Sense And Nonsense In Dealing With Russia

With the Mueller Report now out, and having concluded that nothing remotely akin to “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia could be found, you would think that every prominent Democrat would only want to change the subject as quickly as possible. But weirdly, the Trump/Russia obsession persists even in the face of the Mueller Report.

Many examples could be cited, but one of the weirdest is the op-ed by Hillary Clinton published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, headlined “Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond.” The gist is that Trump is somehow allowing Russian President Putin to continue to attack our country, and probably to steal the upcoming 2020 election. Excerpts:

[T]he president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. . . . This is . . . an administration that refuses to take even the most minimal, common-sense steps to prevent future attacks and counter ongoing threats to our nation. . . . [U]nless he’s held accountable, the president may show even more disregard for the laws of the land and the obligations of his office. He will likely redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda . . . .

“Redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda”? It’s hard even to conceive of the level of nonsense to which this woman has descended — along with many of her Democratic colleagues who are advocating the same or similar themes.

If you try taking a look at the big picture with regard to Russia, it will take you only a moment or two to figure out that far and away the most important thing to Russia for advancing its interests in the world is high prices for oil and gas. . . .

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The Russia Hoax: Should We All Now Just Move On?

A week ago today, the issuance of the Mueller Report finally popped the long-inflating bubble of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax. After thousands of excited and breathless press reports and cable news segments over two-plus years (“new bombshell,” “the walls are closing in,” “impeachment,” etc.), it turned out that there was nothing there. So is there any point in wasting any more time on this? Why don’t we all just move on?

You won’t be surprised that many voices in the media are already advocating for that. At the New York Times, they had barely made it to Tuesday when the lead front page article, headlined “Trump, Citing ‘Evil Deeds,’ Turns Wrath on His Critics,” started pushing for Trump to “drop the subject,” citing the precedents of Reagan and Clinton:

[Trump’s] approach [of seeking retribution against his critics], if it lasts, contrasts with those of other presidents who survived major scandals. After the Iran-contra affair, President Ronald Reagan happily dropped the subject and focused on arms control talks with the Soviet Union and other issues. After being acquitted at his Senate impeachment trial, President Bill Clinton was just as eager to move on to Social Security and other initiatives.

Less expected, perhaps, was the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the same day from long-time G.W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, with the headline “Move On From Robert Mueller, Mr. President.” That article’s gist was captured in its sub-headline, “Obsessing over the investigation’s origins isn’t the way to win over swing voters.” Rove urges Trump to switch his attention to focusing on a positive message, including the strong economy.

I’m not here to advise the President on how to conduct his messaging or his campaign. But I do think that it is of great importance not to let the perpetrators of the Russia hoax — both media and deep state actors — off the hook. It’s not just that the respective Reagan and Clinton controversies are not remotely relevant. (Both Reagan in Iran-Contra and Clinton in the Lewinski matter had been caught in actual wrongdoing. You might think the wrongdoing was trivial in either instance or both, but wrongdoing it was. Of course those two were only too happy to move on.) More important is that getting out the positive message of more freedom and less government and less government dependency — whether by the President or anyone else — is critically dependent on maximally discrediting and sidelining these hoaxers. . . .

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Should The U.S. Use Coercive Means To Oust Socialist Dictatorships?

As noted in my post on Cambodia a couple of days ago, when Pol Pot seized power in that country in 1975, the U.S. took no military or other coercive action to stop him. And over the next several years, as he conducted his monstrous genocide — in which about a third of the entire population of the country was either directly murdered or intentionally starved to death — the U.S. continued to sit totally on the sidelines and just let things play out. This, even though somewhere in the U.S. government (CIA?), at least some people clearly knew, at least in a general way, what was going on. By the end of its brief dalliance with communism, Cambodia had not just lost a third of its population, but had seen its entire economy devastated, and almost all educated people slaughtered, such that the ability to start rebuilding was set back decades until an entire new generation could come along. As a result, Cambodia is only now starting the long climb up from desperate poverty into a modern economy.

