February 16, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About U.S. Foreign Policy in One Short Paragraph

This is from the March 10, 1919 diary entry of Cary Grayson, Woodrow Wilson's personal doctor:

…the President said…that if the present government of Germany is recognizing the soldiers and workers councils, it is delivering itself into the hands of the bolshevists [sic]. He said the American negro returning from abroad would be our greatest medium in conveying bolshevism to America. For example, a friend recently related the experience of a lady friend wanting to employ a negro laundress offering to pay the usual wage in that community. The negress demands that she be given more money than was offered for the reason that "money is as much mine as it is yours." Furthermore, he called attention to the fact that the French people have placed the negro soldier in France on an equality with the white men, and "it has gone to their heads."

That one paragraph truly contains everything you need to know about U.S. foreign policy:

1. It's built on a foundation on upper class twit urban legend. Who knows what really happened with the "friend of a friend" of Woodrow Wilson. But I think we can be certain that, if the "negress" actually did exist, she didn't ask for more money than usual because she was inspired by bolshevism to say "money is as much mine as it is yours."

This reminds me of the time shortly after the 1992 Los Angeles riots when the nephew of a huge Hollywood producer told me he'd heard that all the black people in Compton were making plans for next time, when they were going to come burn down the three B's: Brentwood, Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Sure, you bet.

2. The terrifying danger that the U.S. upper crust perceived in 1919 wasn't that the lower orders were going to stage a Bolshevik revolution. It wasn't even that they were going to try to get the right to vote and have a voice in the government. It was that they were asking for a raise.

(Also, worker councils were not a good idea that made workplaces run better, but pure revolutionary bolshevism. If you paid attention to the right-wing freakout over the UAW trying to organize the VW plant in Chattanooga, you saw nothing whatsoever has changed.)

3. The terrifying danger wasn't coming from just any part of the lower orders, it was from the teeming non-white masses who want to take all our money.

4. What was the the natural response to the threat of a slight change in political and economic power within the U.S.? It was to invade another country (in this case, the nascent Soviet Union), together with the other main white powers, the UK and France.

You can draw a direct line from this diary entry to every foreign policy action taken by the U.S. in the past 95 years.

P.S. The house where Cary Grayson and his family once lived in Washington, D.C. is now the administration building of Sidwell Friends, the private school attended by Sasha and Malia Obama.


—Jon Schwarz

Posted at 10:48 AM | Comments (7)

February 13, 2014

It's Not Our Fault If It's a Perfect Storm!

Whenever elites fail in a gigantic, public way, you can be sure of one thing: it was a "perfect storm," so you can't blame them for what happened.

Edward Snowden's leak of NSA documents was, at least by their standards, a big failure. But as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper explained to Congress on Tuesday, it wasn't their fault because it was a perfect storm:

The director, James R. Clapper Jr., testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Snowden had taken advantage of a “perfect storm” of security lapses.

Why was there a gigantic financial crisis in 2008? According to the International Monetary Fund's chief economist, you can't blame them because it was a perfect storm:

In short, underestimation of risk, opacity, interconnection, and leverage, all combined to create the perfect (financial) storm.

Why was New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina? According to then-Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, you can't blame them because it was a perfect storm:

"That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," Chertoff said. He called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."

And why did everyone in the U.S. government believe Iraq was teeming with WMD? According to a top U.S. intelligence official, you can't blame them because it was a perfect storm:

[W]as Iraq, as one senior intelligence official told the Commission, a sort of “perfect storm”—a one-time breakdown caused by a rare confluence of events that conspired to create a bad result?

That's four perfect storms in ten years. Man, our elites have the worst luck.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at 11:24 AM | Comments (8)

February 09, 2014

I.F. Stone on the Expensive Pointlessness of "Intelligence"

This is I.F. Stone speaking in 1984, from the book I.F. Stone: A Portrait:

This whole business of intelligence, it's a waste of money, highly overrated. You don't understand what's happening in history or in your time by peeking through keyholes…

What's the good of all the money we spend on intelligence? When they get an intelligence report that has something in it, they ignore it. They don't like to read. They want everything on one piece of paper…

There very few things that are really secret or remain secret for very long. Basically, an intelligence service is there to tell the boss he's doing the right thing. It's very overrated and we're swamped with these organizations.

We're becoming a partially closed society. It's a terrible concept...those few members of Congress who have access to the oversight committees become prisoners of the intelligence apparatus because they can't say what they've seen. And if they come out and criticize, they can't produce the proof, because the proof is classified. It's a disease…

When I was in Russia, the phone book was classified. The dictators in the Politburo, they don't know what's going on. You don't know what's going on if you depend on cops, on secret police. Paranoia is a disease of secret police. They're paid to be suspicious of their grandmothers. And that isn't the way you understand people or what is going on. We're getting Sovietized in this country. Thank God it is nowhere near as bad, but it's creeping.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at 10:50 AM | Comments (14)