Thousands of people in Conservative Inc spent the final years of the Obama administration angling for jobs in what was assumed to be the next Bush administration. Jonah Goldberg’s wife hit the gym and got a makeover assuming she would be in the Jeb Bush White House, but then Trump came along and ruined it all. For “conservative media”, Trump represented thousands of lost book deals, speaking gigs and so on.
The way to think about the managerial class is like a small town. It is really a collection of small towns, linked together by government think tanks, elite universities, and sinecures at nodes in the system. Newcomers are evaluated like the new family in a small New England town. If they fit in, they become part of the community, with all the benefits and responsibilities it entails. Who they are is linked to their membership in the community, so their loyalty is tangled up in their sense of self. …
This is why reform is probably impossible. A reformer is immediately swarmed by flocks of angry insects from the various subgroups in the managerial class. We saw this with Trump, who set upon on all sides. The genuine reformer must battle with many hives of bees attacking at the same time from different angles. Before long he is solely focused on defense, which is what happened with Trump.
Yep. Hard to see how it can be reformed, without wholesale sacking.
… This is a hustle as Gaetano Mosca noted that most of the rationale of democracy promoters is tied up in the inevitability of it all. There is always another group for power to fight for as we have seen since the gay victory turned into a trans fight, but is it inevitable? What we are seeing now in the fight on the left is proof that it is not linear. The left has nearly completed a paradigm shift.
Thomas Kuhn took a wrecking ball to the idea that science is an incremental, linear development and instead is a mass of competing stories where one wins out, explains the world better and…
…Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and disgraced former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale are running the project. Gab founder Andrew Torba spoke to commentator Pedro Gonzalez to explain his interactions with the Kushner sphere during negotiations earlier this year.
“As we told Mr. Kushner’s aides, Gab has no plans to sell our business or to compromise in any way our mission to defend free speech online for all people,” Torba said. “We fully expect the president’s entry into the arena to accelerate alternative technology growth trends and wish the president and his tech team well.”
“They said that they were in ‘make money mode’ and were focused on how they could financially benefit from Gab and change our free speech stance,” he added. “All I wanted to do was give the president his voice back, but Kushner and others in the president’s orbit expected me to hand the keys to the kingdom over to them and change the core mission of Gab. I wasn’t going to let that happen.”
Microsoft Board Members Wanted Gates Gone In 2019 After Investigation Into Sexual Relationship Update (1920ET): In a Sunday night bombshell, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft’s board of directors wanted Bill Gates gone following an internal investigation into an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female Microsoft employee. The investigation, conducted in late 2019, was […]
🔵SUBSCRIBE NOW to Epoch TV: http://epochtv.com/ATL 🔴Watch the full episode 👉👉👉 https://ept.ms/3buhfVL “Our profession today is unrecognizable,” says award-winning journalist Lara Logan. A former correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” and now host of Fox Nation’s “Lara Logan Has No Agenda,” she’s been at the frontlines for years reporting on war zones, gang warfare, Benghazi, and…
Venezuela is a good place for us to start, because as late as 1980 it was the most prosperous country in Latin America and the one everyone expected to make the leap to First World status any day now. Argentina, Chile, Colombia — all have played the same role at one time or another.
Intervals of stability and wealth created the impression abroad that the country would soon leave behind the cliches of Latin American political instability, only for those cliches to come roaring back as the country collapsed back into the usual cycle of coups and civil wars.
One reason for this chronic instability is the absence of a middle class. There is no Latin American country where the middle class makes up a majority. … Even professionals like doctors avoid taxes by dealing in cash. The qualities that make a middle class so desirable for political institution-building — predictability, law-abidingness, intolerance of corruption — don’t necessarily apply.
Once trust is gone, you have a low trust society:
Laxity where rules are concerned, which turns up everywhere in Latin America from taxes to traffic, is one symptom of a broader problem: low trust.
In high-trust societies, street crime and corruption are rare and people are willing to submit disputes to authorities for adjudication in the belief that they will be treated fairly.
