It’s Not A Religion Exactly, But It Engages The Beliefs, Moral Sentiments, & Actions Of Millions

Full review here.

Ronald Bailey at Reason reviews Mike Shellenberger’s new book: ‘Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All’

According to these activists and politicians, humanity is beset on all sides by catastrophes that could kill off civilization, and maybe even our species. Are they right?

Absolutely not, answers the longtime environmental activist Michael Shellenberger in an engaging new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. “Much of what people are being told about the environment, including the climate, is wrong, and we desperately need to get it right,” he writes. “I decided to write Apocalypse Never after getting fed up with the exaggeration, alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism.”

As posted, via a reader:

I’d like to remind folks that Peace Pavilion West, an Eco-Romantic Human Collective Going Back To Nature and Forward Towards Progress, is still accepting applications.

-Would you like to live in your OWN ecopodment as part of a living, working Community?

-Does 1,200 calories of guaranteed bug-paste and 8 glasses of fresh spring water a day sound good to you?

-Close your eyes: The day’s field labor is done. Honest sweat and natural musk mix with memory. Your mind, body and soul begin to rise towards the Cosmos, as each Community member joins hands, chanting Earthsong at dusk:

Related On This Site: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’

Urbanists love to hate Joel Kotkin, as he has offered them much in the way of criticism. At the New Urbanist website, I found the following quote:

“Only when humans are again permitted to build authentic urbanism — those cities, towns, and villages that nurture us by their comforts and delights — will we cease the despoiling of Nature by escaping to sprawl.”

Bjorn Lomborg is skeptical of ‘Earth Hour’ in Blinded By The Light. Go towards the light.

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues’

Amy Payne At The Foundry: ‘Morning Bell: Obama Administration Buries Good News on Keystone Pipeline’

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And LibertyFrom The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics…From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too Green

Part Of The Design? A Few More Thoughts On Events In Iran

What if the Obama administration aimed to take away the leverage propping-up the Revolutionary Guard and the mullahs; clearing the slate of past American financial obligations, thus holding Iran’s leaders much more accountable to their people?

This assumes quite a bit of competence and intent that may not have been present, but if it is a consequence (however intended/unintended), I’d likely support it.

I have been pretty much against the Iran deal, because I’ve been thinking the costs outweigh the benefits:  It yields much American/Western leverage against a rotten regime, it puts what I think is a kind of idealistically misplaced faith in ‘international institutions’ (bankrolled by the U.S. taxpayer), and it may keep those controlling Iran (come what may) on the glide-path towards deliverable nukes.

The following responses to the below tweet might give some demographic insight into who protested in 2009, and who might be doing doing so now in Iran:

Some factions have gone all in for Civil Rights solidarity because it likely throws them a line in from the West (often wealthier, educated people in the suburbs around Tehran).  There are a lot of poorer Iranians with few job prospects, however, who may be fed up with the same old revolutionary rhetoric.

Protests Within Iran, Donald Trump, And Visions Of Political Order-A Few Links And Thoughts

Why I didn’t support the Iran deal (see here)

Via Mosaic: ‘Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy’ To Which I Forthwith Present ‘Aquarius Theory’

First, Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest:

The full essay is, of course, worth the time:

‘We are reduced to hoping that there is some kind of Top Secret strategy of genius that the circle of advisors close to the President isn’t sharing, but the President’s very checkered record as a global strategist makes this kind of confidence hard to sustain.’

Now, via Mosaic, a well-made case for there being a secret, or not-so-secret, Iran strategy.  The thesis:  The goal of this administration, all along, has been to work with the Iranians, possibly via the Baker-Hamilton report (the Iraq Study Group):

‘The report, published in December 2006, urged then-President Bush to take four major steps: withdraw American troops from Iraq; surge American troops in Afghanistan; reinvigorate the Arab-Israeli “peace process”; and, last but far from least, launch a diplomatic engagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its junior partner, the Assad regime in Syria’

In some ways, this is quite a moderate position to take, not too radical, really.  It involves following a blueprint, which has some sensible suggestions in it…pivoting from Iraq…but execution is everything:

I would surmise you’d have to be something of a realist and have a lot of shrewd and long-experienced hands around for proper execution:  The Iranians support terror, run guns, influence and theology around the region while they smile at the meetings:

We’re still doing business with the 1979 and post-1979 crowd:

‘Expressing the ethos of an influential segment of the foreign-policy elite, the Baker-Hamilton report became the blueprint for the foreign policy of the Obama administration, and its spirit continues to pervade Obama’s inner circle. Denis McDonough, now the president’s chief of staff, once worked as an aide to Lee Hamilton; so did Benjamin Rhodes, who helped write the Iraq Study Group’s report. Obama not only adopted the blueprint but took it one step further, recruiting Vladimir Putin’s Russia as another candidate for membership in the new club. The administration’s early “reset” with Russia and its policy of reaching out to Iran and Syria formed two parts of a single vision.’

