Undumbing Down "Progressive Realism"

    Response to "What is Progressive Realism" ["But the article was essentially about describing the differences between schools of thought while obviously giving evidence the author thought supported a different school than has predominated and was making a case for trying something different"]

    Robert Wright in the 2nd paragraph makes "realist" a synonym for Kissinger's cynical "realpolitik", thus loading any "realist" with the baggage of Kissinger's policies in Vietnam, turning a blind eye to disaster in Indonesia, et al. A rather tawdry piece of smear and false equivalency. (To be clear, the level of human carnage in SE Asia and the expulsion of Commusts from Indonesia was huge - incomparable to the tolls we've seen in Mideast conflicts the last 20 years.)

    But Wright pulls this off with a "Maybe McFaul had Kissinger in mind when he lamented the 'deaths and horrific repression' that past realists...." - or maybe McFaul didn't, and it's just Wright's fervent imagination leaping to smear by most distant association.

    Wright leaves out McFaul's key sentence, "Realism is an ideology that produced millions of deaths & horrific repression over the centuries." - an expression that might include Mao's "to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs", efforts to "civilize" "backwards people" around the world, accommodate slavery in a new Constitution, Bismarck's approach to Europe & treaties, et al. Certainly not honed in on 1 particular Secretary of State from our Nixon years.

    If this is Wright's "evidence" in "supporting a different school" (i.e. his version of "realists" before he trashes modern "progressive idealists", especially Biden appointees), he's off to a bad start. Note, the whole of McFaul's tweet:

    In the debate about the future Biden foreign policy Im seeing people self-identify as "progressive realists." Where are the "progressive idealists"? Or the "pragmatic idealists?" Realism is an ideology that produced millions of deaths & horrific repression over the centuries.

    — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) November 16, 2020

    It's obvious by paragraph #6 that the real target of this is to bash the choices of Blinken and Sullivan (and Obama in general) as blinkered idealists with blood on their hands. You'd think Neville Chamberlain would come up as such an idealist before 2 apparatchiks within a much more limited alliance, failed or not.
    As this piece progresses, we'll see that it's not really introducing a new framework, but using a purported framework to beat the old dead horse with once again. Let's take this framework 1 by 1:

    1) "Strategic humility" - Wright jumps to this, as if Obama had put boots on the ground first chance (something Putin did, by the way). Instead, he worked through EU & Arab alliances, as well as protecting civilian protesters with *NO FLIGHT ZONES* (the stratically humble winner of the Kosovo conflict and the maintainer of a peaceful status quo over Iraq during the 90's). And yes, he armed rebels, which is how we pushed the Russians out of Afghanistan *WITHOUT* confronting the $600 billion a year Soviet military's invasion directly.
    Did arming rebels in Syria work? undoubtedly no. Was Russia's propping Syria up (vs Yeltsin's relative acquiescence in Kosovo) a big differentiator? Certainly. As was the more entrenched state of Assad II, and the fact that European powers are less committed to non-European conflicts. And as barbaric as Serbs & Croats were in the 90's, compared to ISIS & other actors *this time* they behaved oddly a bit better. e.g. they still tried to hide their atrocities, whereas in Syria & Iraq & Afghanistan, they liked announcing them.

    "Still, the fact remains that the intervention produced much more death and suffering on all sides than ruthless suppression would have produced." - wow, that's a Kitty Genovese (debunked) framing all in itself. Actually it's partly dumb - the death and suffering was on the side of the Syrian people - European allies just had to deal with refugees, while Americans suffered not a whit, nor did Russians - they got a Mediterranean seaport out of it. Second, "humility" doesn't mean "inaction" - it means be careful & thoughtful exactly *BECAUSE* interventions aren't guaranteed to turn out well. And I can't think of a recent leader who exhibits caution and no-drama better than Obama, so what gives?

    The part on Libya seems upset that "humility" worked *too* well - that the no-flight airspace and support for rebels over the barbaric military dictator Qaddafi effectively derailed his sordid plans, and while I do have qualms about NATO seeming to overstep the compromise of their UN agreement, I'd like to see those formulated with a bit more attention to pertinent detail including the rapidly changing situation on the ground - specifically what that means for an agreed, condoned support effort without going back for new permission. But nowhere do I see any perspective of the Arab Spring - where Tunisian revolts were successful, where Egyptian repression was bloody but through our help peacefully transferred to caretaker and then a Muslim-led government that turned out to be much worse and chaotic than Mubarak. But so was Pakistan and then Pakistan-Bangladesh once the British left. So is South Africa after Mandela replaced De Klerk, and then a bunch of uninspired self-serving idiots replaced Mandela. So is Belgian Congo after Belgium quit/got pushed out. Does "progressive realism" now mean keeping dictatorships and caretaker colonialists in place, the old patronizing infantilist recipe?

    Whatever the case, the US didn't actively engage on the ground in Libya - they provided air & other support to local actors. But just as Milosevic largely kept a fractured Yugoslavian Balkans together, Qaddafi's brutal dictatorship kept ruthless splinter groups at bay, as did Hussein's strongarm control of Iraq, etc. - many of whom came out with his departure (presumably this would have happened with exile as well). So is the question whether we should have taken a *MORE ACTIVE ROLE* in Libya following Qaddafi's removal, rather than being shy & humble & distant? such as introducing EU-like laws & societal frameworks to guide a shattered already split nation into something more beneficial than factional chaos, providing peacekeeping forces? Maybe, maybe not - could be a bridge too far. But most Iraqis support pushing Israel into the sea - freedom doesn't equal good taste or wise choices by a long beleagoured populace. Caveat emptor.

    2) Cognitive empathy - oh my, a long section on being empathetic towards Putin's wishes in strong-arming Ukraine. I mean, Chamberlain was empathetic towards Hitler and his needs, and produced a brilliant peace for his time. I'd suggest rather than cognitive empathy, an awareness of the rights of states & peoples, some acceptance of larger caretaker influence without giving into brute colonialism, and more attention to basic human rights & self-determination and whatever economic development & education & other progressivism can bring to the table.

    I'm not sure what kind of "more orderly fashion" Wright sees Yanukovych being deposed with, but considering the corruption that his departure exposed, and that Yanukovych was actively under the patronage of a world superpower in directly working against the will of the people (joining the EU & the post-Soviet economy, not the NATO bit), it's hard to see why he wouldn't be treated as a traitor to non-Donbas Ukraine. Does "cognitive empathy" extend to the people of Ukraine themselves? Seems not. (Oddly, Wright then extrapolates to "Russia that justly meddled in the 2016 US election" - where I thought the official line was that "Russiagate" was a hoax made up by Democratic centrists & HIllary/Obama-lovers, and that some 300 pound kid on his mother's couch did it. Oh well, conflicting narratives, move on...)

    But Wright doesn't end there. He quotes: "China is a big country, and other countries here are small countries. Think hard about that." I think we're aware of that, what with China installing factories in its Muslim concentration camps, and using its "Belt & Road" initiative to try to get those ill-gotten products to market. And China bashing down protesters in Hong Kong. And China pretending it owns all the Pacific off of SE Asia and building up its fleet & fake islands to bolster those excessive claims. 

    But traditionally the US has pushed back against these excesses - even TPP was designed to bring *more* Pacific trading partners into the Asian mix, rather than the one dominated by China. Efforts to unpeg China's currency, to respect human rights, to respect intellectual property, lower pollution and greenhouse gasess, et al, have all been part of US diplomacy and economic policy, even as we work with China to produce much of the world's goods and services. It's obvious by now that we have limited abilities to tell China what to do - but it's important to keep trying to leverage what power & influence we have *for good*, not just for Ivanka's trademarks.

