Dems foreign policy motto: whisper and carry a self-flagellation whip

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An amazing piece which explains a lot. The implicit assumption of this policy choice of course is that China, Russia and Iran will realize their limitations and play nice in the long run. There are (at least two) problems with this plan.

1. Given their posture of aggressively resisting the US and using force (Russia - Ukraine, Georgia, Chechnya, it's own population i.e. Sergei Magnitsky, Iran - Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, brutally crushing the Green revoloution, China - Uighurs, Hong Kong, zero Covid, threatening Taiwan, aggressive hacking and wolf policy), how long will it take, how many millions of people will be killed, and countries destroyed? And will they only realize their limitations if they are defeated by hard power which means WW III?

2. How can you expect leaders who aspire to total control of their societies and whose greatest fear is an uprising from their own people (who have no hard power, just soft power), to tolerate opposition from other countries and people that isn't backed up by hard power?

As the husband of a Cuban woman whose family fled post revolutionary Cuba and still maintains ties to family trapped in Cuba, I can tell you that the leaders of Russia, China and Iran, let alone Venezuela, North Korea and other tyrannical states, do not respect anything but brute force and the threat of their being deposed. They are used to getting what they want and the only way to contain them is the George Kennan approach of resisting everywhere (ideally not by force but by aggressive policies designed to build up opposition to them and supporting such opposition).

As further evidence, read Bill Browder's Red Notice and Freezing Order. The Russians are relentless and will not stop in their pursuit of their objectives and to assume they'll see the light is foolhardy unless resisted at every step.

Hopefully Russia's debacle in Ukraine will slow China's aggression and that of the others but for how long?

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<< not to the author Mr. Doran but to the editor(s) of the preamble >>

Golly, it’s not enough to rattle the weekly hyperbolic sabres founded on ill-conceived assumptions and shaky-to-no-hard-evidence-other-than-”first-hand”-testimony-that-seems-more-often-than-not-to-be-coached/cooked.

*Now* we are referring to China as one of “our enemies.” N-i-i-i-ce! Way to be in the spirit of FAIR and Braver Angels there…. (I wrote a funny whole actual sermon on “our enemies” once… PDF@ https://drive.google.com/file/d/1u26cD6jGoTTGqUJuYus6KqmLw55AHnQu/view?usp=sharing or AUDIO@ https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xU2SM1NGSCs-2RM4uEgTBYBzCy5HvJfv/view your choice… skip to 24:08 for the sermon or a little earlier for the Children’s Story at 21:00 which is pretty fun and salient too!)

Hmm… let me think here, who do I know that doesn’t consider *us* to be *their* enemy? Oh yeah! *Every single person I met in Mainland China*.

I will never forget it, even as I was landing in Beijing that first time half a decade ago now… as “cultured” as I always fancied myself to be, I nonetheless had this image of arriving in the airport and being all super holding-my-breath in this icy environment being checked out by intense customs agents and finally (hopefully!) walking out of there and onto the streets where I’d see officers holding machine guns like it was fucking North Korea or something.

The eye-opening reality was immediately revealed to be of Matrix proportions: *this place is WAY much more like America than it is different*. Well, as far as the general easy-goingness of everyone perhaps; because, on second thought there are some striking ways by which China’s people distinguish themselves from ours on the whole, and speaking in very broad strokes here:

The Chinese people are healthier. They are much more friendly and respectful. And they seem, overall, SO much more content with life — not to mention, *vastly* more intelligent than any imagined random sample of my American compatriots, it’s not even funny. And the way they obviously cherish their little kids in the public eye is like that of a national treasure.

China is, hands down and faraway, the most welcoming overseas country I have ever enjoyed exploring. Not to mention the safest: granted, there’s CCTV and friendly young policepeople scattered here and there all over the place, and then these friendly even-younger women and men scanning your bags at every metro entrance (what an egregious violation of my right to get knived in a subway station!). Honestly, can you find me a single other place *on the entire globe* where, all other things being equal, a young woman can travel alone all over the place, confidently and freely like they can in China? Anywhere. (And that’s a sincere question… I certainly haven’t been everywhere, and I really do wonder where else in the world someone might pose as being more generally safe for women than China. I am all ears.)

