In just five years, Barack Obama has succeeded in crippling the American economy and shattering the world order under the Pax Americana.
Americans feel the grave economic effects of his domestic policies more immediately and urgently, but it is the shattering of the world order that will ultimately change their lives for the worse.
President Vladimir Putin found that “he could annex Crimea without firing a single bullet”. He has good reason to think that “he will later be able to do the same with the rest of Ukraine”. But he will probably “wait until the situation worsens and the impotence of the United States and Europe becomes even more obvious”.
That is part of the picture of the crumbling world order, described here by Professor Guy Millière (of the University of Paris), at Gatestone.
[Putin] apparently considers that he has in front of him a weak and declining America. And the general demeanor of the present U.S. administration tends to prove him right. The United States seem in full retreat. U.S. military budgets continue to fall. For the last five years, Barack Obama spoke of “ending” the wars in which the U.S. was involved, and he depends on Russia’s cooperation for further negotiations with Iran, for dismantling chemical weapons in Syria, and for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Putin doubtless thinks that Obama will not enter into an open conflict with Russia. Sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States are insignificant, and Putin has every reason to think they will not increase. …
[He] evidently considers Europe even weaker than America. The way European leaders speak and act shows that he is not wrong. For decades, Western European countries relied on the U.S. defense umbrella; none of them today has an army capable of doing more than extremely limited operations. Their foreign policy positions converge with the Obama administration positions. They all have deep economic and financial links with Russia and cannot break these links. The UK needs the Russian capital invested in the City of London. France cannot cancel its Russian warship contract without having to close its shipyards in Saint Nazaire, and without being confronted with major social conflicts. Germany could not survive long without Russian oil and natural gas. Overall, Russia provides thirty percent of the natural gas consumed in Western Europe. Putin apparently thinks that Europe will not enter into an open conflict with Russia. …
Either the West will stand up to Putin, and it will have to do it fast, or Putin will win. Obviously, Europe will not stand up. Polls indicate that Americans are turning sharply toward isolationism.
Showing his view of the situation, Obama recently said that Russia is nothing but a “regional power”, acting “out of weakness”.
What is Russia’s “region”?
Russia covers ten time zones and has borders with Europe, the Muslim Middle East, China, North Korea, and Alaska.
Yes, Russia has a common border with the United States. The US is in its region.
If massing troops on the borders of Ukraine and annexing Crimea are signs of “weakness,” by its evident impotence, America appears even weaker.
Will Putin be content with annexing Crimea, or even the whole of Ukraine?
Several plebiscites have been held since 2006 in Transnistria, a strip of land between Ukraine and Moldova, and each of them has indicated a willingness to join Russia. Estonia includes a large Russian minority, and Russian leaders in Moscow speak of the need to “protect” the Russian population of Estonia.
Estonia is a member of NATO. If Russia were to attack it, NATO, according to Article 5 of its charter, should defend it with prompt military action. But would it? NATO’s military power is America’s military power. Under Obama,what chance is there that America would go to war in Europe?
The world order built after the Second World War was shaped by America. For almost five decades, its goal was to contain Soviet expansion. In the late 1980s, the Soviet empire collapsed, and another phase began: an arrangement in which America would keep the peace and assure the survival of liberty.
America has apparently abrogated that responsibility.
And if Russia is not deterred, other powers will be encouraged to advance their interests abroad by force.
Rogue leaders around the world are watching and drawing their own conclusions.
[The Iranian Ayatollah] Khamenei sees no reason to stop saying that America is the “Great Satan” and that Israel has to be wiped off the map. China sees no reason to hide its intention to occupy the Senkaku/Diyaoyu Islands. Last week, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un fired six missiles into the sea of Japan. [President] Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela reaffirmed its alliance with Russia and positioned Russian missiles in Caracas.
Guy Millière predicts that the chaos will increase and speed up. He sees disaster coming fast.
If we do not see the Ukraine as a warning signal, we could quickly discover that life could now easily enter the state of nature in Hobbes’s Leviathan: [solitary, poor,] nasty, brutish and short.
We are in principle against intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. But we are not for isolationism or pacifism – we regard either philosophy as a formula for national suicide. If other countries become belligerent, build up their armed strength, send their warships towards our shores, establish bases in countries on our borders, and declare their aggressive intentions towards us, the politics of those countries become our business. That is happening now. We are under threat – because Obama is deliberately weakening America. And his reaction to the result is to weaken America even more.
The conditions for major war develop much more easily when the U.S. is too weak. They are developing as we speak.
To a meaningful extent, the significant increase we’ve seen in unrest around the globe since 2010 has been made possible, and inevitable, by the retraction of American power. Even where we still have power in place, it has become increasingly obvious that we aren’t going to use it.
We quote from a website interestingly named Liberty Unyielding. The article on the extreme folly of the Obama administration’s moves to weaken America is by Commander Jennifer Dyer, now retired from the US navy. (Her own blog is at Theoptimisticconservative.wordpress.com):
The collapse of order in the Arab nations in 2011 was the first significant stage of the process. The perception that the United States would do nothing about a Hezbollah coup in Lebanon was tested in January of that year. The perception proved to be true, and when protests erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, for causes both natural and manufactured, a set of radical Islamist actors – the “establishment” Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni jihadists, Iran – saw an opportunity. The establishment Muslim Brotherhood has largely won out in Tunisia, but the battle still rages among these radical actors for Egypt, Syria, and now Iraq. Lebanon is being incrementally sucked into the maelstrom as well.
