  I will take my own tack on this which means that this is not an examination of POLITICS but of CULTURE that creates politics.  It is that difference that must be faced from here on out as the technology, culture and ability to understand how they play out will help to determine what the best response is to the changes that face us.

One of the prime factors in the changing face of politics is the high level of connectedness the modern media offers.  And yet there are prime patterns that can be seen in how individuals cluster to certain basic types of outlook based on their personality, culture, and ideology.  As this is, by and large, not a dichotomous domain, that is not having 'one side or the other' but one of main types with overlapping between them, it is necessary to examine those types and posit what they mean in modern political thought.  I go over the three basic types of associational views in this post: The more things change, the more things become The Village.  And as that is a twist-title, using a term that appears to have one meaning while, in fact, saying something else,I will outline the three main types of interactivity seen on the Internet.  Do note these are not the be-all, end-all of descriptions, but a 'rough and ready' set of guidelines to identify individual interactions when taken in larger clusters.

First is Marshal MacLuhan's 'global village'.  This is the Leftist consideration as Sen. Hillary Clinton used in her less than famous book about things taking a village.  What MacLuhan was getting at, however, is the tribal type of association at small scale interaction finding a lowest common denominator of agreeable concepts within a given, large group.  The worry is that in becoming a 'global village', humanity would revert back to more primitive forms of interaction and ideas, and actually lose some higher orders of reasoning as societal associations in modern interactive media come to the forefront.  On the Internet this is reflected by such things as MySpace, Friendster, hi5, and any other 'social portal' that shifts humanity's interactions to a small set of rationales for interacting.  Early Christianity survived the collapse of the Roman Empire through just such a societal sub-grouping, so that as larger society collapsed this sub-group that had a different organizational outlook and ethos was able to maintain continuity and slowly replace the older Imperial society.  The overall thrust is that this will see the return of things like 'clans' and small scale common agreement communities that are not geographically co-located.  Thus Sen. Clinton invokes the African village as a touchstone, but then changes how to do it to the next major form of network.

Second is Patrick McGoohan's 'The Village'.  This place was demonstrated in the visual media of television and placed at the time of its filming in the 1960's, but evoked a different form of individual interaction moderated and, indeed, controlled by an outlook that placed the needs of any individual below the needs of society, security and social welfare.  To accomplish this an authoritarian control structure is used.  While old fashioned villages were made up of multiple clans and kinsmen, plus other assorted groups with filial connection networks, the first of the villages that gained outside administration by the first Empires experienced a shift away from local societal support to a support based on outside ideals that were impressed upon the population.  This form of control system became the basis for States and Nations, and is a centralizing force in human relationships.  Only at the outside, ruling levels, do such things as associational networks supply any input into ideology, and those limited views are then impressed upon a broader society.  When Sen. Clinton calls for everyone to just take care of everyone else and call the State organs if something is going wrong, that is NOT an African village but a top-down control structure requiring a high degree of personal espionage to support it.  And that espionage is *willing* as the rewards for showing social wrong are high, the risks to mis-reporting minimal... unless you are the one being mis-reported, then your life is made a living hell.  McGoohan's view of how a relatively high tech society would do this was pretty plain: espionage (across the full spectrum of life, from mere mechanical espionage to willing spies), 'nice' enforcement of the laws (where things are done to you 'for your own good') and a depersonalization of individuals within society (everyone is known by their number, all numbers are equal, but some numbers are more equal than others).  It must be noted that 'control' need not be a directly stated or performed concept, as it can become an agreed-upon, unstated ethos that everyone abides by and then individuals root out others who do not conform to this.  On the Internet this can be seen at such sites as dKos, DU, DD and a number of other sites that place conformance of ideology above personal liberty and freedom.  John Fonte describes this as Transnational Progressivism, examines how it is at odds with Liberal Democracy, and, that like Socialism before it, there is a Transnational Right that forms up another 'wing' of Transnationalism.  These concepts of ruling are ones that see group affiliation and placement of individuals at birth as primary and, indeed, the only necessary determinants on what one is allowed to do in society.  These are inherently anti-liberal forms of thought that depend on such things as racial and ethnic identity as prime movers for governing and that rights are apportioned out by an Elite class that oversees who is superior to others and determines the various pecking orders within society.

The third form is not a central structure based concept, but one that arose in the wake of other, previous, central control concepts wiping out a good part of Europe by enforcing religious and cultural divisions as guided by an Elite ruling class and not taking local control domains into consideration.  What would come out of that is the recognition that liberty and rights are NOT attached to race, religion or ethnic background but held by individuals.  That is old-fashioned Liberalism that depends on human liberty and the rights of individuals to guide society with minimal oversight by government.  This encompasses many previous ideas of States and Nations, thus utilizing Westphalian concepts of religious tolerance to allow individuals their own space and cognizance to worship as they please.  That would be broadened from the original three religious orders (Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism) and be incorporated into a larger conceptual space of what individuals were to do as part of society and what society could and could not do to the individual based on those areas of belief.  Older forms of this also arrived by Nations that had a high degree of village structure with local democratic means and those forms of local democracy carried up to the highest levels of rulership so, as one Scandinavian monarch has said 'The King is not above the Law'.  Fused together this concept of Common Law and Religious Tolerance would spawn Individualism supported by Liberty: liberalism.  Modern day 'liberals' have moved to the McGoohan form thought and drifted away from the purity of Rights of Man as an Individual conceptions of it.  Under Individualism a good culture arises out of good activities of individuals, those are reflected in common laws that do not discriminate in purely personal venues, but apply Just means to punish individuals for acts that wantonly kill members of society, that go outside common practices of accountability and turn criminal, and that corrode and debase the common agreement to live together in 'more perfect Unity' while abiding that culture cannot and should not be pressed down from government but built up by individuals.  In the Internet this is the form of free-floating self-identification with small clusters around similar themes like FreeRepublic (although it also has tended towards authoritarian venues, but still tries to adhere to the established ethos), and other things such as 'list links', 'web rings' and blogging communities.


As noted none of these areas are purely mutually exclusive due to the way the Internet is set up as a flat point to point protocol structure.  That flat structure allows these larger systems to be built on it, but does not mandate any actual form of any structure, save that it adhere to the common means of intercommunication by TCP/IP.  If society depends upon the environment, then the flat structure IS the environment for enabling these social group types to exist in the form they are in.

There are defects to these basic outlooks: MacLuhan did not foresee the 'democratizing' of the microchip and the ability to make video yet another way of common communication amongst individuals, McGoohan did not posit an environment that was uncontrolled although that it would become controlled by the ruling status group, and Liberalism did not encompass that the extreme expression of it in France would lead to overall social decay and disorder when all ruling forms of government were discredited and thus garner a huge civil death toll as the rule of the mob was put in place, not democratic means.

Politically these are interacting realms, although the ability of modern Leftists to garner a galvanizing force via social association sites has not gone over well: there is no uprising in MySpace, say, to make it a new haven of Leftist attitudes, nor is there a mass movement in Friendster to start eliminating those that have political views that do not accord to some elitist view of the world.  That is not for lack of trying, but it is for lack of understanding that the older, elitist view of society that is being espoused has a non-identicality with what individuals see in their daily lives.  What can flourish in the hot house cultures of academia, MSM and 'activist' groups does NOT well fit the overall condition of society nor the world.  If anything the people in such social spaces organize into self-identified groups that cross all previous lines of geography, society and culture.  Enforced 'openness' and 'anti-discrimination' turns into closed cliques that are highly discriminatory, and no one can force you to join one.  By setting up a standard that makes no sense for individuals to flock to it, the people who do come to those things are ones already aligned to them: there is no great message to hand out and gain further adherents.  MacLuhan trumps McGoohan via the use of individual liberty and freedom to associate by and large.  Even worse is that if a ruling ethos does come to take over such a site, then its members just may flock *elsewhere* and form a *new* social based organizing structure that is immune to how the first one is taken over by a common agreement system amongst all users.  That is part of why we have so many different social group portals and sites: folks get fed up with the administrative rules of one and move to another, and the gaming community is more than willing to do that with its extended clan system so that members can retain their clan status even when moving from one site to another.

The Totalitarian response to this use of personal liberty to create culture is to attempt a take-over of government which would have the means of communication under its purview.  Every Totalitarian State does this, as it ensures that only the 'approved' messages get out:  USSR, People's Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  These are all Nations that are trying hard, past and present, to filter what people in their societies see, what they hear and, ultimately, what they think.  The USSR and its immediate satellite States collapsed due to the inherent stagnation and inefficiencies that go with this credo of rulership, China has tried 'liberalizing' while still maintaining an iron fist and has found that even such areas as talking about sexual activity soon starts to be used to hit the ruling elite structure.  Even worse for the Totalitarian outlook is that the ubiquity of computing and flat communication infrastructure becomes nearly impossible to prevent communications from going through obstacles.  Like the Great Wall, the Great Firewall of China has areas it can't cover, pre-existing tunnels under it and is incapable of controlling the vast array of cheap, modern communications devices that allow for the fast promulgation of information across disparate networks of computers, cell phones, pagers, PDAs, personal music devices, and so on.  Still, if the ruling elite had control of the majority of comms worldwide, a general stifling of thought could take place, and utilizing 'softer' forms of social recrimination like 'Politically Correct' speech codes is a start in getting individuals used to elite mandates on what is and is not acceptable in the realm of speech and thought according to that elite group.

That leaves us with the modern political Right that still looks to the ideals of Individualism and the Rights of Man as an Individual, able to practice liberty with freedom and create a better society in doing so.  Normally this has been called 'Conservatism' but now finds disparate groups that no longer fit under the 20th century 'Conservative' and 'Liberal' dichotomy coexisting in the same thought space:  traditional Conservatives supporting that limited government leads to the greatest liberty to create one's own way in life and contribute to society, and the Jacksonian concept that society is a necessary part of culture but that society cannot and should not seek the means of government to dictate social form to the people.  One of the great lessons of Christianity that is not a biblical teaching, is that its community based view held that individual self-restraint was important in life, even as the pagan societies collapsed into debauchery.  In an era when so many want to hand excessive amounts of freedom to government to dictate social forms to society, it is those who want as little government as possible and massive self-restraint of those running for office that now form a coherent voting concern on the Right.  That is no longer the old 'Conservative' venue of Religious, Fiscal and Security: it is one of Society that is supported by individuals holding Government down to the few things it *must* do to protect our society and make sure it does them *well* and doesn't try to do one thing more than those few things.

When we hear the bemoaning that there is no Conservative echo chamber like dKos, DU or DD, most Conservatives smile and say: 'Damned right, we don't need no stinking misguided group-think to tell ME what to do'.   That really does hurt some of the old Conservative Coalition - those who see interpersonal relationships as one between themselves and their Creator and the separate social contract as two separate areas cannot come to common agreement under the old Conservative banner.  The older banner of individualism and personal liberty puts forward that if you are so worried about the sanctity of marriage, then demonstrate that by leading a good and upstanding married life and being a scion of your community by doing so.

So what can be done to counter the tribalist and totalitarian trends of these societies, often while addressing their concerns but demonstrating that liberty and freedom are answers, not solutions, to the ills of mankind?


First and foremost the two party structure has demonstrated that it is ill suited to represent diverse peoples.  The attempts to explain why parties that can 'co-opt' plans are necessary to prevent fragmentation of politics has been put forward as a 'good thing'.  A 'solid party line' to keep 'the other party in check' posits that these two parties are mutually exclusive, and yet we have seen that they trend towards commonality due to the fact that those elected forevermore by being Incumbents see much more affinity for EACH OTHER than they do with the general populace.  This is not a new problem, but the best summation was done from the Anti-Federalist view (and that is a poor proposition for the types of criticisms of the Constitution as not all were 'anti-federalist' in nature) by Brutus in Brutus No. 4 on 29 NOV 1787:

In order for the people safely to repose themselves on their rulers, they should not only be of their own choice. But it is requisite they should be acquainted with their abilities to manage the public concerns with wisdom. They should be satisfied that those who represent them are men of integrity, who will pursue the good of the community with fidelity; and will not be turned aside from their duty by private interest, or corrupted by undue influence; and that they will have such a zeal for the good of those whom they represent, as to excite them to be diligent in their service; but it is impossible the people of the United States should have sufficient knowledge of their representatives, when the numbers are so few, to acquire any rational satisfaction on either of these points. The people of this state will have very little acquaintance with those who may be chosen to represent them; a great part of them will, probably, not know the characters of their own members, much less that of a majority of those who will compose the foederal assembly; they will consist of men, whose names they have never heard, and whose talents and regard for the public good, they are total strangers to; and they will have no persons so immediately of their choice so near them, of their neighbours and of their own rank in life, that they can feel themselves secure in trusting their interests in their hands. The representatives of the people cannot, as they now do, after they have passed laws, mix with the people, and explain to them the motives which induced the adoption of any measure, point out its utility, and remove objections or silence unreasonable clamours against it. — The number will be so small that but a very few of the most sensible and respectable yeomanry of the country can ever have any knowledge of them: being so far removed from the people, their station will be elevated and important, and they will be considered as ambitious and designing. They will not be viewed by the people as part of themselves, but as a body distinct from them, and having separate interests to pursue; the consequence will be, that a perpetual jealousy will exist in the minds of the people against them; their conduct will be narrowly watched; their measures scrutinized; and their laws opposed, evaded, or reluctantly obeyed. This is natural, and exactly corresponds with the conduct of individuals towards those in whose hands they intrust important concerns. If the person confided in, be a neighbour with whom his employer is intimately acquainted, whose talents, he knows, are sufficient to manage the business with which he is charged, his honesty and fidelity unsuspected, and his friendship and zeal for the service of this principal unquestionable, he will commit his affairs into his hands with unreserved confidence, and feel himself secure; all the transactions of the agent will meet with the most favorable construction, and the measures he takes will give satisfaction. But, if the person employed be a stranger, whom he has never seen, and whose character for ability or fidelity he cannot fully learn — If he is constrained to choose him, because it was not in his power to procure one more agreeable to his wishes, he will trust him with caution, and be suspicious of all his conduct.