And of course, this is all amidst a general backdrop of how such a long-lived history and legacy of this incredibly vast civilization — the longest extant — kinda finds them, ya think, maybe just a bit more justified to be able to say “been around the block a time or two there, gang…” by at least an order or two of magnitude there, when it comes to the very very complex world of all levels of individual to global history and politics at the moment.

Yes, I know this is all subjective and anecdotal on my part, and really on one level I’m sure I don’t know shit. Even as deep of a dive as I’ve taken into the obsessive awareness of all things Middle Kingdom, I know that in the big picture I’ve only just scratched the surface. And things in life are complicated, and especially when it comes to China.

But put it this way: across the sum of all the mind-blowing memories of my two multi-month jaunts that I visited over there, I would have to scrape my brain really hard to recall a single rude encounter in any of that time. More like, everyone’s either letting you do just your thing or being kind enough to step up and help you out if you were having trouble, or bold enough to come up and introduce themselves with excitement at the prospect of practicing their English with a wài guó rén!

Then, sadly, do I conduct the Thought Experiment of imagining being in the shoes of a Chinese couple touring over here, and shuddering to compare it in my mind, these two instances, between my experience in their country and theirs in mine.

Ok, Ok….. if this is all a bridge too far for you, if you really feel so invested in holding on to these much-exaggerated-to-entirely-fabricated notions of “genocide” (um… seriously?) and “slave labor for solar panels” and “organ harvesting” in China, then I assure you you will be able to find ample company over at the Epoch Times / Falun Gong / Shen Yun (“the most incredible show in the entire history of the multiverse time-contiuum”, to paraphrase…) bloc. Oh, and there’s also the banjo player from Mumford and Sons who is also featured here as a world-renowned expert on international affairs whom you can cite, haha, forgot about him :P

And meanwhile, as needed, it’s easiest to label me some ignorant shill of the CCP for shucking all this out there, that’d probably suffice for a Get Back Into The Matrix Free card. Good luck with all that.

For my part, I have now steeped myself in SO much of the history, art, novels, and good lord, the *fucking cinema*, but most of all the.people, that I can only shake my head at the sheer ignorance regarding all things China that seems to stand out to me at present as the singular common thread between orthodox and heterodox political sectors. Maybe that implies an inherently oxymoronic notion, but maybe this is exactly what I’m talking about!

Scotty “Dr. Zollatti” Perey

The Music Compass

Eugene, Oregon, USA

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My wife had the opposite experience as you did during her visit to China. She was actually shoved out of the way while trying to get pictures at the Great Wall. She had to listen to days of her guide lecturing her about how China was superior to the US in every way imaginable. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being "outstanding", she would put her treatment as a tourist at about a 3.

I also have a very good friend, a Chinese ex-pat who is now a US citizen whose parent live in Wuhan, and he validates the common perception in the US of China and the CCP.

Being FAIR also means being objective. There are people who are not your friend, and will try to take what you have.

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Well, i hear ya. Different experiences to be sure. I *can* picture the shoving thing… the Chinese definitely have different notions of “queues” that can come off as super rude to our style of politely lining up and waiting one’s turn, that’s for sure! But I just never saw anyone being outright mean. And I can’t really recall hearing anyone boasting all that jingoistically about China at America’s expense. Everyone seemed really hands off when it came to anything political or potentially acrimonious like that. I don’t know. I *do* want to be objective, and I know that’s impossible to base on just my personal experience alone which may or may not be typical. Maybe it was that I didn’t do the guided tour thing and pretty much went it on my own, I think that made me stand out as a curiosity that made people want to come up and check me out and/or practice their English :-)

It’s just such a complex place… I always like to say the only soundbite that holds for China is that there is no simple soundbite that holds for China. I remember someone once relating something to the effect of “Go to China for a week, write a book. Go to China for a month, write an article. Go to China for a year, shut your mouth!” 😂

