“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Can Anyone Rescue US Foreign Policy?

Two stories highlight the near collapse of US foreign policy. The first is the report from AFP, via BreitBart on the incredulous timing of the Russians delivering air defense rocket systems to Iran. This happens within days of Bush meeting Putin and signing the Russians into the World Trade Organization. This affront to the US demonstrates the dangerous lack of respect Putin has for George W. Bush and his Administration. Can anyone care to explain to me what US foreign policy objectives are in play via Russia? The Russians are rushing to deliver arms to Venezuela in the Americas and to the mullahs in Tehran. Who are those weapons to be used against? What is the US response to this provocation? There is none.

US Russian diplomacy has not been so inept since Kennedy botched the "Bay of Pigs" adventure. That misstep by Kennedy resulted in a huge miscalculation by Kruschev that almost ended in a nuclear war over Cuba.

There is no talent, no wisdom and no practical and useful results from US diplomacy with Russia. It gets worse in Iraq. Militias launched apparent revenge attacks on Sunni mosques in Baghdad in the wake of the deadliest string of bombings against Shiites since the war began in 2003.

Iraq's warring Shiite and Sunni communities forced President Jalal Talabani to postpone his visit to Tehran where he was to meet his hardline counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday. Why are they meeting? Iraq is collapsing into all out civil war. Syria, the various factions in Iraq, and Iran, have all come to the same conclusion. The US has no solution other than the sporadic restrained use of the US military. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened to quit the national unity government if Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki meets US President George W. Bush in Jordan on November 29. Now there is fear and respect.

Perhaps Sadr developed his loathing and lack of respect for US power when earlier in the war, The Administration worried about the paint being chipped off some unfriendly mosques. That was happening at the time US Military Police were handling korans with white gloves. We should have taken the gloves off then and with Sadr as well, but the Administration said no. How are the mosques doing these days? Not too well.

Four Sunni mosques were attacked by militias in western Baghdad, a security official said, in an apparent Shiite revenge attack for Thursday's deadly bombings targeting the capital's district of Sadr City. Those bombings resulted in at least 202 people killed. Remember the gyrations the Administration put the military through earlier in the war when it came to mosques being used as refuge points? The Arabs and Sunnis will take a mosque down without a blink. The Arab Street turned out to be a myth as has the prowess of US Diplomacy under The Bush Administration.
Russia has begun deliveries of the Tor-M1 air defence rocket system to Iran, Russian news agencies quoted military industry sources as saying, in the latest sign of a Russian-US rift over Iran.

"Deliveries of the Tor-M1 have begun. The first systems have already been delivered to Tehran," ITAR-TASS quoted an unnamed, high-ranking source as saying Friday.

The United States has pressed Russia to halt military sales to Iran, which Washington accuses of harbouring secret plans to build a nuclear weapon.

Moscow has consistently defended its weapons trade with Iran. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the contract for 29 rocket systems, signed in December last year, was legitimate because the Tor-M1 has a purely defensive role.

ITAR-TASS reported that the rockets were to be deployed around Iran's nuclear sites, including the still incomplete, Russian-built atomic power station at Bushehr.

In August, Washington announced sanctions against several companies, including Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport, for supplying technology to Iran that could allegedly be used to develop missile technology and weapons of mass destruction.

Under the sanctions no US company can deal with foreign companies on the sanctions list for two years.

A spokesman for Rosoboronexport contacted by AFP would not confirm or deny the reports about the Tor-M1 delivery, which were also issued by the Interfax news agency.

The Tor-M1 is a low to medium-altitude missile fired from a tracked vehicle against airplanes, helicopters and other airborne targets.

The news came as the UN Security Council continued to consider possible sanctions against Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity in response to the Islamic republic's suspect nuclear programme.

The major powers have been debating a draft resolution drawn up by Britain, France and Germany that would impose limited sanctions on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile sectors for Tehran's failure to comply with an earlier UN resolution on halting enrichment.

