“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, January 26, 2013

Last week’s attack in Algeria shows that the consequences of international interventions are impossible to wholly and accurately predict. If Western governments wish to execute interventions that depose foreign leaders who, despite their cruelty and evil, play a significant regional role, then Western governments should be prepared for the unintended negative consequences.

Libya, Mali, and the Reality of Unintended Consequences

At least 39 foreign hostages were killed by terrorists in Algeria, and the reason why shouldn't be a mystery.
Matthew Feeney | January 25, 2013 REASON

Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan, and Frederick Buttaccio were the three Americans murdered in Algeria last week; three of at least 39 foreign hostages killed by Islamic militants who captured a gas field near the Algeria-Libya border before being flushed out by an Algerian military assault. The rest of those killed were workers from the U.K., France, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, France, Colombia, Malaysia and Romania, as well as terrorists from Egypt, Mauritania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mali, Algeria, France, and Canada. The attack was in response to the French-led intervention in Mali.
That there would be reprisals for the intervention in Mali should not come as a surprise. One of France’s chief counterterrorism judges said recently that France is now the number one target of jihadists in North Africa. France has tightened security since the intervention began, and the Danish foreign minister accepted that assisting the French-led intervention could increase the chance of an attack in Denmark.
While the European governments prepare for responses to the intervention in Mali, it's worth revisiting how we got here. The NATO intervention in Libya helped contribute to the conditions in Mali that led to a French-led intervention. After Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown, weapons came into Mali from Libya thanks to Tuareg fighters who had been fighting for the Libyan dictator. These Tuareg fighters began fighting for the independence of northern Mali, known as Azawad, and allied themselves with Islamist groups in the process. 
Although the Tuareg group, called the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, initially sided with Islamic groups like Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine, they eventually came into conflict with one another and the Islamist factions gained dominance in the region. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad is now allied with the French in their attempts to defeat the Islamists.
The situation in Mali became of increasing concern to the international community, especially after the Islamic militants began moving south. Although the U.N. Security Council had authorized an African-led mission to secure Mali it was unlikely that the force would be ready to deploy before September. In light of the Islamic militants advancing south, France intervened, a move that was later unanimously supported by the U.N. Security Council.
While it looks like the French and Malian forces are succeeding in pushing the Islamist fighters out of the territory they have captured, it is not at all clear that the intervention will have a net benefit for the stability and security of North Africa. The French-led mission is operating under a completely different understanding of geography, which is an advantage to the Islamist militants. French and Malian forces cannot enter other countries. However, Islamists fighters have no such problems entering Algeria, Niger, and Mauritania.
That the intervention in Libya caused a situation in Mali that has in turn led to a terrorist attack in Algeria does not exculpate the perpetrators of the attack on the Algerian gas field nor does it excuse the actions of Islamic extremists in Mali. Nor should the geopolitical impact of the overthrow of Gaddafi lead to any doubt of the good intentions of NATO officials.
However, what last week’s attack in Algeria shows is that the consequences of international interventions are impossible to wholly and accurately predict. If Western governments wish to execute interventions that depose foreign leaders who, despite their cruelty and evil, play a significant regional role, then Western governments should be prepared for the unintended negative consequences. It appears that the French have prepared for possible reprisals, having increased security in many areas. Yet the international diversity of the intervention in Mali means that France is not the only country with an increased risk of terrorism thanks to the intervention. The 2004 bombings in Madrid and the 2005 bombings in London are reminders that oftentimes it is not the strongest partner in a coalition that faces bloody reprisals.
French officials originally said that the French operation in Mali would last only weeks, however President Hollande recently said that France would be committed to the region until the Islamists are defeated and a legitimate government is ready to take over in Mali. Our intervention in Afghanistan provides a painful lesson that while modern militaries are good at killing their enemies, they do not necessarily provide what is necessary for legitimate and stable governments.
The situation in Mali also provides timely lessons about the unfolding situation in Syria, which is in many ways more potentially explosive than the situation in Mali given its proximity to Israel and also the fact that the conflict includes Al Qaeda-linked groups, Hezbollah, and Iran.
After the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, Western governments need to strongly reconsider their methods of fighting terrorism and addressing regional instability. Foreign occupation is a costly and deadly strategy, and it is far from obvious that it ensures or increases the safety of those living in the countries whose governments carry out invasions and occupations.


