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After Obama
The Great Unraveling
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  • Ellen

    Thanks for that nice big bucket of cold water reality. Now, explain to us again why you voted twice for Barack Obama.

    Also, I might ask, is it likely we will ever see such a ninkumpoop as John Kerry in the position of Secretary of State? What kind of a party nominates a person so out of touch with reality and decency as its presidential candidate and then SoS? Promise that he will return to Beacon Hill with his ketchup queen wife and never play a role in public life again.

    • Eurydice

      Oh please, no – we don’t want him back.

  • QET

    The past 25 years of world politics have rested on a series of polite fictions, agreed conventions and hypocritical pretenses.

    This statement is true across the policy board, not just foreign policy so-called. In the US, the fictions have been the work of the Left although Republicans have, disgracefully, played along because the only world they choose to see is the make-believe world presented every day in the Left-dominated media. The Left has forged both the chains and the imaginary flowers hiding them. “Brutal clarity” is a requisite across the entire spectrum of political and social life. And let’s not pretend that “brutal” does not mean what it actually says.

    The (classical) liberal world order of peace and prosperity established and maintained by the US following WW2, the order that has allowed China, India and the rest of Asia (more or less) to finally join modernity from the seemingly eternal Medieval world in which they were mired, not to speak of the other nations of the Earth, is being deliberately rejected by those very nations from the motivation that Nietzsche identified as fundamental to all human existence: man would rather will nothingness than not will. You can tally up the benefits to the peoples of the world from the Pax Americana all you want; you only stimulate their desire to tear it down, the operative word here being “tear.” This is a fact of human psychology that no degree of material prosperity will ever overcome. It is precisely because the order is American that it is rejected. Generals should not fight the last war and statesmen should not keep trying to win the last peace.

    • Jim__L

      Aren’t the countries of Asia gearing up to tear down the Western-dominated world order, not to will nothingness, but to will an order where they themselves are at the center? I’m not convinced that they are nihilistic at all, with the possible exception of North Korea, but even there I think it is simply a desperate situation where the only people (person) with the power to change things has nothing to gain and everything to lose from change.

      No, it would not surprise me at all if China would happily slide (or leap) into the role that the US has played in the world for a couple of generations, with little actual change to that world.

      • QET

        Well, this is just what I am getting at. Nietzsche’s point, as I understand it, is that men will will even, in the last resort, nothingness, just so that it is their will being realized. Of course, if they believe they can will something that is more than nothingness, they’ll do so, and/or they will tell themselves that the nothingness that they are in fact willing is something. Some Chinese and Russians no doubt have the conceit that those nations can replace America as the hegemon of an entire world order that will still be prosperous and peaceful. But in my opinion they will never be able to achieve this, so that by willing a new order in which they are the hegemon, and taking what they perceive as the initial necessary step of tearing down the existing one, they will end up making things much worse, i.e., they will in fact end up having willed nothingness (sort of).

        • Jim__L

          Well, that’s the foreign policy challenge of this generation then, isn’t it?

          Either the West can get off its Secular Elite Consensus backsides and start hustling again, or we can try to juggle interests to arrive at a peaceful transfer of power, or some combination of both. A combination of both is probably inevitable, but it’s going to require a hell of a lot more hustle than the Elites have been showing so far to actually implement any of the second.

          A good first step would be to ditch the tendency to stake out a bargaining position where we sacrifice any of our actual interests in support of the truly weird Elite obsession with normalizing buggery in the name of “human rights”. I mean, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot with the rest of the world, pushing that agenda.

  • Boritz

    Has this happened for “the past 25 years” because it was some awful mistake of judgement or has it happened because it serves well in select zip codes?

    • Jim__L

      Didn’t DC deliver something like an 85% majority to Hillary?

      Some people know which side their bread is buttered on.

    • Tom

      Both, I suspect.

  • Andrew Allison

    This sort of analysis is why many of us follow Prof. Mead. Trump’s attitude toward China, Russia and NATO gives hope that some reality may return to foreign policy.

    • ljgude

      Right on the money Andrew. The good professor can clim to vote for ever he likes if he keeps sharing this level of analysis with us. He goes a long way to being a one man replacement for the MSM in it heyday.