China and Russia, both close economic partners with Iran, argue the measures are too extensive, while Washington has pressed for tougher action.



  1. The wussiest president of my lifetime is making us the world's laughingstock.
    (Carter is in a different category)
    It's now taken for granted that Bush grants favors and concessions to our foes in the same way he did with Ted Kennedy, et al:
    Sealing the deal by bending down and grabbing his ankles, and offering for us and our offspring to do the same.
    Points for leading by example, I guess.
    It really is hard to see how things could have turned out worse with Gore: And if they did, at least we could expect a muscular Republican to be a shoe-in 4 years later.
    Instead we get 8 years of a death spiral likely followed by a Democrat!
    That Bush Kool Aide cannot be beat, however:

    3Case said...
    "Iraq ain't bungled. It just hasn't gone the way the Dems, MSM or other ATMophiles would like. Programming Note: Those of you who have been paying attention, please refer to my post regarding when an op order becomes obsolete."

    Could someone please explain what he's refering to about the op order?
    I admit I missed quite a few BC posts recently when a sizeable percentage of the posters were still pretending to believe.
    ...and what's an "ATMophile?"

  2. The Dept. of State, like the Dept. of Education, is one of those institutions that should be done away with.

    The only difference is that "State" should be rebuilt; this time with no libs, commies, or queers.

    ... I won't hold my breath!

  3. Bush's "foreign policy" can't be rebuilt until Bush is rebuilt, or removed from influence.

  4. Sorry, Rufus!

    You're correct! We know Bush is the way he is - my continued whining won't accomplish anything.

  5. "The Tor-M1 is a low to medium-altitude missile fired from a tracked vehicle against airplanes, helicopters and other airborne targets."

    Ladies/Gents: What does medium-altitude equate to in terms of operational ceiling?

    Perhaps these would be useful if we went a-helicoptering into Iran a la Russia into Afghanistan, but at this stage in the game, it's hard to imagine anything of this sort happening...

    I continue to hold out hope for some kind of high-altitude (B-2) kinetic energy weapon attack on as many of those Iranian nuke-related sites that we can identify as possible...

    (Brilliant spears, baby, brilliant spears!!!)

    But with the Bush Beat-down now six years on... I doubt much of anything will be done.

  6. I do not call it whining. The last time I checked the POTUS should be ahead of the class, not at the rear. You take on a position of CEO, you better know your business. Putin seems to know what he is doing and is getting what he wants. I must be missing the hidden genius of Push. He has probably done a psyops on me.

  7. You make a good point triton and Rufus does as well. I try and be objective but I do not get this guy. I voted for him twice. I was cautiously hopeful. The results are not there. Good intentions are not sufficient.

  8. I understand, Rufus - no problem!

  9. Mhmm SA-15 Gauntlet, the latest shite available. Altitude max is only 6000m but kill probability is claimed as 0.70-0.90 against precision munitions (LGBs, glide bombs, etc.)

    Not very friendly, those Russians, except to evil 3rd world tyranies.

  10. "I try and be objective but I do not get this guy. I voted for him twice. I was cautiously hopeful. The results are not there. Good intentions are not sufficient. "

    Deuce, I could have written those words myself, but I'd have probably replaced "The results are not there" with something like "The results are unsatisfying."

    On the one hand, we have a new pair of originalist supreme court judges... on the other hand, we won't be getting another anytime before the next election.

    On the one hand, we have tax cuts for those that actually pay taxes... on the other hand, they were never made permanent.

    Despite the refusal to tackle illegal immigration, we still have an unemployment rate so low that (at least in my industry), there's just about no one of any suitability left to hire... and I mean good jobs for big-@ss money.

    Saddam is no longer in power, sitting atop sufficient oil wealth to be a true terrorist nightmare... on the other hand, having expended enough force to get him and his demon spawn, we have refused to be sufficiently ruthless to eliminate Sadr, etc... needless to say, I'm not particularly pleased with what the RoE's appear to be in Iraq.

