August 15, 2008

A Perfect Home

I never quite appreciated how good of a fit Matt Yglesias was for his new home at Think Progress until I got a chance to see him in action this morning, hacking away with the intellectual dishonesty that has given Think Progress the reputation it has so richly earned (but surprisingly, hasn't yet found a way to tax).

John McCain deems the Georgia-Russia war the "first serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War"...

Satyam notes "the Gulf War, 9/11, and the Iraq War, to name a few" as possible alternatives. But beyond McCain’s seemingly poor memory, the interesting thing is the confusion in terms of high-level concepts. It was just a little while ago that McCain was giving speeches about how "the threat of radical Islamic terrorism" is "transcendent challenge of our time." Now Russia seems to be the transcendent challenge. Which is the problem with an approach to world affairs characterized by a near-constant hysteria about threat levels and a pathological inability to set priorities.

I'm no McCain fan by any stretch of the imagination, but it takes a person of true intellectual dishonesty to twist McCain's words the way these Soros drones have done.

As we now stand, Russia and the United States, two nuclear powers equipped with continent-killing ICBMs with MIRV warheads, are indeed in a diplomatic crisis over the recent Russian invasion and occupation of Georgia. It is the first serious international crisis since we last stood toe-to-toe with Moscow during the Cold War.

Is Yglesias actually daft enough to suggest that acknowledging a new or renewed threat is wrong, and that it should be ignored so you can stick with your party's pre-planned script? That's not mature statecraft. That's sticking your head in the sand... beach sand.

The Iraq War was and is a regional conflict, with little threat of expanding into a serious international crisis. The same holds true with the lower-intensity invasion of Afghanistan that began after 9/11; neither country had the weaponry or diplomatic power to engage in serious force projection outside of their regional spheres.

McCain was perfectly precise with his choice of words to describe the current crisis, just as he was when he described Iraq as the first major conflict since 9/11, leaving out Afghanistan precisely because it wasn't a major conflict, but a campaign waged primarily via special forces teams incorporating with indigenous forces and air support.

Of course, no one at Think Progress understands the first thing about the military other than the mention of them gets their spit glands revved, so that is hardly surprising.

That Yglesias would use his own blanket ignorance as an excuse to once again imply McCain is going senile is pathetic, but it's what we'd come to expect from the support mechanism of the community reality-based he now so deservedly calls home.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 15, 2008 10:58 AM

[Satyam notes "the Gulf War, 9/11, and the Iraq War, to name a few" as possible alternatives.]

Yes, these were ugly and dangerous situations all to be sure. But this invasion of Georgia is the worst. The Russian Bear is on the march to reclaim her old territory and there is really not much the United States can do about it. NATO is basically us. Germany has a fine military but no will to use it. We drew down our military so much after 1992 (Clinton's Peace Dividend) that our only option would be nuclear and we are not going there.

We could drastically cut ties to Russia, no flights, no dollar transfers; expel all Russian passports and such. It would not help Georgia but it would be the right thing to do.

But it is time America came home. End NATO, pull out of Korea and the Balkans and get out of Iraq as soon as reason allows. As long as we are who we are we will be hated; I for one have no interest in changing to make nice with European, India-Asian or other sensibilities.

America for Americans
The Hell with Europe

Posted by: RGinArizona at August 15, 2008 11:46 AM

Soros and friends gave big money to McCain's "Reform Institute" after he lost the 2000 bid to Bush(see Michelle Malkin's archived list of donors), it turns out that McCain was another very prescient Soros investment, and McCain is the bait leading the party into an "ambush"...Win-win for Soros, lose-lose for the country.

Posted by: J David at August 15, 2008 12:17 PM

This tells us much more about Matt's vicious hatred of the military than it does McCains words.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 15, 2008 01:46 PM

By all measures, it seems that Matt Yglesias is unable to chew gum and walk at the same time, so why expect him to understand the possibility that they guy swaggering about with the nukes is just a bit more dangerous than the guy who is swaggering about hoping for the nukes.

Posted by: Neo at August 15, 2008 03:02 PM

What's changed since the cold war. The liberals were always walking around chanting 'better red than dead' ... I fail to see anything different in their current lunacy from the previous lunacy.

Posted by: bill-tb at August 15, 2008 03:52 PM

CY, By your argument, that nuclear powers qualify as true crisis, then the ongoing and recent border battles between India and Pakistan qualify. So, you're incorrect, as is McCain, by your own argument.

Posted by: DJ at August 15, 2008 04:32 PM

Not at all, DJ.

The India/Pakistan conflict has been going on in one form or another for roughly a thousand years, and has roughly stabilized into a simmering, low-grade affair that occasionally sees moderate flares of violence. Though nuclear armed, their cultural similarities and close proximity means the threat of a nuclear conflict is remote. The number and power of the nuclear weapons they have is limited, as is the range of their weapons. It would be a catastrophe for Asia if the went nuclear, but it would not eliminate humanity.

Russian and the United States, however, have literally come within minutes of nuclear war several times in our history, can strike anywhere on the planet, and were they to go to nuclear war, would go with enough force to kill virtually every man, woman, and child on Earth.

Big difference. Kinda surprised you can't get that on your own.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 15, 2008 05:10 PM

Ok, DJ, try to follow along, I'll try to go slowly. The key phrase is "international crisis." This may be a stretch but I'm going to assume you know what that means. Do you think Argentina has to worry about getting hit by Pakistan nukes? How about Mexico getting hit by Indian nukes? See where this is heading? "international crisis"........Mexico and Argentina not worried......get it?

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 15, 2008 05:13 PM

CY, you beat me to it, I tried to simplify it since he's obviously a liberal. They're not real good at critical thinking.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 15, 2008 05:15 PM

One problem is labling Iraq and Afghanistan as wars when they are actually campaigns in a larger war.

What is illustrative (as if we needed more examples) is the thinking that asks "What did the US do to cause this?" instead of placing the blame on the guy who actually sent the tanks in. Reminds me of those who blamed the US for Iraq invading Kuwait, because the US ambassador to Iraq did not unequivocally state that such an act would have the US react with force.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at August 15, 2008 06:01 PM

P.S. Isolationism does not work. Ask Tibet about that.

And waiting for the international community doesn't either. Ask Abyssinia about that.

From the international community you will get resolutions without regiments; from isolationism you will find yourself watching allies and potential allies fall until you find yourself the target with no others by your side.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at August 15, 2008 06:05 PM

Poor Matthew. His grandfather was a noted novelist, his father a novelist and screen writer of merit, but the literary chops diminished over the years. Matt Yglesias is the unfortunate result of genetic decrescendo.

Posted by: zhombre at August 15, 2008 08:29 PM

Perhaps this brainiac Yglesias needs to be reminded that his fellow lefties viewed Iraq's 1990 invasion as such a grave international crisis that a significant majority of democrats in congress voted against the first Iraq War AUMF. Mind boggling the stupidity and dishonesty just to maintain the meme.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 15, 2008 08:39 PM