This is not a criticism of 'politics' but a recognition of culture that drives politics.  We no longer have any knowledge on a personal basis of our Representatives, and they are distant from We the People.  This has been CAUSED by two parties that have REMOVED the ability of new and minority parties from THREATENING THEM. 

That is an act of AUTHORITARIANISM.

The two parties are top-down structures that have permanent 'organs' in them that become the spots where ideology is vested in the hands of very few people.  Isn't THAT an asinine thing to do in a representative democracy?  Who ELECTED THEM?  Did their party members take a VOTE on them?  Or have these individuals been selected by a less than diverse group of individuals who have been installed via other means (representative or not)?  If it is secondary selection, then where is the representative democracy in that?  Is there an ability to vote these people out if you don't like them?

Going on that theme for just a bit more: if you DO have elections for local party offices, do more than half the registered party members actually VOTE for these people?  Not half the votes, but half the actual people... who shows up to vote or if it is by mail, how many return ballots?  This is vital because if a party office or branch that is local cannot get 50% interest in what it is doing, then just what the hell good is it?  And if you point to 'national politics', perhaps a page from Tip O'Neill can be understood about 'all politics being local'?  If you can't get local input and people just call themselves by your party as a general affiliation,   then that tells me a whole lot more about the 'party' than anything it stands for:  people generally don't BELIEVE IN IT enough to TAKE PART in it.

This gets to be a larger consideration based on the sheer number of people who just no longer vote.  This is a HUGE problem for a representative democracy as the result of going under 50% turnout is a majority of a plurality or this thing known as a MINORITY.  That is what representative democracy is supposed to AVOID.

From this first area there are some things that need to be examined.

1)  Political Parties - Believe it or not, political parties are NOT supposed to be a great fundraising machine.  They have become that due to the escalation of prices and concentration of power to two parties - the market is CLOSED and, therefore, the price of the market goes UP for politics.  If there were more people running for office from the local level on up, the cost per individual would go DOWN as the money gets more widely distributed over multiple individuals and parties.  Parties were meant to represent a common set of values and ideologies amongst its members and not be something that would gain lots of money because of that.  As you remove the number of parties, the amount of money per party goes up and the participation falls at the party can no longer represent a coherent set of ideologies.  The answer to problems in representative democracy is: more representative democracy up and down the entire scale of politics.

2)  Local Membership - If you can't get half of those registered in a district to vote for party offices, then just how can it be said that those elected from that district represent the will of the majority of members in that district?  That is a lie.  Saying that only those 'interested' vote is an excuse for poor performance and lack of credible party ideology and people who support them.  How do you know this?  Lack of members voting.  Beats me what would happen if a party decided that it was actually going to act like one in which representative democracy were an important concept to keeping the party running.  The two current parties would probably lose a large number of districts if they did so, with some districts losing both.  Believe it or not, that is not a *bad thing* as it then identifies where the party can, should and MUST work on outreach and understanding the diversity of its membership.  The US has a diverse culture and needing to find a cultural basis for political thought means that any party undertaking such must at least be able to explain what culture it is representing and then see what other nearby cultures are willing to have this explained to them.  Perhaps to even gain some acceptance and build a better cross-cultural understanding that works on common concepts and projects.

3)  Party Leaders - Elected via representative democratic means or not?  If no, then why not?  If yes, what happens if less than half the membership actually turns out to elect them?  Might I suggest slashing the roles of those who didn't bother to vote, and turning them into 'Independents'?  That would get you a core set of interested people who are willing to participate, who are willing to think about the issues and who have a common value of representative democracy as one of their cultural beliefs.  And perhaps, just perhaps, this should not be run by politicians who have a vested interest and concern with their political brethren... if 'experience' is such a good thing, just why is it turning people off so much these days?  This is a symptom of a decaying political culture in which those elected, by the act of getting elected, think they know what is best for everyone else.  What that does is begin to marginalize other ideas that may not lead to electability,but are representative in the wider culture.  Do you want to turn people OFF via how you run your party and how you address your members?  That is what is happening now, and it isn't working out so well.

4)  Stating your culture and the politics that derives from it -  Guess what?  Spouting Socrates in a political vacuum is an act of elitism.  Explaining Socratic dialogue as a methodology and working with others is addressing them as individuals and not playing an elitist trump card.  So many say they adore President Lincoln, so few look at what he did and the ideas that he enacted, not in his writings but in the simple laws and rules that passed under his pen.  The Emancipation Proclamation is wonderful!  So why has no one bothered to study the Field Manual 100 that the US Armed Forces had given to them under Lincoln's signature?  Is how he thought war should be fought by a civilized people unimportant?  Can you actually say you KNOW what the ideals and laws of war were at the time of the Civil War?  No?  Why not?  President Lincoln was a civilized man and ensured the US adhered to civilized values in the realm of warfare, so why NOT look at those as JUST as important as the Emancipation Proclamation?    You can and will learn how terrorism was described in his era and called something else and what the rules were for dealing with it by the Armed Forces.  But that is actually taking a look at what he signed into LAW and NOT cherry picking things you do like or things that are easy to understand but seeing the complexity of the civilization as HE SAW IT and AFFIRMED IT.  If you like what he did with slavery, then you might just respect what he did about terrorism when practiced in the battlefield.  Either way it will cause you to re-evaluate the man, the Nation and our people, and come to a deeper understanding of why good culture makes good laws.


One point, four conclusions.  Nasty, huh?


Second is putting the representation back into representative democracy.  People hate change.  Yet we are a growing nation both in population and economy, and one of the most powerful because we have a system that gives such great leeway to the common man to flex his or her liberty using freedoms to empower them to do good for themselves, their families and their society.  Yet, we are stuck with a Congress sized in 1911.  Federal Farmer No.3 of 10 OCT 1787 puts the idea like this:

Should the general government think it politic, as some administrations (if not all) probably will, to look for a support in a system of influence, the government will take every occasion to multiply laws, and officers to execute them, considering these as so many necessary props for its own support. Should this system of policy be adopted, taxes more productive than the impost duties will, probably, be wanted to support the government, and to discharge foreign demands, without leaving any thing for the domestic creditors. The internal sources of taxation then must be called into operation, and internal tax laws and federal assessors and collectors spread over this immense country. All these circumstances considered, is it wise, prudent, or safe, to vest the powers of laying and collecting internal taxes in the general government, while imperfectly organized and inadequate; and to trust to amending it hereafter, and making it adequate to this purpose? It is not only unsafe but absurd to lodge power in a government before it is fitted to receive it? It is confessed that this power and representation ought to go together. Why give the power first? Why give the power to the few, who, when possessed of it, may have address enough to prevent the increase of representation? Why not keep the power, and, when necessary, amend the constitution, and add to its other parts this power, and a proper increase of representation at the same time? Then men who may want the power will be under strong inducements to let in the people, by their representatives, into the government, to hold their due proportion of this power. If a proper representation be impracticable, then we shall see this power resting in the states, where it at present ought to be, and not inconsiderately given up.

Yes, Congress could change its representational proportion in the House via law, no need to go back to the people and ask for this via an amendment.  If you actually do believe in representative democracy, then the proportion ought to be such so that you actually have some slim chance of knowing your Representative.  At the current 1:500,000 that is an impossibility, unless you are one of the select few.  As I point out in the article above, if you take all the staff House members are allowed and add it to the House members you wind up with a number almost *exactly* equal to the maximum number of representatives allowed via proportion in the Constitution.  The question is always raised: how could that ever be organized?  Isn't it too unwieldy?

Answer?  How the hell do you organize all those Congresscritters and their staff as it IS?

If you can do THAT then you damned well have a good handle on organizing a House that size.  Would it be difficult?  Yes.  Impossible?  Ever seen the size of some of the companies on this planet operating on a global basis with a distributed workforce?  If you have then you have your answer that it will be far, far, far less difficult standing up something under the size of, say, Boeing spread across a handful of time zones.  Hell, there are some software projects that have gone into this territory, so the idea that a Congress this size given modern telecom and automated systems *can't* be run is idiotic.  It might take a few sessions to transition to it, yes, but at the end of that time you then have a flexible enough system to handle the workload *and* create transparency for ALL public bills.  Each and every single bill and amendment would be electronic, searchable and public, with only the 'Black Budget' kept on a secure set of systems.

What would a large 'Maximum House' do?

1) The addition of such a large number of individuals would cut the per person cost of running for office, by at least one full order of magnitude (ie. it would be 10% of the current cost per seat per person) and possibly more as each person would be doing 1:30,000.

2) This gets direct citizen input in a way that the current system does not.  Actual citizens who want to spend two years in office actually *could* achieve that.  Any way to increase actual citizen participation in the governing process *helps* representative democracy and does not *hurt* it.

3)  Pork - 'Many eyes find bad code'.  A paraphrasing of the open source software movement, but can you imagine trying to get thousands of other members to agree to *your* pet project?  All it takes is five or six to 'blow the whistle' and you are toast as you are now answerable NOT to 500,000 people who only vaguely associate with a party, but with 30,000 who are your NEIGHBORS.  Your chances of actually packing pork in for your friends?  Effectively zero.

4)  Governmental oversight.  You now have enough Congress critters to cover every agency, every directorate of every agency and possibly every department of every agency.  That is *oversight* were department heads need to explain their jobs to members of Congress... and then those Congresscritters get to decide just what the necessary functions of those agencies *are*.  You want to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in government?  Get a weekly or monthly visit from your Congressman for a few days as he or she tries to figure out if you are spending the people's money well.  My guess is that enough Congresscritters will raise enough stink that a lot of government will get a chop.

5)  The tax code.  Take the tax code.  Divide the pages by 10,000.  Hand out those pages to members of Congress to redline.  Collect all redlines on a common document.  See what is left.  If you want an understandable tax code, it will have to be something that *can* be read easily by a rather large group of people that better represent the cross-section of the American population.  You can probably do this three times in a month then see the entire set of collective redlines and any two out of three then wipes that part of the code.  Many eyes will make clean code.

6)  Zero staff.  Come on, you have a proven amount of people to handle the work load.  Congressman is no longer a sinecure but a *job*: 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  Making Congressman into a *job* and not a political stepping stone is one of the most beneficial things that could ever be done to it.  Plus it is an all-volunteer workforce!  No one forces you to be a Representative... lots of highly motivated people there.

7)  Regulations.  See the tax code idea?  Duplicate it on the Federal Regulations.  This will become tiresome to point out, but the massive amount of government intrusion now needs a massive attack to pull it apart.  You can't do that with an elected elite from a two party system that has a vested interest in not 'rocking the boat'.  That is what the Senate is for, though heaven help them in trying to sneak anything past a House that size.

8)  Removing power from individual House member's hands and distributing it *widely* is a very, very good thing.  Concentrated power is a bane of a representative democracy.  Why so many *support* something that is toxic to representative democracy is beyond me.

9)  There are many problems in this, of course.  As the House can actually determine what the House *is*, it can make that individual rooms in Congresscritter's homes while they are in office.  That might take a bit to stand up, but well worth it once done as it gets the power out of Washington, which then becomes a procedural area for House transactions.  Otherwise the House will need new digs: maybe an old sporting arena or closed military base... lots of those around these days.  Maybe work everything out electronically, first, and then fly in for a week of voting.  The mechanical problems do not outweigh the benefits to the republic of actually having a tax code, federal regulatory code, and set of laws that is actually understandable to the majority of such a large body of people.  That is what representative democracy is supposed to do: keep government understandable and out of the hands of the elite.  If you believe *that* then you *must* want a larger and more representative House.  Again, this is CULTURE defining POLITICS, not the other way around.


If conservative politics derives from a conservative culture, then just what is the culture that is being addressed?  What does it support and does it recognize that good ideas for government need common assent for it to be enacted while disenfranchising none?  There are some very strong conservative ideals that the current political atmosphere never addresses.  I've hit on a couple so let me highlight them.

- Showing up for work and treating your job seriously.  That does not happen in current politics at the National level.  A Congress with a 3 day work week and months of vacation time point to there being little to NO work ethic in Congress.  The day I hear of this added to a 'conservative agenda' is the day I just might take it seriously.  Until then: no dice.

