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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mailvox: is war in decline?

CED asks about The Remnants of War and the idea that war is in decline:
Are you aware of the book The Remnants of War by John Mueller? It was published back in 2004, with a paperback edition in 2007. The book argues that contrary to popular belief, war is on its way out, and the only people still engaging in it are opportunistic criminals easily scared off by competent, disciplined troops from developed countries.

Its main thrust is that developed countries, which used to get into frequent wars with each other, no longer did due to the harrowing experience of World War I, and that World War II was an aberration caused by Hitler's personal charisma. The book states that changing cultural attitudes toward organized violence, not trade links or new military technologies like nukes, ended war as a possibility among developed states.

Furthermore, even in undeveloped states, much of the "war" is caused by roving yet cowardly criminal gangs that seek easy targets, not disciplined soldiers or even guerrillas (he emphasizes the Yugoslav wars as Exhibit A) -- and that this is the main form of warfare that remains. According to Mueller, this form of war can only be handled by competent native governments with disciplined police and military forces. Once this is done, war, like slavery and dueling before it, will recede as a human institution. A related point he makes is that ethnic conflict need not explode into civil war if there is a competent government in place.

Now, it has been a long time since this book was published. I see a few problems with his thesis:

Chinese saber-rattling. In the South and East China Sea, China has been building up its navy in preparation for a war. This has driven countries like Vietnam closer to the US and forced Japan to begin its own military buildup. Of course, there's also Taiwan. While Mueller is careful to say that war between disciplined, developed states is still possible, it cuts against another claim he makes -- that the Cold War's losers see the world the same way as the winners and thus don't want to upset the international order.

Russia's interference in Ukraine
. Russia was the principal loser in the Cold War, and there is very little evidence that they see the world the "same way" as the US and the EU. The interference in the Ukraine, as well as the sanctions imposed in response, to say nothing of Putin's domestic policies that are at odds with Western promotion of homosexuality and godlessness, show fundamental differences. The only reason there has been no war is because it would inevitably go nuclear.

The Iraq debacle. Take note of when The Remnants of War was published -- 2004, a mere one year after the Iraq invasion. Disciplined US troops displaced Saddam's government and occupied the country, policing it to get rid of opportunistic predators that wanted to profit from the social chaos. Things still looked hopeful for the occupation at the time. Eleven years later, The US has withdrawn and the Islamic State has risen. Either the Muslim fundamentalists have proven more disciplined, or war isn't declining as much as Mueller would have us believe. In his schema, something like the Islamic State shouldn't even be possible.

Fourth-generation war. To Mueller, "war" is a battle between disciplined armies for control of a government or territory, or between a government and disciplined guerrilla forces. He waves off notions of 4GW (though he never uses the term) by saying that war has been reduced to its dregs -- mere predation by criminal packs in areas without effective governments. To Mueller, what appears to be a "new form of war" is just the death rattle of war, and once those areas could be competently policed, even criminal "war" will disappear. In contrast, William S. Lind says that 4GW is the wave of the future and has been defeating the state wherever it has arisen. This complicates Mueller's conclusions about the inevitable end of war, though he does mention that a government has to be effective to end war. Lind also says that 4GW comes from a state's crisis of legitimacy, so maybe both Mueller and Lind are making the same point in a different way.

Anyway, do you have any thoughts on John Mueller's idea that war is on the decline and soon to disappear as a human institution?
I was not aware of the book, but if CED has fairly represented Mueller's views, I think his core idea is conventional, outdated, short-sighted, and ahistorical, and temporally biased. There have always been periods of relative peace. During such periods, it is common for the more foolish sort of thinkers to believe that those periods have somehow magically become established as the permanent human norm. Considering that the world has been in one of the longer periods of economic growth, technological advancement, and population growth since 1950, and it should be no surprise that even after 9/11 and the dot com crash, there were still those who thought that this time, it would be different.

I've been reading World Order by Henry Kissinger, and it is clear that one reason the global elite is attempting to tighten its grasp these days is because it fears the world declining into the sort of disorder that makes it difficult to milk. But it will fail, order will decline into disorder, and low-grade war will cover most of the planet because the centers of order are no longer homogenous and stable.

The one genuinely mitigating factor is the way in which nuclear weapons tend to prevent the major state militaries from engaging each other. But this too creates problems, as it forces them to fight on the 4GW non-battlefield where their every action tends to foster more of the very disorder they are attempting to destroy.

