Monday, August 25, 2014

Poo-flinging.

I was not surprised to find that the first thing that the guys who took Tripoli airport did was to burn it. Like a dog that ruins stuff it can't eat, just so another dog can't have it, they just trashed the place.
Television images from the scene showed jubilant, bearded, militias dancing on wrecked airliners, firing machine guns in the air and chanting "Allah O Akbar" ("God is great").

On Sunday, they set airport buildings ablaze, apparently intending to destroy rather than hold the site.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the entire southern and eastern Mediterranean Littoral is one great big failed state right now except for Israel, the parts of Egypt nearest the flagpole, and Turkey, and the latter's just waiting for a push. The area hasn't been this big a mess since Gaiseric. Never in my lifetime has such a large swath of the planet been, effectively, ungoverned Injun Country. As recently as twenty years ago, as long as you weren't trying to use an American or Israeli passport, you could probably have driven from Cairo to Casablanca and been reasonably certain that the uniformed guys with machine guns at the checkpoints only wanted to stamp your passport and shake you down for a bit of mordida.

It worries me that we may wind up looking at the vanished world of the turn of the century the same way we do the Gilded Age/Victorian Era/La Belle Époque. Regardless, I don't think it's very outlandish to claim that we are witnessing the results of the end of Pax Americana.

26 comments:

Joseph said...

Never in my lifetime has such a large swath of the planet been, effectively, ungoverned Injun Country.

I agree, Chicago and Detroit are awfully dangerous.

bedlamite said...

I still think the best thing we could do is keep the middle east in a perpetual civil war, with the US supplying one side, and Russia supplying the other, similar to the Iran/Iraq war in the 80's

Old Radar Tech said...

This is the change we were promised; The deliberate destruction of America as an economic, diplomatic,and military world leader.
Our allies cannot depend on us, our enemies have no reason to fear us, our borders are wide open to anyone except amcits with bagpipes, and our President is once again going to focus on the economy. Like a Deathstar beam weapon.

Tam said...

Old Radar Tech,

"This is the change we were promised..."

This has been going on since the end of the Cold War. We've been steadily retrenching, militarily. Sure, we lashed out a bit and broke some stuff in the Near East, but in the end, it just furthered the entropy rather than reversing it.

Aaron said...

Sadly, it's a very deliberate and calculated ending of the Pax Americana by the powers that be.

They're just too busy playing Golf to enforce peace in the Gulf.

Joe in PNG said...

I'm convinced that this is just a continuation of the fall of the Pax Britannia myself, with the USA playing the part of the Byzantium.

Richard Blaine said...

I'm no fan of the Golfer in Chief but, Tam's right - this has been a long time coming - probably since 1913, but I it's possible I'm being a little harsh there. Certainly it's been growing since Korea.

Regardless I think there are significant links between the US entering WW I, the creation of Israel, and the beginning of communism. I'm not against Israel by the way - but it was always going to be a problem, they were told that by the Jews living peacefully in the Palestine region before they launch the deal in England in 22. Hell the brits figured out it was going to be a huge sucking wound in 48 and they bailed - and I don't blame them a bit - except maybe for backing the whole thing originally - but then I blame us for that too.

Ask yourself why there is no effective difference between the two parties (in that both take every chance they get to grow the central government) There was a time when that wasn't true - and therein lies the culprit. Politicians are tools lead around by the purse string though their noses.

Don M said...

I figure an embargo on water pumping equipment would do wonders.

David said...

"I was not surprised to find that the first thing that the guys who took Tripoli airport did was to burn it. Like a dog that ruins stuff it can't eat, just so another dog can't have it, they just trashed the place."

You could easily replace "Tripoli airport" with "Ferguson."

Old Radar Tech said...

The difference, I think, is that for King Putt it is policy.

Anonymous said...

I believe it will shortly be time for the EU to colonize Africa and the Middle East again so they can bring civilization, roads and the rule of law to the region and raw materials back to the empire.

This time, just skip the education phase, it was just a waste of money.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Re: The End of Pax Americana .....

...as pissed as I am about all my wasted years in the .mil in western europe, and the 2 week CALFEX that was Desert Storm, I'm sure it pales in comparison to what vets of the Iraq and A-Stan vets are feeling about now .... Losing a war is usually a pre-requisite to drastic political change ....... Not winning is losing ..... and by those lights we most assuredly have lost Iraq and A-stan ..... the jury is still out on the Cold War, but Putin was lookin' pretty tough this spring ...... if he decides to steamroll Ukraine, do you think for a minute that Sir Golfsalot will risk a tee-time to stop him?

BillCa said...

It's hard to make money during peacetime. What with all those regulations, rules and trying to compete on merits and cost/performance evaluations.

Spend a million or two to seed some discontent and let it ferment. Once things start to unravel and people get worried or need cash, you can profit on their troubles.

Goober said...

Tam;

Do you think pax Americana ever extended to the middle east, in all actuality?

I haven't really considered it to be honest. I just kind of assumed that the middle east was just sort of the middle east and that American influence brought peace to most everywhere BUT there.

Goober said...

Anon - the one thing going for us is that we've been pretty good, over the last 200 some-odd years, about routinely replacing our presidents.

So if Sir Golfs-a-lot, as you so eloquently put it, is truly the source of our ills, then he will be replaced in a few years, and Putin knows it.

They all know it.