    Wright doesn't manage to dig into issues re: sanctions and US policy very well. Our approach towards Cuba is entirely driven by Conservative Cubans voting Republican living in Florida - yes, I'd love to influence that, but "meanwhile, back on Planet Earth..." Syria's sanctions started from its treatment of its own citizens under Assad's father, and got locked in when Assad Jr. had the choice during the Arab Spring of whether to open up or "doubling down" on repression. He chose to latch onto the past & new friendship with Russia, who brought us the destruction of Chechnya, the separatism of Georgia (Abkhazia & South Ossetia) and Donbas, and the renewed repression of his own dissenters. With friends like these...

    Venezuela sanctions are largely Maduro's meltdown after the death of the more capable and more admirable Chavez. Whether Chavez painted lipstick on a big, or truly did good things for his people, Maduro is inept, and let Venezuela's oil infrastructure collapse as the only real support for Chavez's social restructuring, and then largely playing a thug ruling by decree, and backed by the usual rogue states.

    Wright triumphantly exclaims: "Realists, in contrast, ask a simple question: Remind me what vital American interest is served by inflicting misery on a small faraway country in hopes that something magical will eventually happen?" - ha ha ha. Remind me what progressive ideal is served by ignoring an oil-rich country's descent into insolvency and despotic undemocratic means as a way of propping up a respected leader's pathetic successor, while the population largely goes hungry? While not perfect, Latin America is pretty much better off and more democratic and more caring for its people than in the 1970's. Venezuela being a huge exception. Realistically speaking.

    Iran is more complex, partly due to Israel's influence, partly due to our past behavior with Mossadegh - whatever worries about the communists were real or contrived, the realpolitik of backing the Shah's son who was somewhat forward looking, somewhat blind to social problems, and given to spying & torture by his Savak and then overthrown by a despotic fundamentalist mullah who committed more atrocities and brought Iran back to a medieval state. Our involvement with the Iran-Iraq War brings no accolades (though oddly we did supply Iran with weapons on the sly), and Iran's progress has been haphazard - partly progressive opening, partly populist & openly repressive, all with the continued oversight of the Mullahs. That Iran has continued its nuclear development on the sly, but is probably less capable at actually developing usable weapons than it pretends, continues to be food for Israeli & right-wing GOP paranoia, and frustration for those of us who'd like to see Iran warm up to say the EU and gradually thaw out of the Khomeini period. That's hardly "idealistic", and it doesn't rely on the fantasy of Putin's goodwill (ignoring Novichok poisonings & other tactics) or empathy towards his Iran ambitions.

    3) Anti-Manichaeism - here we draw a line between technology used to promote democracy and technology used to bolster totalitarianism. Image recognition of dissenters on the street should worry us, though we also see technology helping identify criminal rioters from the Capitol occupation. China's ubertech used to imprison Uyghurs and stifle debate is a horror, but so is Facebook's misuse of stolen personal data to promote one candidate over another & giving a party a leg up over another, and otherwise massively invading people's privacy on a daily basis. There's much movement to trying to break up America's techno-monopolists - I've gone from agnostic to pro, though concerned greatly about actual details - but there's still a big difference between actively trying to imprison millions from an ethnic minority & religion, vs trying to make a buck and so running over cultural norms and regulations. This is not a call to allow the latter - it's a call to take the former more seriously, *while* addressing the latter. But since China's a "big country" with big influence, it will still be hard to do - unless we line up good-willed allies to invoke humanitarian future-tech ideals and guidelines. Oddly, this is also "realist", not just "idealist", as it acknowledges compromises needed to develop & enforce those guidelines, much as the UN, WTO & other international bodies are flawed coalitions of member states with different attitudes & intentions.

    But what switch does Robert Wright come up with this time? Yes, another panic about a "Cold War" (slightly less drastic than invoking the usual "World War III" or "Nuclear War" whenever someone suggests that Russia shouldn't brazenly steal Crimea outside of world norms or limit Russia's aggressive & civilian-killing support in Syria). Because China can't possibly see the advantages of maintaining US outsourced manufacturing while limiting its mistreatment of its citizens? Are these the same people who said we shouldn't outsource because of poor working conditions in China, only to see standards of living rise hugely for most in China? "Realism" should deal with likelihoods and cause & effect, not just acceptance of the status quo and fear of moving past square one.

    Let's look at the problems he mentions:  "Pandemics" - the world just fast-tracked 2 mRNA vaccines and another more traditional one, thanks to advances in technology these last 50 years, plus the greater cooperation of individual, often selfish states in looking for mutually beneficial solutions to a crisis. Yay multilateralism!!! Yay "league of democracies"!!! Weapons proliferation? the greatest impediment to weapons proliferation is the rise of more democratic countries that see rogue weapons as only undermining the peace & shared economy that's decreased extreme poverty from 30% in 1989 to ~8-9% in 2019. Even China doesn't want weapons going to other countries these days - it's fully in charge of its Belt & Road initiative, and wants to maintain that power, even as it tries to expand economically in Africa et al. "Climate change"? the push is on for electric vehicles via US, Europe, Korea & Japan and especially China (now hosting Tesla, its own Nio, and several other large contenders). Other huge developments underway through new transformation in tech. Not fast enough for some of the destructive effects, but at least impressive human progress.

    Then Wright offers up this curious passage: "For every action there is a reaction. Almost inevitably, a 'league of democracies' would lead to a de-facto league of authoritarians—and to deep fissures between the two." Uh, here in the European Union, things are going pretty well - no big "league of authoritarians" popping up, even though populists come and go. Is it possible that some alliances *attract* new members and *promote* reforms among old adversaries? I'm not so much of an idealist to think it *has* to, but the EU started out as an industrial alliance of just 6 countries 70 years ago, and now has expanded to contain 27 plus 4 associates, including much deeper ties and cooperation, with some observation status and looser alliances from countries outside. Turkey's observer status has been derailed by Erdogan's military adventures abroad and repression strategies at home (egged on by Putin, perhaps), but for countries trying to break out of repression like Belarus it remains a reasonable goal, not an unreachable ideal - certainly not something to fight against unless your initials are V.P.

    It's odd that Wright then goes on to espouse issues like "arms control in space and cyberspace" while ignoring the recent Russian-backed internet hacks on SolarWinds and others - rather incredible. Seems a bit like looking for your lost keys under the streetlight - nice to talk about abstract things off in the distance, while ignoring critical ones close to home. China's already abusing use of AI & cyberspace, perhaps genetic engineering with its pioneering CRISPR work - shouldn't Wright mention that here, rather than an unstated aside?

    4) Okay, running out of gas - "Respect for international law". "if America had abided by international law over the last decades, mistakes like Iraq & Syria over the past couple of decades wouldn't have happened". Well, Hussein was hoping to invade Saudi Arabia. Sudan has gone from one humanitarian disaster to another without our help. Russia destroyed Chechnya over several years, and Afghanistan before. Iran put down its own protesters much like Syria started out when the US provided some arms to some rebels, plus Iraq's hunt for weapons of mass destruction wasn't exactly benign and unthreatening. Qaddafi was ready to wipe out Benghazi and the ethnically different east (Cyrenaica) when the US *partially* went by international law. The Congo held a civil war that killed 5 million around 1997-2002 along with vicious rape gangs, without our involvement at all. Osama bin Laden's justification for 9/11 (2001) and our subsequent rush to break up Mideast anti-American insurgencies was what exactly? Our breaking *which* international laws? Is inaction the only way to avoid "mistakes"? Can we guess what worse might have happened vs the paths we chose, and try to hone better decisions for the future?

    So who's being "idealistic" here? Al Gore proposed better international policing as a more appropriate & effective front prong to combat terrorism - it's not like half of us didn't try to elect him to handle it, being "progressive realists" under our own definition. (He was known as a pioneer for global warming, tackling problems with welfare as we knew it, expanding the Internet, et al., though undoubtedly some of his early solutions would look foolish looking back 20 years later, just like attempts to provide universal healthcare in 1994 weren't the pretties by today's standards - nor those from 10 years ago either).

