Dreamers

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason;

Benjamin Disraeli

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

Between 1965 and 2011, the official poverty rate was essentially flat, while the government spending per person on poverty programs rose by more than 900% after inflation.

Peter Cove

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

Burnham

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

We are a nation of assimilated immigrants.

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.

We have to start with the premise that the goal is to defeat the enemy.

Jim Woolsey

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Back from DragonCon with both a cold and the flu. Was supposed to go to the Mars Society meeting in Irvine, but I didn’t feel up to it and would have been a burden on Larry who generously offer to drive me. I suspected that would be sure exposure to this ConCrud and since he escaped it he doesn’t need it. But mostly I didn’t feel up to it. I’m still in pajamas. I type horribly as well. But that’s the way it goes. I did read all the mail and sort out a pile that needs answering.

The news is full of the Dreamers. The Constitution says the President must take care to see that the laws are faithfully enforced. Mr. Trump didn’t want to deport the “Dreamers”, particularly those who have integrated into the society, but the law gives him no leeway, and the Presidential Order Obama signed giving them amnesty is unconstitutional. He solved that dilemma by giving it back to Congress who created it. We’ll now see what happens.

I can solve part of the problem. Any volunteer of any age who serves 7 years overseas in Army or Marines gets a Green Card and an application to apply for Citizenship along with his honorable discharge. The Citizenship application and test need not be very difficult and I would expect all who applied to pass it. The swearing should be public and conducted by an officer of rank Colonel or above.

As to girls, we can think of something similar or suitable; they need not join the combat arms. Surgical Assistant comes instantly to mind.

Their parents are a more difficult problem, and it will take ingenuity to find a path that does not offend the legal immigrants who obeyed the law.

More later I’m experiencing a wave of nausea.

Bye for now.

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[Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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Packing

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

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Packing for DragonCon. That turns out to be more work than it used to be. Ah, well. I do hope the weather hasn’t affected the Dallas airport.

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Longest war

Lately I keep hearing the talking heads on the news refer to the current conflict as “America’s longest war”. In modern times it can be (weakly) argued that since the Korean War that started in 1950 was paused by an armistice rather than ending with a peace treaty it has been 67 years and counting. A better claim can be made for the even longer Indian Wars. the VA recognizes the Indian Wars as running from 1817 to 1898 a total of 81 years. More proof that history is not something the media worries abound.

John

I expect that’s correct. And even includes the year Congress appropriated no money for the Army, leaving the officers with the problem of how to feed the men…

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Floods and FEMA

Dear Jerry –

You recently wrote, 

The way FEMA worked, at least when I was familiar with it, made Clinton’s action as good as any, because the local FEMA officials’ competence was irrelevant. Washington controlled FEMA, and needed no advice from locals; neither local FEMA nor National Guard. Locals couldn’t possibly as competent as the DC Professionals, and don’t you forget it. Of course when Clinton became President he had some reasons to suspect that…

and certainly the approach reached its disastrous apotheosis in Katrina. (Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that FEMA had been folded into DHS, and DHS was largely focused on terrorism at the expense of disaster relief, which led to wholesale retirement of upper level FEMA managers with disaster relief backgrounds who might have done the necessary and made Brown look good. And it’s always a good idea to consider that all the pre-Katrina estimates said that at least half of New Orleans was too poor to evacuate – and then folks blew a gasket when half of New Orleans DIDN’T evacuate. Plus, the press frenzy started about 48 hours after the barriers failed and completely ignored the fact that the nominal FEMA response time had always been stated as 72 hours.)

But there is hope. The FEMA director for the last 8 years has been Craig Fugate, who seems to be about as far from Michael Brown as possible, and who preaches “whole-community response” and makes statements such as,

We had almost by default defined the public as a liability. We looked at them as,We must take care of them, because they’re victims. But in a catastrophic disaster, why are we discounting them as a resource? Are you telling me there’s not nurses, doctors, construction people, all kinds of walks of life that have skills that are needed?

and

“Quit referring to people as victims and call them survivors.” I said, my first goal is to change the vocabulary of emergency management. As long as you use vocabulary like “victims,” you’re going to treat the public like a liability and you have to take care of them. That works in most small- to medium-size disasters, ’cause we can bring in more help than there are people—but the bigger the disaster the less effective it is. When you step back and look at most disasters, you talk about first responders—lights and sirens—that’s bullshit. The first responders are the neighbors. Bystanders. People that are willing to act.

