Tag Archive: Walter Russell Mead

Why The Ambassador Died

Professor Mead on Benghazi Incompetence





” Defenders of the administration will point to this Times story as partially exonerating White House officials from some of the charges leveled against them. At least they tried to save Ambassador Stevens and his team.”



  ” As officials in the White House and Pentagon scrambled to respond to the torrent of reports pouring out from Libya — with Mr. Stevens missing and officials worried that he might have been taken hostage — they took the extraordinary step of sending elite Delta Force commandos, with their own helicopters and ground vehicles, from their base at Fort Bragg, N.C., to Sicily. Those troops also arrived too late.”



 ” Ambassador Stevens didn’t die because the White House had a bad night. He died because the White House has bungled North Africa.”

The State of the Race …

… Delphic, With a Lean to Obama



” Nothing is more pointless or more irresistible than to try to predict the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election. It’s pointless both because so many resources and so much energy has been spent on the forecasting effort up until now and because in just a few days the results of the 2012 election will be universally known. But it’s irresistible because human beings are hardwired to try to figure out the future and because the contest is so dramatic and consuming.

For what it’s worth, at Via Meadia we stand pretty much where we’ve stood for the last year: the President has a slight edge in a close race. Governor Romney foiled the President’s effort to marginalize his candidacy and brand him as a radical by solid performances in the debates and overall an impressive fall campaign, but his momentum in the polls never quite gave him both the national and swing state edge he needed to become the frontrunner. ”





” The only thing holding us back from predicting an Obama win Tuesday is this prediction of a Romney win by Michael Barone. Barone is without a doubt one of the deepest students alive of American electoral politics and his encyclopedic knowledge of local politics in major states plus his level headed judgment are particularly valuable when, as now, the polls are so close. Barone is a conservative thinker but he isn’t a cheerleader. He wouldn’t make this call if he didn’t believe it. “

… and It Ain’t Good


  ” But these beautiful sentiments have less and less to do with the actual policies they pursue. Readers of Via Meadia can see a
pattern here. We have “peace movements” incapable of advancing the cause of peace;
environmentalists whose political ineptitude damages the causes they most hope to serve; and we have a form of blue state liberalism that blights the lives of exactly the people it wants to help most.

  American liberalism today is in an advanced stage of intellectual decline. Cynical and short sighted interests wrap themselves in the increasingly tattered mantles of sacred ideas. Liberals are right to feel that social justice matters, that the poor should have greater opportunity and that government in
a democratic society cannot remain
indifferent to the existence of great social evils.

  But where liberals in America have the freest hand—in states like New York, California and Illinois—we see incontrovertible evidence that the policies they choose don’t have the consequences they predict. California by now should surely be an educational, environmental
and social utopia. New York should be a wonder of glorious liberal governance. Illinois should be known far and wide as the
state that works.

  What’s interesting about the governance failures of these states is how comprehensive they are. Other than politicians, union officials and Wall Street investment banks, nobody really benefits
from the choices Illinois has made. As the Volker-Ravitch report tells us, even the ppublic sector unions, the architects of many of the state’s most destructive policies, are
going to get shafted as a result of the bad policies they’ve supported. They’ve created a state that simply won’t be able to honor its promises to the workers the unions represent. “

Hillary Jumps Under the Bus …

… But Can’t Save the Driver From Himself



 ” The State Department clearly made some bad decisions about security in Libya, and whatever the complicated reasons why that happened might be, Hillary Clinton as a serious and responsible official did the right thing by stepping up to the plate.

But there is a larger failure in Libya. Just as George W. Bush couldn’t dodge responsibility for the decision to go to war in Iraq on the basis of nukes that never showed up, President Obama owns the Libya mess in which the attack in Bengazi was just an incident … “


Via Meadia




  “Making batteries for electric cars is a dirty process, and if the electric cars are run off a grid which is primarily powered by coal, as it is in China, the environmental benefits completely disappear.

