Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I can't say it any better than the Master - please read - S.H.

Syria in the Age of Myth by Victor David Hanson

Myth I. Conservatives opposed to bombing Syria are isolationists.

Hardly. It would be better to call conservative skepticism a new Jacksonianism that is not wedded to any Pavlovian support for intervention or particular political party.

Instead, Jacksonians wish to husband U.S. power and prestige. Only that way can we ensure that we have both when existential crises loom—and many are now on the horizon.

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Myth II. John Kerry is far worse than Hillary Clinton at secretary of State.

True, poor Kerry is played hourly by the Russians and Syrians. He seeks to lecture and pontificate, not persuade and inspire. He ends up doing neither well. The secretary freelances into embarrassment. At times Kerry warns of imminent bombing; at times he champions sober negotiation; at times both and again neither. He talks ponderously and long. Even the Russians cannot stand the pomposity and cry no mas.

Kerry tries to resonate Obama’s orders. But he cannot—both because presidential directives, to the extent that there are any, are incoherent and unserious, and because, like Obama, Kerry made his career damning just the sort of unilateral preemptory military action—without allies, the UN, public support, or an authorization from Congress—that he is now demagoguing for. Was Kerry for Assad before being against him? Is Assad about like Genghis Khan—or is he now Hitler?—or worse, or maybe far worse? Are Assad’s soldiers lopping limbs and burning villages as Americans supposedly did in Vietnam? Or are some of the rebels the real cannibals and executioners of prisoners?

Yet all that said, Kerry inherited and made worse this mess, but did not create it. It was Hillary Clinton, not Kerry or even Obama, who first issued empty red lines that she either had no intention of enforcing or should have known that Obama had no desire to honor.

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Myth III. America is now in decline after being humiliated in Syria.

Syria was a diplomatic disaster and emblematic of the larger Obama foreign policy catastrophe.

But America will survive it, and it will become a textbook example of what not to do, analogous to Kennedy’s disastrous Vienna summit with Khrushchev, or the sad decision to forfeit a won Vietnam to the communists in 1974-5, or Jimmy Carter’s annus terribilis of 1980. Yet Syria is not an historic date marking America’s descent into permanent decline.

America’s longer-term, post-Obama indicators are in our favor. We lead the world in innovation. Immigrants still seek the U.S. We will be more energy secure than at any time since the 1930s. Our deficits are sinking after sequestration, with fossil fuel expansion and cheaper energy.

Our top universities have never more dominated world-wide rankings. Obama’s neo-socialism is waning; even he postpones elements of an unpopular Obamacare.

Even a slashed military is still far stronger than the next dozen militaries combined. One American worker, amid economic doldrums, still produces almost three times the goods and services of three Chinese workers. And so on.

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