The Limits of Power

aussie special forces

Over at Hot Air, Noah Rothman asks a question:

Do Americans really want to disengage from the world?

The proliferation of crises around the globe has, for the most part, been met with a yawn from the political class. Americans, they say, are tired of being the world’s policeman. Most media and political elite believe Americans are happy to let the world can sort out it affairs for now.

They are not entirely wrong. “Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington,” an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in April found. “In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.”

Americans got what they asked for, and Washington retreated from the world stage even as the war in Ukraine grew more violent, Iraq and Syria witnessed the rise of ISIS, and violence in a series of Central American nations precipitated an exodus of migrants who streamed across America’s southern border.

While Americans may have welcomed the dual policies of disengagement and retrenchment, they sure don’t seem to like the results of those policies. Another NBC News/WSJ poll released on Tuesday indicates that Americans are not happy with the level of disengagement displayed by the American government in the face of a number of pressing threats to global security.

When it comes to using our military as part of our foreign policy America has been consistently inconsistent. 100 years ago World War I was starting up and we wanted nothing to do with it. Then a few years later we changed our minds and decided to go “over there” and kick ass and take names.

The experience was so ugly we retreated from the world and studiously ignored the gathering storm clouds in Europe and Asia until almost 1942, then suddenly we transformed ourselves into a military superpower while defeating Germany and Japan.

Determined not to make the same mistake we had made after World War I we became the World’s Policeman for the next couple decades. But our enthusiasm began to wane and by the 70’s were were once again retreated from the world. We have managed to flip-flop two or three more times since then.

A lot of this has to do with the limits of power.

Talleyrand famously observed that “The only thing you cannot do with a bayonet is sit on it.” As we have once again proven in Iraq and Afghanistan, you can use your army to invade a country but you can’t “win hearts and minds” with military force.

The best example of this is Iraq. The first time we went to war in Iraq we didn’t try to do too much. We drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait and severely degraded it’s capabilities. Then we stopped. It was a quick and relatively painless (for us) affair. It was also very effective at eliminating Saddam Hussein as a regional threat.

The second time we tried “nation building” and it turned into a clusterfuck. So we gave that up and came home and things got even worse. Not only that, but Russia and Iran have been emboldened and now the whole world is closer to World War III than at any time since 1962.

On the other hand, take a look at Gaza. Israel attacked to destroy Hamas’ tunnels and stocks of weapons, but they stopped short of trying to reoccupy Palestinian territory. Bibi Netanyahu understands the limits of power.

If we don’t lead, someone else will. Part of what makes America exceptional is that we really don’t want the job. America needs to flex her muscles around the world, but at the same time we need a foreign policy that recognizes the limits of power.

As Al Capone once said, “You can get more with a gun and a smile than with just a smile.


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
This entry was posted in Klown Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

156 Responses to The Limits of Power

  1. The Klown says:

    ‘It’s a Bloody War Crime!’ Krauthammer Slams Obama for Calling Hamas ‘Irresponsible’:

    • lyn says:

      Obama’s incompetence and disengagement finally stun people?! LOL.

      • Lulu says:

        I think it has gone beyond that even. It appears he and his coterie of idiots are in nanaland. Calling it incompetence NOW is to save their own butts. When you see a loon driving the wrong way endangering all and sundry and don’t do anything about it you are culpable. The people who were supposed to be watching (and with the power to do something about it!) have not and are culpable. The old “who knew he was crazy” is not going to wash.

        • foxyladi14 says:

          Well said Lulu 🙂

        • SHV says:

          “The people who were supposed to be watching (and with the power to do something about it!) have not and are culpable.”
          That is the very perplexing question of the six years of Obama. As he said himself during the primary, he isn’t a CEO but can sell policy. He was selected precisely because he is a superficially appealing corrupt sociopath who is uninterested in policy or governing. The question in DC is who is pulling the strings? I think the answer is no one. The Obama govt is like Obamacare, an unworkable program put together by competing special interests and lobbyists. Obama was selected by a corrupt DNC, Wall street, healthcare industry, “green” industry, etc., each getting their payoff but no one is in charge. We are so screwed.

