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Culture War Roundup for the week of June 19, 2023

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apparently remained too much of a gentlemen to have them arrested and prosecuted

Convenient. "Dany just kinda forgot about the Iron Fleet..."

Corruption was actually a big faux pas among British gentlemen back in those days, and it would have been politically useful for Chamberlain (not averse to undermining his enemies) to expose it by Churchill et al.

Unz’s account cogent enough that academics should seriously engage with it and it be taught in schools as Unz wants it to be?

Academics HAVE engaged with revisionist arguments. The problem is that, while (Nazi-sympathising) revisionists can often do a good job in trouncing amateurs due to knowing more of the basic facts ("You didn't know that the Sudetenland was German speaking? Let me tell you what else they kept from you...") they don't actually have arguments that stand up under academic scrutiny.

There are sensible forms of WWII revisionism, e.g. the representation of pre-1939 Allied foreign policy has become mythologised by Churchill worshippers and perma-hawks. It was a failure of appeasement and deterrence, but the inefficacy of the latter in containing self-destructive dictators was perhaps too frightening to contemplate during the Cold War.

World War II is extremely overstudied at this point, its lessons are overinterpreted, and in many countries it is taught far too much in schools, at the expense of events that are either more relevant to understanding the modern world (e.g. Russian, Chinese, and internal American history) or more integral to specific nations' current conditions and identities (the Reformation, the Crusades, the Industrial Revolution etc.). Obviously WWII helped form the modern world, but the Cold War did so more recently. And, at this point, I think we've finally got past the horror of progressives at the mere thought of teaching children about the evils of International Communism, lest it create McCarthyism, war frenzy, and the destruction of all life on Earth.

a large bout of “military Keynesianism” and a major war would cure the country’s seemingly insurmountable economic problems

Keynes played no small role in the start of World War 2, but contrary to how this anonymous FDR advisor is supposedly invoking him here, it was due to his outsized concern with the economic destructiveness of the post-war order as being too harsh on Germany. The Economic Consequences of the Peace significantly shaped the perception of Versailles in the US as being incredibly unfair, though this was largely a myth. A young French economist, Étienne Mantoux demonstrated that Keynes' dire predictions had fallen apart almost immediately:

In opposition to Keynes he held that justice demanded that Germany should have paid for the whole damage caused by World War I, and he set out to prove that many of Keynes' forecasts were not verified by subsequent events. For example, Keynes believed European output in iron would decrease but by 1929 iron output in Europe was up 10% from the 1913 figure. Keynes predicted that German iron and steel output would decrease but by 1927 steel output increased by 30% and iron output increased by 38% from 1913 (within the pre-war borders). Keynes also argued that German coal mining efficiency would decrease but labour efficiency by 1929 had increased on the 1913 figure by 30%. ...

Keynes also believed that Germany would be unable to pay the 2 billion marks-plus in reparations for the next 30 years, but Mantoux contends that German rearmament spending was seven times as much as that figure in each year between 1933 and 1939.

Despite this, Keynes' book became a significant influence on the subsequent post-war policy of the United States, to strip back many of the reparations owed by Germany. This both enabled Germany's rearmament while lending credence to false, conspiratorial narratives of economic persecution. Summed up in a review of Förster's The Treaty of Versailles: a reassessment after 75 years, excerpted:

To begin with economics: it is even more clear now than it was at the time that, in terms of its resources, Germany could have paid the sums demanded of it. Indeed, as Schuker has argued in his 1988 book, American 'Reparations' to Germany, 1919-1933, if one takes into account the reductions in the reparations burden initiated by the Dawes and Young Plans (in 1924 and 1929 respectively), American credits to Germany for fulfilling its liability, the default on these obligations, and the de facto cancellation of outstanding reparations payments in 1932, it is reasonable to conclude that Germany paid no net reparations at all.

Keynes' narrative on the war has been particularly sticky in the US education system, to the point where his takes are reproduced uncritically even to this day. Mantoux fought for the Free French Forces and died in Bavaria, 1945, eight days before the German surrender.

How much utility is there in studying WWII revisionism

None whatsoever.

WWII is circumstantially unique- the vast majority of totalitarian land empires are not as bad as either Nazi germany or the Stalinist USSR. For that matter imperial Japan was a lot worse than a typical ethnonationalist imperial power, too. In the modern consciousness, including the consciousness of elite decision makers, everything about WWII is overshadowed by that fact(well, set of facts). And we are simply not very likely to have a war with three regimes that evil as active participants again on a timescale where people still remember WWII as a thing to draw lessons from and not as something Akin to the great Byzantine-Persian war or the war of Jenkin’s ear or King Phillip’s war. Sure, they’re historically relevant, but no one thinks about them to draw lessons.

‘Never again’ with regards to WWII refers to the litany of unprecedented and unrepeated human rights crises in the war, not to the existence of a war. And it was not obvious ahead of time that the Nazis or Soviets or imperial Japanese would murder so many people(although perhaps the nature of the regime should have been a clue that they would murder some number). Most continent-wide conventional wars between major powers do not involve the intentional killing of 10’s of millions of civilians. WWI featured a single genocide- the ottomans butchering Christian subject races- and a few smaller human rights abuses, the mass targeting of civilians was limited mostly to a single theater. The second Congo war and Vietnam both featured civilian deaths on a large scale, but no mass exterminations. The Iran-Iraq war was a war between some pretty detestable regimes- one of which carried out multiple active genocides during the war and the other of which conscripted children to use as human mine clearers- but doesn’t feature the gigantic relative civilian body counts that WWII did.

The closest parallels, morally, are the Yugoslav breakup and some conflicts in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the size doesn’t compare. And that’s the relevant reason WWII sticks in anyone’s mind. You can avoid another set of world spanning genocides by not putting genocidal madmen in charge of three major continental powers all at once, and that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

the vast majority of totalitarian land empires are not as bad as either Nazi germany or the Stalinist USSR.

How many other totalitarian land empires are you counting as having existed (roughly)?

If there have been 50 other empires then sure these 2 are an outlier, but if China, the Central Powers (do they count as totalitarian?) and Tsarist Russia are the only other examples then it's at most a slim and in no way a vast majority.

Modern China and Saudi Arabia, Tsarist Russia, kruschevite Russia, fascist Romania, ceasescu’s Romania, Yugoslavia, Saddam’s Iraq, arguably Vietnam and North Korea, possibly modern Russia(I’m seeing a track record here), potentially apartheid SA and maybe Iran and hafez’s Syria. I’d also count Egypt at certain points in the late 20th century and mobutu’s Congo.

You can avoid another set of world spanning genocides by not putting genocidal madmen in charge of three major continental powers all at once, and that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

I hope that's the case, but I'm not convinced that Tooze's Wages of Destruction is wrong.

It describes a lot of the worst atrocities by Nazi Germany in economic and logistic terms, and while that doesn't make the people who did it any less genocidally mad or evil -- the actions are just as vile whether done because of bad moral philosophy or to simplify food logistics -- it does give an alternative reason why three (or, uh, many more than that) genocidal madmen popped up and received widespread support all at once, despite their often wildly conflicting positions and backgrounds. And one can at least imagine the same frameworks applying to those other genocidal madmen, and to other less-successful ones who still nonetheless punched far above their grade.

Which still leaves revisionism as pretty unexciting, but does leave past genocides and especially the bigger and more deadly past genocides as worth studying.

‘Never again’ with regards to WWII refers to the litany of unprecedented and unrepeated human rights crises in the war, not to the existence of a war.

As a comment about the cocktail-party talk of Anglo-Jewish in elites early 21st century America, this is probably true, but as a statement about the global political response to World War II, it is profoundly false. The people who live through WW2 and the institutions they set up were all about "Never again" with regard to total war between the great powers.

The first test is how the Western allies handle Stalin's post-war demands, and given a choice between "Never again" as in don't commit/assist/cover up epic human rights abuses and "Never again" as in don't risk a war with Stalin over petty shit like human rights, the West chooses peace. The Cold War begins with conflicts over spheres of influence, not Soviet crimes. The rhetoric of the Truman doctrine is about defending democracy against totalitarianism, but the actual policy it was first used to justify was supporting what were effectively right-wing military governments in Greece and Turkey against probably-popular Communist-backed revolutions.

The Preamble to the UN Charter begins "We the Peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war..." and sets up a whole bunch of conflict-resolution institutions, some of which were intended to have teeth (although the Cold War meant that the Security Council never functioned as intended). It specifically declined to set up human-rights enforcement institutions - Article 2, Principle 7 is "Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state "

The Schuman Declaration setting up what would eventually become the European Coal and Steel Community specifically states that the aim is to make another war between France and (West) Germany impossible, but does not mention human rights. The EEC/EU doesn't even acquire a formal commitment to human rights until 2000.

This isn't surprising - World War II was an order of magnitude more deadly and destructive than the Holocaust. Comparing these Jewish Holocaust death tolls to these total WW2 death tolls, the only country where Holocausted Jews were a majority of the dead was Czechoslovakia (which was spared the worst of WW2 in a paradoxical but genuine success for Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy).