    Note that Obama & *allies* that supposedly shifted to "unabashed" regime change which "entailed a cynical exploitation of international governance and a disingenuous invocation of international law" was done to do what, remove a true democrat, champion of the people, beacon of hope for pan-Arabism? Hardly - it was a military dictator in power since 1969 who was known for petty terrorist acts abroad and torturing his people at home, as humorously portrayed in Sacha Cohen's "The Dictator", not that murder should be funny (but the movie is). That Qaddafi tried to reform himself after 9/11 should be appreciated, but during the Arab Spring, people across the region were looking for a new direction and to right past wrongs. That the US should assist where possible in such a confused movement upending the status quo is *expected*, even though horridly complex and fraught with failure. We still admire France for assisting the colonists in the Revolution (even though it was self-serviing to their power structure at the time - but France soon adopted many of the same ideals). Idealism made real. Ignoring Rwanda still hits Hillary as a key moral failure and a major foreign policy mistake to inform later policy, even though we broke no international laws in avoiding it. Helping Poles in Solidarnost failed, but was a helpful failure that started to nudge the country and region towards freedom a decade later. Actions in Yugoslavia - diplomatic and military - helped ease the disintegration but imperfectly. Yet Soros' and some American assistance across East Europe helped them catch up from 40 years of a bleak Communist economy and legal system, as did the subsequent joining of the EU - certainly military measures are not the only way, but protecting the rest of Ukraine from Russian-supported troops in Donbas *did* ease that crisis (and didn't cause a World War, thank you very much), whether Putin's feelings were hurt or not. Obama taking out ISIS with a 5-nation mission was excruciating, but helped remove a horrid movement/ad hoc regime that he and Bush both had been blamed for allowing. Yet fixing your own mistakes doesn't buy so much praise from some - even though it's an important part of "realism".

    Did the NATO allies (not just US) overstep their UN mandate in Libya? a bit. But arguably not that much. And for not bad reasons. The background is it's hard to get some of the member states (Russia and China especially) to support any actions at all, and when they do, it's a halfway point to effective resolution. In Kosovo, Yeltsin dropped his troops into Prishtina to take the airport ahead of the allies - fortunately only a bit of posturing and buffoonery to make a show, rather than a serious disruption of peacekeeping efforts. With Putin, it's been much worse - including chemical weapons and attacks and the famed shootdown of the Malaysian airliner, despite the continued propaganda of Russia-aligned leftist rags, not to mention disrupted cyberwar that Russia launched into long before 2016, interfering in elections around the world.

    [analysis of stages of intervention and potential violations - somehow the authors don't see *all* as overstep:
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0603/38ae8f77d09f834eae20f90599020bbc09... ]

    Wright waxes on about good intentions being "disciplined, subordinated to the imperative of building a true global community", but he ignores the flaws and evils and difficulties of that true global community. This is no cakewalk. Obsession over every failure, gleaning over every success, is a non-serious approach to creating a new framework to interact with an increasingly fast-paced interconnected world. It is also realistic to say the US has frequently been the leader in many positive movements, developments, & historical moments, including our leadership in WWII and the almost-lost Korean War, and like it or not, Reagan's leadership in standing up to Russia in Europe. But also our leadership in finance, when we drive the recovery, however flawed, from the 2008 crash. In tech, leadership in practical new approaches aka business models such as Uber and AirBNB and Facebook/Google marketing, or work models like Agile programming and Slack and Zoom, or confronting our social ills like racism publicly and working them out for all to see. We make mistakes, we break things, we build things, we're often full of shit, but we often - not always - put in the work to turn that shit into shinola.

    Even now, with our 4 year brainfart culminating in the riot at the Capitol, we get to see and show another common American phenomenon - how we somehow pull together to right the ship, start punishing those who need punishing, remove those who need removing, agreeing on new standards and solutions, but without the mass detentions and executions in football stadiums that scarred Latin America's 70's, the censorship that's tainted China's management of Hong Kong, the assassinations and baseless jailings that have become a signature of Russia's handling of dissidents. (Ignoring our poor showing at Gitmo, and our embracing of torture methods and juvenile but punishing harassment of detainees at its worst.)

    The best thing about recent events is Democrats and some Republicans even is we didn't panic - we organized, we used the laws effectively, we came prepared, we communicated. From a splntered chaotic Democratic field a year ago at the start of a pandemic, we circled around an effective if not completely charismatic figure that seemed the best to carry us forward, and we persisted through setbacks, including organizing to win the Senate in a final tense 2-seat runoff in a typically racist and backwards-feeling southern state. Maturely pushing back against the immature ravings that took the Capitol - a symbolic folly more than an effective attack on US democracy. Going into Trump's 2nd Impeachment today - as much to show it still matters, whether he's almost out the door, as any actual effect.

    There's more than enough Progressive Realism around - even from those like Biden who aren't *that* progressive, but are realistic enough to manage and ally themselves with those who are, similar to the coordination and cooperation of Pelosi and The Squad, even without "the numbers". I keep repeating, wars are way way down from past decades and from WWII era. Poverty has been largely constrained and decreased through economic growth and better distribution. Medicine has made some pretty impressive jumps lately. Tools to combat global warming are coming around. Social advances like better support for women in work and politics is coming about. It's unrealistic to think all this will happen in a moment. But it's visible, and tangible. Realistically, there's a lot to be done to improve our lot. Some idealism is needed, especially to identify goals, reachable or not, and then a lot of practical effort to make it happen, with the inevitable resistance and the mistakes that come with doing difficult things. We can live with that. We can grow with it too.

    Comments


    After your bloopus maximus there can be no doubt that you will invent a reason to apply anything to anything and pretend you have made a legitimate point. In this case a reporter for the Murdock owned Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, posted a push tweet to an article on the WSJ by two other reporters who work for the Rupert Murdock owned WSJ. The WSL headline says:

     SolarWinds Hack Leaves Market-Sensitive Labor Data Intact, Scalia Says

    Public can be confident in information from department’s statistical arm, labor secretary says

    [Don't worry, there is more innuendo to come.] The totally useless tweet by Volz says that the Trump appointed Secretary of labor Eugene Scalia, son of Anthony, and prominently known in his former job as a corporate lawyer who had a record of arguing against worker's rights, says everything is okay at his roost after the Solar Winds hack which, he says, is a"serious episode" but no data was "lost or corrupted."  What can anybody learn from this which would have anything to do with Robert Wright’s definition of Progressive Realism and why he thinks it would be a better political philosophy of international relations? And, regarding whatever subject the tweet does apply to, why should anyone expect the other people mentioned, who work at the place mentioned, for the owner mentioned, to give them information they could have confidence in? I don’t subscribe to the WSJ and could only get the Headline and first few paragraphs so I did not read it all. Did you read it or only the tweet and does it actually offer anything remotely on point?


    Unlike you, i sometimes post things that aren't dour going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket prognostications. I mentioned SolarWinds in this piece, and needed a place to drop this tweet, nothing more. It's important I'd the Russians *didn't* disruot data with their hacks.

    But I guess you have nothing to say about my comments re your Progressive Realism article. Totally lame - you only like posting stuff w/o critique. "Stand back and admire in awe". Whatever, at least it got me to write something lengthy instead of just analyzing tweets as they say.


    I first posted the article “What is Progressive Realism” at “In the News”  

    You commented and here, for the record, is the entirety of your original response there and my response to yours . 

    Perpetrators of Syrian deaths https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Syrian_Civil_War

    Reply  by PeraclesPlease on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 12:52pm

      a) Which part of defending civilians in Benghazi do you agree with, and which was over the line, and b) does going over the line invalidate the need to protect civilians from a stated massacre?