I recommend this interview https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/09/we-are-all-first-responders/402146/

Of course, Pournelle’s Iron Law applies, and there’s no telling how much progress he’s made in a mere 8 years, but it’s certainly hopeful.

Also hopeful is the lack of FEMA response with respect to the civilian efforts such as the Cajun Navy, which have apparently moved several thousand people out of flooded homes and are continuing the god work. Contrast this with the the attempts by FEMA post-Katrina to actively prevent private boat-owners from doing the same function because it wasn’t coordinated. And somehow I doubt volunteer firefighters from other states will be required to undergo a week of training before they are allowed to start work.

It’s still early days, of course, and there are some big political differences from Katrina, such as competence from both the local and state governments (Chocolate Ray Nagin was never properly held accountable for his utter incompetence, and the Louisiana governor’s refusal to ask for help has gone remarkably unnoticed – and both stand in stark contrast to the current politicos). I thought the advice by the Rockport mayor to those who wouldn’t evacuate (“We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number,”) showed a certain welcome bloody-mindedness. But we shall see what we shall see.

Regards,

Jim Martin

==

Civil Defense

The “Cajun Navy” is proving your position on “Civil Defense” to be correct.

Duane

 

Civil Defense

With regard to Civil Defense teams, which I remember being aware of in my youth. If you aren’t already you might want to become familiar with CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_emergency_response_team]) – I don’t know about your area but I became aware of their existence shortly before I moved from Stockton (Central Valley) a couple of years ago. With recongnition of the earthquake dangers of the subjunction zone here in Oregon there has been an increasing emphasis on these local teams (Salem OR has numerous teams within each of several regions in the immediate locale, although they are not as yet completely built out). Last spring there was a weekly series of page long preparation guides in the Statesman Journal, and there was a significant presence of CERT representatives at our recent National Night Out neighborhood gatherings. There is quite a lot of media promotion on emergency preparedness and at least low level prepping here. OEM offered the free ham radio class I took a few months ago. CERT is coordinated with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, headquartered at the National Guard base here in Salem. CERT courses are being taught at our local junior college and in other venues.

Paul

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Afghanistan.

There are several reasons why we should maintain a presence in Afghanistan.

We’ve been there 16 years. The Afghan government will most likely never stand alone.

If we leave, the Russians, Iran, or more likely China will have to move in to support

their government.

This is undesirable. One main reason is Rare Earth Elements mining. China currently controls

97% of the market. The Rare Earths are Lanthanides like Neodymium, Scandium, Cerium,

Lanthanum, Yttrium and 12 others. The Rare Earth elements are used in everything hi tech

from cell phones, batteries, magnets, to hi tech aluminum and steel alloys.

The problem with the Rare Earths is they all are generally contained in the same ore.

They are very difficult and expensive to separate in the refining process because they

are closely grouped on the periodic table. China has put the single major US company out

of business by undercutting the market.

Mining and refining Rare Earths is not a very Eco-friendly operation. The mine tailings are

generally mildly radioactive due to Thorium and Uranium. All the acids and chemicals that

are used in refining are strictly regulated by the EPA upping costs.

In remote, sparsely populated Afghanistan, these issues are non-issues. Mining and refining

can occur with little, if any, global impact. China’s monopoly on the market will be mitigated.

David Rockefeller spent a lifetime building a Central Asian presence along with people like

Zbignew Brzezinski and that effort and accomplishment should not be wasted or thrown away.

Through the Council on Foreign Relations and other local boards and commissions, an overall

Central Asian policy of cooperation has been developed.

The Central Asian policy is best put forth and described in Zbignew Brzezinski’s essay;

“A Geostrategy for Eurasia”published through the Council on Foreign relations (CFR);

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/1997-09-01/geostrategy-eurasia

and his book “The Grand Chessboard”

http://https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_chessboard.htm

When one reflects on the decades of dedicated work by David Rockefeller and people like

Zbignew Brzezinski for developement, stability and partnership in Eurasia, it becomes

apparent it’s in everyone’s best interest.

If we are not in Afghanistan, somebody else will be there.

That’s what the interventionists fear. They may be right; but stationing 20,000 troops for decades in Afghanistan is a serious matter, and might even require building a different sort of Army; Legions that expect to serve out their time in foreign lands. Would they be rewarded with citizenship? Pensions – land – for his veterans was one of Caesar’s major concerns.