In multiple venues, Russia has watched the U.S. and the West effectively back Islamists in Russia’s “near abroad”: in Turkey (with support for the now struggling Erdogan government); in the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Kosovo; and in Syria. …
There was a time when the implicit determination of the U.S. to enforce the “Pax Americana” order – the post-World War II alignments of the region – held Russia in check. The Russians still derived some security benefit from that order, after all … It appears to me, however, that 2014 will be the year in which it becomes clear that, according to Russians’ perception, they no longer benefit from the old order. If we’re not going to enforce it, Russia will do what she thinks she has to.
In fact, Moscow’s pushback against the plan for Ukraine to affiliate with the EU constitutes just such a blow for perceived Russian interests. It is of supreme importance for Westerners to not misread the recent developments. The EU and the U.S. did back down when Russia pushed hard last fall. The only ones who didn’t back down were the Ukrainian opposition. I predict Vladimir Putin will try to handle the opposition factions cleverly, as much as he can, and avoid a pitched battle with them if possible. He respects what they are willing to do. But he has no reason to respect Brussels or Washington.
And that means he has more latitude, not less, for going after the regional props to the old order, one by one. As always, Russia’s inevitable competition with China is a major driver, along with Russia’s concern about Islamism on her southern border. The whole Great Crossroads – Southwest Asia, Southeast Europe, Northeast Africa, the waterways that snake through the region – is, if not up for grabs, at least in ferment. Look wherever you like: there are almost no nations where there is not a very present menace from radicalism, or where governments and even borders are not gravely imperiled by internal dissent.
Israel is the chief standout for politically sustainable stability and continuity. Romania and Turkey seem likely to at least retain their constitutional order in the foreseeable future, but Turkey’s geopolitical orientation, in particular, is less certain. Greece and Kosovo – even Bosnia – have serious internal problems. Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia all remain in crisis at various levels. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are relatively stable, and the Arab Persian Gulf states relatively so as well. But their neighborhood is going downhill fast. Iran is riding a wave of radical confidence, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan.
In this tumultuous region, it’s actually a little funny that Pakistan looks stable and staid compared to Iran, Afghanistan, and neighbors west. We can hope that Islamabad’s perceived need to maintain a symmetrical stance against India will keep Pakistan’s loose federation of intransigents federated, and the nukes under central control. But as we move across South Asia, we near another boiling pot. Thailand – long an American ally and pillar of stability in the region – has been rocked in recent months by national unrest of a kind not seen in Southeast Asia for decades. Islamist radicalism is a growing threat in Indonesia, and an unpacified one in the Philippines, after more than a decade of U.S.-Philippines collaboration in fighting it.
And, of course, China is making real, transformative moves against regional security with her proclamations about air space and maritime rights off her southeast coast.
This disruptive process, like the battles for many of the Arab nations, is already underway. We’re not waiting for something to happen; it’s started.
China assumes, quite correctly, that there will be no effective pushback from the United States. But two other nations with power and means will regard it as intolerable for China to dictate conditions in Southeast Asia: Japan and Russia. The dance of realignment among these nations has implications for everyone in Central Asia and the Far East. The day may be on the horizon sooner than we think when maintaining a divided Korea no longer makes sense to at least one of the major players. The day is already here when Chinese activities in Central Asia are alarming the whole neighborhood, just as Chinese actions are in the South China Sea. …
Russia and Iran are advancing on the US through Central America:
It’s no accident that as radical leftism creeps across Central America (falsely laying claim to a noble “Bolivarian” political mantle), the maritime dispute between Nicaragua and American ally Colombia heats up – and Russia shows up to back Nicaragua and Venezuela – and so does Iran – and unrest turns into shooting and government brutality and violence in Venezuela – and Hezbollah shows up there to openly support the radical, repressive Maduro government.
Now Iran has a naval supply ship headed for Central America, very possibly with a cargo of arms that are not only prohibited by UN sanction, but capable of reaching the United States if launched from a Central American nation or Cuba.
We’re not still waiting for the shocks to start to the old order. They’ve already started. I haven’t surveyed even the half of what there is to talk about …
She looks at the latest defense cuts with dismay and considers what the consequences will be:
This is the world in which the United States plans to reduce our army to its lowest level since before World War II, and eliminate or put in storage much of its capabilities for heavy operations abroad (e.g., getting rid of the A-10 Warthogs, moving Blackhawk helicopters into the National Guard). It’s in this world that DOD proposes to cease operating half of our Navy cruisers, while delaying delivery of the carrier-based F-35 strike-fighter to the Navy and Marine Corps. These cutbacks come on top of cuts already made to training and maintenance expenditures in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force that will affect unit readiness for years to come. …
Then comes what should be a shocking observation:
By cutting back on defense so drastically, America is deciding, in essence, to “fight fair”: to give whatever opponents emerge more of a chance to kill our soldiers, damage our interests, and drag out conflicts. …
That would be hard to believe of any American leadership – until now. It is ludicrous. Worse, it is lunatic. But Obama has never concealed or disguised his wish to weaken America’s military capacity.
The decision “to further limit our capabilities to use power in politically relevant ways” will result in “even more global unrest: more conflict, more shooting, more blood, more extortion and political thuggery menacing civil life in the world’s poorer and more vulnerable nations”, and that cannot be good for America. The point is that -
These unpleasant trends will spill over into civil life in the wealthier nations soon enough …
As it has, she points out, in Ukraine, Thailand, and Venezuela, “whether directly or through second-order consequences”.
Peace and freedom have to be tended constantly; they are not the natural state of geopolitical indiscipline, but its antithesis. …
We’re extraordinarily unprepared for the world that is shaping up around us. …
[And] a world that doesn’t want quiescent trade conditions, tolerance of dissent, the open flow of ideas, and mutual agreements, peacefully arrived at, will not have them.
That’s the world we are sentencing ourselves, for now, to live in. Perhaps we will learn from the consequences how to think again: about what it takes to guard freedom, and indeed, about what freedom actually is.