- Applying the same standard of ethics to all candidates.  That means not taking bribes, not chiseling on your taxes, not giving kickbacks to your friends, not seeking special treatment from the law, not paying under the table for work, not doing an 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' to explain why you can't stick with your beliefs and actually stating your beliefs that you hold dear to you that are NOT political but tell WHY you get good political guidance from them.  If you sign on to such a code of ethics BEFORE you run for any damned office, and you BREAK them while in office, then you can expect a backlash from your supporters.  I don't need a 'party platform' if those running for office are people I can get to know, are willing to state their beliefs and why those beliefs help them to come to good decisions.  Until then: no dice.

- Morals.  Here's the deal with me, I don't know about you, spout off all you like about morals.  If you cover what you say under your ethics and you break THOSE then I have a problem.  You wanna cheat on your wife, mistress and ex-girlfriend?  Damn are you in for a world of hurt, lotsa luck on that.  Drive you from office?  WHY?  Did you put down you consider fidelity to your wife/mistress/ex-girlfriend to be important to you as an ethical matter?  It might bring up some questions of your judgment, yes, but it is your PERSONAL LIFE TO RUIN so long as you don't do it on GOVERNMENT TIME.  The only office where that might matter is that of President as that is also Chief Law Enforcement Officer.  Even there minor things I don't have a problem with... keep it personal, fess up and be up front about it so we can all have a fun time knowing that the President sleeps on the sofa.  I didn't have problems with Clinton's acts, but his perjury I had problems with.  The racy, juicy sex stuff was 'entertainment' from the Oval Office: cheap and sleazy!

-  Accountability at work.  All of us working stiffs are (or were if retired) quite good on this concept.  Politicians, not so much.  Being a Congresscritter is a *job* not a chance for self-fulfillment and self-enrichment.  If you are a slacker, expect your constituents to figure that out very quickly.  At 500,000 a handful of votes, say 10 or 12, probably isn't a deal breaker.  At 30,000?  Yes, then you actually do have to start thinking, especially if you have a district with a relatively stolid group of folks there.  Even at a higher turnover (which allows for demographic shifts to show up very quickly in the House) that small number begins to look very important based on what the expected turnout is every 2 years.  And the fewer people that turn out, the more important that small handful is, so depressing turnout works *against* slackers.  Unless your district is basically a slacker district, though outside of Hollywood, I can't think of many of those.  Until accountability is made a touchstone of some group trying to gain political traction, they can take a hike.

-  Do you notice that I haven't said a single, solitary word on religion?  I consider that to be a deeply personal thing.  Religion can give a very good basis for navigating what is and is not so good for law making.  It is not alone, however, as even in relatively homogeneous districts, there will be diversity of religion and religious insight.  Good laws and the rationale behind them *must* go beyond the religious venue and actually explain why these things are good to the wider community and the Nation in terms that can be religious but must also include multiple religions and our common heritage in the Common Law.  Here good law is derived from religion and religious culture as part of the larger culture and is a vital part of helping people to draft better laws for the Nation.  If those who founded our Nation were wise enough to take a look at the laws of the Ancients who were not Christian or Jew, and derive wisdom and a benefit from society from them, then it is impossible to define that only one religion has all wisdom in it.  It is because we build and refine good laws that we find ourselves assured of good use of the law.  It does not matter if it comes from Moses, Christ, Suleiman, Alexander or Thorgny.  And as we come from the Common Law of England and are under the Peace of Westphalia those, too, must be taken into account.

-  Liberty is the ability to apply your gains in life with your freedoms to make a better life for yourself, your family and your society.  Without liberty we are nothing as a Nation.  Mandate that liberty can only be used in a way dictated by government, and you have purified evil, not good.  We invest negative liberties in government so that we may keep watch over them, restrain them and ensure that they do not get into the wrong hands to harm us.  We retain positive liberty for ourselves as we know what to do with them far better than any government ever CAN or WILL.  The best we can do is find the common wisdom amongst ourselves to use the few things we give government to do so as to do them well and accountably so that they DON'T harm us.  From this the idea of limited government that does few things well is derived: so that the citizenry has the greatest amount of liberty possible to do good.


The problem with the two party system is that neither party represents that basic set of conservative values in which we understand that we must have a common society and still must give the greatest leeway to our fellow man.  A 'live and let live' society.  It is not a 'litmus test of issues' as those are derivative of politics, not culture.  If we address questions through that distorted prism OF politics and attempt to apply that TO society, then the Republic will and, indeed, must fail:  government has no business dictating culture to society, only limiting the abuses of individuals.  Whenever I hear about a 'new right' I tend to see folks with a grand set of check-off boxes that you *must have checked* to be a conservative.  Those check off boxes are not ones that are open to the diverse culture of America but are attempts to limit that self-same culture via government.

I have a problem with that.

That is what the LEFT is doing, and I find it detestable on both 'sides'.

And neither side is willing to field some folks willing to do the basic 'show up at work and be held accountable to your job' sort of work ethic.  I call those slackers.  When they try to enforce their beliefs, Left or Right, on society, I call that authoritarianism.

Authoritarian Slackers.

That is Congress.

And our current political atmosphere.

I've had it with that sort of outlook.

Hell if you could just get a few folks in the House to put a rider on each and every bill that 'Congress shall sit in session for 8 hours every weekday, every working non-federal holiday, and will only get the week of the 4th of July and two weeks off for Christmas and New Years' on them, then I might even begin to take such a political movement SERIOUSLY.

Then you can start thinking about a party structure that doesn't enforce elitism, doesn't look to drive people away from public office and one that doesn't see the concentration of power as a 'good thing'.  My bet is if you get the culture part right, the rest will follow pretty well.  And you just might want to think about that 'party' idea and stop thinking of it being top-down.  But then I've written about that before, too, along with ethics of such a thing. Because who wants to be a part of a party that tells YOU what to do, when you are well nigh set up to do that for yourself?  And join with others that agree with you to work together.

A good use of liberty, that.

29 October 2008

What I haven't been doing

Yes the marked decrease in output is due directly to multiple problems on a personal level.  None of them are, hopefully, permanent, but all require time, attention and energy, thus making more than casual reading and commenting a problem.  That hasn't stopped me from writing, but it is mostly inconsequential.

I've been doing some background gathering of my scattered fictional pieces at my alternative fiction site, stood up just to regularize that material a bit.  Longer works are posted there, and I spent some time getting a semi-decent navigation system set up.  As few blog types are set up to deal with what I needed (more a virtual bookshelf of material than a blog) that called for hand-making it and playing with posting dates and such.  I am trying to make it easier on the reader to navigate, rather than to hunt around like here.  What I really need is a good indexing system for posts that is semi-automatic, and going back and tagging a few hundred posts is not all that appealing.

Physical health of myself and my loved ones is a higher concern, and that has absorbed much of my time.

My hours in the Land of Grey are a bit higher than usual due to this.


When I get time and energy I comment elsewhere, and that is pretty rare on its own.


After that is normalizing my Amendment II needs for personal and property protection, plus personal enjoyment.  That fits time when I'm not doing any of the above, or trying to get the Pico-ITX system constructed.  That latter is down to motherboard mounting, the right screws and then making sure there is some airflow through it... and getting the basic inputs and outputs connected via the unusual but standard connectors on-board the system.

I expect that some fiction (the Free Land and Citizen's Militia stuff) will still appear here and at the new site.


Posting will be at an erratic level until some stability returns.

25 October 2008

Well, what is your definition of 'terrorism'?

This is the one quite tiring thing about the modern media, the Left and those who can't be bothered to actually find the definition of a word: they think that the concept backing the word is ever fluent and attempt to put that into a state of flux by claiming that it has changed. And yet the United States has firm backing on what terrorism is, it comes to us from our understanding of what a Nation State is, what our responsibilities as citizens of Nations are, and from our own history with regards to the English Common Law. The attempt to do so and how woeful our entire education system is, across the board, becomes clearly visible when NBC reporter Brian Williams tries to ask Gov. Palin about what terrorism is on 23 OCT 2008 with both Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain:

Brian Williams: Back to the notion of terrorists and terrorism. This word has come up in relation to Mr. Ayers...ah... hanging out with terrorists...

Gov. Palin: Yes... yes...

BW: ...ah domestic terrorists...

GP: ...yes..

BW: Are we changing... ah... its been said that it gives it a vaguely post-9/11 hint using that word that we don't normally associate with domestic crimes. Are we changing the definition? Are the people who set fire to American cities during the 60's terrorists? And under this definition is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition? Governor?

That is transcribed, by me, in the video linked to this page at MSNBC.

First notice that terrorism is no longer an act, but a 'notion'. It is not something someone does, but an idea about something someone does. That is an attempt to remove it from being a positive identification of an activity in which the activity defines the word associated with it. If Brian Williams has a good and serviceable definition of 'terrorism' as an activity descriptor, it would be appropriate for him to put that out so that there is no question in the mind of the viewer of what is being asked. If he had done so, then he could have been corrected on what Gov. Palin or Sen. McCain consider the actual activity of terrorism to describe.

Apparently there is a 'notion' that terrorism might have a different meaning when applied to domestic forms and international forms. And if Brian Williams is implying that there is a shift or difference between them, he must positively identify what those are: he must actually put those down as definitions. As he does not, as he leaves it nebulous, as he cannot identify the activities that define the word 'terrorist' then he must admit to his utter and complete cluelessness and ask: 'What is your definition of terrorism as you understand it, Gov. Palin, as I do not have a grasp of the concept'.

Yes that is a pretty pointed hit to make on Brian Williams.

He deserves it.

Because no matter how and interviewee answers the question, they can be attacked for assuming a definition and never clearly stating it. The proper counter is to state what you see terrorism as being and why it is pertinent to the Nation and to the law. Otherwise the individual being interviewed will now be caught in 'gotchya journalism' where a journalist takes a partisan stance and yet never, once, articulates that they are taking such a stance. By not stating that he is confused about the definition of 'terrorism' and putting on airs that he DOES and that he KNOWS BETTER than his interviewee, Brian Williams is attempting to elevate himself above the individual being interviewed AND play 'gotchya journalism'.

I had always thought one of the prime Cardinal Rules of journalism was NEVER to ask something without giving a proper underpinning for the question. Especially if you don't know what those underpinnings actually ARE. Because doing otherwise is not journalism to elucidate the viewer but journalism to advocate an incoherent position, which is exactly what Brian Williams is doing.

I do have some criticism for Gov. Palin: if the person interviewing you is clueless, then take the 'schoolmarm' approach and walk them through it step by step to clear up the uncertainty, no matter how long that takes. Starting out with: 'Well, Brian, you apparently don't know what terrorism IS so I will help you with that with my understanding of it and we can have a discussion in which we can accurately describe it'. It is a killer response as the interviewer dare not give any excuse to NOT have a civil discussion to come to some form of common understanding that you can both work with for the period of the interview. Yes, call him on his lack of knowledge, unwillingness to state a definition and clearly demonstrate that you are willing to set a term for this discussion that you both can understand and then compare it to different activities to see how it FITS.

Unfortunately Gov. Palin does not do so and does not call Brian Williams on his lack of knowledge while imputing that he has all the answers and will play 'gotchya' no matter what you say.

Even worse is that Brian Williams does not have a clear understanding between normal, domestic violence and the acts of war relegated to the Nation to protect the State. We put down hard and fast demarcation of these two things as they are entirely different in aspect and form, even when both using similar forms of violence. Indeed, we have clearly defined that those pre-meditated acts to kill individuals because they simply disagree with you on civil topics as MURDER. Indeed we get entire categories of manslaughter, homicide, and 'crimes against humanity' to try and cover these. Those acts have different goals and aims even while using the same devices, so that a bombing of a private abortion clinic and that of say, oh, the Pentagon, fall into two different categories when taken as pre-meditated acts with different goals, but their results may be something other. Brian Williams obviously cannot define these differences, so I will give it a whirl as I've been looking at the basis of terrorism for quite awhile and it seems there is a good and potent description available.

To understand terrorism we must understand the power that We the People hand to the national government via our Compact known as the Constitution. As I have written a bit about this topic, I will just put down links to my past work in the area of defining terrorism going from oldest to latest: link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7, link 8, link 9, link 10, link 11, link 12, link 13, link 14, link 15, link 16, link 17, link 18, link 19, link 20, link 21, link22. What is even better is that I started out in the clueless category! Going through those puts one through the twists and turns of thinking, looking at all the 'notions' of terrorism and then realizing that a good, hard and fast definition did once exist and that our very own Founders knew about it and included it in the Constitution. Of course they didn't call it 'terrorism' back then, but they had a functional category in which terrorism falls, and to get to that you end up concentrating on my articles linked 18-21. I have revisited the question of terrorism since then, but the overarching category and differences between civil crime and the category terrorism falls into are extreme and telling.