  1. Congressman Ron Paul: Libya and Unintended Consequences.

    RonPaul, obviously crazy and having no clue about what a slam-dunk cakewalk of short duration minor and consequence intervention will have.

    All the hand wringing over Benghazi, Syria, Mali, Algeria, obviously no connection at all.

  2. Ron Paul is crazy, the rest of DC genius.

  3. Ron Paul is crazy, and perhaps so is the entirety of D.C., but his son Rand of the odd name is beginning to make sense, going to show the sins of the fathers aren't necessarily passed down genetically to the sons. Though Nathaniel Hawthorne would likely disagree.

    We need to keep our eye an Rand, as the old racism and anti-semitism of papa Paul seems lacking, he doesn't have his head totally in the sand, and at least talks as if he is supportive of Israel. Further many of the libertarian tendencies are praiseworthy.

    Right now, subject to revision concerning Rand, Palin/Paul 2016 doesn't sound so bad. Even Paul/Palin though she might not want to run for VP again.

    She might be getting out of politics and broadcasting altogether. I read she just turned down an extension of her contract with Fox News. Fox News is getting to be unwatchable too these days. Some of it almost sounds like The View or something. Bunch of people sitting around a table b s ing about nothing at all, really.

    Just like what I just heard on Fox a few seconds ago -

    "if you are having trouble with your marriage don't smoke crack with your lover'

    Now they are talking about cream cheese, and bath salts.

  4. A Senate seat in Georgia is now up for grabs, Saxby Chambliss not running again. Here is an opportunity for the Tea Party. Just keep it about the economy, taxes, and corruption.

  5. Just laugh it off -

  6. Sign in Tahrir Square: "Obama you jerk, Muslim Brotherhoods are killing the Egyptians"

    1. And, from Quirk's Michigan -

      Dearborn: Muslim attorney "outraged" that McDonald's is not compensating those "injured" by eating "false halal" chicken

      You'd think Quirk could hear the whining from his house.

    2. .

      Now, Bob is upset that McDonald's is being sued over false advertising.

      Must be all that Fox News he sits around absorbing.

      Next, we'll be hearing his opinion that couples who smoke crack together stay together.



    3. Not upset NitWit. Just upset you don't know what is going on in your own backyard.

  7. For Ash

    Regardless, as the President announces how he will curtail the freedoms of the second amendment, we should remember Justice Robert Jackson’s opinion in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

    The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.


    In all the talk that has happened and will happen, the press and the general public seem willing to ignore the actual purpose of the second amendment.

    The amendment is not about sports. It is not about recreation. It is not about hunting. It is only partly about defending yourself from a criminal.

    The second amendment is about ensuring a “free state.”

    On April 19, 1775, British regulars marched on Lexington and Concord to seize the guns of American colonists that had been stockpiled in case of revolution........

  8. Unintended consequences?

    The folly of putting women in combat.

    As is so often true of liberals' social reforms, they haven't begun to consider the negative outcomes of this political success, such as the possibility that it will nullify the longstanding rule of warfare which has guided warriors of most nations for centuries. By putting American women into frontline combat on the ground, the Obama administration will put all women in the world into the crosshairs of ground combat. To satisfy liberal orthodoxy, the gender-neutral fools of the Democrat Party will have rendered uncountable millions of vulnerable sisters around the world as helpless targets. Not inconsequentially, their American sisters will go in harm's way as well; for what nation or radical cause cannot now justify an attack on anyAmerican woman or group of women as an attack on potential combatants?