In Russia and China, "Never again" obviously refers to the invasion and ruination of their countries by Germany and Japan respectively - it is a call to make sure that you are at the table and not on the menu next time. So not "Never again a war", but "Never again a war without a quick victory". For obvious reasons, not about the Holocaust.

It is easy for Americans to think silly things about WW2 because the United States was spared most of the negative consequences. Continental Europe was basically trashed from Saint-Lo to Stalingrad, as was China. The UK was bombed, blockaded, and bankrupted. Japan was nuked. As the people who actually lived through all this die off, Americanised western Europeans are starting to think the same silly things. This is bad.

I don’t think the Russo-Chinese elites are reading WWII revisionism, and the 40’s and fifties elites definitely aren’t because they’re dead.

The decision makers in western countries don’t care how the war started, don’t think about the vast human cost that was inevitable from major conventional war between continental empires, and focus on 1) the unnecessary abuse of civilians and 2) why that was, which boils down to the ideological peculiarities of several of the regimes involved. That’s the lesson our elites are applying, and the actual reasons WWII broke out are irrelevant for it.

Yes, there’s arguments that an antisemitic regime starting to lose a total war will start exterminating the Jewish population, but Germany turning towards antisemitism was not inevitable prior to the Nazi party deciding to make antisemitism a major part of their platform. The Soviet regime was probably going to leave a gigantic body count no matter what happened, but, you know, the Russian empire could have been non communist.

I mean while I’m sure that we did accidentally stop human rights abuses, the story of never again is really only propaganda. Nobody has or will go to war over human rights. It’s just that it’s something the West has generally found the idea useful as it sounds a bit better to say “human rights” and “fighting to end war” than “we’re strong and we are stronger economically so toe the line or else.” The real reasons were pragmatic and aimed at our own ends.

Nobody has or will go to war over human rights.

intervention in Serbia/Kosovo seems like a case of that, with side of "stop your stupid tensions in that region, last time it ignited WW II"

there were also some other interventions which seem to be genuinely attempt at that

the story of never again is really only propaganda

"Never again a Holocaust" is propaganda. "Never again a land war in Europe" is something that Europeans and Americans of the wartime generation took extremely seriously, and which Europeans and Blue Tribe Americans are still taking seriously in Ukraine as we speak.

Much as the globohomo elites liked to kvetch about the lack of Pride parades in Moscow, nobody seriously suggested actually doing anything about it, even something petty like boycotting the Sochi Winter Olympics. What brought the banhammer down - both the little banhammer in 2014 and the big banhammer in 2022 - was Russian troops crossing the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine with murderous intent.

it sounds a bit better to say “human rights” and “fighting to end war” than “we’re strong and we are stronger economically so toe the line or else.”

That's a false dichotomy.

Serbia seems like it was a war from the west and mostly about human rights.

In Russia and China, "Never again" obviously refers to the invasion and ruination of their countries by Germany and Japan respectively - it is a call to make sure that you are at the table and not on the menu next time

Russia has been very much at the table in WW2, chomping on pieces of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Baltic states, etc. Is it when their former friends the Nazis turned out to be less than friendly, the trouble began. Russia and Germany were probably the two European parties that were ok with the war started - the rest remembered WWI and so were going out of their way to not provoke another one - which, paradoxically, ensured it would happen.

Agreed on the actual historical facts, but my impression is that the historical mythology of WW2 is extremely important to the versions of national identity being promoted by both the Soviet and the Putinist regimes. And the key points of the myth are:

  • The innocence of the Soviet Union and the utter wickedness of Hitler's unprovoked aggression (the Molotov-Ribentropp pact is ignored, obv), occasionally backed up with ahistorical claims that the Soviet Union was abandoned or betrayed by the western democracies in the pre-war period.

  • The Soviet Union's underdog status at the start of the war (probably true)

  • The extraordinary deadliness and destructiveness of the eastern front in WW2 (which is true) which is blamed on Nazi wickedness (ignoring the contribution of Soviet incompetence)

  • The extraordinary effort and sacrifice of the Soviet people to defeat the Nazis (definitely true)

  • The idea that defeating the Nazis was a mostly-Soviet achievement while the western Allies effectively sat the war out and watched Nazis and Communists shoot each other, Spanish Civil War style, and that the rest of the world being insufficiently grateful to the Soviet Union for singlehandedly saving the world from Nazism at enormous human cost is a sign of western wickedness. (Ahistorical)

In other words, the myth clearly centres aggression and not genocide as Hitler's supreme crime, and the intended lesson of the myth is that Russia is always at risk of a surprise attack from the west, needs to be stronk so that the attack can be repelled well before the "Nazis" get to Stalingrad, and suffered massively from being insufficiently stronk in 1941.

although the Cold War meant that the Security Council never functioned as intended

Didn't it? I think the purpose of it was (as you explained...) to avoid a war between the great powers? It seems to me it succeeded quite well.

My understanding is that the purpose of the Security Council was to proactively deal with "threats to international peace and security" (like minor royals being shot in Sarajevo or less-than-perfectly controlled great power client states invading each other) before they escalated to possible great power conflict. I don't think it did this - in particular the list of US-Soviet proxy wars in banana republics is long, and the UN system did basically nothing - escalation was prevented by some combination of MAD and the post-Cuban Missile Crisis steps taken to ensure bilateral communication between the superpowers.

As far as I can see, nobody else has made this point so far, so I'll argue that if any (future) Allied government deserves real blame for not averting another world war, it is the French, for not opposing the German remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, which would have been easily justifiable legally and carried no risk.

the French, for not opposing the German remilitarization of the Rhineland of 1936, which would have been easily justifiable legally and carried no risk.

Disallowing the militarization of your own territory is the definition of not having sovereignty... Maintaining this arrangement in perpetuity was neither possible nor reasonable. Even if they scared the Germans away, they could just do it again and again whenever the French let up pressure. "We are going to go to war with you if you put military in your own country" was never going to be a stable arrangement, it was always going to lead to a showdown.

Agree. Hindsight is 20/20, the allies didn‘t know it was the first in a long line of increasingly demented demands, but this one was still reasonable. And when the french (and belgians) previously tried to play hardball with the ruhr occupation, the anglos weren‘t supporting them, they had to withdraw and scratch some reparations. So it would have been just france versus germany, with the rest of the world increasingly favouring the defenders, and condemning france.

Afterwards it came to light that the deployed Wehrmacht units had orders to retreat without a fight if armed resistance was offered by the French. There would have been no defenders.

And then what? They level german cities to the ground, demanding unconditional surrender? They'd just go home after a while under diplomatic pressure like in 1925.

It'd have been a great embarrassment for Hitler and obviously would've eroded his willingness to take similar political gambles in the future. It'd have also demonstrated that the French government will respond militarily to violations of the Versailles Treaty. I'm not arguing that it'd have prevented another Franco-German war forever and ever, but it'd have averted another world war, eventually.

Alternative history scenario: three years later, a sympathetic germany beats down france first, to the indifference of the anglos, sick of the high-handed bellicosity of the gallic rooster. When the germans get to poland and tschekoslovakia, the brits realize too late that Hitler is a bad actor. Deprived of a large allied power on the continent, they no longer have the leverage to threaten war. So later it's just germany versus soviet union, longer, bloodier, and Hitler gets baku‘s oil.

Yes that was really the main treaty violation that should have triggered a response because it was the only real strategic threat to France and Britain. Germany taking Czechoslovakia or Austria or Danzig doesn't really do anything to change the balance of power. Sure, the Skoda Works are nice to have but they aren't going to affect the outcome of a war if Germany can't defend the Rhineland. So the one actually critical treaty provision is the one that gets ignored but then France and the UK decide to kamikaze into Germany over annexations that primarily threaten the Soviet Union. It makes absolutely no sense and I don't think they could have handled things in a less competent way.

It makes absolutely no sense

It makes sense if you think of it as them developing an evolving model of Hitler's behaviour, rather than looking at each annexation in isolation.

is Unz’s account cogent enough that academics should seriously engage with it and it be taught in schools as Unz wants it to be?

(1) should academics engage with it? Yes, because there is some truth mixed in

(2) should it be taught in schools? No, because most of it is erroneous or misleading

God knows I hold no brief for any of the Churchills, but this much is wrong:

A particularly notable instance occurred in early 1938 when Churchill suddenly lost all his accumulated wealth in a foolish gamble on the American stock-market, and was soon forced to put his beloved country estate up for sale to avoid personal bankruptcy, only to quickly be bailed out by a foreign Jewish millionaire intent upon promoting a war against Germany.

(1) Did Churchill, along with others, lose his shirt in 1929 (not 1938)? Yes, and he went on a lecture/speaking tour of North America to raise money. He had a friend, Bernard Baruch, a Jewish financier who did lend him money or otherwise mitigated his losses. I suppose "American" does count as foreign, but Winnie was half-American himself by his mother.

(2) Did he lose a fortune again in 1938? I can't find any account of this. Mainly, he had been out of office during the 'wilderness years' and lived extravagantly even though he was also having to write for a living (as well as he liked writing historical books). The Churchills as a family had always been bad with money and it fell to one of them in the 19th to restore the family fortunes by marrying an American heiress. Churchill's father was a younger son, so not the heir to the dukedom, and as the son of a younger son, Winnie had little money of his own (by his standards, at least). Thanks to Adolf, Churchill's prognostications were proven right and the government had to appoint him First Lord of the Admiralty in 1939 which saved his financial skin.