We are fortunate to have lived in such peaceful times. It is unlikely that our children and our grandchildren will be similarly fortunate. So, my answer is no. War is not in decline. As I wrote in the preface to RIDING THE RED HORSE:

[T]he end of the Pax Americana is rapidly approaching and it is readily apparent to every well-informed observer that War is preparing to mount his steed, and he will soon be once more riding that terrible red horse over the nations of men.

It is no accident that the THERE WILL BE WAR series came to an end in 1989, in harmony with the end of the Cold War. Nor is it an accident that there is an increased interest for military fiction, or that we launched RIDING THE RED HORSE this month.

Henry Kissinger writes in World Order:
In the world of geopolitics, the order established and proclaimed as universal by the Western countries stands at a turning point. Its nostrums are understood globally, but there is no consensus about their application; indeed, concepts such as democracy, human rights, and international law are given such divergent interpretations that warring parties regularly invoke them against each other as battle cries. The system’s rules have been promulgated but have proven ineffective absent active enforcement. The pledge of partnership and community has in some regions been replaced, or at least accompanied, by a harder-edged testing of limits.

A quarter century of political and economic crises perceived as produced, or at least abetted, by Western admonitions and practices—along with imploding regional orders, sectarian bloodbaths, terrorism, and wars ended on terms short of victory—has thrown into question the optimistic assumptions of the immediate post–Cold War era: that the spread of democracy and free markets would automatically create a just, peaceful, and inclusive world.
Translation: don't count on the end of history. And mark this: "A struggle between regions could be even more debilitating than the struggle between nations has been."

Labels: ,

79 Comments:

Blogger macengr December 28, 2014 9:33 AM  

Steven Pinker's book "Better Angels" makes the same argument - that deaths in war are declining. I think you are right - this is just a lull.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben December 28, 2014 9:42 AM  

Vox, do you still predict the breakup of the US by 2033? If so, what is the basis of that prediction and how will the breakup affect each region of the world?

Also, it is interesting to note that your prediction is very similar to Martin Armstrong's prediction that America's political system will change after 2032.

Anonymous RP-in-TX December 28, 2014 9:59 AM  

There have always been periods of relative peace. During such periods, it is common for the more foolish sort of thinkers to believe that those periods have somehow magically become established as the permanent human norm.

A perfect example of this thinking was Fukuyama's "End of History" argument made in the waning days of the Cold War. He argued that the whole world would adopt bourgeois Western lifestyles and democracy because of the spread of technologies like the VCR. It never occurred to him that anyone would be willing to live in caves and reject/fight modern political and economic systems.

Anonymous p-dawg December 28, 2014 10:00 AM  

Wait, if it's going to "go away" like slavery...does that mean it will stick around? Because there is plenty of slavery in the world today.

Anonymous LES December 28, 2014 10:02 AM  

The Borg, the US led New World Order, will first use economic sanctions (Iran, Russia) to bring larger countries in to line. If they manage to resist, a hot war seems inevitable.

Anonymous Omar's Running Shoes December 28, 2014 10:11 AM  

WWII because Hitler. Was he Japanese, too? And Stalin, what he was doing to those tens of millions of Russians, that wasn't war?

Yeah, war is going away.

Oh, and funniest- not intentionally I suspect- line in the piece...

"...ethnic conflict need not explode into civil war if there is a competent government in place."

Anonymous JP December 28, 2014 10:41 AM  

Mueller originally wrote his book in 1989 as

Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War (New York: Basic Books, 1989)

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein December 28, 2014 10:42 AM  

Nuclear weapons have probably contributed to the lack of *big* wars since WWII. Sooner or later, though, someone will push too far (conventionally) against a nuclear power and then, "Katie, bar the door!"

Blogger ScuzzaMan December 28, 2014 10:45 AM  

Amongst the intellectual class there has never been a shortage of those willing to take the throne's coin in return for novel rationalisations of the existence and necessity of the monarch(y).

One more example in a very long sequence of this ancient historical practice is hardly noteworthy.

Blogger IM2L844 December 28, 2014 11:03 AM  

To Mueller, "war" is a battle between disciplined armies for control of a government or territory, or between a government and disciplined guerrilla forces.

Conventional war, by todays (Mueller's) standards, maybe. But convention has always been an evolving amorphous concept. Ebb and flow pay no attention. "Life turns on a dime."

Blogger Outlaw X December 28, 2014 11:15 AM  

Vox the reason war is not in decline is because there is no more Mamoru Shigemitsu signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government on the deck of USS Missouri.