And in current hands:

‘Obama based his policy of outreach to Tehran on two key assumptions of the grand-bargain myth: that Tehran and Washington were natural allies, and that Washington itself was the primary cause of the enmity between the two. If only the United States were to adopt a less belligerent posture, so the thinking went, Iran would reciprocate.’

Our author finishes with:

‘Allow me to conclude on a more optimistic note: they have reason to be confident for now, but current policy may not outlast Obama. It remains to be seen whether, after January 20, 2017, the American people and their leaders in Washington will really permit a nation of 70 million, with a third-rate military and a damaged economy, to dominate the Middle East and threaten all of our allies and interests there.’

=================

Aquarius Theory

What kind of worldview would allow one to think that America itself is mostly the problem, an aggressive military hegemon preventing peaceful, democratic protests and uprisings from spontaneously forming around the globe?

Well, this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, the age of Aquarius.  Aaaahhhh-quarreee-uuuuss:

=============================

As posted previously on this site: Many foreign policy thinkers were open to some dealing with those who control Iran, but it was conditional support based upon the enormous difficulty of the task, as I understand it.

Previously on this site:

---------------

On June 15th, 2007, Charlie Rose sat down with Henry KissingerZbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft to discuss foreign policy and geo-strategy.  That’s over seven years ago!

I was surprised to find that Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981, described very nearly what the Obama administration’s current Iran policy seems to be.  Runs from 32:52 to 35:10 (Sorry I couldn’t embed with the exact time-stamp).

A few minutes can explain a lot.  Well worth your time.

Addition:  Here’s a brief summary of that argument:

1.  The Iranians and the Iranian regime, despite what their intentions may be, have a right to enrich uranium up to 5% according to international law.   They’re doing this.

2. We’re asking them to abandon this right as a precondition to any negotiations, creating an asymmetry.  We should offer to lift sanctions first in return just to get them to swallow their pride and sit down for talks.  This pride may extend beyond the mullahs and regime, and go into the cultural and national psyche of Iranians.

3.  Whatever their intentions may be, unlike North Korea, the Iranian regime isn’t out and proud about nuclear enrichment and weaponization.  They’re at least claiming to follow international law which gives us some leverage.

On this site, see: George Shultz & Henry Kissinger At The Hoover Institution: ‘What A Final Iran Deal Must Do’

***Post updated, repeats removed.

From CBS News: ‘U.S.: Syria Used Chemical Weapons, Crossing “Red Line”

Full video and post here.

Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication:

“Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity,” Rhodes said.

The rebels have been fighting what’s become a brutal proxy war with all kinds of bad actors involved.  From non-military aid we’ve also had SpecOps on the ground, logistics, and support for across the border countries handling refugees like Jordan.  This conflict has been enflaming the fault-lines in the region and dragging on, spilling out all over the place.

Assad’s Alawite minority regime has now been confirmed using chemical weapons (we pretty much knew that already), and been holding onto power by nearly any means, getting help from Iranian Shia fighters and the Iranian government, Hezbollah, Russian money and weapons, and other assorted interests in the region.

Now it looks like we’ll be sending military aid, creating a no-fly zone, and possibly more (Addition: not confirmed, but possible Another Addition: confirmed arms to the rebels).

To my mind, this further Left President may possibly just be taking the longer way around what’s traditionally been a spectrum of American foreign policy action (I think the President really still believes in a liberal internationalist, Cairo-speech movement towards freedom, arc of history bending towards justice worldview).  The Clinton team likely would have been more hawkish, having possibly acted already.

This has always been a lot to lose/little to gain problem, but here we are.

