Impending today are two of the most critical decisions Barack Obama will ever make, which may determine the fate of his presidency, as well as the future of the United States in the Near and Middle East.
The first is whether to approve Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for thousands more U.S. troops he says he needs to prevent “mission failure”—i.e, to stave off a U.S. defeat in Afghanistan.
The second is whether Obama will start up the road of “crippling sanctions” to war with Iran, to prevent Tehran from moving closer to a capacity to produce nuclear weapons.
If Obama approves McChrystal’s request, what will it buy him? Rising costs and casualties, deepening division in his party and his war-weary country, but no light at the end of a seemingly endless tunnel.
Indeed, it seems certain that 45,000 new U.S. troops would be but a down payment on an army of hundreds of thousands, for the years that it would take to build an Afghan army that can defend the government and people against a Taliban embedded in a Pashtun tribe that is half the population. And the odds that our Afghan allies would survive when we left would be no greater than the odds our Cambodian and Vietnamese allies would survive our departure in 1973.
Yet if Obama rejects McChrystal’s request, he risks resignations by generals and Republican savagery for lacking the moxie of Mr. Bush, when he doubled down in Iraq, named Gen. David Petraeus commander and agreed to a surge of 30,000 troops, which prevented a defeat the Baker Commission had all but predicted in 2006.
Obama is facing an awful choice.
Committing 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan will not assure victory, McChrystal is telling the president, but denying him the 45,000 troops may ensure an American defeat.
Being forced to make this Hobbesean choice will surely affect Obama’s decision on Iran. Seeing what a decade of war has done to his country, he cannot want a third war with a nation more populous than Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Yet that is where the sanctions regime is inevitably headed.
The dilemma: The regime, backed by the Iranian people, is not going to give up its treaty rights to nuclear power, or the ability to generate it from yellow cake to enriched uranium. However, the knowledge and capability Iran gains from its investment in nuclear power will bring it to the edge of the red zone—the ability to “break out” and, perhaps in a matter of months, produce the highly enriched uranium that is the core of atom bombs.
Other countries that rely on nuclear power, Japan and South Korea, surely have the capability to produce an explosive device. They have preferred life without nuclear weapons.
Will Iran also be content with this, knowing that if it explodes a device, the Saudis, Egyptians and Turks will follow, that Israel would put a hair trigger on its nuclear arsenal, that the United States would retaliate massively against Iran if any nuclear weapon were detonated by Islamic terrorists on American soil?
The sanctions road appears headed for dead end, or war.
“Smart sanctions” that punish Iran’s leaders are not going to persuade them to give up a nuclear program for which they have already suffered and sacrificed greatly. And a cutoff of gasoline to Iran would hit hardest not the Revolutionary Guard but Iran’s middle class, which tends to be anti-regime and pro-Western.
As for an attack on Iran, what would be the purpose of bombing Natanz, when IAEA inspectors says that its thousands of centrifuges are producing only nuclear fuel, which has never left the facility?
When Israel bombed the Osirak reactor outside Baghdad in 1981, which was subject to inspections, Saddam Hussein started a secret program to build bombs. Would not an attack on Iran’s facilities that are under IAEA inspection lead inevitably to a regime decision to go for a bomb as the only deterrent against Israel or the United States?
As one steps back and looks at a decade of U.S. intervention and war in the Middle East, what has it all availed us?
Iraq cost 4,000 U.S. dead, 30,000 wounded and a trillion dollars. It divided our country, alienated the Arab world, and left scores of thousands of Iraqi dead, and hundreds of thousands wounded, widowed and orphaned.
The Shia who now run the country are moving away from us, and closer to Iran, as we depart.
In Afghanistan, after eight years, we face a longer and bloodier war or, says McChrystal, “mission failure.” With Iran, we are heading up a sanctions escalator toward yet another war. And 10 years of involvement has not brought the Palestinian conflict a centimeter closer to resolution.
The killers of 9-11 were over here because we were over there. How has being over there benefited us, to compensate for the cost?
Over 30 years ago, director Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl. The details aren’t pretty. According to the girl’s Grand Jury Testimony, Polanski plied her with enough alcohol and Quaaludes to make her dizzy and disoriented. He then had oral copulation with her, followed by sexual intercourse, and ending with sodomy because he did not want to get her pregnant. In her testimony, the girl made it clear that she went along with Polanski’s advances because of fear.
