Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Power vacuum in West

I respect V. S. Naipaul a great deal, and I listen to his views. I notice that he is not invested in the notion that Western civilization is in decline. ''A civilization which has taken over the world cannot be said to be dying," he says. Well, I'm not so sure. Europe especially is in the middle of a deep cultural, economic and demographic crisis which is very real, and I see few signs of this situation improving. The USA is in a better position, but even she is affected by this. I do not discount the possibility that we could be witnessing a global shift of power, where Europe fades off the scene and East Asia takes over her spot:

Power vacuum in West

In today’s new world order, champagne and canapés with the Chinese finance minister is not something anybody in the West can afford to miss. So Gordon Brown, Britain’s Chancellor, and a posse of other finance ministers have flown to Beijing this weekend to attend a gathering of the Group of 20 richest nations. Being in charge of the public finances of a major European economy does not carry much clout in Beijing these days, or anywhere else in Asia, where weak growth and waning geopolitical influence is not something that is admired. The Chinese are right not to be impressed. The West’s largest powers have become strangely rudderless, incapable of reacting rationally to the great challenges facing the world. At home, they are failing to reform their struggling economies and crumbling welfare states; abroad, their brief awareness of the need for radical action after 9/11 has given way to complacency, boredom and – in Europe – a belief among the chattering classes that rooting out so-called Islamo-phobia among the majority is more important than a robust response to the Islamo-fascist threat from without and within, an increasingly fashionable attitude that culminates in the view that the Islamo-fascists actually have a point and that the West should atone for its sins.

The failure of the Bush presidency has confirmed America’s enemies of the its essential decadence: even under a supposedly hardline president, the world’s only superpower has been found wanting when faced with a real war on terror, lacking the moral strength to stay the course, financial muscle to pay the bills, the attention span to remain focused on the task and the willingness to take military casualties in pursuit of agreed national goals. The US last displayed such weakness and lack of leadership in the post-Vietnam years and paid a terrible price, as the Soviets spread their influence across Africa and almost succeeded in undermining support for Nato in Europe. The nadir was the Iranian hostage crisis, which rightly destroyed the Carter Presidency a year later. As Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to say, weakness is more provocative than strength.

The blunt realpolitik of 2005, a mere four years after the epoch-changing event of 9/11, is that there are now almost no conceivable circumstances under which the United States or Great Britain would launch major military action against any rogue state; they show no sign of knowing how properly to finish the job in Iraq, so why would they even dream of opening a second front? Iran and North Korea know that all too well, which is why they think they can behave with impunity, thumbing their noses at America and the West as they do so. The EU could not muster the military force to fight its way out of a wet paper bag, which leaves it entirely dependent on so-called “soft power”, that is the velvet glove (negotiation and diplomacy) without the iron fist, just about the worst negotiating position to be in.

While the West is plagued by lack of direction and indecision, the Asian powers – above all China – are going from strength to strength. We are on the brink of an historical watershed, the end of one era and the start of another. The process is being accelerated not just by the rise of Asia but by a US and EU which have lost their ways. Today’s unipolar world, in which the world’s only hyper-power lives beyond its means, with massive current account and budget deficits funded by Chinese and Japanese central banks, and no longer has the guts, patience, skill and commitment to root out global terrorism and failed states, is an unstable, transitional state of affairs. In ways that are uncertain and hard to divine, the balance of power is clearly switching from the Atlantic to East Asia. It will be a shift in power ripe for exploitation by those with the interests of neither the West nor East Asia at heart. No wonder al Qaeda is licking its lips.

19 Comments:

At October 18, 2005 5:15 PM, Blogger sissyblue said...

I think if you read "China: The Gathering Threat" along with watching some of the Chinese blogs and internet info (Epoch Times, Angry Chinese Blogger,and NTDTV.com) you may feel better. The CCP is under increasing pressure to reform. If and when it becomes democratic, labor reforms etc, will limit it's ability to pump it's economy with slave labor.

I don't believe it was an accident that N Korea all of a sudden had a change of heart. The book especially helps clarify a LOT of things about the Far East. I highly recommend it.

 
At October 18, 2005 8:16 PM, Blogger Rick Darby said...

The failure of the Bush presidency has confirmed America’s enemies of the its essential decadence: even under a supposedly hardline president, the world’s only superpower has been found wanting when faced with a real war on terror, lacking the moral strength to stay the course, financial muscle to pay the bills, the attention span to remain focused on the task and the willingness to take military casualties in pursuit of agreed national goals.

It would be hard to express the truth more precisely in one sentence.

