Sunday, January 25, 2015

Did you notice we survived 2014?


According to conservatives, the world was almost certainly going to end in 2014. The Russians were overrunning Ukraine (due to Obama's incompetence), ISIS was going to take over the Middle East and launch massive attacks on western countries (due to Obama's incompetence), and Ebola was going to decimate the US (due to Obama's incompetence).

If these things didn't happen, does that mean that Obama isn't as incompetent as portrayed? According to classic symbolic logic (if X, then Y), yes, it means Obama isn't as incompetent as stated. But, honestly, 1) conservatives aren't interested in logic and 2) classic symbolic logic is so limited as to be pretty useless. Here's a little known fact--logic doesn't deal with actual causation. 'If then' isn't necessarily a causal statement in classic logic. This is deeply disappointing.

Crisis contained - Russia and Ukraine

I think Obama did pretty well in each of these crises, mostly by not flipping out. Instead of starting a war with heavily armed Russians, he encouraged the Ukrainians to stand up for themselves, which is a VERY GOOD THING. More countries should do this instead of whining for the US to intervene and also conveniently bear most of the costs. The sanctions have hurt, but what's even better is that Obama has let the Russians show their true nature--militaristic liars. If we had gone to war, the narrative could have been that the US is the world-wide bully, and the Russians are heroes making a stand against the US. Instead, the Russians are the local bully, and the Ukrainians are the heroes. Other countries around Europe are seeing that you can make a stand against Russia. (At least I hope this analysis is correct. World affairs isn't my strength.)

(As an aside: This also bolsters the first lesson I learned that disproved a liberal tenet. Liberals said that demilitarization was good and morally superior. I learned, by observation, that being strong enough to defend your country was much more important, and the supposed moral superiority of demilitarization was hogwash. Liberals are so stupid sometimes that it boggles my mind.)

Crisis tested - ISIS

The surge of ISIS definitely was a crisis instead of being a faux-crisis trumped up by opponents. Obama reacted in way we haven't seen before--turning the crisis into a teaching moment. That may sound ridiculous--that you would allow a deadly crisis to play out instead of ending it as soon as possible. But I think this was the right approach.

In the Mideast, as in much of the world, too many people want the US to swoop in and save them (while also conveniently bearing most of the costs). It's a VERY GOOD THING for countries to get a reality check that the US might not be willing to do this, so they better be ready to defend themselves. Plus, they may want to identify threats early and do their best to avoid them.

Perhaps some people in Iraq finally learned the lesson this time. If you oppress large numbers of Sunnis, you create an angry insurgency that will try to take over the country. So don't oppress them. That's a relatively simple lesson that Iraq government under Nouri al-Maliki refused to learn. (Another aside--much of the Mideast, having been locked into strong-man dictatorships for so long, is now learning a lot of lessons. The learning process is important, so we shouldn't short-circuit it by swooping in like a helicopter parent.)

Crisis wildly overestimated - Ebola

The last threat that we survived was Ebola. The conservative response was so stereotypical as to be laughable. Talk about people not learning lessons--the conservatives really don't seem to understand science, and that the US response was going to be scientifically sound and based on evidence. So we brought a few infected citizens back to the US for treatment, and we learned from doing it. When we made mistakes, we learned and didn't repeat those mistakes. It is so incredibly simple, but partisan politicians seem not to know how to learn from mistakes. This is very strange, and I'll have to research why reality doesn't force politicians to learn.

Crisis for dollars - Underage immigrants

While we're reviewing crises that didn't pan out, there was one liberal crisis that didn't end up nearly as horrible as predicted. The crisis of immigrant minors crossing the US-Mexico borders supposedly required an infusion of $3.7 billlion. Not surprising, but the House did not dutifully comply with the request. Somehow, the Obama administration managed to deal with the crisis without the cash, so perhaps they didn't need the money after all.

Congratulations, everyone, we survived! Well, to be more specific, congratulations everyone except:

  • Militaristic Russians
  • ISIS and their sugar daddies
  • Stubborn Iraqi politicians
  • Overheated American conservatives
  • Pollyanna American liberals

Trust whom?

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