(3) Did he have to sell "his beloved country estate"? This is probably Chartwell and the answer there would be "no" since he bought it in 1922 and lived there until 1965. When in office, he would have had official residences. List of places Churchill lived here.

Winnie would also not have needed to be bribed to be militant about Germany, though he probably would have happily trousered any cash coming his way.

I am just your average idiot and if I can pick holes in the accuracy with ten minutes online, I imagine real historians could do a lot better.

EDIT:

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who was horrified to discover the corrupt motives of his fierce political opponents, but apparently remained too much of a gentlemen to have them arrested and prosecuted. I’m no expert in the British laws of that era, but for elected officials to do the bidding of foreigners on matters of war and peace in exchange for huge secret payments seems almost a textbook example of treason to me

Pardon me while I smile wryly. May I recommend interested parties to read The Man Who Knew Too Much published in 1922 by G.K. Chesterton? It's very cynical for Chesterton, almost defeatist, and I think it's down to a combination of finding out how the sausage was made, politically, and that the Liberals and the Tories were much of a muchness (after his early and short-lived political efforts) and the personal fallout for him and his brother due to the Marconi Affair. That Chamberlain would have been horrified to find out Tweedledee and Tweedledum were both to be found with their snouts in the trough and their fingers in the till, I take leave to doubt, and that there were no prosecutions was more down to "but we'll have to prosecute half of our lot as well if we do this" than gentlemanly tact.

“I know you are magnanimous,” said March after a silence, “and yet you tolerate and perpetuate everything that is mean.” Then after another silence he added: “Do you remember when we first met, when you were fishing in that brook in the affair of the target? And do you remember you said that, after all, it might do no harm if I could blow the whole tangle of this society to hell with dynamite.”

“Yes, and what of that?” asked Fisher.

“Only that I’m going to blow it to hell with dynamite,” said Harold March, “and I think it right to give you fair warning. For a long time I didn’t believe things were as bad as you said they were. But I never felt as if I could have bottled up what you knew, supposing you really knew it. Well, the long and the short of it is that I’ve got a conscience; and now, at last, I’ve also got a chance. I’ve been put in charge of a big independent paper, with a free hand, and we’re going to open a cannonade on corruption.”

“That will be — Attwood, I suppose,” said Fisher, reflectively. “Timber merchant. Knows a lot about China.”

“He knows a lot about England,” said March, doggedly, “and now I know it, too, we’re not going to hush it up any longer. The people of this country have a right to know how they’re ruled—or, rather, ruined. The Chancellor is in the pocket of the money lenders and has to do as he is told; otherwise he’s bankrupt, and a bad sort of bankruptcy, too, with nothing but cards and actresses behind it. The Prime Minister was in the petrol-contract business; and deep in it, too. The Foreign Minister is a wreck of drink and drugs. When you say that plainly about a man who may send thousands of Englishmen to die for nothing, you’re called personal. If a poor engine driver gets drunk and sends thirty or forty people to death, nobody complains of the exposure being personal. The engine driver is not a person.”

“I quite agree with you,” said Fisher, calmly. “You are perfectly right.”

“If you agree with us, why the devil don’t you act with us?” demanded his friend. “If you think it’s right, why don’t you do what’s right? It’s awful to think of a man of your abilities simply blocking the road to reform.”

“We have often talked about that,” replied Fisher, with the same composure. “The Prime Minister is my father’s friend. The Foreign Minister married my sister. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is my first cousin. I mention the genealogy in some detail just now for a particular reason. The truth is I have a curious kind of cheerfulness at the moment. It isn’t altogether the sun and the sea, sir. I am enjoying an emotion that is entirely new to me; a happy sensation I never remember having had before.”

“What the devil do you mean?”

“I am feeling proud of my family,” said Horne Fisher.

Harold March stared at him with round blue eyes, and seemed too much mystified even to ask a question. Fisher leaned back in his chair in his lazy fashion, and smiled as he continued.

“Look here, my dear fellow. Let me ask a question in turn. You imply that I have always known these things about my unfortunate kinsmen. So I have. Do you suppose that Attwood hasn’t always known them? Do you suppose he hasn’t always known you as an honest man who would say these things when he got a chance? Why does Attwood unmuzzle you like a dog at this moment, after all these years? I know why he does; I know a good many things, far too many things. And therefore, as I have the honor to remark, I am proud of my family at last.”

“But why?” repeated March, rather feebly.

“I am proud of the Chancellor because he gambled and the Foreign Minister because he drank and the Prime Minister because he took a commission on a contract,” said Fisher, firmly. “I am proud of them because they did these things, and can be denounced for them, and know they can be denounced for them, and are standing firm for all that. I take off my hat to them because they are defying blackmail, and refusing to smash their country to save themselves. I salute them as if they were going to die on the battlefield.”

There is always this stupid idea that if only we were a bit kinder with those leaders (be it Hitler, Putin or others), if we had made just one or two small concessions, there would have been no war. But this is a complete misunderstanding of the nature of their regime. Whatever you give them, they see as a sign of weakness, a proof that they can push harder. You negociated with me about Syria, so that I can do anything there? I will also take Ukraine. You give me Danzig? I will also take Alsace. It's a game where they can only win: either you give them what they want, and they are stronger and can push for more, or you don't, and they get a casus belli.

EDIT:

In the wake of the 9/11 Attacks, the Jewish Neocons stampeded America towards the disastrous Iraq War and the resulting destruction of the Middle East, with the talking heads on our television sets endlessly claiming that “Saddam Hussein is another Hitler.”

By the way, I remember quite precisely what happened, and the jews were not responsible of it. All of America wanted this war. The people who opposed it took a ton of shit. You probably wanted this war yourself. But I guess it is easier to blame the stupid choices you made on the jews.

You negociated with me about Syria, so that I can do anything there? I will also take Ukraine.

I'm sorry but I think your take is just pure garbage. It flattens the complexity of geopolitical motivations and concerns into a childish cartoon with designated evil people and designated good people, rather than looking at the incredibly complex historical dynamics which play into real world conflicts. Not only that, you've gotten the situation on the ground entirely wrong - it was the US trying to manufacture a casus belli, with the Russians not actually needing one (given that they were there in response to a request from the government of the area). Similarly, if you think that Putin simply decided to invade the Ukraine on a whim as a result of the US failing to stop him in Syria, you're just flat out wrong - the conflict in the Ukraine started before that.

But worse, this kind of belief and idea actively makes peace more difficult to achieve. When you just say that some category of people are arbitrarily bad and negotiating with them isn't possible, you close off dialogue and prevent the acquisition of the kind of perspective that can actually find a non-violent resolution. When you spend time and effort understanding why other people act the way they do and the factors motivating them, you can understand what they consider to be an existential threat. When you recognise other people as rational actors in their own set of circumstances and strive to understand that context you can find ways to compromise and allow both sides to get a portion of what they want. But your view? When you treat other people as simple villains that cannot be negotiated with, only held down with brute force, then it is impossible to understand what motivates them and why they do the things they do. There's no possibility for compromise with the two-dimensional villain that you've conjured up in your head, just war and pure physical force - which makes me glad that we do not live in the world you are imagining.

Yet another victim of the compromise ideology. Surely it makes sense to make peace with Putin, none of those that tried are there to complain.

This is an incredibly old comment, but for the record there are actually people who made peace with Putin and can talk about it. You can just go ask Xi Jinping how he found Putin as a negotiating partner, and he's pretty positive about the relationship. The rest of the BRICS nations seem fairly happy to go along with him too for that matter. Hell, you could even ask Hillary Clinton or Robert Mueller about their dealings with him, and they're still around too!

They did not make peace, as there was never any war...

This is such an absurd strawman I question how seriously you believe this. Yes, of course Putin (and Hitler, and Stalin, and al-Assad, and every other dictator) is not a cartoon villain who acts only in a simple reactive manner. But he does act according to cause and effect. He wanted Ukraine for a long time, for a lot of reasons. No one said "He simply decided to invade Ukraine on a whim." It's perfectly reasonable to think that the lack of response in one place emboldened him to push forward his Ukraine goals.

I am curious what compromise you think is possible that doesn't amount to "Give him everything he wants"?

I simply took the OP at their word and did not try to sanewash their comments. To wit:

Whatever you give them, they see as a sign of weakness, a proof that they can push harder. You negociated with me about Syria, so that I can do anything there? I will also take Ukraine. You give me Danzig? I will also take Alsace. It's a game where they can only win: either you give them what they want, and they are stronger and can push for more, or you don't, and they get a casus belli.

Framing the idea of dealing with or negotiating with people as being a sign of weakness that simply results in them taking advantage of you means that brute force "diplomacy" is the only option that's left. What other conclusion can be drawn from the claim that giving them anything at all represents an unacceptable loss? Maybe I should have just sanewashed his comment and assumed he meant something else, but I don't see what other conclusions to draw from a paragraph that essentially says that any form of negotiation is a mug's game that leads to them winning every time.