          • Somebody says:

            Well shit that’s worse than a real boogeyman or a council of boogeymen behind the curtain SHV.

            So we’re just all on a runaway train with nobody at the controls. Is your real name Debbie Downer, LOL!

          • DandyTIger says:

            I think you got it just right there. Don’t assume some grant scheme when greed and incompetence will explain it.

          • The Klown says:

            At this point it would be reassuring to know that there is some malign intelligence directing the government in furtherance of a diabolical plan. Instead we have the ship of state being captained by a spoiled five year old with ADD.

          • SHV says:

            “Don’t assume some grant scheme ”
            I think that people who see a grand scheme are confusing Obama’s psychopathology for intent. We know nothing about Obama as a child/teen but I suspect that he had strong tendencies of oppositional/defiant disorder that he continues to have as and adult. He seems to love to do things to piss people off, especially his obsequious Obots. I suspect that if Valerie Jarrett wasn’t in the background trying to keep some of Obama’s oars in the water, his full blown craziness would be on full display.

          • trixta says:

            “The question in DC is who is pulling the strings? ”

            I would guess Obama gets a good chunk of his orders from the Soros-funded think tank ‘Center for American Progress’ (CAP), which is chaired by Podesta (also currently “Counselor” to BO).

  2. DeniseVB says:

    Bad, Russian students, Bad. 😉 I know they’re not really PC over there, but wonder if this expression of “free speech” will get them jail time like Pussy Riot ?

    Better yet, send Sharpton and Jackson over there to deal with them, heh.

  3. Kathy says:

    We were stationed in Germany many moons ago,,and I can tell you that the U.S. Is a paragon of racial PC ness compared to a lot of European countries.

  4. WMCB says:

    Oh, Good Lord. Look, one can criticize Israel for lots of stuff, but promoting rape and sexism? Especially as compared to, um THEIR IMMEDIATE NEIGHBORS??!! Tell me again how the whole anti-zionist movement is not just a thin veneer for irrational hatred of Jews, and that feminism hasn’t lost its damn mind.

    • Somebody says:

      What with all the stonings and honor killings, I’m sure the West Bank Feminist’s constituency has waned. I’m sure they’re just looking to expand, members=money, so they figured why not Israel, LMAO!

    • votermom says:

      Yeah, Israel is totally promoting rape by not stoning rape victims like all proper-thinking cultures should!

  5. WMCB says:

  6. WMCB says:

    Big Labor is Big Money.

    • votermom says:

      Ticks. Giant blood-sucking ticks.

    • DandyTIger says:

      Scare the crap out of them, unionize, but a separate, unaffiliated union. Competition.

      • WMCB says:

        Unions in concept, just like political parties in concept, are a neutral means of collectively addressing concerns. What they have become is another thing entirely – pure racket and cronyism.

    • The Klown says:

      Imagine an historically low-wage, high-turnover industry like fast food suddenly getting high wages and union job protection rules like plumbers or the UAW.

      Big Macs will cost $50, it will take an hour to make one and they’ll taste like shit.

    • Mt.Laurel says:

      I see the $15 campaign as a way to launder money for a what is basically a new variant on the old style protection racket. Chicagoland at work.

      Are they are assuming most of the franchises will not have the money to pay to upgrade to the computerized order/cashier screens?

      • 1539days says:

        Ironically, the “big corporation” would be the one to require them to purchase new technology like a burger-making machine. the SEIU would rather have McDonalds shed 50% of their $9/hr workforce if they can get the half that makes $15/hr.

  7. The Klown says:
    • The Klown says:
    • WMCB says:

      This is because there is a growing backlash to years of using “racism” as a general club to beat white people with, regardless of actual hate or bigotry. It used to be that when whites heard the word “racist”, they paid attention and were sympathetic. NOW when they hear that word, the response is “FUCK YOU, I ain’t buying whatever it is you are selling.”

