American Elephants


Trump Buries The Old-World Order by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson had a new column up yesterday at the Hoover Institution’s “Defining Ideas” in which he explains our history in statecraft and diplomacy, and what he calls the Old-World Order, since the end of the Second World War, He explains how we got here and where we are today, and what the Trump administration is doing about it. It’s not long and I found it fascinating to have it all put together so concisely.

The present continuance of institutions such as the EU, NATO, UN, and others suggests that the world goes on exactly as before. In fact, these alphabet organizations are becoming shadows of their former selves, more trouble to end than to allow to grow irrelevant. The conditions that created them after the end of World War II, and subsequently sustained them even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, no longer really exist.

The once grand bipartisan visions of American diplomats such as Dean Acheson, George Kennan, George Marshall and others long ago more than fulfilled their enlightened promises. The U.S. in 1945, unlike in 1918, rightly stayed engaged in Europe after another world war. America helped to rebuild what the old Axis powers had destroyed in Asia and Europe.

At great cost, and at times in both folly and wisdom, the U.S. and its allies faced down 300 Soviet and Warsaw Pact divisions. America contained communist aggression through messy surrogate wars, avoided a nuclear exchange, bankrupted an evil communist empire, and gave Eastern Europe and much of Asia the opportunity for self-determination. New postwar protocols enforced by the U.S. Navy made the idea of global free trade, commerce, travel, and communications a reality in a way never seen since the early Roman Empire.

Do read the whole thing, you’ll be glad you did.

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A Belief in the Inevitability of Our Particular Institutions by The Elephant's Child

From
“Hidden History” by Daniel Boorstin

“The United States was born in a colonial rebellion. Our national birth certificate is a Declaration of Independence. not a Declaration of the “Rights of Man.”

The position of the best theorists of the Revolution was that the British, by their treatment of the American colonies were being untrue to the ancient spirit of their own institutions. The slogan “Taxation Without Representation is Tyranny” was clearly formed on a British assumption. They were fighting not so much to establish new rights as to preserve old ones. From the colonists point of view, until 1776 it was Parliament that had been revolutionary  by exercising a power for which there was no warrant in English constitutional precedent. Second, the American Revolution was not the product of a nationalistic philosophy.

The original creation of a United States was the work of doubly reluctant citizens – because of their local loyalties and their imperial loyalties. The story of the critical period of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution tells of a gradual overcoming of their reluctance – it was overcome not by any widespread conversion to a nationalist theory – but by a gradual realization of the need for effective union.

Our revolution was successful at the first try. The political objective – independence from British rule, was achieved by one relatively short continuous effort. 1776 has no sequel – and needed none.

If we understand the “conservatism” of the Revolution, we begin to see that it represents the continuity of American History – and has engraved on our national consciousness a belief in the inevitability of our particular institutions.”

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Daniel J. Boorstin was an historian at the University of Chicago and became the Librarian of Congress in 1975 and served until 1987. Here’s a link to the Boorstin pages at Amazon. He was a prolific author, and you can’t go wrong with any of his books, and they will enrich your life.



Going Wild — The Knepp Wildland by The Elephant's Child

Do watch this short video. It will enrich your day.

Eighteen years ago, Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell turned their 3,500-acre farm in West Sussex, England, into a massive outdoor laboratory. They decided to cede control of their land to nature and watched it slowly grow wild again. Now, at what they call Knepp Wildland, herds of fallow deer, Exmoor ponies, and longhorn cows do battle with scrubland and tree branches, while Tamworth pigs rustle in the hedgerows and strengthen mycorrhizal networks in the soil. The result of this experiment is burgeoning biodiversity and resilience, as endangered species like turtledoves, nightingales, and rare butterflies inhabit a landscape unseen in England since the Middle Ages. Isabella Tree appears in this video to talk about what life is like in a wild world, and how Knepp has ignited a reckoning with traditional methods of land stewardship and conservation.

From The American Scholar: The Scholar Connection
scholarsconnection@theamericanscholar.org



This is a Wonderful Video! (55 seconds) by The Elephant's Child



The “Ripped From Their Mothers’ Arms” Meme Is Sheer Bunk! by The Elephant's Child

I frequently say something about “doing your homework”, by which I mean that you can no longer count on the information from our national media to be either true nor accurate. You have to make an effort to find out if what you are reading is actually true. If you just repeat the talking points, you are not only dishonest yourself, you are aiding a program specifically designed to make you support a lie.

The current line of attack is that the Trump administration is “ripping vulnerable children from the arms of their mothers” at the border, because of Trump’s demand for a border wall. Obviously if you want a big wall to keep citizens of other countries from entering our country, you must be racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Hitler, and just plain mean.

We have just had a chorus from the former first ladies, who think it’s perfectly awful that we are “ripping vulnerable children from the arms of their mothers.” Let’s clear this up a bit.

If you are a nation, you have a right to decide who you will allow to move in. William Voegeli in The Pity Party explained;

“In contrast to America, countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL draft as a way to get the talented  that can benefit the institution and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by 7 billion foreigners.”

We allow asylum seekers to enter the country, but ‘asylum’ has a strict meaning. It means that you are escaping a government that wants to harm you for your religion, politics or ideas. It does not mean that you want to get away from an abusive husband, it’s about the government.  We have embassies  and consulates all over the world, where one can apply to immigrate to America. There are legal procedures and a long wait list, which is made long by “chain migration.” A citizen can currently “sponsor” all of his or her relatives. Mother, father, adult children, brothers. sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins. Our country believes that we can currently handle about a million new immigrants a year, who we help to find a residence, learn English and learn American History, find health care, get help in getting settled and help with their needs. Those who have legally applied, paid their fees, have often been on the wait list for years. Most of the numbers are used up by chain migration, and there is little room for those who just want to make their home and life here.

