Prepare to be disappointed

The Western media’s blind faith in democracy and magic negroes would be almost touching if it wasn’t so… blitheringly stupid:

Nothing invigorates democracy more than an incumbent’s defeat. In that and other respects, challenger Muhammadu Buhari’s win over President Goodluck Jonathan represents a potentially transformative moment for Nigeria — a victory by the opposition in Africa’s biggest economy. It may begin Nigeria’s first peaceful transition of power between political parties since independence from the U.K. in 1960.

The aftermath of Nigeria’s last presidential election, also between Buhari and Jonathan, was marred by violence that tapped divisions between north and south and Christians and Muslims. Thankfully, this time, President Jonathan has already called Buhari to congratulate him. That said, the first task facing Buhari, a former Muslim general from the north who had taken power after a military coup in the 1980s, will be to persuade Jonathan’s supporters that his campaign pledges to fight corruption and crime and restore growth are not a cover for settling old scores. One of Buhari’s former critics, the writer Wole Soyinka, believes Buhari when he says that he has shed his authoritarian past and become a “born again” democrat. Let’s hope they’re both right.

This reads as if it’s written tongue-in-cheek. A country with a Muslim insurgency just elected a Muslim who formerly led a military coup and we’re supposed to anticipate a positive outcome here?

I’m not saying it’s impossible, merely that it is unlikely. After all, the violence after the last election was because Mr. Buhari lost.


John C. Wright contemplates the meltdown

Tor and Castalia House author John C. Wright calmly contemplates the Toad of Tor’s public meltdown, in which she insults literally dozens of excellent and well-regarded science fiction authors and libels at least one notable Tor author:

If my accustomed Vulcan calm could be perturbed, no doubt it would be by the allegations Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, late of Tor Books, is leveling against myself and the other members of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors. But since I am imperturbable, I merely raise one eyebrow and wonder on what evidence, or one what chain of reasoning, she makes her outrageous allegations.

I am motivated, she says, not by what I have publicly, notoriously
and repeatedly stated my motives are, but by some unworthy form of spite
or resentment. I see. Any protestation to the contrary is dismissed as
an unconvincing lie. Accusing me, of all people, of dishonesty certainly
has the advantage of being a novel and unexpected accusation.

But on what is it based? No written word of mine can lead an honest
onlooker to draw this conclusion. Did she speak to me and deduce this?
She did not. Does she have my strange Vulcan power of the Mind Meld, that she can read the secret workings of my green-blooded heart? She does not.

Is it her claim that I am some interloper, some newcomer, who has
been reading science fiction since the days when the moonlanding was
still science fiction, been a Tor author since before the turn of the
millennium, nominated for a Nebula for one of my Tor novels, been
insulted by Harlan Ellison like an old hand, been to mass with Gene
Wolfe, and wrote the authorized sequel to AE van Vogt’s work, the author
whose first story in 1939, back when ANALOG was still ASTOUNDING,
heralded the Golden Age of Campbell? It seems she does.

Indeed, the fact that the estimable John C. Wright did not have so much as a single Hugo nomination for his excellent The Golden Age trilogy or his brilliant novellas collected in Awake in the Night Land is one of the most damning rebuttals to any anti-Sad Puppy complaints.

They put forward Scalzi and Swirsky. We put forward Wright and Butcher. And really, that’s all you need to know. Meanwhile, the Evil Legion of Evil’s International Lord of Hate, Larry Correia, also turns his baleful eye upon the Toad of Tor and points out that in her remarkably stupid meltdown, she has revealed something the SJWs have denied for years.

A few years ago I told the truth in public, and said that SMOF insiders usually knew who all the award nominees were going to be for the year, based upon how popular the authors were to the tiny insular cliques, and they usually knew this before the books came out or had been read by anyone. (hell, that even wound up in our Sad Puppies video!)

I was called a liar. There is no insider info like this! The Hugos are a sainted, pure process. They’re not predictable or manipulated by politics! There are no suggested slates or campaigns behind the scenes! How DARE you?!

Uh huh… So I did in public, in the open, with a bunch of outsiders, what they’ve been doing for years with insiders. Outrage ensues.

So here we are now, a few days away and Teresa is worried. Why? Because as an insider, the people she already knew were SUPPOSED to get Hugo nominations haven’t been contacted…

But if there wasn’t insider info and insider cliques, and most of the noms aren’t predestined forgone conclusions, how does she even know she’s supposed to be so worried and upset?

He also adds an inspiring personal note that everyone who has supported Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies, even if only in spirit, needs to remember:

Wrath is all you people have.

Well, Teresa, no matter what we do,  no matter what the results, we know we’re going to feel your wrath. Luckily, I’ve demonstrated to the world that your wrath is impotent. For years, authors have lived in fear of angering these Social Justice mobs. They’ve moderated their speech, self censored their art, and walked on eggshells to avoid getting burned at the stake… That’s why I hate you people, and that’s why I’ve loved exposing you for the petty, petulant, and ultimately powerless little bullies that you are.

