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« Warlord Trump could be in trouble - and the Chinese are indeed in Syria (well, sort of) | Main | manages to top what I thought was its untoppable surrealism »

November 21, 2015



I think Trump's saying there that he'd implement building this Great Wall of America he's always touting. But it's definitely ambiguous.


It's hard to see why wingnuts always target the NYT as the Great Liberal Satan. It ran wild with every idiotic Clinton scandal of the '90's. It was the home of Cheney enabler Judith Miller and is currently the home of professional Hillary hater Maureen Dowd. It's probably because it's in NYC, a place notorious for freedom and decadent culture.


"an exceptionally receptive base"

That's the rub :(

David & Son of Duff

And little Miss 'HillBilly' wishes for Christmas, and Santa, and presents for everybody and anything else that is really, really nice:

"Our strategy should have three main elements. One, defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq and across the Middle East; two, disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing arms and propaganda around the world; three, harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats."

So we defeat ISIS by, er, well, y'all know, by defeating ISIS, silly! And pur-lease, don't ask silly questions like 'how'? What difference at this point does it make?

As all you wiseacres here know full well, the only way to defeat ISIS is by putting American 'boots on the ground' - tens of thousands of them but, hey, guess who pulled all those tens of thousands of American boots out of Iraq in the first place? Why, that latter-day Clauswitz, of course 'Karl von Obama'! No-one told this, er, college-educated genius that 'nature (and geo-politics) abhors a vacuum'.

So that's what passes for grand strategy in the Democrat party - and don't even glance at the A1 BS from the Republicans! I have said it before and at the risk of being boring (Boring? Moi?) I will say it again, I fear for America.


Do the fighting men of England all have broken legs? Why can't they put their boots on the ground? With you planning the strategy what could go wrong? You're clearly smarter than anyone at the Pentagon.

David & Son of Duff

No reason why you should be up to date on British defence matters, Bob, er, not least because we don't actually have any defence matters! Dim Dave has been busy sacking soldiers, sailors and airmen.

And anyway, isn't the good ol' US of A supposed to be the Leader of the Free World? So get leading! Before the Chinese take over! To requote a very wise man: "'nature (and geo-politics) abhors a vacuum'"!

David & Son of Duff

Oh, and just to add, one of the reasons why we are no longer the 'Leader of the Free World' is because that ineffable idiot waving his hat at the top of this blog did everything he could, including cuddling up to 'Uncle Joe', to drive us down and take our place. Not, mind you, that I'm not grateful!

The Dark Avenger

Cuddling up to Uncle Joe?

When John Colville, Churchill’s private secretary, told the prime minister on the morning of Sunday, June 22,1941, that Germany had invaded the Soviet Union, Colville saw him respond with a “smile of satisfaction.” In a special radio address to the nation that evening, Churchill said, “No one has been a more consistent opponent of Communism for the last twenty-five years. I will unsay no word I have spoken about it. But all this fades away before the spectacle which is now unfolding. The past, with its crimes, its follies, its tragedies, flashes away.… The Russian danger is therefore our danger, and the danger of the United States, just as the cause of any Russian fighting for hearth and house is the cause of free men and free peoples in every quarter of the globe.” Churchill then said that Britain would provide all possible military aid to the Soviet Union in its battle against Germany. It was a testament to the desperate situation confronting both nations that Churchill, a champion of democracy, would agree to an alliance with a tyrannical regime at least as bad as that of Nazi Germany.

David & Son of Duff

And your point is ... er, what exactly?


Are you against austerity measures or would you just prefer to hold our collective coat while we fight and spend our national treasure?

The Dark Avenger

That one of your 'heroes' was cuddling up to Uncle Joe when it was necessary.

Are there any subjects in school at which you did do well, David? Because history doesn't seem to be one of them.

Peter G

Well David she certainly got one herself courtesy of the leading Republican contender. The boys and girls on the right now have a bigger problem than before. They'd sure like to gang up on Trump and take him down but they can't use his overtly fascist policies that are so reminiscent of the early Nazi years. The base likes it too much. I look forward to Trump's walk back when, as a peace offering, he promises America's Muslim population neat summer camps. The Muslims will have to pay for them of course but they will feature really neat high temperature saunas. Trump knows his conservative base. They love nativism and racism and persecution of minorities. It!s their thing.


Peter G

Kind of makes you wonder how the Duffer earned his military pay. His current belief seems to be that the main function of Bristish troops is to act as cheerleaders for American combat troops.

