Back in 2002, Jonah Goldberg wrote this
in the National Review:
So how does all this, or the humble attempt at a history lesson of my last column, justify tearing down the Baghdad regime? Well, I’ve long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the “Ledeen Doctrine.” I’m not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” That’s at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago (Ledeen is one of the most entertaining public speakers I’ve ever heard, by the way).
It’s been ten years since the US did anything Goldberg (and presumably Ledeen) might describe as picking up “some crappy little country” and throwing it “against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” I did a quick Google search – if either man has backed away from the Ledeen doctrine, it doesn’t come up. As a result, I presume they’d cheerlead any attempts to show some other country what-for.
But there are other neocons seem to feel a show of force some kind is needed at this time. The National Review staff described a recent interview with Charles Krauthammer this way
Referring to press secretary Jay Carney’s warning that allowing Snowden to leave will undoubtedly harm China’s relationship with the U.S., Krauthammer argued that nobody in Beijing takes President Obama’s threats seriously: “Nobody worries or cares about what Obama says because it carries no weight.”
Bear in mind, back in 2001, after a Chinese pilot bumped an American spy plane over international waters, seized the crew, dismantled the plane piece by piece to reverse engineer the plane’s technology, charged the US for room and board for “the well-being of the crew” and then got an official apology from the US government, Krauthammer described events this way
Krauthammer apparently is arguing that the US government is showing more weakness now than when it agreed to leave a tip for hostage takers. And we know, from past experience, what he’d recommend to shed an appearance of weakness. And yet, there doesn’t seem to be much of a clamor from the usual suspects for following the Ledeen doctrine these days.
So, for grins and giggles, pretend you’re one of them… who would you propose invading, and why? And tell your friends.
Yep, the Ledeen Doctrine sounds about right. And for 50 years, if the US doesn’t need a full Ledeen they just swear at Cuba a bit till they feel better.
It sure is quiet out there.
I can’t wait for the US to find out (again) how badly big stick diplomacy can backfire.
That said: Venezuela. Why? Because they’re socialists, we’re agin’ ’em, and we might be able to beat ’em.
Wait – do they have McDonald’s there?
I know I’m fed up with canada’s smug competence. They’re so busy congratulating themselves on their well regulated safe banking system, the cost effective national health care, etc they will never know what hit them. It’s about time we turned them into the 51st state!
Why does anyone read or pay any attention to Krauthammer?
Looking forward to invading Switzerland and other tax havens.
Now we’re talking. I’ve long warned against the dangers posed by the bloodthirsty Canadian hordes. But… as we learned ten years ago in an exercise supported by Ledeen, Goldberg, and Krauthammer, having issues with Canada doesn’t mean attacking Canada. That would be ludicrous. Sadly, the Canadians have few enemies, but there is at least one: Denmark has a long-running dispute with Canada over a barren rock called Hans Island. The logic is unassailable – to get back at Canada, we need to invade Denmark. It will add to the Canadian humiliation if Obama accepts an invitation to be photographed walking hand in hand with the Canadian prime minister.
But would he deign to denigrate the Danes?
And, I hope you realize that you now run the risk of having the otherwise totally sane and rational Gonzalo Lira accuse you of being a warmonger.
I think it would be more constructive if we kept close to home and occupied the Confederate South. The military already has out posts throughout the region. The government could stop sending them so much of our tax income and maybe afterwards set up industrial zones to compete with the factories in Bangladesh. It sounds like a winning adventure to me. Start now recruiting personnel and every man and woman who signs up for action in the South gets an acre of land and a house paid for by the provisional government of the Confederacy.
Anyone invading us here in Canada will be met at the border with fierce apologies.
Project for the New, er, Newer American Century, Baby. We can invade Denmark for less than it costs to buy a Kia, we’ll be greeted as liberators, and it will spread democracy throughout Northern Europe. You do want there to be democracy in Europe, right?
You can’t argue like that. If you want to use the Ledeen docttrine to justify the occupation of the Confederate South, you need a causus belli against Oregon.
Come on people; Cuba!!!! Because it would be practically senseless.
At least Ledeen was honest when compared to the crypto-neocons in the current administration.
