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Don Harris

Posner faults the lack of consistency in U.S. foreign policy over the past 80 years, and then uses that inconsistency to advance the "we didn't do it then, so why should we do it now" argument. (In fairness, that is not Posner's only proposition.)

I wonder if such an argument makes any sense in the U.S. when presidents come and go every 4 or 8 years and there is no constitutional requirement for consistency in foreign policy, the never mentioned Peace of Westphalia notwithstanding.

I'm also curious about Posner's closing statement:

"I would prefer that we refrain from military activities that do not hold substantial promise of advancing at reasonable cost policies reasonably deemed essential to the security and well-being of this country. In other words, we need to prioritize—cold-bloodedly."

Should we refrain from "essential" security measures that are unreasonably costly? Does everything, even survival, comes down to a cost-benefit analysis?

Finally, does Posner really believe the Holocaust was none of our business until Hitler declared war on the U.S.? Here is an alternative to the Doctrine of the Peace of Westphalia: taking action to end the mass slaughter of innocents whenever possible.

Jjj Jjj

Rather odd to not talk about how action without the UN is illegal, or that you seem to condone funding the borderline genocidal military in Egypt.
It's surprising that you aren't guided by law or morality but by interests.And if interests guide your line of thinking then ,at least , it could be the world's interests not one nation's interests.
This line of thinking is what drove most of the world's history , maybe it's not a land grab now but that doesn't mean it's any different. Europe is above this kind of greed induced ideology , the US needs to catch up.


I have to say in the Syria debate I have only heard mention of International Law rather than the Peace of Westphalia so thanks for the history lesson!

I am assuming that you are concentrating on interests rather than the legality of an action because there appear to be so many historical precedents that someone can always pick the one which can justify what they want to do.

Intervention in an internal dispute to save lives is problematic. Intervention in Kosovo did in my view save lives and timely international intervention in Rwanda could have prevented a huge number of deaths. In Syria I really struggle with what military intervention, particularly of the cruise missile variety, could add to a conflict that has cost so many lives. It appears as if the only hope for the moderate citizens of Syria is agreement within the security council for a negotiated political settlement.


We as Americans, over the years, have developed what I consider to be a "National Character Flaw". Especially in the field of Foreign Affairs and Policy. Such that, We desire the World to "LOVE" us and count us as good fellows even when it runs against our own self interest. The problem is, we as a Nation seem to have forgotten or are ignoring the three fundamental principles of Foreign Affairs and Policy. Those three principles are:

1. It is our true Policy to steer clear of any permanent Alliances with any portion of the Foreign World.

2. There is nothing so likely as to produce Peace as to be well prepared to meet an Enemy.

3. As for Foreign Affairs, I believe, that the Ends will justify the Means.

Or too put it another way, "We need to reintroduce a certain "Cold Bloodiness into our Policy making, calculations and actions"...



This breach of peace is because that lesson has atrophied into a moral conviction expressed as policy.

a) People have the right to self determination.
b) Self determination is limited to good citizenship in the pattern of production and trade.
c) That destabilization of the pattern of production and trade that influences commodities that could encourage warfare is equal to the waging of war against a neighbor.
d) That if a people choose a government that abridges a, b or c, then we, the USA, will punish that government and the citizenry for their poor choices.

We are not a peer nation. We are an empire. We act like an empire. We act like an empire in no small part because we must out of economic self interest, and in no small part, because our main trading, political, and cultural partners, actually WANT us to, so that they can participate in the reconstruction of Europe, after the first world war that destroyed human civilization as we know it, and from which we only begin to emerge in the present decade - albeit over a century behind what might have been.

So, in closing, I'm a little uncomfortable with harkening back to historical reference of equal states, when our empire is run pragmatically for pragmatic purposes, and our policy has been reduced to ideology

Curt Doolittle
THe Propertarian Institute

B Wilds

The red line was crossed in Syria, but few people have yet to talk about the most likely and only real solution which is to break the nation into two parts. If Assad remains in power those who have suffered and been displaced will never forgive him and live under his rule. A change in ruling factions is also not a viable solution in that it would probably unleash a wave of killings, and reprisals. Remember the Shiite-related Alawites rightly fear an Al Qaeda led triumph as the worst possible outcome, they would make the mass killing of Alawites their first priority. The secular leaders of the Syrian rebels, clustered in the exile group known as the Syrian National Council, also must worry about the extremist threat they themselves would face if the Assad government fell.

The crux of the problem is how it end the violence and allow refugees and the rest of Syria to go about rebuilding their lives. Life in a refugee camp will have a long-term negitive effect on these people and especially on the children. The people in this part of the world are a hardy bunch seasoned by hundreds of years of war, but millions living in tents and bombed out buildings is saddening and heart breaking. Again I return to the message at the beginning of this post, few people have yet to talk about the most likely and only real solution, that is to break Syria into two parts. More about this bad situation below,


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