Of course, this is not the only example of green policy being counterproductive. Ethanol is another case of expensive green reform that actually makes things worse. This movement just isn’t ready for primetime.”

Via Meadia

  “The office of the Director of National Intelligence is both confirming that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was deliberately planned in advance and excusing the White House for getting the story wrong. Officials are trying to determine if a mysterious, little known organization called “Al-Qaeda” had something to do with the attack. This doesn’t seem likely, as Al-Qaeda was reported dead or at least in what former Vice President Cheney would have called its “death throes” in Pakistan last spring, but you never know.”

  “California, America’s answer to Greece, is continuing to unravel. Via Meadia readers are already familiar with the state’s unaffordably lavish pensions and collapsing housing bubble, as well as the bankruptcies in Stockton, San Bernadino and Mammoth Lakes, but now even more cities are on the verge of bankruptcy.”

  “The Chicago teachers’ strike and the coming pension crisis has even progressives worried that public-sector employee costs are bankrupting the city: Matt Yglesias is arguing that the teachers’ union’s proposal to raise taxes to pay for their pension programs may divert funds from more important programs:”

Walter Russell Mead :

  “Here’s some more bad news for the economy: analysts are predicting that corporate profits may fall this quarter for the first time in three years. This comes as a bit of a surprise. Business hasn’t quite been booming, but most of the economic news over the past few weeks has been good—or has at least shown some movement in a positive direction. But as the New York Times reports, the slowdown in Asia combined with the return to recession in Europe has cut demand for new goods, and fewer businesses are expecting things to get better: “


  “For the world as a whole, it appears Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis is being borne out by events. And not in the vulgar sense that some read the man’s work—that Islam and Christianity cannot coexist peacefully. But rather that civilizational fault lines are real, and are a source of instability that radicals are now doing their utmost to exploit:”

“Ebola Spreads”

“Did That Guy on the Plane Next To You Cough?”

 ” Reuters reports that the death toll in a new Congo ebola outbreak is up to 31. New cases are still turning up and there’s real possibility this could spread.

99 times out of 100, it won’t. Ebola kills very quickly; people sick with it don’t usually travel much and these outbreaks tend to burn themselves out very quickly. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know how seriously to take these warnings. Fortunately for the rest of us, the outbreaks so far have generally taken place in the boondocks among people who don’t ride airplanes or drive taxis”

We Can Hope

“Peak Oil? How about Peak China?”


  ” It may be hard to believe, but it’s been a full four years since China hosted the Olympics. At the time, Beijing 2008 appeared to herald China’s return, after a 500 year hiatus, to great power status. Commentators were falling over themselves to pronounce the inevitability of China’s rise and its implications for American influence in Asia.

But is it possible we will look back on those Olympic Games as the peak of Chinese power, rather than the beginning of its rise? That’s the provocative argument espoused by The Diplomat:”

ViaMeadia reports on yet another of the near daily reports of massive corruption in the “Green Energy” – AGW campaign .

” Behold a green failure so colossal even ViaMeadia is surprised: a UN carbon-credit trading program intended to reduce global
concentrations of greenhouse gases has instead led a handful of factories in the developing world to massively increase them. ”

” The carbon credits represent such a lucrative business ($20–40 million per year per plant, by
one estimate) that some of the plants participating the scheme, located mostly in China and India, made the bulk of their profits from carbon credits alone; other plants would hit their carbon-credit subsidy limits and then shut down for the rest of the year. “

Via Meadia on the help that Obama’s “Builders” provide the average American businessman .

” In terms of inefficiency, the U.S. tax code stands as one of humanity’s most monumental accomplishments. It’s no secret that the tax code’s byzantine complexity harms small and medium-sized businesses more than large corporations. After all, bigger companies can afford the scores of lawyers and accountants needed to navigate the system — and for that matter, many of the arcane little exceptions and exemptions were written exactly to order thanks to the lobbyists they are able to deploy on Capitol Hill.