But you actually raised real objections in your post so I'll answer them.

First of all, the US didn't just "negotiate" with Putin in Syria. They attempted an invasion of the country in an effort to instigate a regime-change and replace Assad, and then failed. Russian naval forces have been in the country since the cold war, and the two nations have been allied for a long time. Russia correctly saw that the deposing of Assad would change the situation in the Middle East in a way that was very much not in their favour, and so they did their best to make sure Assad remained in power. The US is in this case an aggressive, invading military power that still has troops in Syria, and they are there without the permission of the region's government. How can you possibly interpret this as the US "negotiating" with Putin? The US military tried to achieve their goals and failed, then accepted the situation because there wasn't anything else they could do about it. This is akin to trying to assault somebody, losing the resulting fight, and then claiming that because you "negotiated" with them and let them keep their wallet, they are now emboldened to be even more aggressive towards you in the future.

He wanted Ukraine for a long time, for a lot of reasons.

I don't really think this is true - I think that Russia's preferred outcome would have been for Ukraine to remain a neutral borderzone between them and NATO forces. Russia made it abundantly clear that they saw the placing of missile interdiction systems on their front door to be an existential threat, and I don't even think they're wrong to do so. But I don't even need to get into the weeds of psychoanalysis where I work out the motivations behind a major power like Russia in order to resolve this argument - I can, even without authoritative sources, definitively state that what happened in 2015 Syria did not play any role in motivating Russia's 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine (which is itself not even the first outbreak of conflict in the current dispute).

I am curious what compromise you think is possible that doesn't amount to "Give him everything he wants"?

Firm security guarantee that Ukraine does not join NATO nor host NATO forces/missile systems, and an end to the attacks on the breakaway republics and Crimea. Beyond that, a rescindment of the sanctions placed upon Russia and a return of their seized assets. I think that's a fair compromise and would satisfy the Russians, even if the US wouldn't be happy about it. Ukraine would even be free to join the EU in this case too.

Leaving aside your questionable version of history, your argument now is essentially that Putin is justified in what he did. This isn't an argument about whether he's a cartoon villain acting irrationally with whom it's impossible to negotiate (which is what you accused the OP of believing). It's an argument about whether or not he's in the wrong. My objection was that you cast the OP's argument as a strawman. I disagree with your (Russian) version of events in Syria and Ukraine, but that's an entirely different point of contention.

I don't appreciate the casting of my understanding of the situation as "Russian". I am not Russian nor do I live there, nor am I especially invested in their victory - though not for lack of trying, given how frequently I offer to bet that Crimea will not be retaken by Ukraine. I think that they're almost certainly going to end up the victors in the current conflict, but that's just my best understanding of the situation rather than what I want to happen (which is, for the record, peace).

As for justification, I don't think that's precisely the right word, but it does fit. I absolutely think that if you look at the situation in Ukraine in a broader historical context, going back to the Maidan and the troubles that led up to it, you can gain a much better understanding of the situation and why Putin is doing what he is doing - and having done that is why I object so strongly to sophomoric takes like the outcome of the Syrian conflict travelling backwards through time and informing Russian strategy in the past.

I don't appreciate the casting of my understanding of the situation as "Russian".

Well, it seems to follow "we must surrender to Russia" which is good for Russia and bad for everyone else.

Especially

I think that Russia's preferred outcome would have been for Ukraine to remain a neutral borderzone between them and NATO forces

was weird. It is quite clear that preferred outcome for Putin and other similar russians would be recreation of USSR or larger.

Firm security guarantee that Ukraine does not join NATO nor host NATO forces/missile systems, and an end to the attacks on the breakaway republics and Crimea. Beyond that, a rescindment of the sanctions placed upon Russia and a return of their seized assets.

Then next step would be to send totally-not-russian-army into Kherson. Or maybe meddle in Estonia.

I think that's a fair compromise and would satisfy the Russians

Russians would be happy. But I see no reason to expect that they would hold to it better than to Budapest Memorandum.

Well, it seems to follow "we must surrender to Russia" which is good for Russia and bad for everyone else.

No, this is a more general principle. If Russia was messing around in Mexico or Canada I'd come down on the side of the US - but right now it is the US empire getting involved in a nation that is immediately adjacent to Russia.

was weird. It is quite clear that preferred outcome for Putin and other similar russians would be recreation of USSR or larger.

Again, I disagree. Russian strategy right now recognises that they cannot overcome the current hegemon by themselves, which is why they're focused on strengthening their ties with China and laying the groundwork for a multipolar world. They're not interested in recreating the USSR, but the current conflict was motivated by real and serious security concerns (if you disagree, ask yourself how the US government would react if what happened in Ukraine happened in Mexico or Canada).

Then next step would be to send totally-not-russian-army into Kherson. Or maybe meddle in Estonia.

For what purpose? Russia had a very clear and definite set of reasons to go into Ukraine, and I don't see those reasons existing for Estonia. And isn't Kherson in Ukraine anyway?

Russians would be happy. But I see no reason to expect that they would hold to it better than to Budapest Memorandum.

Why would they break an agreement which you already said would make them happy?

More comments

When you just say that some category of people are arbitrarily bad and negotiating with them isn't possible

That's a strawman of what they said.

You didn't refute his point, you just said it was "garbage", and that people's motivations are complex. Sure.

Situation 1: An incel writes a manifesto, where he declares women evil, demands them to be redistributed among all men, cries about Asian men not being popular. Then he drives through a crowd, killing several people.

Crying wojak: "No, we must understand his motivations, men are expendable, sexlesness is as high as ever!!!"

Chad: "This guy is a monster"

Situation 2: A dude writes a book in prison about Jews being a scourge, and that his country needs to conquer a lot of land. Then he becomes a dictator of said country, declares a war on his neighbors, kills millions in the process.

Crying wojak: "No, we must understand his motivations, Versailles was too harsh, American Jewish plutocracy and that guy in a wheelchair provoked him to attack Poland!!! What about autobahns?"

Chad: "This guy is a monster"

Situation 3: An autocrat writes a manifesto about his country having a rightful claim on the territory of a neighboring country because history, makes speeches about how he was betrayed by the West, that the West is degenerate, how a nation that is above his own country in terms of human rights and media freedoms is Nazi. Then he declares war on this neighbor (sorry, declares a Special Military Operation), kills more than 100k people in the process.

Crying wojak: "No, we must understand his motivations, Ukraine is historically Russia's territory, did you read Mearsheimer, he is a genius, it's all West fault!"

Chad: "This guy is a monster"

“Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine so, basically, that’s wrong" - Chad, apparently.

There are historical examples of diplomatic deals made by democratic governments which include concessions to a dictatorship and yet do not result in war, and end up more or less being respected. I can mention the Camp David Accords which included the military dictatorship in Egypt, or the One China policy, the various treaties to limit nuclear armament etc. So let's not think in absolutes.

"Concessions don't always lead to war" is not equivalent to "Concessions reliably lead to peace."

the One China policy

How can you list that with a straight face when nearly everyone thinks China is making moves to invade Taiwan within the next decade or two. Peace in our time maybe, but it only made war more likely long term by strengthening China. Treaties on nuclear armament aren't looking so hot now either with Iran using these toothless treaties as a smoke screen to continue their nuclear weapons program.

This is still just speculation at this point regarding Taiwan.

Treaties on nuclear armament aren't looking so hot now either with Iran using these toothless treaties as a smoke screen to continue their nuclear weapons program.

That's a very strange way to describe the Trump administration leaving the treaty and the Iranians leaving it as a reaction.

It's not a democracy/dictatorship question. It's about imperialistic leaders that only respect strength. They see any concession as a sign of weakness. There are leaders like that in democracies too, even though it's rarer and they are less dangerous because their powers are limited.

I don't believe that any of those examples involve granting territorial concessions to invaders, so they don't seem relevant.

Well, ok. Not territorial concessions to invaders, strictly speaking, but such concessions nevertheless.

  1. How do you figure?

  2. Regardless, OP's entire point was about concessions to expansionist efforts, so they are not relevant.

There is always this stupid idea that if only we were a bit kinder with those leaders (be it Hitler, Putin or others), if we had made just one or two small concessions, there would have been no war.

Even if we grant that, Hitler only rose to power due to Germany being horribly abused after WWI and Putin due to how terrible transition from communism was in Russia compared to other post soviet countries.

By the way, I remember quite precisely what happened, and the jews were not responsible of it. All of America wanted this war.

Americans were wildly misled about the situation, for example, lots of them thought that Saddam was connected with 9/11. Taking down Iraq was strategic goal of Israel. Look up "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", lead authored by Richard Perle, "architect of Iraq war".

Even if we grant that, Hitler only rose to power due to Germany being horribly abused after WWI

Horribly humiliated and somewhat, but not horribly abused. By about 1924, the Allies were seeking ways to strengthen Germany again. Germany experienced a net inflow of capital in the Weimar Period: hardly a nation being sucked dry with reparations.