      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0603/38ae8f77d09f834eae20f90599020bbc09...

      c) Putin spent a decade pushing the rights of Ukraine's minority Russian-speaking population over that of the majority, including setting up his corrupt puppet as President, poisoning an opposition leader, and holding the country hostage to gas payments and cutoffs in winter. At what point is self-determination a right, and not just an irritation to your traditional imperialist colonizer?

      d) Manafort ran a slime campaign against Timoshenko that helped with her imprisonment, as immoral as his work for Trump. Do you approve, or how should this info inform the story of Ukraine? (The authors ignore her claims that last minute electoral changes set up the 2010 for mass cheating, and she never accepted the results - did you know that?)

      e) does it matter that Assad killed all those people in Syria thanks to our diplomatic pressure, it is it all out own blood on hands, even after Obama?

      f) how many years does Russia get to determine Ukraine's politics (100 post-Wall?) or is this a permanent situation by being a neighbor of a "big country"? Does the US get to claim such rights too, or are its actions in Nicaragua and Venezuela and Cuba under a different code?

      Reply  by PeraclesPlease on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 5:22pm

        But the article was essentially about describing the differences between schools of thought while obviously giving evidence the author thought supported a different school than has predominated and was making a case for trying something different.  You seem offended that such thought could be suggested, much less promoted, at dagblog. That is real fucked up.  by A Guy Called LULU on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 12:05am   End of original back and forth.

        Then you understandably separated yourself from that response which quickly scrolled away and started this new blog on the subject where you try to make some sense.  

        Each segment of your original response is a loaded accusatory rhetorical question and none are directly responsive to the article I posted by Robert Wright and so I ignored them and later when you complained in a comment on another unrelated subject that I had not responded to your comment I told you why I had ignored what you had said. The last two questions you ask there do not even make any sense. 

        Moving on to this blog by you where you make some dumb mistakes while claiming to undumb Wright’s piece. 

        Robert Wright in the 2nd paragraph makes "realist" a synonym for Kissinger's cynical "realpolitik", thus loading any "realist" with the baggage of Kissinger's policies in Vietnam, turning a blind eye to disaster in Indonesia, et al. A rather tawdry piece of smear and false equivalency.

        Here is the paragraph you refer to starting with his quote of McFaul.

        “In the debate about the future Biden foreign policy I’m seeing people self-identify as ‘progressive realists’,” he [McFaul] tweeted.  This term bothered McFaul. After all, in foreign policy circles, “realism” has long signified a strict focus on national interest, with little regard for the welfare of people abroad. The famously pitiless Henry Kissinger called himself a realist. Maybe McFaul had Kissinger in mind when he lamented the “deaths and horrific repression” that past realists had countenanced and then asked plaintively, “Where are the progressive idealists?

        Wright is clearly making the distinction between “Realist”, “Progressive Realist”, and “Progressive Idealist”. You make the same mistake about Wright that AA, as I recall, did twice about me when she said that a view I had put forth marked me as a Realist and therefore I was aligning myself with Kissinger. Wrong! Wright too makes it very clear that he is not the kind of realist that Kissinger is. There is no sign that Kissinger has a scruples, or a conscience, or for that matter that the undead prick even has a heartbeat. 

        A few lines down you say:

        If this is Wright's "evidence" in "supporting a different school" (i.e. his version of "realists" before he trashes modern "progressive idealists", especially Biden appointees), he's off to a bad start. Note, the whole of McFaul's tweet: 

         Wright describes himself as a Progressive Realist.  It is those that McFaul wishes for and describes as “Progressive Idealists” as well as the traditional realists like Kissinger that Wright distinguishes himself and his political philosophy from. He goes on to criticize what he calls the progressive idealists, and explains why he gives them that moniker as exemplars of a foreign policy which he would like to see changed.  It is McFaul who synonymizes realists as a whole, " ["Realism is an ideology that produced millions of deaths & horrific repression over the centuries." ] as opposed to progressive realists, as the ones responsible for so much death and destruction. It is McFaul who equates realists with Kissinger's despicable baggage.

        Wright: “Speaking as a progressive realist, let me first say that the answer to that question [The question being; where are the progressive idealists?] is easy. “Progressive idealists” are everywhere! 

        If by that term you mean left-of-center people who wax idealistic about America’s global mission—who think our foreign policy should emphasize spreading democracy and defending human rights abroad—then “progressive idealists” pervade liberal foreign policy circles and will be running the show in a Biden administration. Tony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s picks for secretary of state and national security adviser, are progressive idealists.” 

        You say

        It's obvious by paragraph #6 that the real target of this is to bash the choices of Blinken and Sullivan (and Obama in general) as blinkered idealists with blood on their hands.

        Well, they do have blood on their hands, it comes with the territory, but the amount certainly varies with various policies. Here is Wright's longer analysis and grading of Blinken. Readers can decide if Wright unfairly ‘bashes’ him or if he gives a reasonable and fair account of his working history and what can be expected of him going forward when he gives him a grade of C minus. As a bonus, here is a link to his grading of William Burns, Biden's appointee for head of the CIA. He gets an A minus which is some indication that Wright is not out just to bash Biden’s picks but is actually attempting to make reasonable and informed arguments.  

         

         

         

         


        1) i did not "understandably separate myself" from my prior comments/questions - i waited for you to answer them, as relevant followups to issues that came out of the article. I'm not "offended" at a new school of thought, but an old appeasement school barely pretending to be "new" merits response. Somehow you didn't find any of my first questions worthy of addressing. They are not "loaded" - they are valid questions when for example Wright asserts the US shouldn't act like a "big country", but Russia can understandably keep manipulating it's ex-Soviet possessions. Given your interest in Latin America even moreso.

        2) the blood-on-hands sets the tone for Wright - "all these flawed people left masses of blood - I'm here to do it moral/clean". I grew up in a place where calling your opponents pig fuckers was obligatory, so I recognize the device. In this particular case, referring to Kissinger's "realpolitik" AND progressive idealists' blinkered bloody aporoach. A lot of lead up and boilerplate just to attack 2 nominees (Blinken and Sullivan) under the pretense of a "framework" (new! Improved! progressive realism!) that glosses over so much contradictory and lacking.

        (McFaul seems to be proposing idealism-informed policy like RFK's "i look at things and think what could be" ambition, rather than accepting that France and Germany will always be fighting over Alsace-Lorraine, and Kings & Dynasties are the rightful order of things. The "centuries" that Wright omits certainly alters the sense if such a short tweet.)

        3) But again instead of answering, you point me to another article to see how bad Blinken is. But my objections aren't just about whether Blinken's worthy - they're about the meat and contentions of the whole article, this framework itself - Humility and whatnot. While Hillary is scarred by Bill's inaction in Rwanda, I'm scarred as much by the death of 5 million in the Congo in a war that took place just 20 years ago that most people have never heard of even as they were getting their internet on. (Plus i live in the European Union where we have peaceful multilateral cooperation plus self-interest that Wright suggests isn't possible in a "realist" world). Yet here's a framework that doesn't address either, nor China's new! improved! heinous awful treatment of Uyghurs or even its own people in Hong Kong. So what *does* this framework give us? And why should I care about Wright's grades of people if his framework searches for the keys under the streetlamp rather than where they were lost? (while *the future* and our changing challenges doesn't get much air time here)