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if they say you are wrong, say it again louder

Dr. Pournelle,

They’re back:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/100-percent-renewable-energy-for-139-countries-by-2050

I notice, again, that the authors do not estimate cost, or who they expect to pay, or the actual cost of development in barrel of oil equivalent units, or the cost of maintenance, or the limitations of wind and solar power generation.  And, as in their study two years ago, still don’t state the cost of the energy storage that their proposal requires.  They don’t account for projected growth of demand.

This time, they pointedly also don’t mention the cost in comparison to the gdp of the countries involved.  Obviously, the U.S. will be expected to foot the bill, and China and India will be expected to continue to absorb the pollution generated by mining, smelting, concrete production, and chemical processing.

It will obviously be all free, since we will all be paying two or three hundred percent more  (corrected for collectivized petroleum industries) for the five to ten-fold increase in fossil fuel usage that will be required to build these technologies.  And of course, it will all have to be replaced again by 2075.

I feel better already.

-d

Glad that problem is settled.

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Thinking for oneself

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

In the midst of woe, gloom and uncertainty, I see this little note in freshman orientation at Princeton U which brightened my day, and I hope yours as well.

https://jmp.princeton.edu/announcements/some-thoughts-and-advice-our-students-and-all-students

In a nutshell, the profs warn the students to beware of campus orthodoxies and the ‘tyranny of public opinion’, to think for themselves and to give even ‘unspeakable’ ideas a second look.

Good for them. C.S. Lewis asked “What do they teach them in those schools?” It’s nice to see that some of the old light survives, even in the midst of the Crazy Years.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

That’s what my generation was brought up to expect of any college. Some were better at it than others. Not necessarily the big research Universities. When I worked as a consultant on the California University Master Plan, the State Universities were different campuses of one University, and had small undergraduate student bodies; the California State Colleges were supposed to be the primary undergraduate institutions, and were not to have graduate students or issue graduate degrees. On this basis the costs were sold to the taxpayers. Of course so soon as the law was passed the California State Colleges insisted on becoming California State Universities and be able to give graduate degrees, and started humping for grants and wanting graduate students to teach the freshmen, ad so forth, etc., etc.

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And here you thought there was no slavery anymore anywhere.

Actually there still is slavery. If you go to a backwards nation on the West coast of Africa near the equator you can find massive slavery operations which the government refuses to do anything about. It’s a Mohammedan nation. It is run according to Sharia law. And Sharia law, the law supposedly handed down to Mohammed by his sham Moon god Allah. The Guardian, of all things, published an article about slavery in Mauritania. It’s there. It’s active. It’s the way of life there. And regardless of pressure placed on them, it remains a standard practice in the nation.

Here are Jihad Watch’s excerpts and comments:

Defying international pressure, Islamic Republic of Mauritania refuses to free slaves https://www.jihadwatch.org/2017/08/defying-international-pressure-islamic-republic-of-mauritania-refuses-to-free-slaves

And in case you miss the click through to the source here it is:

US warned Mauritania’s ‘total failure’ on slavery should rule out trade benefits https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/aug/25/us-warned-mauritania-total-failure-slavery-trade-benefits

The US is making this an issue under the Trump administration. If Trump plans to have the US military somehow get involved, that would be a bad bad thing. But, making a public issue of this is a nice way to show the savagery of Sharia Law.

We need to do MUCH more of that. Mohammedanism is a threat. And it should get criticized for the uncivilized, indeed savage, behavior called for from its adherents.

{^_^}

I wonder if the law against filibustering still applies? (Private expeditions of US volunteers intent on liberating the oppressed in other nations was once known as filibustering, and at one time outlawed after vigorous debates.)

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Re: Your Aug 29th post and refrigeration

There’s another issue about the change in refrigerants. I don’t know how much coverage the Grenfell Tower fire and the subsequent discovery of hundreds of deathtrap tower blocks in “social housing” in the UK have had, but one thing that has had almost no coverage (probably because the environmentalists don’t want it to get any) is that the actual direct cause of the Grenfell fire (the spark to touch it off, if you will) was almost certainly an exploding refrigerator.
Huh? you say? Well, it so happens that approved refrigerants are tightly controlled and much more expensive than the old ones. Because of this, makers of budget fridges have started filling them with such things as propane and butane. Which works fine, until the fridge gets a bit old, doesn’t get maintained (as most don’t) and the refrigerant starts leaking.
Picture it. A small, unnoticeable leak in the cooling circuit, inside the fridge. It gets left overnight; gas builds up inside the refrigerator. Go into the fridge in the morning to get the milk for your cereal, the little light inside goes on, the switch that does that arcs over – and BOOM! (And the blast fractures the cooling circuit altogether, and half a litre of liquid propane flashes almost instantly to gas…)