      • Rob Vance

        I would modestly suggest that if his values and judgement are such that he would vote for President Zero twice, one might want to exercise caution with regards to his analysis. I don’t pretend to be an intellectual, though I have some of the credentials that might qualify. That said, I’d be looking for other polite fictions disguised as profundity. If we are attempting to describe reality, and to name things such as they really are, rather than as we might want them to be, then great. Be aware of what you don’t know and how it affects your interpretation of events.

  • FriendlyGoat

    What old certainties are fading? That competing religions make a mess? That nationalism begets wars? That a few strong personalities with buckets of weapons can over-think each other and escalate a nothin’ into a somethin’? That without intervention the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?

    If we’re going to speak of “certainties”, we at least ought to focus on those for which history provided observation points. And, if we’re going to speak of “heavy lifting”, we should get out of metaphors and into specifics. If you want a lot of people in active military operations on such matters as DPRK and Iran—–tell ’em so.

    • JR1123581321

      Old certainties may continue to crumble and fade, but Comrade FG’s belief in confiscatory tax levels above a certain randomly determined level will not fade. Neither will his belief that higher taxation leads to higher employment.

      I hope I didn’t trigger you snowflake.

      • Jim__L

        Come on JR, he didn’t actually bring up taxes this time around.

        • JR1123581321

          He will at some point. His hobby now is to get me banned from commenting if I use Bible quotes. Apparently, that offends him. I’m still trying to figure out a part where I give a f*ck. Haven’t found it yet.

          • Jim__L

            You can get banned for quoting Scripture?

            Isn’t that anti-religious bigotry?

          • JR1123581321

            Not according to Comrade Friendly Goat. Like all fascists and totalitarians, he gets offended by people who claim there is a higher power than the all powerful State. He gets triggered quiet easily. He actually did succeed in banning my other ID, hence the new and improved ID, now with a Fibonacci sequence.

  • Anthony

    Karl Marx once wrote that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Now, we are ostensibly in a second confrontation (Russia). What shall we make of it? Coincidentally, (or perhaps not), this week marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union (its collapse was inconceivable at the time – at least for many foreign policy observers).

    In the meantime, vis-a-vis the old world and certainties here’s an observation:

    “The novelist Arthur Koestler wrote during the Stalin years that the Soviet Union once made history, and now it makes politics…This is not to say that Russia isn’t dangerous…They have nuclear missiles they can use. If the leadership takes extreme risks, it can attack the Baltics and thereby do the one thing that would reunite NATO. But instead of taking these measures, Putin is increasingly supporting extreme right-wing groups across the world. This is not new. The KGB spent substantial resources supporting communists and communist-leaning troops around the world. It also had campaigns designed to influence what Lenin referred to as ‘useful idiots’.

    The ‘useful idiots’ this time come from the far right. All intelligence organizations are under the illusion that they can conduct psychological warfare – planting stories, recruiting agitators, undermining a range of movements from political parties to terrorists – and change history…Putin is going down the same road, except he probably does not believe it will change strategic realities. He is playing the game he can, collecting ‘useful idiots’ in the hope that something will turn up.

    This is not to say that Russia is not a serious country or that it should be seen as an unimportant threat…The argument is that overreaction is as dangerous as complacency. When we look at Russian actions closely, they diminish in significance. It would be foolish not to make the small effort needed to contain the Russians or keep them off balance. They are far more vulnerable than the U.S. and the U.S. has the advantage that they know it. Most importantly, this new edition of what is a very minor cold war most be kept in context.” (Geopoliticalfutures)

  • Disappeared4x

    “…liberal [Progressive] pink cloud thinking…” The opioids of historical negationism and/or historical revisionism, mainlined for more than 25 years, now rehab-resistant?

    James McPherson, 2003: “…History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. There is no single, eternal, and immutable “truth” about past events and their meaning. …”

  • Fat_Man

    Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    In the nineteenth century France allied with Russia to oppose the power of Germany. Is it any wonder that after the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and Russia’s retreat from Central Europe, where its position became threatening to France, the old pattern would reappear? Will France continue to favor Polish independence, while Russia wants to snuff it out? In this iteration will Germany seek to ally with Britain?