The girl declined to testify at trial, so Polanski was able to plead guilty to one charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor even though the Grand Jury charged him with rape of a minor, sodomy, rape by use of a drug, and other crimes. He served 42 days in a psychiatric observation facility before fleeing to France. Since 1997, the victim has urged that the charges be dropped, but apparently did so only after receiving a substantial financial settlement.
Polanski’s life as a fugitive has not exactly been a vale of tears. He has directed a number of movies, some with major Hollywood stars. His 2002 Holocaust movie, The Pianist, was widely acclaimed, winning an Oscar for Best Director, among other awards.
New York Daily News caption: “Film director Roman Polanski has lived a comfortable life while on the lam, including a swanky home in France with his wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner.”
Of course, we shouldn’t make too much of the fact that The Pianist received quite a few awards, since making movies about the Holocaust is well-known as the key to Oscar success. On the other hand, making movies like the Passion of Christ brings nothing but opprobrium and charges of anti-Semitism. Why this should be so is one of the great mysteries of life.
Be that as it may, Hollywood is not like the rest of us, and the fault lines are apparent in reaction to Polanski’s recent jailing in Switzerland while awaiting extradition proceedings. An L. A. Times article discusses the gap between the attitudes toward Polanski among Hollywood’s elite and the rest of the country:
From Michael Moore’s politics to on-screen sex and violence, the movie business is constantly being assailed for not sharing the country’s values. Rarely has the morality argument been as rancorous as with the Roman Polanski case.
Hollywood is rallying behind the fugitive filmmaker. Top filmmakers are signing a pro-Polanski petition, Whoopi Goldberg says the director didn’t really commit rape, and Debra Winger complains “the whole art world suffers” in such arrests.
The rest of the nation seems to hold a dramatically different perspective on Polanski’s weekend capture. Even if decades have passed since he fled Los Angeles before his 1978 sentencing, Polanski must be extradited and serve his time, the thinking goes. There’s no excuse for forcing sex on a 13-year-old girl. People who defend him have no principles.
In letters to the editor, comments on Internet blogs and remarks on talk radio and cable news channels, the national sentiment is running overwhelmingly against Polanski — and the industry’s support of the 76-year-old “Pianist” Oscar winner.
The article goes on to suggest that Hollywood’s refusal to condemn Polanski is simply a matter of protecting their own. As evidence, the article notes that even when Mel Gibson spewed his anti-Jewish rant after being arrested for speeding and drunk driving by a Jewish police officer, no one in Hollywood seemed to care.
Actually, there was quite a bit of negative reaction to Gibson’s comments by the powerful in the movie industry, most notably from Rahm Emmanual’s brother Ari. While over 100 of the most prominent Hollywood celebrities have signed a letter supporting Polanski, I am not aware of even one Hollywood celebrity who went to bat for Gibson over his anti-Jewish comments.
Moreover, the people who matter in Hollywood (not to mention the ADL and a whole slew of Jewish op-ed writers) were up in arms about Gibson’s Passion. Michael Medved has documented Hollywood’s very negative attitudes toward Christianity (and the traditional family, traditional sexual mores, and patriotism [apart from Israeli patriotism; see below]).
There certainly are norms that limit what Hollywood celebrities can and can’t do to remain within the good graces of the community. Endorsing California’s 2008 ballot Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage was definitely a bad career movein Hollywood. Opposing same-sex marriage is a career-ender in Hollywood, while supporting a child rapist is a great way to get ahead.
In fact, it is glaringly obvious that Hollywood’s attitudes reflect its Jewish sensibilities. A recent example is the reaction to attempts to boycott an Israeli film at the Toronto International Film Festival. The protestors described Israel as an “apartheid regime” and dismissed the work of the filmmakers as “Israeli propaganda.” A long list of the Hollywood best and brightest signed a petition in opposition to the protest — “a who’s who of Hollywood’s elite with a cast that runs from the executive suites to the sound stages and cuts across generations.” Even a Jewish writer in the L.A. Times couldn’t help but notice the ethnic angle in this rally-around-Israel response:
In today’s Hollywood, signs of Jewish ethnic pride are everywhere. Judd Apatow’s recent “Funny People” was populated with a host of openly Jewish comic characters, as is the new Coen brothers film, “A Serious Man,” a drama … that is, in part, about a troubled Jewish man who looks to his rabbi for guidance. And, of course, one of the biggest hit films of the summer was Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which features as its heroes a scrum of tough-talking, baseball-bat wielding, Nazi-scalp-taking World War II-era Jewish soldiers.