    There's a lot to like about the last six years, but... there's some serious sh!t left undone out there (border security, iranian nukes, etc), and the failure to push ahead and deal with those things may ultimately come back to bite us in the @ss in a huge way... and the hell of it is that it doesn't have to.

  11. Rufus. I have a challenge for you. Put together a post. i will provide sympathetic art work. Go above the fold and we will all have a good coherent picture of your position . just email it to the bar. You have many good points. I encourage others to do so as well.

  12. Funny, I never so those "Orders" that "saved" the economy issued by the White House

    The President has some, but little, influence on the subjects of rufus's list.
    Little influence under Bush 43, Clinton 42 or Bush 41.

    The President does not set Tax Policy, the Congress does, the President did not defang the Soviets or Russians. The President did not win nor lose the Battle of Iraq.

    He has fallen way short of his pledge, of January '02 to take the battle to the Islamo-fascists where ever they were.
    Perhaps with "good" reason, but never one I've heard articulated, by him or his supporters.

    He has not kept his word, the Axis of Evil is now armed with nuclear weapons, this was unacceptable and the President promised it would not occur, in January of '02.
    He has failed in the Mission he described for himself and the US.
    When he said:
    "... The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons. ..."

    A "F" is the grade on that pledge.
    Then he said
    "... So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk. And America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it. ..."
    A D- on that, Afghanistan has been cleared of training camps but Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somolia & Pakistan at a minimum still harbour terrorist training camps.

    It is not as if Mr Bush was unaware of the scale and scope of the Challenge he set US upon:
    "... Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld -- including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed -- operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centers of large cities. ..."

    Now the US sends funding to the Hamas led Government in Palistine.
    Hezbollah is part of the UIA faction of the Iraqi Government.

    We are empowering the Enemies named by Mr Bush, well before they have been defeated.
    An F on that Pledge.

    "... My hope is that all nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. ...
    ... But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will. ..."

    A D- on that Pledge, as well.

    The most timid Government, in the face of terror, well that would be US.

  13. "They would be totally worthless against us."

    Rufus, yes and no. It does have optical systems for high ECM environments. Being Russian made it may well be unusable crap sold to rubes. I agree it probably will be ineffective in shooting down aircraft, but the threat does take options away (it makes cheap unsupported cruise missile strikes iffy, for instance). Remember the Kosovo debacle? The air defence threat caused the air force to abandon their preferred mid altitude bombing and go high. I grant that the Iranian air defence is presumably much less competent than the Serbs were.

    Of course as a foot soldier, I firmly believe the zoomies should stop being pussies, damn the flak and accept the occasional loss or two.

    Speaking of weasels, aren't the weasels the most overworked aircraft are in the entire air force?

  14. Yeah, the wild weasel role is a F-16 variant now, F-16 CJ Block 50D/52D Wild Weasel, the F-4 last flew 1996 or something. I was thinking about the EA-6 Prowler ECM birds.

  15. The US toys of destruction are always both more high tech and expensive than the Enemy

    Remember those Twin Towers?
    The Mohammedans took them out with box cutters!

  16. rufus

    Remember those GPS jammers the Russians sold Saddam? We took them out with GPS-Guided Bombs!

    Presumably the check cleared before the Russians made delivery. Oh, those sneaky capitalists!

  17. Well, rufus, I am all in favor of controlled Immigration.

    Allow the needs of the US economy to be determined, by Congressmen, let them debate the issue and set the inport quotas. If they decide and vote to open the Country, well then, that's the Program.

    To date they have not done so.
    Why do the Federals not enforce the Law of the Land, in our own Land?
    Either on the Frontier or in the Interior?
    Because we live in a lawless Society?
    Or is it because the President ignores the Law, when it suits him or his constituents?

    Why no work place enforcement? The level of enforcement under Bush 43 makes Bill Clinton the "Law and Order" , "Fiscally Consverative" & "Tough on Welfare" President.

