“once he understands . . . “

It just keeps getting worse:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was more direct in his assessment. “Other than destroying every instrument of democracy in his own country, having opposition people killed, dismembering neighbors through military force and being the benefactor of the butcher of Damascus, he’s a good guy,” Graham said of Putin on Thursday. “This calculation by Trump unnerves me to my core,” added Graham, who has been one of Trump’s most vocal critics in the Senate. . . .

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has had an uneven track record of backing Trump, told the Guardian that he would give the Manhattan billionaire the benefit of the doubt. “My sense is those views will probably change once he understands better who Vladimir Putin truly is — that’s my hope,” Rubio said.

But he also railed against Putin for his tight control on the media and the military and for the fact that his political opponents are often jailed or disappear. “I don’t think what Vladimir Putin exhibits is leadership. I think what he exhibits is thuggery … and we should be clear-eyed about that,” he said.

So Rubio’s “hope” is that “once he understands” just how dangerous Putin is, Trump will come to his senses.  I think that’s quite possible.  But I guess I’d prefer a president who already has a basic understanding of geopolitics, before taking office.

Here’s how I envision Trump coming to his “senses”.  He sends signals that he doesn’t care about a Russian border disputes with Estonia.  Some majority Russia village on the Estonian border votes to join Russia, and Putin invades and annexes.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff tell Trump that the US must honor its Nato commitments, or lose all credibility.  Trump is enraged that Putin put him in this embarrassing position, his face turns bright orange, and he lashes back in the usual Trump fashion–with ten times the retaliation as is actually appropriate.  (Recall this is the guy that would have abandoned the recent G20 meeting due to a lousy staircase.  Yeah, he has that kind of temper and judgment.) Things escalate from there.

Remember the children’s story called “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?  I always thought that was a bit far-fetched, until Trump.  His supporters will defend literally anything he says:

Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who still talks regularly to the nominee, pushed forward the idea that Putin is a stronger leader than Obama.

“Vladimir Putin has had a stronger influence on his country than Barack Obama has had here.  He’s been a stronger leader,” Lewandowski, now a CNN contributor, said on the network’s “New Day” program on Friday.

Also calling Putin “a fighter” for his people, Lewandowski said Trump’s willingness to work with Putin presents an opportunity “to work with what would normally be an adversary.”

. . . Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who often focuses on foreign policy matters, offered a more nuanced view. “Putin’s an evil man. POTUS a good but incompetent man. Putin has served his country’s national interest better,” Hewitt tweeted Friday morning.

In the 1950s, people denied they were Russian sympathizers when attacked by Joe McCarthy.  Now the GOP leader just comes right out and admits it.  Early in the campaign, commenters said I was unhinged when I pointed to the quasi-fascist style of Trump’s campaign.  Now Trump and his supporters tell us that they think Putin is doing a good job for the Russian people.  So I guess that means Trump thinks an American president would be doing a good job for the American people by assassinating opponents, demonizing unpopular groups, shuttering the press, and invading neighboring countries.  After all, that shows much more “strength” than Obama has shown.  And look how well the Russian economy is doing.

And then I think back to all of those cowardly conservative talk show hosts who wet their pants in fear of a dictatorship every time Obama issues some sort of executive order on the environment, and yet drool all over a GOP candidate who sees Vladimir Putin as the model.  You can’t make this stuff up; it’s just too weird.

There are days I have to pinch myself.  If you wrote a movie scrip analogous to The Producers, but for a presidential campaign, it would look a lot like the actual Trump campaign. This is what a campaign would look like if they were trying to lose.  But just as in The Producers, Trump rises in the poll after every outrage.  In a world where I was not dreaming, a presidential candidate would go out of his way to deny having a positive view of a bloodthirsty authoritarian leader like Putin.

Fortunately, the US has strong democratic institutions, and Trump has no chance of becoming a dictator.  He’s not even all that popular on the GOP side of Congress, and I could easily see him being impeached.  Then his only hope would be stirring up supporters with dark theories about rigged elections, and the incitement of violence, and that’s not like Trump.  In any case, in the end the military would not allow him to take absolute power.  After, all it’s not like he’s planning to fire the top generals and replace them with a compliant Praetorian Guard.

Oh wait . . .

Embarrassing to our country’: Trump suggests he’ll fire top generals.

. . . Individual generals and admirals have traditionally been removed from their posts for misconduct or a failure to perform their duties. Cashiering a group of them en masse would be unheard of — and could irrevocably tarnish the perception that the military is an institution divorced from politics.

“Under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, I think the generals have been reduced to rubble,” Trump said at the NBC News “Commander in Chief Forum,” where he and his opponent, Clinton, appeared. “They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing to our country.”

Traditionally divorced from politics?  How quaint!  That’s not how Putin does things.


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129 Responses to ““once he understands . . . “”

  1. Gravatar of Peter Peter
    10. September 2016 at 07:43

    If Trump said he was going to gas all Jews his fans would likely say something like: “But Trump didn’t say which gas he would use. He probably only meant that he would fart in their general direction.”

    As much as I like Gary Johnson, if I was allowed to vote I would probably vote for Clinton. Trump scares the shit out of me.

  2. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    10. September 2016 at 07:53

    Timing is everything. If Romney had not listened to his advisors and waited until 2016, he would be the heavy favorite. It’s as if Republicans want to self-destruct – and this time take the entire country with them. It’s only different in degree this time as compared to the Republican response to the loss in 2008 and the loss in 2012: like the petulant child who doesn’t get his way and spoils it for everyone else.

  3. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    10. September 2016 at 08:05

    There’s a snarky comment at Cowen’s blog with your name on it. I suspect either (a) it’s not you, or (b) the snarky comments on your blog have gotten to you. If it’s (b), I suggest you ignore the snark or close comments, although my preference would be for you to ignore the snark. Most readers of your blog very much appreciate the effort that goes in your blog posts and in the generous responses you often provide to comments. Don’t forget that most readers of your blog do it to learn, not just to post snarky comments. It’s true that some people learn nothing past high school – because their minds are closed tighter than Trump’s girdle.

  4. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    10. September 2016 at 08:38


    But I guess I’d prefer a president who already has a basic understanding of geopolitics, before taking office.

    That’s why you support Gary Johnson, I guess. The guy who doesn’t even know what Aleppo is. You make not much sense.

    It’s always a problem with candidates and US Presidents that they lack knowledge in geography, geopolitics, foreign policy. Trump is nothing special here. People who are acting like he is are just being dishonest and partisan (in this case).

    What experience with geopolitics did Obama have before taking office? He didn’t even know that the US got 50 states. He was just a social justice warrior from corrupt Chicago with zero experience in important world regions like Europe and the Middle East. A zero experience SJW, who acts like both characteristics still apply to him today.

  5. Gravatar of bill bill
    10. September 2016 at 08:44

    I will be nervous for the next 60 days (or 60 days plus 4 years)

  6. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    10. September 2016 at 08:46

    Putin was surrounded by NATO. We bought the Ukraine, with blood money. Putin responded to that purchase. Having said that, you don’t have to be a dictator to destroy the world with nukes.

    I believe that Trump could become agitated enough to use nukes. No, Putin is not as dangerous as NATO fantasizes. But Trump is easily agitated and you don’t want an agitated mental case with his finger on nuclear weapons. In that space all US presidents are dictators.

  7. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. September 2016 at 08:49

    “If Trump said he was going to gas all Jews his fans would likely say something like: “But Trump didn’t say which gas he would use. He probably only meant that he would fart in their general direction.””

    -You have a very overactive imagination.

    Rubio and Graham are dangerous puppets of the (((neocohens))) of the invade+invite the world variety. Both are likely to start nuclear wars if president, and are probably homosexual, as well. Neither of them is fit for the executive chair. Trump is.

    “But I guess I’d prefer a president who already has a basic understanding of geopolitics, before taking office.”

    -Exactly. I.e., not you, Rubio, or Lindsey “gayface” Graham. That’s why I voted Trump.

    “Here’s how I envision Trump coming to his “senses”.”

    -Take your meds. You have an overactive imagination.

    “In the 1950s, people denied they were Russian sympathizers when attacked by Joe McCarthy.”

    -You want McCarthyism back? How is that even remotely compatible with libertarianism? Oh; wait; it’s not; to you, libertarianism is just smoking pot and curbing spending increases while maintaining complete ignorance of foreign affairs.

    “Now Trump and his supporters tell us that they think Putin is doing a good job for the Russian people.”

    -Let’s ask the Russian people:
    http://www.levada.ru/eng/
    Oh, wait, Trump actually gave the right number when he said Putin had an 82% approval rating. Who’s the ignoramus? The presidential candidate who knows what Aleppo and Putin’s approval rating is or some beta male economist who reads the neocon lies of the Economist uncritically.

    As Bill Clinton once said, let’s Make America Great Again. Without neocon lies.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. September 2016 at 08:54

    Rayward, Sorry I was snarky, but Vox needs to do better. Klein and Yglesias and Lee are really good, but their brand has been tarnished by some appalling bad reporters. Maybe they grew too fast, hired too many people—but someone needs to tell Klein that they have extremely poor reporting.

    Christian, I can’t tell whether people like you actually believe what you write. Not knowing about Aleppo is equivalent to praising a bloodthirsty tyrant?

    Comparing Obama and Trump’s knowledge of foreign policy before taking office? Are you joking? I honestly can’t tell.

  9. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. September 2016 at 08:55

    List, good response. But I don’t think Obama really fits the profile of the SJW nearly to the same extent that Her does. In any case, you’re right that presidential candidates are often ignorant of even the barest basics of foreign affairs. Her listens to ignoramuses who say the facts about Putin’s popularity in Russia are “propaganda polls”, something one with even the slightest understanding of the country should readily understand as laughable.

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. September 2016 at 08:57

    Harding, You said:

    “You want McCarthyism back?”

    Yes, because now one party really has been taken over by people who are soft on Russia.