Low-trust societies, on the other hand, are characterized by what Robert Kaplan calls “a cacophony of negotiation in place of fixed standards.” Neither laws nor their enforcers are assumed to be impartial. Family dynasties are common in Third World politics precisely because where the baseline level of trust is low, people are more likely to rely on family relationships where there is at least a presumption of trust.
This does not mean Latin American politics has no regard for laws. On the contrary, laws are a popular tool. But they are just that, a tool. Politically motivated prosecutions are used to target opposition figures. Elected leaders are subject to impeachment while in office and judicial hounding after they leave. …
This merry-go-round of incarceration heightens the stakes of each transfer of power.
USA from 2015:
The backdrop of American society was already looking more Latin American before Donald Trump showed up. The middle class ceased to be a majority in the United States in 2015.
In some parts of the West coast, inequality has already reached Latin American levels. Those same regions are also the furthest along the road to Third World levels of public disorder, as exemplified by CVS closing stores in San Francisco due to rampant shoplifting that neither the police nor the courts will punish. California’s elites are converging on the same solution Latin American elites worked out long ago, isolating themselves from lawless elements by building their own private security infrastructure — that, and emigration.
Trump brought some qualities of Latin American politics to the White House. He relied on relatives to staff his inner circle. … He spoke the language of braggadocio and insult rather than neutral bureaucratese.
But it was the Democrats who put Trump through two specious impeachments, including one just days before he was scheduled to leave office anyway, making the whole process obviously symbolic and sapping impeachment of its remaining sense of gravity. No longer a once-in-a-century emergency measure, impeachment is becoming just another political weapon. Nor are Trump’s legal troubles over now that he is out of office. In the end it may not be the orange caudillo, but his opponents, who did more to push us down the path of Latin American instability. …
Soft, shambolic, corrupt totalitarianism:
In the United States, our idea of political tyranny has been shaped far too much by the Cold War. We assume that an American dictatorship will take the form of suffocating Slavic totalitarianism.
In fact, we are far more likely to slide into a Latin American type of dysfunction, which is shambolic, not claustrophobic. Opposition is ineffectual but tolerated; no one accomplishes anything by grumbling about the ruling elite, but no one goes to prison for it either. The government doesn’t go out of its way to oppress its enemies, unless it feels threatened. Otherwise it just enjoys its monopoly on power, rewards its friends with favors, and gets less and less effective at basic service delivery. That’s isn’t a dystopia, just typical Third World crappiness. …
Bringing the third world to the USA via immigration and corruption at the top:
Already America’s cities are starting to look like the Third World. When I moved back to D.C. after half a decade in Australia, I was surprised to find public restrooms were a thing of the past. Every café bathroom was locked and passcode protected — one more little convenience sacrificed to rising squalor.
Parts of California already look like favelas. Chicago’s carjackers are starting to rival Bogotá’s. Soon we may see homegrown equivalents of “car watchers” to make sure our vehicles aren’t stolen and armed private security guards outside office buildings and department stores like they have in Brazil. …
America’s political spectrum is a relic of the society that used to exist here. That political spectrum was not designed to tackle Third World problems of disorder and inequality. …
We have already seen a rise in conspiratorial thinking. Whether Trump supporters are right or wrong that the deep state conspired with the Democrats to harass and ultimately overthrow an elected president, the result is the same: cynicism and lowered expectations for political standards of behavior.
We have already had as many impeachments in the last two years as the country had in its first two centuries. Trump may soon become the first former president to be indicted. If Latin American politics is our future, we are already well on our way.
Better Latin America than the Soviet Union, I suppose. But why can’t we have the old USA back?
…The interview, which was reportedly captured months ago and was never meant to be made public, included Zarif speaking with surprising frankness and criticism toward the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Islamic Republic. He bluntly admitted, for example, that the powerful IRGC often overrides government decisions and that the late Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani’s actions often harmed diplomacy…
Decent interval is a theory regarding the end of the Vietnam War which argues that from 1971 or 1972, the Nixon Administration abandoned the goal of preserving South Vietnam and instead aimed to save face by preserving a “decent interval” between withdrawal and South Vietnamese collapse. Therefore, Nixon could avoid becoming the first United States president to lose a war.