So when trying to come up with a theory for why Hollywood would stand alone in supporting Polanski, a good bet is to suggest that Hollywood’s stance reflects its Jewish identity.
A clue to understanding Hollywood’s views on Polanski comes from a well-known sociological study comparing the attitudes ofthe Hollywood elite to the attitudes held by the general public and by traditional (non-Jewish) elites of pre-1960s White America (i.e., leaders in politics, business, and the military, as well as Protestant and Catholic religious figures). The largest difference between Hollywood and the other groups was on “expressive individualism.” Expressive individualism taps ideas of sexual liberation (including approval of homosexuality and same-sex marriage), moral relativism, and a disdain for (Christian) religious institutions. The movie elite is also more tolerant of unusual or deviant lifestyles and of minority religions and ethnic groups.
In short, the attitudes of Hollywood reflect the left/liberal cultural attitudes of the wider Jewish community — attitudes that are hostile to the traditional people and culture of America and the West. Whatever else one might say about him, Polanski is Exhibit A for the category of unusual or deviant lifestyle. Polanski’s behavior is exactly the sort of thing that Hollywood would see not as moral turpitude, but as reflecting a cutting-edge, unconventional lifestyle choice of a creative, talented person.
As I elaborated elsewhere, the Jewish intellectual movements that came to dominance in the US after WWII abandoned their Marxist roots in favor of promoting radical individualism among non-Jews. They did this not because of their allegiance to the ideals of the Enlightenment, but as a useful tool for ending anti-Semitism and preventing mass movements of the right.
One aspect of radical individualism was lack of racial identity for Whites. For the Frankfurt School, the ideal non-Jew was someone who was completely detached from all ingroups, including his race, his Christian religious affiliation, and even his family.
Indeed, a White person with a sense of ethnic pride was analyzed as suffering from a psychiatric disorder — a diagnosis that was not applied to any other race or ethnic group. Polanski can thus exemplify expressive individualism while at the same time demonstrating his Jewish identity by making a Holocaust movie. For non-Jews, expressive individualism means not identifying with your race or ethnic group.
Another aspect of radical individualism is disinhibited sexuality. Psychoanalysis was especially important as an intellectual tool to undermine the traditional American sexual mores deeply embedded in the Christian religious tradition of American culture.
The deviant, perverted sexuality of Polanski fits well with expressive individualism, although it is doubtless a rather extreme version. On the other hand, the responsibilities of monogamous marriage, family, and parenting do not fit this cultural profile. Nevertheless, expressive individualism is a cultural pattern that has influenced a sizeable portion of the White population. It may not have been disastrous if America had remained 90% White. But with mass immigration of millions of non-Whites, many with high fertility, it is certainly speeding up the decline of White America. The centrality and legitimacy of expressive individualism in the contemporary culture of the West are an important components of the culture of Western suicide.
Expressive individualists basically want to express themselves with their own carefully cultivated, unique personal qualities. They advocate minimal controls on individual behavior, especially on sexuality. Expressive individualists prize creativity and the unconventional — a central aspect of the 1960s counterculture. At a relatively tame level, they want consumer goods that reflect their taste and individuality: They express their personality with their choices in cars, clothes, and music — Stuff White People Like, such as Vespa motorcycles, non-White cultural icons, and expensive camping equipment. (My take.)
A tendency toward expressive individualism is part of the individualist strain in traditional American culture. But it was a marginal phenomenon — confined to areas like Greenwich Village and the art world. When I was growing up, expressive individualism was certainly not part of the culture of the schools and churches in small-town Anglo-German Midwestern America.
Expressive individualism became an integral part of the counterculture of the 1960s — especially the hippie component of the 1960s counterculture. At that point, as Eric P. Kaufmann points out, it became ingrained in American mass culture, spreading from the intellectuals to the better-educated people in the mass media, the universities and the government. My view is that this movement of expressive individualism to the center of American culture was brought about by the Jewish intellectual movements that I describe in Culture of Critique—particularly psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School (and their allies among the New York Intellectuals and their propagandists in the organized Jewish community and the media). At their core, these movements are hostile to the traditional Christian culture of America, its sexual mores, its ethnic pride, and even the idea that White people have a right or a legitimate interest in maintaining its status as a political majority. These movements rationalized and promoted this strand of individualist American culture at the highest level of intellectual discourse.
