“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."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brits Want US More Engaged in the World

Spring Time in America

Basra is being strained with 25 dead over the last few days. That is where the British lectured the US on following their lead by going "softly softly". Well the British did go softly softly and left Basra to the Iraqis.

The Arabs, to a country, hardly help at all in Iraq. They are too busy spending their oil money building cities and buying things to be of much assistance. They have also been getting a little sniffy about the dollar. They seem more disposed to "eau d'Euro".

The Germans are all for Nato troops in Afghanistan as long as they do not have to fight. The legacy of their grandfathers still has them traumatized.

One in ten Ohioans is on some type of public assistance and two of three likely candidates for the US presidency have other ideas about US involvements around the world. Tony Blair had no small part in encouraging the US to be more involved in Iraq. (The famous British Dossier on Iraqi WMD's impressed this army of one.)

Thanks for the advice Mr. Brown, but I think softly softly needs to be re-examined.


Gordon Brown to tell US to re-engage in world

By Andrew Porter, Political Editor Telegraph
Last Updated: 2:21am GMT 26/03/2008

Gordon Brown is to urge America to re-engage with the world in the manner which it did after the Second World War, saying the world is at a point in history when it needs American "values and leadership".

In a landmark speech next month which will be given on his second official visit to the United States as Prime Minister, Mr Brown will also appeal to the American people saying the US has always provided inspirational leadership at crucial times in world history and this is a point in history when it is needed again.

Gordon Brown's speech will be directed more at the candidates campaigning to succeed President George W Bush

Significantly making the speech in the Kennedy Library in Boston, Mr Brown will evoke the memory of JFK as well as other American leaders he feels have been vital to global peace and prosperity including Presidents Truman and Roosevelt.

While arguing that the challenges of post-1945 are different to today's, he believes that the leadership which President Truman gave in helping Europe should be drawn upon.

Today's global challenges include extremism and climate change, he is expected to argue.

A Downing Street source said: "He feels that this is a time for new US leadership and time to face up to the challenges. Iraq should not be allowed to cloud people's judgement that America can and should be a force for good."

The Prime Minister is to visit the United States in three weeks time for his first lengthy trip to the country as Prime Minister.

His speech will be pro-American, defying promptings from Labour MPs that he should be more of a critic of Washington.

The speech will be likened to Tony Blair's Chicago speech in 1999 which guided his foreign policy and included his first outlining of the "liberal interventionist" doctrine.

That subsequently guided his actions in foreign affairs including, with varying degrees of success, the military action in Kosovo and Iraq.

The speech will be directed more at the potential new US Presidents, Republican John McCain, and the two Democrat challengers Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, rather than the incumbent George Bush.

Mr Brown fears that after the Iraq war America's incoming administration may revert to a less engaged outlook in order to appease voters.

Some of the candidates have also been advocating protectionist trade measures which Europe and Britain oppose.

But the Prime Minister is likely to point out the great post-war institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were all driven by the United States.

It is American values that can shape the new global architecture, Downing Street believes.

Another Number 10 source said: "The Prime Minister has always made clear that he is a strong Atlanticist and he also believes that the problems of the world can only be solved with the United States actively engaged."

In his Chicago speech, Mr Blair talked about humanitarian and just wars. However Mr Brown is expected instead to talk of how global institutions can bring countries together so they can work more effectively than is currently the case.

On the four-day trip, Mr Brown will be keen to establish himself more on the world stage than has been the case since he took over from Mr Blair.

He is not widely known in the States in contrast to his predecessor who was seen in a great light for his support of America after 9/11 and over Iraq.

Brown believes the leadership which President Truman gave in helping Europe rebuild after WWII should be drawn upon

Downing Street confirmed that Mr Brown will visit America from the April 16 to 20.

Mr Brown first visited Washington in July last year, a month after becoming Prime Minister.

In contrast to the matey, "jeans and bomber jacket" style of Mr Blair's meetings with President Bush, Mr Brown adopted a more formal approach.

He wore his trademark blue suit and his only concession to Camp David informality was when he was taken for a spin by the President in a golf cart.

The British Government's decision to withdraw troops from Basra soon after Mr Brown took office reportedly irritated Washington.

Last week Mr McCain visited Downing Street. Mr Brown is determined to appear impartial in the race for the White House despite Labour's strong links with the Democrats.

The Prime Minister believes there should be stronger institutions which can act as an early warning system for financial markets.