    1. More inane thinking from the American Stinker

      The enemy has never given pause, prior to killing women, before.
      The attacks upon the US Embassies in Africa and their raid on NYC exemplify that attacking noncombatants is par on their course.

      US actions in regards combat deployments by gender will not change the enemy's behaviour.

  9. George Patton thought Maui would be a pushover, but was defeated:

    Polo was a big sport on Maui, which boasted some of the best players in the game. Louis Von Tempsky formed the first Maui polo team in 1887. The first interisland match was played in 1901. Maui had a host of nationally ranked players and one horse that became famous on the Mainland. In 1913, The All-American polo team rode William Baldwin's "Carry the News" to international victories.

    One notable competitor on Maui was an Army captain from Oahu, George S. Patton. The man who went on to gain fame as a WWII general faced what he disdained as "Maui Cowboys" in 1935 at an elaborate polo field built on the western edge of Kailua Gulch between Haleakala Highway and Haliimaile.

    Patton's team lost.

    Polo remains an attraction for the horsey set with Sunday matches at the Manduke Baldwin "cowboy" arena on Haleakala Highway and the full-sized field off Olinda Road above Makawao.

    Another big draw was, and is, the Makawao Rodeo held on the weekend the closest to the July 4th holiday. Cowboy competitors from across the state go head to head with Maui's paniolo.

  10. Wonder what Patton would have thought of putting women in combat.

    1. .

      "Hey dipshit, my estrogen levels are low, and I have a gun."


  11. For Ash

    It was Lincoln who said "Give me a general who will fight!" That was after the North was defeated over and over again by Robert E. Lee's smaller and more agile armies. Lincoln's first generals fought desperately hard, but not hard enough to win. In the upshot, the Civil War dragged out to became our bloodiest war ever, 600,000 dead -- mostly white folks. And yes, it was triggered by Christian Abolitionists who made slavery morally intolerable to half the nation.

    1. A war over differing interpretations of the Bible, one could almost say.

      And much better said than it was about the price of cotton, or the putative lavender smell of Abe's undies.

    2. Some do worship in the church of the smelly pew.

    3. These individuals are often raised as girls due to their lack of conspicuous male genitalia.

    4. Q.

      Why did Richard Gere put a lightbulb in his ass?


      It looked like the Gerbil was having an idea.

  12. Ftboobie, the Civil War WAS NOT started by abolitionists attempting t ńd Slavery'.

    No, it was started in South Carolina, when they attacked the tarrif collectors.

    Your perspective on history is skewed by the revisionjist history tught in public schools in States created in Lincoln's and later the GOP's effort to 'Pack' the Senate

    1. You're like one of those people that grew up in Palistine, parroting the talking points they were indoctorinated with as children

  13. More to the point of the thread ...

    The excercise in Libya, tactically, was in response to the failed interventions in Iraq and Afpakistan.
    Regardless that the were some minor levels of blow back ...
    ...still makes the tactics employed in the Libyan adventure a vast improvement over tose used in Iraq or AfPak

    1. .

      Tactics merely reflect the means to achieve an end, our strategy. It is a competent strategy that has been lacking for the last thirty or forty years.

      Great tactics merely offer us the opportunity to fuck up more efficiently.


  14. The failure to include Russia in Syria's list of allies, just an oversight, or a willful attempt at keeping US ignorant of the Real Politik of the situation?

    By the rationalizations of Neo 'O' and boobie, the raid of 11Sep01 was an attack upon a symbol of the Corporate Empire, not civilians in a US city.

    They killed a building.

  15. Q, with regard Libya ...

    The destabilization of Colonel Q by the rebels shut down oil exports to France and Italy. This was a direct threat to their economic security and thusly their national security and interests.

    A long term loss of Libyan oil an economic threat to the North Atlantic, and thus NATO had to act, in their own defense.