        Wright proves himself an asshole with his review/"grading" of Blinken, saying things like "implies" to put words/meaning in his mouth (eliding over Blinken's criticism of mistakes in Iraq to "imply" Blinken must be supporting any he didn't mention), and assessing him on *Biden's* vote on the Iraq War (an advisor doesn't control his boss's vote, Biden had proposed a more restrictive war resolution, the war didn't start until 5 months later *AFTER* approval had gone to the UN Security Council, and Hussein resisted inspections, and finally with enough multilateral threats Hussein started cooperating in earnest 3 months later). As always, the left ignores that even the chief weapons expert Hans Blix was convinced *UNTIL JAN 2003* that Hussein was hiding WMD production (not nukes), and it was only cooperation in the last 2 months that convinced him otherwise - so what was Biden to think Oct 2002 without UN inspector boots on the ground? Much of what Wright cites as "proof" of his grading Biden are comments made by Bernie & his campaign manager *in the middle of an election campaign*, when evaluations are bound to be slanted to draw the most blood, rather than a fair & balanced assessment.
        Here's Blinken's longer piece for the Brookings Institute - try to find the part that makes Blinken a wanton "interventionist" unworthy of being in the new administration, vs. someone who sees the US needing to take part in global events in various ways with limits on its power & designs. Wright tars Blinken for saying "Kim Jong-un 'at best acts impulsively, and maybe even irrationally'" - as

        “a disappointingly shallow understanding of North Korea.” The casual attribution of irrationality to foreign leaders often generates popular fear that can lead to war, and it often raises the question that Blinken’s version of it raises here: If the leader in question is so irrational, how has he managed to stay in power...

        Of course Kim Jong-un might stay in power by feeding his nephew to dogs and having people assassinate another relative with poison in the Phillipines, along with other gross domestic acts of terror and perverse control (having bikes ride through rice paddies with signs to promote particular policies) that us in the 21st Century might think of as a bit bizarre, and maybe a tad "impulsive" or "irrational"?
        When it comes to "cognitive empathy", it's largely the left thinking how much we should suck Putin's dick - yes, Blinken gets points from Wright for appreciating Putin can feel threatened (stroke stroke), but loses points for not swallowing in full the Russian's point of view - that NATO should jump into the Atlantic/give up and go back to America, and every time the left calls attention to any pro-active US measures as "risking war", often of the nuclear type, end of humanity & life as we know it, and other typical scares: "The casual attribution of irrationality to foreign leaders often generates popular fear that can lead to war" - here toned down a bit, but did Putin worry about the war that supplying Russian-speakers in Donbas and stealing both Crimea and the Azov Sea or bombing Syrian civilians and using chemical weapons might cause? oh yeah, all accusations against Russia are defacto "vicious rumors" and debuked by Consortium & VIPS "experts".
        Lulu notes Wright's grade for Burns to show he's fair & not an overly hard grader, but Burns wins points for thinking NATO shouldn't cover Europe's ex-Iron Curtain states (how ya gonna keep the Russian troops on the farm once they've invaded gay East Berlin/Warsaw/Prague/Budapest?), and that China's taking over the South China Sea "djudicatory mechanisms outlined in the Law of the Sea Convention" - China must love the fuck out of that, because it keeps building new islands and new warships and intimidating its SE Asian neighbors while taking advantage of talk-talk-talk, just like talk has done nothing to stop China's imprisoning and putting forced labor on its Muslim citizens. So a do-nothing foreign policy gets an A-, a thoughtful balanced and comprehensive approach to global policy gets a C-. Not hard to see what's going on.
        Does Wright even *have* a grade for Putin? Or is it just an automatic Gold Star?

         


        Ok, but did you see this? Just askin' to make sure

        Secretary of State Pompeo Leaves No Bridges Unburned

        On the way out the door, the Trump administration is trying its utmost to make things difficult for Joe Biden.

        By The Editorial Board @ NYTimes.com,  Jan. 14, 2021


        No, hadn't. Lock em all up. All this posturing as "patriots" and they spend all their energy fucking with the country and it's clgivernment, sabotaging like Putin could only dream. And the "Progressive Realist" didn't even address that US foreign policy has been a whipsaw of countervailing GOP & Dem urges, to play roughshod and hardball in one hand, clean things up and be humanitarian on the other,  And now it's criminal extortion and mutual conspiracies and burn it all down spitefulness. Maybe they can remove Pompeo's security clearance after this, but there's so much a clusterfuck, every recourse seems pathetic and ineffective.


        yet another asshole move


         

         


        A few weeks ago you were posting the smarmy Saagar bashing on Aaron Rupar for wondering why Ro Khanna was going on Laura Ingraham to validate her nuttery. Now she's posting that the Capitol riots were caused by BLM/antifa infiltrators, and that voluntary Covid measures work as well as mandatory distancing. You want us to watch another bullshit program? From which you'll refuse to answer questions? Too fucking weird.

        https://mobile.twitter.com/IngrahamAngle/with_replies


        I don't care what you watch. I didn't link to Ingraham, you did. Ropar praised Obama and several other ranking Democrats for having the sense and courage to go on Fox. He only made a partisan stink about Ro Khanna, who did not validate Ingraham's nuttery when, as a Democrat that didn't totally follow the DNC Party line he went there and made his case.  But, you didn't watch the Rising video and regardless you know that it is bullshit? Too fucking weird.  But hey, rave on. Revel in your ignorance. 

        I know that CNN’s Anderson Cooper described John Sullivan as a “left-wing activist” which he is not. He is an anarchist instigator. The Washington Post, described him as a “liberal activist”. Politifact referred to him as a “left-wing activist.” Fox News dedicated an entire article to Sullivan’s presence at the Capitol, describing him as an “anti-Trump activist” with close ties to Antifa and BLM. Trump legal counsel and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani took to Twitter to highlight Sullivan’s role in the riot, calling him a “suspected BLM activist.” In case you might be wondering what case was actually made which you confidently smeared , my link to Rising showed the NYT putting out bullshit then trying to downplay their mistake which is pissing off NPR affiliates, but you slam it without even knowing what the evidence is. Brilliant! There are some news and commentary sites that do a better job than others. 

         

         

         


        Why the fuck would I watch anything you post when you don't respond to any questions?
        But yeah, I watched "Rising", and had a "who cares?" feeling because I stopped paying attention to ISIS after the US-led offensive drove them out of Mosul in 2017, before The Caliphate aired. Sure, sometimes NYT gets things badly wrong. Though Ingraham gets them wrong consistently (and Saagar was praising Ro Khanna going on her show for some reason, while Rupar was saying he didn't know if it was good or bad, but that it might be bad - and I was just showing the kind of craziness she's up to. Note, she's not just saying Sullivan is BLM - she's saying the whole riot was BLM/Antifa. Huge difference.).
        But why do you think we should give Putin a green light in Donbas and Syria and Libya and Montenegro and even Venezuela, and then the US shouldn't do whatever in Libya and Yemen and what not? As just one of many contradictions you seem to have, along with Wright ("Cognitive Empathy" is fine for Putin & Xi, not for the US? Why in particular?)


        Crippling US sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act are decimating war-ravaged Syrian civilians, are illegal, and should be lifted, the UN Special Rapporteur on sanctions says.


        I'm glad Grayzone, Aaron Maté and the woman from Belarus have time to focus on ending sanctions for Russian allies (see other recent articles on Alena Dlouhán). Hey, wasn't it June 2016 that the Russians met with the Trump campaign in Trump Tower to see about ending sanctions? 5 year anniversary coming up. Guess that Trump presidency wasn't as useful as Vlad hoped, but still, a lot of milestones.