A variety of evidence from the Nixon tapes and from transcripts of meetings with foreign leaders is cited to support this theory, including Henry Kissinger‘s statement before the 1973 Paris Peace Accords that “our terms will eventually destroy him” (referring to South Vietnamese president Nguyễn Văn Thiệu). However, both Kissinger and Nixon denied that such a strategy existed.
Publicly, Nixon stated that his goal from the peace accords was for North Vietnam to recognize South Vietnam’s right to choose a leader by democratic election. The decent interval theory holds that, privately, the Nixon administration did not plan for the continuation of South Vietnam and was only interested in the release of United States prisoners of war and maintaining a “decent interval” before South Vietnamese collapse. If a “decent interval” elapsed between the withdrawal of American troops and the fall of the South Vietnamese government, Nixon could avoid the blame of being the first American president to lose a war.
The idea of a decent interval was absent from public debate during the Nixon years and originally advanced in a 1977 book of the same name by former CIA analyst Frank Snepp. However Snepp does not subscribe to the full theory of intentional abandonment of South Vietnam, but rather that Kissinger, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Graham Martin and others engaged in the same kinds of self-deluded thinking after the Paris accords that had gotten the US into Vietnam in the first place. What Snepp was most outraged over was the haste with which the Americans pulled out in April 1975, abandoning many key South Vietnamese allies and intelligence assets to their fates. Snepp was not party to the high-level negotiations in which the “decent interval” strategy occurred.
Historian Ken Hughes wrote, “The proof that Nixon and Kissinger timed military withdrawal to the 1972 election and negotiated a “decent interval” comes from extraordinarily rich and undeniable sources—the Nixon tapes and the near-verbatim transcripts that NSC aides made of negotiations with foreign leaders.” This is despite “the normal human reluctance to produce self-incriminating evidence”, which according to Hughes explains why more details about the strategy are not known.
The first sign of the strategy appears in the Nixon tapes on 18 February 1971, Kissinger stated that after a peace agreement was concluded, “What we can then tell the South Vietnamese—they’ve got a year without war to build up.” According to Hughes, the statement indicates that Kissinger already realized that peace would not last. On 19 March, Kissinger stated that “We can’t have it knocked over—brutally—to put it brutally—before the election”, justifying timing the withdrawal of troops to the 1972 American presidential election. Nixon was also privately skeptical of the Vietnamization program, which he officially stated was “a plan in which we will withdraw all of our forces from Vietnam on a schedule in accordance with our program, as the South Vietnamese become strong enough to defend their own freedom”. Hughes writes that Nixon’s statements on Vietnamization are unambiguously false and the program to be a “fraud”.
In his first secret meeting with Zhou Enlai in 1971, Kissinger explained that the United States wanted a full withdrawal, the return of all POWs, and a ceasefire for “18 months or some period.” Kissinger noted that “If the government is as unpopular as you seem to think, then the quicker our forces are withdrawn, the quicker it will be overthrown. And if it is overthrown after we withdraw, we will not intervene.” In later meetings, Kissinger used the words “reasonable interval”, a “sufficient interval”, and a “time interval” to refer to the time that would have to pass after United States withdrawal before the aggression against South Vietnam would result in a forceful reaction from the United States. Nixon and Kissinger tape of 3 August 1972, discussing the decent interval Nixon’s and Kissinger’s conversation on 6 October 1972
In discussions with Chinese and Soviet leaders, Kissinger stated that the United States would not intervene if more than eighteen months passed since a settlement. A crucial point in the negotiations occurred after the North conceded in its demand for South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu‘s resignation; according to American intelligence, the South Vietnamese government would quickly unravel without him. On 3 August 1972, Nixon stated, “I think we could take, in my view, almost anything, frankly, that we can force on Thieu. South Vietnam probably can never even survive anyway.” Kissinger replied: “We’ve got to find some formula that holds the thing together a year or two.” Two days before the Paris Peace Accords were signed according to chief North Vietnamese negotiator Lê Đức Thọ‘s proposal (8 October 1972), Kissinger told Nixon twice that the terms would probably destroy South Vietnam: “I also think that Thieu is right, that our terms will eventually destroy him.”
