I have been following Mark Steyn’s writings since the days when his only book was about American musicals and his only columns were movie reviews in the English Spectator. From such a background who would have expected him to become the finest and clearest writer on foreign policy issues in the world, which from a Western point of view means he writes the most depressing analysis of what’s going on to found found anywhere. Today’s post, befitting Anzac Day, is All Quiescent on the Western Front which dwells on the downfall of Western civilisation led by – well not really “led by”, more like hastened by – the election of the most incompetent fool ever to lead a Western nation. Still, having said all those nice things about Mr. Steyn, I am merely going to repeat something he had picked up from someone else, in an article by John Hulsman with the title, It’s time to read the writing on the wall: Why the West no longer exists. This is the bit quoted by Steyn:
The greatest global political risk can’t be found in Kiev, eastern Ukraine or any of the other hotspots that get the media so excited. It lies in the perception of Western weakness among those countries that find themselves dissatisfied with the current global establishment. For them, the enfeebled state of the West, as laid bare in Ukraine, means the possibility of expansion…
As seen from Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran, this is the inspiring, hopeful narrative of Western decline. These countries know they must be careful not to miscalculate, not to press too hard as the lessons of this calamity for the West slowly dawn. But in the medium term, it looks like Iran’s nuclear programme is safe, that Assad can soon pop the corks in Damascus, that for North Korea, torturing Seoul at the edges looks like a no brainer, and as for China, well, the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands await. With time, and after Putin’s groundbreaking efforts, the way history is moving couldn’t be clearer. The West simply doesn’t exist anymore.
Wars do matter. Defending yourself makes a difference. As we head out to ANZAC Cove, it’s worth recalling the fateful consequences of how a single battle in 1453 changed everything about the world ever since. In looking at the current American president, I am reminded of his predecessor who in 1984 pointed out that “history teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” Obama not only makes aggression appear cheap, he makes it look to others as if there are virtually no costs at all.
FURTHER THOUGHTS: The ANZAC tradition is, of course, still pretty good in Australia. But there is also plenty of this, picked up at Andrew Bolt:
Tasmania’s Governor has used his Anzac Day speech to urge Australia to spend less time paying homage to the Anzac legend and more time examining the causes of war and Australia’s involvement in conflicts.
Peter Underwood spoke about the cost of conflict while addressing the crowd at Hobart cenotaph.
“We should spend less time studying Simpson’s donkey and more time looking at why we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for so long,” he said.
Andrew thinks he should be sacked, and perhaps he should, but as I say, there’s plenty of that around. And when it comes to the American president, there’s this on a posting called, Obama’s Staggering Record of Failure:
It’s not simply that Mr. Obama has fallen short of what he promised; it’s that he has been, in so many respects, a failure. Choose your metrics. Better yet, choose Mr. Obama’s metrics: Job creation. Economic growth. Improving our health-care system. Reducing the debt. Reducing poverty. Reducing income inequality. Slowing the rise of the oceans. Healing the planet. Repairing the world. The Russian “reset.” Peace in the Middle East. Red lines in Syria. Renewed focus on Afghanistan. A new beginning with the Arab world. Better relations with our allies. Depolarizing our politics. Putting an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” Working with the other party. Transparency. No lobbyists working in his administration. His commitment to seek public financing in the general election. The list goes on and on.
And the list does indeed go on. That he is a profound failure on every parameter that matters is not in question. The only issue is whether it is high incompetence or deliberate.
And with the headline at Drudge today, we really do see where we are now at, UKRAINE OFFICIAL SAYS HE FEARS RUSSIAN INVASION:
Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said Friday he fears an imminent Russian invasion.
“We have the information we are in danger,” Danylo Lubkivsky told reporters at the United Nations.
He spoke as an official in Ukraine confirmed that pro-Russian forces had detained a team of military observers with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The official said the team would be released after further investigation.
So which camp are you in? It will never happen, or it doesn’t matter? Because if it does happen it will matter a very great deal. And just to add to the mix, there is this, With Ukraine in turmoil, Hagel can’t get Russian counterpart to take his calls.