Additionally, if Germany had finished WWI with honour, no loss of territory, and not economic dependence, would there have been a WWII akin to WWI? Would Hitler have been able to ride a wave of traditional German imperialism? The underlying strength of Germany and the rivalry with Russia/France would still be there. It might not have been as bad as WWII in reality, but to deny its possibility is to be cavalier with historical causation and counterfactuals.

Putin due to how terrible transition from communism was in Russia compared to other post soviet countries.

The West was very kind to Russia in that period: feeding them, not attempting to roll them back further in Chechenya or Crimea, letting Russia take over the USSR's Security Council seat, stopped it sliding into civil war in 1996 etc.

Putin and his regime still ended up blaming the West for Russia's woes in the transition period. That's not to say that those acts of kindness were bad: they saved many lives in Russia, kept it from collapsing into even more bloodshed, and possibly bought a decade or more of Russian passitivity towards its neighbours - maybe the longest period of peace from Russian aggression in Eastern European history.

The point is that kindness towards your enemies is not enough. Reagan had the right idea of assertive strength and openness to mutual concessions. That won't always work - the results would be very different with Hitler than Gorbachev - but it's a relatively robust strategy. Ironically, it's not so different from what Chamberlain and Baldwin actually pursued in the 1930s, in that they undertook Reagan-style rearmanent. However, the concessions were not matched with concessions from Germany.

Putin due to how terrible transition from communism was in Russia compared to other post soviet countries.

The criminal mafia Putin ended up heading is the one of the major reasons why the transition ended up being so terrible, and his comrades took a significant part in making this transition so terrible, and that's how they all became multi-billionaires.

Americans were wildly misled about the situation, for example, lots of them thought that Saddam was connected with 9/11. Taking down Iraq was strategic goal of Israel.

It seems to me that people that are so easily mislead should take part in no decision at all. As I said somewhere else, being dumb is no excuse.

So abolish democracy? Based.

Germany was not horribly abused after WWI. In fact, I would go far as to say they got off easier than the Russians, the Austrians, and the Ottomans, and they well got off easier than the French in 1871. Indeed, the same figures that engineered WWI - the militarists of Germany - faced no punishments, and indeed became fellow travelers of the Nazis.

Indeed, the same figures that engineered WWI - the militarists of Germany - faced no punishments, and indeed became fellow travelers of the Nazis.

I am not opposed to punishment of people personally responsible, but what happened to civilian population, like continuing starvation blockade between armistice and signing the treaty, reparations causing hyper inflation, etc.

Is there any evidence that large number of Germans starved to death after WW1? It's a longstanding (as in, back to the 1920s) revisionist claim, but I think the evidence is lacking.

All of America wanted this war.

I remember, too. I remember the mood over here being largely sympathy for the tragedy and understanding why they would want revenge, but also that this was a terrible idea and was driven by emotion, not any reasonable evaluation of what was going on. I suppose some of the foreign policy hawks also saw it as a chance to get back into the nation-building game, but it was the completely understandable lashing-out of a people who had been hurt.

That didn't make it right, but there was no need of sinister Semitic string pullers to urge it on.

Right, the Iraq War had a huge number of non-Jewish backers and it's ironically quite philosemitic to ascribe agency only to Jews and not to any gentiles and to claim the former persuaded the entire west (with polling routinely showing supermajority public approval) to invade.

Often overlooked is that Bush Sr considered not finishing off Saddam to have been a grave mistake and possibly to have cost him re-election, and imparted this unto his son. So W had a personal vendetta against Saddam and had stacked his team full of his father's advisors (who also had the same personal vendetta). Many of these were gentile and their reasons for wanting to invade Iraq had little or nothing to do with Israel.

The Israelis themselves were ambivalent; Ariel Sharon discouraged the war - certainly the entire Israeli establishment would rather have invaded Iran than Iran. Mossad was more in favor, but it certainly wasn't the case that all the Israeli elite favored the war, and Jewish Americans were one of the most opposed of all American demographics.

You can't invade Iran without controlling Iraq or some other land neighbour. Anyway, Israeli influence is all over the war, notwithstanding the many non-jews who also favoured it.

Israel provided faulty intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destructions. For the last 30 years they've been publicly claiming that Iran is a few months away from a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu wrote an op-ed calling for regime change in Iran, Iraq and Syria (amongst others) in the Chicago Sun-Times, as did Ehud Barak in the Times. Sharon was in favour of the war, as Ha'aretz reported: 'Sharon believes that Iraq poses more of a threat to regional stability than Iran, due to the errant, irresponsible behavior of Saddam Hussein's regime.' Whatever skepticism there was in Israel was about the US stopping short and only invading Iraq as opposed to Iran as well.

And then there are the myriad high-ranking US officials who admit that Saddam was no threat to the US, only a threat against Israel. Zelikow, member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board admitted it. General Wesley Clark admitted that the supporters were truly worried about Saddam's nuclear threat to Israel not the US.

it's ironically quite philosemitic to ascribe agency only to Jews

There's a joke about Rabinovich who was subscribed to every anti-Semitic newspaper there is (probably going back to pre-revolution times in Russia). When asked why he's doing that, he answers - well, you see, if I read Jewish papers - the Jews are attacked, the Jews are oppressed, the Jews are murdered... It only depresses me. But when I read these papers - the Jews run Russia, the Jews run America, the Jews run Europe, the Jews buy everything, the Jews always win... It makes me feel a bit better!

There was (allegedly) a similar joke about a Berliner Jew in 1930 who always read the Nazi papers "Volkische Beobachter," "Der Angriff," and "Die Sturmer" instead of the comparatively-mainstream "Berliner Tageblatt."

My understanding is that Israelis also didn't like the war in Afghanistan, since happenings in Afghanistan did not serve Israeli interests in any conceivable way?

Except the general sentiment of "kicking the asses of Islamist fanatics can't be bad" I don't think anybody in Israel cared much about what's happening in Afghanistan. They have enough problems with Iran and bordering Muslim states to care about something so far away. It's small enough to not pose any threat, there were almost no Jews there (I think for a while there was two - and of course they didn't get along - but now there's none) - why bother?

Yeah, I didn't mean like man-in-the-street way but moreso in the higher echelons way, who thought that America invading Afghanistan was a distraction from what it should be really doing, ie. invading Iraq and Iran.

Can you flesh out your argument for why it was the smart thing to promote Ukraine entering NATO, rather than negotiating Ukraine as a neutral region? Given that this was their red line since the early 2000s, I have no idea how someone could consider it “appeasement”. It seems to me that the worst case scenario has transpired: our continual pressure and influence in Ukraine has destroyed the country, probably forever (given fertility rates), has cost enormous sums of money, has wasted American influence in Ukraine, has pressured Russia into developing better drone technology, has finalized the alienation of Russia from the West, has influenced Arab nations into cozying with Russia, and all we get in return is some dead Russians, and maybe we will increase German weariness to America given we destroyed their pipeline. This was a bad decision, unless we only care about dead Russians. What will we gain in five years from it all?

why it was the smart thing to promote Ukraine entering NATO, rather than negotiating Ukraine as a neutral region?

Because Russia would still try to take over Ukraine, by war if necessary and it would put Ukraine in worse position?

It seems to me that the worst case scenario has transpired

The worst case would be Russia taking over Ukraine, murdering whoever opposed their regime, run russification full scale and be emboldened enough to invade Estonia or Latvia (and cause direct NATO-Russia war or collapse of NATO).

has wasted American influence in Ukraine

Do you REALLY think that American influence in Ukraine dropped as result of that?

given we destroyed their pipeline

It is hardly confirmed that USA did this, there are also other credible candidates.

Given that this was their red line since the early 2000s

They probably lied about this.

Ukraine entering NATO, rather than negotiating Ukraine as a neutral region?

Ukraine as a neutral region would require Russia giving up its naval base in Crimea, which is very important to Russian strategic interests. In detail, how would you obtain that concession from them?

why it was the smart thing to promote Ukraine entering NATO, rather than negotiating Ukraine as a neutral region

Because there can be no Ukraine "as neutral region". Russia sees Ukraine as part of the Russian Empire, detached from it by deceit and fraud. It wants it back. It will not respect any agreements or papers that would prevent that. They may say whatever it is prudent at the moment, but they will never respect it.

The only thing that can deter Russia is the perspective of the armed conflict with NATO. They are not deluded enough to think they can manage that. Thus, Ukraine in NATO means peace (with Russian seething but unable to do anything about it), and Ukraine being "neutral" means Russians are going to attack it sooner or later. And they did.

I have no idea how someone could consider it “appeasement”.

Factually. They wanted to take over Ukraine since Putin decided he's going to be Peter the Great 2.0. Once the decision was made, the question only was when they'd decide to try. They tested it out in 2014 and figured out weak and ineffectual sanctions is all the West can field. Adding commitment not to protect Ukraine would only reinforce this assessment. In 2022, they decided the opportunity is ripe - America's president is weak and senile, Europe's elites are weak and corrupt and lust after Russian oil profits, European militaries are largely a joke, US society is divided and half of the country thinks the other half is Russian agents - it's a good time to act. Appeasing them might only mean they decide the good time to act was earlier (maybe not under Trump - he's too crazy, may do something unexpected, better wait until he's out).