    And as far as the poll numbers, check out Hitler’s numbers in the 1930s. How’d that work out for the Germans?

  11. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. September 2016 at 09:02

    “Not knowing about Aleppo is equivalent to praising a bloodthirsty tyrant?”

    -No. It’s worse. Much worse. So bad, that it indicates Johnson knows literally nothing about the president’s most important job (other than picking judges, which his VP pick is an utter and unreconstructed disaster on). BTW, Gary Johnson, just this year, did praise a bloodthirsty tyrant -Hillary Clinton- as “a wonderful public servant”.

    BTW, Cruz actually did praise another bloodthirsty tyrant on the debate stage in far more glowing terms than Trump or Johnson ever did -something that really worried me about Ted. Can you guess who that tyrant is?

  12. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. September 2016 at 09:10

    “And as far as the poll numbers, check out Hitler’s numbers in the 1930s”

    -Hitler’s NSDAP never even got a majority of the vote in free and fair elections, something United Russia did in 2007 and nearly did in 2011. Your parallels are, shall we say, historically ignorant. No wonder you support Kooky Weed Man.

    “Yes, because now one party really has been taken over by people who are soft on Russia.”

    -Stay away from power, Nazi.

  13. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. September 2016 at 09:16

    Sumner, I suggest you join weev in supporting the Azov Batallion over in non-NATO Eastern Europe. At least it would allow you to stop concealing your clear love of Hitler and would allow you to exercise your overactive imagination over in the real world.

  14. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. September 2016 at 09:47

    I always thought that was a bit far-fetched, until Trump.

    I see there was a 24 month period in 2007, 2008, and 2009 when you were sound asleep.

  15. Gravatar of Albert Albert
    10. September 2016 at 09:52

    If Clinton wins and Putin wants to grab that village he’ll just send those pictures of Bill with the underage girls…

  16. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. September 2016 at 09:54

    Comparing Obama and Trump’s knowledge of foreign policy before taking office? Are you joking? I honestly can’t tell.

    Come again? BO’s time in the Foreign Service, the intelligence services, and the military sums to zero. His professional engagement with foreign affairs begins and ends with two years and change on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. I see he was an IR major in college; I careered through an IR program around the same time and you’ve told me repeatedly I’m an idiot.

  17. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. September 2016 at 10:09

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was more direct in his assessment. “Other than destroying every instrument of democracy in his own country, having opposition people killed, dismembering neighbors through military force and being the benefactor of the butcher of Damascus, he’s a good guy,”

    Graham’s an idiot. Electoral institutions and public deliberation were, if not a novelty in Russia, something outside the country’s experience bar during the period running from about 1861 to about 1918. The politicians in charge during the period running from 1988 to 1999 made a complete hash of everything and the country went careering into a wretched economic depression conjoined to an explosion of street crime (not to mention an insurrection in Chechenya). That sort of experience is going to affect popular priorities and what they tolerate and what they do not from the political class. Putin’s presided over a rapid improvement in the country’s economic fortunes, a partial (though incomplete) restoration of public order, and a partial (though incomplete) recovery in fertility. Unlike Angela Merkel, he knows who his mob is, and unlike Barack Obama, he doesn’t make noises in public indicating he despises ordinary wage-earning Russians.

    For all his abuses, Russia today is politically pluralistic to a degree exceeded only by the period running from 1905 to 1917 and the period running from 1988 to 2004.

    While we’re at it, no country has been ‘dismembered’, with or without military force. The Ukraine and Georgia have lost swatches of territory wherein Ukrainians and Georgians were a minority (accounting for ~5% and < 1% of their populations).

  18. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. September 2016 at 10:28

    Everyone, Even Trump supporters ought to be able to do better than this:

    Harding, You said:

    “No. It’s worse. Much worse. So bad, that it indicates Johnson knows literally nothing about the president’s most important job (other than picking judges, which his VP pick is an utter and unreconstructed disaster on).”

    If you are not joking then this is really sad. You are no longer even making a serious attempt to defend Trump.

    Your comments on Hitler are a complete non-sequitor, confusing “polls” in the sense of elections with polls in the sense of public opinion polls. There is a difference.

    Art, Why is it so hard for you to understand that Trump knows NOTHING? I get it that you are a conservative. But are you really that unable to see people as they really are? Are you really that blinded by ideology?

    You said:

    “The Ukraine and Georgia have lost swatches of territory wherein Ukrainians and Georgians were a minority”

    Wasn’t that Hitler’s argument in the Sudetenland? Oh wait, Harding has already told us that Hitler was justified in that invasion.

    You said:

    “For all his abuses, Russia today is politically pluralistic to a degree exceeded only by the period running from 1905 to 1917 and the period running from 1988 to 2004.”

    Very true, and of absolutely no bearing to anything I said.

    I wonder how you would characterize all Trump’s goofy foreign policy statements if Hillary were saying them. Hmm, let me guess.

  19. Gravatar of Philip Crawford Philip Crawford
    10. September 2016 at 10:29

    I hope the real conservatives are writing all these names down. Watching people like Harding and Deco justify virtually *anything* is incredible to watch. What strange times we live in.

  20. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. September 2016 at 10:57

    “If you are not joking then this is really sad. You are no longer even making a serious attempt to defend Trump.”

    -Not an argument. Look in the mirror, man. You keep attacking Trump with all these homosexual neocon lies and keep expecting your audience to agree with you. How gullible do you think I am? And, yes, after his demonstrated Aleppo ignorance, I would much rather have a President Trump than a president Johnson. Unlike you, “I’d prefer a president who already has a basic understanding of geopolitics, before taking office”. Note the past two presidents Johnson were Democrats who demonstrably failed at their jobs.

    “are a complete non-sequitor, confusing “polls” in the sense of elections with polls in the sense of public opinion polls. There is a difference.”

    -I know of no public opinion polls for Nazi Germany. My comparison of the relevant election results stands. In any case, your comparison of modern Russia with Nazi Germany is asinine, ignorant, and historically obtuse. Read a book for once.

    As I’ve said, if you like Hitler so much (you keep talking about him at every turn), go to Donbass. Join the Azov Batallion. Stay away from the reigns of power here.

    I used to respect you, Sumner, and thought you to be fit to be king of the universe. Now, I think the world would be better off if you died on June 15, 2015.

    “I wonder how you would characterize all Trump’s goofy foreign policy statements if Hillary were saying them. Hmm, let me guess.”

    -You’re confusing Art Deco with yourself. Bad move.

  21. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. September 2016 at 11:56

    Wasn’t that Hitler’s argument in the Sudetenland?

    So what?

    Czechoslovakia had a problem. It had a large population of ethnic Germans who wanted no part of the Czechoslovak state. About 2/3 of the ethnic German population opted for the Sudeten Party in parliamentary elections in 1935 and the bulk of the German population was concentrated in border regions adjacent to Germany and Austria. The Czechoslovak state was born of a secession from the Hapsburg monarchy and its borders had been fixed only 19 years earlier. The argument they had in their favor was reasons of state (which does not impress someone with more ammo than you’ve got). I suppose they could have argued that Germans in Bohemia and Moravia should not be consigned to the Nazi state (a prospect that did not bother most Germans therein).

    Countries tend to be possessive of their territory even when the population in that territory is a source of trouble. That, and the Germanophone portions of Bohemia and Moravia contained both natural barriers and Army fortifications, as well as disproportionate shares of Czechoslovakia’s mineral wealth and industrial capacity.

    The situation vis a vis the Ukraine and Georgia is not similar. The Crimea and South Ossetia are contextually small territories, they’re rich neither with minerals or industrial capacity, they are not crucial to the military posture of either Georgia or the Ukraine, and Russia today is an authoritarian state with circumscribed aims, not a revanchist charnel house.

  22. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    10. September 2016 at 12:26

    Lindsey Graham is a comfort woman for the IDF.

  23. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. September 2016 at 12:28

    Art, Why is it so hard for you to understand that Trump knows NOTHING? I get it that you are a conservative. But are you really that unable to see people as they really are? Are you really that blinded by ideology?

    Like anyone else, Trump’s knowledge is specialized. He knows about some things and not about others. See Thomas Sowell for a more erudite discussion of this issue. I’d like it if politicians were well informed about issues important to me and gave those issues priority. The commonly are not and commonly do not. Ever.

    I’m not sure why you fancy Barack Obama passes muster and someone else does not, though perhaps the observation of Dr. Sowell that there’s a class of people who confound expertise with intelligence and then confound intelligence with articulateness is salient here. That class of people includes Charles Fried, so I suppose it should not surprise me that it includes you. You really do not mean to tell me that your favored candidate is the one who has spent the most time with briefing books commissioned by David Plouffe, do you?

    There are perhaps two-dozen coarse areas of policy. A politician elected to the office is not going to know much about more than 2 or 3, if that. What you’re getting is their understanding of how to hire, how to delegate authority, who to trust, and how to evaluate arguments on the fly.

    What do we know about Hilligula as administrator? We have a pretty good sense that she lies all the time about everything or, if she does not, she cannot find her beaver without a diagrammed memorandum from Huma Abedin.

    What do we know of the current incumbent? Well, he gets memos with three options at the bottom and he checks an option and adds some inane marginalia. The government would function about as well if he were sound asleep. And, of course, he owns up to nothing.

    The candidates who have run and competed passably in the last 25 years who might be called knowledgeable de novo about a bloc of federal issues would be Paul Tsongas (no executive experience), Tom Harkin (economic illiterate and clown w/o executive experience), Bob Dole (no executive experience, Capitol Hill apparatchik), Alan Keyes (limited executive experience, erratic), Albert Gore (no executive experience, escalatingly creepy ass), Bill Bradley (no executive experience), John Kerry (no executive experience), John McCain (no experience with more than a two digit population working under him, bad temper), Rick Santorum (no executive experience), Newt Gingrich (no executive experience), and Ted Cruz (no executive experience). The only candidates in that time who’ve been immersed in federal politics who’ve ever run anything more complicated than a campaign staff would be Wesley Clark, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, and the ghastly Democratic nominee.