And because Hollywood fundamentally reflects Jewish attitudes on culture, it is not at all surprising that it would defend someone like Polanski whose behavior can only be described as reflecting the exact opposite of the traditional culture of America.
Another telling example that reflects the Jewish promotion of expressive individualism among non-Jews can be seen in Dr. Lasha Darkmoon’s recent TOO articles on Jewish influence in the art world. She notes the predominance of wealthy Jews among art collectors, critics, and gallery owners. While retaining their own ethnic identity, they promote exactly the type of non-Jew prized by the Frankfurt School authors of The Authoritarian Personality: An expressive individualist with no allegiance to his race, his family, the Christian religion, or the traditional culture of the West.
The result is that an extreme expressive individualist, such as British artist Damien Hirst, can earn hundreds of millions of dollars by constructing works of art such as a glass case with maggots and flies feeding on a rotting cow’s head. Or a shark suspended in formaldehyde. A recent show by Hirst sold for almost $200 million.
Hirst is entirely the creation of wealthy Jewish art collector Charles Saatchi who was deeply impressed by Hirst’s maggot-infested cow’s head and lavishly promoted him for the next ten years. Hirst has behaved as the prototypical expressive individualist, including drug and alcohol abuse, and violent and outrageous personal behavior:
Hirst has admitted serious drug and alcohol problems during a ten year period from the early 1990s [at a time when he was being promoted by Saatchi]: “I started taking cocaine and drink … I turned into a babbling fucking wreck.” During this time he was renowned for his wild behavior, and extrovert acts [we psychologists call it disinhibited psychopathy], including, for example, putting a cigarette in the end of his penis in front of journalists. He was an habitué of the high profile Groucho Club in Soho, London, and was banned on occasion for his behavior.
Charles Saatchi’s Creation, Damien Hirst: Promote the Worst Gentiles
An artist wrote the following email to Dr. Darkmoon:
It was with great interest that I read your insightful and well-researched article regarding the art world. I have long been aware of the Jewish role that brought us to this lamentable state. I am a painter and photographer working in a neo-classical style and couldn’t even get arrested at a gallery in the major art markets. I take encouragement however from the fact that there are other wonderful painters carrying on the great tradition and when the dust of postmodernism settles they will be properly recognized.
Such recognition will only come with a complete change at the highest levels of culture production. It is encouraging that the great majority of Americans find Polanski’s behavior repulsive and believe that he should suffer a legal penalty. Similar attitudes are held by an overwhelming majority in Francewhere we see the same gap betweenthe cultural elite and the the rest of the people.
Nevertheless, despite the healthy instincts of most White people, it is quite clear that the heights of culture production in Europe and America are controlled by people who absolutely reject anything resembling the traditional culture of the West. And that is a disaster for our people.
Kevin MacDonald is editor of The Occidental Observer and a professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach. Email him.
DUBLIN—Ladbrokes in downtown Dublin was paying one to 33 that Irish voters would approve Europe’s Lisbon Treaty, against eight to one that they would strike it down. For non-gamblers, that means the betting chain thought the EU charter was a favorite to win—by a lot.
Two doors down, patrons of the Sackville Lounge turned away from televised horse races to reveal why. After Irish voters spurned the treaty in a referendum last year, the European Commission—the EU’s unelected legislative, regulatory and executive branch whose power would be cemented under the treaty—left little to chance this time around. Here is how Brussels did it:
1. Don’t let a good crisis go to waste: Playing to voter apathy backfired in Ireland last year, but in the fall of 2009 a much more powerful tool presented itself for the Commission and its Dublin backers: fear. Specifically, fear of economic isolation.
An Irish Times reporter asked Commission President José Manuel Barroso at a victory press conference on Saturday about allegations of fear mongering. Mr. Barroso was all innocence: “Scare tactics? I don’t know what you mean by that.”
Perhaps Mr. Barroso forgot the interview he gave to the Irish Times two weeks ago, where he seemed concerned that “some people”—still unnamed—had asked him whether Ireland would leave the EU, adding that “For investor confidence, it is important that there is certainty about the future of Ireland in the EU.” So while Mr. Barroso knew Ireland could reject Lisbon without risking full EU and euro membership, he calculated that in an era of 12.6% Irish unemployment, stoking nerves over capital flight would have a big impact.
