Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ian Morris of Stanford has a theory about war

An opinion piece by Ian Morris of Stanford, published in the Washington Post, bears this title:
In the long run, wars make us safer and richer
No need to read the thing closely; the headline gives you the gist. Elsewhere, the WP published this story:
‘Happy Days’ no more: Middle-class families squeezed as expenses soar, wages stall
Gosh. That doesn't make sense. Dubya gave us lots and lots and lots of war -- war to the tune of trillions of dollars. We're still fighting one of those wars. Why aren't people happy and rich? Do you feel happier and richer than you did in 2000?

John Kerry (of all people) is out there hustling for war with Russia. And then there's Michael Ledeen: Please please please just one little nuke on Tehran please please please. What motivates these guys? Apparently, they've heeded Ian Morris of Stanford.

But what if Ian Morris of Stanford is wrong?
Comments:
"Wrong' or worse; bought off.

"Yet the British-born 53-year-old is increasingly swapping this world of kale chips and hugs for the company of bankers and spooks. Their interest stems from his 2010 book Why the West Rules—for Now (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), which analyzes 15,000 years of data to explain how the West came to dominate the globe over the past two centuries. Its backbone is an attempt to quantify, going back to the end of the last Ice Age, the "social development" of Eastern and Western societies—basically, their ability to get stuff done."

https://chronicle.com/article/In-Ian-Morriss-Big-History/137415/

Ben
 
It is a sad state of affairs that these people aren't derided and threatened with tar and feathering. Animal behaviorist Konrad Lorenz thought that the downfall of humanity, is that since we have no fangs or claws we never evolved the behavioral mechanisms to keep our violent impulses towards one another in check. Give us weapons and we don't know when or where to stop.

After experiencing the horrors of two world wars much of Europe makes an effort to not allow these maniacs a soapbox to stand upon and spout their vile death wishes for other people's children. We haven't learned that lesson yet here in America. Even after the Iraq debacle we still let the neocons back on TV.

Here's another academic war monger to show that there's a pattern here: Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, "Stopping Russia Starts in Syria". She thinks we need to bomb Syria to send Putin a message. What an idiot.

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/anne-marie-slaughter-on-how-us-intervention-in-the-syrian-civil-war-would-alter-vladimir-putin-s-calculus-in-ukraine#CpTsvZkF47Di59AM.99
 
Some people are happier and richer than they were in 2000. The Bush administration was probably the most successful one in U.S. history, as measured by the amount of wealth that was moved to where the administration's backers wanted it to be.
 
Hummmm. War makes peace; war equals peace. Has a familiar ring to it, one for which the American public has little patience. The sustainability of the United States as GloboCop has been proven false and disastrous. I'd like to know how many front lines Morris has stood on, how many battle injuries he's survived or his loved ones have sacrificed. Very frequently, it's the chicken hawks running this line of argument. See Bush, Cheney and Rummy for examples.

Plus, it's the word 'us' that Morris and his cohorts should address. Define Who are the Us are in the statement--War makes us safer and richer. As with the phrase 'national interests,' the 'us' are more likely corporate/business/monied interests. Our behind-the-curtain wars of assassination and drone strikes have created an endless supply of enemies. Blowing up kids and wedding parties is not a popular move and the argument for collateral damage and unfortunate mistakes simply don't fly in the face of reason. While the drumbeat for strikes in Syria were at their loudest, Raytheon's stock price spiked up. Lots of money to be made in war.

Safety and goodwill? Not so much.

We need to turn our attention to domestic issues: education, infrastructure rebuilding, unemployment, food and water safety, sustainable energy, etc. Because strength at home goes a long way in sending a message of strength to the world. With nary a shot fired.

Peggysue
 
Also, too...
Morris seems to view it as a positive scenario if "Washington embraces its role as the only possible globocop in an increasingly unstable world." Blog posts this week by Ian Welsh and Numerian offer a host of reasons why that would be a bad doctrine to follow.

http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-prelude-to-the-end-of-the-american-era/

http://agonist.org/the-great-expectancy/

 
I notice that Prof. Morris hasn't volunteered to grab an M4 and head off to some Third World hellhole to make us all safer and more prosperous.
 
This guy's whole premise is that the policing powers of a strong unifying state provide security to the populace and allow commerce to take place... And the only way to obtain a strong state is through war... So war is good. He needed a running start to make that leap.
 
What about the morals after all war is mass murder in steroids. It amazes me that someone would say that out loud
 
I'm sure one could measure the amazing economic achievements of the Soviet Union under Stalin and conclude that tyranny and mass murder are also good at creating wealth.
 
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