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LEADING FROM BEHIND AND OVER THE CLIFF

By David Vance On September 4th, 2013

I thought this was a rather excellent editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

“.. now that Mr. Obama has tossed the issue to Congress, the stakes are far higher than this single use of arms in Syria or this President’s credibility. Mr. Obama has put America’s role as a global power on the line.

A defeat in Congress would signal to Bashar Assad and the world’s other thugs that the U.S. has retired as the enforcer of any kind of world order. This would be dangerous at any time, but especially with more than three long years left in this Presidency. Unlike the British in 1956, the U.S. can’t retreat from east of Suez without grave consequences. The U.S. replaced the British, but there is no one to replace America.

The world’s rogues would be further emboldened and look for more weaknesses to exploit. Iran would conclude it can march to a nuclear weapon with impunity. Israel, Japan, the Gulf states and other American friends would have to recalculate their reliance on U.S. power and will.

These are the stakes that Mr. Obama has so recklessly put before Congress. His mishandling of Syria has been so extreme that we can’t help but wonder if he really wants to lose this vote. Then he would have an excuse for further cutting defense and withdrawing America even more from world leadership. We will give him the benefit of the doubt, but only because incompetence and narrow political self-interest are more obvious explanations for his behavior.”

12 Responses to “LEADING FROM BEHIND AND OVER THE CLIFF”

  1. Obama has “tossed the issue to Congress”? God Forbid! But if Obama is about to wage another war, isn’t there a Constitution that requires the he put the issue before Congress or am I just being ‘so last century’?

    As for ‘global power’, what need does the US have to be a ‘global power’ when its economy is unable to sustain its people and its industry has departed its shores as encouraged by the Wall Street Journal – the mouthpiece of corporatism.

    Israel, Japan, the Gulf states and other American friends would have to recalculate their reliance on U.S. power and will.

    Let’s see – the world’s 4th military power, the world’s 3rd-biggest economy, and those poor oil states – rendered incapable of doing anything for themselves? Absolute nonsense.

  2. While the WSJ lands some punches on the political missteps of Obama, they seem to be advocating bombing Syria without Congressional approval as if that is some cure.

  3. As I said the other day, the propaganda will come thick. This is just such a piece.

    The War Street Journal has always been … appreciative of the effects of war on Certain businesses and share prices.

    Raytheon stock is up 60% since Obama began to talk of red lines, for example. And why not? It makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles which Obama plans to rain down on people thousands of miles away. Each act of war means that inventories and arsenals have to be replenished.

    I suppose the the only way to know what’s really going to happen, and what with, is if someone leaks recent stock dealings of Congresscriminals and their staff.

    They’re in the know, and we know that they absolve themselves of the insider trading laws which can ruin everyone else’s lives. Why do they do that? Because they know what laws, policies and government acts are in the pipeline, and therefore they act to profit from it.

  4. Peter you can take a market view of all these actions. With the security sectors riches no doubt stagnating post iraq growth must be found elsewhere.

    Its the fundemental flaw with private war economies. Chaos equals growth.

  5. daytripper –

    I wouldn’t call it a private war economy. In the end it’s State power which is the prize and which is used.

    In many ways these contractors are arms of the State. They’d go bust without government contracts, but being “private” they can give government deniability.

  6. Tripper the only thing America still makes better than anyone else is weapons. It is truly our industry.

    However don’t blame this buffoonery on that industry. There is always a market for weapons.

  7. Peter, i think that may have been the case up to the early post war period. Now the boundaries between the state and the private sector are so blurred its impossible to see where the tail ends and the dog starts.

    Troll a play school with that amount of spending money could come up with equally good weapons of war. Quite how you see that as a positive aspect of a any economy is beyond me though.

  8. The fact that you don’t see the value of a well made weapon is of no surprise.

    Tripper name a period in history where there wasn’t a war. It is the nature of man to kill his fellow man. Is it the way it should be? NO

    Is it the truth of how it is? YES

  9. Troll –

    Quite clearly, the kinds of weapons which governments procure are of zero economic benefit. They’re a cost to the economy to produce, transport and maintain them, and they destroy when they are used.

    If you’re the typical American/GOPer, no wonder Washington can blow more on military spending than most of the rest of the world put together.

    No, really, it’s hugely economically damaging. You cannot call for more military spending and also complain about unemployment and food stamps and the state of the economy. These are contradictory positions.

  10. Tripper name a period in history where there wasn’t a war. It is the nature of man to kill his fellow man. Is it the way it should be? NO

    No it’s not, it’s the nature of politicians.

  11. It is the nature of man to kill his fellow man

    Nonsense – I don’t want to be sending missiles into Syria and Iran to kill God-knows how many people. Unfortunately it the nature of some people to want to do exactly that. But who arranges these wars?

    “I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force–the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service.”

    Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940)

  12. The WSJ is owned by Murdoch who as usual is all for war. They are terrified of a re-run of the British vote and of the precedent it sets when it comes to their next target, Iran.