  18. Mr Reagan never had a Republican House nor a 60 seat Majority in the Senate.
    Did not stop Ronald Reagan from enacting his Policies or propomting his Programs.
    He got things done.

    No, Mr Bush's excuse is not that his majorities in the House and Senate were not large enough.
    That argument flys in the face of Historical precedent.

  19. rufus said:

    BTW, probably the "Dumbest" Sadr City'ites have probably noticed by now that it wasn't too long after Mookie insisted that we take down the barricades that they lost Two Hundred citizens to the "insurgents."

    No, Bush and Cheney blew up the barricades using the same ordinance they used to take out the levee in Nawlins. Yeah. That's the ticket.

  20. That one F117 the Serbs nailed near Belgrade?

    I heard it thus, its so dumb I believe it : the lower frequency soviet type radars used by the JNA picked up the stealth birds at some angles and then lost them again, so they saw them as occasional blips. Some smartass new AD lieutenant who didn't know better drew a plot from the blips and worked out something like a submarine style firing solution with pencil on paper. They gave it a go, the F117 turned up approximately in the predicted place and time, and they managed to nail it.

  21. Well, rufus, that was the "war" I was at the Front for. However the "Deal" went down, so too did Mr Ortega and his Cuban amigos.

    Today the Mohammedan Enemy is on the March, Mr Ortega is back in power.

    Neither can be spun as a success for Mr Bush or his Administration.

  22. No doubt, rufus, that Mr Reagan's reaction in Lebanon, on top of Mr Carter's in Iran set today's stage.

    The "real" story though is on the Primary Mission. In Mr Reagan's case the Soviets and their expansion. With Mr Bush, the Mohammedans and their expansion.
    Two very different problems with very different solutions, to be sure. But the Reaganites accomplished their Mission, one that had been abandoned by Mr Carter.
    Mr Bush started well, but did not see it through. I believe his Generals let him down, behaving like thirty year bureaucrats, not veteran warriors.

    But the buck stops with Mr Bush.

    Perhaps some new inititve is in the works. What with the high level diplomacy going on, as we speak. To be successful, in Iraq and the Region, there will have to be a pretty drastic course change implemented, one way or another.

  23. This fellow, a Mexican national, I believe, wrote an interesting piece in regard the Dueling Presidents, in Mexico.

    Enrique Krauze is the author of "Mexico: Biography of Power" and editor of the magazine Letras Libres. This article was translated by Natasha Wimmer.

    Seems he sees it as being a bit more serious than do many of the commentors here. He has a keen sense of Mexican history and agrees, in general with me.

    Read it here at the WaPo

  24. Well, rufus, Mexico is a lot closer than Washington DC.

    Has a lot more "real" impact, here, as well.

  25. Column One: The Gemayel warning

    Tuesday saw another nail driven into the coffin of US President George W. Bush's vision of a free and democratic Middle East. The Syrians aren't even trying to hide their involvement in the assassination of Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel.

    Hours after Gemayel was murdered, his killers issued a communiqu calling themselves the "Fighters for the Unity and Liberty of Greater Syria." They said that they killed Gemayel because he was "one of those who unceasingly spouted their venom against Syria and against [Hizbullah], shamelessly and without any trepidation."

  26. "They will end up filling those higher paying jobs that Tri mentioned. "


    I can only hope!

    Things have changed at the industrial jobsites where I find myself every few weeks. Ten years ago, finding a good wrench-turner who could consistently pass a drug test was pretty easy. Place a call to various contractors and BANG! Getting three times the guys you needed was no problem.

    Fast forward to earlier this year - the jobsite was in the SE USA - I was only onsite for a single week (filling in for a sick coworker) - during that time, the following occurred:

    1) drug bust ON THE JOBSITE

    2) at least four "gents" were tossed for fighting

    3) another was tossed for carrying a loaded weapon onto the site

    4) a number of non-english speakers were tossed for smoking pot in a remote enclosed stairwell while on their breaks

    5) six of ten gents who responded to an urgent call for a particular trade failed their drug tests ON A SINGLE DAY!