Surrender is as out dated as WW I's trench warfare. War isn't fought that way there are no winners and losers of war only momentary retreat. Then war moves on always expanding and moving about the board. Armies don't fight, peoples do. Nations don't surrender.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey December 28, 2014 11:20 AM  

"We are fortunate to have lived in such peaceful times."

I'm not so sure.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 11:37 AM  

None but the dead have seen the end of war.

Anonymous PA December 28, 2014 11:40 AM  

Americans have been living in a state of war since 1954.

OpenID marcwinger.com December 28, 2014 11:44 AM  

Humans disagree & there will be war.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 11:58 AM  

p-dawg: "Wait, if it's going to "go away" like slavery...does that mean it will stick around?"

Bruce Charlton has rightly written a lot on the fact that slavery, genuinely abolished in Britain for ages, has returned in brute force with the "multicultural" hordes that never abandoned it.

War too, in the form of ethnic cleansing, goes on where the enemies of whites have the power to do us harm, as they increasingly do.

Our international anti-white ruling class continues to import into our countries millions of persons who have an inherent conflict of interest with whites, and as little respect for our ideas of peace as they do for our dislike of slavery. As the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal shows, they also rape the children of the defeated (whites). By ancient, savage rules, this is included in the rights of the conquerors.

We'll push back successfully or we won't; there will be no stable state.

"Peace" based on the idea that whenever there was a conflict of interest it could be resolved "peacefully" by the surrender of white interests and the retreat of whites under false-white Jewish moral leadership could not have been indefinitely sustainable.

Anonymous Mike M. December 28, 2014 11:59 AM  

War has been a constant throughout human history. You MIGHT be able to make the case that the First and Second World Wars led to the adoption of more constrained Laws of War - the way that the horrors of the Thirty Years War produced restrictions that would be honored for centuries. But they were honored in the middle of war after war.

4GW? I tend to agree with the critics who argue that it's a subset of insurgency. Domestic politics by force of arms. The major change has been the willingness of states to import foreigners, then allow those people to set up communities not aligned with the nation as a whole. The patience of the general public with this has been exhausted.

Anonymous CED December 28, 2014 12:04 PM  

A quarter century of political and economic crises perceived as produced, or at least abetted, by Western admonitions and practices—along with imploding regional orders, sectarian bloodbaths, terrorism, and wars ended on terms short of victory—has thrown into question the optimistic assumptions of the immediate post–Cold War era: that the spread of democracy and free markets would automatically create a just, peaceful, and inclusive world.

According to Amy Chua (of Tiger Mother fame), "democracy and free markets" may be part of the problem in the non-Western world, where market-dominant minorities control large swaths of the local economies.

Anonymous AlteredFate December 28, 2014 12:19 PM  

The way I see it nuclear weapons have tied the hands of the states who posses them, essentially locking them down perpetually into a defensive position. These states avoid military conflict with each other, while non-state nations with no nuclear weapons (ISIS, Al Queda) operate without any regard to who possesses them, crossing borders, attacking enemy armies, actions that states with them rightfully fear would turn into a hot war with nukes. Nukes are worse than a useless tool in 4GW, because they force a state with them into politicking, which limits military actions and opens before them a minefield which punishes any missteps with loss of moral authority.

Blogger Mindstorm December 28, 2014 12:21 PM  

Raise the stakes, then conflicts become more violent. It's that simple.

Anonymous Orville December 28, 2014 12:42 PM  

The MAD theory is based on technology from the 60's and 70's. There are new advances in ABM systems where the possibility of intercepting most of a retaliatory strike makes using a First Strike doctrine more feasible. Russian in particular has an edge here, and when you add in their large scale public fallout shelters, it would not be unreasonable to think they wouldn't consider a first strike if they were in a severe jam.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 28, 2014 12:53 PM  

I'm beginning to think materialism can be blamed for Total War doctrine in the same way that Atheism+ was blaming religion. Without the underlying assumption of materialism, Marxism (and other provocative ideologies) never would have gotten off the ground. As seen in the recent thread on torture, most modern people are moral utilitarians and are unable to imagine an alternative value system to economic utility. (Koanic rightly describes his proof of the supernatural as the Manhattan Project, in this sense.)

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 1:04 PM  

CED: "According to Amy Chua (of Tiger Mother fame), "democracy and free markets" may be part of the problem in the non-Western world, where market-dominant minorities control large swaths of the local economies."

There is true in the "Western" world, where market-dominant minorities control key parts of the local economies.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 28, 2014 1:16 PM  

Each of the countries/alliances that oppose each other will try to find other methods to defeat their opponents first.