All I can do is to be honest as I can about my own experience and compare notes with other folks as much as possible. And I know there will be contradictions everywhere. I just get so irritated with people parroting banal unoriginal claptrap that betrays sheer ignorance, that’s what really rubs me the wrong way. And I admit I get perhaps a little defensive, in light of the realization lately that so many of my best friends these days either over there or here in America are Mainlanders. Simply the kindest most respectful and intelligent folks I hang out with. Now maybe it’s an anomalous “self selecting” situation I’m in here by which the whole lot of us are all more or less these enigmatic oddballs who ended up gravitating towards each other, and that none of us are all that representative of our respective cultures to begin with, that could be it. But I’ll tell you one thing, chilling with my Chinese peeps is about the only time I can escape the otherwise constant onslaught of the woke cult everywhere I go around most anyone else anymore. That in itself was another irony about being in China, it’s like the only place in the world I feel like I was totally insulated from that shit anymore. Flying back into the Hong Kong airport and seeing CNN glaring from all the TV monitors everywhere, I was like “Oh God not this again…”

Irony abounds. But regardless, I just don’t think the mamby-pampy sabre-rattling is in any way helpful. At all. One of my missions in life I feel is to maintain this grassroots outreach effort in order to end-run the political bullshit and bridge the gap between our nations. If we were cooperating more than we were competing, we might just be able to surmount the global challenges facing all of us. Maybe that’s just my rosy Pollyanna vision romanticizing things as usual, but I hope not. Like I said, the moment I stepped foot into China I was immediately struck by how it seemed like we are so much more alike than we are different, even as there are indeed striking contrasts between our respective cultures and worldviews. At the end of the day, I like to think that most Americans are decent people I feel, and the same goes for the Chinese. None of us get much of a fair shake by how we are represented in the international media, and that’s a shame.

Thanks for your comment and thanks for listening. Cheers :)

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Outstanding commentary.

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“The problem, in (Obama’s) eyes, were America’s allies.”

I’m no statesman, but this is frightening. If a country perceives its “allies” as a problem, can we call them allies anymore? It’s getting very lonely out there.

I guess this is what passes for diplomacy from an adjunct law professor turned part-time senator turned president and his Charlie McCarthy sidekick.

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In short, St. Obama (giving him the benefit of the doubt) and his sycophantic acolytes that now promulgate foreign policy are naive. The problem, as we Israelis have learned the hard way, is that naivete kills.

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Well written article, but Israeli leaders are in Jerusalem (not Tel Aviv).

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The Kiryah (Israel's Pentagon) is in Tel Aviv.

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The embargo was not working other than incentivizing Iran to continue work on its nuclear program. Embargoes are not “hard” they are the epitome of soft and are long term strategies at best. And now, post Ukraine, they are even leakier. No, the article is very specific in its advocacy. And I have no problem with “hard” power. Just tell me what it is. Doesn’t have to be an invasion. What is it? We did Stuxnet during Obama years which was somewhat successful. Is that what he’s talking about. Cyber war? And on Ukraine he’s plainly wrong for so many reasons

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Behind the Obama/Biden foreign policy lies a vision bereft of knowledge of human nature and human history. It is the vision preached in all the elite schools for the last 30-50 years, where our leaders were throughly indoctrinated. It is the latest variant of Marxist totalitarianism. And it thoroughly despises America's founders, founding documents, founding principles and unwoke Americans.

Is it any wonder that Obama/Biden, et al. will lead us into disaster in the Middle East and in our competition with China. China, Russia and Iran will play games with our woke leaders until America is simply too weak to defend itself.

This is why I can live with the bad manners and childish tweets of Trump. His policies and decisions helped us regain leverage against China and kept Putin in his place. And he understands how to deal with tough characters. Leaders who never learned street savvy because they "learned about life" far too much in ivory towers, simply do not know how to deal with such incorrigible leaders.

My only objection to the article is the statement that Trump "provoked" Iran. I sincerely question whether Iran ever needs to be provoked. It strikes me that Obama/Biden provoke with weakness. Other than that, great article! Thank you Bari Weiss!

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"...the secure bunker dug deep under a mountain near Fordow."

I have always been curious about this method of securing an asset. To be useful one has to be able to access it. What happens when the exit and entrance get blocked? The underground facility needn't be damaged, only the routes to that facility.

