Spengler's article focused on the misalignment between the West's perception of Russia's existential threats, and Russia's own assessment.
It would pay to consider another misalignment of Western perceptions: those of its own existential threats. The US is fixated solidly on the Russian nuclear arsenal (if they are being at all rational, that is).
But there is Islam. There is Pakistan and Iran. There is Syria. There is China. There is a resurgent Latin American "Bolivarian" socialism.
They could all use a friend.
This is not all, however. We also need to consider another asymmetry. Russia is solidly behind their government's aggressive policies, and would support far more aggression in the future. The first observation to make here is that Russians would be equally supportive of any decisive action against Islamism in their neighbourhood. What a waste..
The more important observation, is that effectively there is no "West" in any meaningful, strategic sense. There is no alignment of interests, common threat assessment or unity of action. Indeed, Russia is right now negotiating a separate security arrangement with Germany. What does this do to NATO ? Italy and France are trying to put the brakes on an NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, and the NATO reaction to the Estonian cyber-war was an interesting foretaste of likely "touch one, touch all" bluster from a NATO that in the end cannot be bothered.
So no Rubicon has been crossed. Caesar is going to win again, at least in the short term. Indeed, his sticky end is pre-ordained this time
around too, the Senate's daggers replaced with Spengler's demographics.
The best part of all is that there is a best part. Much good is going to come of a Europe bordering on the insane in its pacifism, left wing
nuttery and anti-americanism realising that the wolf is at the door, that European solidarity is as bogus as the notion of soft power, and
that that the wolf (Bear ?) has his paws on the gas taps during a winter that says more about failing sunspots than it does about global warming. Time they learned.
In relation to the military operation by Britain and France against Egyptian forces during the 1956 Suez crisis, the recently retired Sir Winston Churchill was quoted as saying, "I am not sure I should have dared to start; but I am sure I should not have dared to stop."
I think that a reasonable analogy can be drawn in relation to Nato expansion to encompass the Ukraine and Georgia. Moose's arguments have force, but as one might say, 'we have crossed the Rubicon.' A retreat now would reinforce Russia in its autocracy and gangsterism, and, incidentally, send a message of weakness to our Islamist enemies. Re Spengler's comments about Saakashvili of Georgia. Me thinks he protests too much. Spengler is exploiting imperfection in order to create equivalence.
Russia faces the choice between an ultimately self-destructive isolationism and linkage with Western Europe in an association of independent liberal democratic states. Many years ago, De Gaulle envisaged a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. Having come this far, the West cannot now retreat. On the contrary, it could exploit the opportunity if only the Western Europeans could finally recognize the absurdity of the European Union structure.
I agree completely with Spengler and have been saying for years that "the Orange Mistake" would gain the West nothing, while turning a valuable ally in the Long War into an implacable and tenacious enemy.
As the current leader of the Australian Catholic church and a highly respected member of the inner echelons of the Vatican, it is encouraging to see Cardinal Pell take intelligent, well-thought and faith-informed positions on two of the key issues of our time: global warming and Islamism.
One of those issues is a real threat and is largely ignored. The other is a pseudo-threat and has generated millions of by-lines and scores of documentaries. The former is of course, the Islamist threat. The latter is the purported cataclysmic threat of global warming.
Pell, in contradistinction to many of his fellow clergymen, nails it right on both of these issues.
On Saturday, a few hundred people protested the appalling treatment of Christians (specifically Copts) by Muslims in the majority Muslim country of Egypt.
An Auspundits reader, Bouillon, emails that the following flyers were handed out describing some recent attacks:
The Copts are the Christian Egyptians. They are living in constant fear and threat from the Muslims Fundamentalists in Egypt.
muslims kidnap Christian girsl, rape them and force them to convert to Islam.
The Muslims attack Christan jewelers shops, kill them and steal their gold.
Christians are treated as second class citizens.
No Christian is allowed to be appointed as a dean in a university or head of a department in the interior ministry or the foreign affair or the national security or the police or the army.
Churches have been attacked, some destroyed, no repairs to the churches are permitted without previous permission.
Monks in the monastery have been kidnapped, tied to a palm tree with ropes, beaten with electric cables, stoned and spat on them, to force them to deny their faith, after a long two days they were returned with broken bones, and were admitted to hospital
Here are some photos taken by Bouillon at Saturday's protest.
Two articles disparaging internationalism. One by David Brooks in the NYT, which is unsurprising. The other by Simon Jenkins in The Guardian, which is very surprising. Both Brooks and Jenkins also lends their support to the necessity of the U.S.'s role as Leviathan. Jenkins writes:
The Americans are right, that if you want something done in the world, get a nation to do it, not an inter-nation. I may be opposed to both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there is a significant difference between them noticeable to any visitor to their capitals. In Baghdad, America is unmistakably in charge and the world follows. There is a clear line of command that leads, however misguidedly, to Washington. Things get done.
Afghanistan is the opposite, the embodiment of Tharoor's globalism in practice. Some 30 nations piled into Kabul after 2001, under the banners of Nato and the UN. There was and remains no coherence, no agreed strategy and a perpetual feuding over rules of engagement, use of air power and policies for anti-corruption and counter-narcotics. Things do not get done.
Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? . . . That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11. - Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, 2008
In particular he documents the intellectual revisions promoted by Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, a descendant of Mohammed. In the early 1990s, Imam, who also went by the nom de guerre, Dr Fadl, penned a mammoth tome The Compendium of the Pursuit of Divine Knowledge. Drawing on a "reservoir of opinions and precedents" in Islamic jurisprudence, this "intransigent and bloodthirsty document" laid the theological foundations for the type of asymmetric war that would be waged by Salafist jihadists, particularly al-Qaeda, over the course of the next decade. An earlier work produced in 1988, The Essential Guide for Preparation, formalised the rules of waging jihadi and "quickly became one of the most important texts in the jihadis’ training".
However, over the last year, Dr. Fadl has revised his earlier work in Rationalizing Jihad in Egypt and the World and instigated a acrimonious battle of ideas with his old friend and al-Qaeda figurehead, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other prominent Islamist thinkers.