        Historical Aaron Maté takedowns. But hey, he might be right this time, no?
        Why's it so hard to source someone with some credibility (unless it's dodgy info/opinions that needs certifying?)
        What would Sputnik say...
        @emptywheel aaron mate - Twitter Search / Twitter


        Your  total acceptance of all-things-Marcy and total dismissal of Mate’ is ridiculous. He is far from being a hack as you have asserted.  Wheeler made many conclusions based on unverified allegations. Mate’ said so and as time went on she got cranky about it. The Meuller Report that she was so confident would verify everything she had supposed and convinced herself of would verify everything she had come to believe turned out not to do so. Mate’ said so, they went  back and forth about it, and she has been bitter towards him ever since.  Neither Wheeler or Mate’ are perfect but Mate’ plays much closer to the traditional journalistic standard of being sceptical of assertions which are not proven, especially ones that fit a propagandistic narrative spread by entities known to dissemble and lie in order to manufacture consent for otherwise unsupportable policies.  He has been more accurate than Wheeler by far on the subjects they disagreed on. 

         By the way, did we ever find out who Marcy Wheeler turned in to the FBI and if so did we learn that outing that source was justified? That is not a rhetorical question. I looked for a while and did not find an answer.  

        An  example from 2017 of their interaction before the Meuller Report was released. 

         

         

         

         

         

         

         


        Another from 2018:

         

         

         


        Not sure exactly what you expected me to take away from the GPS Fusion interview, or your opinions on Marcy's thoughts there. I don't think Mate's observation that Papadopoulos didn't get a job with the Trump campaign & administration deserves excessive significance - Roger Stone worked on the outside, as did Manafort after a short bit, as did Flynn, and a number of *IMPORTANT* hangers-on. Those that didn't get hired didn't exactly go away either. And what's this story of Putin being in Athens at the same time as the PM and Papadopoulos - do we know if or if not some arrangement & discussion related to the campaign & Russian business?
        Anyway, a lot of these details came out in the Mueller Report, various 302s & other FOIA'd info.


        Playing the useful idiot, are we? Marcy turned in someone DM'ing her and bragging, not a *source*. Glenn fucking Greenwald could never get this distinction right either.

        Did you see Buzzfeed's recent dump of Flynn 302's with all his lies to Mueller's team? Yet you keep repeating Marcy's full of shit and Maté more balanced (posting a 3-year-old video, LoLZ) while ignoring info that ls come out since bolstering the case even more (what *was* Team Trump doing meeting the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016? Is there really any question about that (Magnitsky/Ukraine Sanctions), despite the transparent lies over it? Why did Trump campaign head Manafort give Kilimnik polling info on PA/MI/WI/MN in Aug 2016? Another mirage? Why was Roger Stone talking with and meeting Julian Assange in the months around the DNC hack and the Wikileaks drip drip drip email drops?  Why did Flynn lie about calling Kislyak from his hotel in the Dominican Republic (on a non-secure phone - great move for an NSA) and then lie about calling Trump to discuss?

        Note that Marcy insisted for quite some time that much of the Steele Report was deflecting and/or confusing *disinformation*, not accurate intel.

        But you'll contend Maté had it all much better cuz

        traditional journalistic standard of being sceptical of assertions which are not proven, especially ones that fit a propagandistic narrative spread by entities known to dissemble and lie in order to manufacture consent for otherwise unsupportable policies.

        Beautiful, Lulu the Noam Chomsky freedom fighter comes out. So hacking the Democratic election strategy and leaking other hacked emails to *manufacture dissent* is better than consent over your disapproved policies? Was it ok for Fox and Wikileaks/Assange to publicly lie over and over about Seth Rich's death to influence one election, and then embargo the huge legal settlement until after the *next* election to support their preferred candidate? That's your kind of journalism?

         


        Playing the useful idiot, are we? Marcy turned in someone DM'ing her and bragging, not a *source*. 

        There is no particular reason I would suggest listening to this link titled, "Marcy Wheeler On Reporting Her Source To The FBI" in its entirety, but just the first one minute of it will show the interviewer use the word "source" to refer to the person Marcy turned in four or five times. No correction, she just responds. Later she uses the word 'source' herself to refer to her  'source'. 

        Playing the useful idiot, are we?    What do you mean 'we', Kemosabe?


        Here's here original detailed reveal in mid-2018. I'll find the later clarification (where the difference between a "source" i believe came out)

        https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/07/03/putting-a-face-mine-to-the-risks-p...

        Ah, here's next part:

        https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/10/26/part-of-what-i-shared-with-the-fbi/


        So far, three links under discussion. First your from 2018 in which the only pertinent thing I see is the line: " I had concrete evidence he was lying to me and others, including but not limited to other journalists:. That sure sounds to me like he was a source to more journalists than just Marcy.  Next came mine from June, 2019 in which everybody was happy calling the perp the "source". Then your second which is from October 2020. I read about half and skimmed the rest and did not see anything that supports your claim. Obviously you can paste your evidence if I just missed it.  


        Marcy never agrees to the term "source" in her interview - she simply tells her version of things, and she says "journalistic relationship" in discussing Phil. Someone popping in and giving dodgy psychotic lying info is not specifically a journalistic "source", even though there may be some ethical approaches on how to treat such a person - even if you feel your life is in danger, as Dr. Wheeler apparently felt. How to treat info from said person is a minefield. (If they're actively deceiving you for their own unknown, quite likely illegal purpose involving foreign intelligence services and campaign crimes, what exactly is the journalistic obligation?)

        In whatever case, theres enough detail to know that she didn't just unthinkingly toss a source overboard (unlike how The Intercept screwed Reality Winner, an actual vulnerable and naively honest source). 

        Here's some of the craziness about Glenn's double standards that likely inform your interest in this case:

        https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/10/18/steve-bannon-guccifer-2-0-glenn-gr...

        And this is where the published  evidence lay in knowing Russia was behind the hacks *over 4 years ago*, even before Comey, then Mueller investigated and Barr shut it down, long before Maté was explaining away why *the top leadership of the Trump campaign would all gather in a conference room in Trump Tower on the off chance that a Russian lawyer who came to talk about abortions actually had some dirt/oppo research on Hillary*, 2 weeks after Trump won the nomination and prepared for the generals.

        https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/10/evidence-prove-russian-hack/


        Marcy never agrees to the term "source" in her interview - she simply tells her version of things, and she says "journalistic relationship" in discussing Phil. Phil is not the one Marcy agrees is her source that she felt obligated to report on to the FBI. 

        Marcy Wheeler is a lawyer as well as a journalist. When speaking of legal issues she uses precise language as is necessary and proper in legal discourse. As you pointed out, every time Mate’ said “collusion” she instantly corrected him. When Kulinski referred multiple times to the alleged perp as a “source” she did not in any way indicate that the alleged perp was not a source or that their relationship was somehow different than that of him being a source. She never corrected that description of her and his relationship but in fact used it herself in the same friendly interview. 

        I'm fine with having intelligent discourse, even if I disagree. [PP on 1-19-21 to Aaron Carine]]

        That is an ironic and rather humorous claim in this very comment thread where, among many other examples of contrary evidence, one of your unfounded assertions quickly devolves to the point of calling Robert Wright an “asshole” because he accurately describes Blinken”s professional history and suggests that his history gives an indication of what we can expect of him going forward and you call me a “useful idiot, a derisive, politically loaded  McCarthyism slur, for pointing out an obvious incorrect statement by you in your defense of all-things Marcy that you cannot bring yourself to admit was a mistake, at best.  How, in describing where on the political spectrum a person lies, would terms like “leftist ,“right wing”, “left wing”, “centrist”, “nationalist”, etc, etc, etc, ever have credence or any use intelligent discourse if not because their history had made the terms applicable? 


        So rather than fucking around with whether Marcy agreed to "source" by not denying it, whatever "source" vs "journalistic relationship" changes

        1) did you read the 2 fucking Emptywheel articles?

        2) did you more or less understand her concerns about "Phil" and why she notified the FBI? If not, why not? Where's her ethical breach to someone she didn't promise specific confidentiality to as a source relationship would?

        You posted 2 Aaron Maté interviews of Marcy. 

        3) what of any significance did you agree or disagree with what she said?