Historian Jeffrey Kimball supports the decent interval theory and promoted it in various books, including The Vietnam War Files (2004) and Nixon’s Nuclear Specter (2015). Kimball argued that Nixon Administration adopted the decent interval strategy in the second half of Nixon’s first term. According to Hughes, Kimball is “the leading scholar of the ‘decent interval'”.
In his book Henry Kissinger and the American Century, Jeremi Suri wrote: “By 1971 [Kissinger] and Nixon would accept a ‘decent interval’ between U.S. disengagement and a North Vietnamese takeover in the south. Secret talks with Hanoi would allow Kissinger to manage this process, preserving the image of American strength and credibility.”
from the summer of 1971 to the conclusion of the Paris Agreements in January 1973 Kissinger tried to “sell” a peace agreement to his Soviet and Chinese interlocutors by stressing the American willingness to accept a “decent interval” solution: that is, the United States would not reenter the war provided that the collapse of the South Vietnamese government did not occur immediately after the last US ground troops returned home.
Hughes is very critical of the decent interval strategy:
[Nixon] forfeited America’s geopolitical credibility abroad to maintain his political credibility at home. In their furtive negotiations for a “decent interval,” Nixon and Kissinger revealed themselves to the Communists as craven and treacherous in their relationship with a supposed ally. They showed that they could accept the reality of defeat as long as they could avoid the appearance of it in the eyes of American voters… Nixon and Kissinger got the North to sign the Paris Accords in the first place by letting it know that it could conquer the South militarily as long as it waited an extra year or two.
According to Japanese historian Tega Yusuke, writing in 2012, decent interval “is becoming the standard explanation” because South Vietnam in fact collapsed in 1975.
Kissinger and Nixon both denied that they had used a “decent interval” strategy. Kissinger wrote, “Nor is it correct that all we sought was a ‘decent interval’ before a final collapse of Saigon. All of us who negotiated the agreement of October 12 were convinced that we had vindicated the anguish of a decade not by a ‘decent interval’ but by a decent settlement.” However, both had a vested interest in keeping the “decent interval” secret.
Based on newly declassified documents, in 2001 Larry Berman wrote a book, No Peace, No Honor in which he argued that Nixon actually planned for a permanent war in Vietnam, rather than a decent interval before defeat.
Luke Nichter, a historian who studied the Nixon tapes, has argued that, before Nixon’s visit to China in early 1972, the decent interval theory did not explain the fluctuating attitude of Nixon and Kissinger to the war, which had sharp ups and downs depending on casualty figures and news reports. Nichter writes, “at times they speak of desiring no interval at all other than the duration necessary to quickly withdraw troops and POWs”. After the China visit, “the tenor and content of their discussions seems much closer to support for the idea of a decent interval theory”. In his book The Nixon Tapes, Nichter and his coauthor write opposing “scholars [who] argue that Nixon and Kissinger’s strategy in Vietnam was never more than securing a ‘decent interval'”. However, Hughes considers this to be a misrepresentation because he does not know of any scholars who argue that decent interval characterized the administration’s strategy throughout.
Johannes Kadura argues that Nixon and Kissinger “simultaneously maintained a Plan A of further supporting Saigon and a Plan B of shielding Washington should their maneuvers prove futile.” According to Kadura, the “decent interval” concept has been “largely misrepresented,” in that Nixon and Kissinger “sought to gain time, make the North turn inward, and create a perpetual equilibrium” rather than acquiescing in the collapse of South Vietnam.
Snepp, Frank (1978). Decent Interval: An Insider’s Account of Saigon’s Indecent End Told by the CIA’s Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-72691-X. Paperback ed.
Kimball, Jeffrey P. (2004). The Vietnam War Files: Uncovering the Secret History of Nixon-era Strategy. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1283-3.
Hanhimäki, Jussi (2003). “Selling the ‘Decent interval’: Kissinger, triangular diplomacy, and the end of the Vietnam war, 1971-73”. Diplomacy & Statecraft. 14 (1): 159–194. doi:10.1080/09592290412331308771.
by Chris Hedges via ConsortiumNews.com, America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American empire. With the exception of the first Gulf War, fought largely by mechanized units in the open desert that did not […]