David & Son of Duff

Actually, DA, I passed History - but only by a fluke! We knew there would be a question on WWI and that it would either be on the war at sea or the war on land. The latter involved far, far more details than the former and being an idle fellow I thought, bugger revising all that, I'll just revise the war at sea and take a chance. It's the only bet I have ever won!

As for WWII, the first book I ever read (c. 1953, aged 14) on the subject was Chester Wilmot's 'The Struggle for Europe' which blew me away and I have been fascinated with the subject ever since. In fact, I just had a quick count of the number of WWII history books I have on my shelf, not counting the biographies of some of the participants, and I have 43 volumes. I can't tell you how many I have been forced by 'She Who Must be Obeyed' to dispose of on the grounds of 'over population'. Five of the current crop, you will be pleased to know, are by American authors.

Now, what was it you were asking me about WWII?

David & Son of Duff

@ Bob:

What a silly question, Bob, of course I want America to fight Britain's battles!

And if it costs you a few dollars, well, at least you have had back all the 'vig' you charged us on the various loans in 1939-to Dec 1941 when finally you were forced to join in!


Maybe he'd agree to raise taxes on the British rich just enough to buy some pompoms, and I don't mean anti-aircraft guns. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) income inequality has risen faster in Britain than in any other rich nation since the mid-1970s. But why worry about it when he could just sit back reading Friedrich Hayek and guzzling Merlot while foreigners kill each other. He might even put his book aside to turn on CNN and thrill to those wonderful night-vision shots of explosions.


brietbart?? journalistic??? Come, come, my good man!!!


You've caught a royal case of monarchical entitlement. Just remember that whenever you read this the sun is setting somewhere on a former British colony.

Peter G

I think his question was quite clear. Supping wth the devil regardless of length of available spoon was not something Churchill was adverse to was he? And who was Stalin's previous partner? A certain A Hitler if I'm not mistaken. But a man has to do what he has to do. Apparently you forgot.

I'd expand my reading list if I were you. Try delving into the perspectives of other countries, French, German, Russian or even Japanese. You might learn something. One of the things you might learn is that your country never ever held the title leader of the free world. Colonies obtained by conquest and economically exploited do not a free world make. You had to repay your war loans? How sad. There is a price to pay for having the American cousins pull your chestnuts out of the fire every couple of decades. It's a darn shame Britain and France stood idly by while Hitler rebuilt the German war machine. Was that FDR's fault too? Or did you forget that as well.

The Dark Avenger

In other words, you believe in sponging off of others when it's convenient for you. I

David & Son of Duff

@ Peter:

Thank you for your totally redundant suggestions as to my reading habits. To detail but a few I think biographies of Catherine the Great, the Kaiser, Hitler, the history of the French revolution, two histories of Germany, countless books on the history of the Germany army and so on and on. I do have a couple on the American revolution and civil war but to be frank I have never managed to raise sufficient enthusiasm to read them.

And you might benefit from extra reading yourself, Peter, then you and the others might realise that it was not Roosevelt 'pulling our chestnuts out of the fire' but ensuring our chestnuts remained firmly *in* the fire as a bulwark against German expansion. in other words he was pursuing American national interests - and quite right, too! Alas, as usual, your Congress never grasped the point and thus it was necessary for Hitler to declare war on you, not the other way round!

I notice with amusement that everyone here concentrates on Churchill's reluctant amity with Stalin *at the beginning of the war*. However, they resolutely ignore Roosevelt's treacherous bypassing of Churchill at the big conferences at the end of the war which allowed Stalin to exert his iron grip across eastern Europe. It's not the treachery I abhor but his stupidity and arrogance only exceeded by your current Commander-in-Chief!

The Dark Avenger

Alas, David, you're wrong about the history again.

As for treacherous bypassing at the end of the War, you do realize the last such conference at Yalta didn't involve FDR, do you not? As for Churchill being betrayed, that's the usual claptrap that RWs used to spout, like "twenty years of treason".

It would seem that before Yalta, Churchill was the betrayer, not the betrayed:

During the Fourth Moscow Conference in 1944, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and British prime minister Winston Churchill discussed about how to divide various European countries into spheres of influence.[53][54][55] Churchill's account of the incident is that Churchill suggested that the Soviet Union should have 90 percent influence in Romania and 75 percent in Bulgaria; the United Kingdom should have 90 percent in Greece; with a 50/50 share in Hungary and Yugoslavia. The two foreign ministers, Anthony Eden and Vyacheslav Molotov, negotiated about the percentage shares on October 10 and 11. The result of these discussions was that the percentages of Soviet influence in Bulgaria and, more significantly, Hungary were amended to 80 percent.