The Western world has chosen assisted suicide. For a while I thought my country, the United States, would rise up on its own to confront the worldwide jihad — not by going to war against it everywhere, but by creating a believable threat of taking out regimes that support Islamofascism, whenever and wherever needed.

The poorly planned occupation of Iraq, which has given back to Al Qaeda and its allies what confidence Saddam's defeat may have taken away, has made any vows of further action ring hollow.

It is distasteful and wrenching to say this, but I fear that the only hope of creating a national consensus on winning the war is if AQ or some other Islamic terrorist organization makes a colossal blunder such as perpetrating an even worse attack on U.S. turf than 9/11.

In my really sour moments, I think that a people who can't be stirred to respond to a morally and politically deadly threat don't deserve saving. But there is no such thing as historical inevitability (ask any Marxist, if you can find one). Maybe we'll come out of this on better terms than we've earned.

 
At October 18, 2005 9:33 PM, Blogger the adventuress said...

Atlas tries to hold up the entire world and keep it from crashing, even while the world keeps tossing large stones at Atlas's great arms. Atlas staggers a bit when a few particularly great stones are logged down onto him, and the stone-throwers point triumphantly downward and say, "See we told you so! He really is weak and pathetic after all! He shouldn't be entrusted with holding up the world."

The stonethrowers being Europe and its hateful hordes of bigoted, US-hating leftists.

 
At October 18, 2005 11:15 PM, Blogger heather said...

Irene--Point well taken. It's even more disgusting when the rocks are thrown from inside your own country. The Europeans have nothing on the left-wing liberals in the US when it comes to bashing America. The anti-American vitriol isn't even disguised anymore, this article being a good case in point.

 
At October 18, 2005 11:31 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

fjordman posted: The US last displayed such weakness and lack of leadership in the post-Vietnam years and paid a terrible price, as the Soviets spread their influence across Africa and almost succeeded in undermining support for Nato in Europe.

This is the real reason why America is effectively losing the war to islam and losing its allies, who seeing the hyperpower's lack of determination and inability (cowardice?) to even name the enemy, are making their separate peace with the enemy. Who can blame them.

Weakness and appeasement after the collossal attack of 9/11, which merited a response on the scale that followed after Pearl Harbour, was neutered by GWB hurrying to mosques, clutching the koran, and parroting the RoP mantra. Now, as the jihad hots up in Europe, America and elsewhere, he is left with no strategic options except to continue the War against Terror. His continued protection of Saudi Arabia in this war, is making me wonder.

If the US under GWB had done what was really necessary after an attack that was larger then Pearl Harbour, this war would have been over by now, with far less cost in lives and treasure, and everyone would have got back to their normal lives. Instead here we are, each passing day bringing further news of dhimmification by our politicians, ie the imposition of sharia by stealth. And no end in sight except further dhimmification by stealth until the final push for takeover by islam.

To paraphrase Churchill, "Never in the field of human conflict has so much been lost to a comparatively weak totalitarian enemy, by one man with virtually unlimited powers".

 
At October 19, 2005 1:05 AM, Blogger heather said...

"This is the real reason why America is effectively losing the war to islam and losing its allies, who seeing the hyperpower's lack of determination and inability (cowardice?) to even name the enemy, are making their separate peace with the enemy. Who can blame them."

You have VERY selective recall of history. If there is cowardice to be found, it isn't among Americans--except the left-wing liberals which include most of the media in our country. I did not support the timing or method of the war in Iraq, and especially the idiot Rumsfeld who should have been replaced at the outset. His ineptness in planning is the cause for needless thousands of lives lost. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the Saudis--it makes me wretch every time I see Bush kissing up to these murderers. However, I think Britian and the rest of Europe has made many more "friends" among the radical Islamists over the years than has America. The mayor of London is a known apologist for radical Islam. Very interesting that you should quote Churchill.

 
At October 19, 2005 1:55 AM, Blogger PD111 said...

nordic_smile

I do love America. On LGF since 9/11 I have posted, that the US is the one nation that can get us out of the mess we are all in. But this requires that US leaders have an idea of the enemy they are dealing with. Till now, they show little or no understanding of that fact. If they had, then as a first step muslim immigration would have been curtailed.

Yet, the fact remains that the US has not understood the nature of the enemy it is at war with. Even if they had a Damascene revelation now, it is too late. The time was just after 9/11 - no more then two weeks after 9/11, to rally Americans and the West. GWBs tepid TV appearance after 9/11 showed his confusion - a product of the confusion within him and his advisors.