      Somewhat illogical? Sure! Completely predictable, and warned of by many? Yeppers.

      • WMCB says:

        IOW, the very insertion of race into the question, whether justified or not in this case, prompted the “fuck you” response.

      • The Klown says:

        Take a look at the violent crime statistics. blacks commit a disproportionate share of violent crimes, and most of their victims are also black.

        Not only that, but blacks kill far more white people than white people kill black people. In some places (like Chicago) blacks kill more white people than white people kill white people.

        • WMCB says:

          I agree that the justice system CAN be racist, especially with cops in certain areas. But I do not buy that the disparity in prisons is solely or even primarily due to racism. Our nation flatly refuses to honestly address the utter breakdown of any sense of civilized behavior, family stability, etc in the poorer black community that is drivng so much black-on-black violence. And even BLACK PEOPLE who attempt to address it get shouted down as self-haters and race traitors.

          • leslie says:

            Try that and you will hear that it is the institutionalized racism that is the cause of the uncivilized behaviors, the breakdown of the family, the ongoing violence. We have turned that corner very quickly in my area. (Not that it doesn’t exist, but to those who want to play the blame game, this is what they are now saying.)

      • foxyladi14 says:

        Overuse does that!!!! 😀

      • WMCB says:

        BTW, men are responding the same way to the use of feminism as a bludgeon. People are sick of this shit.

    • WMCB says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oops, ur privilege is showing, progs.

  8. The Klown says:

    Another White House fashion crime:

  9. WMCB says:

    So Hillary has pretty much groveled and sold her soul to the oligarchs at this point: CORZINE?? Really???

  10. The Klown says:
  11. The Klown says:
  12. DandyTIger says:

  13. The Klown says:
  14. WMCB says:

    • SHV says:

      About 15 years ago, there was an ongoing movement, with protests, about disproportionate incarceration in my area. The police dept finally responded with release of “raw” violent crime incident reports. Murder, rape, aggravated battery, and ag. robbery were in the range of 87-90% AA perpetrators. That shut down the “movement” very quickly. I suspect today, those percentages are >90%, with murder for the past few years, victims 85-90% AA, killers 100% AA. There is a real cultural problem in the “community” that no one, except for a few AA preachers, is willing to talk about.

      • WMCB says:

        I said above that while yes, some racism exists in police depts etc, it is NOT the primary driver of the disparity. It is black-on-black crime and the societal breakdown (to the point of almost complete lawlessness) of swathes of that community.

        And until the progs stop shouting down the people, even BLACK people, who want to address this honestly, it will continue. Yelling “MUST BE RAAAAACISSSS” is a copout for not squarely facing how badly the grand prog vision has fucked up.

    • mothy67 says:

      I wish some of these self annointed geniuses would apply themselves to effecting a tangible change. Why not mentor a youth in jeorpady, teach literacy, drive a food stamp recipient to a decent grocery store, sponsor a kid for a sport(and go to the games to support). Guess if you call yourself a prog and demand government throw more $ at broken programs your have done enough. Blame The Tea Party.

  15. The Klown says:
  16. WMCB says:


  17. DandyTIger says:

  18. WMCB says:

  19. trixta says:

    Big Pink website is still down.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      hacked or retooling

      • trixta says:

        I think it was hacked. Unless I missed the memo, don’t recall Pink mentioning anything about revamping or retooling the website. Hope everything is alright….

        On another note, the Politico Mag article by Rich Lowry on BO is spot on. (But we all knew this in 2008!) Here’s a choice quote:

        “The Callow President”

        How many books and articles have been written by conservatives seeking to divine the philosophical beliefs and psychological motivations lurking beneath the president’s smooth exterior?

        It’s certainly true that the president is much further left than he’d ever admit, but the deepest truth about Obama is that there is no depth. He’s smart without being wise. He’s glib without being eloquent. He’s a celebrity without being interesting. He’s callow.
        It’s a trope on the right to say that Obama has quit, that he’s not interested in the job anymore. It isn’t true. If you are smug, overly self-impressed and unwilling to bend from your (erroneous) presumptions of how the world works, this is what presidential leadership looks like.


