Friday, May 30, 2014

No One Left to Fool

President Obama believes that the most salient foreign policy question is: to war or not to war.

Evidently, his was a lame concept. When he offered it up to the graduating class at West Point, they sat in stark silence. The mainstream Obamaphile media greeted it with derision.

After over five years in office Barack Obama still does not know what foreign policy is about. He’s giving on-the-job training a bad name.

NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel knows something about foreign policy. He knows that it’s about developing relationships between nations. When Ken Langone asked Engel to name a nation that had better relations with the United States under Obama, Engel was stumped.

National Review reports on the colloquy:

“I think you would be hard pressed to find that,” [Engel]  told Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone on CNBC on Thursday.

“You would naturally want to say Europe, but generally the relations with a lot of European countries have gotten worse,” he added.

Engel explained that the Obama administration’s withdrawal from world affairs has “very rapidly” left a vacuum. The “vortex of instability” has led other countries to be unsure about what role the United States wants to take on the global stage, he said, especially following the “army-first, or fist-first” approach of the Bush presidency.

“Right now, we have a black hole in Syria, Iraq is in a state of collapse, Libya is about to go back into a civil war,” he said. “I think there is a lot of problems on the horizon in the foreign-policy world, just because you are off-ramping in Afghanistan.”

Keep in mind, Engel works for NBC News. No network has been more fervent in its support of our fearless leader.

If NBC has caught on, there’s no one left to fool.


Anonymous said...

Obama's foreign policy may not be ideal but most rich folks don't have their kids serving in the military.

While rich people make the decisions
(and their kids attend elite colleges and live the high life), soldiers from humbler background do all the dying(and killing). Offering them nice meals and free plastic surgery doesn't alleviate this stark truth.

People sign up to soldiers to defend their country, not to be sent to every trouble spot around the world, so when US meddling only led to series of fiasco in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, and etc.

All those who call for more meddling should urge their own kids to serve in the military and drop bombs on civilians and return in body bags.

Katielee4211 said...

I think, Anon, very few want our country, or their children in armed forces 'meddling' in other countries. But in a broader view, that 'meddling', by ours and others, could be said to have maintained stability and safety, albeit fragile.

Unlike, and unfortunately, what some like to think capitulation and roll-over belly-up passivity isn't seen as 'leading' and inspiring to some cultures - it's seen as weakness.

JPL17 said...


And a happy post-Memorial Day to you, too, sir or madame!

But seriously, your impressions of the U.S. military aren't consistent with the findings of a major study that was conducted in 2008. That study found the following:

1. About 50 percent of all enlisted recruits in the U.S. military at that time came from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution. Only 10 percent came from the bottom 20 percent. People from the upper income brackets were therefore more, *not* less, likely to enlist in the U.S. military. The study concluded, “The facts do not support the belief that many American soldiers volunteer because society offers them few opportunities. The average enlisted person or officer could have had lucrative career opportunities in the private sector.”

2. In addition, as of 2008, U.S. soldiers were more educated than their peers. Only about 1 percent of enlisted personnel lacked a high-school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18 to 24 years old in the general population.

3. In addition, as of 2008, minorities were not overrepresented in the military service. Whites and blacks made up almost exactly the same percent of the enlisted personnel as they did in the general population.

4. Since you mentioned “returning in body bags”, as of March 1, 2008, white fatalities in Iraq totaled 2,964, representing 74.8 percent of total fatalities. This is significantly *higher* than the white percentage of the U.S. general population at that time, which was only 62%. Whites were therefore *overrepresented* and non-whites *underrepresented* among Iraqi fatalities; the same was true in Afghanistan at that time.


If you know of a more recent study that contradicts these findings, please post it, and I'll stand corrected. In the meantime, however, this is the most recent comprehensive study that I'm aware of.

Kath said...

Anon, a weak foreign policy increases the possibility of larger conflicts and more casualties than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Also, our military is well represented by soldiers of varying education, income and diverse family backgrounds.
Yes, I've met them, Brave soldiers with degrees from Princeton, State Colleges, or just high school grads. They joined the military for love of Country, not free meals.