Peter G

It's true that Churchill was more than willing to have the US and other allies tackle Russia though he knew he'd personally be a dead duck politically if Great Britain committed to a further and much bigger war. Churchill was kind of funny that way. But then his goal was to recreate a British colonial hegemony which rather required that his own military assets be committed to control and subjugation of those colonies. You've never really had a big army have you, barring surges in the World Wars? What's interesting to me is the way you try to sell your bug as a feature.

Churchill's view of the world is what caused both world wars. Between Britain and France they'd locked up huge blocks of the world's resources leaving the latecomers, Germany and Japan, vulnerable to economic attack. There's a reason Britain concentrated so much of their military resources in their naval arm. It was this competition for empires that directly led to both wars as both the Germans and the Japanese attempted to do what both Britain and France had already done. They tried the same bullshit as Winston, conquest was really for the good of the conquered. With one exception of course. Hitler didn't try to sell his lebensraum goal as being for anyone's good but his own.

David & Son of Duff

"Churchill's view of the world is what caused both world wars."

Oh my giddy aunt, Peter, that's a corker and you really must tell me what you're on! This is not a site I usually associate with a good belly laugh - occasional sniggers, yes - but that is revisionist history through a looking-glass.

David & Son of Duff

@ DA:

And again, I ask, what is your point? Mine was that Roosevelt, despite all his protestations of friendship and being an allied kindred spirit in defence of liberty, went behind Churchill's back and cosied up to a mass murderer who made Adolf look like a beginner! Of course, it might have had something to do with the sundry communist-leaning advisors he had around him! And always there was the over-riding desire to destroy the British empire, not because he was against colonies, America has always fancied some of those, but because he wanted American supremacy - and he got it.

None of the above upsets me in the slightest. That is 'real-politik' at work! But alas, his optimism in regard to Stalin was, shall we say, misplaced - or just dumb! A bit like Obama's naiveté in regard to Iran. Is there something in the coffee that Dem pols drink that makes them so thick?

The Dark Avenger

David, you made an ad hominem attack on FDR and it's based on exactly zero evidence on your part, so far.

Here's the history, it fits your delusional account not at all:

Butler isn’t a master storyteller, but she has a firm grasp on dozens of other details from FDR’s infamous non-stop talking to Stalin’s honey-colored eyes and fireplug body. (An American says he’s “the coach’s perfect dream of a tackle” with huge hands “as hard as his mind.”) The two men bond by making fun of an annoyed Churchill, and Stalin even teases FDR by acting offended to learn he’s called “Uncle Joe” behind the scenes.

Butler also captures near-disasters, like when a miffed British general declares in a toast that his country has suffered more than Russia, and she expertly deciphers the many moments of manipulation. In a discussion of Poland and his own re-election hopes in 1944, for example, FDR somehow convinces Stalin that Polish voters in the US are much more powerful than they are.

Roosevelt, who’s energetic, pragmatic and “devious” even as his health declines, comes across as the most effective and visionary of the trio. He usually gets what he wants and needs, and the story of how he does it turns this book into a master class in the arts of negotiation and diplomacy.

But FDR has a huge blind spot. Up until the very end, “Roosevelt and Stalin” virtually never mentions a man who forever annoyed the Russians by declaring in 1941 that “if we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible.”

This man’s name is Harry Truman. When Roosevelt dies in 1945, just weeks after the Yalta conference, the vice president knows virtually nothing about the wartime talks and has never even spent a second inside the White House’s Map Room brain center.

Truman would learn about the nuclear bomb, which spawned an intense debate in the Roosevelt Administration about whether to mention it to the Soviets, America’s supposed allies. In fact, they’d already figured out something was up.

Despite this fault line over trust with FDR, the Soviets would later mourn a safer world they believed Roosevelt would have created if he’d lived. To them, he was a dear friend who passed away too soon.

But FDR still accomplished plenty. The unlikely cooperation between the capitalist and the communist, the product of human warmth and trust, created the flawed but essential United Nations. As Churchill sulked, Roosevelt and Stalin grinned and charmed and arm-twisted their way to victory and the world beyond the war. We all live in their legacy.