It would be completely fair to ask: How could the U.S. be so completely heartless and inhumane? For some mere several billions of dollars of expenditures, and perhaps a few tens of thousands of military casualties, couldn’t we have obviated the slaughter of millions of people and rescued all of the Cambodians from multiple generations of needless extreme poverty?

These questions take on particular relevance in light of the events currently transpiring in Venezuela. There, the socialist dictatorship continues its brutal repression, with hundreds of new arrests of regime opponents just in the past several days, and millions starving and/or fleeing the country. Why, you might ask, is it not the moral obligation of the U.S. to step in immediately with whatever force is necessary to stop the suffering and restore democracy?

The answer lies in the incredible power of the socialist delusion. . . .

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Report From Cambodia

I have now moved on from Việt Nam to Cambodia. Slow and sometimes no internet service have made it difficult to keep up with my usual type of posts about domestic U.S. issues; but we can look upon that as an opportunity to record some information and observations from half way around the world.

Here in Cambodia, the focus of tourism is mainly on two things: (1) the incredible 9th to 13th century temples and other structures located among the jungles in the center of the country, going by the general name of Angkor Wat, and (2) the story of the “killing fields” genocide of 1975 to 1979. For photos of several of the better-known of the temples, go to Mrs. MC’s Instagram posts at DenieDM. I will focus on the story of the killing fields.

Perhaps because of the original application of the word and as a result of its etymology (“geno” derives from the Greek for “race”), we tend to think of genocides as involving the mass killing of people of one race or ethnicity by those of another race or ethnicity. Prominent examples include the holocaust (murder of Jews by German Nazis in the early 1940s), the Rwandan genocide (murder of Tutsis by Hutus in or about 1994), the Armenian genocide (at the hands of the Turks in the period of about 1915 to 1920), and so forth.

The Cambodian “killing fields” genocide of 1975 to 1979 was not one of these. . . .

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Report From Việt Nam -- Part VI

Report From Việt Nam -- Part VI

While Mrs. MC has been busy taking beautiful and artistic pictures on our trip (follow her at DenieDM on Instagram), I’m making it my business to get a few pictures of things you will not see elsewhere. I don’t do Instagram or Facebook, so why not post a few of these here?

For example, you are probably dying to see what Việt Nam’s electricity infrastructure looks like. We were told that about 25% of the people in the country continue to lack access to electricity; but those 25% are located mostly in remote and mountainous areas. In the cities, and also small villages in the Mekong delta, electricity service was generally available, although many small homes in the villages did not appear to be hooked up to it. But even in the major cities the system looked like it was put together with chewing gum and duct tape. . . .

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Report From Việt Nam -- Part II

Report From Việt Nam -- Part II

If you come to Việt Nam as a first time tourist, of course you will have to visit the obligatory top tourist sites. Many of those tell the story of what we Americans call the Việt Nam War, and which Vietnamese unsurprisingly call the American War. In Hanoi, there is the gigantic mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh (complete with mummified body, in the great tradition of Lenin); and then the grim little building known as the “Hanoi Hilton” — the one-time French colonial prison in the downtown area that was converted to house American POWs during the period 1963-73. John McCain famously spent several years there. In Saigon, there is the museum now bearing the name “War Remnants Museum” which, we were told, formerly had the name “War Crimes Museum.”

That museum’s earlier name — War Crimes Museum — gives the better indication of its perspective on the story of the war. The Americans were “murderous oppressors.” Along with their colleagues from “mercenary satellite countries” (e.g., UK, Australia) they propped up the “puppet régime” in South Việt Nam, and viciously attacked the brave Vietnamese peasants. After many great victories, the Vietnamese finally achieved “complete liberation” of the country in 1975. Although much of this rhetoric seemed harshly anti-American, we were informed that it had been meaningfully toned down (including the museum’s name change) in the years since the American-Vietnamese reconciliation that occurred in the mid-1990s under President Clinton.

Comparing the narrative in the museum to the situation in the country today gives cause for reflection on what it means to “win” a war in today’s world. . . .

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