It seems to me that the worst case scenario has transpired: our continual pressure and influence in Ukraine has destroyed the country

Bullshit, there was no "influence" there that had anything with any of Ukraine's problems. It is true that corrupt US people meddled there (yes, Burisma), but it was only an opportunistic grift. Corruption in Ukraine has been endemic without any US involvement and much of it was instigated and facilitated by Russia. Mere presence of Russia next door - where corruption is ingrained in the state structure and which is economically towering upon Ukraine, so that anybody who joins the corrupt Russians may immediately wield immense comparative power in Ukraine - is a huge corrupting factor, but much of it remained from the Soviet and early post-Soviet times too. Only the war forced Ukrainians to clean up the house a little - and much of it still remains. It's not a good time to talk much about it, but nobody who knows what's happening there can not ignore it.

As for the choice of whether to go back to the bear hug of Mother Russia or become an independent nation, they made this choice in 1991, confirmed it in 2014, and it has been made irrevocable in 2022. Nothing about it had much to do with the West - in fact, the West has been kinda lukewarm in treating Ukraine in any but opportunistic manner, mainly because pissing off Russia too much - before 2022 - wasn't in anybody's plans. Too much money to be made on oil and gas. Germany is a shining example of it, of course. Having a hot war in Europe changed it quite a bit. But let's not project that changed attitude back to when it didn't exist. Europeans openly laughed at Trump's suggestion that the conflict with Russia is imminent - remember?

has finalized the alienation of Russia from the West,

That has been a done deal by mid-2010s. And the West couldn't do much about it, really.

has influenced Arab nations into cozying with Russia

Arab nations aren't idiots. When they see US is running away from Middle East, and Russia is ready to invest $$$, they know which way the wind is blowing.

What will we gain in five years from it all?

That depends on whether US will dare to help Ukrainians to actually win the war. If they do - weakened Russia that would temporarily sit within their own borders and not mess with anybody else. If they don't - bloodbath in Ukraine and ultimately Russian takeover of Moldova, and possibly attacking the Baltic states. Also kiss Taiwan goodbye, if Russian can do shit like that, China certainly would want too.

our continual pressure and influence in Ukraine has destroyed the country, probably forever (given fertility rates),

Very possible this will happen, but history will not see America as the one holding the knife, but rather the country that attacked a democracy unprovoked and during the war literally kidnapped tens of thousands of Ukrainian children.

has cost enormous sums of money,

Literally the best bang-for-buck the US Military has ever had. Less than 10% of the annual US DOD budget to thoroughly emasculate the old enemy, weaken China, zero lives lost, massive increase in US soft power for finally being on the right side of a war. Plus the true cost is probably less than half of the sticker price.

has wasted American influence in Ukraine,

What?

has pressured Russia into developing better drone technology,

Oh no we can never stand up to bullies like Russia they might -checks notes- develop better drone technology!! Who cares. Besides at this point I wouldn't trust the Russians to develop a microwave. And, more to the point, neither would the half of the planet that (used to) use Russia as their weapons dealer.

has finalized the alienation of Russia from the West,

It has been obvious to anyone paying attention for the last 20-ish years that Russia was never on any kind of course to peaceful integration with the West. The Russian kleptocracy was just fundamentally incompatible.

has influenced Arab nations into cozying with Russia,

Okay so 1) Arab nations don't give a hoot about Russia their relationship is purely mercenary, and 2) this sentence implies that we don't want Arab nations cozying with Russia which implies that their influence is a negative for the US. So then surely -from a purely realpolitik POV- it is good for the US to diminish them? you can't simultaneously hold that Russia is an irrelevant backwater and also that it is a malign influence on American interests.

What will we gain in five years from it all?

A hundred things. but if you want to put blinkers on and care about literally nothing else than the American rival du jour then invasion of Taiwan looks substantially less likely now than it did at the start of the war.

Because NATO wasn’t why the Ukraine war happened. Prighizin himself said the reasons for the war were a lie.

Joining the EU economically was the proximate cause for the war and Ukraine leaving Russian sphere of influence. Economically and culturally there was never possible to be “neutral”. Zelensky himself made a comedy routine years ago saying basically Ukraine found a new sugar daddy that was rich and it was Europe. Ukranians look over the border and see Poland on pace to be richer than the UK. Russia can’t compete with the west financially.

The choice for Ukraine was never neutrality. It was get rich forming economic and cultural unions with the rest or stay poor in a union with Russia.

The whole “NATO” thing and neutrality always was just propaganda. Peace was never possible. Russia was never going to agree to military neutrality but a rich and prosperous economically allied with the west Ukraine.

We didn’t have to imply that we were interested either. Had we said no Ukraine would have been better off because they wouldn’t have been invaded. The war buck stops with us because we kept this going.

The war buck stops with us because we kept this going.

I agree that it is Russia fault, but how this changes anything? It is not much that can be done with that except supplying Ukraine more.

By us I assume you mean the US. First US isn’t even a member of the European Union nor a European economy that would have been Ukraines economic linkages. America literally had zero say on these issues which is why Russia invaded.

Also this removes any agency from Ukraine. They wanted something different because their neighbor Poland got rich and their economic relationships with Russia kept them poor.

They live in a Cripps neighborhood, joining the Bloods was never a viable option.

They live in a Cripps neighborhood, joining the Bloods was never a viable option.

war so far seems to indicate that Russia overestimated their power

maybe they will finally get that Russian empire is done?

Gentrification happens. And the cripps launching an attack seems to have been a miscalculation that might end up costing them their entire empire.

Except for the four countries in the Cripps' immediate neighbourhood that joined the Bloods without any violence? And the many more countries a little further down the road in the Cripps neighbourhood who did so as well?

Maybe if the God descended from Heavens on Dec 1 2013 before protesters and opposition politicians in Kyiv and said to them: "Go home, victory of your protest will lead to great human suffering and hundreds of thousand deaths", nothing of that would have happened. Ukraine would be just a shittier version of Belarus for perpetuity, all smart people would have left either way, even if there was no war.

But it doesn't work like that. Ukrainians wanted into the EU. EU members supported those aspirations — some more enthusiastically (like Lithuania, or Poland), some less (like France, or Germany). On the other hand Putin and his close circle have more agency than amorphous blobs like pro-Western Ukrainian population, or European bureaucracy. The onus should be on them.

Appeasing dictators is the kind of thing that sounds good in the short-term, but can wind up being very bad later. It's also very easy to say "oh just let Hitler have Czechoslovakia" when you are British and not Czech. The strategic problem in WW2, of course, was that Hitler was never going to stop there, and letting him do what he wanted mostly just made Germany stronger. Making it easy for dictators to achieve big wins easily, just by threatening war, even encourages other dictators to threaten war and try to invade other countries. A short-term victory, but long-term loss. The humanitarian problem was that Hitler was now in charge of more people, which is obviously bad; this badness might have been more insulated from British politicians than a war involving Britain would have been, but it was still there.

What makes the Czechoslovakia situation even worse in hindsight is that there was a good chance the Heer was going to launch a coup against Hitler if the western allies hadn't backed down. Not that anyone knew this at the time.

Source on this? I'm a big WW2 fan and haven't heard of this before.

Thanks

In practice, neutrality would have meant that Ukraine will always remain weaker than Russia and can be invaded at any time. Russia would just have to wait for a time where NATO is occupied somewhere else. Russia violated the Budapest memorandum and the Minsk agreement. How could Ukraine trust them to not invade them?

Moreover, the fact that Ukraine is or is not in NATO is not very relevant for the security of Russia. They are American nukes in the baltic countries, so the threat would not be any bigger. On the other side, Russia would still have nukes, so the invasion risks aren't any higher. So if Ukraine joining NATO does not change anything for Russia security, you have to find another reason why it matters to them. The only thing Russia can do if Ukraine is "neutral" but not if it is in NATO is invading them.

has destroyed the country

No, the invasion has.

has cost enormous sums of money

The invasion has. The US are not responsible for it.

has wasted American influence in Ukraine

Are you kidding? American influence is stronger than ever in Ukraine.

has pressured Russia into developing better drone technology

No, their invasion has pressured them to do so.

has finalized the alienation of Russia from the West

Once again, it's their choice to invade Ukraine that has alienated them. Even after 2014 the west was totally OK negotiating with Russia. Have you heard about Nord Stream 2?

has influenced Arab nations into cozying with Russia

They always did... They are not democratic countries, they have an interest in helping authoritarian regimes. It has not much to do with Ukraine.

and all we get in return is some dead Russians

And the reassurance that you won't abandon your allies, which was in doubt after the Afghanistan retreat.

has pressured Russia into developing better drone technology

No, their invasion has pressured them to do so.

What drone technology? The technology of buying them in Iran, repainting them and pretending it's Russian? I think they had this technology before.