I wouldn’t call Obama’s administration crypto-neocons. The previous administration had no idea what it was doing, but they had a lot of certainty. Obama and his people are equally clueless, but Obama is more indecisive than GW. The result is that with a few exceptions (e.g., Obamacare), Obama tends to default to whatever is already going on, even if there is plenty of evidence that the policies he is continuing are a disaster. Notice how his response to the economic downturn was to keep Bush policies in place (TARP, marginal tax rates). But it isn’t just economic issues, of course – due to his own indecisiveness, he’s kept much of the Bush foreign policy going, which means he’s maintained the neocon policies, not because he is a neocon but because he doesn’t realize he can do something else, and if he did realize that, he wouldn’t know what else to do anyway. Essentially, this is what happens when you follow a very bad chief executive with someone who isn’t a chief executive at all.
@John Taylor and your “fierce apologies.” Let no-one think that the apologies would be unaccompanied by feats of arms. Remember why the White House was painted white? And don’t forget the battle at Vimy Ridge.
Our symbol, the beaver, quietly putters away building and repairing, right up till he is attacked. Then look out for those long, yellow teeth!
That wasn’t a Canadian beaver.
No. But ours attack on command!
So he doesn’t care and if he did he is too incompetent to implement change? Neocon by default? I think there is plenty of evidence to support that argument. I tend to believe the 1952 argument. Ike campaigned on “rollback” as compared to the sitting administrations “containment” in respect to the USSR. Once elected Ike realized some of the benefits of his predecessors “containment” strategy. I think the current leadership has made similar calculations regarding some neocon tenants.
You can believe it is 1952 all over again if you choose. I remember writing before Obama took office that if he was smart, he’d kill the existing bailout as the way it had been designed, it wouldn’t address the problem of lack of liquidity and lack of demand outside the financial sector, and the one thing it would do, namely bail out banks, wasn’t necessarily a desirable outcome. So, what do you think? 1952? Or lack of an idea of what else to do? And bear in mind, we saw this same thing on issue after issue. So no, I don’t buy that wise Obama realized that the neocons were brilliant and decided to follow their lead. The evidence, namely the outcomes whether in Econ or otherwise, points to incompetence all around.
i don’t know about wise Obama or brilliant neocons but I think the NSA programs recently in the news provide a clue to this administration’s mindset. Obama has said that he was skeptical of these programs going into office but once his team examined them it was decided the programs are essential. Maybe this is an excuse for incompetence but I don’t think so.
We agree that Obama is continuing on the policies begun by the previous administration. (I remember people attacking me in late 2009 and 2010 when I pointed that the Obama administration was looking more like GW’s third term than the term of a new president.)
The question is why. You call it wisdom, I call it incompetence. There is a simple way to resolve the issue. Make yourself a mental list of the claims the previous administration made that looked like “if we do X, Y will happen.” Focus on the big picture items – say, “if we cut taxes, we’re going to generate rapid economic growth and pay down the national debt” and “if we go into Iraq, we’ll be greeted like liberators and democracy will break out in the Middle East.”
Go through your mental list – how many of those policies that were implemented turned out as well or better than we were promised? How many turned out worse? And how many resulted in a smoking mess, like, say, the Iraq War or the economy? You can even take a mental short-cut. Take Charles Krauthammer’s assessment noted above (“China lost.”). Does that seem, well, sane to you?
If you can’t table up at least as many successes as catastrophic disasters, you cannot credibly claim “hey, these guys knew what they were doing.” And if you can’t claim that, you really can’t claim imitating those policies is a good idea.
Hear, hear!! (Mike’s comment)
“Maybe this is an excuse for incompetence but I don’t think so.” Little John. No, malevolence would b e a better choice of descriptor.
“Essentially, this is what happens when you follow a very bad chief executive with someone who isn’t a chief executive at all.” M.K.
No, in that comparison we have too people who have demonstrated very little “chief executive” characteristics, though one did seem sumber than the other. Better verbal skills on Obama’s part. Typical politician attribute.