    6) a young lady... ok, not much of a lady, but definitely, ah, young... was busted for servicing a steady stream of guys ONSITE

    The combination of a roaring economy and a ravenous petrochem industry (sucking up all the good skilled folks to repair their Gulf Area facilities after Katrina and Rita) is making it tough to keep good folks on the payroll - from my perspective, this 4.2% (?)unemployment rate is for all practical purposes equivalent to full employment, because the vast majority of what's left over can't even be trusted with a push broom.

    There's a pile of money to be made out there for people willing to work.

  27. "Right now, we're stuck in the mud of the ebb tide. Fortunately for us, the death cult is hell-bent on suicide (and a little murder in the process.)"


    The crying shame in all this is that eventually, the death cult will cross a line with the majority of our fellow citizens that apparently wasn't crossed on 9/11 as much as I thought it was.

    Losing 3000 in a single mass casualty event is terrible, but apparently, once the emotions stirred up by seeing poor souls jumping to their deaths have faded, so too has the will to stay the course (I am NOT referring to anyone here).

    I think the President has an additional problem, though - there are many of us, me included, who believe that a more muscular response was called for. We don't require a constant state of elevated emotions to feel strongly about fighting this war, but we can get disheartened when it seems that the war is not being vigorously prosecuted.

    (Contrary to conventional wisdom, I rather think that the 2006 elections would have been much different had we already carried out a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.)

    This is where I am at the moment, and I suspect it describes many of us for whom patriotic ferver is internally fueled. But frankly, I don't worry about it too much, for precisely the point you raised: The death cult will eventually visit us with a 2nd mass casualty event, and if it is something truly apocalyptic, i.e. a nuke on the Hudson, the prosecution of the war will destroy Islam and terrify the world in the process....

    And come the following November, we will celebrate Thanksgiving like it hasn't been celebrated in decades.

  28. The Court is still out on the LeMay position, rufus.
    The Russians still have their nuclear capacity, they are proliferating nuclear technologies into Iran, with UN approval.

    I do not think the thermo nuclear threat story, vis a vie the Russians, is a finished transcript.

    Just the first couple of chapters have been inked.

  29. Now this one, guys is on Drudge's page, front and center, no link

    Secret U.S. government report: Insurgency in Iraq now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, fake charities and other crimes... NYTIMES reporting Sunday... Developing ...

  30. A short while ago Mr. Blair stated that Mr. Putin could not have been responsible for the death of Mr. Litvinenko, otherwise Mr. Litvinenko just would have disappeared. Mr. Blair missed the PysOps lesson of Mr. Trotsky. Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush have missed a lot of lessons as have the TBs.

  31. "Blair linking the palestinian problem to sunny vs shia in Iraq just about relegates him to the ranks of cretin.
    What the hell is he smoking?"
    4:51 AM

    Negative Vibe alert!

  32. Your welcome rufus. You provide a great service to the EB. I assumed for some time you were really Jeb Bush.

  33. "...If the $200 million a year estimate is close to the mark, it amounts to less than what it costs the Pentagon, with an $8 billion monthly budget for Iraq, to sustain the American war effort here for a single day. ..."

    Tomorrows News Today
    The NYTimes via Drudge

  34. For any who have not yet joined the celebration, Olmert has agreed to accept the 5,280th Palestinian ceasefire.

  35. doug,

    I noticed Steve Browne gave you short shrift at Rants and Raves. Being the hateful bastard I am, I posed a question that appears so tough it has rendered the gentleman impotent. Salute!

    How is it, Doug, that reasonably intelligent people will accept the physical differentiations caused by natural selection, but go gah-gah if behavioral and intellectual adaptations are brought into the mix. By way of example, the other day I saw dog show. Throughout the program, the audience was cautioned to do due diligence before selecting a pet, because, believe it or not, dogs have markedly different behaviors, despite all having the capacity to interbreed.

    As you know, the problem is political correctness.