        Read more:

  20. WMCB says:

    I love love love this piece on the abortion wars. Yes, I think it’s a selfish, immoral choice in many cases. No, I don’t wish to jail women. Go read:

    Nothing is more corrupting of the anti-abortion cause than its subsumption into a culture war that is fundamentally – fundamentally – about making it easier for politicians to get re-elected.

  21. The Klown says:

    Blitzer on Iraq: “This is not the way it was supposed to be”:

  22. WMCB says:

  23. The Klown says:
    • The Klown says:

      Josh Earnest: There are no military solutions in Iraq:

      • WMCB says:

        2008 called: They want their blind chanting utopianism back.

      • The Klown says:

        One thing we could and should do is destroy the ISIS army from the air when they are out in the open. They can’t advance if they can’t use the roads.

        • WMCB says:

          I thought the whole reason for streamlining military was to do short, surgical interventions when necessary without committing to occupations.

        • Somebody says:

          Agree. Maliki begged Obama for air strikes well before ISIS was on the move taking over cities, when ISIS was much more vulnerable in the open desert…..but no. Foreign policy is so screwed up, these are the same people we supported and armed when they were fighting Assad in Syria.

          Tragically I think it’s only a matter of time before ISIS kills some Americans. There are a lot of Americans over there fulfilling contracts for our government. They may have already killed some and the media simply isn’t reporting it. They may make trophies out of some of the Americans IYKWIM.

  24. WMCB says:

    Fucking savages.

  25. The Klown says:

    Burger King Raped My Face:

  26. WMCB says:

    Kurdish TV reported USA was bombing. Official says no, is only food/water drops. If so, I’m glad O finally got off his ass.

  27. WMCB says:

    Multiple reports out of Iraq that we’ve done more than just humanitarian drops, but being rapidly quashed by WH:

  28. WMCB says:

    • Underwhelmed says:

      Nauseating doesn’t begin to describe him and his cronies. Perhaps he’d like to subsidise them with some baked beans?

  29. Somebody says:

    Two hurricanes bearing down on Hawaii AND an earthquake. This should put to rest any doubt Obama was born there.

  30. WMCB says:

    For those who don’t know, the Yazidi are an ancient Zoro-Astrian based religious people. They are fast being wiped off the face of the earth.

  31. Kathy says:

    This is so upsetting. This is the direct result of leaving power vacuums all over the world, and if anybody in the whitehouse had read history they would know it. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the present..

  32. WMCB says:

    Behold, the tolerant Left (shine is an old racial slur, and Payne is black business guy on Fox)

    • Somebody says:

      Wow, just wow! BTW I’ve never heard the racial slur shine, but I looked it up and sure enough it is. What a disgusting, bigoted, little vile prog.

    • The Klown says:

      I’m surprised he didn’t call him an ofay.

      • Somebody says:

        Now I had to go look that up. How do you all know all these terms? I’m a white southerner and I’ve never heard either.

  33. WMCB says:

    But the JOOOOOOOOOS are so tricksy! Agence-France-Presse reports Gaza breaks ceasefire with rockets.

  34. The Klown says:
  35. WMCB says:

  36. WMCB says:

  37. WMCB says:

    I find men past teenage/college years who are obsessed with anime girls creepy as hell. If they like anime as an art form, or as graphic novels, fine. Hubby likes some anime. But the ones who very obviously drool over the cartoon schoolgirls are just sad, IMO.

  38. threewickets says:

    Hippies are tiresome. Most political activism from the well-tended San Francisco Bay Area is hypocritical narcissism. Some of the most whiney and immature adults in the nation.

    • Jadzia says:

      As somebody who grew up in that subculture (the hippie subculture, otherwise known as being raised by a dealer), I endorse that opinion wholeheartedly.

  39. threewickets says:

    Barry is now circulating Oval Office shots of himself in phone poses a la Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis. The man is a 24/7 self promoting machine.

Comments are closed.