As everyone loves the Constitution and as it serves as the repository for the power given to the National government by the people, I wrote a nice article on those things that are actually in the Constitution but not written down. So as to not bore the reader I will encapsulate just a bit: the US Constitution has one explicit mention of a source available to be used in making law and two implicit ones via the nature of our breaking with Britain. One is, actually, stated in the US Constitution and was much talked about during the process of ratification as many wanted to ensure that we had a regularized Nation that fit the proper bill for allocation of powers and ensuring that too much was not given to the National government. That work was most certainly known by Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Hamilton, Monroe, Jay and most of the Founders as they bothered to mention it and the body of understanding that backed it in that era. It is explicitly stated in Article I, Section 8:

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Note the joining ",and" which makes these two separate areas that are combined under one conceptual framework? Not only are Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas given to Congress for US vessels, but other Offenses against the Law of Nations is included in that. While both of these fall under the common area under examination, the former gets its hard and fast roots via the first international understanding of law: Black Book of the Admiralty. That was first compiled around 1450 and served as the international basis for understanding Sovereignty over maritime trade, and defines what laws are in place where and why. Those laws are themselves drawn from the remains of the old Roman Laws of trade and become the basis for all following international understanding of what you can and cannot do with maritime vessels. The US Congress has expanded that understanding to include all air space above and subsurface structures below those areas and that goes all the way to the core of the planet and covers all possible modes of transport up to the very edge of the atmosphere. Without the Black Book, you don't get modern ideas of terrorism although the area of definition that includes terrorism would still develop.

Now to get to the Law of Nations, one must go through On the Laws of War and Peace by Hugo Grotius in 1625. For a guy who's name gets dropped so often, I do wonder why no one reads him... be that as it may, right in Book I, Chapter 3 he gets to the heart of things:

I. THE first and most necessary divisions of war are into one kind called private, another public, and another mixed. Now public war is carried on by the person holding the sovereign power. Private war is that which is carried on by private persons without authority from the state. A mixed war is that which is carried on, on one side by public authority, and on the other by private persons. But private war, from its greater antiquity, is the first subject for inquiry.

The proofs that have been already produced, to shew that to repel violence is not repugnant to natural law, afford a satisfactory reason to justify private war, as far as the law of nature is concerned. But perhaps it may be thought that since public tribunals have been erected, private redress of wrongs is not allowable. An objection which is very just. Yet although public trials and courts of Justice are not institutions of nature, but erected by the invention of men, yet as it is much more conducive to the peace of society for a matter in dispute to be decided by a disinterested person, than by the partiality and prejudice of the party aggrieved, natural justice and reason will dictate the necessity and advantage of every one's submitting to the equitable decisions of public judges. Paulus, the Lawyer, observes that "what can be done by a magistrate with the authority of the state should never be intrusted to individuals; as private redress would give rise to greater disturbance. And "the reason, says King Theodoric, why laws were invented, was to prevent any one from using personal violence, for wherein would peace differ from all the confusion of war, if private disputes were terminated by force?" And the law calls it force for any man to seize what he thinks his due, without seeking a legal remedy.


IV. Public war, according to the law of nations, is either SOLEMN, that is FORMAL, or LESS SOLEMN, that is INFORMAL. The name of lawful war is commonly given to what is here called formal, in the same sense in which a regular will is opposed to a codicil, or a lawful marriage to the cohabitation of slaves. This opposition by no means implies that it is not allowed to any man, if he pleases, to make a codicil, or to slaves to cohabit in matrimony, but only, that, by the civil law, FORMAL WILLS and SOLEMN MARRIAGES, were attended with peculiar privileges and effects. These observations were the more necessary ; because many, from a misconception of the word just or lawful, think that all wars, to which those epithets do not apply, are condemned as unjust and unlawful. Now to give a war the formality required by the law of nations, two things are necessary. In the first place it must be made on both sides, by the sovereign power of the state, and in the next place it must be accompanied with certain formalities. Both of which are so essential that one is insufficient without the other.

Now a public war, LESS SOLEMN, may be made without those formalities, even against private persons, and by any magistrate whatever. And indeed, considering the thing without respect to the civil law, every magistrate, in case of resistance, seems to have a right to take up arms, to maintain his authority in the execution of his offices; as well as to defend the people committed to his protection. But as a whole state is by war involved in danger, it is an established law in almost all nations that no war can be made but by the authority of the sovereign in each state. There is such a law as this in the last book of Plato ON LAWS. And by the Roman law, to make war, or levy troops without a commission from the Prince was high treason. According to the Cornelian law also, enacted by Lucius Cornelius Sylla, to do so without authority from the people amounted to the same crime. In the code of Justinian there is a constitution, made by Valentinian and Valens, that no one should bear arms without their knowledge and authority. Conformably to this rule, St. Augustin says, that as peace is most agreeable to the natural state of man, it is proper that Princes should have the sole authority to devise and execute the operations of war. Yet this general rule, like all others, in its application must always be limited by equity and discretion.

Here we go! The three types of war: Public, Private and Mixed. Public war is according to the law of nations (not yet at that time a standardized work but a body of knowledge), Private war is that taken up by individuals, and Mixed war is taken up by the State and individuals against each other although the State must take active martial measures for it to be considered 'Mixed War' although the case can be made that the target type of Private War inflicted on a State is alone enough to give it that title. It is an understanding that we have, to this day, about the necessity of laws, civil resolution of disputes and entrusting the negative liberty of warfare to the Nation State. The very basics are set up: if you seek redress for grievances via legal means, then you are upholding the law and civil society; if you use means of war to bring disputes to an end or enforce our beliefs, then you are utilizing Private war to gain your ends.

In Book II, Chapter 22 he goes into negative liberty:

XI. But neither the independence of individuals, nor that of states, is a motive that can at all times justify recourse to arms, as if all persons INDISCRIMINATELY had a natural right to do so. For where liberty is said to be a natural right belonging to all men and states, by that expression is understood a right of nature, antecedent to every human obligation or contract. But in that case, liberty is spoken of in a negative sense, and not by way of contrast to independence, the meaning of which is, that no one is by the law of nature doomed to servitude, though he is not forbidden by that law to enter into such a condition. For in this sense no one can be called free, if nature leaves him not the privilege of chusing his own condition: as Albutius pertinently remarks, "the terms, freedom and servitude are not founded in the principles of nature, but are names subsequently applied to men according to the dispositions of fortune." And Aristotle defines the relations of master and servant to be the result of political and not of natural appointment. Whenever therefore the condition of servitude, either personal or political, subsists, from lawful causes, men should be contented with that state, according to the injunction of the Apostle, "Art thou called, being a servant, let not that be an anxious concern?"

XII. And there is equal injustice in the desire of reducing, by force of arms, any people to a state of servitude, under the pretext of its being the condition for which they are best qualified by nature. It does not follow that, because any one is fitted for a particular condition, another has a right to impose it upon him. For every reasonable creature ought to be left free in the choice of what may be deemed useful or prejudicial to him, provided another has no just right to a controul over him.

The case of children has no connection with the question, as they are necessarily under the discipline of others.


XVI. As the imperfect obligations of charity, and other virtues of the same kind are not cognizable in a court of justice, so neither can the performance of them be compelled by force of arms. For it is not the moral nature of a duty that can enforce its fulfillment, but there must be some legal right in one of the parties to exact the obligation. For the moral obligation receives an additional weight from such a right. This obligation therefore must be united to the former to give a war the character of a just war. Thus a person who has conferred a favour, has not, strictly speaking, a RIGHT to demand a return, for that would be converting an act of kindness into a contract.

XVII. It is necessary to observe that a war may be just in its origin, and yet the intentions of its authors may become unjust in the course of its prosecution. For some other motive, not unlawful IN ITSELF, may actuate them more powerfully than the original right, for the attainment of which the war was begun. It is laudable, for instance, to maintain national honour; it is laudable to pursue a public or a private interest, and yet those objects may not form the justifiable grounds of the war in question.A war may gradually change its nature and its object from the prosecution of a right to the desire of seconding or supporting the aggrandizement of some other power. But such motives, though blamable, when even connected with a just war, do not render the war ITSELF unjust, nor invalidate its conquests.

Negative liberty is given by the Law of Nature, not the laws of man, thus every man is born with them. That does not mean that everyone need practice them, as Independence gives one the ability to use reason on the exercise of their liberties, positive and negative. We give our negative liberty of war to the Nation State to practice so that we may have regular and lawful conduct amongst ourselves and seek resolution within that common framework.

Private war, then, is that exercise of the negative liberty of warfare for oneself and one's own goals outside of the Nation State.

Now this is different from Privateering which is a Nation State sanctioned enterprise as given in Book III, Chapter 2:

IV. Another method of obtaining redress for any violation of persons, or property is by having recourse to what, in modern language, are called REPRISALS, which the Saxons and Angles denominated WITHERNAM, and to which the French gave the name of LETTERS OF MARQUE, and those were usually obtained from the crown.

V. It is generally understood that recourse may be had to this method of redress not only against a foreign aggressor, but also against a debtor, if justice cannot be obtained in due time: but in NOTORIOUS cases, which admit of no doubt, this right may be enforced even beyond the strict letter of the law. For even in DOUBTFUL matters, the presumption will always be in favour of judges appointed by public authority. For it is unlikely that they should GREATLY, or WANTONLY exceed their power; especially when, if so inclined, they have not the same means of enforcing their decrees against foreigners, as against their fellow subjects. Indeed even in disputes between subjects of the same country, they cannot annul a just debt. Paulus, the Lawyer, says that a REAL DEBTOR, though discharged, owing to some informality or inability of the law to enforce payment, still remains a debtor according to the law of nature.

And when, in consequence of a judicial sentence, a creditor, under pretext of seizing his own property, had taken from a debtor something which did not belong to him though it was in his possession: upon the discharge of the debt, a doubt arising whether the thing should be restored to the debtor, Scaevola maintained that it certainly ought to be restored.

There is a difference between the two cases. For subjects, AS SUCH, cannot make any violent resistance to the execution of a sentence, which they may not deem satisfactory, nor can they prosecute any right in opposition to the law. FOREIGNERS may use violent means to enforce a right: tho' they are not justified in using such means, while there is any possibility of obtaining redress in a legal, and peaceable manner.

It is on such grounds that reprisals are made upon the persons and property of the subjects, belonging to a power, who refuses to grant redress and reparation for injuries and aggressions. It is a practice not literally enacted by the law of nature, but generally received through custom. It is a practice too of the greatest antiquity: for in the eleventh book of the Iliad, we find Nestor giving an account of the reprisals, which he had made upon the Epeian nation, from whom he took a great number of cattle, as a satisfaction for a prize which his father Nelcus had won at the Elian games; and for debts due to many private subjects of the Pylian kingdom. Out of this booty the king having selected his own due, equitably divided the rest among the other creditors.

Privateering is the Public sanction by legal means to redress grievances against unaccountable individuals who wage Private war upon the Nation State. These go by the Letters of Marque and reprisal also handed to Congress in Article I, Section 8:

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

The US Congress gets the ENTIRE suite of war declaration powers, and making rules to cover them. It goes far beyond Public war and formally declared war, but into the Nation State exercising its Public powers to authorize individuals to wage war and extract a 1:1 reprisal against those waging Private war upon the Nation State. Thus it can be used aggressively, in acts to seek reprisals by individuals against a Nation and to go after those waging Private war. If another Nation has caused harm less than that which would warrant full warfare but which is still a grievous harm to which that Nation causing same refuses to be held accountable for taking, then private individuals can be given warrant and legal authority to execute damage and captures upon such Nations. Do note that this is not individuals going 'freebooter' but individuals seeking legal sanction from their Nation to wage less than full public war upon another Nation or those waging Private war. In the United States those individuals and their companies can be directly ORDERED by the President to go after those things that Congress sanctions and against those Nations or Individuals in their singularity or groups that have harmed the Nation.

Pirates have no sanction and thus fall into Private war. Their goals are usually profit or to seize goods, but they also seek to exercise non-National power over those they can cause to fear them.

Private war, then, is not only done by individuals but has no Nation State sanctions or accountability attached to them by those waging it.

Now, with that in mind we can head to the Law of Nations by Emmerich de Vattel which was one of the first attempts to give a coherent overview to just what Nation States are and how they operate. In much the way that the Laws of Nature are descriptive and the Laws of the High Seas and War and Peace are descriptive, they are descriptive of a common set of actions attributable to individuals and Nations. No matter where you go in history, if you see the rise of a State, you see the same parts that show up in it appear over and over again, even when disconnected by geography so that one cannot communicate to the other. Moving from the individual in their natural state to a Nation in its derived State gets the same described powers and abilities that accrue due to necessity of the being, not due to having written it down. Thus categories of power in a Nation State are descriptive, but their logic that underpins them is proscriptive: to get the State you get the necessities that go with it and see the derived function which can be described.

So, when War comes up in Book III, this is how it is seen:

§ 4. It belongs only to the sovereign power.(137)

As nature has given men no right to employ force, unless when it becomes necessary for self defence and the preservation of their rights (Book II. § 49, &c.), the inference is manifest, that, since the establishment of political societies, a right, so dangerous in its exercise, no longer remains with private persons except in those encounters where society cannot protect or defend them. In the bosom of society, the public authority decides all the disputes of the citizens, represses violence, and checks every attempt to do ourselves justice with our own hands. If a private person intends to prosecute his right against the subject of a foreign power, he may apply to the sovereign of his adversary, or to the magistrates invested with the public authority: and if he is denied justice by them, he must have recourse to his own sovereign, who is obliged to protect him. It would be too dangerous to allow every citizen the liberty of doing himself justice against foreigners; as, in that case, there would not be a single member of the state who might not involve it in war. And how could peace be preserved between nations, if it were in the power of every private individual to disturb it? A right of so momentous a nature, — the right of judging whether the nation has real grounds of complaint, whether she is authorized to employ force, and justifiable in taking up arms, whether prudence will admit of such a step, and whether the welfare of the state requires it, — that right, I say, can belong only to the body of the nation, or to the sovereign, her representative. It is doubtless one of those rights, without which there can be no salutary government, and which are therefore called rights of majesty (Book I. § 45).