For the last 4 years the US Administration, Victor Hanson and sundry other writers, have bemoaned the fact that muslims have not appreciated what the US has done for them. They keep reminding muslims that it was the US that saved them in Kuwait, Bosnia and then later in Kosovo. They seem so surprised that no muslim leader acknowledges that fact.

All this indicated to me how little these policy makers understood the mindset of muslims at large. To muslims, US intervention in the Balkans or Kuwait, was simply the will of allah, and gratitude to the US was not required. We see such fatalism even in the aftermath of the tsunami or the recent earthqauke - it is simply the will of allah. Any aid from the West is accepted as their natural due - as they are the chosen people of allah. And even now the West (US leading the way) persist with aid in the delusional hope that muslims will trust and love us.

Not to understand the mindset of a culture which one is supposedly at war with, is probably the greatest blunder one can make in a war -and this could be a war of survival of the West as a civilisation.

Rick Darby posted: It is distasteful and wrenching to say this, but I fear that the only hope of creating a national consensus on winning the war is if AQ or some other Islamic terrorist organization makes a colossal blunder such as perpetrating an even worse attack on U.S. turf than 9/11.

You have posted this quite often. It is understandable. I too feel sometimes that may the only way that America and the West will wake up. Yet, I now think that even a couple of nukes going off in the West will not wake us up. The RoP mantra has taken hold. Our response will be yet again, an adventure to set up democracy in some other islamic country - Somalia maybe.

When 9/11 occurred, I was extremely distressed. Yet in a rational moment soon after (within the hour), I realised that 9/11 was the greatest blunder that the Jihad had made in 1400 years. This was an opportunity to finish this religion that preys on others for good and all. An opportunity such as 9/11 does not present itself every so often. US response to 9/11 - well it is difficult to make sense of it.

I do not think such an opportunity will arise again for another 1000 years unless the Jihadis are really stupid. 9/11 instead of becoming a death knell for islam as an ideology, has because of misguided US response, become the greatest Dawa opportunity for islam. So purely on those grounds, I would not wish another 9/11, as it would create more publicity for islam. That could be fatal for us all.

Well off to bed . Will look forward to your response. BTW- bear in mind that on this issue, all of us on this Blog, are on the same side.

 
At October 19, 2005 2:08 AM, Blogger PD111 said...

nordic_smile

The mayor of London is a known apologist for radical Islam.

The mayor of London can say or do what he likes. He is of no consequence in the war we are in.

It is Pres GW Bush who was the CinC in charge when the US was attacked on 9/11 - an attack that was more devastating then Pearl Harbour. Not even Pearl Harbour was as humiliating as 9/11, for this humiliation was done in the full glory of LIVE COLOUR TV.
But even worse humiliation was to follow in subsequent days, as George Bush scuttled around the US for security reasons. I dont think people quite realise the significance of these events. It was NOT GWB that was scuttling around the US but the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE US. It was the symbol of STATE that was on the run. This has never happened in the history of the US; not on Dec 7 1941 or even the Cuban missile crisis. A humiliation on the OFFICE of the President of the US, is what was inflicted on those days.

I'm livid that a country that I love so much was humiliated in this way. I'm even more angry that so many Americans do not understand what a humiliation 9/11 has been, and the way to forward from that.

 
At October 19, 2005 2:56 AM, Blogger Rick Darby said...

PD111: Thanks for your comments. And thanks for the recognition that we're all on the same side.

I suspect that you were faster off the mark than I was: I'm still struggling to reconcile my initial enthusiasm for GWB's leadership in this crisis with his now repeatedly demonstrated failure to comprehend the situation and what history is asking of us.

I no longer look to him for any right moves. The feeling, I guess, is kind of like what you feel when disappointed by someone you're in love with who proves unworthy of it.

I'm still stuck for an answer, though: what catalyst could possibly change this defeat-by-degrees that we're currently consigned to? And a mega-9/11 is the only thing that I can come up with. Needless to say, I hope, I don't really want that. The irony of the situation is that this country has everything it takes to destroy the cult of Jihad for generations to come -- maybe long enough for Islam to come to its senses.

All that's lacking is the will in a population whose majority, it appears, is fixated on consumerism, trivia and a desire to offend no one.

 
At October 19, 2005 3:35 AM, Blogger heather said...