It is Obama who needs to think again, but there is no reason to hope that he will. It could hardly be more obvious that he does not care for freedom.
By 2020, in the Land of the Rising Sun, adult diapers will outsell baby diapers: The sun also sets.
Mark Steyn writes about a people – the Japanese – dying out, and reminds us that Europeans are too. Whole nations have embraced “voluntary societal self-extinction”. It could also be called “auto-genocide“.
To Western eyes, contemporary Japan has a kind of earnest childlike wackiness, all karaoke machines and manga cartoons and nuttily sadistic game shows. But, to us demography bores, it’s a sad place that seems to be turning into a theme park of P. D. James’s great dystopian novel The Children of Men. … Baroness James’s tale is set in Britain in the near future, in a world that is infertile: The last newborn babe emerged from the womb in 1995, and since then nothing. … The Japanese seem determined to live up to the book’s every telling detail.
In Lady James’s speculative fiction, pets are doted on as child-substitutes, and churches hold christening ceremonies for cats. In contemporary Japanese reality, Tokyo has some 40 “cat cafés” where lonely solitary citizens can while away an afternoon by renting a feline to touch and pet for a couple of companionable hours. In Lady James’s speculative fiction, all the unneeded toys are burned, except for the dolls, which childless women seize on as the nearest thing to a baby and wheel through the streets. In contemporary Japanese reality, toy makers, their children’s market dwindling, have instead developed dolls for seniors to be the grandchildren they’ll never have: You can dress them up, and put them in a baby carriage, and the computer chip in the back has several dozen phrases of the kind a real grandchild might use to enable them to engage in rudimentary social pleasantries.
The loneliness, the hopelessness, the frustration of biological purpose and the profound longing it naturally gives rise to – the story is infinitely sad.
P. D. James’s most audacious fancy is that in a barren land sex itself becomes a bit of a chore. The authorities frantically sponsor state porn emporia promoting ever more recherché forms of erotic activity in an effort to reverse the populace’s flagging sexual desire just in case man’s seed should recover its potency. Alas, to no avail. As Lady James writes, “Women complain increasingly of what they describe as painful orgasms: the spasm achieved but not the pleasure. Pages are devoted to this common phenomenon in the women’s magazines.”
As I said, a bold conceit, at least to those who believe that shorn of all those boring procreation hang-ups we can finally be free to indulge our sexual appetites to the full. But it seems the Japanese have embraced the no-sex-please-we’re-dystopian-Brits plot angle, too. … A survey by the Japan Family Planning Association reported that over a quarter of men aged 16–24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” For women, it was 45 percent. … 49 percent of women under 34 are not in any kind of romantic relationship, and nor are 61 percent of single men. A third of Japanese adults under 30 have never dated. Anyone. Ever. … It’s a flight from human intimacy.
They’re not alone in that, of course. A while back, I flew from a speaking engagement on one side of the Atlantic to a TV booking on the other. And backstage at both events an attractive thirtysomething woman made the same complaint to me. They’d both tried computer dating but were alarmed by the number of chaps who found human contact too much effort: Instead of meeting and kissing and making out and all that other stuff that involves being in the same room, they’d rather you just sexted them and twitpiced a Weineresque selfie or two. As in other areas, the Japanese seem merely to have reached the end point of Western ennui a little earlier.
By 2020, in the Land of the Rising Sun, adult diapers will outsell baby diapers: The sun also sets. In The Children of Men, the barrenness is a medical condition; in real life, in some of the oldest nations on earth, from Madrid to Tokyo, it’s a voluntary societal self-extinction.
In Europe, the demographic death spiral is obscured by high Muslim immigration; in Japan, which retains a cultural aversion to immigration of any kind, there are no foreigners to be the children you couldn’t be bothered having yourself.
In welfare states, the future is premised on social solidarity: The young will pay for the costs of the old. But, as the West ages, social solidarity frays, and in Japan young men aren’t even interested in solidarity with young women, and young women can’t afford solidarity with bonnie bairns. So an elderly population in need of warm bodies to man the hospital wards and senior centers is already turning to robot technology. If manga and anime are any indication, the post-human nurses and waitresses will be cute enough to make passable sex partners — for anyone who can still be bothered.
Unexpectedly, an important article on the current US and EU diplomatic talks with Iran, written by the excellent John Bolton (who would be a great Secretary of State) appears in the lefty pro-Islam British newspaper The Guardian. Here is a large part of it:
Tuesday’s opening of yet another round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear-weapons program creates enormous risks for America’s anti-proliferation efforts. Tehran’s extensive propaganda campaign, stressing the “moderation” of its new president, Hassan Rouhani, seems to be working, softening up the gullible in the United States and Europe.
As in previous iterations of the charade now reopening in Geneva, Iran’s bargaining position benefits from our own repeated mistakes. The ayatollahs need only take advantage of these unforced errors, and success may well fall into their undeserving hands. Consider the most blatant errors that Iran is eager to exploit.
First, both Presidents Bush and Obama conceded that Iran was entitled to a “peaceful” nuclear program, for energy and scientific purposes. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), however, that view is flatly wrong. By pursuing nuclear weapons for over two decades, Iran has violated key NPT provisions – notably, the obligation it freely undertook to be a non-nuclear weapons state. Tehran is not, therefore, entitled to claim benefits under NPT sections permitting peaceful uses of nuclear power.
Beyond treaty interpretation, Iran’s long record of ignoring its commitments and lying about its nuclear program demonstrates beyond dispute that it cannot be trusted. What conceivable reason exists to believe today’s pledge to abstain from nuclear weapons when the ayatollahs have violated so many previous pledges? …
Second, by allowing Iran to possess any uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, or spent nuclear fuel reprocessing capabilities, the west will both legitimize Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it can move to weaponization at a time entirely of its choosing. … By misunderstanding the physics of uranium enrichment, the Obama administration has made a mockery of itself.