A quote from Kissinger:

‘On all sides of the Syrian conflict, the commitment of the belligerents to democratic values and alignment with Western interests is, at best, untested. Al-Qaeda has now entered the conflict, effectively on the side that the United States is being asked to join. In such circumstances, U.S. policymakers encounter a choice not between a “realistic” and an “idealistic” outcome but between competing imperfections, between considerations of strategy and of governance. We are stymied on Syria because we have a strategic interest in breaking the Assad clan’s alliance with Iran, which we are reluctant to avow, and the moral objective of saving human lives, which we are unable to implement through the U.N. Security Council.’ 

Joshua Landis’ blog here.

Al Jazeera live blog on Syria here.

Interesting paper here.

Related On This SiteUpdate And Repost: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

Too late to act with lower risk and more gain? Ralph Peters At The NY Post: ‘Too Late For Syria’

Michael Totten Via World Affairs: ‘The Islamist Threat Isn’t Going Away’

Full piece here.

‘The Middle East desperately needs economic development, better education, the rule of law and gender equality, as Mr. Romney says. And Mr. Obama was right to take the side of citizens against dictators—especially in Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi ran one of the most thoroughly repressive police states in the world, and in Syria, where Bashar Assad has turned the country he inherited into a prison spattered with blood. But both presidential candidates are kidding themselves if they think anti-Americanism and the appeal of radical Islam will vanish any time soon.’

We now have kind of a client state in Libya, but at what cost, and how are we handling the rise of Islamism?

‘When he was elected president in 2008, Mr. Obama thought he could improve America’s relations with the Arab world by not being George W. Bush, by creating some distance between himself and Israel, and by delivering a friendly speech in Cairo. He was naïve. He should know better by now, especially after the unpleasantness last month in the countries where he thinks we’re popular.’

Comments are worth a read.  Totten’s new book: Where The West Ends.

Here’s are two quotes from Henry Kissinger:

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to devise a standard operating procedure which can cope effectively with most problems.  A bureaucracy is efficient if the matters which it handles routinely are, in fact, the most frequent and if its procedures are relevant to their solution.  If those criteria are met, the energies of the top leadership are freed to deal creatively with the unexpected occurrence or with the need for innovation.  Bureaucracy becomes an obstacle when what it defines as routine does not address the most significant range of issues or when its prescribed mode of action proves irrelevant to the problem.”

and:

“Moreover, the reputation, indeed the political survival, of most leaders depends on their ability to realize their goals, however these may have been arrived at.  Whether these goals are desireable is relatively less crucial.”

Food for thought.

Addition:  Via Fox News:  Tyrone Woods, among others was told to stand down, but ignored the order once it was given for the second time.  No reinforcements were called in.

Related On This Site:  From Michael Totten’s Blog: ‘Two Hours’From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

The rise of Islamism across the region…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

From CSIS: ‘How the US Must Expand and Redefine International Cooperation in Fighting Terrorism’

And:  Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

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From Foreign Policy: ‘The Case For Intervention…In Obama’s Dysfunctional Foreign-Policy Team.’

Full piece here.

Rosa Brooks, former Obama Defense Undersecretary and State Department Adviser, writes:

‘Cronyism also reigns supreme when it comes to determining who should attend White House meetings: increasingly, insiders say, meetings called by top NSS officials involve by-name requests for attendance, with no substitutions or “plus ones” permitted. As a result, dissenting voices are shut out, along with the voices of specialists who could provide valuable information and insights. The result? Shallow discussions and poor decisions.’

Ouch.  A lack of leadership, executive experience and perhaps just American institutional experience.   I personally suspect, like domestic policy, Obama may be ideologically further Left than many of the people who might know something.  This could lead to fewer people he actually trusts and a smaller bubble.

Addition: A State Department Background Briefing On Libya; a conference call transcript of some of what happened during the Benghazi attack.

Related On This Site:  We’re still in a war on terror, so let’s talk about it: Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’

I don’t believe that we can appease Islamic extremists, which is the whole premise of this administration’s approach…blunt American power and incentivize Muslim societies to drive the extreme elements out through international cooperation: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

 

From Politico: ‘Google Decides To Leave Video On Youtube’

Full post here.

Just a note:

“The White House asked YouTube to review the video to see if it was in compliance with their terms of use,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told POLITICO in an email. The White House said it reached out to YouTube on Tuesday”

Just a little nod to the rioting mobs?  To salvage a foreign policy vision for the Middle-East and give the current administration some cover? For the good of our country and our political freedoms?

