Ninety-seven years

We shall not sleep.

The Unknown Soldier from WWI laid out in the Capitol rotunda in 1921.
The Unknown Soldier from WWI laid out in the Capitol rotunda in 1921.

This post, an annual tradition for Veterans Day at The Optimistic Conservative since 2009, is now an annual tradition at Liberty Unyielding.

Ninety-seven years ago, in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the armistice was proclaimed that ended the terrible fighting in World War I.  A war that had erupted in large part because Europe’s political leaders, a century on from the Napoleonic conflicts, were accustomed to war remaining limited, produced some of the bloodiest battles ever fought. The six-month battle of the Somme in 1916 took the lives of an unimaginable 1.5 million French, German, and British soldiers – without either side achieving sustainable penetration of the line of confrontation, or any operational victory. WWI was the most tactically and politically frustrating of wars, admitting little maneuver, little jockeying for advantage, and no enduring significance to victory. Continue reading “Ninety-seven years”

Lose the ‘quagmire’ theme; Russia can’t fall into one in Syria

Interesting times.

Putin confers with his senior military officials. (Image: Kremlin/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin via Newsweek)
Putin confers with his senior military officials. (Image: Kremlin/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin via Newsweek)

We’re going to keep this one (relatively) short.  I’ve written about Russia’s goals in Syria elsewhere (see here as well).

A Bloomberg article from Monday commendably recognizes that Russia’s goals in Syria are “far broader” than the official goal of fighting Salafi terrorists.  The authors fall short of “getting” what the Russian involvement there is about, but they’re on the right track.

The problem is that they, like almost everyone else, are still framing the situation in the terms of a U.S.-style expeditionary intervention.  This leads the authors to say something like this: Continue reading “Lose the ‘quagmire’ theme; Russia can’t fall into one in Syria”

The future of our time: Rewriting ‘Westphalianism’

Interesting times: the new definition.

Past master. (Image via Outside the Beltway)
Past master. (Image via Outside the Beltway)

Reading Henry Kissinger’s typically well-considered and intelligent article for the Wall Street Journal this weekend (“A Path out of the Middle East Collapse”), I had a growing sense that it isn’t so much a prescription for the future as a description of the past.

The sense began with the first paragraph, in which Kissinger defines the scope of what’s collapsing, and dates it only to 1973, when the U.S. moved to stabilize the Middle East during the Yom Kippur War.

But far more than recent U.S. policy on the Middle East is collapsing today.  What we’re seeing is more like the collapse of “Rome” itself:  the organization of Western power as a Europe-centric territorial phenomenon, setting unbreachable boundaries north, south, and west of a restless and perennially “unorganizable” Middle East. Continue reading “The future of our time: Rewriting ‘Westphalianism’”

Memo to David Frum: Weimar German ‘gun control’ enabled Hitler to confiscate Jews’ guns

Godwin’s Law: It was concocted for a reason.

These nice people made Germany's strict "gun control" laws during the Weimar Republic era, hoping to curb street violence between Nazis and Communists. Reichstag, 1925. (Image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-01154. 12 Mar 1925)
These nice people made Germany’s strict “gun control” laws during the Weimar Republic era, hoping to curb street violence between Nazis and Communists. Reichstag, 1925. (Image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-01154. 12 Mar 1925)

At Breitbart, John Nolte notices that David Frum is trying to school Ben Carson on “gun control.”  (The correct expression for the concept intended is gun restrictions, so I will use that here.)

What Nolte calls out is Frum’s remarkable assertion that a gun-restriction policy in Germany could have prevented the Holocaust.

Hold back the laughter for a moment.  You’re going to want the information below, so please follow along with me.  I promise, this is better than a meme image with a questionable “quote” from Hitler. Continue reading “Memo to David Frum: Weimar German ‘gun control’ enabled Hitler to confiscate Jews’ guns”

Time to ‘John Paul Jones’ the non-deal ‘Iran deal’

Nail the colors to the mast.

Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis at the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779. Painting by Anton Otto Fischer (1882-1962). (Via crashmacduff.wordpress.com)
Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis at the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779. Painting by Anton Otto Fischer (1882-1962). (Via crashmacduff.wordpress.com)

“I have not yet begun to fight!”

John Paul Jones, commanding the Continental Navy, Battle of Flamborough Head

23 September, 1779

If we went by the triumphal proclamations of the mainstream media, we would think opponents of the unsigned Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – described inaccurately as a “deal” with Iran – were out of options at this point.

Operating on the process set in motion by the Corker-Cardin bill, the House has voted against approving the JCPOA.  But the JCPOA’s opponents in the Senate have failed twice to move the JCPOA to a vote.  A 42-vote minority has prevented a Senate vote, and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unwilling to use the “nuclear option” of overriding the effective filibuster by the minority, and forcing a vote on the JCPOA.

If we accept that Obama met his requirements under Corker-Cardin, when he submitted the JCPOA to Congress for review, then the deadline for Congress to act was 17 September.  Since the Senate couldn’t vote by then, the theory is that all objections to the JCPOA are now dead. Continue reading “Time to ‘John Paul Jones’ the non-deal ‘Iran deal’”