Third, the White House retort that international inspections will prevent Iran from speedily moving to weaponization is a complete fiction. Given the broad, deep nuclear infrastructure Iran is building aggressively, Tehran need merely expel the International Atomic Energy Agency when it chooses to do so, and then move rapidly to weaponization. …
Fourth, what Iran really wants near-term, and what the west seems poised to give, is relief from international economic sanctions. Although these measures have caused Iran economic pain, there is no evidence they have impeded the nuclear program. …
So sanctions are working. But Obama and the Communist representative of the EU, Catherine Ashton, are already squandering that advantage.
While America and Europe insist they will demand reciprocal concessions for any weakening of the sanctions, Iran (with its backers, Russia and China) is bargaining from a position of strength. The ayatollahs sense from Obama’s desperate efforts for a handshake or phone call with Rouhani at September’s UN opening that he is hungry for a deal, thus allowing them to extract concession from the west before making even a superficial response.
Which is not just diplomatic ineptitude on Obama’s part, it’s downright dumb – unless Obama wants Iran to get the bomb. Actually, we suspect he does; that he is sympathetic to Islam and its efforts to gain power. And we are convinced he is anti-Israel.
Our negotiators are already talking about “sequencing” steps by the two sides – meaning, in reality, we will make the first concessions, hoping that Iran will make substantive concession later. In fact, the likely scenario is the exact opposite: Obama will make significant reductions in sanctions that will be very hard to restore subsequently, and Iran will give us blue smoke and mirrors. Even worse, these non-reciprocal episodes could continue at length, giving Tehran another precious resource, time, to continue building its nuclear facilities. …
We have only two very unpleasant choices: either Iran gets nuclear weapons in the very near future, or pre-emptive military force, fully justified by well-established principles of self-defense, must break Iran’s control over the nuclear fuel cycle and prevent (or, at least, substantially delay) weaponization. President Obama has said repeatedly that “all options are on the table”, the standard euphemism for military action. But, especially after Syria, no one believes him, the ayatollahs in Tehran, most notably.
By default that leaves Israel, which is watching today’s negotiations most uneasily.
The fact is we shouldn’t trust and can’t verify Iranian promises not to fabricate nuclear weapons. Indeed, even now, Washington really doesn’t know how quickly Iran could assemble a small number of nuclear weapons.
But a crash program has never really been Tehran’s objective. Iran is playing a much longer game that the west, largely because it fears neither our sanctions nor a possible military strike.
Our inability to see through this strategy has brought us grief time and again. Unfortunately, in Geneva, we may be watching a re-run.
Sex Aversion 35
Following on from our post Childlessness (April 30, 2012), we quote today from an article about a spreading aversion to sex. It is by Spengler, writing in the Asia Times:
A Japanese government study [shows that] almost a third of Japanese boys aged 16-19 and three-fifths of girls say that they have no interest in sex. …
The hormones of late adolescence evidently rage in vain against some cultural barrier that makes young Japanese “despise” sexual relations. …
For 60 years, the sexual revolution insisted that repressed desire is the root of all evil. It turns out that the ultimate victim of the sexual revolution is sex itself.
What makes the Japanese hate sex? The same things that make a growing proportion of Americans hate sex. Joan Sewell’s 2007 book I’d Rather Eat Chocolate became the manifesto of American women who don’t like sex …
Pharmaceutical companies are racing to market a pill to revive fading female libido, to no avail: women do not want to be sex objects, and a culture that objectifies women will make them hate sex …
Japan is a step ahead of the United States, as the first industrial country to bring sadism and pedophilia into the mainstream. … A streak of cruelty pervades Japanese culture … But the West has begun to embrace cruelty in sexual relations on a scale comparable to Japan, and the consequences most likely will be identical.
For example: Fifty Shades of Grey [by E L James], the adult version of the Twilight vampire-and-werewolf series, has become a soccer-mom bestseller. Now we know what the original, adolescent version was about, namely sadism and submission. What is it that makes adolescent girls crave sexual control and degradation? Evidently, it is the same thing that prompts their mothers to buy heavy-breathing pulp versions of the same thing in more explicit form.
After half a century of sexual revolution – otherwise known as objectification – women suffer en masse from the sexual equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome, identification with their tormentors, as a number of popular commentators observe. After a quarter-million e-book downloads, Viking Press has just paid a seven-figure advance to … E L James, an Englishwoman who initially posted the manuscript as bondage porn on a Twilight fan fiction site under the screen-name “SnowqueensIcedragon”. In the original, still available online, little Bella of the Twilight books is deflowered not by her vampire boyfriend, but by a billionaire sadist instead, and becomes his adoring sex slave. …
The Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek … got the 2004 Nobel Prize in literature for explicit portrayals of sexual violence, but with literary pretensions. Jelinek … is an Austrian communist who politicizes domination. …
Why are so many American women fascinated by sexual cruelty? The answer is that the prevailing regime of sexual objectification already carries with it the experience of cruelty. For adolescent girls, the replacement of courtship by “hooking up” with “friends with benefits” is a cruel prospect.
Somehow that doesn’t seem an adequate explanation. Cruel prospects might be expected to invoke a yearning for happier ones, not an appetite for reading about cruelty.
Even though only three out of ten American teenagers aged 13 to 16 are sexually active, the options available to adolescent girls are narrowly defined. Adolescent boys are monsters, as anyone who has been one, or known one, can attest, and to require adolescent girls to engage in sexual activity of any kind with such creatures is horrifying. The considerate and courteous young vampire of the Twilight books is a cavalier by comparison.