Eg, economic methods and cyber attacks ... war will come when one of them finds they have lost in these other realms.

Anonymous Judge December 28, 2014 1:24 PM  

It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 28, 2014 1:56 PM  

The lost generation can't fix anything but I wonder if she can change a tire?

Anonymous Mike M. December 28, 2014 1:57 PM  

One point to bear in mind WRT 4GW...historically, any insurgency requires a safe haven. Don't underestimate the ability of a state actor to hit those rear areas.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 2:01 PM  

Politics is the extension of war, by other means - von Clausewitz

I guess vC was wrong, eh?

Anonymous The other skeptic December 28, 2014 2:10 PM  

Some people are starting to understand the danger posed by vibrants ...

Also, there might be larger connections between the killing of police in NYC and the murder of a white girl in Mississippi.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 28, 2014 2:22 PM  

They are very explicit abouttheir aims so we should believe them.

They promise The largest religious cleansing campaign in history.

OpenID simplytimothy December 28, 2014 3:14 PM  

From the Armstrong article @Fubar Nation Ben linked to:

The EU will turn against its citizens quite violently. What is at stake now is the jobs in Brussels. Kill the Euro and the justification for those jobs vanishes. They will defend those positions with your blood as historically thus has always been the choice. There was only one goal – federalize Europe.

This is happening here in the U.S.

Call it a hunch, but I think there is the possibility for a radical paradigm to develop--open source revolution, if you will--where free, 'stateless' people turn on the predatory government class as it seeks to hold on to power via any means necessary. This will not be the model where an impoverished citizenry with nothing left to lose revolts, this will be the well-off, educated and productive saying 'no' to the flabby bureaucrats plans for war.


Maybe this has already happened, I don't know. I do know that government politicians and bureaucrats, when deprived of money and power are largely useless and powerless. They have nothing but our assent.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 3:19 PM  

Mindstorm: "Raise the stakes, then conflicts become more violent. It's that simple."

Stakes can be ultimate, yet there is not much happening on the surface because one side is demoralized, politically paralyzed, or without effective means of acting.

Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother December 28, 2014 3:42 PM  

The ancient equivalent of the nuclear weapon IS the Roman legion. A weapon capable of total destruction on a specific target or area. Who controlled the legions? Who controls the nukes?

Anonymous AlteredFate December 28, 2014 4:06 PM  

@Jonathan you have that quote precisely backwards. War is politics by other means. Politics is economics by other means.

Blogger Mindstorm December 28, 2014 4:13 PM  

Roman legions? Is any army at present time kept in line with these measures?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_(Roman_army)

Blogger Mindstorm December 28, 2014 4:17 PM  

What exactly were these 'morale-related functions' fulfilled by politruks?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_commissar#Red_Army

Anonymous Jack Amok December 28, 2014 4:19 PM  

@simpletimothy, The American war of independence wasn't impoverished huddled masses either. It was reasonably well off folks who saw another elite trying to push them back down. So your idea certainly isn't without precedent.

Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother December 28, 2014 4:29 PM  

Mindstorm, are you agreeing with me or disagreeing?

Blogger IM2L844 December 28, 2014 5:48 PM  

This will not be the model where an impoverished citizenry with nothing left to lose revolts.

You don't need an actual revolutionary proletariat. When entitled narcissists feel sufficiently slighted, they have disproportionate violent tantrums.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 6:16 PM  

@ AlteredFate

Read your Bible. Government *is* force, that is it's sine qua non, therefore, the difference between execution of domestic police activity and external military activity is a matter of quantity, not quality.

Way to miss the point.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 6:26 PM  

"war is politics by other means" and "politics is war by other means" are simply two ways of saying the exact same thing. What's bizarre is that I see progressives make the same error you do that politics is, at it's most fundamental, about the application of force.

Anonymous Discard December 28, 2014 6:33 PM  

CED and Titus: In "World on Fire", Amy Chua explicitly denied that there were any market-dominant-minorities in America. I imagine that she was trying to head off any anti-Semitic thoughts that might be occurring to her readers as she described just how some minorities manage to rule the majorities.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 28, 2014 6:48 PM  

@Jonathan
Read your Bible. Government *is* force, that is it's sine qua non, therefore, the difference between execution of domestic police activity and external military activity is a matter of quantity, not quality.

Whoa whoa whoa there. Government is whatever the dominant force in the land is, yes. However, domestic police activity is not the same as external military activity - or at least, it shouldn't be.