"As Churchill sulked."

Peter G

There is a certain type of Brit that has convinced themselves that the various colonies occupied by Britain yearned for the yoke. They wanted their resources exploited principally for the benefit of others. They demanded to be second class citizens in their own land. Churchill was just such a man and his chief desire in the aftermath of the Second World War was to restore the old regime. Odd thing though, when it actually became economically unproductive to continue to exploit these places the white man's burden could not be unloaded fast enough. Times changed and Churchill couldn't even find a domestic market for this particular brand of horseshit. Take solace though, you weren't as bad as the Belgians in the Congo.

David & Son of Duff

@ DA:

I was sort of minded to buy that book, DA, but then I read this opening to a review by Conrad Black;

"Roosevelt and Stalin is an interesting but bad book.1 Susan Butler argues that the Cold War and the terror of its nuclear arms race might well have been avoided had Franklin D. Roosevelt’s suave and sage benignity not abruptly given way to his crude successor Harry S. Truman and the saturnine influence of Winston Churchill. Butler portrays Churchill as an incorrigible Victorian imperialist, a profoundly dishonest and treacherous ally, a venomous racist, and almost a mass murderer, morally on no higher a plane than Stalin. In order to rewrite history so radically, Ms. Butler engages in the wholesale splicing of historic documents, the willful misrepresentation of the views of several prominent statesmen, recurrent recourse to unsubstantiated surmise and mind-reading, and histrionic magnification of trivial events, while passing off, as necessary (i.e., quite often), grievous Stalinist misconduct as cultural differences and understandable reaction to Western chicanery."

I think I'll pass!

@ Peter:

So, a man born into the English upper-class in 1874 was a keen supporter of empire. Well, whodathunkit? Have you any more such brilliant insights, Peter?

The Dark Avenger

Really, David? Lord Conrad Black, a convicted embezzler and liar, writing in the New Criterion, denies historical facts, like the Indian famines and Sir Winston's well-documented racism?

Color me surprised.

David & Son of Duff

So you won't go along with this, I assume:

"All of this came to pass in a prolonged strategic feat of astounding virtuosity by Roosevelt. Churchill had kept democracy alive by pulling Britain and the Commonwealth together and winning the Battle of Britain, by retaining control of the Atlantic and Mediterranean in 1940–1941. Roosevelt’s grand strategy was steadily implemented successfully in 1942–1945, and where Germany, France, Italy, and Japan had all been undemocratic countries hostile to the English-speaking peoples in mid–1940, they were all, at the end of the war, in the hands of the English-speaking countries. It was a triumph, first of courageous survival led by Churchill, supported by Roosevelt, and then of masterly world-strategic execution by Roosevelt, supported by Churchill. All of this blissfully escapes the comprehension of Susan Butler, who instead inflicts on us a gruesome tale of Hitlerian wickedness aggravated by Churchillian skulduggery, surmounted only by Soviet heroism and Roosevelt’s Peter Pan-like benignity."

The Dark Avenger

Another crap-laden enconium of Churchill which ahistorically forgets that the Russians fought the Germans for years and did most of the fighting up until the time of D-day. Courageous survival indeed!

David & Son of Duff

And you, DA, my dear old thing, seem to have forgotten that Churchill added his pressure and support to the British government when they agreed with France to guarantee Poland's frontiers and thus we began fighting the Germans for two years - mostly on our own - whilst Stalin cowered behind the Nazi-Soviet pact and only joined the fight when they were invaded!

The Dark Avenger

Again, David, you've managed to stray far from the truth in your account of things:

In the commentary on the Anglo-Polish Alliance, Polish publicist Stanislaw Mackiewicz wrote in his 1964 book "Polityka Becka":

"England does not need the existence of Poland, it has never needed it. Sometimes the British push us to fight against Russia, sometimes against Germany, as happened in 1939, when they managed to keep Hitler away from them for some time. After their so-called guarantees of March 1939, England was not interested in our army, it did not help us financially in our war preparations, and did not have the slightest intention to aid us during Hitler's invasion of Poland (...) The guarantee of Poland's independence, provided by England, was not a guarantee at all. On the contrary, it was a speculation, whose purpose was the fastest possible liquidation of the Polish state. England wanted Poland to fight Germany first, and to lose that war as quickly as possible, so that Germany would finally face Russia".

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