But the extent of the differential is truly dramatic. Consider this story in the WSJ that reports how a large number of companies actually forgo tax breaks because the cost of obtaining tax benefits is more expensive than the benefits themselves. According to the article, individuals and businesses are spending at least 1 percent of GDP just to make sure they’re doing everything by the book. As anxiety intensifies over tepid GDP growth and decreasing competitiveness, a percentage point counts for a lot.”

Walter Russell Mead on California’s money problems ,er , and non-money problems .

  “For most states in these times, the biggest problem is finding the money to spend on essential services. But in California, the state can’t even spend money once it finds it.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, despite the $700 billion dollars allocated by Sacramento to upgrade mass transit systems in the Bay Area, people probably won’t see any improvements for ten years. While Bay Area citizens wait, red tape, NIMBY lawsuits, and bureaucratic wranglers will chew the upgrade plans to bits:”

As those who do not rely on the dinosaur media are aware , there is an energy explosion taking place around the world . Apparently those doom and gloom forecasts of “Peak Oil ” and a looming energy shortage were premature . 

Of course you would never know that if you depended on the old media and their green agenda driven coverage of the industry . Thankfully we have people like Walter Russell Mead to keep us abreast .

  ” Via Meadia has been commenting on the energy revolution taking place all around us these days (Energy Revolution: Part OnePart Two). Thankfully, we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed.

Chrystia Freeland:

[T]hanks to new discoveries and new technologies, the end of fossil fuels is not looking quite so imminent. From the oil sands of northern Alberta, to America’s massive pockets of shale gas (American gas reserves would last at least 75 years at current consumption rates), to the vast offshore oil reserves that Brazil hopes will make it the world’s fourth-largest producer by 2020, fossil-fuel sources we didn’t know about or couldn’t use are suddenly available. Crucially, many of these supplies are found in thriving democracies—a dramatic shift from the past, when oil and autocracy seemed to go together. “


Read the whole thing .

Courtesy of Walter Russell Mead, a colored map of failed states by degree . This is a solemn reminder that it is not just economics that turn countries to ruin .

    Here we are shown the Greek crisis for what it is . Hardly the main event …. Much more are their miseries and suffering , self-inflicted though they are , just the opening act for the main event forming up backstage as we speak .

    Yes … We refer to Italy and Spain . Both with their own variety of the same basic tax&spend malady and nary a physician in sight .

    There are lessons here for November should we choose to face the reality of our situation  . With America only baby steps behind the PIIGS , will the electorate become fully aware of the financial cliff rushing towards us , not-withstanding the MSM’s/Dems (oxymoron?) lemming like drive FORWARD …..


“The third and final reason why the relief rally ended so quickly: Greece was the curtain raiser for the European meltdown, but it is ultimately a sideshow. Europe has moved on now; we are worried about Spain and Italy now. The Greek election doesn’t solve any of Europe’s real problems. Greece can and probably will make Europe’s problems worse, but nothing that
happens in Greece can save the euro.
As interest rates on Italian debt passed 6 percent (the crisis threshold) and for Spain they
passed 7 percent (apocalyptic), Europe edged a little closer to the precipice this morning. The
Greek election went as well as could be expected, and better than feared, but Europe’s problems just keep getting worse all the same.”

   The only thing “green” about Obama’s alternative energy policy is the cash that lines the pockets of his crony-capitalist bundlers . 
 ” “Blue-collar voters were never that sold on environmental issues, and if some Democrats come across as not keen on economic development, it could lose them support here in Ohio,” he said.

Republicans, from Mitt Romney, the party’s presidential candidate, to the congressional leadership, have madeBarack Obama’s alleged stifling of the energy industry a centrepiece of their campaigns this year. . . .

Mr Romney has said he will approve the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he wins office and curb the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Only time will tell whether this is a winning strategy, but there is reason to think it could work. As we’ve mentioned before, energy politics is an area where Obama is particularly vulnerable. His decision to nix the popular Keystone pipeline earlier this year signaled antipathy toward one of America’s strongest industries while doing nothing to help the environment; it was lambasted as a pointless blunder by observers on both sides of the aisle.” “