We may have police officers playing at being soldiers, but they are not, and do not act like, soldiers on the front lines. And because they play at being soldiers, our quality of life domestically has deteriorated greatly when they mishandle volatile situations.

Just because government = force doesn't mean domestic policing = military force.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 6:53 PM  

@ Student in Blue

Just because government = force doesn't mean domestic policing = military force

Re read what I wrote - there is a difference, one of quantity, not quality. Look you are making the exact same mistake that progressives make - that there is a qualitative difference between force applied domestically versus beyond the borders.

Force is force is force. How do people not get this???

Anonymous Student in Blue December 28, 2014 7:29 PM  

@Jonathan
Re read what I wrote - there is a difference, one of quantity, not quality.

Just because you say it is so, does not mean it is so.

I already explained why I think A != B. I never saw you express in the first place why you believe A = B.

Look you are making the exact same mistake that progressives make - that there is a qualitative difference between force applied domestically versus beyond the borders.

That's the opposite of what I've encountered. Progressives miss the qualitative differences all the time. We have inequality in XYZ sector! We must have more money! The additional money didn't help? We need more money! They throw quantity at problems to solve it.

Men are scum! This one man that may or may not be made up did something bad, hence all men are bad! They see no qualitative difference between the bad men and all men.

Progressives whitewash topics all the time, never seeing the qualitative difference. If anything, you are on the side of progressives, since you don't see the qualitative differences either.

Force is force is force. How do people not get this???

Kinetic force is not centripetal force is not magnetic force.

Political force is not necessarily military force, but they are connected. They are not instantly the same however.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 7:39 PM  

Progressives miss the qualitative differences all the time.

Hey, dummy, there are no qualitative differences. It is progressives who think that there is a qualitative difference. The same force that is exerted in launching WW2 is the same force that is exerted in administering traffic laws - the only difference is the quantity of force.

Frankly, I think that the primary intellectual error of modern political liberalism is that all state action of any kind is predicated on force and that the only distinctions is in the quantity of force required.

You people do realize that you are all engaging in what is probably the primary intellectual error of modern liberalism, right? Jesus, the intellectual rot of modernism runs deep.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 7:46 PM  

I already explained why I think A != B.

You did no such thing. All you did was make vague handwaving regarding police officers playing soldier. That the police officers of today carry more firepower than they did fifty years ago is only a difference in quantity, not of quality. Yes, there is a difference ... one of *quantity* not *quality*.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 28, 2014 8:20 PM  

@Jonathan
It is progressives who think that there is a qualitative difference. The same force that is exerted in launching WW2 is the same force that is exerted in administering traffic laws - the only difference is the quantity of force.

You'll have to explain your evidence for this assertion that "progressives [...] think that there is a qualitative difference" when I provided anecdotal evidence that the contrary is true.

As it is, if the "same force that is exerted in launching WW2 is the same force that is exerted in administering traffic laws", then why is there no artillery on street corners? Do you count the difference of equipment as simply being "quantity"? I ask this to clarify your position.

Frankly, I think that the primary intellectual error of modern political liberalism is that all state action of any kind is predicated on force and that the only distinctions is in the quantity of force required.

On the contrary, the opposite of what you describe as "modern political liberalism" (which isn't) is the stance of the Neocon, in that military force is the answer to every occasion, no matter how big, how small - since force is force, why bother using political force when we can enact the same kind of change with military force?

Except the change enacted by military force does not result in the same exact changes enacted by political force.

So anything that's not a Neocon position is "modern political liberalism" to you.

You people do realize that you are all engaging in what is probably the primary intellectual error of modern liberalism, right? Jesus, the intellectual rot of modernism runs deep.

"Sheep! Sheep! All these people are just sheep! Why must I be the only brilliant one?"

No need to get holier-than-thou with an otherwise civil discussion.

You did no such thing.

Just because you couldn't comprehend doesn't mean it didn't happen.

All you did was make vague handwaving regarding police officers playing soldier. That the police officers of today carry more firepower than they did fifty years ago is only a difference in quantity, not of quality. Yes, there is a difference ... one of *quantity* not *quality*.

Yes, because obviously my point is not the police acting like soldiers, but simply the caliber of weapons.

Now I'm obviously being sarcastic there, because you failed to understand my point. My point is not the increase in weapons but the change in how the policing force acts, trying to change and become militarized - and how in doing so they have been FAILING at their job.

