Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Paul Robinson — The persistence of bad ideas


Turns out that retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who is on Trump's short list for VP is a super-hawk who thinks that war is the usual state of humankind.
The introduction to Flynn’s new book suggests something different, however. Flynn writes that his purpose is:
To show you the war being waged against us. This administration has forbidden us to describe our enemies properly and clearly: they are Radical Islamists. They are not alone, and are allied with countries and groups who, though not religious fanatics, share their hatred of the West, particularly the United States and Israel. Those allies include North Korea, Russia, China, Cuba, and Venezuela.…
‘Most Americans mistakenly believe that peace is the normal condition of mankind, while war is some weird aberration. Actually, it’s the other way around’, Flynn says. He recommends that the United States wage unrelenting war against its enemies and their allies, and warns that this war may last a very long time. ‘I dare say that most Americans don’t realize that the religious and political transformations of Europe that we call the Reformation entailed hundreds of years of very bloody struggle’, he writes, adding that, ‘The world badly needs an Islamic Reformation, and we should not be surprised if violence is involved.’
If this sounds like a return to some of the crazier policies of the Bush years, that should come as no surprise. Flynn’s co-author Michael Ledeen is a well-known neo-conservative who was an outspoken supporter of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Looking at the chaos that the Americans have created in the Middle East, Russians often charge that this is deliberate policy. I have always maintained that it is more a product of stupidity. But Ledeen is the sort of person who makes me think that the Russians might have a point. According to Wikipedia:
In 2002 Ledeen criticized the views of former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, writing: ‘He fears that if we attack Iraq “I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a cauldron and destroy the War on Terror.” One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. … That’s our mission in the war against terror.’…
Assuming Flynn was vetted, better rethink Trump as a peacenik. Flynn is actually worse than Hillary and her people.

Irrussianality
The persistence of bad ideas
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

See also
As NATO wraps up its summit meeting in Warsaw, it will no doubt be patting itself on the back for displaying ‘unity’ and ‘resolve’ in the face of ‘Russian aggression’, in particular by agreeing to station a semi-permanent garrison of four battalions in Poland and the Baltic States. If we are to believe NATO’s former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir Richard Shirreff, such displays of strength are exactly what are needed to ‘deter’ Russia and prevent war. That is the message of a novel he has just published, entitled 2017. War with Russia. An Urgent Warning from Senior Military Command.…

27 comments:

lastgreek said...

If Trump goes commando maybe HRC needs to reciprocate?

I am reading that James George Stavridis, retired former U.S. Navy Admiral who served as the commander of U.S. Southern Command (2006 to 2009) and commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2009 to 2013) . . . is being vetted as HRC's running mate.

That be awesome if "Zorba" is selected if you know what I mean ;)

Tom Hickey said...

What concerns me is that both Gen. Flynn and Adm. Stavridis being considered are about sending a signal and that signal is what is worrisome, regardless of whether either is selected as VP.

This is positioning both candidates and it is likely that even if the the persons allegedly being consider for the VP position are not selected, they are likely to figure in the administration.

Neither signal is reassuring unless one is looking forward to the US projecting power toward perceived adversaries, read China, Russia, and Iran.

Andrew Anderson said...

‘I dare say that most Americans don’t realize that the religious and political transformations of Europe that we call the Reformation entailed hundreds of years of very bloody struggle’, he writes, adding that, ‘The world badly needs an Islamic Reformation, and we should not be surprised if violence is involved.’ Gen. Michael Flynn

Wasn't the Protestant Reformation partly about making the Western world safe for usury*? And how well is that working for us lately? And Flynn wants to spread our deeply flawed system to the whole world?

*Google search of Protestant Reformation usury

Andrew Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Anderson said...

Also, having read the entire Bible, I can see apparent* Scriptural support for all sorts of heresies but what I do not see is the revocation of the ban on usury from one's fellow countrymen (Deuteronomy 23:19-20). Then what Flynn wants to spread by force is heresy? And no wonder then that it should take force?