    Very true, and of absolutely no bearing to anything I said.

    It’s a response to Lindsey Graham, whom you quoted right at the top of the post. I take it you figure Graham’s remarks have no bearing on anything you wish to argue and you just stick LG quotations at the top of your posts for sh*** and giggles.

  24. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    10. September 2016 at 14:32

    Harding, Trump is a racist. He is a dangerous and unstable man. So, even though I could agree with him on issues the issue is the man, not the issues. And he is a dangerous wacko and a threat to national security because he holds the box to uncover the nukes.

    This is the strongest argument about Trump. He is a very dangerous individual. He is possibly the end of democracy.

    Harding do you really think that Trump, who makes fun of disabled people, can be their president? Do you think Trump can be the president of Hispanics, or of blacks? No, he cannot.

  25. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    10. September 2016 at 17:20

    If you wrote a movie scrip analogous to The Producers, but for a presidential campaign, it would look a lot like the actual Trump campaign. This is what a campaign would look like if they were trying to lose. But just as in The Producers, Trump rises in the poll after every outrage–Scott Sumner.

    I have had a related thought. There has been three times in national politics in which reality has topped fiction.

    The first was the Watergate Affair in all its glory. The second was when House of Representatives impeached President Clinton over a sex affair. And the third is Donald Trump.

    Fiction comes a dull second to real life.

    PS Beware: Trump may be wrong on Putin, but there are elements in our national security community who hyperbolize enemies.

  26. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    10. September 2016 at 20:39

    The posse is on a roll today. Harding, Homosexual Neocohens … Deco, Hilligula and beavers … I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. But if I complain, then List will tell me, it’s all my, and I quote: “hate theories with a lot of foam at the mouth.”

    All this makes the Trump camp look nervous. Odd, because at this point Clinton is not decisively ahead, so whatever Trump did lately, he’s close to her, and stable in the polls. Not that I like that, but he is. So the Trump defenders should congratulate themselves instead of getting into worse and worse hyperbole.

  27. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    10. September 2016 at 21:35

    Gary Johnson further revealed himself as a true ignoramus on international affairs, but this isn’t the first time. Strangely, I actually gained respect for him, given his honesty and even humility. I would sooner vote for him than Jill Stein, because neither are qualified, but Stein is more of a kook.

    That said, with all her flaws and even expecting her to make the country worse overall, Clintin is the best candidate of the 4 getting national attention. There are no good choices in this election, but there’s only one serious candidate.

  28. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    10. September 2016 at 23:33

    As mbka says, the kooks are out in force today, Sumner included. Sumner once opined as an expert on Greek politics (which even I, a Greek citizen, try not to summarize) and here shows his ignorance by wading into the Syrian controversy, which as any informed reader knows by now, is so riddled with factions that it’s entirely possible (and I think we’ve gotten there) that the USA and Russia are actually on the same side, in a way (against ISIS).

    What else doesn’t Sumner know? A lot. He doesn’t know a lot.

  29. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    11. September 2016 at 02:18

    Scott actually had some good comments about the disastrous Greek/EU situation last year. His predictions were certainly better than those of Krugman, for example, who vastly over-estimated Syriza leadership, among other things.

    My own perception and predictions about the situation were exactly wrong every step of the way, revealing that I know less than nothing about both Greek and EU politics.

    I still believe, however, that Greece and other PIIGS countries should leave the Eurozone. A terrible year or two of crisis is better than lost generations, economically.

  30. Gravatar of engineer engineer
    11. September 2016 at 05:45

    Hillary Clinton this week…
    “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we’re not putting ground troops into Syria. We’re going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops.”

    News Flash…we have boots on the ground in both countries….as I would hope she is aware of…thousands in Iraq and I’m guessing hundreds of special forces in Syria. She obviously has a problem with telling the truth to the public. I consider this far worse that Gary Johnson not being properly drilled by handlers on names and places.

    We have two major candidates who have a problem with telling it like it is to the American public and when confronted with their dishonestly get defensive and won’t admit is. Then we have a candidate like Gary Johnson, refreshing honest.

  31. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 05:56

    @mbka

    You need some new material.

  32. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 06:04

    Remember, if elections could actually change anything, they’d be abolished.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-11/unbelievable-disgrace-country-austria-stunned-after-symbolic-election-delayed

  33. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    11. September 2016 at 07:18

    Chuck,

    sadly only get the usual fare to work with.

    Austria: wait, it’s … it’s … it’s … a conspiracy!

  34. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    11. September 2016 at 07:40

    An incompetent buffoon vs an interventionist corrupt liar. What was the tag line for Alien vs. Predator?

    Whoever wins, we lose.

    Hillary lying about troops in Iraq and Syria was pretty galling. On the other hand trump lies about everything.

    Hillary will win in a landslide, change the shape of the Court for the next 20 odd years, and implement policies that will further erode the LFPR. Maybe intervene in a ME country or 3. Beats the unknown unknowns of Trump dealing with a nuclear N Korea. Something something tail risk…

  35. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 08:41

    @mbka

    Yeah, but the whole “everyone to my right is a Nazi” bit gets pretty old, no?

  36. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    11. September 2016 at 09:14

    “My own perception and predictions about the situation were exactly wrong every step of the way,”

    -Mine weren’t. I predicted, based on a post by Yanis, that Greece would not leave the Euro during the crisis.

    “Strangely, I actually gained respect for him, given his honesty and even humility.”

    “Clintin is the best candidate of the 4 getting national attention.”

    -As with the Greek crisis, your perceptions and predictions are wrong every step of the way. Give me one positive reason to vote for Her. I can give you many for Trump.

    “Hillary will win in a landslide”

    -No. Just look at Her fainting today.

  37. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    11. September 2016 at 09:34

    Harding, Sumner is kind of wrong when it comes to Russia. While I think Pat Buchanan is wrong on domestic issues, he is brilliant on foreign policy. I wish Scott would read his bear baiting article. The neocons are the war party. Sumner can’t see this because he cannot see conspiracy. He cannot see regime change. He probably has not read Oded Yinon. He is like concrete in his thinking.

    But understand this, no one provoked Russia until the neocons came along. Perhaps Sumner should understand this, and yet, he doesn’t.

    http://buchanan.org/blog/pjb-blowback-from-bear-baiting-1047

    Having said that, Trump is too cozy with Putin, in an uncomfortable manner and yet, he is a hater and is unstable.

  38. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    11. September 2016 at 09:36

    Chuck,

    “Yeah, but the whole “everyone to my right is a Nazi” bit gets pretty old, no?”

    Care to point out where I said or implied that? None of the contenders we’re debating here are true Nazis. Not Trump, not the European right. Well, Italy for once has true neofascists. But either way, the worrisome thing, for me, is that many use propaganda methods pioneered by the Nazis. The most important one is to discredit established parties and the established norms and institutions, to label them obsolete, and to anoint themselves as saviors. This very different from ordinary politicians who respect their countries’ institutions and only want to get to the top of them. The populists we’re talking about here want to change these institutions and they start by disparaging them (and the press), like the Nazis did. They also sometimes play with Nazi sympathies. That’s especially egregious for Mr. Hofer’s party in Austria, but Le Pen father also used to dabble in this with his “Holocaust as a detail of history” meme. Trump doesn’t play with Nazi sympathies, US-appropriately he plays with KKK sympathies, always close enough to deniability of course.

    These parties are usually nationalists, duh, but often more socialist than conservative. So I wouldn’t call them “right” wing. They’re statists, but not free marketeers. Example, the now deceased Mr Haider in Austria once lauded social democrat chancellor Kreisky of the 70’s as his role model and was an early EU critic. Farage of the UK is a nationalist who wants more money for the NHS and other national schemes of social import. Trump is all for a Great America and at the same time seems sympathetic to socialized medicine. Etc. So we can call those political directions nationalistic moderate socialist parties as an umbrella label if you prefer that. They don’t want full on socialism, so they’re moderate. I wouldn’t call them social democrat though because they don’t seem to fond of the usual democratic fare with its institutions, its critical press etc. So what’s left is nationalistic moderate socialists or such. And that’s not meant as a slur but as an accurate description.

  39. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    11. September 2016 at 09:50

    Sumner wrote:

    “But are you really that unable to see people as they really are? Are you really that blinded by ideology?”

    bwahahahahahaha

  40. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    11. September 2016 at 11:56

    and are probably homosexual, as

    Graham’s a 60 year old bachelor who’s been in Congress for 20 years and had a long run in the military. If there was any dirt on him, it’d be out by now.

    Marco Rubio has been married for 18 years and has 4 children. Mrs. Rubio was 25 when they were married and certainly had other options. The contentions re Rubio concerned (a) a twenty year old photograph taken at some gay dance club which shows a blurry image of a young man in the background of a similar physical type to Rubio and (b) his friendship with a fellow who (years later) went into the real estate business and rented some commercial space to a chap who turned out to be a purveyor of gay porn. (The real estate man in question also has a wife and children. He and his father were assessed fines by the authorities over their tenant’s activities, about which they denied any knowledge).

  41. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    11. September 2016 at 12:22

    US-appropriately he plays with KKK sympathies, always close enough to deniability of course.

    No, he doesn’t, because they hardly exist. The 2d incarnation of the Klan was a fad organization which had a five digit membership in 1919, a 7-digit membership in 1924, and a five digit membership in 1931. It formally dissolved in 1944. A successor organization was founded in 1946, but it broke up into a bevy of Klanlets in 1949. The Klanlets have had two or three of membership booms and busts. They’ve never been the least bit consequential outside of 3 or 4 states and typically have a sum of members of about 2,000, depending on whether or not you count the FBI informants. Collectively, they were responsible for about 16 homicides between 1953 and 1982 (7 in Mississippi, 5 in North Carolina, 3 in Alabama, and 1 in Georgia).