Thus the sovereign power alone is possessed of authority to make war. But, as the different rights which constitute this power, originally resident in the body of the nation, may be separated or limited according to the will of the nation (Book I. § 31 and 45), it is from the particular constitution of each state, that we are to learn where the power resides, that is authorized to make war in the name of the society at large. The kings of England, whose power is in other respects so limited, have the right of making war and peace.1 Those of Sweden have lost it. The brilliant but ruinous exploits of Charles XII. sufficiently warranted the states of that kingdom to reserve to themselves a right of such importance to their safety.

Here Sovereignty is held by the Nation but executed by those invested with Sovereign power. Republics tend to divide up those powers in many different ways, but the powers themselves are still accrued to the State and then given to the Nation which protects it. Remember, this was not only known about before the Revolution, but was a working body of knowledge actively talked about all the way up to the 19th century. Later in Book III a higher level of definition is given between Public and Private war:

§ 67. It is to be distinguished from informal and unlawful war.

Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.

§ 68. Grounds of this distinction.

In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.

The rationale for the distinction is clear and decisive: individuals who would be allowed to make wanton warfare would decay the State to one of anarchy and the rule of the Law of Nature. When individuals, on land or sea, take to making war without sanction, they practice Private war no matter what their stated goals are: they are acting on their own and taking up the negative liberty of war which civilized peoples have handed to the Nation State ALONE to use.

Finally there is the English Common Law which has basis for this understanding. English legal scholar William Blackstone worked with Emmerich de Vattel on the Law of Nations and Blackstone would then return to England and give the most salient overview of how that worked in England via Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-1769 (a free text from scanned source at the Avalon Project; better edited text at The Laws of Nature And Nature's God). We can read the following from Public Wrongs in Book 4, and Chapter 5 Of the Law of Nations:

THE principal offense against the law of nations, animadverted on as such by the municipal laws of England, are of three kinds; 1. Violation of safe-conducts; 2. Infringement of the rights of ambassadors; and, 3. Piracy.


LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property.

BY the ancient common law, piracy, if committed by a subject, was held to be a species of treason, being contrary to his natural allegiance; and by an alien to be felony only: but now, since the statute of treasons, 25 Edw. III. c. 2. it is held to be only felony in a subject.11 Formerly it was only cognizable by the admiralty courts, which proceed by the rule of the civil law.12 But, it being inconsistent with the liberties of the nation, that any man's life should be taken away, unless by the judgment of his peers, or the common law of the land, the statute 28 Hen. VIII. c. 15. established a new jurisdiction for this purpose; which proceeds according to the course of the common law, and of which we shall say more hereafter.

Note that Piracy is a great worry to the island Nation of England as it is the greatest source of revenue it has via trade. The more general view that is taken up is one that we understand, even though the SCOTUS rules that we cannot use the rulings of Coke and, indeed, must go back to King William for the actual powers of the Nation State over the high and near Seas. That is the Black Book of the Admiralty which was compiled some time thereafter, but remains the cornerstone of understanding of what authority Nations have on the high Seas. British Admiralty courts can be cited, but only to demonstrate how a Nation with a similar understanding of its Admiralty powers rules according to its derived laws.

Even with that, Blackstone is giving a wider view of piracy as he defines it as an action taken by the enemy of mankind. That such an enemy reverts to the law of nature against society and government, and has reduced himself into savagery by declaring war against all mankind. Also note the law of nature provides the right of self-defense as part of the negative liberty of war, a right that cannot be abolished just as the negative liberty of war cannot be abolished, as it includes any invasion of a person or his property without legal sanction.

Even better is that the US Army has had a good and functional description of 'terrorism' in the past for when it was on active duty. Here is the relevant passage:

Art. 82.

Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.

That comes from this document:


Prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Orders No. 100 by President Lincoln, 24 April 1863.

These activities are still war, lest we forget that and can be sanctioned by On the Laws of War and Peace as described by Hugo Grotius and has been seen in the Law of Nations and in the English Common Law.

On top of that there is this bit from the US Code in 18 USC 1651:

Sec. 1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.

As we have seen piracy is a bit more than bottles of rum, parrots, and malnutrition with poor hygiene. The Law of Nations goes a bit further than 18 USC 1651, but that is only the first of the Piracy statutes and the Law of Nations makes it quite clear that the high Seas are only a part of this, though the relevant part for the US Admiralty power. Actually for the very few laws that are very well defined and delineated in that section of 18 USC, it makes for a lot easier reading of the double handful of sentences than the 900 paragraph 'terrorism' laws do. Apparently Congress once knew how to write brief and easy to understand laws.

We now have the ability to describe terrorism by the actions taken as those of Private war.

First - It is utilization of war by personal means. That can be in groups of individuals as seen with Pirates, bandit armies, and roving bands of thieves which was a problem for the USSR in 1929.

Second - It is unsanctioned by any Nation State.

That is IT.

Intent plays no part in this determination.

That by legal history the US was founded on, the understanding of the founders, and the written powers put into the Constitution plus the legal tradition of the written rulings retained to guide future rulings is the understanding of the United States on what 'terrorism' is as I understand it.

Did Bill Ayers practice Private war? Yes. His organization declared war on the United States while having no standing to do so. They reverted to a state of primitive savagery to become enemies of society and the Nation.

Did Eric Rudolph practice Private war? Yes. He utilized bombings to compel activities of society and the Nation to end with no legal standing to do so. He reverted to savagery to enforce his will on society using warlike means without sanction.

Did those who 'burned cities' during the 60's practice Private war? Did they utilize the means of war without sanction? Setting fires can be this thing known as 'arson' and done without using weapons of war. That is a civil crime that does not take place in the realm of warfare. If they utilized the ways and means of warfare along with their criminal actions to stop others from putting out such fires, then they did, indeed, practice private and unsanctioned war to their own ends.

That is how you let the action determine how it is tagged.

It is quite simple to note that there is NO DIFFERENCE between DOMESTIC and FOREIGN activities in the realm of Private war. That is intentional by those who described the Law of Nations as it exists everywhere there are Nations and is an over-riding concern to all Nations that attempts to destroy Nations by ANYONE must be stopped. That is how the Tamil Tigers who have had so few activities against the US that you can pretty easily count them, get on the Foreign Terrorist Organization listing at the State Dept. They are practicing Private war, even if none of the bureaucrats can actually DEFINE IT.

That is too much for the MSM, elite political class and all of the Left to figure out... and most of the Right come to think of it. But then actually calling savage and uncivilized behavior for what it is isn't nice, now, is it?

No one ever said civilization was 'nice', just necessary to civil discourse and common laws.

Perhaps Brian Williams can stop playing 'gotchya journalism' and see if he can find a clue someplace.

21 October 2008

Management of Savagery - The 'weak horse'

There are few publications that utilize the foreign policy of the US as one of its contingent points, and fewer still that encapsulate decades of US views to its goals.  One of those is The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji, Translated by William McCants at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.  This is one of the few strategic doctrine articles we have from al Qaeda and I have reviewed it in quick and deeper reviews, and find it nearly impossible to drudge through the fantastical viewpoints given within it.  Part of the problem for the western analyst is in the fact that it is based on a fantasy ideology expecting that the supernatural will intervene if believers just do certain things.  That is following the analysis by Lee Harris of al Qaeda's fantasy ideology, but it is extensible to other organizations using different forms of fantastical basis for doctrine no matter what their form.  Yet the basis for those actions is rooted in actual real-world events, so that the fantastical can be used to explain them.  When it comes to US foreign policy of the 1980's to 1990's, The Management of Savagery follows on Osama bin Laden's 'weak horse' concept of picking up supporters: they will know a weak horse when they see it and follow the strong horse.  While events in Iraq have gone decidedly against the views of the US being a 'weak horse', Afghanistan has proven more problematical as al Qaeda and its Talibani allies have had safe refuge in parts of Pakistan, and other surrounding States.  Initial support from 'enemy regimes' by al Qaeda in Iraq proved to be insufficient to keeping a long-term insurgency going when civil society turned against it.  In Afghanistan the Pashtun regions stretching across Pakistan and into Afghanistan are less well defined and more porous to ethnic ties and money, plus the Afghani native Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's long lasting criminal/terrorist organization that stretches from western China all the way to London.


US Cold War Foreign Policy and Military Policy

The United States, in a 'weak horse' position is in no position to help this out.  Currently the situation in Afghanistan is slowly shifting the balance of viewpoint from the US as 'strong horse' to that as 'weak horse' and threats against Pakistan (or any ethnic sub-group) beyond fully known and designated groups does not help.  A shift in position to remove these organizations without destroying their backing ethnic groups is a major requirement as genocide is a result of not discriminating between those pushing for private war and those caught unable to resist it.  The United States, for all its puissance of arms by its National level forces, is not in a position to exploit the powers of its legitimate non-State forces as given to Congress.  There has been a general abhorrence by the political Left and Right to doing this as it shifts the US from late 19th/early 20th century Nation State concepts and late 20th century concepts of Nation States in Global concerns to ones of late 18th century and early 19th century ones.

And yet that is a valid part of the solution space as that space must recognize the cultural utilization of non-National armed forces.  This concept has the modern term of 'asymmetrical warfare' applied to it, and is generally held to be one of non-State actors that are illegitimate against legitimate National armed forces.  That coin has an obverse side, however, in which legitimized sub-State forces can be used against non-legitimized non-State forces: that is a direct Constitutional power backed by the Law of Nations and by the views of warfare to address National grievances against such actors by the utilization of the Letters of Marque and Reprisal in the 1:1 rule - for each dollar of damage incurred, the Nation can legitimately incur $1 of damage to the non-legitimate forces.  As non-legitimate forces tend to be smaller in funding base than Nation States, this spells an asymmetrical application of force as those forces that are private and legitimized will have a stronger economic backing than those that do not seek National means of legitimization.

That potent tool to bring non-National and non-Legitimate forces to heel or end them has been one that has gained the dark cloud of past utilizations of it going awry.  Yet, for all the advances of the modern State, the modern practitioners do not seem willing to utilize the exact, same technical and legal methodologies on such forces.  Politically this is an untenable solution to a political system that is entrenched in post-World War, post-Cold War and Transnationalist/Globalist encroachment.  Yet it is that exact, same set of politics that causes the US to weaken its stances on liberty and freedom and to run from difficult fights that yield no immediate positive economically or politically, and yet serve as a representation of the ideals of personal liberty and freedom the Nation was founded on.

By the mid-20th century (post-WWII) US Foreign Policy was set to a Cold War system in which stasis was the best achievable goal for the long haul.  So long as the 'balance of power' was kept stable, there was no long term threat to Western society.  Yet long-term threats that were non-Soviet in origin did appear in the form of radical Islamic views and continued ethnic problems in many parts of the world.  Additionally the political atmosphere at home shifted from the survival and retribution concepts for military analysis that was predominant in WWII to ones of insular stagnation and unwillingness to confront despotism and tyranny.  That was across the political spectrum and created a dichotomy of inaction: if the political Left wanted intervention into poor countries with no National interest to the US, the Right would not support such; and if the Right wanted to confront the USSR on even minor stands, the Left was loathe to expend any funds or lives in helping others to retain liberty and freedom.

The return to military recruitment normalcy via ending the draft was a major shift in military stance by the US, as it was the traditional route of the Nation to have an all-volunteer military.  This would actually free up the economy (so as to end the 'guns vs butter' debate) and that shift taking place before the end of the Cold War caused a major shock, globally, as the US did not need to expend anywhere the level of commitment the USSR was expending as a percentage of GDP to meet the Soviet threat.  The US had outgrown its opponent, although nuclear annihilation was still possible, economic collapse in accord to Leninist doctrine was impossible.  Within 20 years of ending the draft and re-scaling the armed forces, the Soviet Union collapsed as it could no longer keep so much economic output going to military affairs and overlook its population.  The threat that grew up during the latter part of this era (approx. 1963 to present) was that of non-State military actors utilizing terrorist tactics to political goals.  These non-State actors faced an increasingly insular United States and an increasingly stagnant and crumbling Soviet Union that could still be vicious but could actually overextend itself to no good.

US Foreign Policy and Military Policy both refused to address non-State actors in any meaningful way and actually would recoil from them multiple times, thus empowering the 'weak horse' concept of the US.  With unstopped successful attacks, these non-State actors grew in size and viciousness in the post-Cold War era to an extent that could not be conceived in the Cold War.