Ian

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Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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FLOODS

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

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It’s terribly hot outside, and I am busily preparing for my trip to Atlanta and DragonCon, where I am presenting an award as well as participating on panels and the usual stuff. Travel is a major expedition for me now, and takes a lot of preparation; and alas, all my experience during the Cold War and even in BYTE days is basically irrelevant. Back in the days when you wore a necktie to air travel I flew around enough to get lifetime memberships in most airline lounge clubs, which simplifies things a lot, but what I learned then about airline travel doesn’t apply now. Maybe to First Class, but not to anyone else. Fortunately I can arrange for a wheel chair and get help boarding, but the old days seem to be gone. The cabin crew – can’t call them stewardesses anymore – try, but they’re overworked and understaffed, and more and more passengers no longer wear neckties and are polite and understanding. I miss the old days before deregulation of prices, when airlines had to compete on service, not on being cheap. And yes, I thoroughly realize that I’ve just said I’d rather have higher prices filter airline travel, and that’s assertion of privilege and all that. It won’t stop me from missing the old days when flying was a pleasant experience.

Anyway, I’ve got appointments this afternoon and not a lot of time.

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If there’s a lesson from the current weather – you really can’t blame it on climate – it’s one we used to know. When I was a kid during the depression, people who built houses in areas a few feet above flood level – in flood plains like Houston and Baton Rouge and much of the Mississippi Valley – built them on stilts. In Tornado Alley they built storm cellars. In flood plains in Tornado Alley they built on stilts and hoped to find shelter every 25 or thirty years. The primary rule was, if you build mansions in flood plains, prepare to self insure, and if you’re not that rich, think of living somewhere else.

After all. Talk of 30 year floods, or 50 year floods, or even 100 year floods is a prediction; and while the likelihood of two 50 year floods in a decade is low, it ain’t zero. My house is 70 feet above the concreted river down by Ventura Blvd, and I didn’t worry even when the only storm drains were streets, which we’re about six feet above anyway; our streets being 70 feet above Ventura Blvd. And yes, I did all those calculations before we bought this place. After all, I grew up in Memphis, known at Bluff City, and then in Capleville known at Nonconnah Bottom, and I was born in Louisiana. I know about houses on stilts, and one of my earliest memories is of railway flatcars filled with injured and refugees from the Tupelo, Mississippi Tornado.

Which is not to say I have no sympathy for the victims of the storm. I do think it madness to continue the fiction that replacing the old local Civil Defense organizations, many of them managed by volunteer retired military officers and veterans, with FEMA which Governors like Clinton used as places for political agents to get a salary while they worked for his election, was a good idea.

The way FEMA worked, at least when I was familiar with it, made Clinton’s action as good as any, because the local FEMA officials’ competence was irrelevant. Washington controlled FEMA, and needed no advice from locals; neither local FEMA nor National Guard. Locals couldn’t possibly as competent as the DC Professionals, and don’t you forget it. Of course when Clinton became President he had some reasons to suspect that…

A long time ago, Civil Defense organized local communities down to Boy Scout level, and it worked pretty well. After Katrina drove some victims to seek refuge in Houston, then came Humphrey (which may be a bit ironic), we learn that a 30 or 40 year flood can be followed by something worse in fewer than 20 years; of course we have always known that, but perhaps this time we can pay attention?

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The date of this picture is 1935.

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http://blabber.buzz/politics/conservative-news/216117-climatologist-former-nasa-scientist-houston-flood-not-sign-of-climate-change

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Another Visit to the law of unintended results.

 

Jerry,

During our current SoCal heat wave I began to wonder how much additional CO2 has belched into the atmosphere since R22, commonly referred to as Freon, due to the fact that none of the replacements are as efficient.

I did a little reading and learned that not only do the replacement coolants require more energy for the same amount of cooling, but ChloroFluoroCarbons are much more potent greenhouse gasses that CO2. (Not hard to believe since CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas.) All of the retrofitting of R22 systems with “acceptable” refrigerants has undoubtedly released a lot of refrigerant into the atmosphere.

BTW, how is the naturally occurring and fluctuating Ozone hole doing these days.