        4) why in particular do you think Maté made a better argument?

        5) why do you think Maté's view of Russiagate as nothing special holds up after 3 1/2 years of Mueller reports, Senate Intelligence and Jason Leopold FOIA dumps (plus seeing Barr misleadingly spin results in public, and Flynn + Stone's antics at trial, and Manafort's reneging at trial, Butina's conviction, and Trump's behavior with Ukrainian President, GA secretary of state, and pushing backers to riot last week)?

        Try answering those for a switch to "intelligent discourse"


        As for Marcy, she's pretty consistently clear and understandable


        Still no answers, eh?

        Meanwhile, "Russiagate" lives on, a real thing.

        At some point witness testimony has to count for something, no? Even to Aaron Maté.


        Lulu, what do you think Marcy said in her interview with Aaron Mate,
        and why do you think the 2 volume Mueller Report didn't show anything?
        Are you aware of Mueller's teams, and what Barr shut down after Trump
        fired Whitaker (the temp head of DoJ)?
        Getting Mate to not say "collusion" (a legally meaningless word) was quite a battle.
        Here's a team description:
        Mueller Frees Up the Troll Team | emptywheel
        Why do you seem to believe Barr & his version, even after discovered how
        badly he tried to spin the Mueller Reports before forced to release them?
        Doesn't that imply some kind of conspiracy in itself?
        Have any documents that Jason Leopold freed up through FOIA in the 3 1/2
        years since this interview had any effect on your thinking about the cases?
        How about the convictions and plea agreements (and subsequent self-serving pardons?)

        3 1/2 years later, when we've gotten witnesses of Trump extorting the head of Ukraine to find (invent) dirt on Biden, and an hour Trump call with the Georgia secretary of state asking them to make up votes for Trump, and you're still going with Maté's contention that Trump was just trying to listen to a Russian offer, rather than chasing down dirt such as what Stone, Manafort and Assange helped with?


        While I was amazed there's a permanent rapporteur to argue against all sanctions under Unilateral Coercive Measures the previous one Idriss Jazairi seemed to provide a more diverse diagnosis of the situations while appreciating these unilateral sanctions were there usually for some kind of justified reason, even if effects had to adhere to some international laws and norms:

        https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=A%2FHRC%2F39%2F54&Language=E&...

        The current Rapporteur seems to focus a lot on shutting down Magnitsky Act sanctions and intimations that all sanctions are harmful and wrong, largely unsurprising from a Belarusian with presumed loyalties, though to be fair, Covid pandemic ups the negative effects of any sanctions regimen, especially on civilians.

        https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=A%2FHRC%2F45%2F7&Language=E&D...

         


         The current Rapporteur seems to focus a lot on shutting down Magnitsky Act sanctions and intimations that all sanctions are harmful and wrong, largely unsurprising from a Belarusian with presumed loyalties, ... ...

          Regardless of what you think she intimates about “all sanctions”, her report is about one set of sanctions which are killing people for no good purpose that I can see and which are against international law and U.S. law based on the Constitution which says that  treaties entered into by the U.S. become the law of the land. Just above you provide a link where the Belarusian people are admired for their peaceful protest among other qualities apparently inherent in them but you intimate that there is something wrong with the Belarusian U.N. Special Rapporteur’s “presumed loyalties”.  My presumption is that she is reporting factually on the subject she was appointed to report on. If she does have a bias against starving people and depriving them of medicine, I do not hold that against her. 

          though to be fair, Covid pandemic ups the negative effects of any sanctions regimen, especially on civilians.

        Yeah, no shit, good of you to mention that it is good to be fair, maybe even to be fair beyond in comments, maybe to actually be actionably fair to a destitute population caught up in a geo-political shit storm worsened by a pandemic on top of the malnutrition and other deadly diseases caused by that shit storm. Negative effects is a pretty vanilla description of the shit falling on millions of people in Yemen.   


        So let Assad & Putin treat a population like shit for decades, but the only thing that matters to you is owning the US. Chemical attacks? Must be false flag. Tell me how the US was responsible for Trump's father. The use of weapons is ok when Russians are supplying separatists in Donbas with them or using against civilian infrastructure in Syria, - but no good when used against Houthas in Yemen cuz that's Americas fault. Never a debate about *why* Magnitsky Sanctions exist. Fine for Russia to rip off a piece of Georgia here, Crimea there... But unfair for the US to push back. The letter of international law is critical for America to follow... but not so much for Russia to adhere to, boys being boys...


        PS - I assume the Rapporteur from Belarus got her position as sponsored by Security Council member Russia (that's how UN appointments work, right?) to push back endlessly against any sanctions that hurt Russia or ally. The protesters have been trying to get Lukashenko out for 6 months for stealing the election. Putin's been backing him the whole time. I don't know why you "presume" Russian backed office holders are always "reporting factually", since Russia was trying to influence our elections over sanctions and other bitterness 5 years ago. For some reason you never seem to consider Russia's biases in Ukraine, Belarus, the UN, Syria, LIbya, Venezuela... 

        Here's those  Russian hacker spy groups at work again - you could be British for all your crickets, eh? What do you presume about *their* intentions? And what do you think of Assange continually lying about Seth Rich's death now that Fox had to pay out bigly for the lie being completely without basis? Assange assured us it was True. Instead, both he and Fox were covering for Russia - why's that?


         It seems to me that things in Libya are much worse than they were under Qadaffi. I doubt our reasons for overstepping were good ones. Sidney Blumenthal sent an e-mail to Hilary Clinton listing France's reasons for intervening in Libya. They weren't humanitarian; they were old fashioned realpolitik ones. I doubt the other participants were more idealistic than the French.

         If by inaction we mean staying out of wars I think that is a good way to avoid mistakes. With the possible exception of the war with ISIS(which I didn't support) every American war after World War II was a catastrophe.


        How was the Korean War or Gulf War I a "catastrophe"? How about the overflights of Iraq during the 90's? The aerial campaign in Kosovo? Arming the Mujahedin in Afghanistan largely let us defeat the Soviet military without a shot, freeing a half billion people. 

        And is our answer to the Arab Spring "screw you, you people need strongmen to control you, so we're not going to lift a finger or get involved"? That's what Wright suggests - let the Assad's and Putin's and Qaddafis have their way. I know Libya is a mess, but is that our only takeaway?

        And why were you against taking in ISIS? Leaving ISIS in control is equivalent to leaving Libya as it is or worse - yet you (we) think we made a mistake in Libya leaving it in such chaos.


          Well, the Korean War cost at least 2 million lives, a lot of them civilians. A heavy price to pay for keeping South Korea from going Communist. Also, they could have ended the war in 1950, after repelling the commie invasion. Instead, they invaded North Korea and caused it to drag on for over two and a half more years.

         We could have accepted Saddam's offer to withdraw from Kuwait, but Mr. Bush really wanted war.https://www.scribd.com/document/38969813/MIDDLE-EAST-CRISIS-Secret-Offer...

          In Kosovo we made the ethnic cleansing worse, killed civilians, opened the door to the revenge killings of a thousand Serbs(which Nato forces permitted) and violated international law. Imho, not a triumph.

         I'm unhappy with the war with ISIS cuz it cost a lot of lives, many of them civilians(I doubt ISIS itself would have killed so many if there had been no war),and I doubt it makes any moral difference whether Syria is ruled by ISIS or Assad. But I'm not absolutely certain about it; the cost of an ISIS victory also would have been high.

        I don't know if it was worth keeping Qaddafi from having his way when things are worse for Libya now. The intervention was also of doubtful legality(the United Nations may have violated its own charter).