Freud’s question, “What do women want?,” showed what an ideologically-driven fanatic he was. Women want what every human being wants, which is to be unique, and to be loved for their uniqueness. With rare exceptions, human beings become unique by bearing and raising children: a child can have only one mother. Women are unique as mothers, and men are lifted above their animal instincts by their attachment to the mother of their children.
The moment we separate sexuality from child-bearing, we turn women into generic sexual objects, which makes it impossible for them to obtain what they want, because sexual objects are generic. The one thing you know with 100% certainty about any woman you see, supermodels included, is that some man, somewhere, is tired of sleeping with her. If women cannot control men by bearing their children, what other means to they have to control them? We find the answer in the sudden popularity of dominant-submissive fantasies.
The dominant “master of the universe” in EL James’ story can be controlled by his own need to dominate, for the submissive female heroine has something that he needs in addition to generic sexuality. …
The controller is controlled by the woman he controls? Control, control. Women liberationists, are you listening?
The stylized sexual games that EL James recounts become a creepy substitute for actual courtship. Like the romance novel hero, who must pay court to the female lead, the “master of the universe” must pay prolonged attention to the female lead in preparation for sexual acts. Romance fiction requires a suspension of disbelief that is increasingly precarious in a culture of sexual exploitation. The dominant-submissive fantasy is more credible.
The sudden popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey portends the death of America’s libido. I cannot speak from personal experience, but the paradox of domination … surely applies to the ritualistic cruelty described in this silly book and its sequels. After the initial frisson has passed, repetition of the same handcuffs-and-riding-crop routine must become unspeakably boring over time. …
And when perversion fails to titillate, nothing at all will. Like Japanese women, who encountered mainstream sexual violence and now eschew sex altogether, American women will have a great deal less sex and a great deal more chocolate.
All the signs are there. … American women will follow their Japanese sisters into asexuality, and if women become sufficiently disgusted with men, men will become disgusted with themselves.
But then again, much of that diagnosis may be just psychobabble. The ingestion of chemicals could be to blame:
There might be a simpler explanation for the disappearance of Japan’s libido. Between 1998 and 2003, sales of anti-depressants in Japan quintupled …
Prozac is well known to cause sexual dysfunction, along with general calming. Maybe the attack on depression and hyperactivity is affecting aggression, violence, crime, and many other antisocial behaviors. … Maybe America and other nations are prescribing themselves a gradual but gigantic and deadly loss of libido.
Whether it is due to disgust at the misery of their circumstances, or the side-effect of drugs intended to dull the misery of their circumstances, women are abandoning sexuality.
When human beings cease to desire each other physically, it is because they have ceased to desire each other at all. The things that motivate human beings to unite in intimate and permanent union, procreating and acculturating another generation, give way to the pure exercise of ego.
No, no: “pure ego” is being denied. What is the evolutionary use of sexual desire? The only discernible purpose our biology provides for us is to reproduce. As a biologist once put it: “The only reason an egg gives birth to a chicken is to ensure that there will be another egg.”
But we agree with the main point: promiscuous sex is lonely, sterile, boring, purposeless, destructive of dignity and self-respect, and terminally bad for human beings both individually and as the human race.
The typical [not quite - JB] American household no longer harbors a family but a person living alone. As Eric Klinenberg reports in his much-commented new book Going Solo, 28% of all American households now contain a single person, compared to just 9% in 1950.
Klinenberg, to be sure, thinks this is wonderful; his typical “Singleton” lives in Manhattan, hangs out at the local sushi bar and coffee shop, swims in a rich cultural current, and devotes himself to the grand diversion of the age, namely “self-realization”, which is easier to pursue in the absence of another self that might make competing demands.
In another 20 years or so, though, the self-sufficient singles of American cities will emulate the kodokushi (“lonely death”) victims of Japan, another much-commented 21st-century phenomenon. … Kodokushi clean-up has become a minor industry:
In the 1990s … the owner of a small moving company in Osaka, Japan, began noticing that many of his jobs involved people who had just died. Families of the deceased were either too squeamish to pack up for their dead relatives, or there wasn’t any family to call on. So [he] started a new business cleaning out the homes of the dead. Then he started noticing something else: thick, dark stains shaped like a human body, the residue of liquids excreted by a decomposing corpse.
That is the end that enlightened secular culture has prefigured for us …: to leave no trace of our mortal existence except for a grease-stain on the carpet.
A sickening image, a pathetic fate.
But we don’t like his putting in the word “secular”. His implication is that lack of religious belief underlies or directly causes this vast disillusionment and lapse into hopeless futility. What does religion offer as a counter? A purpose beyond this world, this life? It is in this world, this life that we need happiness and fulfillment. There is no other.
(Hat tip for the link, reader and commenter rogerinflorida.)
Environmentalists – adherents of the religion of Gaia – want the population of the world to shrink. Some of them want the human race to become extinct. (See our post Earth Day: ideally celebrated with human sacrifice, April 22, 2012.)
In many countries – all of Europe, Russia, and Japan being notable examples – indigenous populations are shrinking rapidly.
In the United States, the birth rate keeps the population stable and immigration increases it. But there is here, as elsewhere in the developed world, a high abortion rate, and advocacy for infanticide among the leftist self-appointed elite. (See our post The Nazi ethics of the left, March 5, 2012.)
People who have no children save themselves a large expense. They are less tied down. Through their active years they are freer to please themselves.
But what happens to them when they grow old?