  1. But the US will engage the world thru an economically sustainable system. That means that the hundreds of billions that are wasted on one giant military welfare program after another, or that the hundreds of billions that are wasted on welfare for ankle biting NATO members that wont carry their weight, or that the hundreds of billions that are wasted on the UN the World Bank and foreign aid programs, or that hundreds of billions that are wasted protecting jihadist royalty and their oil cartel, are no longer wasted on these frivolous and diminutive pursuits, but rather shall be redirected towards eliminating and reversing the US' balance of trade and foreign exchange deficits, starting with the elimination of oil imports and ending with the elimination of Wal-Mart's foreign suppliers.

  2. ...hundreds of billions that are wasted on welfare for ankle biting NATO members that wont carry their weight

    (did I miss some /sarc tag?)

    Duh, you want to explain that again slowly?

    The single largest US military welfare recipient is Israel (not NATO, direct financing alone USD 15 billion since 2000). All the new European NATO countries TOGETHER are financed at about 10% of that figure, for which sum they must buy American.

    Or are we talking about bases in Germany, like Ramstein and Hohenfels? Y'know, the ones Germany contributes US $1 billion dollars a year to maintain?

  3. No, no sarc tags missing, Fellow Peacekeeper.

    Israel receives $1.8 billion in military aid, and I'm all for ending that aid as long as the US also stops suppling Egypt Jordan and other Arab countries with similar aid.

    ".., or that the hundreds of billions that are wasted on the UN the World Bank and foreign aid programs,.. "

    I also guarantee you that dollars spent on US NATO participation is by a factor or two larger than that of US funded US military hardware to Israel given to US military contractors.

  4. The Brits are just realizing just how tightly they are tied to the US wagon. Posturing time for the local press is over, the real game is a foot.

    It is American values that can shape the new global architecture, Downing Street believes

    American values, not US.

    You are right about one thing, doug ...

    Coast to Coast, Pole to Pole
    It is a Brave New World.

    Any course change, just be on the margins.

  5. Both of you guys, misdirected.
    Nato and it's member countries, do not make the list of top recievers of US weapons largesse.

    Among the key findings of this report are the following:

    In 2003, the last year for which full information is available, the United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in active conflicts. From Angola, Chad and Ethiopia, to Colombia, Pakistan, Israel and the Philippines, transfers through the two largest U.S. arms sales programs (Foreign Military Sales and Commercial Sales) to these conflict nations totaled nearly $1 billion in 2003.

    In 2003, more than half of the top 25 recipients of U.S. arms transfers in the developing world (13 of 25) were defined as undemocratic by the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report: in the sense that "citizens do not have the right to change their own government." These 13 nations received over $2.7 billion in U.S. arms transfers in 2003, with the top recipients including Saudi Arabia ($1.1 billion), Egypt ($1.0 billion), Kuwait ($153 million), the United Arab Emirates ($110 million) and Uzbekistan ($33 million).

    When countries designated by the State Department’s Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003 -- a full 80% -- were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses.

    The largest U.S. military aid program, Foreign Military Financing (FMF), increased by 68% from 2001 to 2003, from $3.5 billion to nearly $6 billion. The biggest increases went to countries that were engaged as U.S. allies in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, including Jordan ($525 million increase from 2001 to 2003), Afghanistan ($191 million increase), Pakistan ($224 million increase), and Bahrain ($90 million increase). The Philippines, where the United States stepped up joint operations against a local terrorist group with alleged links to al-Qaeda, also received a substantial increase from 2001 to 2003 ($47 million).

    Military aid totals have leveled off slightly since their FY 2003 peak, coming in at a requested $4.5 billion for 2006. The number of countries receiving FMF assistance increased by 50% from FY 2001 to FY 2006—from 48 to 71.

    Then from last summer, 29JUL7
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has confirmed that the United States is planning a significant increase in military and defence aid to Israel.
    The package would reportedly amount to more than $30bn (£14.8bn) over the next 10 years.

    Mr Olmert described it as an important element for the security of Israel.
    defence aid to Israel currently stands at $2.4bn a year - the new package would amount to a 25% increase.

    That'll get direct military assisstance, US to Israel, to $3 BILLION per annum.

    Right in the mix, suckin' that US teat
    31 Aug 2006, 10:45

    English frontpage

    US and NATO want more military aid from Norway

    The US money not flowing to Norway, the US wanting Norway to pony up.

    mat, as usual speaking with his emotions, his convictions, though they are often not in sync with published realities.

    There is no need for a standing US Army presence in Europe.
    Nor in Korea, for that matter.

  6. "Both of you guys, misdirected.
Nato and it's member countries, do not make the list of top recievers of US weapons largesse..
    mat, as usual speaking with his emotions, his convictions, though they are often not in sync with published realities."