        Awful of us to not accept invading armies' conditions, especially when they're already defeated. You could blame the Soviet Union for not freeing its temporary wards in Asia and East Europe, or the Chinese for jumping into the war after the UN had recovered from near-catastrophe and was trying to reunify as per end-of-war resolutions. (Since Korea wasn't an active war participant, there was no good reason to split it with the Soviet Union in the first place, unlike Germany and Austria.)

        The Kuwait article says right up front that they don't know if this offer was for real, and that they considered it and other options.

        Whatever. Sometimes bad things happen trying to repel horrid people/hordes. Guess fighting back in WWII was even a Místek - Hitler wouldn't have been that bad to *most* of us. Ppl still survive in N. korea as well. "Let's not turn this rape into a murder" hardly sounds like a successful foreign policy strategy, but I'm already out of fucks for the day, so will leave it there.


        I could say some things, but if you're willing to leave it here; I will too.


        I'm fine with having intelligent discourse, even if I disagree. Still, the idea of leaving South Korea in North Korean-like deprivation for 70+ years seems a rather unsavory outcome to accept. At what point is mass death for some worth freedom for others who would be tortured and abused for decades otherwusllise? If never, it's an invitation for barbarism just beneath the level of what?

        PS - right now over 1 million Uyghurs are imprisoned and forced into prison factories, perhaps way more. What is the threshold  when military action is justified? Or as long as they're gainfully employed/getting 30 cents an hour and not beaten/crippled too bad, it's all cool?


         Remember that for much of those 70 years South Korea was also a dictatorship. I would say that there has to be many more people liberated than people killed for the war to be justified, because I think life counts for more than liberty. My--quite arbitrary--rule is that if the dead are soldiers there should be 21 times as many liberated as killed, if a lot of civilians are killed it should be 42 times as many. But, of course, everybody will have their own figure; it's not a mathematical problem with an "objective" solution. I think it also matters that they had already gotten them out of South Korea by Oct., 1950; and could have ended the war then.


        You seem to be the type of person who would be good at the trolley problem

         


        But you see God had the same problem - once ppl thought it unreal, just a simulation, they started not taking it seriously. So he had to up the pain level and realism in the atrocities. We just don't learn out lesson(s) otherwise.


        War was not ending by Oct 1950. They would just regroup and try again.


            I think they had been decisively beaten. I doubt they would have attacked again after it had been demonstrated that they weren't a match for the United Nations.


        You should read a book about the Korean War, come back and tell us what you learned, it's clear you know virtually nothing about it.


         Me or Peracles? What did I get wrong?


        You can play what-if with history, but assuming North Korea would have taken defeat (without surrendering) and left things as-is seems one of the least likely scenarios. Guess for a Chinese/Soviet-backed effort to push out the UN within the year anyway. (How were things going in East Europe Oct 1950? Vietnam? Indonesia? Tibet and Xinjiang? This wasn't done in a vacuum. The allies *did* misread China and intelligence means missed a huge troop buildup just a few miles from their positions - denoting much Chinese skill and limits to 1950 surveillance abilities. Oh, and then there's "what did South Korea want to do?" since they were part of the game (and rightful owner a of the peninsula, not Russia and China).

        https://www.quora.com/How-might-the-Korean-war-had-been-different-if-Mac...


        I don't think Kim was making a case for MacArthur's attempt to conquer North Korea. His alternative scenario is better than what actually happened(a much longer and bloodier war). I don't think North Korea would have had a higher living standard than South Korea; South Korean capitalism was a much more efficient system than communism.  Anyway, it looks like this is going to go on forever, so I'll give Peracles the last word.


        Pass. Happy Biden/Harris day

        4 hours. This is almost like Xmas.

        If Santa had armed insurrectionists as enemies.


        Elvis has left the bunker.

        https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5ffccaaec5b65671988835cf

        "We will be back in some form"

        Towering words from our former ShapeShifter-in-Chief

        Was this a response to Arnie, aka TerminatorNext?


        Inauguration reading & viewing guide

         (2 hour countdown)

        All Quiet on the Eastern Front

        Quietly Floats The Don

        For Whom the Bells Toll

        Mr and Dr Smith Go to Washington

        Huckleberry & Flynn

        One Flew Way Over the Cuckoo's Nest

        Bury My Party at Wounded Me

        A Confederacy of Dunce Confederates

        The Red Hats Discouraged

        The Gripes of Rats

        The Untalented Mr. Lindsey

        Far from the Enmaddened Crowd

        Idiotsynchrony

        Little House on the Prayer Ring

        Steal This Vote

        Gone with the Swindle

        Of Mice and Mental

        Brainspotting

        None Dare Call It Reason

        Foxy Clown

        A Hundred Years of Platitude

        Cry the Beleaguered Country

        Around the World in 80's Craze

        Retro Man

        It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (still)

        The Adderall's Family

        Downed by Law

        The Grifters (The Defector's Cut)

        Breakfast Epiphanies 


        Again, by what authority should the UN leave a temporary partition permanent, and leave a whole half a nation essentially imprisoned? Comparing the South Korean dictatorship with the north's is vastly unfair, and that dictatorship was removed what, 40 years ago? Meanwhile North Korea's dystopian situation continues with not much end in sight.

        The description of the war above the 38th is pretty intricately written compared to usual Wikipedia

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_offensive_into_North_Korea


         Even if I thought we had the right to conquer North Korea, and I doubt we did(didn't we think it was wrong for Kim Il Sung to try to unite the peninsula by force) doing it was a bad idea, since it caused the war to drag on for another 33 months of carnage, and we still didn't conquer North Korea.


        Hindsight. Kim Il Song *did* unite the peninsula by force, coming within a few square miles of pushing southern troops and the UN into the sea. Thinking after that scare and heavy work getting back to the 38th, the UN troops would just return to the status quo before the invasion, "let's just start over*"? Had they stayed away from the border with China, *maybe* it would have been over quicker. Carnage by Oct 1950 was already pretty huge (concerns about flattening cities were pretty minimal at that time). But still, look at the freaks who run North Korea still, and tell me that was acceptable as the status quo, even with the big chance they'd overrun the south soon? (you lament the southern dictatorship, but one big reason they had it was a military state was natural as a response to threats from the North. De-escalating over time allowed democracy to grow)


        The widely worshipped by the anti-communist right, and flagrant egotist General MacArthur invaded North Korea, not "they".

        He was such an untouchable hero that shortly after he was relieved by Truman in early 1951, and it was already abundantly clear his management of Korea was a fiasco due to the advance to the Chinese border, he was yet lauded by the public in the largest ticker tape parade in NYC history on April 20.

        Coincidentally, in the same edition reporting the enormous parade, was a NYT report based on the transcript of what MacArthur told Truman in late 1950 during the early days of the Korean War as US troops were rapidly and dangerously pushed up to the Chinese border due to orders from MacArthur.

        NYT Wayback Machine April 21, 1951, note the front page headline:

        Saturday, April 21, 1951

        MILLIONS GIVE RECORD WELCOME TO M'ARTHUR; TONS OF PAPER SHOWERED ON 19-MILE PARADE; FILES SHOW GENERAL EXPECTED QUICK VICTORY

        and the Pulitzer Prize piece on MacArthur's discussions with Truman on Wake Island just prior to the Chinese assault in November, 1950, as US troops reached the Chinese border:

        WAKE TALKS BARED

        AT THE MEETING ON WAKE ISLAND

        WASHINGTON, April 20 - Six months ago on Wake Island, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, according to Administration records made at the time, expressed doubt that Red China would intervene in Korea and was so confident of victory that he offered what he regarded as his best troops, the United States Second Division, for service in Europe...

        And, of course, the Republican Party attacked Democrats and Truman as a Communist agent/appeaser for not going to war with China as MacArthur had desired.


        meanwhile in the real current world of today, this minute:

        we're no longer this hegemon that everyone's obeying or fearing, we're a frigging mess.


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