That message was clear enough to Ruairí Brennan, a 24-year-old student who explained his Yes vote to me over ale at the Sackville. “We have no money, that’s what it comes down to,” he said. “If we go against them, they’ll go against us.”
He produced a pamphlet from Ireland For Europe, a coalition of Yes-ite business and civic leaders. The leaflet states that the EU has invested more than €70 billion in Ireland. Mr. Barroso gave the Irish a well-timed reminder of such largesse last month, when he announced €14.8 million to help laid-off Irish workers. It’s true that Ireland received €566 million more from EU coffers last year than it contributed, but this difference accounted for only 0.36% of Ireland’s gross national income, by the Commission’s own figures—hardly the lynchpin of the health and wealth of the Celtic Tiger.
The pamphlet also echoes the Yes campaign’s claim that approval of the treaty will mean jobs. But Lisbon’s promise that a reformed EU will be “aiming at full employment” is no guarantee that Mr. Brennan will graduate to a host of job offers. The best hope for that happy prospect is, rather, his own hard work and Ireland’s own pro-growth tax policies—which Lisbon could give other EU countries the power to thwart. No question, the monetary discipline that came with Ireland’s adoption of the euro will also brighten Mr. Brennan’s future, but contrary to Mr. Barroso’s insinuations, Mr. Brennan would not have been risking this had he voted No.
2. Activate the herd mentality: Alongside the economic threats, Irish voters were subjected to the even more vague minacity that Ireland would somehow be shunned by the rest of the bloc. After the Republic rejected the treaty last year, Brussels mandarins ignited the rumor that a two-tier Europe could be the solution. Though such isolation within the EU is impossible, the rumors stuck, cemented by Yes campaign posters telling voters to say “Yes to Europe,” rather than to the 294-page document on offer.
“We wouldn’t have the same authority, we’d be out on the fringes,” said Hugh McGinn, a teetotaling taxi driver, when asked what arguments had most swayed his Yes vote.
Such arguments are incorrect, but one can forgive Mr. McGinn for believing them. The official “Statement for the Information of Voters,” prescribed by Ireland’s Oireachtas (or Parliament) and distributed to voters and posted at polling stations, opened by saying a Yes vote would “(a) affirm Ireland’s commitment to the European Union” and “(b) enable Ireland to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon and to be a member of the European Union established by that Treaty.”
So much for informed democracy. Ireland’s “commitment” to the existing EU was not up for a vote, and without Irish ratification there would have been no reformed EU for Ireland to be, or not be, a member of.
But the contrary point was central to the peer pressure targeting Ireland: That if Ireland voted no, it would spoil reforms for the rest of Europe’s 500 million citizens, as if they too had been given a say in the matter (they hadn’t). This awkward position of serving as proxies for democracy for half a billion people weighed on the minds of Irish voters. At the Sackville, 19-year-old student Shane Gaynor asserted that his Yes vote was as much for Europe as for Ireland. “After all Europe has given us, it’s time to give something back,” he said.
Lauren Bacon, also a student and also 19, saw it differently. “We’re the only country that even got a vote on this. We shouldn’t throw away what other countries didn’t even have.”
3. Move the finish line: Perhaps the single greatest factor determining the outcome of Friday’s referendum was that it was held at all. Democracy means adhering to the will of the majority of the day. Do-overs and give-backs not only mock the voting process, they convince many that going to the polls is an exercise in futility. This was the case for many, who told me they had voted against the treaty last year but hadn’t bothered on Friday.
“I’m not voting, I voted No last time,” said Shane Masterson, a 22-year-old builder outside the Sackville. “I wasted dear, valuable time waiting in line, and they threw it away. They’re going to keep asking until they get their way, so what’s the point? We chose to speak and they chose to ignore.” They won’t now of course—Brussels has the answer it wants.
There remains some hope for those who believe Europe deserves a better treaty. Senators in the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus has yet to sign the document, have filed an eleventh hour challenge to Lisbon in the country’s Constitutional Court. Depending on how long the court takes to issue a verdict, the move could buy time for British Conservative leader David Cameron to make good on his promise, repeated on Saturday, that if his party wins general elections next year before the treaty is ratified by all EU countries, they will hold a British referendum.
If so, Mr. Cameron should take note of the tactics employed by Mr. Barroso & Co. As any Irish bookie would tell him, “democracy” in the hands of an unelected central bureaucracy is not a safe bet.
Ms. Jolis is an editorial page writer for the Wall Street Journal Europe.