Al Qaeda and the milieu of Central Asia

If Pakistan is the last refuge of al Qaeda (although parts of Somalia and Kenya, along with the Tri-Border Area of South America may prove this to be a limited analysis), then it is a refuge already dominated by local players far stronger than al Qaeda is locally: the Mehsud brothers, Hekmatyar's huge organization and even the Baluchs of the south all have demonstrated capacity that far exceeds that of either al Qaeda or the Taliban.  Combined Hekmatyar's organization and that of the ethnically different Baluchs are individually as strong, although only Hekmatyar's has greater reach, scope and longevity with the Baluchs more geographically isolated for scope and reach, but arguably far longer in terms of existing (the stand-up of Pakistan) than Hekmatyar's (and his rise under General Zia).  It is that milieu that allows al Qaeda to survive, not expand, when its attempt to expand in Iraq was crushed.  Iraq was a strategic level defeat for al Qaeda and a huge global set-back, but its grounding is not in any one area of victory, but to exist to support all of them and outlast its opposition.  That was the 1990's statement my bin Laden and The Management of Savagery fleshes this out by examining the USSR and USA (p.23 of the pdf file, bolding is mine):

Some others among the people of truthfulness and jihad used to set forth what God had showed them and the notion was established in their minds that the enemy was weak and insignificant – if God decreed something, it could be done. This group says to the remainder of the people of religion and the masses: “O people! The viciousness of the Russian soldier is double that of the American (soldier). If the number of Americans killed is one tenth of the number of Russians killed in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they will flee, heedless of all else. That is because the current structure of the American and Western military is not the same as the structure of their military in the era of colonialism. They reached a stage of effeminacy which made them unable to sustain battles for a long period of time and they compensate for this with a deceptive media halo. O people! The center in the Soviet Union was, to a certain extent, close to the countries in which there was opposition to it. They even shared borders with areas that opposed it, so supplies, motorized units, and armored vehicles used to pour in with ease and without much cost. The matter is different with regard to America—the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries should help the Americans understand the difficulty of our continued submission to them, their control over us, and their pillaging of our resources if we decide to refuse; but only if we refuse and enflame opposition to its materialization.”

It is clear for that understanding by al Qaeda if God decrees an end to America, and giving America small but persistent death toll, that America would withdraw from the Middle East, Central Asia and, indeed, agree not to otherwise stand against those that will refuse to ever stop killing Americans.

Here the lines of the modern Leftist doctrine of the US being an 'imperial power' and the al Qaeda doctrinal examination of what happens when the Left is able to sway foreign policy outcomes (and this is a bi-partisan outcome, not limited to a single political party but a Leftist outcome of foreign policy in total across multiple administrations).  The US is not only weakened but perceived as weak.  If Iraq is a showcase that America can and indeed will counter that via reinforcing local culture that is Nation State oriented, then the work in Afghanistan becomes a more difficult situation as the strength of Nation State doctrine has been weak there since before the first Empires attempted to dominate that region.

This is telling in that the ages old anti-imperial strains of the native populations in Central Asia now are unwilling to accede to multi-ethnic Nation States as those are seen as contrary to the ethnic divisions necessary to survive multiple Empires (arguably from the earliest Persian to the Soviet Union).  US foreign policy has not, does not and will not come to terms with this until a President actually addresses it and creates a foreign policy that understands these basic problems of ethnicity and Nation States.  If the opposition to the ideology of Nation States as multi-ethnic (20th century oriented) concepts is one that is seen as Imperialist and foreign to the local ethnicities still fighting their formation, as part of a tradition going back thousands of years, then those trying to utilize Transnational Progressivism and Transnational Capitalist (or Globalist) views which both try to utilize local ethnic differences to desired social and economic ends are BOTH treated likewise: external attempts to utilize internal differences are ALL seen as Imperialist to such native ethnic groups.

If the 19th to 20th century Nation State and 19th to 21st century socialist to Transnationalist doctrines are ALL seen as external and Imperialist, what the hell is left to try, you may wonder.  If every modern conception of the Nation State and Transnational/Globalist views are seen as exterior and Imperial, then NO current formulation of foreign policy, National policy nor military policy can or will work there.  Central asia makes the Balkans look like child's play, and yet Western doctrine (Nationalist, Socialist, Communist and Transnationalist/Globalist) have, each and every one of them, fallen flat on their face there.

They are, all of them, 'weak horse' concepts as al Qaeda sees it.


The Ideology of Modern States and Analysis

That is a sobering conclusion to look at based on the factual analysis done by al Qaeda (no matter how fantastical its world view is) and an examination (even cursory such as this one is) of all the Empires that have dried up and gone away while the ethnic rivalries have continued on in various guises under various religions for thousands of years in the region.  You cannot 'surge' unless you have a sound doctrinal basis for COIN (Counter-Insurgency) that is based on a conceptualization that actually accepts the basic cultural problems and finds a coherent and workable solution to them.  More importantly, if the ethnic group and religious backing is one that looks towards fantastical ends, the ability to actually bring such groups and organizations to an end is highly limited: the ideology is one of not stopping as the simple acts can be done by very few people.  What is COIN if the society, itself, accepts continual insurgency as a working phenomena that is part of society?

Here the DIME vector analysis of the modern military falls apart along the lines I previously examined, as the sub-units (Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic) are descriptive vectors and amenable to multi-level uses and counter-use.  These are vectors within society and culture, but oriented towards a mid-to-late 20th century view of Nation States: pluralistic, democratic, western liberal.  The use of these at the macro scale is an demonstration of power along those vectors on Nation States, but when applied to non-State actors and ethnic groups and a weak Nation State, they become very problematic.  Additionally, using them to countervail an insurgent/terrorist/ethnically backed non-State actor group is then seen as exterior or Imperialistic, and not a 'home grown' happening.  I will pull out this passage I put down in the previous article:

DIME has a problem in that it serves equally well to set up the structures to collapse society as it does to uphold it. DIME is known as a set of 'vectors': pathways of major parts of society and systems that need to move in coordinated fashion to achieve ends. They are a set of 'means' not 'ends'. And, as such, can be used in any number of paradigms for how to have society, how to govern and, apparently, how *not* to do those things. As a method of COIN we must recognize that the opponents of Counter Insurgency, namely Insurgency, utilizes these exact same vectors in opposition to orderly society. That is because these vectors are neutral to ideology and only means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. If we treat DIME in isolation to the underpinnings of society, then we shall soon have no society in common as it fractures under the multiple forces of transnationalism which seek to gain by that destruction. To counter that the actual goals of what DIME is utilized for must be clearly and succinctly stated and all activities traced directly back to those goals. DIME utilized without such goals then can be utilized in opposition and that opposition will tear up any society upholding group that does not put forward the goals first. In the military parlance this is known as the 'Grand Strategy'. It is more than just 'victory' but the reasons why victory is worthwhile and the goals of that victory BEYOND mere victory. If these are not clearly upheld at entry into a conflict, then there is no way to trace any lesser level strategy or tactics (the implementation tools and locales for strategy) back to the larger goal. In the realm of business this is the Corporate Business Plan or Outlook document, to sort out the major goals to be achieved by said business, and hiring folks to work in a business unit is mere tactics. In this realm of thought, DIME is a way of implementing Grand Strategy and NOT Grand Strategy in, and of, itself.

This is a crucial understanding of DIME, that relates to the fact that Grand Strategy is implemented via DIME and, indeed, a whole suite of vectors beyond DIME.  As a means of short-hand it is limited, and only useful in limited circumstances where there is a pre-existing coherent Grand Strategy and then implemented via a series of vectors of which DIME is a sub-set.  Unfortunately many authors have come to accept DIME as a strategy, not a means to implement strategy, and have missed the fact that without a coherent foreign and military policy to back it, DIME is a set of stateless vectors that can be utilized by anyone.  These policies are meant to give direction in which these vectors are to be organized, but utilizing them is a two-way street: the enemy gets a say, too.


Al Qaeda and Modern State Ideology Intersections

The Management of Savagery is part Grand Strategy, part Grand Tactics and fully fantastical in examining how expansive outcomes can come from limited means.  With that said it was drafted and created by an organization that was based in Afghanistan and had strong links to the Pashtun support network and the larger terror and criminal support networks of central asia and it reflects those understandings.  The aim of the doctrine is clearly spelled out in pp.24-25:

A – The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims by means of:

(1) Reveal the deceptive media to be a power without force.

(2) Force America to abandon its war against Islam by proxy and force it to attack directly so that the noble ones among the masses and a few of the noble ones among the armies of apostasy will see that their fear of deposing the regimes because America is their protector is misplaced and that when they depose the regimes, they are capable of opposing America if it interferes.

B – The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the past thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons:

(1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America.

(2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that that anger compounds the previous anger against America's support for the Zionist entity. It also transforms the suppressed anger toward the regimes of apostasy and tyranny into a positive anger. Human aid for the renewal movement will not dry up, especially when heedless people among the masses – and they are the majority – discover the truth of the collaboration of these regimes with the enemies of the Umma to such an extent that no deceptive veil will be of use and no pretext will remain for any claimant to the Islam of these regimes and their like.

(C) – The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly. As a result, the apostates among all of the sects and groups and even Americans themselves will see that the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries is a major factor contributing to the possible outbreak of chaos and savagery.

The first goal is coincident with that of the Transnationalists/Globalists: destroy respect for America.  The Transnational reasoning is as clear as that of al Qaeda.  Transnationalism is described by John Fonte in three good works:  The Ideological War within the West, Liberal Democracy vs Transnational Progressivism, and Transnationalist Left and Transnationalist Right.  Transnationalism is an emergent dogma that is a fusion of various leftist and radical movements starting with the Progressive movement in America and drawing its ideological bases from Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Democratic Socialism and Radicalism.  It is an anti-National distillation held by multiple organizations on how to remodel society from the view of an elite superstructure.  While those on the Transnational Left seek to do this for societal reasons, those on the Transnational Right seek to do that for economic reasons, and yet both utilize the same distillation of concepts, but with different emphasis.  Mr. Fonte describes the over-riding ideology, and thus a form of Grand Strategy, as follows:

Groups are what matter, not people. You are "Black" or "Christian" or "Mexican" or "Afghan" or "Sunni", you are not yourself. You also don't get to choose your group; it's inherent in what you were when you were born. Someone else will categorize you into your group, and you will become a number, a body to count to decide how important that group is. And your group won't change during your lifetime.

The goal of fairness is equality of result, not equality of opportunity. It isn't important to let individuals fulfill their potential and express their dreams, what's important is to make groups have power and representation in all things proportional to their numbers in the population. Fairness is for groups, not for individuals. The ideally fair system is based on quotas, not on merit, because that permits proper precise allocation of results.

Being a victim is politically significant. It's not merely a plea for help or something to be pitied; it's actually a status that grants extra political power. "Victimhood" isn't a cult, it's a valid political evaluation. Groups which are victims should be granted disproportionately more influence and representation, at the expense of the historic "dominant" culture.

Assimilation is evil. Immigrants must remain what they were before they arrived here, and should be treated that way. Our system must adapt to them, rather than expecting them to adapt to us (even if they want to). The migration of people across national borders is a way to ultimately erase the significance of those borders by diluting national identity in the destination country.

An ideal democracy is a coalition where political power is allocated among groups in proportion to their numbers. It has nothing to do with voting or with individual citizens expressing opinions, and in fact it doesn't require elections at all. A "winner take all" system, or one ruled by a majority, is profoundly repugnant because it disenfranchise minority groups of all kinds and deprives them of their proper share of power.

National identity is evil. We should try to think of ourselves as citizens of the world, not as citizens of the nations in which we live, and we should try to minimize the effects of national interests, especially our own if we live in powerful nations.

The al Qaeda vector goal of destroying respect for America plays into the Transnationalist vectors via group identification (Muslim vs. Non-Muslim), seeking 'fairness' (in which the demands of an 'oppressed group' trumps that of a Nation State), painting themselves as a 'victim', not only countering Nation State assimilation ideas but actively working towards separatist concepts, acting like a group that is 'disenfranchised' above and beyond being a 'victim', and espousing that religious identity trumps National identity.  Each of these themes play into the theme of destroying America.

What is interesting is that the second goal, of a renewal movement, is one to create a new elite structure for ruling that would be seen as the enemy of the cultural elite or economic elite in the Transnational Left and Right areas, respectively.  For all the oddities of the fantastical ideology of al Qaeda, they have taken a direct set of ideals from the Transnationalist perspective to create their own Transnationalist dogma that is backed by Terrorism.

Unexpectedly, to al Qaeda, is that in getting their third goal, they have damaged the first two very seriously as America actually has shown up to fight in Iraq, and very well, though perhaps not so well in Afghanistan.  This dogma was designed in the central asian environment and meant to play well in the general weak tribal environment of the Middle East and Africa.  There is one Nation in the Middle East that has very strong tribal affiliations, however, and has demonstrated resiliency against genocidal dictators:  Iraq.

As a strategic blunder, and this is in the Grand Strategy sense, al Qaeda has gambled and lost almost all of its three goals by investing so heavily in Iraq and not having it shift under to a normal State for the region.  This is due to the intense Nationalism that is felt North to South and East to West in Iraq: the New Iraqi Army was the first to clearly demonstrate this, but the gradual and strong return of civil society is now doubling and even trebling the error by al Qaeda.  Today Iraq arrests members of any group intent on harming the Nation, if they can find them, and the Tribes of Iraq, save for some holdouts, have turned against al Qaeda on the Sunni side and many of the Shia tribes want no affiliation with Iran.