The ‘movie’ seems awful, really. I should add that the quality of the piece should not be drawing the interest of this administration, as it will have a chilling effect on free speech likely not worth any upside under the liberal internationalist banner. What business do the authorities in this country have in such matters at this moment?

Addition:  Walter Russell Mead on Egypt, and the Salafists may be trying to make the Muslim Brotherhood look like appeasers:

‘Unfortunately, Islamic radicals are deliberately hoping to promote a clash of civilizations in the belief that a climate of polarization will strengthen their political power in the world of Islam. Attacking the embassy in Cairo is an effort to push Egyptian opinion in a more radical direction, but the radicals hope that this is part of a larger push that will bring them to power across the Islamic world.’

Another Addition:  The Atlantic has more here on Google’s decision.  Is it only Google’s decision to make?

Another Addition:  Fear.  Violence and the threat of violence.  The fatwa that changed Salman Rushdie’s life.  The New Yorker’s piece on Rushdie.

Related On This Site: Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

Libertarians stand firm on this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant

 Samuel Huntington worked against modernization theory, and argued that a chasm between the West and Islam will be a primary source of post Cold-war conflict: Clash of Civilizations:  From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

Repost-From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’
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Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

————————-

A quote from Hill’s forward to Ajami’s new book on Syria as discussed in the video:

“[The] greatest strategic challenge of the twenty-first century is involves “reversing Islamic radicalism”‘

Both men want to see more leadership out of this administration.  They probably won’t get it.  They both argue that there needs American led involvement of some sort in Syria.  It’s a bad neighborhood.

Hill pushes further to suggest that if America doesn’t lead onto a new set of challenges that now face the West (and not just subsume ourselves to liberal international doctrine) then Europe surely isn’t capable of it either (the wellspring of the Westphalian State that provided the model for the modern State but which is now subsidized by our military and economic strength).

And China leading?  Russia?  Goodness.

What about some as yet to be conceived international order by many of the same ideals and thinkers that have led to the failures of the Eurozone and the U.N that don’t understand how dangerous a world this can be?  There seem to be design problems in those models which likely require independent American thought and action.

—————–

How about a coalition of free traders, that works for the common self-interest of protecting the life-blood of our respective economies with naval forces against piracy, drug-runners, and corrupt and aggressive regimes that agitate in international waters?  Perhaps America, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Germany, France, Israel, Brazil, Chile (China down the road) could start something like a cleaned up, international, merchant marines?

I’m just throwing ideas out there.  Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site:  From The Wall Street Journal: ‘Charles Hill: The Empire Strikes Back’

What are some downsides of liberal internationalism?: Richard Fernandez At PJ Media: ‘The New Middle East’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Is Manaf Tlass’s Defection a Sign That Assad’s Regime Is Cracking?”  Thursday Quotation: Jeane Kirkpatrick – J.S. MillFrom Foreign Affairs-’Former Syrian General Akil Hashem on the Uprising in Syria’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’

Democracy as we envision it requires people to constrain themselves within laws and institutions that maintain democracy…through Mill’s utilitarianism?: Thursday Quotation: Jeane Kirkpatrick – J.S. Mill  Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’
Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are…upon a Kantian raft of perpetual peace?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy
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From Foreign Affairs- ‘Agreeing On Afghanistan: Why The Obama Administration Chose Consensus This Time”

Full piece here.

Some discussion of how procedure affects outcomes in the White House decision-making process, and how the new strategy was arrived at.

Related On This Site:   From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanRepost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Monday Quotations-Henry Kissinger

Repost-’Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan’

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From The Volokh Conspiracy: Eric Posner On A Question Of Law Regarding Afghanistan

Full post here.

“There is a nice legal question whether President Obama has initiated or accelerated a “new” war against the Taliban-in-Pakistan or is merely carrying on an “old” war against Al Qaida and the original Taliban albeit in a neighboring country.”

Old or new, it doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon…

Related On This SiteA Few Thoughts On The FATA Region Of PakistanSarah Chayes On Afghanistan In The Boston Review: Days Of Lies And RosesFrom Newsweek.com: Fareed Zakaria On AfghanistanFrom Bloggingheads: Andrew Bacevich And Heather Hurlburt Discuss Afghanistan And Pakistan

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