  42. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 13:54

    Graham is as queer as a three dollar bill, as they say. Art Deco is just being his usual cuckservative self here.

    mbka, the holocaust IS a detail of history, you protest far too much here.

  43. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    11. September 2016 at 13:56

    By TRumps Putin/Obama standard…Hitler was a stronger leader than Churchill… Churchill was constantly lamenting that what he wanted done wasn’t, he had to beg people to come around to his way of seeing things all the time…

    people didn’t disagree with hitler.

    By trump’s standards hitler was more admirable than Churchill.. ..coming from a guy who praised The leadership of north korea’s dictator… this logic shouldn’t be a big surprise… ( maybe some of the alt right fascist who post around here agree that hitler was more admirable than churchill )

    Of course one could argue that (((Churchill))) was actually the stronger leader because he HAD to work in a far less autocratic system and still get shit done…

  44. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    11. September 2016 at 14:56

    Graham is as queer as a three dollar bill,

    I take it you did him.

  45. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    11. September 2016 at 15:34

    Is Scott Sumner a neocon?

  46. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    11. September 2016 at 16:28

    What if Clinton faints during one of the three presidential debates?

    We may yet see a President…Kaine.

  47. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 18:00

    Art, your combination of anal-retentive faux-knowledge of US history and potty humor just aren’t cutting it, like mbka you need new material. BTW, you shouldn’t do name-calling like “Hitlery”, comparing Hillary to Hitler isn’t very fair to Hitler.

    @Gary, ask yourself: what is the difference between a liberal and a neocon.

    @Cole, increasingly, it looks like a vote for Hillary is really a vote for Kaine. So people should really be asking who this guy is.

  48. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    11. September 2016 at 18:54

    I’d much prefer Kaine to Clinton. Goes without saying Kaine is also better than Trump.

  49. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    11. September 2016 at 19:39

    Chuck,

    “mbka, the holocaust IS a detail of history, you protest far too much here.”

    Coming from the man (presumably) that whined about people getting called Nazis. Again, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

    List,

    if you are listening – THIS is the company you’re in. Yes, there are reasonable grievances, including over immigration and what have you. And as long as you stay with, say, the CSU / Seehofers of this world, it even feels like a reasonable discussion. But THIS, above, is where you end up with the extreme parties. All of them have gotten there, or soon will (AfD had its first brush with Gedeon).

  50. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 20:03

    @mbka

    I wasn’t “whining” about anyone getting called a Nazi, I don’t give two shits if you think I or anyone else is a Nazi (or a racist, etc. etc.). I was saying your schtick is getting boring. Which it really, really is.

  51. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 20:05

    And LOL @mbka thinking he gets to set the terms of debate on immigration. What a complete tool!

  52. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    11. September 2016 at 20:07

    I guess it’s too much to ask how what happened to the Jews in WW2 is not a detail of history?

  53. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    11. September 2016 at 20:34

    @Chuck you said: “@Gary, ask yourself: what is the difference between a liberal and a neocon.”

    Unfortunately, Chuck, there are right wing neocons and liberal neocons. It is no accident that Robert Kagan’s wife is an undersecretary of state. Victoria Nuland was the one who said we have 5 billion dollars to the Ukraine opposition. Regime change is alive and well.

    Having said that, neocons are too hard on Russia but Trump may be too naively easy. There has to be a balance. But trying to take over Russia by regime change or surround Russia is a big mistake on the part of the west.

    And Chuck, I hate neoconservatism. Only neocons would provoke Russia and even Pat Buchanan says that is nuts. He is a real conservative (I don’t agree with him on domestic policy).

    But our interests need to be watched for and Trump almost worships Putin. That is too far on the other side of the equation for me.

  54. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    12. September 2016 at 03:54

    And as long as you stay with, say, the CSU / Seehofers of this world, it even feels like a reasonable discussion.

    No, you’ll be sloughed off, lied to, subject to manipulative insults, treated to con man’s lulling behaviors. As we have been for fifty years.

  55. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    12. September 2016 at 06:13

    We can’t be soft on Russia, can we Scott? I never you knew you to be such a hawk. Strange.

    There is so much to not like about Trump. Why do you choose this?

    I guess Obama is all soft on Russia too.

    https://theintercept.com/2016/09/09/whats-behind-obamas-ongoing-accommodation-of-vladimir-putin/

  56. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    12. September 2016 at 07:40

    Sumner is ignorant. While I would not vote for Trump and hope he loses (being overseas, as a US citizen, I find it too much of a hassle to vote, there is so much paperwork these days), Sumner is ignorant of history. For example, Russia got Crimea from the Turks, and the majority of people there like Russia more than Ukraine. For Estonia, it’s different (they sided with Germany in WWII). And so on. But trust Sumner to wade in where angels fear to tread. Opines on Greek politics, beavers, the Philippines, what Trump is ‘really thinking’, China forecasts, and, oh, monetarism. The last one is so funny I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  57. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    12. September 2016 at 08:20

    Here’s an interesting bit on Hilary Clinton’s sophisticated diplomacy with Russian from Foreign Policy

    The Russian foreign-policy experts I consulted did not harbor even grudging respect for Clinton. The most damaging chapter of her tenure was the NATO intervention in Libya, which Russia could have prevented with its veto in the U.N. Security Council. Moscow allowed the mission to go forward only because Clinton had promised that a no-fly zone would not be used as cover for regime change.

    Russia’s leaders were understandably furious when, not only was former Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi ousted, but a cellphone recording of his last moments showed U.S.-backed rebels sodomizing him with a bayonet. They were even more enraged by Clinton’s videotaped response to the same news: “We came, we saw, he died,” the secretary of state quipped before bursting into laughter, cementing her reputation in Moscow as a duplicitous warmonger.

  58. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    12. September 2016 at 10:44

    MikeDC,

    I put more weight on the fact that virtually the entire US foreign policy establishment, both Republican and Democrat, are either behind Hillary Clinton, or at the very least are not endorsing Trump.

    None of us are enthusiastic about voting for Hillary, and I agree that she’s made some horrendous mistakes, but Trump, Johnson, and Stein are not serious candidates on foreign policy, and Stein and Trump aren’t serious in any other respect either.

    I expect Hillary to make the country somewhat worse, at least to the degree she gets her way, but somewhat worse is far better than what the alternatives have to offer.

  59. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    12. September 2016 at 11:28

    Hey Mike, Russians are naive if they think the neocons are not in charge and that regime change is not the policy of the USA.

    The only hope is that Clinton is like her husband, reluctant to go to war. Trump, if captured by the neocons will be pliable and warlike due to his hatred.

  60. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    12. September 2016 at 11:58

    I put more weight on the fact that virtually the entire US foreign policy establishment, both Republican and Democrat, are either behind Hillary Clinton, or at the very least are not endorsing Trump.

    You’re a remarkably conventional ‘thinker’. (While we’re at it, Lewis Amselem has endorsed Trump).

  61. Gravatar of Thiago Ribeiro Thiago Ribeiro
    12. September 2016 at 13:01

    “Gary Johnson, just this year, did praise a bloodthirsty tyrant -Hillary Clinton–”

    Huh… OK, then, carry on.

  62. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    12. September 2016 at 13:01

    Hey Scott Freelander,
    Do you weigh the collective wisdom of the foreign policy establishment as a positive or negative? And why?

    As a principled non-interventionist, I’m voting for Johnson. I don’t know if he’s a “serious” candidate or not, but the point should be that we should reduce the scope of the Presidency (and the American government in general) to the point that it shouldn’t be important if the President has instant recall of every woe-begotten place around the world that the Foreign Policy Establishment has decided would benefit from a rapid infusion of good old American made Mk 83 JDAMs

  63. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. September 2016 at 13:20

    Engineer, You said:

    “News Flash…we have boots on the ground in both countries….as I would hope she is aware of…thousands in Iraq and I’m guessing hundreds of special forces in Syria. She obviously has a problem with telling the truth to the public. I consider this far worse that Gary Johnson not being properly drilled by handlers on names and places.”

    Yup.

  64. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    12. September 2016 at 14:21

    MikeDC,

    A presidential candidate who’s never heard of Aleppo is not serious. Johnson obviously has done nothing to learn about foreign policy and apparently doesn’t even follow the news. I’m sure Russia, China, and Iran would love for the US to have a President who’s never heard of Aleppo.

    He’s better than Stein and vastly better than Trump, but that’s not saying much. At least Clinton understands where are conflicting interests are in the world, which is the first step toward working toward favorable resolutions.

  65. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    12. September 2016 at 14:22

    A vote for Johnson is a protest vote at best. Weld should be on the top of that ticket, as he’s far more credible.

  66. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    12. September 2016 at 14:38

    “Weld should be on the top of that ticket, as he’s far more credible.”

    -It’s weird that you claim to hold libertarian views, but then throw them out the window when it comes to picking candidates. And claim to have any regard for the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, at that. When has the bipartisan foreign policy establishment had any successes since the beginning of this century? Why is a guy who is for gun control and liberal Supreme Court justices at all a good presidential candidate, in your view?

    “but Trump, Johnson, and Stein are not serious candidates on foreign policy”

    -Trump is the best foreign policy candidate I’ve ever seen since Ron Paul.

    “Clinton understands where are conflicting interests are in the world”

    -Trump does so much better. He has a better intuition of which interests to side with.

    “She obviously has a problem with telling the truth to the public.”

    -No sh*t.

    “I consider this far worse that Gary Johnson not being properly drilled by handlers on names and places.”

    -I don’t agree at all. A president is expected to lie to the public, given enormous historic precedent for doing so. What bothers me even more about Hillary than about Johnson’s deplorable Aleppo ignorance is that she “listens” to advisors of this caliber:

    https://twitter.com/rosenbergerlm/status/773684010526601216

    Any person who tweets such stuff while advising a presidential candidate with a realistic chance of winning is dangerous, ignorant, and should not be allowed within a thousand miles of the White House.