Grand Strategic Failures of the Modern State

Grand Strategy actually requires that expected outcomes happen when you take activities, and al Qaeda has a non-intersection of outcomes to actions.  Where a Western ideology would implode due to this, al Qaeda's does not as it is not a rational nor logic based ideology:  it is a long-term conflict based on no surrender, no compromise and never giving up.  That is a fatalistic fantastic ideology and is the equivalent of a Death Cult.  As a rule, Death Cults only end once all their members have died or the entire organization so discredited that it cannot recover.  Aum Shinrikyo still exists, but is no longer the same organization it was, although there are still some deep followers of its ideology before its breakdown.  The Thugee following, a related type of cult of murder, was broken up due to its practices and heavily infiltrated until it could be, essentially, wiped out as a secret society.  These both point to a very active movement to rid society of these cults, and requires far more than just DIME exercising COIN.

At this point the negative conclusions draw a positive space of possibilities that are left. 

  1. Transnationalism not only does not work against terrorism, it incites it and enables it as an anti-Nation State based concept.  It must be noted that not only is Transnational Terrorism of the al Qaeda or Islamic form one that utilizes the methodology of Western anti-Nationalists, it is also anti-Western and, therefore, inimical to the practitioners of Transnationalist Left and Right, in that it places those elites in a non-ruling, non-elite status, replaced by an Islamic selected elite class.  While all three operate in coincidence of method, they all differ on final status, which not only pits the two Western views against each other but also pits both of those against the Terrorist form.  Temporary coincidence of methodology does not point to coincidence of outcome.
  2. Late 19th to 20th century Nationalism or Nation State doctrines have failed - This is apparent by the lack of coherence of the ethnic groups amongst the Nations that have formed: Pakistan, Afghanistan,Iran and the entire suite of ex-Soviet Central Asian Republics.  Pakistan by backing a number of these groups via its ISI (Hekmatyar, Meshud, Taliban, as examples) is a culprit in creating its own internal problems once these groups found stiff resistance in their target areas (Kasmir, Aghanistan, Iran) and started working with some of the criminal enterprises that arose after the fall of the USSR (notably Semion Mogilevich's trade group but also such individuals as the arms smuggler Viktor Bout).  The Pashtun people had an edict imposed on them during the British Empire to wait along 'temporary' borders while everyone figured out what was what, and that was going to last 100 years.  The 100 years ran out a few decades ago.  That, together with the Baluchs, who feel they got cheated out of significant internal sovereignty, plus other ethnic and religious groups and personal armies (or Lashkars) have made the modern Nation State a near impossibility to keep together.  The list of governments, assassinations, terror organizations, bombings, and personal armies running around since the stand-up of Pakistan, alone, indicates a failure of a coherent modern State system.
  3. Communism and Socialism have not addressed these problems - Both have been tried since the stand-up of Pakistan, neither has addressed the problem.  Nor has capitalism, although it is a thriving concept amongst the tribes.  Lawless areas continued to remain lawless no matter what the ideology of the government.
  4. Afghanistan has thrown off all exterior repression and now works hard to keep interior types in check - That is semi-workable, but so long as it has strong ethnic ties to a lawless region of Pakistan that allows private armies there will be no end of trouble.  A larger war or expanded war will NOT cure this problem and only expand the conflict if internal governments collapse in any Nation having some ethnic contact with those involved in the conflict.  Afghanistan can only be considered to have meta-stability, or being stable until a vector of events turns it unstable, and those would be ethnic or tribal level, not necessarily Nation State level.
  5. Appeasement does not work - The lawless areas fully intend to remain so and use 'cease-fires' as times to upgrade their capabilities (in negation of the cease-fire as the term is understood in military parlance).  Thus offers for such are disingenuous.  And, as non-State actors are involved, they cannot have any treaty power externally or internally, as anyone who disagreed would feel free to continue on as they were doing and ignore such treaties.

That is a highly sobering assessment as it invalidates all modern thinking on Nation States, Transnationalism and Globalism.  That is not something that the current political set up of the Western Nation State system is ready to adjust to and has failed at as that is the source of the problem.   What is necessary is to then see what the hallmarks of the solution space contain.


One Possible Solution Space

If the modern conceptions of Nation State and Transnationalism fail, then their failure creates the possible areas that are within a successful bounds for not only Pakistan but Central Asia as a whole.  The negatives are ones that must be known, otherwise a reliance with concepts and references to these modern types and incorporation of them will not come a solution that is viable.  This requires that thinking in modernistic terms of economy, society and warfare must all be scaled back to more basic and essential types for each category and then advanced slowly until the non-concordance with existing societies and types happens.  Solution space analysis begins with delimited areas and then scales to the minimum necessary to meet localized needs and still accord a higher level structure that has the least intrusion on those needs.  Thus the modern, centralized political systems of the West are not useful analogs for the solution space, as they engender too much centralized power that is in non-accordance with decentralized society.

While many of these solution types are pre-existing and known, their implementation in a post-industrial world is not out of accord with the general pre-industrial environment of society, culture and ethnicity seen in Central Asia.  Modern communications and other systems can help these systems along, but they are not central to the operations of the systems in the solution space.

First, the solution space has within it the pre-modern, pre-19th century conception of the Nation State.  This is not a prerequisite, by any means, but it offers a number of things that the late-19th and 20th century lacks:

  • Pluralism - Instead of multi-ethnic approaches of the modern type, the pre-modern ones of pluralism based on ethnic identity but holding to common necessities for basic societal structure and governance offers flexibility and adaptability without the need for lock-step conformity as seen in modern multi-ethnic societies.  Modern multi-ethnic concepts have shied away from such concepts as Federalism or Confederalism and concentrate on a centralized State apparatus.  As it is the centralized State concept that has repeatedly failed in the region, the more loosely held but still constrained Federal or Confederal conception of Nation State remains one area that no one has tried: the internal self-checking, self-balancing arrangement between unequal groups with equality of checks so that no major group dominates and puts the rights of smaller groups at risk.
  • Westphalianism - This is the generalized concept of the Nation State that can have a religious basis, but has internal agreement that this cannot be used to press a religious doctrine downwards from the State level.  An Islamic State that agreed to an internal Westphalian system of governance would have a generalized Islamic outlook, but only for those things held in absolute common across all sects within the State and then could impress none of those, save for minor things like holidays, upon any sect.  The West has generalized that to all religions, but a more restricted concept of 'known religions in society' was the prevailing ones before late 18th century Nation State doctrine came into being.
  • Internal trade regularization - In either the Federal or Confederal systems in a Pluralistic arrangement, autonomous or semi-autonomous sub-National States or Provinces agree to common rules for general trade and practices internally and to have external trade practices regulated by a common agreement government.  This does require normalization of National boundaries, but that can be done via understood treaty arrangements to take into account Pluralistic needs for travel (kinship relationships, religious practices, etc.).  Practices outside the purview of the Nation State and reserved for Individuals and sub-National States or Provinces then allow for specificity of trade agreements for those groups that are amenable to the larger Pluralistic system without endorsing favoritism.
  • Codification of private armies - This is something that is not well understood, but serves as a basis for the Nation State control of armed forces.  Private Armies would need to operate under National regulations and guidelines and hold themselves accountable to that structure.  This does not mean a National Army, per se, but having identified command and control structures run by individuals or groups and adhering to the larger National agreements amongst various groups.  The concept of this is a 'well regulated militia' in which service in these private groups comes under National oversight while not endangering the ability of private organizations at the local level to self-organize.  Indeed, they become National level tools via such regularized concepts of the Letters of Marque and Reprisal if the Nation decides to have no standing armed forces.  A larger agreement to come to the aid of any sub-member who is attacked by an outside force is a general requirement here, as well as serving as an adjunct to a National standing force if such is created.  Trust in such a government is paramount for having such forces and regularizing them, and such governments know that they are held accountable for their actions and that civil, political means are preferable to military means.
  • Nation State supported armed forces - These forces are seen as the common defense of all sub-groups and sub-States or Provinces within such an arrangement.  Here some check and balance agreement between the sub-units of society is necessary, and one that puts such armed forces as permissible when larger than the largest of the sub-state groups Militia but no larger than the largest three, say, is workable.  That gives the State a necessary leeway to create a competent military system for regularized defense of the Nation and yet is held in harsh check by the three largest sub-unit Militias due to size.  A practical note is that the sub-units may realize that weakening their sizes also draws down the maximum size of the National forces and some minimal size of the National force may be set by common agreement.  Here 'size' may be in manpower, funding or both combined.

Combined these bear the hallmarks of the restricted space as delimited by the negatives: each part of this sort of solution is within the positive space while not incorporating the negative space.  Such an outlook places cultural and ethnic affinity as a high priority for a Nation and yet recognizes that common understanding across all sub-States or Provinces is a requirement for the good of all.  What such a thing would do in Pakistan is cause a major re-negotiation of the basis for the State, itself and a buy-in by all the major ethnic and religious regions and perhaps some re-drawing of internal boundaries.  An attempt to redress the grievances of Baluchs and Pashtuns, in particular, is a requirement of such a solution and yet no final outcomes can be dictated by an external Nation or set of Nations, even though some grievances will require external redress (Baluchs with Iran, Kasmir settlement and Pashtuns with Afghanistan amongst many).  The original basis for Pakistan left the major sub-populations of Pashtuns and Baluchs feeling slighted to the point of becoming international threats, and no modern conformation of the Pakistani State has brought these regions into alignment with it.


Modern US governmental changes via politics

This brings this analysis to the modern two party system and trenchant ideologies of the United States.  The post-Cold War stasis in which one party held majorities in the House and Senate for 40 years started to dissolve in the 1980's and by the 1990's the Cold War stasis had left a group of individuals unready for the modern world, unwilling to address it and unable to conceive of how to deal with it absent a global threat.  These individuals had so infiltrated the political system with their adherents that the system, itself, was regulated to one in which only two parties get any chance to compete in a meaningful way at all scales of National debate.  The expansive concentration of power that started with President Theodore Roosevelt had continued unabated no matter which party was in office or governmental control: both had sought to use new powers taken without any other recourse to their own ideological ends.  The same political class that put a static system of Foreign Policy and Military Policy in place still have no other antidote to the problems it has caused and even refuse to recognize the two party causation of these problems.

The Republican Party has been notable in that it started off the entire Progressive cycle of government with the Administration of Theodore Roosevelt.  Until that point in time the Progressives aligned with the Populists to push general long-term themes to 'modernize government' via Constitutional amendments.  President Theodore Roosevelt would abet this from the Executive Branch by shifting to accede to the wishes of a religious majority that sought an end to the opium trade in China.  The accords reached in Shanghai would require those governments that signed on to it to end the opium trade in their countries.  As a signatory the US would have to break with Constitutional limitation on the federal government and seek the first ever restriction on personal use of medicines.  Prior to that the use of such things as laudanum, cocaine and heroin were required under the food and drug purity act which would establish that contents of foods and medications needed to be listed.  That, alone, started to curb rampant drug use.  Those who sought moral backing via an overseas treaty looked to enforce a 'good' by statute to enforce a treaty, thus criminalizing the unregulated use of medications for the first time, ever, in federal history.  Although that legislation would be put in during another Administration, it was President Theodore Roosevelt's that sought to expand the latitude of federal power beyond its traditional and understood boundaries.

Those powers accumulated to the Office of the Executive and to the federal government, and in a ten year period there would be a radical shift of the basis of US government away from classical liberty to that of Progressive government.  The more Populist based Democratic Party would latch onto these powers and help to get the necessary Amendments passed to change that basis and then start to implement greater and deeper shifts of power distribution to the federal government throughout the rest of the 20th century.  Holding the Congressional majority for 40 years helped to ensure that there would be no questioning of these changes and that no ending statutes for new government entities would ever be put in place.  In the prior century government institutions that were not direct Constitutional charters often had re-upping limits on them, such as the First National Bank, so that future Congresses and Presidents would be able to review and change or abolish these new government organs.  In 1832 the Democratic President Andrew Jackson ended the First National Bank and similar powers would not exist until the founding of the Federal Reserve by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson.  In that span of 80 years the Democratic Party went from support of classical liberal values to ones of government invested power over the citizenry, which is perhaps the greatest turnaround for any political party ever witnessed in the United States.

During the 20th century, American politics would adjust to the end of Imperial courts and Europe and the United States passing multiple European Nations in industrial output and power, as well as inventiveness in many technical fields.  The rise of mighty Nation States would also cause a general forgetfulness that warfare is not delimited to the Nation State, and that the Law of Nature that is given to all men allows for Private War.  For those years in which Nations held the overwhelming sway of power, such things as piracy and rogue armies tended to be overlooked, although the Soviet Union would stage the first ever paratroop drop against a rogue army as late as 1929.  The older Hague Conventions and pre-existing other conventions prior to the late 19th century Hague Conventions, understood Private War in the realm of Piracy and President Lincoln understood it to the point of authorizing the Army Field Manual-101 in 1863 that specified that acts the modern world would call 'terrorism' when seen by armies is to be treated summarily as Piracy or highway robbery.  It was this basic understanding that both parties, and the world as a whole, would slowly forget as two world wars and a massive cold war embroiled the governments of the planet during the 20th century.  With that forgetting would also go the means to counter them and the memory of why certain parts of the Constitution are set up as they are.  If the Constitution becomes a 'living document' then the memory system of it is distorted via re-interpretation by actual, living people.  At some point the basic structure is changed via 'reinterpretation' until the actual meanings and understandings of what Constitutions do for Nations is forgotten.