This is from an essay by Nicholas Eberstadt, in the Spring issue of the Wilson Quarterly, titled Japan Shrinks:
In 2006, Japan reached a demographic and social turning point. According to Tokyo’s official statistics, deaths that year very slightly outnumbered births.. … Japan is now a “net mortality society.” Death rates today are routinely higher than birthrates, and the imbalance is growing. The nation is set to commence a prolonged period of depopulation. …
Japan’s historically robust (if perhaps at times stifling) family relations, a pillar of society in all earlier generations, stand to be severely and perhaps decisively eroded in the coming decades. Traditional “Asian family values” — the ideals of universal marriage and parenthood — are already largely a curiosity of the past in Japan. Their decay has set in motion a variety of powerful trends which virtually ensure that the Japan of 2040 will be a country with far greater numbers of aged isolates, divorced individuals, and adults whose family lines come to an end with them.
At its heart, marriage in traditional Japan was a matter of duty, not just love. … Unshackled from the obligations of the old family order, Japan’s young men and women have plunged into a previously unknown territory of interpersonal options. … Even as young Japanese increasingly avoid marriage, divorce is further undermining the country’s family structure. Just as being unmarried at prime child-rearing age is no longer a situation requiring explanation, divorce now bears no stigma. Between 1970 and 2009, the annual tally of divorces nearly tripled. The number of new marriages, meanwhile, slumped by nearly a third. …
As the flight from marriage and the normalization of divorce has recast living arrangements in Japan, the cohort of married fertile adults has plummeted in size. … Nowadays, the odds of being married are barely even within this key demographic group. And marriage is the only real path to parenthood. Unwed motherhood remains, so to speak, inconceivable because of the enduring disgrace conferred by out-of-wedlock births.
In effect, the Japanese have embraced voluntary mass childlessness. …
Rates of childlessness have been generally rising throughout the industrialized world since 1945, but Japan’s levels were high to begin with. …
Though it can be represented in cold statistics, the human flavor of Japan’s new demographic order may be better captured in anecdote:
• Rental “relatives” are now readily available throughout the country for celebrations when a groom or bride lacks requisite kin.
• “Babyloids” — small, furry, robotic dolls that can mimic some of the sounds and gestures of real babies — are being marketed to help older Japanese cope with loneliness and depression.
• Robot pets and rental pets are also available for those who seek the affection of an animal but cannot cope with having one to look after.
• In a recent government survey, one-third of boys ages 16 to 19 described themselves as uninterested in or positively averse to sexual intimacy.
• Young Japanese men are, however, clearly very interested in video games and the Internet: In 2009, a 27-year-old Japanese man made history by “marrying” a female video game character’s avatar while thousands watched online.
• Japanese researchers are pioneering the development of attractive, lifelike androids. Earlier this year, a persuasively realistic humanoid called Geminoid F was displayed in a department store window, appearing to wait for a friend.
These random facts may not reflect the full spectrum of everyday life in modern Japan, but like anecdotes about any country, they reveal things that are genuine, distinctive, and arguably meaningful about it today—and perhaps tomorrow as well.
What will all of these unfolding demographic and familial changes mean for the Japan of 2040?
Generally and probably, a poorer, harder, lonelier, drearier life for a perishing nation is the answer. For details read the whole article here.
We breed at the planet’s peril. They say.
The Daily Caller reports:
During a discussion series … at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., speaker and activist Kavita Ramdas argued that contraceptives should be part of a strategy to save the planet, calling lower birth rates a “common sense” part of a climate-change reduction strategy.
Kavita Ramdas is “executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University”.
“Social Entrepreneurship”. Another pseudo-science to entice kids into dead-end courses at universities?
At the event, titled “Women’s Health: Key to Climate Adaptation Strategies,” Ramdas pointed to studies conducted by health consultants at the for-profit Futures Group, the government-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, to connect contraception with climate change.
Ramdas told The Daily Caller that the research shows “empowering women to time their pregnancies” and avoid unwanted births would reduce carbon emissions between 8 to 15 percent globally.
8 to 15 percent? Wonderful what they can calculate, these mathematical geniuses of the global warming lobby!
“It is common sense that when women are able to plan their pregnancies, populations grow more slowly and as a result so do greenhouse gas emissions,” she explained. “Providing access to contraception and preventative health should be one of the many effective strategies used to fight climate change.” …
Global warming activists argue increasing greenhouse gas emissions, partly resulting from unsustainable population growth, is resulting in “environmental devastation” such as frequent severe weather events and rising sea levels.
There it is. Doom. You go and have babies and what happens? Tornados whip up, seas rise, the earth heats, deserts spread.
The United States and other countries with high levels of emissions, Ramdas [said], have the potential to make the biggest impact by making contraception more accessible.
So it’s not the ignorant Third World that’s breeding too much; its the First World, and in particular the USA.
She said every child in America absorbs, on average, 40 percent more of the earth’s resources than children in other countries.
Greedy little imperialist pigs!
Ramdas isn’t the first activist to suggest a connection between global warming and birth rates.
At a January “Climate Change, Population and Sustainability” event organized by Aspen Global Health and Development, International Planned Parenthood Federation regional director Carmen Barroso said limiting population growth may reduce carbon emissions significantly. …
“It’s about the facts,” said Barroso. … “Recent research shows that meeting this need, and thereby slowing population growth, could reduce carbon emissions by 16 to 29 percent of the emission reductions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.”
16 to 29 percent now, not 8 to 15? Or is it just fluffy math?
The anti-human ethos is not without its critics in the profession:
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment, said the “population issue” has been underneath the surface of the global warming debate since it began. Activists’ solution to that particular problem, he explained, has always been to decrease the human population somehow.
“It is the case that less people [fewer people, please Myron - JB] means less carbon emissions [emission],” Ebell told TheDC. [About grammar none of them gives a damn.] “But we fundamentally disagree with the effect that it is having on the planet. We believe that people are an asset, not a burden, to the world.”
To the world? What world is there to be benefited or harmed if there are no people?
Kavita Ramdas confesses that her big concern is not after all the saving of the earth but the prevention of births as a cause in itself.