    There is not one reason to vote for Hillary. She’s a disaster on foreign policy, the economy, regulation, federal overreach, picking judges, and picking the right people to listen to. None of the outcomes of Her nepotistic experience has shown Her to be even remotely qualified for the office of the presidency.

    There are many reasons to vote for Trump. Sound on foreign policy, sound on winning, sound on picking judges, and sound on regulation. Who ya gonna pick?

    @MikeDC, pick for someone who’ll win. I have seen no anti-interventionist instincts in any but Jill Stein’s body.

    Make America Great Again!

    Trump 2016!

  67. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    12. September 2016 at 18:05

    Scott Freelander,

    Do you mean to say that Johnson is an unserious candidate since he has a zero percent chance of winning, or that his lack of knowledge of the situation currently ongoing in Aleppo makes him fundamentally unserious?

    I would agree with the former, but am unsure as to the latter. It boggles the mind that we consider Hillary strong on foreign policy. Has she ever seen an intervention that she did not like? Giving TOW missiles to jihadists is not a “mistake” it is borderline batshit insane. Overthrowing Gaddafi, even after seeing the results of Iraq and Afghanistan is just as ridiculous. What’s the definition of insanity again?

    I think some people do not realize that there is, in essence, a “deep state” foreign policy apparatus in the US, comprised of the State Department, think tanks, the Pentagon, academia, and the various intelligence agencies. Not in a conspiracy theory Alex Jones type way, but rather an ecosystem that has feedback loops. This is what we mean when we say foreign policy establishment. To be a Very Serious Person among this establishment means that, by definition, you support intervention.

    In sum, when a candidate has the support of the foreign policy “thinkers,” that is a reason for me to take them less seriously.

    Of course, however, Trump is not the answer.

  68. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    12. September 2016 at 19:49

    “Of course, however, Trump is not the answer.”

    -The test is multiple choice. Trump is the best answer.

    “but am unsure as to the latter.”

    -I am very sure as to the latter.

  69. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    12. September 2016 at 20:11

    Scott will probably find this Cowen-Smith dialogue even more frustratingly point-missing than I did: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-12/debating-government-s-role-in-boosting-growth?cmpid%3D=socialflow-twitter-economics&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_content=economics&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

  70. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    13. September 2016 at 02:45

    Anon39,

    Johnson isn’t a serious candidate, because he doesn’t even follow the news closely. Even Trump apparently follows the news better than Johnson, even though he doesn’t understand it. Johnson would still be much better than Trump, but again, not saying much.

    I don’t know which people aren’t aware there’s a foreign policy establishment with a fair number of interventionists.

    I think the US has an indispensible role to play in managing the balance of power in multiple regions. We inherited that role from the UK in the early 20th century.

    I opposed the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, but now think we need to send probably 2 Marine divisions to Iraq to clean out ISIS, seal the border with Syria, and support expanded ground operations in Syria. We need to play the decisive role in managing the balance of power there in the interests of us and our allies, especially to counter Iran and Russia, and try to help tamp down conflicts, such as those between the Kurds and Turkey, for example. I favor a permanent US presence in Kurdistan toward that end, and the end of keeping Ambar province out of the hands of terrorist groups.

    I also favor shifting resources east in Europe to keep Putin in his place, and to increase our presence in Asia sufficiently to let China know they will not be able to compete with us there militarily for at least a generation. This would include the installation of missile defense shields for our allies.

    I am not libertarian. I consider myself a realist on foreign policy. Clinton is far from perfect, but at least she recognizes that these contests for control of regional balances of power exist.

  71. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 04:08

    A vote for Johnson is a protest vote at best. Weld should be on the top of that ticket, as he’s far more credible.

    The real William Weld is a stone-cold careerist you’d only vote for if your conception of optimal public policy is whatever goes down passably in the social circles in which he has traveled all his life. His conflict with Jesse Helms was between a man who actually had defensible reasons for seeking and holding political office and a man who was relieving his boredom between bouts of law practice and finance.

  72. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 04:16

    A president is expected to lie to the public, given enormous historic precedent for doing so.

    No. Figures on Capitol Hill (e.g. Barber Conable) were genuinely mortified by Richard Nixon’s lying. Dwight Eisenhower’s lying over Gary Powers was also an embarrassment. In the Reagan Era, you didn’t have thoroughgoing mendacity, although you did have quite a bit of artifice. Bush the Elder split the difference between artifice and bald lying. It was only with Clinton that it was apparent that politicians and public alike would accept systematically dishonest people. (Re old style machine politics, I think bosses where generally careful not to slate ward heelers for marquee offices. You got someone fairly respectable for those offices who then distributed patronage to your people. Or, as Averill Harriman put it about the people who recruited him, “Carmine’s always after me for patronage. Alec just wants ‘representation’).

  73. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 04:19

    I think some people do not realize that there is, in essence, a “deep state” foreign policy apparatus in the US, comprised of the State Department, think tanks, the Pentagon, academia, and the various intelligence agencies.

    That there are policy establishments from which elected officials draw is not going to surprise anyone who follows public affairs, nor is it limited to foreign relations. That’s not what’s meant by the ‘deep state’.

  74. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 04:22

    There is not one reason to vote for Hillary. She’s a disaster on foreign policy, the economy, regulation, federal overreach, picking judges, and picking the right people to listen to. None of the outcomes of Her nepotistic experience has shown Her to be even remotely qualified for the office of the presidency.

    See Bradford deLong’s account of Hilligula as team leader re health-care policy. She has no natural aptitude for it. She wasn’t much of a legislator, either. Her tenure as Secretary of State was tarnished by various misbegotten enterprises (quite apart from her years long effort at avoiding FOIA requests). She’s good at one thing: contriving money-laundering schemes.

  75. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    13. September 2016 at 07:22

    “I favor a permanent US presence in Kurdistan toward that end, and the end of keeping Ambar province out of the hands of terrorist groups.”

    -What are your plans for Aleppo, al-Bab, Damascus, and Raqqa?

    “I also favor shifting resources east in Europe to keep Putin in his place,”

    -He is in his place.

    “and to increase our presence in Asia sufficiently to let China know they will not be able to compete with us there militarily for at least a generation.”

    -Chinese average IQ is higher than American. China will find a way to compete.

    “This would include the installation of missile defense shields for our allies.”

    -Trump favors this. I don’t. Missile defence shields serve no purpose but to inflame tensions.

  76. Gravatar of Michael H Cardwell Michael H Cardwell
    13. September 2016 at 07:56

    I think the US has an indispensible role to play in managing the balance of power in multiple regions. We inherited that role from the UK in the early 20th century.

    I opposed the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, but now think we need to send probably 2 Marine divisions to Iraq to clean out ISIS, seal the border with Syria, and support expanded ground operations in Syria. We need to play the decisive role in managing the balance of power there in the interests of us and our allies, especially to counter Iran and Russia, and try to help tamp down conflicts, such as those between the Kurds and Turkey, for example. I favor a permanent US presence in Kurdistan toward that end, and the end of keeping Ambar province out of the hands of terrorist groups.

    I also favor shifting resources east in Europe to keep Putin in his place, and to increase our presence in Asia sufficiently to let China know they will not be able to compete with us there militarily for at least a generation. This would include the installation of missile defense shields for our allies.

    I consider myself a realist on foreign policy. Clinton is far from perfect, but at least she recognizes that these contests for control of regional balances of power exist.

    A realist eh? I could tell by your practical, and totally well thought out plans to send in the Marines and put the leader of a nation with all sorts of nuclear weapons “in his place”.

    This is exactly why we need Johnson and why America needs to be out of the Indispensible Leadershippy business. “Realism” and “Seriousness” does not constitute applying the jargon and depth of thinking of a domestic political campaign to international relations.

  77. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    13. September 2016 at 07:57

    Art Deco,

    Maybe I was unclear in my explanation. The Pentagon, the State Dept, the US Intel agencies, academia, and think tanks all push for intervention (Iraq, Af-Pak, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand, Lebanon, Yemen, Nuland and her Ukraine insanity, etc.) The bureaucracy has a mind of its own and it only swims in one direction. Even presidents who are, by all appearances, reflexively anti-intervention cannot turn the ship around.

    It is reminiscent of Lois Lerner and the IRS fiasco, or for a nonpolitical take: it matters not who the head of the VA is, the employees’ one interest is in maintaining lack of accountability while increasing their benefits. The head of an organization as large and diverse in purpose as the US Gov ultimately has less say in its various undertakings than we imagine.

    Scott Freelander,

    Fair enough, I think we simply differ in our estimates of how likely a good outcome is from sending US troops into a country with no clear mission.

    For what it’s worth, a US base in Kurdistan would :

    – cause a war with Iraq, Iran, and Turkey
    – dissolve NATO, or at the least Turkey leaves in protest
    – we now have a base that is impossible to be resupplied, surrounded by hostile foreign powers
    – make the US the arbiter of solving the differences between the Maoist Turkish Kurds and Iraqi Kurds, potentially leading to a civil war

    In short, I do not think you thought that through completely.

    As to Europe, the real question is are we willing to risk nuclear war for an ethnically Russian village in Eastern Estonia. Personally, I would say that again is completely insane.

    Cheers

  78. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    13. September 2016 at 08:16

    Speaking of the ill-informed leading uninformed, how about the new Minneapolis Fed President;

    https://medium.com/@neelkashkari/nonmonetary-problems-diagnosing-and-treating-the-slow-recovery-47beca34054e#.6wwjcqcpr

    ————–quote————
    Why has the economic recovery been so slow?