Anonymous said...

"About 50 percent of all enlisted recruits in the U.S. military at that time came from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution. Only 10 percent came from the bottom 20 percent."

But here's the thing. Politicians and the oligarchs behind them represent the upper 0.1% of the population, and their kids do NOT serve in the military. Yet, they make all the decisions.

Anonymous said...

Point of order: The U.S. Has an all-volunteer military. There is currently no draft, nor mass conscription, and has not been for about 4 decades.

While I share Anonymous' concern about wealthy elites not encouraging their children to serve, I don't think it's as simple as "Rich man's war, poor man's fight." And this was not always the case. When American elites had more if a patrician code of honor, they recognized there was a duty that went along with privilege. Hence they sent young men to eat, and members of the Ford and Kennedy families paid the ultimate price in World War II. But that was shared sacrifice in the midst of a declared war with mandatory conscription. I see it as different. There are a lot of stories from the Civil War of wealthy people paying bounties for draft substitutes. The Confederate elites we're not quite so fortunate, were they? Codes of honor are important, no matter what a college professor tells you. Without it, there's freeloading. The 1960s countercultural crowd is playing the same "peace and love" games they were playing back then... with their own children and grandchildren this time. "He'll no, mine won't go!" So much for "equality."

So while I don't share your immediate concerns, I am concerned about American elites viewing hard global realities and obligations as abstractions. Our entire economy depends on global trade and foreign sources of energy. We need a strong military, and we will have wars for oil... like it or not.


Anonymous said...

I meant "war," not "eat" in my comment above. My point had nothing to do with eating. Damn spell-checker.


Anonymous said...

"Point of order: The U.S. Has an all-volunteer military. There is currently no draft, nor mass conscription, and has not been for about 4 decades."

This makes it all the more problematic. Because we tell ourselves that the military is 'voluntary', we can pretend that it's all about free will and free choice of individuals. We can ease our conscience and look the other way.
But once soldiers enlist, they must do as ordered by the elites(who and whose children don't serve and die in the military), and they don't have a choice. It's voluntary going in but obligatory once inside.

The fact is most people who sign up voluntarily do so to defend the nation, not to become entangled 1000s of miles away from home in some ill-defined 'humanitarian mission', which is often ridiculous since US is allied with many loathsome nations and scream about 'human rights abuses' in the most selective and cynical manner.

Americans may join voluntarily but once they sign the contract, they no longer have any choice. They have no say in what wars to fight or not fight. They must serve as attack dogs of the elites. If someone like Bush, Obama, or Hillary tells them to go drop bombs on some town in some nation far away, they must.
Many returned from Iraq War crippled. Many committed suicide. Many now languish in VA hospitals--while Wall Street oligarchs live on the hog thanks to Obama's bailouts.

During the Vietnam War, many Jewish anti-war people pointed out it was rich white gentiles who were making all the decisions while poor whites and blacks were doing most of the fighting dying. Then it's fair game to mention that while Jews are vastly and disproportionately over-represented in the elite echelons that decide on foreign policy, precious few if any Jews have died in our recent wars.

How would Jews like it if Mormons made most foreign policy decisions while Jewish soldiers died in disproportional numbers?

The likes of Rahm Emanuel served but in the Israeli military than in the US military. But many American Jews have done this, caring more about Israel and Jewish interests than American interests. But if we point this out, gee whiz, we are accused of 'antisemitism'.

This is an outrage!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/30/14 @12:54 PM:

What would you recommend we do to deal with IDF enlistment choices by Jews such as Rahm Emmanuel? Should we prevent such "outrages" by instituting a full national draft that will capture lots of freeloading Gentiles, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists, too? How about new American citizens who have emigrated from Ireland, Slovakia, Peru, Nigeria and the Solomon Islands? What about children of Freemasons, the Society of the Cincinnati, Boston Brahmin, or Daughters of the American Revolution? How about recent Stanford, Bennington and Yale graduates?