Blaming America for WWII

Brian, I never properly
replied to the
isolationism was good idea
for the decades and
centuries of imperial
rivalry leading up to the
early twentieth century,
but it is now two epochs
out of date. The first
epoch that obsoleted
isolationism began when
imperial rivalry gave way
to ideological rivalry in an
era whose technological
advances allowed
totalitarians to kill tens of
millions and threaten
hundreds of millions more.
The second epoch began
when that ideological
rivalry was settled c. 1989
in an era whose economic
advances had rendered
territorial conquest
obsolete as a way to
increase national
prosperity. In the
penultimate epoch, the
stakes were too high for
strategic isolation to be
wise. In the current epoch,
the humanitarian cost-
benefit ratios of certain
interventions are too low
for strategic isolation to be

The summation of all the
above is:"This time it is
different." This is the
arguement for every
absurdity. Fundamentals
of human existence do not
change. Relative to the
total human population,
was Stalin worse than
Rome, or Hitler Attilla the
Hun? Possibly, but in
principle death by boiling
oil is not different from
nuclear roasting. Thus it is
not unreasonable to look
back at the warnings of
George Washington in his
farewell address.

Before we step back to
1796 lets examine some
the idea that things were
really different then in a
First, where does the
assertion come from that
fundamentals of human
action have changed and
made anything George
Washington says
irrevelent. The left, in
order to enact The New
Deal embraced the
concept that the founders
and their creation , The
Constitution, and the
liberty the Constitution
seeks are irrevelent
because the world has
changed. They argued that
complexity of the modern
world makes obsolute such
quaint notions such as
sound money, or the
proscriptions of the ninth
and tenth ammendments.

Your arguement above
rhymes with the accepted
neo liberal arguement for the welfare state, the world is different now.

Did George Washington
in 1796 really face a
fundamentally different
world than exists today.
Military offensive
capibilities are defensive
ccpabilities in general
evolve together, often with
significant lag. Thus the
state of humanity has
always been to suffer from
insecurity.The insecurity
that Washington faced
while standing at the
podium in Annapolis was
that any moment a shell
could arrive without
warning from a British
Man of War that had
sailed up the Chesapeake
and Severn ahead of all
warning.Despite the oft
repeated mantra that Sept
11 was the first attack on
American soil,
Washington D.C. was
burned down to the ground
by British troops a decade
and half after Washington
spoke at Annapolis.

Before we get to
Washington's words, it is
illuminating toremember
that there is a very
successful country that has
largely followed
Washington's advice. That
country has avoided
virtually all turmoil over
hundreds of years even
though it lies in the heart
of a region where hostility
has been the norm. That
country is Switzerland.
Switzerland has much in
common with the United
States in the sense that it
has natural physical
protection, has a very
armed population with a
willingness to fight in
defense, and a
decentralized goverment.

So lets see what
Commanding General
Washington said. (I might
add, that much of
Washington's warnings
were repeated in 1959 in
the nationally televised
farewell speach of Dwight
D. Eisenhow.)

The standard Noe con line about GW's farewll address is that it was meant for the conditions extant at that time, and he has no calidity for today...( sound familiar). Here is what he said on that point...
..."Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion."...

For the essence of the foreign policy arguemet go down to where I left some spaces..

but I cant help but leave these parts in...

(and here George Washing makes a little warning accross the centuries about Carl Rove)...

However combinations or associations of the above description (political parties) may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion."...
(and a little warning about the New Deal)...

(and a little warning about the New Deal and other revisioist thinking)...

19 Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the righ ts of person and property.......
and a little more warning about apartisan parties...

20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally....

And a very specific warning that seems IMHO to target GW Bush, man this guy knew what he was talking about. Does this seem out of date?...

22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty....

and more warnings about party passions, the influence of foreign interests ( such as Israel or Iraq ex pats)... Did this guy have this years New York Times?

...24 It (party loyalty) serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

And another warning accross time aimed at the New Deal, the Department of Homeland Security and the gnereal habit of Mind of GWB...

26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield....

And a little note to Dick Cheney who said 'Debt does not matter'...

30 As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate....

And here is the heart of the foreign policy perscriptions iand proscriptions...

31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

43 In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

--- In lpsf-,
Holtz" <brian@...> wrote:

Phil Berg wrote:

PB) One can never

make definitive alternative
scenarious of what would

happened if another

course had been taken, but
there are some indications

that the disaster of

WWII ,was in some part
the result of US

in WWI. (PB

This thesis about 20th

century history suffers
from misunderstandings

path dependence and the

difference between
necessary and sufficient

When looking for

turning points at which
Europe's mid-twentieth-

horrors could have been

averted, there are far
better candidates:

* If France had

used its overwhelming
military superiority to

Hitler's 1936 re-

militarization of the
Rhineland, Hitler's
triumph would

instead have been a

humiliating retreat -- a
retreat he had secretly

ordered if the French

tried to stop this blatant
treaty violation.

* If central banks

had in the 1920s been
more competent, then

hyperinflation and the

global Great Depression
would have been largely

avoided, making Nazi

totalitarianism effectively

* If France hadn't

demanded ruinous
reparations from Germany
in the

1919 Treaty of

Versailles, the Weimar
Republic would almost
certainly not

have been replaced by

Nazi totalitarianism.

Compared to these

multiple chances to save
Germany after World War
I, it's

just not tenable to lay

Hitler at Wilson's feet for
the latter's decision to

enter that war on the

side of the democracies.

Strategic isolationism

was good idea for the
decades and centuries of

imperial rivalry leading

up to the early twentieth
century, but it is now

two epochs out of date.

The first epoch that
obsoleted isolationism

when imperial rivalry

gave way to ideological
rivalry in an era whose

technological advances

allowed totalitarians to kill
tens of millions and

threaten hundreds of

millions more. The second
epoch began when that

ideological rivalry was

settled c. 1989 in an era
whose economic advances

had rendered territorial

conquest obsolete as a
way to increase national

prosperity. In the

penultimate epoch, the
stakes were too high for

strategic isolation to be

wise. In the current
epoch, the humanitarian

cost-benefit ratios of

certain interventions are
too low for strategic

isolation to be


PB) Disparaging people

who hold anti
interventionist views does
not change

that a reasonable

interpretation of history
and human action form the

of some anti

interventionists strongly
held beliefs. (PB

I've never "disparaged

people who hold anti-
interventionist views". My

position has always

been that reasonable
Libertarians can disagree

libervention, and in

response Libertarians have
called me "fascist" and a

"traitor" and a "war

pig" and not a libertarian
and unfit for membership