In her address … Ramdas said there was a growing global consensus about putting “population development and women’s rights” in the same argument. [She] later told The Daily Caller, however, that her contraception advocacy isn’t about population control, but rather supporting a woman’s right to decide when to get pregnant. The two causes, she insisted, just happened to complement one another.
And besides, if you say you’re working on population/carbon control, you get the big bucks.
President Obama is an anti-birth enthusiast:
The president’s proposed 2013 budget, which calls for $296.8 million in funding for the Title X Family Planning Progress, $104.8 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and $530 million for USAID family planning and reproductive health programs.
And of course wherever there’s interference in private lives, a plan to redistribute your property, accusation that you’re guilty because you’re a prosperous Westerner (extra so if you’re American), you can be certain the United Nations is involved.
The United Nations Population Fund would also receive $39 million, a $4 million increase over 2011 funding. It supports family planning, population development and climate change mitigation work, among other causes.
A publication by the U.N. agency called “Population Dynamics and Climate Change” argues that “the lack of consideration of population dynamics hampers the development of stronger, more effective solutions to the challenges climate change poses.”
In other words: people are bad for the earth.
The UN’s number two obsession (after the need to excoriate Israel) is to save the earth from people. That’s where the two causes – climate control and population control – connect.
So let fewer babies be born. Eventually, with enough US funding, perhaps none at all. Free of the burden of raising the next generation, existing adult populations will age delightfully and live longer. Until the last generation, coming quite soon.
But … wait a moment. Who will work to support the carefree life of the old?
In Russia, in Japan, in Italy, Portugal and Spain, and many another country where the professors’ writ runs, the population is just about halving with each generation.
A world without children is a dying world.
Once cleansed of people, it may become a “healthy” planet spinning round the sun, but who will know it?
Terrorist organizations are having to meet the rising cost of killing.
Suicide bombers, or their suppliers, have put up their fees.
From The Sydney Morning Herald:
Militant groups [ie the Taliban] in Afghanistan and Pakistan are trading the lives of would-be suicide bombers for up to $US90,000 ($83,800), three times what they were paying just two years ago.
The work (so to speak) is likely to attract more applicants when the reward is high:
The Kabul newspaper Daily Outlook Afghanistan said the higher price was a ”terrible trend” with serious consequences for the fight against terrorism.
”The price of a suicide bomber set so high would motivate many others who are disappointed from life due to not having any employment,” the editorial said.
Not all suicide bombers are volunteers:
Pakistani authorities revealed recently that Taliban insurgents had kidnapped a nine-year-old girl and strapped a suicide vest on her in an attempt to blow up a police checkpoint.
Many children are trained to kill-and-die, and the high price of adults raises the demand for child suicide bombers who may be bought for less. So children are being farmed to supply the market.:
The National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan claims that it has more than 100 boys aged between 12 and 17 in custody facing charges of attempting suicide attacks. “Ninety-nine per cent of the children detained on charges of suicide attack have come from Pakistan where they were indoctrinated, trained and equipped in religious schools and other insurgency training camps,” the directorate spokesman, Lutfullah Mashal, said.
The suicide-bombing industry is highly adaptive. In addition to finding ways to ensure ample supplies of young operatives, it is continually inventing new methods of smuggling human-borne explosive devices on to aircraft despite the ever more rigorous search routines:
From the Mirror:
Airports are on high alert for al-Qaeda terrorists plotting to blow up jets using “body bombs” surgically inserted in them.
Attempts are being made to implant explosives into the abdomens, buttocks and breasts of suicide bombers so they can pass undetected through new airport body scanners.
US security experts have warned airlines and airport authorities about the new threat … They fear fanatics could inject a detonating chemical into themselves to trigger the bombs. … Potential bombers would carry a letter from a doctor claiming they have had surgery and need to carry a needle and syringe for medical reasons. It would be sufficient to clear security during check-in for a flight.
Terror experts confirmed small pouches of high explosives such as Pentaerythritol Tetra Nitrate could be implanted into the body. The wounds would be allowed to heal over and the bomb, which would be detonated in mid air by injecting a chemical into the pouch. Just eight ounces of PETN, the weight of a Rubik’s Cube, could bring down a plane …
But are there doctors willing to help the cause by supplying false certificates and performing the surgery?
One security source said there is concern that the US may harbour a significant number of medical students sympathetic to al-Qaeda.He said: “There are a large number of students from Arab countries studying medicine in the US. … All that would be needed is a basic grounding in rudimentary surgery to help implant a small amount of explosive.”
In fact, terrorist doctors, fully qualified in the profession, are not in short supply: a number of Arab doctors have prostituted their skills to serve the Islamic ideology of torture and murder.
Michelle Malkin writes:
Our homeland security officials have sent fresh warnings to foreign governments that “human bombs” may try to board planes with surgically implanted explosives. The ticking terrorists are reportedly getting help from murder-minded Arab Muslim physicians trained in the West. Infidels beware: Dr. Jihad’s version of the health care oath omits the “no” in “Do no harm.”
The death docs may be using their expertise to play “Hide the IED” in body cavities that bomb-detection equipment cannot penetrate. At least one Saudi operative has been nabbed with explosives in his bum, and British intel picked up on Arab website chatter last year about possible breast-bomb inserts. Officials are now said to be on the lookout for physicians’ notes requesting that passengers be allowed to carry syringes — which could carry detonation chemicals. …
There should be no shock at the role of purported healers in these and other hellish plots to destroy masses of innocent lives in the name of Allah. …
Medical charities have long served as front groups for jihad. Palestinian jihadists used ambulances owned and operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) – subsidized with billions in American tax dollars — to ferry explosives and gunmen from attacks. Hezbollah terrorists used ambulances as props in Lebanon to stage anti-Israel propaganda and elicit sympathy from Western media.