“The evidence, namely the outcomes whether in Econ or otherwise, points to incompetence all around.” By George he’s got it.
i didn’t articulate my thoughts very well. I am not calling it wisdom or incompetence. I am just trying to point out that in elite foreign policy thought neoconism, if you can call it that, is well entrenched. It’s softer than Cheney’s version but many of the basic tenants are alive and well. Absent a Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul presidential victory it will still be an influence in foreign policy decision making. Drone strikes, the NSA stuff, a surge in Afghanistan a few years ago, etc. These are/were affirmative decisions reflecting the foreign policy bias of the administration’s Decision makers
We should invade Cuba by allowing unlimited American travel to the country. Then, all the cruise ships would arrive and disgorge thousands of passengers simultaneously at various towns around the island. The Cuban people will be amazed by the sight of all the overweight Americans looking around. Eager to buy something and visit different sites, capitalism would quickly grow.
Of course, the US military would have nothing to do with the process.
let me offer my paranoid explanation for the “neoconism” you observe.
power corrupts. absolute power corrupts absolutely. i don’t know who first said that, but it was a long time ago. unfortunately there is a need for power… if only to fight the other people who strive for power, and if the best man doesn’t win, it is likely to be the meanest man that wins.
this has been the history of the world.
i think we had a relatively rational foreign policy after WW2 (relatively) because we needed to be careful, but just maybe because the folks running things had just seen a war they didn’t want to see again.
our need to be careful disappeared with the Soviet Union.
Now you have people continuing to shore up their power as well as “America’s”. They can’t stop themselves. They would think it insane if they did. The only thing that could stop them is “us,” but that is not going to happen.
But it also turns out that the people who end up playing the power game most directly are people who think only in terms of brute force… sometimes they’ll try something else, but they don’t really believe in it, and they wouldn’t even try it if they didn’t think they had the brute force to fall back on when mr nice guy fails.
long way of saying that what we are seeing is inevitable. that said, i think the folks who call themselves neocons are a particularly nasty and unintelligent lot.
Canada. Their socialist.
Neoconism: the cognitive phenomenon glorifying power, both national and individual. The neocon maintains a view of the national and global environments that can be compared with ethno- and/or ego- centrism. This is a cognitive condition which is self validating as all observations by the neocon are made through an ideational prism. They and theirs is at the center of the universe. All others and all else is secondary to the neocons’ benefit. Neocon cognitive distortion is supported by the rewards which are subsequent to their ideological perspective and the resulting activities, their own and those of the groups which they may control and influence. Example: Dick Cheney>George Bush>Distorted Patriotism>Iraq/Afghanistan>Haliburton Industries. It’s something like Festinger’s Concept of the Feedback Loop in human perception. Our perception (in this case ideological views) are influenced by their outcomes which in turn influence and justify our perception (of the global or national environment).
I was at the Stuttgart October Fest downing litres of beer with my German sponsor and talking to some young men from Ireland. This was roughly three years ago and PIIGS was still in full swing.
As it was, the Irish were complaining of the several hundred million Euros which was needed to bail their country out of debt. Mind you, this is coming afteer we pumped $7-8 trillion into Wall Street and TBTF. I casually laughed and offered them a loan as their issue was small compared to ours.
I also believe any of the PIIGS would welcome an invasion by the US to bail them out and rebuild their country. What better way could they end up? Decision time, the Germans or the Americans, Door One or Door Two?
In much the same vein we have in our corporate media the sychophants to neocon political ideology. David Brooks is an excellent example bercause he doesn’t initially appear to be rabidly racist/bigoted or otherwise distorted in the way that so many like minded propagandists are. Take his recent column wherein Brooks discusses the madness going on in Egypt at the moment. Rather than recognizing that Egypt continues in the throws of its revolutionary upheaval of the previous Mubarack regime Brooks says this about one sector of the antagonists.
“It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.”
In order to fully understand how myopic David Brooks is in regards to socio-political analysis read through an earlier paragraph from that same colume below. I have added paranthetics which I thibnk are self explanatory and put Brooks’ argument in a slightly different light.
“Those who emphasize substance, on the other hand, argue that members of the Muslim Brotherhood (the Republican Party members) are defined by certain beliefs. They reject pluralism, secular democracy and, to some degree, modernity. When you elect fanatics, they continue, you have not advanced democracy. You have empowered people who are going to wind up subverting democracy. The important thing is to get people like that out of power, even if it takes a coup. The goal is to weaken political Islam(Christianity), by nearly any means.”