You can change your attitude in how you perform your job with the EXACT SAME QUANTITY of hardware and have a completely different effect. That's the quality I'm talking about, and it demonstrably exists.

Anonymous map December 28, 2014 9:27 PM  

Nicholas Stix really provides a chilling count.

The general rule is always to avoid police and never engage them unless you absolutely have to.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 9:40 PM  

Thanks, Discard.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 9:41 PM  

I have encountered police in passing - Starbucks, fast food, etc. - and every time I have tried to interact in a pleasant and sociable fashion it has been horribly awkward. Frankly, it's gotta suck to be a cop. OTOH, I have a few cops I know through social circles and they're all quite pleasant.

Anonymous Sensei December 28, 2014 9:56 PM  

I was just explaining the meaning of the term "Armageddon" to a Chinese-speaking friend the other day. I think it's safe to say war will always be with us, like disease, famine, and death.

Anonymous Sensei December 28, 2014 10:00 PM  

You know, the last few captures required to post have appeared to be street addresses. Are we helping the cyber division of the vampire squids by filling these out?

Anonymous AlteredFate December 28, 2014 10:04 PM  

@Jonathan you invoked Clausewitz, I simply checked the quote because I thought you had it wrong and you did. Reversing what was said is not "simply two ways of saying the exact same thing." Politics, or government power does not equal force, and if you had read your Bible like you suggested I do you would recognize your argument, that polical power=force and where force is always wrong, is the very similar to that Satan used to challenge God. God has a right to make the rules. His game, His rules. One of His rules as stated in the Bible, Romans 13, is that He has granted human governments power. How they wield such power may involve force, but to say it does necessarily is incorrect, and to argue that all force is wrong is incorrect. Force is unnecessary if people willingly subject themselves to authority, which is exactly what the Bible tells us to do. Like you, too many argue unknowingly for anarchy.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 10:19 PM  

@Altered Fate

@Jonathan you invoked Clausewitz, I simply checked the quote because I thought you had it wrong and you did.

I'm quite aware of the exact phrasing of the initial quote.

Politics, or government power does not equal force

Actually, yes, that's it's fundamental basis - all it is.

you would recognize your argument, that polical power=force and where force is always wrong, is the very similar to that Satan used to challenge God

Except I'm not making the case that force is always wrong. Force is what it is.

is the very similar to that Satan used to challenge God. God has a right to make the rules. His game, His rules.

Correct. He has the right to make the rules because he can kick your ass. His game. His rules. His power. Nothing compares

Force is unnecessary if people willingly subject themselves to authority

Were this the case, force would be unnecessary. That it is necessary indicates it is not the case, hence, he has ordained the authorities with the sword. Pretty simple, really. I feel like I'm trying to teach the Critique of Pure Reason to third graders.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 11:06 PM  

Jonathan: "I feel like I'm trying to teach the Critique of Pure Reason to third graders."

But you're not.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 11:33 PM  

@ Titus Didius Tacitus

Then you're not paying attention. That some law is not predicated on force is probably the most blatant bit of intellectual dishonesty peddled by political liberalism. Yet, this same intellectual dishonesty is being peddled in these same comment sections.

Ilk meet liberal.

Anonymous Jonathan December 28, 2014 11:39 PM  

Why is it that a good number of commenters on this blog are making the same intellectual error (dishonesty?) that I almost universally encounter in modern liberals? Serious question.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 11:53 PM  

Do you agree with Carl von Clausewitz that "war is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means"?

If not, why did you start off at December 28, 2014 2:01 PM by referring to him?

If so, do you agree that the admixture of these other means distinguishes war from politics?

They wouldn't be "other" means (than politics) if there wasn't anything different about them, would they?

Blogger John Wright December 29, 2014 12:13 AM  

"I was not aware of the book, but if CED has fairly represented Mueller's views, I think his core idea is conventional, outdated, short-sighted, and ahistorical, and temporally biased."

And unbiblical.

Christians know that there will be wars and rumors of wars until Doomsday. We know what things humans can solve on their own, and what things will be with us until the end of the human story on this fallen earth. War is not something human nature can solve, or even tolerate for long periods.

Anonymous Jonathan December 29, 2014 12:26 AM  

@ Titus Didius Tacitus

And what might those other means be?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 2:32 AM  

@ Jonathan

That's not my point and would be another discussion.

My point is a very modest one: according to Carl von Clausewitz war has its own means which are native to itself and which taken all together are "other" than politics.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 2:48 AM  

There are different wars.