*However, my own experience is that the Bible has a consistent interpretation if one will read all of it, take it seriously, and keep reading it until apparent inconsistencies are reconciled.

Matt Franko said...

"thinks that war is the usual state of humankind."

Evidence to the contrary?

could also be: "thinks saving is the usual state of humankind"

Also evidence to the contrary please?

Tom, remember: "warriors, acquirers, laborers, inteligensia"...

Warriors gotta war... acquirers gotta acquire....

Andrew Anderson said...

Warriors gotta war... acquirers gotta acquire....

Chapter and verse, please?

My reading of Scripture is that we are called to repentance and that it's possible.

Matt Franko said...

We're all warriors:

"put on the whole armor of God..." Eph 6:11

Who are divided into acquirers, laborers, and teachers:

"evangelists, pastors and teachers" Eph 4:11

Paul taught of a baptism in spirit to we of the nations not repentance...

Jesus taught a baptism of repentance to Israel... it didnt work obviously...

Andrew Anderson said...

Paul taught of a baptism in spirit to we of the nations not repentance... Franko

Paul taught of repentance too: search of repent in 2 Corinthians. In other places too.

And Jesus warned "believers" who thought they could continue to be workers of inequity:

Matthew 7:21-29

Your problem is you've been captured by some heresy (some form of Calvinism, I suspect) and I sympathize but the solution is obvious: Read the Bible YOURSELF, all of it. Or just take the New Testament seriously at first. Or just take Paul's writings seriously at first.

Tom Hickey said...

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Mt 10:34 NRSV

John said...

Radical Islamists are allied with Venezuela, China, etc?

Just what we need! Yet another deluded fantasist to join the massed ranks of deluded fantasists in Washington. What could go wrong? Spoiler alert: Arlington cemetery is part of the answer. Soldiers are, however, to quote Kissinger, "Dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns of foreign policy." Why worry if the foreign policy is deluded fantasy? To merely quibble would be un-American, at least by the definition of madmen.

Andrew Anderson said...

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." Mt 10:34 NRSV via Tom Hickey

In context:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 10:34-39 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

And what is the sword?

Ephesians 6:17:
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

How sharp is it and thus NOT to be despised, Franko?

Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


Note: I prefer the NASB but I suppose any reputable translation of the Bible is sufficient, if one will read it all to gain context.

Andrew Anderson said...

Radical Islamists are allied with Venezuela, China, etc? John

If they were that would be even stronger evidence that WE'RE (the US) the problem, not them.

I can see how a devote of Scripture would have the courage to stand up to the entire world if necessary but I doubt Flynn is a devote of Scripture or he wouldn't be so eager to spread our sick US culture to the rest of the world.

Tom Hickey said...

I generally cite the NSRV because it has the widest support.

As far as texts such this are concerning, they are cryptic and can be interpreted in many different ways. In fact, one meaning of scriptural text is often not intended.

From the POV of Christian exegesis and hermeneutics, there is is the literal meaning, the topical meaning, the analogical meaning and the anagogic meaning. Another version is literal, moral, allegorical and analogical.

Jewish exegesis and hermeneutics recognizes the different meanings based on the acronym, Pardes

Andrew Anderson said...

they are cryptic and can be interpreted in many different ways. Tom Hickey

To a casual reader they can be cryptic. But it's been my experience that further reading makes things clear enough, at least the things God intends to be clear or as someone has said "The main things are the plain things*."

Of course, if one's mind has been clouded by the doctrines of men that's a impediment but not an insurmountable one if one is willing to keep reading Scripture.


*Micah 6:8

jrbarch said...

There is nothing that war has ever achieved, that could not have been better achieved, by Peace.

The General may see war everywhere he looks, but that is what is in his eye; not what is in the human heart. Human beings can choose. We have fallen in love with war; why not Peace? We have fallen in love with ignorance; why not knowledge?