Radical Islam’s bloody perversion of the medical profession traces back to the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, the global terror operation that wooed wealthy young docs and other intellectual elites with cushy union benefits.
- Ayman al-Zawahiri, a surgeon from a family of doctors, was raised in the Muslim Brotherhood; helmed the murderous Islamic Jihad; and masterminded myriad al-Qaida plots before succeeding Osama bin Laden this summer.
- Former Hamas leader Abdel Rantissi, bent on wiping out the children of Israel, was a pediatrician.
- Convicted al-Qaida scientist Aafia Siddiqui studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis.
- Rafiq Abdus Sabir was a Columbia University grad who served as an emergency room physician in Boca Raton, Fla., before his terrorism conviction in 2007 for agreeing to provide medical aid and treatment to wounded al-Qaida fighters so they could return to Iraq to kill American soldiers.
- Rafil Dhafir, an Iraqi-born oncologist, practiced in New York before being convicted in 2004 on 59 criminal counts related to violating Iraqi sanctions and committing large-scale medical charity fraud.
- A den of well-heeled jihadi doctors from around the world was implicated in the 2007 London/Glasgow bombings. At least one of the convicted terror MDs worked for Britain’s National Health Service.
- Mahmoud al-Zahar, another bloodthirsty Hamas biggie and medical doctor, described his specialty to a New York Times reporter in 2006 this way: ”’Thyroids: I’m very good at cutting throats,’ Dr. Zahar said, drawing his forefinger across his neck as a rare smile spread across his face.”
And at least one Christian Arab could be added to the list: George Habash, a Palestinian Greek-Orthodox Christian, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of the terrorist groups that came together to form the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Arafat’s leadership. He qualified as a doctor of medicine at the American University of Beirut in 1951.
Michelle Malkin goes on to remind us of the Muslim psychiatrist who carried out the Fort Hood massacre:
Closer to home, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan starkly diagnosed the ideological fanaticism of every soldier of Allah in a Koranic-inspired PowerPoint presentation that concluded: “We love death more then (sic) you love life!”
Military officials plagued by political correctness ignored Hasan. Thirteen Fort Hood soldiers and civilian personnel, and one unborn child, paid with their lives.
How many more Dr. Jihads are operating in the open, exploiting our borders and tolerance, wielding medical licenses to kill?
Obama does not make war. Definitely not. So what’s the US doing firing Tomahawk subsonic cruise missiles at Libyan targets?
According to official spokesmen, it is taking “kinetic military action”. And that only to protect civilians.
Let us, in this stifling atmosphere of pacifism and sentimentality, consider some information (from Wikipedia) that raises questions in an enquiring mind:
The numbers of US military personnel in foreign lands “as of March 31, 2008″, though it must be remembered that numbers change due to the recall and deployment of units, show that there are more US military personnel in Germany, 52,440, than in Iraq, 50,000.
Why are they in Germany?
9,660 in Italy and 9,015 in Britain.
28,500 in South Korea (good); 71,000 in Afghanistan (we know what for) and about half as many, 35,688, in Japan.
Why are they in Japan?
Altogether, 77,917 military personnel are located in Europe [more than in Afghanistan], 141 in the former Soviet Union …
What are the 141 doing in “the former Soviet union”?
47,236 in East Asia and the Pacific, 3,362 in North Africa, the Near East, and South Asia, 1,355 are in sub-Saharan Africa with 1,941 in the Western Hemisphere excepting the United States itself …
Within the United States, including U.S. territories and ships afloat within territorial waters -
As of 31 December 2009, a total of 1,137,568 personnel are on active duty within the United States and its territories (including 84,461 afloat). The vast majority, 941,629 of them, were stationed at various bases within the Contiguous United States [the 48 U.S. states on the continent of North America that are south of Canada, plus the District of Columbia, not the states of Alaska and Hawaii, or off-shore U.S. territories and possessions, such as Puerto Rico]. There were an additional 37,245 in Hawaii and 20,450 in Alaska. 84,461 were at sea, 2,972 in Guam, and 179 in Puerto Rico.
What of the US navy?
The United States Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S. Navy also has the world’s largest carrier fleet, with 11 in service, three under construction, and one in reserve. The service had 328,516 personnel on active duty and 101,689 in the Navy Reserve in January 2011. It operates 286 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft.
The 21st century United States Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in such areas as East Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. It is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and rapidly respond to regional crises, making it an active player in U.S. foreign and defense policy.
See a list of US Navy ships here.
The air force?
As of 2009 the USAF operates 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 unmanned combat air vehicles, 2,130 air-launched cruise missiles, and 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The USAF has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard as of September 2008. In addition, the USAF employs 151,360 civilian personnel, and has over 60,000 auxiliary members in the Civil Air Patrol,making it the largest air force in the world.
See the list and the pictures of the military aircraft here.
Weaponry – here. And a quotation:
We have achieved a level of technology in military weapons and equipment that no other nation on earth comes close to.
What of US nuclear armament? The US maintains an arsenal of 5,113 warheads.
Space dominance? The question of weapons in space has been much discussed and is not settled. Not wanted by Obama.
What conclusions can be drawn from these facts and figures?
The Cold War is not over?
China is a menace?
The US is still the Watch of the World? Patrolling, protecting, ready to defend? Defend what, specifically?
One thing is certain. The United States of America is a military colossus.
Its military might is a hard – and surely very comforting – fact.
The fact alone should be enough to deter impudent adventurer states, like Russia and Iran, and make tyrannical chieftains who think of plotting massacre, like Gaddafi, think again – unless a silly leader like Obama announces that America will not go to war.
America must not be humble. Far better that it be feared than loved.
America must remain strong. Its ineluctable duty is to awe the world.