It could be like this. Politics is iron and war is steel. What is added to the iron that makes it the steel in your blade? There are different alloys and different treatments for different blades for different purposes. But always the bulk of your steel blade begins as iron, and the bulk of its substance and its original character should be admitted.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 3:15 AM  

I want to preserve the distinction between the kind of politics that is just war by subterfuge, like the kind that has led to the ethnic cleansing of whites in parts of American cities, and the kind of politics that is not just war by subterfuge. There is peace, sometimes -- real peace, and not the malign illusion of it.

Anonymous Jonathan December 29, 2014 3:26 AM  

The just/unjust war distinction is crap, at least in an absolute sense. If you'd been paying attention to Vox over the years you'd know he considers that distinction risible.

A war is just to those who think it just and unjust to everyone thinks otherwise.

Anonymous Jonathan December 29, 2014 3:32 AM  

Also, the ethnic cleansing of whites over the last several decades has been supervised by ... whites.

Anonymous Jonathan December 29, 2014 3:34 AM  

The point is that vC was winging it when he asserted the "other means" bit. War and politics are just two sides of the same coin, everywhere and always.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 4:37 AM  

I think the just / unjust war distinction is reasonable but contains flaws. This is another topic of course.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 4:43 AM  

Jonathan: "Also, the ethnic cleansing of whites over the last several decades has been supervised by ... whites."

Or people who could pass for white. Or increasingly affirmative action hires.

This is not much better than saying that some hired Indians disprove the Indian wars.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 4:53 AM  

Jonathan: "The point is that vC was winging it when he asserted the "other means" bit. War and politics are just two sides of the same coin, everywhere and always."

I see no reason to think he was winging it. His statement seems well-considered. War is "nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means" deems on the mark. There is a continuation beyond the normal, in aims, means and sentiments. War is a field of study with distinct characteristics.

And not every political disagreement bears the character of war, or even disguised war. When politics becomes war carried on mainly by means that are native to politics, that is a grave change. It is not harmless or meaningless, all politics being assumed to be the same as war anyway.

Anonymous Johnny Caustic December 29, 2014 5:05 AM  

I urge the original question-asker to read a bit about Generational Dynamics (on the website of the same name; google it).

A very oversimplified summary of its main idea: nations periodically go through crises such as total wars that are so terrible, they galvanize all the survivors to make sure nothing like that can happen again. Examples of such crises include WWII for Western Europe and the US, WWI for Eastern Europe, China's Communist Revolution (and war with Japan), and Russia's Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent purges (plus WWI). The unusually long post-war peace we've enjoyed is largely attributable to our elders who have first-hand memories of the horrors of those times.

But when the last people who remember the previous great crisis die or age out of influence, the cycle repeats itself. Thus every civilization seems to have cycles of violence that peak roughly once per human lifetime. (John Xenakis documents many of these on his website.)

Unfortunately, the once-independent crisis cycles of the great powers have synchronized, and the US, China, Europe, India, Pakistan, and parts of the muslim world are due for a bigger, badder sequel to WWII in the next 20 or 30 years.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 5:16 AM  

The idea of cycles doesn't make much sense without holding at least roughly constant the people who are having these cycles. For example, the affairs of South Africa, from the first white foot landing on soil that had never known humanity before until the present day, aren't cyclical.

Anonymous Bob December 29, 2014 5:27 AM  

War better be in decline, because the US army is fucked in the head.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/12/23/army-thanks-soldier-for-confronting-offensive-behavior-online.html?comp=7000023467983&rank=2

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 5:51 AM  

For her willingness to stand up and defend Army values, Moerk received an Army Commendation Medal from Lt. Gen. James C. McConville, who succeeded Bromberg as the Army's personnel chief, during a ceremony Monday, at the Pentagon.

"What she did is the epitome of being an NCO and a Soldier, and of course a leader," said Command Sgt. Maj Leslie Hudson, the 741st Military Intelligence Battalion senior enlisted adviser. "I think that Soldiers out there can learn from the example that she set, and I think that she has set the standard for what leaders are expected to do."


An army that prioritizes and gives medals for this sort of leadership deserves nothing but a kick in the tail.

But the American military is a monolith of gigantic amounts of money, super-destructive technology and drones. And that suffices.

The dark shadow over Europe isn't fading away yet. And as long as it is still there, Europe will be intimidated as swayed toward importing fatally large numbers of non-whites into white countries.