    1. While on a more military level ...

      Colonel Q was on his way to granting the Russian Navy basing facilities, in Libya.

      A threat best nipped before it even buds

    2. Jeeze, back before the evil "W" became Wuss,
      Colonel Q was D-Nuking.

      ...or DeNucularizing, according to W.

      Times and tactics do change.

    3. Two Mushrooms over Torah Bora?

      ...a wetdream from the distant past.

    4. General Crapper is back.

    5. .

      Get serious, rat.

      Haven't you heard, we intervened in Libya for 'humanitarian' reasons.
      Just ask John McCain or Hillary.

      Although there are those cynics who suggest the commercial interests of BP and Total were the real casus belli.

      A long term loss of Libyan oil an economic threat to the North Atlantic, and thus NATO had to act, in their own defense.

      Sure it was an economic threat. To BP and Total. And there could have been increased oil prices in the EU, just as there have been and are whenever there is civil strife in an oil producing country. A threat? Nonsense, the EU willingly cut off its buy of oil from Iran.


    6. If you choose to believe the babbling BS as it ememates from the talking heads in DC,, have at it.

      I you think that the nuke program? Was the only issue NATO Had with the Colonel, you're a moron.

      The EU could not take action againstt Iran, not while the Libyan supply chain was not secure.

      A Long War, in multiple theaters, agaisnt a variety of enemies.
      Messy, at best.

    7. .


      I would call it incoherent (sans the commercial aspects).

      Yet, you make excuses for these buffoons.


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  17. Who said the abolitionists 'started' - whatever that means - the civil war? What I've said is that the abolitionist sentiment was white hot in parts of the north, and without that it would not have happened the way it did. And the pro slavery sentiment was hot in the south, obviously. All this talk of cotton prices, tariffs , who attacked first is beside the main point.

    You and deuce just argue whatever your current prejudices are and twist to make or omit considerations that don't fit the outlook.

    You are both anti-semitic as all hell, though I don't see the overt racism in you that is so obvious in deuce, even to the point of Trish urging him to keep it down.

    I speculate deuce has some personal skin in the game from his ancestors past, but since he won't say, how do I know.

    That slimming of Lincoln via the lavender queer angle and the comments deuce made concerning it was disgusting, at least to me, beyond almost anything I have read here. Of course neither one of you would ever recognize the injustice of slavery and the suffering caused by it. At least, neither of you has yet.

    But, like I said, no one is ever going to convince anyone else of anything here.

  18. Time for The Battle Hymn of the Republic!

    And from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir too! Those very Mormons who used to shun the blacks.

    Here in Idaho, gem of the mountains, in the early days, we used to shun the Mormons, not allowing them to vote.

    But we never shunned the blacks.

    Now everyone does.

    The Truth goes marching on!

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  20. As far as I'm concerned, every jihadist should be given his death wish. But how to do it and how to deal with the consequences - that's the rub. The war against militant Islam is a battle for the hearts and minds of the non-militant. We have got to find ways to turn them against the fundamentalists. But if we're successful in doing so, the consequences could be ugly.

    1. .

      As I recall, you, like Mr. Liu, were just a couple days ago arguing against a policy of 'disengagement' with these people, the assumption being that disengagement wouldn't help us, that it wouldn't stop them from wanting to, in Mr. Liu" words, "...hurt us."

      What I heard was a lot of generalities and rhetorical questions.

      We have got to find ways to turn them against the fundamentalists. But if we're successful in doing so, the consequences could be ugly.

      Not even sure what that last part means.

      At least, the people here who push for various levels of disengagement offer specifics and a rationale for their positions. Of those that oppose that policy, the only one here who has offered a specific alternative is WiO, "Kill the rock". For the rest, it merely seems to be 'stay the course'.

      If you have a specific course of action and a rationale for supporting it, please offer it up so that we can discuss it. We get enough of the 'winning their minds and hearts' stuff from the dicks in D.C.