Veronica said...

I think Christ was clearly referring to the spiritual life. The "warfare" concerns the inner struggle against the vices and passions of the soul. The "peace" that he is against is the insouciance and heedlessness of worldly people who have no fear or love of God. The "sword" in question is the "sword of the spirit." What interests Christ is the inner life, "in spirit and in truth." The "way" is "prayer and fasting," and the fasting is clearly not so much abstention from meals as it is abstention from the passional and desiring soul. It is almost always a question of having to transpose the symbolism to the inner life. Books like the Philokalia--to mention just one among hundreds--make the essentials of Christianity quite clear.

Andrew Anderson said...

Books like the Philokalia--to mention just one among hundreds--make the essentials of Christianity quite clear. Veronica

Perhaps they do and there's a lot of truth in your comment for sure.

However, I've been led astray by the doctrines of men so I'll take my spiritual nourishment straight from the Word Of God, thank you.

Having read the entire Bible I can assure you it's quite adequate for the salvation of sinners and how could it not be anyway?

Perhaps the less sinful can do with lesser books but I dare not waste my time with them when I can read the Bible instead and whatever confusion or dismay I may experience there is for my good too. Not to mention that when dealing with the subject of banking and money, one dare not use any lesser spiritual source.

Thank you for the implicit encouragement of your faith and for your courage to share it. :)

Matt Franko said...

He wouldn't have used the metaphor if it didn't apply....

Matt Franko said...

"Hebrews 4:12"

I'm not a Hebrew thanks....

Andrew Anderson said...

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 [bold added]

Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Matthew 26:52 NASB

Andrew Anderson said...

I'm not a Hebrew thanks.... Franko

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Matt Franko said...

Right and all of that OT garbage is accordingly all a big demonstrative failure....

Read Galatians I don't know what else to tell you ... If you don't get it consider you are not a Christian but rather one of the faithful remnant of the house of Israel.... There is nothing wrong with that either...

Andrew Anderson said...

Regardless of whether the Hebrews failed or not do you think that maybe what the Lord desires in general might be expressed in the OT? Perhaps in the form of direct quotes? And maybe that direct quotes of God are not garbage? And maybe that they have broader application than just to Hebrews?

Or tell me this if you want to stick to the NT? What part of loving our neighbors involves stealing from them with a government enabled/enforced/subsidized usury cartel?

And if you ask what theft then what about the higher interest rates the banks would have to pay if the deposits of the population were not held captive within the usury cartel, i.e., why can't the entire citizenry have fiat accounts at the central bank? And not just members of a usury cartel?

answer: Because the usury cartel holds captive the deposits of all citizens to lower the borrowing costs of the so-called creditworthy among them. And that's not stealing? That the less or non so-called creditworthy are cheated of honest interest rates to lower the borrowing costs of the most so-called creditworthy?

Thus our banking system fails under the New Testament too.

Andrew Anderson said...

And then there's welfare for the rich such as interest paying sovereign debt - another form of theft since welfare should be limited to the needy. And fiat creation by the central bank for the private sector to further cheat the non or less so-called credit worthy of honest interest rates.

The New Testament alone condemns our money and credit system since it harms our neighbors.

Matt Franko said...

"money" is not a scriptural term go back and read it...

Its a figure of speech (metonym) that conflates mass measures of the three noble metals with state currency.... just like you are conflating Israel with the nations...

You are not recognizing important divisions...

Andrew Anderson said...

You are not recognizing important divisions...

You mean like fiat, reserves, physical fiat, and bank credit? Like M0, MB, M1, etc. ? And you brought up monetarism, not me.

Also, I don't conflate Israel or Judah with the nations. I read the entire Bible and guess what Franko, God speaks about the Gentiles and the nations in the OT too.

What I do realize is that God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles and that certain principles such as justice apply to BOTH groups.