PD111,

I am finding it hard to understand how Europe can always point the finger at America's inadequacies--and we DO have many, while completely ignoring their own. The "war on terror" should be a global one, not limited to the US. I too, have been frustrated by many of President Bushs' "blind spots". The one that is most aggravating is our relationship with the country of Saudi Arabia. The majority of Americans are extremely frustrated about this, and at his lack of concern about the security of our borders. The huge influx of illegal aliens to this country--including those from countries that want to overthrow this government is inexcusable. I even contemplated moving to Sweden or Norway, (until I read some Scandinavian blogs), as a personal solution to this insanity. I still think about moving to Australia, but in reality I don't think there is anywhere to escape to. I think the solution is to find and elect leaders who believe as we do and act on that belief.

AND:

"But even worse humiliation was to follow in subsequent days, as George Bush scuttled around the US for security reasons. I dont think people quite realise the significance of these events. It was NOT GWB that was scuttling around the US but the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE US. It was the symbol of STATE that was on the run. This has never happened in the history of the US; not on Dec 7 1941 or even the Cuban missile crisis. A humiliation on the OFFICE of the President of the US, is what was inflicted on those days."

I've never heard of this so am not sure what you are referring to here, please clarify.

 
At October 19, 2005 1:12 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

nordic_smile

re: POTUS on the run

I'm going from memory here.

Immediately after 9/11, the President was moved to a secure and undisclosed location, probably a military base. He was then moved to successive military facilities around the US, as the security services were not sure where his safety could be assured.

I realise that the Security services were doing their job, but the fact remains that the office of the POTUS was scuttling around the US in search of a safe place. What immense satisfaction it must have been to islamists and the muslim world to see the office of the POTUS, the very symbol of the US on the run. It was some three or four days later after 9/11 that Pres GWB finally arrived at the White House.

Never in the history of the US, except when British forces captured the White House and Pres Washington had to flee, that such a humiliation has been brought on the head of America. But that was then when the America was a minor power and Britain the unrivalled hyperpower. What happened on 9/11, apart from the huge destruction, as well as a massive impact on the US and global economy, was the humiliation of the US on a scale that did not happen even on Dec 7 1941.

Rick

The correct response of the Pres was to have declared the US in a state of war. All else would have followed from that. Instead, we have this constant islam as the RoP, islam's great contribution to..... The jihad is a perversion of islam. What absolute nonsense. So according to Pres Bush, Mohammed the prophet, khomeini, all the imams down the ages, have completely misunderstood the koran and have perverted the message of the koran, hadiths, sirra and sunna?

I'm afraid that it is hard to put away the thought that Pres Bush, and the advisors he has surrounded himself, are trying to handle matters that are above the level of their competancy. It is unfortunate and unlucky for them, and for us, that they have been put in this situation. We are in a war that is an extraordinary war, with no real parallel or equivalent in the West's history, to get some lessons. So our leaders are thrashing around in a sea of confusion. None of them have bothered to read the history of the jihad in Persia, India and the Balkans, or understood what is going on right now in Africa, Phillipines, Thailand and Indonesia. Nor have they understood the koran except through the soothing voices of Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, all guile and Taqqiya, and bag carriers for islam.

DP111

 
At October 19, 2005 1:53 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

nordic_smile posted: I am finding it hard to understand how Europe can always point the finger at America's inadequacies--and we DO have many, while completely ignoring their own.

It is not America that is under criticism for general inadequacies but a very specific one and directed solely at the US administration. It is the conduct of the war to save us all, that is under fire by Rick Darby, Fjordman, Hugh Fitzgerald, Laurence Auster, myself and others. The totally inept handling by the US administration of a war that has the potential to destroy all civilisation, that is causing so much heartache for Fjordman, Rick D and myself. Fjordman is leaving blogging, probably disillusioned and disheartened by the direction of the war, that is leading towards further dhimmitude of the West. The strong arm tactics and blackmail applied by the US and Britain to further the entry of Turkey into the EU, is a case I have in point. Then there is the fact that Pres Bush has raised Saudi Arabia to tier II, that is a nation where religious freedom is guaranteed on the same level as Switzerland. He has done this by presidential fiat and against recommendations of Congress.

We have no one on the horizon, either in Britain or the US, that has the courage, determination and the knowledge, to do what is so obviously called for. In any case, it is all too late. What could have been done in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 is now politically impossible. Maybe another attack such as 9/11, and a completely different set of leaders in Britain and the US, may set us on a different path. But as I remarked earlier, I see no one of the calibre of Churchill, Truman or Margaret Thatcher on the horizon.

Well lets hope for the best.

 
At October 19, 2005 2:06 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

Correction: It is Sudan not Saudi Arabia that had been raised to tier II. Though Sudan is even worse when it comes to koran justified slavery.

