Spurgeon On A Lousy Excuse For Perpetual War

spurgeonSo often, when long-term military engagements overseas are discussed, one form or another of “Well, now that we’re there, we can’t just pick up and leave. There will be bloodshed!”  comes up.

Here are some pertinent thoughts from the great British preacher Charles H. Spurgeon:

“What have we to do in the Soudan? Being there, what is to be done? Might not a withdrawal from it involve a sea of bloodshed greater than that which seems imminent if we remain? Who knows what is best in so perplexing a case? The evil lay in our first interference, and the sooner we quit the place the better if honourable engagements permit. Peace is our duty.”

(quoted by Albert Meredith in The social and political views of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892)

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21st Century Rules Against Arbitrary Invasion

Apparently not recognizing the irony, John Kerry told Vladimir Putin:

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.”kerryputin

It sounds like pretty good advice. Now, if only we could get a 21st century U.S. administration that would implement a non-interventionist foreign policy like that! Then Russia could have a good example to follow.

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Ronald Reagan and the Taliban in Afghanistan

Reagan_sitting_with_people_from_the_Afghanistan-Pakistan_region_in_February_1983“The freedom fighters of Afghanistan are defending principles of independence and freedom that form the basis of global security and stability” – Ronald Reagan in 1982

“American officials no longer refer to Afghanistan warlords and insurgents as ‘freedom fighters’; yet, to a very large degree, U.S. and NATO forces are fighting the offspring of the jihadists that Reagan so lavishly supported in the 1980s. Preferring to compartmentalize history into pre-9/11 and post-9/11 segments, Americans remain oblivious to the consequences that grew out of Ronald Reagan’s collaboration with the mujahideen.” – Andrew Bacevich in The Limits Of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, p48

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Hemingway’s Worry in 1946

“[Ernest Hemingway] worried that if the United States did not ‘learn to understand the world and appreciate the rights, privileges and duties of all other countries and peoples,’ it could easily represent the same danger to ternest-hemingway-cuba-1946he world that Fascism did’ and become the most hated country in the world. In order to be just and to exercise it’s power in a responsible way, America needed to avoid self-righteousness and learn to understand and respect the nations of the world. Having lived outside of the United States for most of his adult life, Hemingway could easily see how American actions and attitudes could antagonize other countries in the postwar world.”

- The Politics of Ernest Hemingway by Stephen Cooper, p.122

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“Help Kickstart World War III” (Parody)

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Random Thoughts In Relation To The Syria Situation

Chemical Weapons

  • It’s curious that the Obama administration. is suddenly so insistent on the importance of the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. The U.S. has had a very casual attitude in regard to this treaty. It’s allies have been able to get away without signing/ratifying it. Israel has signed but not ratified it. Egypt hasn’t even signed it.
  • The United States has chemical weapons stored in the Bluegrass Army Depot in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. As of 2010, they had over 5,000 metric tons of chemical weapons. From the information I’ve seen, it will be probably well past 2020 before they are completely eliminated.
  • John Kerry’s claim that “In the nearly 100 years since this global commitment against chemical weapons was made, only two tyrants have dared to cross the world’s brightest line. Bashar al-Assad has now become the third” is patently false.  There have been at least 5 before Assad.
  • U.S. ally Egypt, during the time of Nasser, used chemical weapons in the Yemen civil war. Mussolini’s Italy used chemical weapons in Ethiopia.
  • The U.S. very well could have used chemical weapons in World War II, if they had had the chance. They did have a “no first use policy”. The Germans destroyed an American ship loaded with chemical weapons in Italy. 600 people died from that incident.
  • Are the chemical weapons used in Syria really any worse, long term, than the depleted Uranium that the U.S. used in Iraq? I wonder about that.

Pinpricks

  • It is quite amazing to hear John Kerry speak about an “unbelievably small” attack, and then have Obama turn around and say that “the U.S. does not do pinpricks. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known”

Deterrence?

  • I find it curious that the White House sees it so important to emphasize how attacking Syria will send a message to Iran and other countries and prevent them from using weapons of mass distraction. It seems evident that if this sort of deterrence worked, Assad would have taken notes from the Saddam situation and there wouldn’t have been this issue in the first place! (Also, as a recent CFR article has argued, making this war about Iran is pretty much bunk from the “get go”, a horrible misreading of foreign policy)

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Excerpts From Vladimir Putin’s Letter To The Editor (from the New York Times)

Say what you will about Putin (and I am not his advocate) there is some good stuff here:

  • “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders…will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism.”
  • “Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. “
  • “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’”
  • ” force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes. No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.”
  • “I carefully studied [Obama's] address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

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