    Major central banks have implemented extraordinarily accommodative monetary policies, including record low interest rates for many years and quantitative easing programs, which have driven down long-term interest rates and driven up asset prices via large-scale asset purchases. When these programs were launched, some experts expressed understandable concerns that these programs could result in high inflation. Although, eight years on, it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, inflation has been too low rather than too high for several years. When accommodative monetary policies were coupled with expansionary fiscal policies, other experts had reasonably expected a strong recovery from the depths of the Great Recession. Going back decades, the U.S. economy has exhibited a remarkable ability to bounce back: The rule of thumb was the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery. Yet, the U.S. economy has experienced the weakest recovery in the postwar period, despite unprecedented policy responses to a very deep recession. Why?
    ————-endquote————

    Well, Neil, try stropping Occam’s Razor: Monetary Policy has not been expansionary enough! So, you’re wrong to say; ‘Monetary policy is largely doing what it can to support a robust recovery, and what remains are fiscal and regulatory policies.’

  79. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    13. September 2016 at 08:23

    Well said Anon. Israel has a huge influence the government. Regime change is an Israeli idea put forward by Oded Yinon over 30 years ago. It is the secret policy of a very wicked US government. Regime change is a diversion.

    Art Deco, are you a Zionist globalist favoring regime change? If not what is your opinion of Oded Yinon’s writings?

  80. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    13. September 2016 at 08:23

    Correction, the war on terror is the diversion. Regime change is our secret official policy.

  81. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    13. September 2016 at 08:31

    Anon39,

    Iran, Iraq, and Turkey don’t want war with us. Of course it wouldn’t start a war, and if it did, it would be one that any or all of them would deeply regret. Iraq couldn’t even fend off ISIS on its own, and Turkey wanting to take on the US? It’s absurd.

    Your assumption that Turkey would abandon NATO is totally unfounded. To do so would greatly diminish their diplomatic power and kill any remote chance they had at ever joining the EU.

    As far as resupply is concerned, there’s nothing and would be nothing stopping us from using the Persian Gulf. Kuwait would deny us? Iraq? Really? Safe to say, if we want to supply operations there, we can force the issue, not that we’d have to.

    And as far as deploying NATO troops on Russia’s border, they won’t fight a nuclear war over it. That’s absurd also. Previously, we were going to install ABM systems on their borders.

    I’m not sure where your panic comes from, but we’re still a gorilla on the world stage that gets what we want, when we really want it.

  82. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    13. September 2016 at 08:53

    Scott,

    Maybe the difference here is a definition of Kurdistan. No, a base in northern Iraq would not cause a war. Carving out parts of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran to create an independent state called Kurdistan that overlapped with the various Kurdish peoples living there would cause a war.

    Turkey takes its sovereignty seriously and that includes its Kurdish areas. Iraq and Iran are also not going to give up part of their territories willingly.

    Now, would Iran actually declare war on the United States? Or would they use Shiite militias and the IRGC to make life a nightmare in these areas? Would the US invade Iran proper to stop “unauthorized” shelling of the new glorious Kurdistan?

    This is a road that leads nowhere positive. Iraq sure as hell would not willingly let us resupply bases in Kurdistan if the end goal is to lop off their northern sector and vastly reduce their oil reserves. Then we secure our LOCs how? What’s to stop Shiite and Sunni militias from bombing the main highway from Basra to Kirkuk? We’re talking about countries that do not have a monopoly on violence and have little control over armed groups.

    Yes, our military is the strongest. No, that does not give us omnipotence. I do not mean to say that Russia will nuke the US if we put troops in NATO countries. I am saying in the 21st century there is a spectrum of armed conflict and once it begins it can take radically different directions. It is also extremely hard to stop (see Putin, Ukraine).

    My panic, as it were, comes from living the foreign policy of the United States. If we cannot control highway 1 in Afghanistan with 100,000 troops and over 200,000 Afghan troops, let alone the South and East of the country, then where you see a “gorilla” I see a gorilla in mud up to its neck frantically trying to move its arms.

    Cheers

  83. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    13. September 2016 at 09:21

    Anon39,

    I see Kurdistan as encompassing only the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. I never stated I wanted to build a greater Kurdistan by taking land from Turkey, Iran, etc. The Kurds have been spilling blood to fend off ISIS and gain back some of the territory the Iraqi army abandoned. They deserve the land. However, once our troops are on the ground, we can negotiate from a position of strength and perhaps grant the Kurds part of Syria too.

    As far as Iran making our lives difficult in Kurdistan is concerned, they are in a much weaker position in the region than we are. It was fairly recently they had to whether revolutionary movements that threatened to topple the regime. Their government continues to have a serious legitimacy problem, and we can up support of Saudi Arabia, including especially in Yemen.

    And when it comes to oil reserves in Kurdistan, there is a much lower density of them than in southern Iraq, where the bulk of the reserves are. The real problem would be that the Kurds might risk giving up some oil revenue sharing. I think our goal should be to aid economic development in an independent Kurdistan, with the hope that they can get ahead of the curve when it comes to diversifying their economy in preparation for a world that, within a generation, could have significantly less oil demand/unit of economic growth at least, if not begin to have less demand outright.

    As far as militias operating in Anbar, for example, are concerned, they can do what they want as long as they don’t threaten our interests. If they threaten our positions, general stability, or the balance of power, we should have no mercy on them. Contingent development assistance could help to keep the locals from supporting such militias.

    With regard to Russia, Putin only understands firm, physical limits. A significant number of NATO troops, properly equipped to repel invasion right on his border will settle him down. Putin is not stupid.

  84. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    13. September 2016 at 09:21

    As to Europe, the real question is are we willing to risk nuclear war for an ethnically Russian village in Eastern Estonia. Personally, I would say that again is completely insane.

    This is the real domain of foreign policy, and the reason the theatrics of presidential elections should be kept as far away from it as possible. The real “game” is in subtly influencing other countries and building trust so this sort of issue (Estonia) never becomes a public issue (and thus a matter of national pride) in the first place.

  85. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    13. September 2016 at 09:59

    Johnson may have had a bone-headed moment re. Aleppo, but I suspect what really has the neocons and neoliberals riled up is his subsequent response, which wasn’t the usual “bombs away”.

  86. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    13. September 2016 at 10:02

    @Gary Anderson

    Art Deco is a cuckservative. That should answer your question.

  87. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 10:24

    Maybe I was unclear in my explanation. The Pentagon, the State Dept, the US Intel agencies, academia, and think tanks all push for intervention (Iraq, Af-Pak, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand, Lebanon, Yemen, Nuland and her Ukraine insanity, etc.) The bureaucracy has a mind of its own and it only swims in one direction. Even presidents who are, by all appearances, reflexively anti-intervention cannot turn the ship around.

    Come again? The CIA officers most prominent since 2002 have been Michael Scheuer and Paul Pillar and the dame who got canned for trying to undermine the Bush Administration with leaking. The military is notorious for institutional conservatism regarding the decision to use force (rather than modes of applying force once the decision is made). The State Department is less force averse, but that’s only one vector. See Lewis Amselem on the culture of the Foreign Service. The place is chock-a-block with people who have a cosmopolitan outlook and are, push comes to shove, antagonistic to the interests of the country which employs them.

    Academic political science is not shot through with Marxists and Social Justice Warriors the way sociology is. It is, however, a discipline dominated by gliberals and leftoids and has been since roughly 1940. The locus you’re most likely to see conservatives would be among political theoreticians, who are concerned with intellectual history. A generation ago, IR had about three coarse schools of thought: Realist, liberal, and radical. Modal among the latter were ‘radical structuralists’ like Immanuel Wallerstein, not out and out Marxists. The most prominent liberals were Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, neither of whom were the sort to recommend force or think it utile. “Realists” are not all that force-averse, but they tend to be skeptical of foreign entanglements which look like social work (Henry Kissinger is an exemplary realist). You might find an academic political scientist who recommends force in a given set of circumstances. It would be difficult to find a nest of them who are dispositionally so committed.

  88. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 10:31

    Well, Neil, try stropping Occam’s Razor: Monetary Policy has not been expansionary enough! So, you’re wrong to say; ‘Monetary policy is largely doing what it can to support a robust recovery, and what remains are fiscal and regulatory policies.’

    There has been a secular decline in levels of economic dynamism in this country visible for more than 40 years. The period running from 1970 to 1991 was less dynamic than the period running from 1947 to 1970, and the period running from 1991 to 2009 was (on balance) less dynamic than the period which preceded it. Have we had 46 years of insufficiently accommodating monetary policy? Or is that not the problem here? (Or, perhaps, are we commencing with the assumption that an abnormally dynamic period should be the norm?).

    -Chinese average IQ is higher than American. China will find a way to compete.

    IIRC, Scandinavians and Japanese score rather well on those tests, all things considered. They still haven’t owned us.

  89. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 10:36

    How could I forget the husband and wife duo of Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame?

  90. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    13. September 2016 at 10:50

    Art,

    Whatever axe to grind you might have, I don’t think it’s with me. I am 100% convinced now, however, that you do not have experience working inside or with these apparati. Anecdata about high profile agents does nothing to dispel the notion that these agencies have a strong bias towards intervention. Intervention does not mean invasion, it could be a Ukraine situation, giving money and TOW missiles to radical jihadist groups in Syria, drone strikes, intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia for their idiotic crusade in Yemen, etc. Samantha Power/Susan Rice and their R2P insanity shows this nonsense is thoroughly bipartisan.

    I’d love to hear your preferred policy preferences, and remain open to persuasion. But to say that the foreign policy apparatus in the US does not have a bipartisan bias towards intervention strikes me as erroneous.

    Cheers

  91. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 11:28

    Whatever axe to grind you might have, I don’t think it’s with me. I am 100% convinced now, however, that you do not have experience working inside or with these apparati.

    The remainder of your post is dedicated to telling me that actual history, scholarly opinion, and precise examples is less reliable than what you pull out of your rear end.

  92. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    13. September 2016 at 12:17

    Scott,

    So you were a super dove in 2001, and now you’re a ‘realist’?

    John Mearsheimer is a realist. Here he is, 2.5 years ago. Prophetic, as usual.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/opinion/getting-ukraine-wrong.html?_r=0

    Demonizing Russia is stupid. Stop it. I blame Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  93. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    13. September 2016 at 12:25

    Afraid to answer me Deco? What do you think of Oded Yinon’s writings about regime change? And don’t tell me you don’t know about Yinon Zionism.