    • Jim__L

      Checkerboard diplomacy will always be with us. An interesting thing to consider, is what that might mean for British foreign policy if they begin to become antagonistic with the EU.

      In fact, the degree to which London aligns itself with Berlin might be an interesting indicator of how well EU integration is going. If EU integration is proceeding apace, Britain might seek to ally with other countries that surround the EU. If EU integration is not going well (something that might be in the best interests of Britain at this point) look for a return to Britain’s role as an “offshore balancer”, either allying with Germany, or specifically against.

      • Fat_Man

        “If EU integration is proceeding apace,”

        A corollary of the news about French thinking on Russia is that the EU is dead. The Eu worked as a Franco-German Condominium. If France drops Germany for Russia, The EU is dead.

        Of course, zombies can do a lot of damage.

        • Jim__L

          And of course, the scenario that we’re drawing here can cause nightmares in Europeans of good will and good judgement… a return to the “bad old days” of the Seven Years’ War, which is what entrenched Prussian Militarism in the first place.

          That it took tens of millions of lives (and nearly destroyed Europe) to get rid of Prussian Militarism, may well be the history that EU backers understand best.

          That their current social policies (a departure from traditional religious social values on home issues such as motherhood) and their current immigration policies are doing at least as much damage to the European population as War, doesn’t seem to bother them much.

          They’re learning from the past. It’s learning from the present that trips them up a bit.

          • Disappeared4x

            Who, besides Daniel Pipes* is reading “Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History”, by John David Lewis “… “Nothing Less than Victory” provocatively shows that aggressive, strategic military offenses can win wars and establish lasting peace, while defensive maneuvers have often led to prolonged carnage, indecision, and stalemate. Taking an ambitious and sweeping look at six major wars, from antiquity to World War II, John David Lewis shows how victorious military commanders have achieved long-term peace by identifying the core of the enemy’s ideological, political, and social support for a war, fiercely striking at this objective, and demanding that the enemy acknowledges its defeat.

            Lewis examines the Greco-Persian and Theban wars, the Second Punic War, Aurelian’s wars to reunify Rome, the American Civil War, and the Second World War. He considers successful examples of overwhelming force, such
            as the Greek mutilation of Xerxes’ army and navy, the Theban-led invasion of the Spartan homeland, and Hannibal’s attack against Italy–as well as failed tactics of defense, including Fabius’s policy of delay, McClellan’s retreat from Richmond, and Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler.

            Lewis shows that a war’s endurance rests in each side’s reasoning, moral purpose, and commitment to fight, and why an effectively aimed, well-planned, and quickly executed offense can end a conflict and create the conditions needed for long-term peace.

            Recognizing the human motivations behind military conflicts, “Nothing Less than Victory” makes a powerful case for offensive actions in pursuit of peace.”

            Paperback – December 26, 2013

            *Daniel Pipes “This Is the Moment for an Israeli Victory” Dec 31 2016 claims

          • John Stephens

            Good will and good judgement appear to be mutually exclusive in Europe,

  • DiaKrieg

    “Brutal clarity rather than liberal pink cloud thinking is the rising force in international affairs.”

    WRM doesn’t provide any evidence that this is so. Quite the contrary, if French campaign rhetoric is indicative of a trend. Our post-truth world leaders can and probably will keep right on whistling past the graveyard of Western civilization telling themselves that “love trumps hate.” It worked before. Why stop now?

    • Jim__L

      Why stop now?

      I think we had the answer back in November, as to whether that might stop in January.

    • Jim__L

      Have you checked out TAI’s new post on what Xi, Putin, and Abe are up to in terms of personal power these days?

  • Arkeygeezer

    “The past 25 years of world politics have rested on a series of polite
    fictions, agreed-upon conventions and hypocritical pretenses:…..{List}”
    Add to your list that Climate change is caused by man-made generation of CO2.

  • Frank Natoli

    The only difference between “new” European policy vis a vis aggressors and “old” European policy is that the new leaders admit that the old policies had no effect and they will no longer engage in the pretense that they do, or replace them with policies that do have effect, which may require force, e.g., destroying the Natanz centrifuges.

  • Kev

    I’d like to hear what an effective policy of “blocking” Russia could look like. Time for WRM to wake up smell the coffee: US unipolar moment has ended.

