Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I See London, I See France, I See Donald's Underpants!

Ah, commenters.  Right after I wrote the previous post I read this comment under a post by Daniel Larison:  "America is not in the third grade, and the world is not a playground, so beating everyone up unless they give you their lunch money is not the winning strategy here."  America isn't in the third grade?  You could have fooled me.

In general, Larison's commenters are pretty intelligent, maybe because the comments are moderated.  But some are historically uninformed, or at least selective in their view of the world.  Well, who isn't?  But the tunnel vision leads to some significant distortions.

For example, under a post by Larison arguing that the world is mostly at peace these days, contrary to the alarmism practiced by many politicians and pundists, commenter collin wrote:
When thinking about constant wars in the Middle East, it is VERY useful to remember the near constant Civil Wars in South and Latin America in the 1960s through 1990s. I remember in the 1980s, the successful/unsuccessful coup in South America was an everyday news back then. Constant Civil War was just accepted reality. The constant battling in El Salvador and Nicaragua was Cold War politics at its worst. And then with the collapse of the Soviet Union and lack of US interest proved that these nations can develop if they were left alone. (I think you missed most of these 1970 and 1980 news stories but Civil Wars felt constant back in the day.)
The examples collin gives (coups, Nicaragua, El Salvador) all appear to be cases of US "leadership."  Nicaragua's problems in the 80s, for example, consisted of a terrorist war fought against the Nicaraguan population by US-supported (which means, trained, armed, and paid) thugs.  Nor did the US lose interest in Latin America after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  (I wonder if collin believes that the Salvadoran rebels, for one, were supported by the USSR.  They weren't, though the Reagan administration tried to make that claim.)  We continued to support coups against turbulent presidents long after the Cold War supposedly ended, and there are still obstacles to "development" throughout Latin America.

The same for RR's remark about Islamic extremists: many if not most of them were formerly on the US payroll, and many still are (the Saudis, for example).  And let's not forget the US role in encouraging Israel's efforts to destabilize the region.

Beijing Expat's reference to Muslim "drama queens" too.  If you want to see drama queens, look at most US presidential candidates, as DL does. You could usefully start with JFK's fraudulent missile gap in the 1960 campaign, but he wasn't doing anything new.  And is it really being a drama queen for a Muslim to notice that her country is being bombed, starved, gassed, maimed, and tortured by the US or its proxies?

But who cares?  Let's make fun of Donald Trump's hair again!  And don't forget -- Michael Moore is fat.