    Oh, and by the way, paying out interest on reserves may be expansionary, as you say, Scott. This is page 2 of an article on Talkmarkets. http://www.talkmarkets.com/content/global-markets/now-lending-money-is-a-privilege?post=106044&page=2

    The author says:

    “The motivating factor behind the growth in negative bonds is the ECB’s policy of charging commercial banks a rate of minus 0.4 percent to keep cash on deposit overnight. This has resulted in much of the European sovereign bond markets trading at negative rates well into the mid-range of the yield curve. The ECB is turning cash into an undesirable asset class in Europe. Holding cash is too expensive, at least more expensive than holding negative yielding bonds. Investors may lose 0.05 percent holding corporate debt but that is preferable to losing 0.4 percent depositing the cash in a commercial bank.”

    So Scott, bond prices can go up, cash doesn’t. The corporate bonds are a better deal. So, in a way, this could expand big business.

  94. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    13. September 2016 at 13:05

    Lewis amselem? The guy that thinks Hillary is using a body double, democrats are a criminal party, and progressives are literally undermining America? That says Obama is a secret Muslim intent on destroying the United States. The man that remains convinced that progressives are allying with Islam In order to destroy the west… Jesus Christ, no wonder we can’t agree on basic premises.

    Yes the neoliberal IR theorists in vogue you mentioned: that’s still intervention. Intervening in other countries’ affairs is intervention. That’s my entire point. From CNAS to Nye to Heritage to the CIA to the state department, there’s no voice for saying “let’s let other people live their lives and leave them alone. Please cut our budget by 50%”

    Free trade with all, Entanglements with none please.

  95. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. September 2016 at 13:41

    Art, You said:

    “No. Figures on Capitol Hill (e.g. Barber Conable) were genuinely mortified by Richard Nixon’s lying. Dwight Eisenhower’s lying over Gary Powers was also an embarrassment. In the Reagan Era, you didn’t have thoroughgoing mendacity, although you did have quite a bit of artifice. Bush the Elder split the difference between artifice and bald lying.”

    I actually agree with this. That’s why it’s so shocking the casual way that trump lies about supporting the Iraq War, promising to release his tax returns and 1000 other issues. Politicians often shade the truth, but it’s rare to see someone lie repeatedly on points that are easy to check. But Trump and his supporters simply do not care.

    Brian, You said:

    “We can’t be soft on Russia, can we Scott? I never you knew you to be such a hawk. Strange.”

    I’ve been called an inflation hawk before, but never a foreign policy hawk. If I’m a hawk, what do you call neocons? :)

  96. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 14:19

    Lewis amselem? The guy that thinks Hillary is using a body double, democrats are a criminal party, and progressives are literally undermining America? That says Obama is a secret Muslim intent on destroying the United States. The man that remains convinced that progressives are allying with Islam In order to destroy the west… Jesus Christ, no wonder we can’t agree on basic premises.

    1. Gerald Ford had a body double (he is depicted and named in Ron Nessen’s memoir of the Ford Administration). The Secret Service employ them. Hilligula has had SS protection for 25 years.

    2. The Democratic Party is a criminal organization. Deal with it. If you want an example of that criminality, review some of John Koskinen’s testimony in front of Congress, or ask yourself why Eric Holder assigned the Lerner case to a BO campaign donor.

    3. A characteristic feature of ‘progressive’ activity and discourse is episodic campaigns to injure institutions relied on and staffed by ordinary people (e.g. the police and the military) and to inject ‘progressive’ activity into the daily routines of such institutions even when it is gratuitous and makes no sense. They’re parisitoid wasps. ‘Progressives’ also tend to be cosmopolitans who experience ‘leapfrogging loyalties’, favoring exotic groups over proximate groups that they despise. Most people’s loyalties are concentric. (BTW, leapfrogging loyalties is a feature of academics in general, the Mercatus crew being prime examples).

    4. I do not believe Lewis Amselem has ever referred to Obama as a Muslim, secret or otherwise. His actual assessment of BO is here:

    http://www.thediplomad.com/2015/02/obama-muslim-hater-of-america.html

    I think Thomas Sowell’s Vision of the Anointed is a step to understanding BO’s worldview. It was published in 1995 and not written with BO in mind. See also Sowell’s commentary on the ‘one-uppers’.

  97. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 14:30

    That’s why it’s so shocking the casual way

    You’ve put up with the Clintons for 25 years. You put up with characters like Douglas Shulman just fine. You put up with BO, who has gotten away scot free with things that Richard Nixon could not accomplish because his own appointees (e.g. Randolph Thrower) refused to co-operate. But you want me to think you’re ‘shocked’. I’m not shocked. I think police officers, firefighters soldiers, engineers, IT guys, and pharmacists are generally straight-up. In my experience, so are common-and-garden accountants and self-employed tradesmen like plumbers. The retail supervisors I’ve known personally were decent as far as I could tell. Physicians and peri-medical practitioners (other than pharmacists) are like this and like that. I’ve had some congenial dealings with people in real estate. Just about everyone else in a professional or salaried occupation should be assumed to be a BS artist unless they demonstrate otherwise.

  98. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 14:38

    From CNAS to Nye to Heritage to the CIA to the state department, there’s no voice for saying “let’s let other people live their lives and leave them alone. Please cut our budget by 50%”

    I know alt-right types fancy they’re frightfully clever with aphorisms like ‘invade the world, invite the world’. The only problem is that their aphorism is BS. We invaded not the world but Iraq and Afghanistan. The latter had committed a horrendus casus belli and we’d been in a state of belligerency with the former for 12 years and faced a trilemma (never acknowledged by soi-disant ‘non-interventionists’) over how to proceed.

    The political class and the intelligentsia like to displace responsibility for their problems on various bogies (Israel and the United States to name two). They do that not because we injure them, but because it’s minimally plausible to them in their circle jerks (whereas blaming Canada would just seem non sequitur). They’re given succor by our domestic intelligentsia, who have their own issues worked out in political discourse. It’s all rot, though.

  99. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    13. September 2016 at 14:38

    Well Art, I think we may have to agree to disagree on some major issues.

    I do think we can still find some things in common. We both:

    1. Care deeply about America, as a nation. If I dare to make an assumption, I’d say you’re deeply patriotic in a good way. I fought in these stupid wars if that means anything to you.

    2. We both loathe Obama, but for mostly different reasons. He supported a surge he didn’t believe in nor resource sufficiently, leading to thousands of completely pointless deaths. All gains were lost immediately due to his policy of pulling out of pacified areas. He had to have known this would happen, although I won’t go into details for obvious reasons. I think that makes him a devious political opportunist. I take it personally, my dead friends are still dead. This isn’t an argument about marginal tax rates. This is, as cormac McCarthy would say, life and death issues. I still don’t think he hates the west or America.

    3. We both see the Democratic Party as corrupt. I just don’t see the Republican Party as any less corrupt in general. No one is looking out for America’s interests. That left the scene with Eisenhower.

    4. You’re right about putting SJW nonsense into areas it doesn’t belong. Under Obama we had to stop a live range and literally make all soldiers rotate into a tent to watch The Invisible War, due to some stupid interpretation of an executive order about sexual assault.

    Cheers

  100. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 14:39

    “The political class and intelligentsia abroad”

  101. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 14:45

    I just don’t see the Republican Party as any less corrupt in general.

    There’s a distinction between the federal capital in both parties. The Capitol Hill / K Street nexus is bloody awful. See Ted Cruz complaints about AM McConnell vis a vis the Export-Import Bank.

    The distinction between the two parties concerns not corruption, but ambition and abuse. Republican judges are generally useless when push comes to shove, occasionally abusive (see Anthony Kennedy). Democratic judges are guaranteed to abuse. It’s the same at the state level. Republicans are not the authors of deplorable policy other than candy tossed at clients. They just do not accomplish a blessed thing. At the local level, you see the same passivity. Republicans should be pushing metropolitan policing and federative metropolitan authorities with a division of labor between metropolis and constituent municipalities. Where I’m from, what Republican pols do begins and ends with whining about property taxes.

    Every once in a while, you find a Republican pol who shines: Rudolph Giuliani, Tommy Thompson, and Scott Walker to name three.

  102. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. September 2016 at 14:46

    “between the federal capital and states and localities”

  103. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    13. September 2016 at 15:02

    Art,

    I think we may have more in common than in difference.

    I can’t speak with any knowledge about republican local governance anywhere, and so I won’t offer an opinion. My experience with government is entirely confined to national security which is federal by nature. I do have strong opinions on these matters because it is a personal issue to me. For some it’s an intellectual exercise, for me It has been a life.

    I offer no rebuttal to judges or federal attorneys abusing their power. I do, however, believe that the federal government should have less authority rather than more over localities. If Baltimore wants to burn itself to the ground, I can choose to not live there. Exit > voice in my opinion.

    If Scott walker was the nominee I would actually bother to vote.

    Cheers

  104. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    13. September 2016 at 17:33

    Scott Walker? I take back the good complement about you, Anon. Well, maybe not all the way back, but Scott Walker is a cretin. If you don’t know what that is find an old psychology textbook.

    And Deco, the Democratic Party is a criminal organization but the Republican party did 9/11. Can’t get much more criminal than that!

    I bet you can’t figure that out any more than you can figure out Oded Yinon, Deco. You are acting like you aren’t very bright. I think you aren’t.

    Thank God Scott Sumner is not a neocon. Hillary is, but she is a very reluctant neocon, like Obama was, with Nuland as secretary of state.

    You all know she is married to Robert Kagan, cofounder of PNAC along with William Kristol. PNAC called for a new Pearl Harbor on its website a year before 9/11. Which of you retards, err I mean readers, think that was just a coincidence?