    The 1990s settlement in Eastern Europe was based on the reality that Russia was dependent on US financial aid, which gave US substantial leverage in interactions with the Russian government. Since that dependency is now gone, US can no longer expect that Russians will simply do what Obama or Trump want them to do. We need a new settlement.

  • The problem with the Russian invasion of Crimea is that it happened a hundred years ago and was wildly successful. As far as we can tell, it is one half of one half of the country, if it is a country, that prefers Western subservience to Eastern.

  • S.D. (Bob) Plissken

    Walter Riussell Mead voted for Barack Obama both times. Why did you do that, Walter?

    • Edgar Boswell Simpson III

      neocons gotta neo

      • CosmotKat

        Mead has never self-identified as a neocon….ever. He’s a left leaning old school democrat with a touch of elitism due to his academic credentials. I’d say his critique on the Blue model breaks though some of the cluttered progressive minds who are incapable of self-reflection and he gets it right.

    • Enemy Leopard

      I’m aware that WRM voted for Obama in 2008. Could you please point me to something in which he wrote that he did the same in 2012?

  • Robert Burke

    “This is a bigger deal than it may look.” Extremely so. Considering this, then consider also…

    In 2017 and the Future…

    There will be a successful war against a) Progressive “Mentalist” Enslavement and also b) Tribal Control Enslavement… waged by a people adhering to 1776-Tragic-Liberty philosophy, or Western Enlightenment… as learned through the ages by Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Gothic Christians and the Founding Fathers of the U.S.

    In effect, there are three civil wars for Freedom in America. First, the 1776 Revolutionary War fought for Liberty against English Tribal Control Enslavement. Second, in 1860 was a war fought for Liberty against Southern Tribal Control Enslavement. Starting before 2017, but continuing into the future… is our Third civil war, this one a fight (mental and kinetic) for Liberty against Progressive “Mentalist” Enslavement and also against Tribal Control Slavery Terrorism.

    Happily, there are three important speeches explaining a) the outbreak of America’s third civil war, b) the middle of this war and c) its liberty-successful conclusion.

    Interestingly, this third civil war in America will conclude with liberty’s success, before any meaningful “Third Great Awakening Revival” occurs. In fact, too much of Evangelical Christianity and Prophetic Ministry is simply entrainment, hypnotism and dumb-brain bashing. Evangelical Christianity is hopelessly stuck in milk shenanigans, while calling inane puerility the highest of high manna… so that no meat churches or prophetic ministries exist, except for In That Day Teachings.

    Interestingly, this third civil war in America will un-hypnotize people, it might give them spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear; it might make a people no longer “entrained” by a moronic elite; it might make a dumbed-down people great again!

    These three speeches explain America’s third civil war… start, middle and end.

    Fourth of July 2016 Speech (Proposed) Lincoln-like, if you will… Lyceum, the pattern.

    Declaration of Independence, Version 2.0

    On 9/11, Terrorism, Solution, Absolution and Re-Constitution

  • johnwerneken

    About time. I prefer dealing with the world we have to bloviating about illusions.

  • Stephen

    “Americans and Europeans believed that the world would look more and more like we wanted it to without us doing any heavy lifting.”

    You speak for yourself and for a narrow slice, grown much narrower, characterized mainly by establishment views within the bubble of the Acela Corridor. Why the loss of faith now WRM? Trump? If so, then the man continues to work miracles just by being.

  • Dude1394

    Boo, I”m russia. I really am not getting the russia is an existential threat meme, at all.

  • TBill

    “Americans and Europeans believed that the world would look more and more like we wanted it to without us doing any heavy lifting.”

    Whatcha mean “we”? You couldn’t deliver prosperity outside of the coasts. You mocked religious people and rammed ridiculous social changes down our throats. You couldn’t win a war to save your lives despite your self acknowledged brilliance. Thank God for Trump and Putin.

  • Disappeared4x

    One more shibboleth being ignored by DJT: most of his cabinet appointees do NOT have advanced degrees. Explains some of the disdain from the over-degreed.

  • Icepilot

    Trump’s unleashing of America’s energy economy will neuter Russia & drugs/demographics will finish the job. China is the real issue & the only way to compete is another technology boom. Lucky for the America, it’s here.

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