The idea that one is not threatened by a neighboring state because there are other neighboring states unaligned with Russia doesn’t make sense. I am not threatened by five enemies because I have four? But it makes especially little sense given: the important of flat eastern Ukraine for invasion, and the importance of the Black Sea for Russia. America may very well have been threatened by the Saudis funding radical Islam, but that doesn’t mean they can just blow up Saudi Arabia. Instead we settled on lesser Arab countries.

neutrality would have meant that Ukraine will always remain weaker

Ukraine is small, it will always be weaker, but now it will be destroyed. This argument doesn’t hold up to either the predictions made years before (they will be annihilated), or the present data (look at the birth rates). “I will either attempt to be more significant than I am or be destroyed” is a recipe for narcissistic ego death.

Russia violated the

NATO violated the promise not to expand east as part of the negotiations involving German reunification.

No, the invasion has.

Yes, the invasion that was promised for years because of the sequence of actions that NATO + NATO-influenced Ukraine took. This is like when the Mongels invaded Iraq and destroyed Baghdad after Baghdad slew their emissaries. Sorry Baghdad, you don’t get to “be sovereign” against the Mongols, just like Cuba and Iraq don’t get to “be sovereign” against America. This isn’t how reality works, and indeed it has never worked like this in the whole history of nations. Cause and effect is a much clearer way to understand what is best for America and/or Ukraine.

Ukraine is small, it will always be weaker, but now it will be destroyed

"Destroyed" is a relative term.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are much smaller and weaker than Ukraine, but Putin has to play nice with them, because they're in NATO. If you were Ukrainian, and you didn't know that you would be invaded, wouldn't that be attractive to you?

The idea that one is not threatened by a neighboring state because there are other neighboring states unaligned with Russia doesn’t make sense. I am not threatened by five enemies because I have four?

Let me rephrase it: Ukraine joining NATO does not improve significantly NATO capabilities regarding Russia. I'm sorry, but the idea of a land invasion through Ukraine is ridiculous. It would mean a nuclear war. We are avoiding to send troops to Ukraine to avoid a nuclear conflict, but somehow we would invade Russia? And even if we wanted to take the risk, it would make more sense to attack from the baltic states as they are a lot closer from Moscow and Saint Petersburg than from Ukraine.

Ukraine is small, it will always be weaker

No, it won't be weaker if it has stronger allies. Russia would never have dared to invade Ukraine if it was a NATO country. And the birth rates mean nothing, as they can change fast. Russia also has declining birthrates, so the population ratio might very well be constant.

NATO violated the promise not to expand east as part of the negotiations involving German reunification.

The Russian propaganda says so, but until "they told us" becomes an international treaty, it's meaningless. If those promises even existed, they were never part of a formally approved treaty. No country has ever felt bound to respect oral promises of former leaders. It is just insane to claim they should. But even assuming that those promises were formally made and broken, I don't see your point. My argument was that Ukraine could not trust Russia security guarantees because Russia violated its security guarantees toward Ukraine twice. Are you claiming that Ukraine should actually believe Russia because NATO also broke some of its promises? It makes no sense at all.

Russia also has declining birthrates, so the population ratio might very well be constant.

No it wasn't constant. In 1991, it was 3:1 but it soon became 4:1, as Ukraine both had less TFR and negative net migration. Russia's ethnic minorities (esp. Muslims) have greater TFR.

The future is not always like the past.

Again the bunch of tired claims about NATO threat refuted so many times

https://youtube.com/watch?v=wjU-ve4Pn4k&t=1081

https://youtube.com/watch?v=FVmmASrAL-Q

It is beside the general point of the discussion in which I mostly agree with you but it is interesting how these videos while emphasizing agency of countries in Eastern Europe don't extend it to Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Transnistria mirroring the pro-russian talking point that foreign support equals foreign rulership.

I wish I knew more about leadership of those state-like formations. LDNR was lead by people directly affiliated with Kremlin, or unruly warlords who were eventually killed. More than half population there saw their future in Ukraine. But South Ossetia, and especially Abkhazia look much more autonomous. Of course, it doesn't cancel the fact, that a lot of ethnic Georgians were murdered or driven out, just like in LDNR — thus changing the general attitude of people there, and the ethnic composition. And Transnistria is probably somewhere in between LDNR and Abkhazia in terms of agency.

You can refute it as many times as you like. The promises of NATO to Russia are, by this point, worth nothing, even if the West wasn't openly discussing partitioning Russia.

Do you want to provide your ideas instead of linking to YouTube videos?

I have no desire of typing 5000 words, if everything can be found in the linked videos, or on Wikipedia, or wherever. Just put in on 2x. Arguments you present are not new, and the refutations of them are ubiquitous.

Damn, that's unfortunate, because I actually read multiple refutations of your position on TruthSocial. Your arguments are not new and have been defeated comprehensively elsewhere - but I have no desire of typing 5000 words (sic), so you'll just have to take my word for it.

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Right, I’m obviously not going to watch a random YouTube video, but here’s the archival research of a top institution in foreign policy studies

https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.” (See Document 6)

Afterwards, Baker wrote to Helmut Kohl who would meet with the Soviet leader on the next day, with much of the very same language. Baker reported: “And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [….] He then added, ‘Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.’” Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl’s benefit, “By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable.” (See Document 8)

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An angry Bob in middle America has no power to formulate plans for middle East invasions and then put them into action.

Many Americans wanted revenge for 9/11. The direction those emotions were guided in and the actions those emotions were used to justify were completely the work of neocons and zionists. To pretend those two movements are not extremely jewish goes beyond any reason.

The people in power most associated with the Iraq war were George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice, and John Bolton, not a Jew among them. No Jews on the entire National Security Council, either. The idea that none of these people actually wanted the war but were talked into it by the likes of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz is ridiculous. I could just as easily make an argument that the war was completely the work of blacks.

My guess is that if the Israeli government & certain key Jews in the USA had not wanted the USA to go to war with Iraq, then the Iraq war would not only have not happened, it wouldn't have even been seriously considered as an option. And if Israel had actively opposed the war, there is a ~0% chance that it would have occurred.

Roughly half of the key people with the Project for a New American Century were Jews, and they were advocating for regime change in Iraq at least as early as 1998- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Far more important, the Israeli government wanted the USA to go to war with Iraq- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/aug/17/iraq.israel1

(They were nearly the only government which wanted the USA to go to war in Iraq.)

The Israeli government represented the interests of way more powerful Jews than a handful of neocon Jews in Washington DC.

Also, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy". by John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt, covers many aspects of how Zionists sometimes twisted America's foreign policy against our own interests, as happened in Iraq. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Israel_Lobby_and_U.S._Foreign_Policy

(And, the authors argue, those Zionists often hurt Israel's interests as well).

Bush/Cheney and their other staffers also played their own absolutely crucial role. (I always thought that their main motivation for war in Iraq was to make money, and that's even more corrupt than any Jewish neocon's motivation).

And I think that most of the USA bears responsibility for buying into the lies & twisted associations used to sell the Iraq war to the American public (and many of those peddlers of lies were not Jews). The eagerness for vengeance among so many Americans, and their gullibility, made them pay a huge price, in blood and treasure.

Exploitative people generally need gullible people to go along with their schemes, and sadly most Americans are gullible and don't do their due diligence. And it seems like gullible people normally pay a larger price than exploitative people pay for their schemes.

A hallmark of jewish controlled movements is non-jewish frontmen, as is noted in detail by Kevin MacDonald. But that's rather besides the point of what neo-conservatism and zionism are and where those things come from.

It's easy to make things sound far fetched and insane. As if a hooked nosed caricature from an A Wyatt Mann comic was whispering jewish lies into the ears of hapless Americans. But that's not how things necessarily work. And I don't know if I should insult your intelligence by explaining to you how belief in an ideology can influence peoples decision making, or if I can just ask you to stop pretending you don't understand that the Bush Jr administration was neo-conservative and zionist adjacent, that those movements are jewish, and that adherence to those ideologies exists as an expression of jewish influence insofar as they push it forward and adhere to it.

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A hallmark of jewish controlled movements is non-jewish frontmen

In absence of detail, this statement disproves your argument by making the hypothesis unfalsifiable. It is also a statement with the implication that every single political movement ever was controlled by the jews. That's not a reasonable argument, a high-effort argument, or even a functional argument.

Rov_Scam named a bunch of individuals who are broadly regarded as having pushed the US into the second Iraq War by making public (fallacious) claims about the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the involvement of Iraq in 9/11. I think a reasonable refutation would require naming a bunch of jewish individuals who are behind the alleged "non-jewish frontmen", and describing how they pushed the US into war. If you can't do that, then either you need to rethink the assumptions that led you into thinking the war was orchestrated by a jewish conspiracy, or you need to stop trolling.

It's not unfalsifiable, as Kevin MacDonald has given multiple examples of these movements, including neoconservatism. But even then there is no absence of detail for those who bother doing a cursory glance over even just the Wikipedia article on neoconservatism.

Many adherents of neoconservatism became politically influential during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, peaking in influence during the administration of George W. Bush, when they played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prominent neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration included Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle and Paul Bremer. While not identifying as neoconservatives, senior officials Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld listened closely to neoconservative advisers regarding foreign policy, especially the defense of Israel and the promotion of American influence in the Middle East.

Rov_Scam names a bunch of senior officials who make decisions based on information given to them by advisors. When those advisors are neocons then I find the case rather cut and dry.