  105. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    13. September 2016 at 19:16

    Just another day at the office:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-reminder-of-the-permanent-wars-dozens-of-us-airstrikes-in-six-countries/2016/09/08/77cde914-7514-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html

    Yup, no invasion here, certainly nothing that compares in significance to discussions of Truman’s political career in Kansas City.

  106. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    13. September 2016 at 20:38

    Gary Johnson has no chance of being elected. We are going to get Democrats with Hillary or Republicans with Trump. Hillary and Trump are equally bad. So the decision is really do you want Democrats or Republicans. The Democrats are now more left wing than ever so with them we will get a liberal court system and dramatic increases in spending and regulations. Republicans will likely not be conservative but will also not likely be as big spenders as the Democrats. For all his faults, Trump is tight with money. Just look at the amount he spends on his campaign compared to Hillary.

    The decision to me is simple. I choose the Republicans over the Democrats.

  107. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    14. September 2016 at 05:27

    Scott, on Russia, saber-rattling, etc…

    “Some majority Russia village on the Estonian border votes to join Russia, and Putin invades and annexes.”

    This is Bogeyman 101. Right up there with the best of the neocons.

  108. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    14. September 2016 at 11:15

    @ Bob O

    It’s irrelevant that Johnson won’t win the election. At a deterministic level, no one’s vote is going to decide the election.

    What they can do, however, is provide currency for longer term policy shifts. A vote for the Libertarian candidate is a signal in the repeated game called governance that votes are available to candidates who adopt more libertarian positions.

    A vote for either of the main parties doesn’t provide them with any incentive to change their policies.

  109. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    14. September 2016 at 12:18

    A vote for the Libertarian candidate is a signal in the repeated game called governance that votes are available to candidates who adopt more libertarian positions.

    Except that the candidates’ libertarianism is largely counterfeit. You can look at their site here

    It’s 80% hyperconventional business Republican bitch leavened with the Libertarian Party’s Spicoli staples, all badly presented. These guys may not be as shallow as all that, but they don’t care if you get the impression they are.

    And, of course, they have no intention of enforcing the immigration laws.

  110. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    14. September 2016 at 12:21

    I had to delete the link because multiple iterations of it get caught in the spam filter.

  111. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    14. September 2016 at 12:38

    Except that the candidates’ libertarianism is largely counterfeit. You can look at their site here

    At the national election level, every ism is largely counterfeit.

    The stupid, superficial, half-*ssed version of libertarianism is still demonstrably better than the equally counterfeit versions of liberalism and conservatism.

  112. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    14. September 2016 at 12:51

    The stupid, superficial, half-*ssed version of libertarianism is still demonstrably better than the equally counterfeit versions of liberalism and conservatism.

    Well, go ahead and ‘demonstrate’ to your heart’s content.

  113. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    15. September 2016 at 03:56

    It’s more participation than ‘demonstration’. Look, I could quote you all of the dogma about how voting is illogical and whatnot, but I’m sure you know it as well.

    At the end of the day, voting is no different than the hundred other completely illogical social activities we participate in. It’s fine to question the logic of it, but if you make yourself that jackass who gets up on a soap box about it, you’re not going to get yourself anywhere good.

    Rather, I vote because it’s the cherry on top of the conscious act of participation. But participation as a whole is a much bigger and more important activity… it’s talking to and working with lots of people and consciously not forming a bubble. Example: I have lots of Facebook friends from high school that like to talk politics, and bringing my experience into the conversation in a non-demeaning, non-confrontational way usually makes these discussions go better.

    Do people learn anything? Am I persuasive? I don’t know that I’d go that far. But I’m certain that it’s better than everyone dismissively sneering at each other. Voting is the endpoint of that realization. You vote because it gives credibility to your position, not because you think you’re going to determine the election. Just the same as I know fighting is wrong, but when I was a kid, if someone made jokes about my mom, they got hit. It’s illogical in the act, but viewed as a repeated game it creates a stable equilibrium.

  114. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    15. September 2016 at 06:51

    Brian, If two years ago I had suggested that there was a small chance of Russia invading Crimea, would you have called me a neocon?

    If anything, Putin’s been far worse than I predicted, I did not see Crimea coming.

    And I never suggested an Estonian invasion was likely, just the opposite. I think you need to take a deep breath—I’m about as far from people like McCain as it is possible to be. Remember when I praised black voters for saving us from a President McCain? That was about foreign policy.

  115. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    15. September 2016 at 07:21

    @MikeDC: outstanding post. Wish there were many more like you.

  116. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    15. September 2016 at 09:23

    Scott,

    [deep breath] Crimea was part of Russia prior to Khrushchev trying to impress his girlfriend in 1954, back when no one envisioned the eventual break-up of the USSR. Strategically, there’s the Black Sea issue. And the population is majority Russian.

    I believe your worldview is pretty far from neocon. This is precisely why I’ve made comments expressing surprise at some of the neoconish things you’ve written recently about Russia.

    It’s all good.

  117. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    15. September 2016 at 10:57

    Remember when I praised black voters for saving us from a President McCain?

    We got BO instead, a man who had no business running and who hasn’t made a correct decision when it mattered. Exhibit #637 in the file marked ‘Contemporary Academic Libertarianism is Humbug’.

  118. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    16. September 2016 at 03:43

    @brian Donohue

    That Kruschev stuff is just silly, you sound like Art Deco. The fact is, Russia’s actions in the Crimea were completely legitimate security concerns in response to US destabilization of the Ukraine. The reason Scott “didn’t see it coming” is because, like the neocons he views the US as “exceptional” and can’t even fathom how others might view things differently. Maybe you’d say the Russians are just being paranoid? Maybe, but I doubt it. The point is, if you can’t contemplate how others might not find the US untrustworthy, then you’re well on your way to being a neocon.

  119. Gravatar of Chuck Biscuits Chuck Biscuits
    16. September 2016 at 03:45

    Should have said, “how others might find the US untrustworthy “

  120. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    16. September 2016 at 04:05

    @Chuck,

    Actually, you probably shouldn’t have said anything, considering your 100% misunderstanding of my comment.

  121. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    16. September 2016 at 04:07

    @Chuck,

    Art can get a little obsessive, and he’s wrong a decent percentage of the time like all of us, but he knows stuff. I’ve learned stuff from him.

    Good day, sir.

  122. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    16. September 2016 at 04:11

    @Chuck,

    I’ll say it. I’ve even learned stuff from Ray Lopez. Mostly chess and patents and MONEY IS NEUTRAL. but…

    I like learning stuff. It seems a lot of people on the Internet are here only to let other people know what’s what. Quixotic, IMO.

  123. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    17. September 2016 at 06:32

    Brian, You said:

    “Crimea was part of Russia prior to Khrushchev trying to impress his girlfriend in 1954, back when no one envisioned the eventual break-up of the USSR. Strategically, there’s the Black Sea issue. And the population is majority Russian.”

    As I’m sure you know, that logic would provide justification for all sorts of nasty nationalists. The Hungarians make a big deal about the parts of Romania that used to be part of Hungary, and that are mostly ethnically Hungarian. How would you feel about the quasi-fascist Hungarian government invading Romania? How about the German invasion of the Sudentenland?

    There are dozens of places around the world where boundaries have shifted. There are parts of the US that are 90% ethnically Mexican, and that we took from Mexico.

    Once you stop viewing the non-aggression principle as absolute, you run into a host of troubles.

    How many successful annexations have there been since 1945? Iraq failed in Kuwait and Argentina failed in the Falklands. Indonesian failed in East Timor. India took Sikkim and Morocco seems to be winning in Spanish Sahara. And now Russia succeeded in Crimea. But these successes are really rare, and need to be really rare, or else we are in big trouble.

  124. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. September 2016 at 22:00

    The Hungarians make a big deal about the parts of Romania that used to be part of Hungary, and that are mostly ethnically Hungarian. How would you feel about the quasi-fascist Hungarian government invading Romania? How about the German invasion of the Sudentenland?

    The government of Hungary is not fascist at all (and gets high marks from Freedom House). It just rejects Eurotrash cosmopolitanism. There are no Germans left in Bohemia and Moravia. The Hungarians in Roumania are a minority everywhere bar Szekely Land, which is not contiguous with Hungary.

  125. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. September 2016 at 05:24

    Typical Art Deco comment:

    “There are no Germans left in Bohemia and Moravia.”

    Trying to show off his knowledge of history by providing an unimportant detail that has no bearing on my observation about “the German invasion of the Sudentenland” which actually took place in 1938.

  126. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    19. September 2016 at 08:40

    Scott,

    Have some Burke:

    “Circumstances (which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing colour and discriminating effect.”

    Now I will sit quietly while you explain to me what the proper response to Russia taking the Crimea was.

  127. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    19. September 2016 at 09:12

    Trying to show off his knowledge of history by providing an unimportant detail that has no bearing on my observation about “the German invasion of the Sudentenland” which actually took place in 1938.

    The actual residents of the Germanophone portions of Bohemia and Moravia were quite at home with Germany occupying the territory. Attempting to argue that the borders between Germany and Czechoslovakia were sacrosanct is de trop inasmuch as the borders of Czechoslovakia were fixed only in 1919 and the Austrian government of that day objected to the border placements as being in violation of Wilson’s 14 points (coincident with the German Government’s objections).

  128. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. September 2016 at 10:30

    Brian, I know very little about foreign policy, so I will not attempt to provide a proper response, with one exception:

    1. I would refrain from praising Trump as a strong leader who is good for his country. Is that too much to ask?

    The fact that Trump apparently knows even less about foreign policy than I do is truly frightening.

    As for whether we should have economic sanctions, I leave that up to the experts.

    Art, Good to see that Harding has an ally in his defense of Hitler’s invasion.

  129. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    19. September 2016 at 14:43

    Art, Good to see that Harding has an ally in his defense of Hitler’s invasion.

    Hitler occupied the German portions of Bohemia and Moravia in September 1938 subsequent to a diplomatic conference. He invaded the remainder of Bohemia and Moravia (against everyone’s wishes) six months later. His invasion has not been under discussion here.

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