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"In the context of the nuclear negotiations, the Biden team asked Tehran, politely, to put an end to these assassination plots."

~You're only hurting yourself with this rambunctious behavior~ Raising Arizona

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"Chances are, however, that we will end the week as much in the dark about Tehran’s intentions as we are about Putin’s."

But are we in the dark? Putin wants to reassemble the Russian empire and Iran is doing its best to drag its feet as long as necessary in order to obtain nuclear weapons.

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May 10, 2022·edited May 10, 2022

Why is this not more wildly reported ? Is it real?

Despite a 2014 EU decision on an arms embargo to Russia after it invaded Crimea, between 2015-2020 10 EU member states continued to supply it with 346 million euro's worth of military equipment, 44% of which came from France and 35% from Germany, a March 17 report by the independent European news agency Investigate Europe found.The other countries were Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, Spain and Croatia. Reported in The Jerusalem Post

And why should we be involved ? and who takes advice or gives a platform to military experts with zero winning rate and a fifty year complete failure rate (if you leave out Granada). Enough with this Chicken Hawk war mongering by Biden and the Weapons suppliers. Peace!

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I can confirm what Raziel says about Africa choosing China over the US. I have heard almost exactly the same story from several friends who are actual "African Americans" (having come from Nigeria and Kenya). Paraphrasing:: "China wants us to not to get in their way, the US wants us to change our laws an society to be like them." A few journalists have reported hearting this from African diplomats as well. Our attempts to use our aid and NGOs to export "secular liberal democracy" come across to the recipients as just 21st century colonialism. Africa's very sensitive to that, not surprisingly.

Always a worthwhile read, Raziel, even when I don't agree with you. You have a diverse life experience, which yields an interesting perspective.

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The secular liberal point is spot on. Years ago now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Africa left the ELCA over the issue of homosexuality. I don't point this out to claim who is right or wrong. The important take away is that African Christians are specifically not aligned with liberal American protestantism. They are orthodox on many issues that American protestants only talk about in hushed tones. They resent being told that the traditional Christian values that they adhere to are abhorrent. Again, not offering opinion on right/wrong. I am offering the opinion that if A tells B "you're doing it wrong" don't be shocked when B stops returning your calls.

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Spot on. And considering the subject is an African turn toward China, an interesting perspective from one named "Xi". :-)

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I'm not even Asia much less Chinese. Its an abbreviation of an abbreviation of my name.

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A fairly lucid explanation of the choices facing the US with respect to Iran and the Obama/Biden strategy. Unfortunately - as with so many critiques of the Obama/Biden approach to Iran there is no solution, strategy or ideas put forward that would translate the writers critiques into different policy decisions. That’s usually the problem with Republican foreign policy discussions for the past 10 years. If there is one thing that some American leaders and most Americans know is that Iran is not Iraq. Iraq’s takeover was always going to be a cakewalk. Not so with Iran, a nation twice as big with 3-4 times the population. That’s the problem with the Trump policy as well- there was no endgame-just demands and what, an embargo.sanctions that the Iranians have seemingly worked around. And with oil as precious as it is now, they have more options or fewer to finance their regime. So what exactly is the ideal strategy? Is the writer suggesting “hard” power which he states Biden & Co doesn’t value? An attack? What exactly does he envision? What do any Republicans envision? Are they suggesting an air war over Iran? I think the American people would want to know that. I am all for considering innovative and effective strategies to confront and limit Iranian adventurism but am so very tired of grandstanding and not being serious about the very real challenges presented in dealing with a regional power like Iran. Please tell me - I’m all ears

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Who is proposing that we take over Iran?

The embargo was having great effect until Obama unwound the sanctions regime and sent C-130s loaded with pallets holding billions of dollars in cash. Yes, Iran had work arounds but they were cut off from the West's economies.

Re-establish the embargo and let it work. Sanction those who trade with Iran. Operation Praying Mantis II the next time their ships harass our Navy (or any NATO member's Navy). Wall them off. No one is advocating an invasion. But Iran does respond to reason after being punched in the nose.

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What a great opening line to this article! Kind of says it all.

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