 
At October 19, 2005 4:07 PM, Blogger heather said...

pd111,

The reason Bush was being shuttled around on 9/11 was because of reports of an imminent attack on Air Force One, which later proved to be false. He flew to Barksdale AFB in Lousiana, and then went to Offutt AFB in Nebraska because it had a bunker where he could conduct the business of the nation until the threats against AF1 were taken care of. Here's a link to an article that explains some of what happened:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/11/
60II/main521718.shtml

 
At October 19, 2005 4:39 PM, Blogger heather said...

pd111,

I don't agree with your assessment-- dumping all the blame in the lap of George Bush. If you know anything about American politics you must have noticed it is mainly liberals who love to push dhimmitude on the west with their insane version of political correctness. Eurpope has a voice in the war on terror. What has the EU done? I agree with you about the meddling of the US and Britain as far as Turkey goes----but ultimately it was the Europeans who made the decision to admit Turkey. The US did declare war on Afghanistan to route out the Taliban. I am not as fatalistic as you seem to be about the future. Things could've been worse than they are now. How would you like a President Kerry in the white house instead of Bush? Now, THAT gives me nightmares.

 
At October 19, 2005 11:35 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

nordic_smile

As far as the war is concerned it is the Pres of the US who runs the show. There is, as in any democracy, a partnership between the elected reps and the executive. However in the main, as far as war conduct is concerned, the Pres has a huge amount of leeway.

you posted: How would you like a President Kerry in the white house instead of Bush? Now, THAT gives me nightmares.

That is a moot point. It is fairly obvious that Pres Bush is only a "pretend tough guy". In fact he seems to like being taken for a liberal. All his policies so far seem to indicate that.

Rick Darby feels, that for this war to be taken seriously, and actions taken in accordance with the gravity of the threat, things have to get a lot worse before they get better. On that count, John Kerry would make things a lot worse, and more importantly, a lot quicker. So there is a case for having John Kerry as Pres but in the negative sense.
--------------------------

Precisesly and just as I said. The fact remains that the Pres Bush was running around the US in search of safety. I for one am livid that the office of the POTUS was scuttling around the country in search of a secure place. Never in the history of the US has such a humiliation been heaped on the symbol of state of the US. It seems that Americans and others, do not seem to grasp the humiliation of this event.

A more fitting response was required for 9/11 then the "light of democracy unto the islamic world" nonsense. Two years, hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives later, we have enshrined a sharia constitution and legitimised it in Iraq. Just terriffic.

Now they (the US admin) seems to be realising that the whole venture was doomed from the start. Well tough. It is easy to be wise after the event. I could have told them so a three years ago and did so on LGF. Now no one gives a hoot what I write. However if I could see the holes in the Iraq/Afghanistan policy, one would have thought that the advisors whose job it is to be expert on such matters, would also have seen it as well.

Well lets hope that we have better leaders in the US and Britain, who see that this war is a war of survival for us. We can lose this war - not because of the strength of the enemy but because of the failure to grasp the nature of the enemy and the nature of its acts.

 
At October 20, 2005 12:50 AM, Blogger heather said...

pd111,
For some reason you seem fixated on what happened to Bush on 9/11. If there were a real threat--what should he have done? Having a President targeted and killed would NOT have helped on that day. It would have made things MUCH worse and given untold joy to the Islamists. What he did was beyond his control, (certain protocols MUST be followed) and was done for the security of this nation. It was the prudent thing to do under the circumstances.

 
At October 20, 2005 1:03 AM, Blogger heather said...

There is a huge difference between Bush and Kerry, and thank God the world didn't have to suffer the consequences of a Kerry administration. I am not thrilled with Bush, especially concerning the war in Iraq. He chose the most incompetent person (Rumsfeld) to lead this war and WAS warned, both by military leaders and members of Congress about inadequate troop strength at the outset. In addition, there was virtually no planning after the fall of Saddam. To continue to see this idiot running the show is the most aggravating thing you can imagine. That said, if you think the world situation is bad now, you have NO idea what it would be right now had Kerry been elected.

One last note--I would respectfully suggest you don't believe everything you hear from the mainstream liberal media since their viewpoint is terribly one-sided.

 
At October 20, 2005 2:17 PM, Blogger PD111 said...

nordic_smile

Prudent or not, Americans, and your post indicates, still do not realise what a humiliation 9/11 and the office of the POTUS running around the US meant.

BTW, I'm grateful for your advice about the MSM. Long before R.S Spencer or anyone, I knew of the perils of islam going back well over 30 years, and advised people accordingly. Better late then never, it is nice to know that people are getting to know about islam.

 

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