Contrary to our first ladies (who should have done their homework) children are not being “ripped from the arms of their mothers”. If the parent has entered the country illegally, they have committed a crime. They are detained. We have a law that says you can’t put a kid in prison with their parents. They are moved to facilities designed to help the children.  I have described this thoroughly in a previous post, 4 posts back beginning “the evil Donald Trump.” It is the law, and the Trump administration must obey.

The Obama administration, ignoring the law, admitted many “parents” and their children without checking them out, only to find that the “parent” was a trafficker, and what were really unaccompanied children were turned over to egg farms to work in slave conditions, chicken packing, and even sex work. And yes, the Obama administration did park kids in cages. Democrats were trying to use the photos against Conservatives, but the photos were clearly from the Obama administration, so that claim quickly vanished, and we moved to the “ripped from the arms” bit.

The Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) is the most reliable source for information about immigration. They describe themselves  as pro-immigrant, anti-illegal immigrant. They work hard at providing accurate information for the public and for public official. Unfortunately, we have a lot of public officials who don’t do their homework either.



Globalization: The Dream and the Nightmare by The Elephant's Child

climate-change

Here I was, posting Jonathan Haidt’s commentary on Globalization, and I turned to American Greatness, and conveniently, there was Victor Davis Hanson, writing even more extensively about globalization.

After World War II, only the United States possessed the capital, the military, freedom, and the international good will to arrest the spread of global Stalinism. To save the fragile postwar West, America was soon willing to rebuild and rearm war-torn former democracies. Over seven decades, it intervened in proxy wars against Soviet and Chinese clients, and radical rogue regimes. It accepted asymmetrical and unfavorable trade as the price of leading and saving the West. America became the sole patron for dozens of needy clients—with no time limit on such asymmetry.

Yet what would become the globalized project was predicated on lots of flawed, but unquestioned assumptions:

The great wealth and power of the United States was limitless. It alone could afford to subsidize other nations. Any commercial or military wound was always considered superficial and well worth the cost of protecting the civilized order.

Only by piling up huge surpluses with the United States and avoiding costly defense expenditure through American military subsidies, could the shattered nations of Asia and Europe supposedly regain their security, prosperity and freedom. There was no shelf life on such dependencies.

Do read the whole thing. This is a major contention point with the Democrats in their current mental and moral breakdown. If we are going to fight back, we have to know what we are talking about.



The Big Singapore Meeting: Big Breakthrough or Waste of Time? by The Elephant's Child

President Trump has gone to Singapore, had a good meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and returned home to the utter consternation of the media. They were eager for some kind of catastrophe. Trump is too new, too ill-informed about international affairs not to have made a complete mess of it. Here, from the White House, is the joint statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit. (You might find it fun to look up the Democratic People’s Republics of the world and see just who they are, and how they’re doing.)

The agreement is not all that much. They agree to try to make peace. They agree to try to commit to de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and they will commit to recovering POW/MIA remains. Nancy Pelosi threatened that the Senate would have to confirm it. It’s not a treaty, Nancy, there’s nothing to confirm. They had a meeting and agreed to try to do a little more.

President Trump said that the entire effort was dedicated to Otto Warmbier, the young American who made the mistake of taking a propaganda poster in Korea, whereupon the Koreans threw him into prison, brutally mistreated him and when he was released, he barely got home before he died.

I’m including links to some articles that capture some of the ideas that explain what is going on. The first is “How Twitter Diplomacy Works” by Thomas Farnan. He begins:

President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. …

Do read the whole thing.

The White House prepared for the meeting carefully. They learned that Kim was a big movie fan with a huge library of movie videos, and they prepared their own—which Trump played for the Chairman on an iPad. Scott Adams (Dilbert) discusses the video brilliantly here:

There has been some angry objection from Conservatives that Mr. Trump buttered up Kim, said he cared about his people, (but he doesn’t and he;s a brutal dictator and murderer. ) Yes, but refer back to the simple statement that we have been at war since 1950.

There are some underlying things that we just don’t know about. North Korea has been a subsidiary of China, and China’s Xi has ambitions. How North Korea fits into that we don’t know. Useful or annoyance? When Kim shot off this last batch of nuclear tests, something happened to his test site, and the mountain collapsed, but we don’t know how bad it was or what it means.

Our media wants to portray the whole thing as a colossal failure of one sort or another. They want Trump embarrassed, disgraced (TDS kicks in here) so you can’t rely on much that they have to say. They’re already going on about the failure of Trump’s G-7 meeting and how he insulted the Canadians etc. ,etc. Here’s some useful commentary on that: American Greatness: “Trump is Right: G7 Needs a Wake-Up Call on Trade.” From Investor’s Business Daily: President Trump Didn’t Sigh G-7’s Leftist Agenda—Smart Move”.

From The Wall Street Journal: Why Trump Clashes With Europe” (subscription barrier), and THE WEEK: “If Europe is serious about challenging Trump, it should actually challenge him” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

This is not all that much reading, you will find it valuable. There are some important insights here. And keep that one phrase in mind: “68 years of white paper diplomatic inertia.”

 




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