Foreign and Military Policy results

President Theodore Roosevelt is one of the first Presidents to call for an omnibus international body and also one of the first to repudiate the idea once he actually experienced how international bodies worked.  This ideal would be picked up by the Democrats and Woodrow Wilson, and soon add 'modern' international institutions that had previously not existed.  At that point this strain of Wilsonian Politics in America was one that would serve as the founding for Transnationalism.  America, save for a few years under President McKinley and early on with President Theodore Roosevelt, would not practice 19th century foreign or military policy.  While many point to this as a great 'good', being anti-imperialist in stance, the less understood problem with it is that it creates weak or unaccountable international institutions that are powerless without Nation State backing by a majority of powerful Nation States.  Instead of being 'anti-imperialist' this is system that, in theory, empowers large nations (either economically or via population) to force things their way when it helps them and to ignore anything that is not in their interest.

No Nation has tied its Military Policy to either the League of Nations or the United Nations for this reason: the large powers utilize these institutions to suit their ends, and when a Nation does not do that, it is liable to suffer at the hands of tyrannical or despotic Nations that form the majority of small Nations on the planet.  With Authoritarian, Totalitarian or Tyrannical large powers, and there need not be more than a simple moderate plurality in population or economic size, the ability of such bodies to bring about coherent action is negated.  Even in areas of Foreign Policy, no Nation dares trying to utilize such means as the only way to act as it means restricting their Nation and no longer utilizing the wide leeway any Nation has on direct, one-to-one talks as with traditional treaties.  Finally these large bodies become bureaucratic nightmares, being large institutions with no oversight, the ability of bad actors to find a home and be able to protect themselves from being dislodged by the use of diplomatic credentials is high.  None dare give power to such a body as it is the definition of despotic to start with, and swayed by the hot feelings of small Nations that do not have large economies or populations.

From this the United States learned Isolationism, utilizing the maxims of President Washington and distrusting foreign alliances.  Isolation did not start nor fuel the beginnings of the First or Second World Wars: the first was out of the capability of the US to influence and the second started in places like China and would then pick up years later in Europe.  No one had the power or will to stop Imperial Japan in China, and by the time people began to worry about Italian ventures into Ethiopia, the European system of Nations was succumbing to National Socialism.  No other Nation could reasonably expect to intervene militarily against Japan, Italy or Germany, and by the time any realized that they must do so, the world was at war.

International Socialism arising from the Communist regime in the Soviet Union would start the second basis for expanding Transnationalism and give Wilsonianism a Red make-over and then utilize the combination after the Second World War to start an anti-capitalist system of thought that would coalesce in the 1960's with US radicalism melded with European Socialism and other Radicals in Europe.  By the 1970's Transnationalism would take on some of the trappings of Globalist Capitalism and the latter would take on some of the virulence against Nation State power of the Transnationalists.  Because neither of these had any coherent foundation, they grew as a hodge-podge of general concepts that only coalesced around some basic points, yet by the late 1990's and early years of 2001-2003 those points would be able to be summarized by John Fonte as a coherent belief structure that covered almost all the radical/communist/socialist/globalist concepts that appear as many separate faces, but all are all different parts of the same working ideology.

Foreign Policy would shift to try and accommodate these changes and that would negatively influence US military policy in Vietnam.  What started as a simple support for a mostly democratic State against International Communism would become the first conflict to utilize Transnational Progressivist themes against the United States.  The military policy that started out as a simple enaction of the early Foreign Policy would be betrayed by the change in Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy that would squander all major positives of the COIN work that was done and actually lose the war for the United States.  That shift would disenchant many with the armed forces, as it was intended to do, but leave the core Nation State policy backers in charge.  The all-volunteer force would rebuild with a different ethos and understanding of how US policies shift in obtuse ways and attempt to prepare the armed forces for a similar happening a second time.

Foreign policy would further be twisted by Transnationalists and Globalists, to back the anti-American organizations of the UN and to try and back 'humanitarian' missions for US forces where the Nation had no legitimate reason to intervene.  President Reagan would be the first to attempt this in Lebanon, and the death of the US Marines and their French Comrades on a mission of peace would ultimately see a non-response by the US that would begin the super-charging of non-State actors following the behest of Iran which had become a radical Islamic State during President Carter's term in office.  The idea that was used was one that was bankrupt:  Realism in Foreign Policy.  What would be even worse is that over the decades of the post-World War II era, the education system of the United States would no longer teach the basics of military policy with regards to conflicts, until a general ignorance of what post-war situations actually look like when there are NO global conflicts involved would be the NORM for the United States.

Thus no policy was set up to counter non-State actors.  Post-Imperialism was a major causative factor to the start of them, not a way of curbing them.  Realism ignored them.  Globalism used them as an extortionary threat, at best, and at worse paid no attention to them.  Transnationalism so inculcated its concepts that they have been hijacked by terrorists to the point where terrorism now represents a methodology to create a separate elite from both the Transnational Progressivists and the Global Capitalists.  And no post-Cold War doctrine ever arose to cover them in a methodological and definitional way.  This is not limited to the Capitalist West but also to the Communist and Socialist regimes stretching throughout Europe and into the now defunct USSR.


Current Politics

The multi-variate 'Bush Doctrine' has undergone at least four major changes from its early isolationism prior to 9/11 to an anti-terrorist stance between 9/11 and the run-up to Iraq, then to a multilateral stance with regards to North Korea and finally to a traditional Globalist/Transnational Right concept seen during the term of President Bush (41).  It stepped close to actually being able to define terrorism in the modern world, but lacked vision, clarity and understanding of what terrorism actually *is* to call it by name and deal with it.

The Clinton Foreign Policy, it cannot be called a 'Doctrine', was one of political opportunism trying to show a glad hand for the least expenditure of National political capital possible.  It not only did not counter Transnational Terrorism, but it emboldened it via flaccid or non-responses to attacks in:  Langley, VA; WTC bombing; attacks in Somalia funded by al Qaeda; Kenya and Tanzania Embassy bombings; minimal action against FARC as it sought to take over the Colombian drug trade that would result only in a longer term COIN concept near the end of the Administration; and no response to an attack by al Qaeda that by all definitions would be called 'piracy' at any other point in US history.  Further, political capital was expended to no firm end in the Balkans (where the Kosovars love the US and the Serbs have come to detest the US), Haiti (with yet another President not doing anything substantial for the Nation following in the miserable experience of FDR there),and not doing a thing about genocide in Rwanda or Iraq.  On the latter score it allowed hundreds of thousands that had been executed for daring to believe the US would keep its word if they tried to over throw Saddam Hussein that they would get support.  Instead they got no support and seriously dead.  Both of the parties and its candidates have extreme problems of setting up any coherent Foreign Policy as they all rely upon failed past policies that have never addressed the post-Cold War era in regards to Transnational Terrorism, International Organized Crime and the diminution of Nation State power to unauthorized, unaccountable international concerns.

The Democratic Party has no coherent Foreign Policy and a degenerative Military Policy to further weaken the armed forces and put multiple necessary upgrades on 'hold'.  As was seen under other Democratic and Republican Congresses, the ability to maintain the Armed Forces is placed at a minimal stance without a 'hot conflict' going on.  If Afghanistan goes 'hot' under an Obama Administration, it will mean the involvement of one of the three nuclear powers in the region (China, India, or Pakistan) and a 'crisis' to show 'strength' without having any clear idea of what end-state such an Administration is looking for.  A withdrawal from Iraq before its major military infrastructure is in place (circa 2016) would leave critical and foundational gaps in that very successful conflict and squander a US victory there and put the risk of deep turmoil back into the Middle East.  By stabilizing the geographic centroid of the Middle East, the entire region is undergoing a period of increasing quiescence as it tries to absorb just what kind of Nation Iraq is.  As any external Nation faces danger in not figuring that out, first, only Iran is bold and blinkered enough to think that causing trouble there will help them.  Iran, itself, is undergoing an oil production crisis due to not keeping up its infrastructure, and is now faced with external criminal pressure from the Red Mafia that controls a vital 5% of the natural gas that Iran uses.  On understanding world events and terrorism, the Democratic Party as a whole only has Transnationalist and anti-US platitudes to hand out.

The Republican Party is shifting to a minimal Globalist concept to attempt to assuage those who feel the diminution of National Sovereignty due to previous Globalist trends put in place by the minimally Transnationalist Clinton Administration and by the Globalist outlooks of President Bush (41).  The current Bush Administration's trends have been towards those of moderately more Globalism and loosening controls on US domestic affairs in the economic realm to Transnationalist outlooks backed by Globalist finances.  The economic problems currently seen are directly traceable to the Transnationalist work done by the Carter Administration and not curbed by any subsequent Administration and enhanced by multiple Congresses of both Parties.  While there is some understanding of trade necessities for economic growth, there are none in place for accountability by those who trade with us who do NOT actively go after terrorists and who may actually give safe haven and support to various networks of terrorists.  The support of anti-Nationalist trends via Globalism is not one that spells out either prosperity or safety for the United States, and yet is happily at home in the Republican Party.  While the Republican Party generally supports a somewhat coherent Military Policy, their Party was responsible for the failure of support and funding for the armed forces throughout the mid-to-late 1990's and two entire Army Divisions falling to their lowest readiness since Vietnam as Congressional Republicans would not do their duty as Congressmen and hold the President accountable for the use of the armed forces without Congressional authorization.

What is even worse is that faced with a growing threat of Mexico imploding on the southern border due to the melding of Transnational Terrorism and International Organized Crime, neither of them is prepared to address the issue in a substantive way.  Both parties have been influenced by the strains of Transnationalism and Globalism to disregard Nation State boundaries and that puts the infiltration of external criminal organizations and terror organizations into the US as a known minimum number of events and an unrecorded number that goes unchecked without border enforcement.  Both Transnationalism and Globalism are fanning the fires in which very rich Red Mafia oligarchs can invest in financed organized crime with an aim towards the natural resource wealth of Mexico and the ultimate consumer of much of it to the North.  This puts both parties in a tenuous position to address any problems in Mexico and the resultant spill-over in the lead up to them going unchecked.



The lack of coherent understanding of ethnic problems in Central Asia is a result, not a cause, of US inability to respond to many other problems on a larger basis.  In attempting to do group analysis with a Transnationalist or Globalist bent, and then using restricted modern concepts of Nation States and International Policy, the US is unable to show adaptability with what should be the most adaptable system of society and government ever developed by mankind.  The Globalist and Transnationalist views that are anti-Nationalist, anti-democratic and anti-classical liberal in views has so eroded the ability of the political elite in America to understand what is happening in the world that this very same elite is floundering and threatening not only the stability of the United States but also that of the entire global system of trade, finance and commerce that have made for global population stability to occur.  Without those systems or with an actual 'hot' nuclear war starting in Central Asia, the world would be faced with the collapse of the global trade system and the discrediting of both Globalism and Transnationalism as failures to actually address the small scale needs of ethnic groups.

The coarse tooth comb of modern political ignorance is faced with a very fine-tooth problem and cannot adapt nor adjust to these changed circumstances.  It is not a new problem and has many other areas where similar factors show up:  the Balkans, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa to name but a few regions with very similar and very volatile merging of the problems of the inability of the Western World to understand such things as personal liberty and accountability to society.  International institutions have proven not only unable to deal with these things but actually make matters worse by inflaming local hatreds and then not protecting those they are supposed to protect.

Anything that upsets the global trade system, however, has at stake not just local Nation State problems but those of global interdependence for such things as food shipments.  The US, as a main purveyor of many vital foodstuffs, serves as a major backbone to keep much of the world's population out of starvation, and yet the US is also unable to deal in any meaningful way with local ethnic problems or to confront trends that threaten this very same life support system.

Defuzing the possibility of a 'hot' nuclear war in Central Asia requires a change in political will and understanding to that of the earlier part of the Republic, and no political party is willing to give up 'modern' centralized and powerful governments for decentralized and yet accountable people taking up the fine-grained work that the 'modern' state is so woefully inadequate and incapable of responding to.  Unable to think about such things either from ignorance or ideological blindness by following pat platitudes, the political elite class is now acting contrary to long-term survival interests of the Nation and to the overall population of the planet as a whole.  And yet that is just what is at stake as the US has proven unable to adapt its Foreign Policy to such needs, and yet has all the vital tools at hand if it could just let go of power in its grasp.  That very Fascist 'will to power' and belief that government can solve all ills, puts the blunt instrument of government smack dab against the fine grained institutions of individuals forming societies of a relatively unsophisticated form.  And yet by taking up that unsophisticated form, it stymies all modern pre-conceptions about society, Nations and government.  Because of that the US is now facing the specter of a Cold Civil War that has the prospect of going 'hot' the moment a COIN conflict starts in Mexico or Pakistan hits the pot and disintegrates.

This status quo will not last much longer as there are too many and too many varied interests seeking to push the vectors involved in ways that are inimical to the US and its allies.