We've had the reputation of being isolationist, decadent playboys over on this side of the pond for well over a hundred years now. More than that, even.

But every place on Earth has still, in living memory, a vague recollection of what happens when you piss of and galvanize these playboys.

No one wants to screw with that.

So they'll play under the radar, but at the same time, they'll remember that "sleeping giant" and work to not awaken him more than is necessary. if their smart.

We'll see where this sotloff thing goes, but my guess is that beheading him will be their last official act before they are a smoking crater in the ground, Golfs-a-lot or not.

Anonymous said...

I did a Med cruise aboard the old Forrestal in '91. I wonder how many of the ports at which we called would be bypassed nowadays? Lemme see, 1, 2, maybe 3....
--Tennessee Budd

docjim505 said...

Looks like we need a Pax Somebody. The Brits are no longer on the job, and we're polishing up our letter of resignation. With no adults minding the daycare, is it unreasonable that the children misbehave?

Or is it racist / eurocentric / cultural supremicist to say that sort of thing?

Rob K said...

I think Pax Americana was not so much about the locals not fighting each other at all, but more about keeping it to a low level and amongst themselves, even in the Middle East; and that an American could say "Civis Americanus Sum" and have the locals leave them unmolested lest the US Marines pay a visit. More of an ideal than it ever was a reality, but it was an ideal we once believed in. Sadly, Americans don't even much believe in that ideal anymore.

Mike_C said...

We'll see where this sotloff thing goes

Well, I think a beer* summit is exactly the thing to let those poor misunderstood ISIS people air their doubtless just grievances. What difficult childhoods they must have had to be acting out so. What past and on-going discrimination they must have faced so bravely.

*yeah, yeah, EtOH and Islamists so far off the scale the frickin' Saudis are worried, but that kind of feckless idiocy unfortunately would not surprise me in the least.

Anonymous said...

They're just pro-actively stopping the spread of the Ebola virus.

It's a matter of economics. You need a roaring economy to pay for a world class military if you want to influence events around the world. The UK had the world's largest economy and the world's largest navy during Pax Britannia. The US has had the world's largest economy and Navy since the end of WWII. You can have either a super-power military or a welfare state, you can't afford both. The US government has chosen welfare queens over the queen of the seas, which now sit idly, tugging at their mooring ropes.

Al_in_Ottawa

Mike said...

In that part of the world, it is called baksheesh, not mordida. But I take your meaning.

Anonymous said...

Tam said:

As recently as twenty years ago, as long as you weren't trying to use an American or Israeli passport, you could probably have driven from Cairo to Casablanca and been reasonably certain that the uniformed guys with machine guns at the checkpoints only wanted to stamp your passport and shake you down for a bit of mordida.


A little over 20 years ago, my backpack, my American passport, and I, did the Grand Tour, which happened to include a couple of weeks in Turkey, five weeks in Greece, and a couple of weeks in Egypt. Turkey had a WOMAN for a prime minister, all the young Turks in uniform (mandatory 18 month service) loved America and wanted to practice their English on me (Why you want to visit Greece - it is a terrible place! Spend more time in Turkey! The Greeks are a horrible people!), and every Turk was trying to sell me a carpet. Greece was full of tourists and all the young Greeks in uniform (mandatory 18 month? service) liked Americans, and wanted to practice their English on me (Why you want to visit Turkey - it is a terrible place! Spend more time in Greece! The Turks are horrible people!, and wanted to sell me replica Greek urns (I'm STILL kicking myself for not getting that urn in Delphi - $125, over two feet tall, and frigging GORGEOUS!) The mullahs in Egypt had just finished an episode of shooting tourists to drive them away so they could take over the country, which resulted in the army cracking down, shooting or arresting the terrorists (the army arrested 600 "militants" in Cairo the night before I arrived), and the country was empty except for myself and a bunch of fearless Aussies. I don't know about being shaken down for a bit of mordida, but every kid, taxi driver, "student" camel driver, guard, and official that crossed my path wanted baksheesh for the flimsiest of pretenses. There were guards with AKs at the frontier outposts in what had to be the original prototype of every movie road block ever made: a small wooden shack out at the intersection of no and where, with a 55 gallon barrel on each side of the road, and a wooden barrier that blocked the road. And those AK-47s were worn down to shiny metal from use, and I do mean SHINY, as in polished (you had to cross the frontier to get to the ruins at Abu Simbal, which was only 65 kilometers from the Sudanese border, where civil war raged, and from which refugees were trying to get away).

Aside from some homesickness (three and a half months on the road), I never felt too much at risk.

At the time.

I wouldn't even think of going back to Turkey or Egypt now.

BSR

mikee said...

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the world got Christianity, and a bit later, Islam.

After the fall of the Chinese empire, the world got Genghis Khan.

After the fall of the French monarchy, the world got Bonaparte.

After the Hapsburg empire, the world got Hitler.

After WWII, China got Mao.

I am not looking forward to the follow-on paradigm in Africa. It will be totalitarian and bloody, and likely not just for Africa.

Peter B said...

The Chinese colonization of Africa will probably make the Portuguese look like Mother Teresa.

Joseph said...

Islamic civilization is at the Justinian stage now. It's making one final bid for relevance while wrecking everything in sight.

0007 said...

Peter B got Africa in one. Personally, I'spect that the Ebola problem there I the result of some African despot trying to hold up the Chinese for a little more payoff.