Anonymous Jonathan December 29, 2014 10:42 AM  

@ Titus Didius Tacitus

That you do not comprehend the logical implications of your war/politics distinction and its self-destructiveness is profoundly depressing.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 29, 2014 12:37 PM  

@Jonathan

That you do not answer questions of your war/politics distinction and dodge instead is profoundly depressing.

Why is it that you are making the same intellectual error (dishonesty by question dodging?) that I almost universally encounter in modern liberals? Serious question.

Anyway...

I need to make a correction to a post I made last night. I rambled on something about neocons when I missed a very basic logical hole that made that part of the post completely pointless.

Frankly, I think that the primary intellectual error of modern political liberalism is that all state action of any kind is predicated on force and that the only distinctions is in the quantity of force required.

From this, the "primary intellectual error" (in other words, defining aspect) of "modern political liberalism" is "there are no qualitative differences between force".

Hey, dummy, there are no qualitative differences. It is progressives who think that there is a qualitative difference.

From this, "only progressives believe in qualitative differences".

So according to Jonathan, if you're not a progressive, you're a "modern political liberal". Which is strange because I was rather sure a "modern political liberal" was a progressive.

Either way, because Jonathan is anti-"modern political liberal", according to his logic, he is progressive. And he ought to appreciate the qualitative differences of force then.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 29, 2014 1:03 PM  

Jonathan: "That you do not comprehend the logical implications of your war/politics distinction and its self-destructiveness is profoundly depressing."

It's shouldn't be. I'm just a guy.

Now suppose we add some detail to this pose of yours of being a sane person talking down to the utterly uncomprehending.

Let's take three situations: outright war, politics as war, and healthy politics-as-politics.

For my example of outright war, I'll give a Mongol invasion. You know nothing of the Mongols. You have had no contact with them except that their spies have surveyed your lands and done you what harm they can. Now without further preliminaries, the horde comes.

For my example of politics-as-war I'll take the early Soviet Union. For all the voting and resolutions, ultimately the idea is to fill mass graves with your opponents. This is increasingly so on both sides. There is a strong element of disguised ethnic warfare. There are no means to quit the fight and peacefully cede power without becoming a victim, individually and collectively.

For my example of politics-as-politics, I'll take a small-town election in Switzerland, as described by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. There was great goodwill and cheer on all sides, and familiar candidates were easily returned to office, but the people voted down a proposal to increase to power of the town council. "We trust you," the message was, "but not with this." This was accepted willingly: problem solved. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was struck by the contrast between this and the kind of politics he was used to. The kinds of restraints on politics he wanted were a blow on air here. You're punching back against a nonexistent opponent; the tyranny does not exist; all potential problems are readily resolved because the people really are one, with the same sentiments and interests.

Are these situations not distinct enough to be studied separately?

Blogger JaimeInTexas December 29, 2014 2:29 PM  

Wars will be in decline if war is defined as state versus state, or state versus non-state, if states break down into non-states. Then, I guess, 4th generation tribal conflicts will be battles, until some tribes or tribes try to establish a state.

Wright has it right. Like in the days of Noah, people will be doing what they have done since the Fall. It will be a struggle until That Day.

OpenID simplytimothy December 30, 2014 9:49 AM  

@Jack Amok.

The American war of independence wasn't impoverished huddled masses either. It was reasonably well off folks who saw another elite trying to push them back down. So your idea certainly isn't without precedent.

Yes.

The American Colonists where separated from their rulers by both distance and thought. They had a coherent, stable, thriving civil society and wished to preserve it. (note: I am not a history buff)

While the geographic distance between oppressor and oppressed present at America's founding is gone, the "thought distance" has increased. Furthermore, there are "islands" of coherent, stable, thriving civil society dispersed throughout the world and "the islands" are in easy communication. (This idea is not new, its name escapes me)

What I am trying to articulate is could be called "The Archipelago Of Civilization" (the latin is not very pretty-->De cultu Archipelago)

What is an implication? Well, David Stockman hits on a moral aspect of it in an article on
The 1914 Christmas Truce


A further point. Does anybody on this Blog consider any politician their better, worthy of respect? Their intellectual superior? Their moral beacon? Does anybody look at John McCain, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Clan Clinton, Clan Bush or Barak Obama and think, "wow!". Do you want to die defending them?

Me either.


I submit that "De cultu Archipelago" I refer to will NOT be corralled by their "leaders" into shooting each other, but rather will turn on their "leaders"


What we have is a dispersed, loosely coupled, (resilient or anti-fragile(?)) political and cultural system right here, right now, that holds very important power.

I suspect it will emerge as our new blossoming of American freedom.




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