Bob Holmes

But the models say…

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Antifa Mobs Violently Attack Peaceful Protesters At Berkeley, Police Stand Down

Is anyone surprised?

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NEWin Q-MAG.org: humans in caves – heath advantages

http://www.q-mag.org/

Third and last installment of Amanda Laoupi’s article on the environmental bio-advantages of Neanderthals.

Anne-Marie de Grazia

 

 

I have found this interesting. We are after all the children of Cain and Abel.

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Thousand-Year-Old Viking Fortress Reveals a Technologically-Advanced Society.

<http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/thousand-year-old-viking-fortress-reveals-technologically-advanced-society>

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Roland Dobbins

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Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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The Longest War

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

We have to start with the premise that the goal is to defeat the enemy.

Jim Woolsey

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Acting against his instincts and preferences, President Trump announced a new strategy for what is said to be the longest war in American history: the Afghan Campaign. We will no longer insist on “victory”; we will, perhaps, accept a political settlement that may include elements of the Taliban. Given the domestic situation this was inevitable. The alternative would be to abandon Afghanistan and come home, leaving the situation to ebb and flow without our presence.

Whether abandoning Afghanistan to the Pakistani, Indian, Russian, Moslem Republics formerly part of the USSR, al Qaeda, the Caliphate, Sunni Muslim powers, Shiite Powers including Iran, random war lords who want regional control, Kabul which wants its writ to run all over Afghanistan, and probably other factions I have left out is a good idea I can not say for sure. They can fight it out without our formal presence, and if we have favorites I’m sure we have Special Forces that can intervene when our interests are at stake. This would be my preference, and formerly was the preference of President Trump; indeed, it is the outcome he expected and until recently accepted. Afghanistan is a sink hole, with few resources we want, and an infinite capacity for absorbing American blood and treasure. My immediate reaction was to wonder which faction, neo-conservative, military industrial complex, Deep State, alligators in the swamp, or some other managed to get the President’s ear.

On the other hand, there are precedents. The Afghan War is not the longest war in American history. The longest was the Seventy Years War, also known as the Cold War, which formally began just after World War II but actually started with the Russian Revolution and World War One. Indeed, the Afghan War isn’t even the second longest in American history.

The Korean War began June 26, 1950, and has not formally ended. It is no longer a shooting war, but does anyone suppose that South Korea would have developed into the nation it has become if the United States had not intervened; and having intervened fought North Korea and China to a standstill, then negotiated a stalemate armistice enforced by substantial numbers of US troops in South Korea? We stopped most of our nation building efforts in Korea, and the US garrison in Korea no longer feels that it could become a shooting war in hours; indeed, many think of serving in Korea as easy duty, a tour of overseas duty without much danger and all the comforts of civilization to boot. It wasn’t always that way, of course. We were nearly thrown into the sea at Pusan. But MacArthur invaded at Inchon, and from holding the perimeter by our fingernails we went to hot pursuit all the way to the Yalu chasing the best view a soldier can have, the enemy’s back.

And from there it turned sour again with the Chinese intervention. It ended in a standoff that endures to this day. But while China’s ally turned into a hermit kingdom invisible from space at night, South Korea developed into one of the Asian tigers – as, incidentally, did Taiwan; while Japan, once our hated enemy, developed into a noticeable economic base, and despite a great slowdown you can see each island of Japan from space at night; while North Korea remains as dark as inner Siberia or the Congo.

Had we just cut and run after the Chinese intervention in 1950, would the situation be more stable now? No one can know for certain, and the skillful manipulation of all the participants in the Cold Wear will be studied for a very long time, the actual outcome was at one time proclaimed by some foolish but influential intellectuals as “The End of History.” It is a better outcome today than many of us feared while the Seventy Years War wound down.

Whether this echoes the President’s chain of thought I cannot know; but surely he is aware of it. Broadcasting the end of US involvement would have a lasting and profound effect on Pakistan, India, Burma, Iran, and other places; it would rejuvenate al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban, confirming their belief that they needed only to survive to win. It would give our enemies a sanctuary and advertise that others could do so.

We are committed to an overseas presence for decades with this strategy; but the result in Korea suggests that need not be the worst possible outcome.

There are implications. We will need Legions. But it can be done, and may be the safest alternative in a situation that has no attractive alternatives.

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I have a dinner engagement with an executive producer of the Big Bang Theory; purely a social engagement with a friend and neighbor, but I have just enough time to get this up.

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Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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