“World events of the past few months have vindicated those who take the substance side of the argument. It has become clear — in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Gaza and elsewhere (including Republican controlled state governments) — that radical Islamists(religious zealots from the judeo-christian perspective) are incapable of running a modern government.”
rather than Christianity, I would put political “Christianity”, where you put the former in for “political Islam.”
There is no need for us to alienate those who are naturally on our side, and who may turn out to be the best people in America: those real Christians who are not flogging a version of devil worship and calling it “Christianity.”
but similarly, I don’t think Brooks really gives a damn about Islam, or even “political Islam.” It’s just an excuse to throw our weight around. And Brooks, despite being cleaned up better that Krauthammer, is another hate artist.
Yes, of course. I did not intend to castigate an entire religion. Politicians making reference to any religious doctrine are the problem and “fundamentalist” members of any religious group are often equally to blame for the attempt at the foisting of their religious values on an entire country through those politicians.
The Constitution guarantees freedom to practice one’s religion. The Constitution does not guarantee the right to impose one’s religious beliefs on the rest of the country.
i agree with one modest caveat:
In a democracy we all try to impose out views on each other. Some of our most important views are what we might call religious. The Constitution prohibits establishing a religion, but it cannot prohibit bringing what we call our moral values to the polls. Or talking about them.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am a great believer in leaving people alone, but you can’t just tell half the population to sit down and shut up because their views are “religious” and the Constitution doesn’t allow religious views.
The law that prohibits me from shooting someone I think deserves it is based on a religious view. And, just to make sure I annoy everyone, it a perfectly libertarian state it would be up to that person to take care of himself… or act in a way that doesn’t make people want to shoot him.
And please don’t think I endorse either the “libertarian” views or the “religious” views, or the anti-religious views. I’m just pointing out… trying to… that things are not that simple.
No way Jose would I credit religious beliefs for the laws that help us to structure our society in a stable and safe manner. Stated religious values may over lap or even replicate widely held moral values. Thou shalt no kill was a pretty good idea and well established before Moses went mountain climbing and hallucinating a conversation with his god. That such laws are not always adhered to is not a sign of a break down in morality, but rather a re-establishment of the need for such laws. I would venture to guess that more people have been killed in the name of god then for any other reason during the past 5,000 years of human history. Granted that the reference to god’s will in such events may have been cover for other more prosaic and self serving rationales for the murderous deeds of men (and occasionally women).
ok, jack, i can see i’m going to get nowhere with this.
i can’t remember what pol pot’s religion was.
but just in case one more try will help:
people have strong feelings, fears, ideas, morality. these become their religion, or the “state religion” co-opts them and uses them to manipulate people. no doubt about that.
but you are deluding yourself if you think the Constitution does not permit “religious” people to attempt to impose their ideas, feelings, fears, morality… on the rest of us. Just as you attempt to impose yours on them. Whether you call yours religion or “facts.”
“but you are deluding yourself if you think the Constitution does not permit “religious” people to attempt to impose their ideas, feelings, fears, morality… on the rest of us”
That’s not what I said earlier. I said that the Constitution protects/guarantees our freedom to practice the religion of our choice. Then I pointed out that the is no Constitutional protection or guarantee that one person’s religious beliefs can be imposed on others. If your religion disallows homosexuality thaat’s your business, but it doesn’t make such behavior unacceptable as a governmental policy.
If you’re using the termn religion in the general sense of personal morality that’s significantly different from any discussion of the influence of any organized religion on legislation and government policy. Such organizations can act as lobbiests, but their imposition of their beliefs is not part of the guarantee to practice those beliefs.
I am completely confused by the way you are expressing whatever it is you believe.
There are people who believe that homosexuality is a great evil. They incorporate their belief into their “religion.”
These people are free in a democracy to attempt to impose policies that reflect their beliefs on the rest of the country.
What limits their ability to do this is the system of checks and balances that was created by our constitution. This arguably protects the various minorities against whatever political fad attains a majority at any given time.
This pertains to “freedom of religion” and “separation of church and state,” but there is no Constitutional prohibition against anyone attempting to “impose” by law his beliefs, whether religious or anti-religious, on everybody else.
So, for example, I can’t pass a law making Mormonisn illegal, or making Mormonism a state supported religion, but I can pass a law making polygamy illegal. So far I have not been able to pass a law making polygamy mandatory.