    The fact that the Pentagon wont account and publish its costs as they relate to NATO membership and separate them from the general military budget, by no stretch of the imagination means that I'm wrong. In fact, if I'm wrong, it's in that I've probably underestimated the costs of underwriting NATO.

    Anyway, all of that is irrelevant. I'm for ending all these nonsense military welfare programs.

  7. I do to, mat, want to end those Programs.

    Pull back from the edges.

    Me and Mister Paul ....

    But his support, it's from outside the lines of acceptability.
    He, often described as "looney", even here at the EB.

  8. "He, often described as "looney", even here at the EB."

    Going on what I've seen of his general mannerism, I'd say he is a looney. But that doesn't mean that the ideas that he stands behind are not sound ideas.

  9. But we're in the midst of the Age of Personality, Not if Ideas.

    Though many Ideas abound, it is Personality that rules the culture of "America". Personalities define the values respected by the Americans.

    Though John Wayne is still America's most popular actor, he's been physically DEAD, for decades.

    A new America will be risen, when the Duke's loyal audience grows old and dies.
    Then there will be a new generation of audience to define what it means to bean American Hero.
    Won't be that much longer, before that torch is passed.

  10. In the Age of Personality, the idea are left by the side of the road.

    The battle for power is a personality contest. The differences in active governance, percieved as marginal.

    The Inertia of the Federal Syetem is hard to manage, Team43s inability to manage and control entire branches of the Executive. State & CIA, just the most current example.

    Then there is the Congress to contend with, and Courts.
    As long as there is a Bloc of forty Senators opposed, nothing to radical can happen. If that Bloc does not exist, well it's majority rules. The minority not having sufficent cohesion to even be in the Game.

    At the local Wal-Mart, bicycle sales are up, adults buying them to commute, rather than drive.
    This in Paradise Valley, AZ.
    The top of the market.

    Things gettin; tough, all over.

    We'll see which toughs get goin'


    Take me under your wing,
    my mother, my sister be.
    Take me to your breast,
    my banished prayers a shelter in your nest.

    Merciful twilight hour,
    hear my pain, bend thy head.
    They say there is youth in the world.
    Where has my youth fled?

    Listen! another secret:
    My soul was seared by a flame.
    They say there's love in the world.
    What is love?

    Deceived by the stars was I.
    There was a dream; it too has passed.
    I have nothing in the world,
    nothing and a vast waste.

    Take me is your wings,
    be my mother, my sister.
    Shelter me in your breast,
    a nest for my banished prayers.


    There was a man- and look, he is no more!
    Before his time the man departed
    A pity! There was yet a song in him
    Now it is lost
    Forever lost

    And great is the pity!
    For a harp had he
    A living singing soul presented
    And a poem, as he voiced it
    The inner secrets of his heart it sang
    All its strings the harp would vibrate
    Save one string kept inviolate
    Back and forth the strings would dance,
    One string alone remained entranced
    Mute it remained---to this very day

    And great, oh great is the pity!
    All its life this string has quivered
    Silently shaking, silently trembling
    To sound the tune to set it free
    Yearning, thirsting, desiring
    Sorrowing, for what fate decreed
    Despite delay, it waited daily
    And with unheard whisper beseeched its saviour
    Who lingered, loitered, and tarried ever

    Time had came
    Time had passed
    Time never arrived

    Great is the pain!
    There was a man – and look, he is no more.
    The music suddenly ended.
    A pity! There was yet a song in him
    Now it is lost.
    Forever lost.

  13. Clyde said...
    Very interesting analysis, as always.

    Michael Ledeen claims that Moqtadah al Sadr is history, and irreverently suggests that the Iranians "recalled him for an intense Bible Study course, split his movement into various shards, and appointed some of their reliable killers to manage the pieces. Those are the “militias” against which the Iraqi Army is fighting these days."

    3/26/2008 09:48:00 AM

    But not in response to this thread, but topically related, on a well known blogsite, one which is supported largely by donations from its readers.

  14. Ledeen's a first-rank dupe. If somebody had to be voted off the island over there at NR, I like to think it would be unanimous.

  15. But he tells his tale.

    Other times I've read that al-Sadr is poised to make great gains, in the coming elections.

    Are we aiding and abetting some "old school" politics, in Iraq, finally?

    Will it work, if we are.
    Or just Half-stepping to Babylon

  16. That's a darn nice poem Mat. My outlook is that unstruck string will play, someday.

  17. Thanks, Bob. Bialik's poems. A horribly mangled translation from the Hebrew.

  18. I'm reading some real fear coming out of wall st types about how really shaky US financial institutions are. the suggestion here is that the US may not have the capacity to extend military power in the future.