It's also rather annoying that the default of things is that they are just happening for no reason at all and US foreign policy revolving around the middle East and Israel goes unquestioned and any attempt at demonstrating why things happen at all is met with accusations of conspiracy, as if any government body wasn't a group of people scheming together to have things happen in the way they wanted. It makes me wonder what the affirmative positions contradicting my alleged 'conspiracies' are.

No really, where do these people get their ideas from? Was it not neoconservatism winning out over pragmatism in the Bush Jr White House?

I'm not going to read your link. It's 50 to 60 printed pages long. I skimmed the first 2500 words, and the gist of it seems to be that the neoconservative movement was an academic movement supported by majority-Jewish media, and took a pro-Israel foreign policy stance. That's fair, and I will concedie that the most prominent neoconservatives on that list were intellectuals of Jewish ancestry. However, looking on Wikiepedia it seems that most of the prominent American neoliberals on Wikipedia are also Jewish. Can we name an American political movement from the past 20 years which was not dominated by Jewish intellectuals? Do Jewish intellectuals just originate all (American) political movements?

Also, you still need to make the very important causal link from this academic movement to the actual war in Iraq. From the unfinished Gulf War, it is likely that Rumsfeld and Bush had a vendetta against Sadam from 1991, and from the Bush/Cheney oil business it is likely that the war was motivated by the capture of oil fields. Did these neocons originate the invasion, or were they merely providing a convenient rationalization for it? (And why was the supermajority of the American public in support of the Iraq war, when the American public is not Jewish?) You (and Kevin McDonald) admit that the "frontmen" were not Jewish, so you don't get to strip them of agency and culpability for what happened without a very well-articulated causal model.

Do Jewish intellectuals just originate all (American) political movements?

I don't think so. But even if that were the case, our incredulity toward that fact, if true, would not make it any less true.

Also, you still need to make the very important causal link from this academic movement to the actual war in Iraq.

Neoconservatives pushing for war predates the Gulf War. And as I stated in a prior comment, according to prominent neocon White House insider William Kristol, neoconservatism was the driving force behind the war:

“I think you could make a case that on September 10th, 2001, that it’s not clear that George W. Bush was in any fundamental way going in our direction on foreign policy.”

He had similar remarks towards Cheney

“Cheney is a complicated figure and, obviously, a very cautious and reticent figure, so hard to know what he thinks in his heart of hearts. I think he had feet in both camps, so to speak.”

Both camps referring to the tug of war between neocons and 'pragmatists' within the White House at the time. A tug of war that the neocons ultimately won. It's not a claim of mine and mine alone that there is a causal link. But beyond neoconservatives taking credit for it at the peak of their influence and confidence, it is an accepted belief on both sides of the 'fringe' political spectrum:

https://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/neoconservative-responsibility-for-the-iraq-war/

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2016/august/23/the-neoconservatives-the-war-on-iraq-and-the-national-interest-of-israel/

Beyond that I don't know how to further argue the point. Neoconservatism had been gunning for war in the middle East for a long time. They move to positions of influence and power and at a flashpoint the US goes to war with Iraq. Arguing the more specific agitating factors surrounding that is the subject of multiple books like The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War. And though I'm not imploring you to read a book as an argument, I would present the existence of the book, along with the existence of a host of other similar material as evidence for the plausibility of the causal link.

It's also rather annoying that the default of things is that they are just happening for no reason at all and US foreign policy revolving around the middle East and Israel goes unquestioned and any attempt at demonstrating why things happen at all is met with accusations of conspiracy, as if any government body wasn't a group of people scheming together to have things happen in the way they wanted.

I suppose if you think that the only alternative to your account is that events "are just happening for no reason at all", then your position will seem painfully reasonable to you. That doesn't mean that your position is reasonable.

As for the examples you give, that's far from showing that they pushed the US into war, as opposed to being part of a movement that led the US into war. That doesn't evince that neoconservativism was a Jewish-controlled movement or that the gentile neocons were "frontmen".

I think that's the only alternative to a slough of deconstruction that proposes no alternative.

As for the examples you give, that's far from showing that they pushed the US into war,

If "they" are neocons and zionists then it shows exactly that.

That doesn't evince that neoconservativism was a Jewish-controlled movement or that the gentile neocons were "frontmen".

The link provided to Kevin MacDonalds analysis shows in detail how neoconservatism is a jewish movement. Did you even click it?

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This is low effort and banal. Believe it or not jewish people can have influence. And the levers and mechanisms by which factions in politics can have influence over elected officials is not some incredible feat that warrants disbelief.

The effort required is so superhumanly and extremely impressive that I'd love to find these guys and go along with them; they are clearly more competent and fit to rule than any group I've ever heard of, at all.

If that's your takeaway from the effects of neocon foreign policy it says more about your argument than anything I could. Being silly for the sake of argument is not a good look for your argument.

If you aren't going to put in any effort, just don't bother. When I looked at this comment chain I saw you making provably false claims (i.e. none of the people involved in the planning of the Iraq war/PNAC were jewish) that don't even rise to the level of refuting the point you're trying to argue against (jewish influence played a part in the invasion of Iraq). Then, when questioned, you say that the debate isn't worth your time.

If I was an antisemitic troll trying to convince reasonable people to adopt my prejudices, I could not have crafted a better comment than yours if I was trying. Look, I can understand not wanting to get into endless interminable arguments about jews with internet losers who have nothing better to do - but you're better off just not engaging with the topic at all than trying to score cheap shots then fucking off and claiming the debate is beneath you when it turns out you didn't bring enough intellectual firepower to actually make a point. It makes your position look worse and their position look better, and I'm going to hazard a guess that you aren't actually an antisemite, nor do you want to lend their arguments additional credibility.

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An angry Bob in middle America has no power to formulate plans for middle East invasions and then put them into action.

Democracy means that everyone is responsible for what happens. Especially everyone which was in favor of the choice that was made. Sure, a guy in middle America wouldn't have been able to change anything himself, but it would have made a huge difference if a lot of angry Bob in middle America had opposed the war, instead of being in favor of it. The jews weren't a majority of the Bush electorate, and it's pretty clear that the Bush electorate supported the war.

Many Americans wanted revenge for 9/11. The direction those emotions were guided in and the actions those emotions were used to justify were completely the work of neocons and zionists. To pretend those two movements are not extremely jewish goes beyond any reason.

People were angry. They wanted a war. So they are not completely innocent. Moreover, the problem of the war in Irak was more the war than the fact that it happened in Irak. All the other possible targets of the "revenge" were even worse: Pakistan has nukes, Saudi Arabia has oil. Other countries had no responsibilities in 9/11. They could have argued for peace, but you know very well that it wouldn't have worked. Some people have tried (some of them jewish), but they have never been heard. So the neocons provided you with what you wanted: the best (or the least bad) target they could find. That was not the main problem. The problem was that an angry mob was asking for blood. Being dumb and emotional is no excuse.

How much power does some random person actually have? It’s really unlikely that anyone in America could have stopped a war the elites wanted to have, or really any other decisions those elites wanted to make. Democracy isn’t about giving the unwashed masses a real say, especially in imperial matters. You might ge5 a say in whether a lane gets added to a local highway, or a Walmart being built nearby, but in matters the elite care about, our oligarchy is not really that different than any other historical empire. No average Joe ever gets the kind of say that would make him morally responsible for wars.

A random person has not much power. But if the media were all agreeing about war, it's not because they are jewish, but because there was no market fir opposing war. The media could have opposed the war as much as they could, people would have looked at other media. They had as much appetite for anti war media as a AOC supporter for looking Tucker Carlson show. So after that blaming the media and the establishment is ridiculous. Just like it would be ridiculous for Bush to blame it on the people.

The American media is explicitly pro-regime as unless they sufficiently report the news as the regime wants it reported, they don’t get access to the leadership of the regime. And so, essentially, the appearance of consent is often manufactured. I would consider most of the statements of “support” for regime positions as selective polling used to create support, not as dispassionately reported unbiased facts.

Then you have to explain why it fails sometimes, eg Vietnam and pentagon papers

Being dumb and emotional is no excuse.

Correct, and there is no excuse for catering to "dumb and emotional". What, were the Democrats going to run a pro-invasion candidate in '04? I suppose it's possible given that Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in the first place but it strikes me as rather unlikely.

US foreign policy is somewhere between loosely controlled by elections (Democrats and Republicans differed in the 2010s over our our approach to Iran, for example.) and not at all. The Bush administration didn't invade Iraq because Americans were mad (Afghanistan, yes. Ron Paul of all people voted for that AUMF. Even today I don't think there are many who criticize the initial invasion, more that it mission-crept into a failed attempt at nation building.), but because they'd been wanting to invade Iraq for years. Neocons exploited anger over an unrelated event and stoked fears over nonexistent WMDs to get what they'd wanted all along.

US foreign policy is somewhere between loosely controlled by elections (Democrats and Republicans differed in the 2010s over our our approach to Iran, for example.) and not at all.

Sure, because Americans do not care. If it did matter to them, it would be controlled by elections. But in this particular case it somewhat mattered to them, yet they agreed with the government.