Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Foreign Policy, Made Simple

Da Tech Guy has posted a "Statement of Common Principles" which you may want to check out. My own personal reaction, posted there as a comment:
Hmmm. It's all foreign policy. I don't see anything objectionable here, but I've never been much interested in foreign policy, which is an expert's game and I'm not all into that diplomacy stuff.
So far as I’m concerned, the world can be divided into four categories:
  1. U.S.A.
  2. Countries that we’re at war with.
  3. Countries that we’re not at war with.
  4. Countries that are watching from the sidelines and thinking, "Hmmm. Maybe we should jump in on this war against America."
The objective of policy should be for category 1 to whip the living dog$#it out of category 2, and thereby transfer them to category 3, so as to send a message to category 4: “Don’t even think about it, a$$holes."
Peace Through Superior Firepower. Anybody got a better idea?
This is why editors never offer to pay me to write about foreign policy. They always want nuance and insight and crap like that: "Whither Azerbijan?"

My attitude is more like, "Who cares? Canada, France, Azerbijan -- they're all just a bunch of foreigners. Unless you want to send me on an expense-paid trip to Azerbijan, let some geek at Brookings Institute write that stuff." Which sort of rules out foreign policy as an area of professional interest.

This is why four-eyed geeks like David Brooks get all the free trips to Azerbijan, so they can write nuance that bores people to sleep. Foreign policy magazines are the Darvon of journalism. They're boring on purpose. You wouldn't want some deputy undersecretary at the State Department to pick up his favorite foreign policy journal and read the kind of gonzo stuff I might write if the American Entetprise Institute sent me to Azerbijan:
The swimming pool at the Park Hyatt Baku is warm, the whiskey is cheap, the local prostitutes are friendly, and top officials from European NGOs were having themselves a swell old time of it. They had come to Azerbijan for a September conference convened by the United Nations, funded in part by U.S. foreign aid, to combat AIDS and international human trafficking. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had spoken that morning, but when I asked one British official, sitting poolside with a slender 17-year-old Azerbijani call-girl on his lap, what he thought of Mrs. Clinton's speech, he took a sip of his fourth gin-and-tonic and shouted: "Cow!" . . .
No, AEI would never underwrite a "foreign policy" trip that produced such brutal stuff. Anyway, you should check out Da Tech Guy's "Statement of Common Principles."

Frankly, I've never been much of a joiner . . .


  1. "Peace through superior fire-power." That's my philosophy in a nutshell, too. I do love the way you write comedy and fiction, Stacy. It is highly entertaining!

  2. It's true, AEI would never underwrite it...but I would! At last, the foreign policy correspondent of my dreams...

  3. "Peace through superior fire-power" is quite arguably the most daft and amoral expression I have seen in print. That's saying a lot because I browse through the liberal blogosphere from time to time. All that has gotten the American people is nervous trepidation over whether Pakistan, a nuclear armed country, will collapse within the next ten years, potentially allowing terrorist groups to seize nuclear material if not a nuclear bomb itself.

    Lives are cheap for neocons, especially the lives of foreigners. Thank God I live in a "Christian" nation.

  4. Azeirbaijan has oil, and it's a moderate regime, unfortunately it's right between
    Iran and Russia, that's why it matters remember the opening to"Crimson Tide"

  5. People who say wither anything sound like a bunch of fags anyway.

    Screw nuance.

  6. My foreign policy made simple--I don't care if people hate us or like us. As long as they leave us the f--- alone.

    Which basically paraphrases Dennis Miller's comment regarding the Constitution and/or Bill of Rights not specifically containing the clause of your right not to have a plane flown into your office window...but it doesn't take much squinting to find it there.

  7. Stogie wrote: "I do love the way you write comedy and fiction, Stacy. It is highly entertaining!"

    "Fiction," Stogie? Why do you think those Euro-weenies go into the "human rights" racket, anyway? Pay is lousy, but lots of free trips to foreign countries where hookers are cheap. When they have one of those big humanitarian conferences in Sao Paolo or Nairobi, it's like the Super Bowl coming to town -- out-of-town hookers show up to get in on the action.

    All these NGOs "fighting AIDS in Africa?" Yeah, right. Like the NGOs "fighting human trafficking" in Phuket . . .

    You get some non-profit dedicated to a supposedly sacred goal, fill their coffers with cash from foundations and governments, and let them hire lots of unemployed liberal-arts majors to ship overseas to advance The Sacred Cause (whatever that may be) -- a more perfect formula for misguided shenanigans could not be imagined.

    One of the biggest problems in America is a shortage of healthy cynicism about such things.

  8. In fire-fighting tactics, I believe this is called the deluge approach, mounted when the building is so engulfed that sending in firefolks with a smaller hose is counter-indicated because the building is too weakened by the fire.

    I am not a firefolk, this is merely my rudimentary understanding of a portion of their doctrine.

    With respect to terrorism (the salient aspect of modern foreign policy considerations), it has been occurring to me that firefighting may be a useful metaphor for conceptualizing the overall problem. Terrorism (i.e., Mohammedan idolatry of Mohammed and the Koran) is a fire in the neighborhoods of the world, usually down-scale ones but with up-scale leadership. Fire downtown, unchecked, spreads uptown. So, put it out. The only real decision is whether to deluge it or go in to suppress its hotspots. My preference at this point is, deluge it.

  9. Cody--Bless your heart you warped little troll. Since Obama has taken office... 8 months ago... 317 American soldiers have died. That is 30% of the total that died in the previous 8 years. Our troops have had their superior firepower taken away and not only is there less peace now in the region, more American casualties. I will take less deaths and superior firepower

    Joan in Juneau

  10. If you had just opened that with "herewith, a brief primer," you'd be in business with the GOP's Rotarian set.

  11. Knappster said: "If you had just opened that with 'herewith, a brief primer,' you'd be in business with the GOP's Rotarian set."

    Thanks for reminding me, Tom. I knew I'd left something out . . . Now I'm feeling kind of like taking back what I said about your wife.

    But truth is an ironclad defense. ;)

  12. If you want to ignore the rest of the world then don't mortgage your entire ranch to Chinese bankers. Or to put it more in your style, RSM,when you're in hock to the mob you cannot afford to piss off the Sopranos.
    As an observer of the US scene from the UK I am a great admirer of your daily rants against the American "elite"...indeed at times I would sometimes say that you came within ten miles of my hero Edward Abbey. But your contention that you take your foreign policy guidance from the guy who sells you gas when you're in Hanksville, Utah doesn't quite ring true...indeed I would even suggest that you are in danger of committing the ultimate sin of every John Wayne stereotype - becoming a poseur. There's only one solution - have a chat with a real tough guy like Yon....

  13. What about her speech, Stacy, it was like the only sane response to the lunacy we saw in New York Yesterday:

  14. Linked to this here. Great points, RSM:

  15. Great post. You also need to add, we need to be Freakin' careful about when we go to war with.

    Sample questions before invading another country include:

    1) Why are invading this country?
    2) If we don't invade, what then?
    3) And that hurts us how - exactly?
    2) Can we win this thing?
    3) Are you sure?
    4) Are you " bet my goddamn life on it" sure?
    5) How much will it cost in lives in money?
    6) OK, times that by 10, is it going to be worth the cost?
    7) Once we win, what's the exit strategy?

    And forget Bullshit, like "we're all Georgians now" or Let's go to "War with Russia because we don't like Putin's eyes".

  16. @rcocean, a generous construction of your comment is "taking counsel of your fears." A hard-minded construction of your comment is "subversive terrorist enabler." A soft-hearted construction of your comment is "across the street you can buy yourself a steaming hot cup of STFU."