Your angry mobs only have as much power as the person you’re attacking is willing to grant them. I stood up to you last year, and all it did was bring your antics to the attention of more, good, decent, regular fans. 

The wrath of the enemy is not to be feared. They hate us for simply existing and living as free men. And that gives any man, any woman, with the courage to stand up to them complete carte blanche.


That’s not funny!

Satire isn’t satire if it’s the wrong satire:

31-year-old comic Trevor Noah was hired to replace Jon Stewart yesterday, and the backlash has already arrived with a vengeance. Noah has a large following in his native South Africa, and has toured extensively abroad, but he isn’t so well-known in the U.S. — to date, he has three Daily Show “correspondent” appearances under his belt — and it’s looking like some of his comedic sensibilities might not find such a warm audience Stateside.
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Noah is mixed-race, with a half-Jewish Xhosa mother and Swiss father, and much of his material centers on the issue of race. However, people have noticed that a slew of of Noah’s tweets — mostly posted in 2012 and prior — include unfunny, questionably offensive jokes about Jews and women.

Clearly Mr. Noah will require a remedial consciousness-raising session or two conducted by professional SJWs instructing him which topics and subjects are acceptable and which are not.


The Toad tries to walk one back

The Toad of Tor, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, belatedly realized she’d shown the true face of SJW gatekeeper privilege to the world because she’s desperately trying to walk back her words. But it’s much too late; we’ve already impaled her upon them. She even alarmed her fellow SJWs.

“I will admit to having been in kind of an unsettled state since
Teresa’s “this is the Worldcon award, and others can go do their own
thing” post. But then I may well not be the only one in that state, too.”

Compare and contrast this statement:

“The Hugos don’t belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it. The set of all people who read SF can start their own award.”
– Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 29, 2015, 03:43 PM 

 With this one:

“I should have been clearer. Those of us who love SF and love fandom know in our hearts that the Hugo is ours. One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they’re saying the Hugo shouldn’t belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.”
– Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 30, 2015, 10:15 PM

Like all SJWs, the Toad of Tor is a shameless liar. First, the Sad Puppies have NEVER said the Hugos should just belong to us. We haven’t said it, we haven’t implied it, and in fact, none of us have ever even thought it. It’s not even remotely credible to claim that a group of “outsiders”, of “thugs” and “reavers” and “nobodies” who aren’t “part of the community” have ever believed that something that has been under Tor’s control for 30 years just belongs to us. Teresa Nielsen Hayden is not only lying, she is insulting the intelligence of every single person who reads her words.

What we have said, what we continue to say, and what we will continue to prove, is that the Hugo Awards do NOT belong to the small group of SJWs led by Tor Books, who for the last 15 years have been handing awards to mediocre diversity lit written by SJWs and their pet minorities. In their eyes, it’s a good thing to be celebrated when minorities such as Saladin and Jeminsin are nominated for awards. It’s a bad thing to be decried when minorities such as Correia and Day are nominated for them.

The only people who have claimed ownership of the Hugos is Teresa Nielsen Hayden and the SJWs. They are already clamoring for rules changes before the nominations have even been announced. The Toad is one of those affiliated with Tor who have, somewhat successfully, turned the Hugos (and the Nebulas, for that matter), into the Best SJW-Endorsed Writers of the Year award. The Toad obviously knows how badly she screwed up because she’s resorting to a ridiculous technicality in order to rewrite the narrative and deny that she said what she quite clearly said:

“When I say the Hugos belong to the worldcon, I’m talking about the literal legal status of the award. But I also know that one of the biggest reasons the rocket is magic is because it spiritually belongs to all of us who love SF.”
– Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 30, 2015, 10:15 PM

Sure you were. It “spiritually belongs” to everyone, so they can fuck off “and start their own award”. That makes sense. Sad Puppies 3 leader Brad Torgersen responds in his own inimitable fashion:

We. Matter. In fact, we have always mattered. Everyone who ever
came to love and cherish SF/F in ways not vetted and approved by you, by
TruFans, or by SMOFs.

And we’re not going away. Not this year. Not next year. Not the year after that.

We’re not here to destroy the field, nor the Hugos.

We’re here to keep you from greedily clutching the award to your chest, while the field sinks beneath the waves.

That is precisely what Sad Puppies is about. As for Rabid Puppies, we don’t want to destroy the field or the Hugos either. We want to destroy the SJWs. We want to crush them into dust. And we will.

If you’re not already marching with the Evil Legion of Evil under one Puppy banner or another, I encourage you to join us. We can always use the reinforcements, and as other Sad and Rabid Puppies can testify, it is invigorating to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the croaking lamentations of their women.

As Brad said, we’re not going away next year. And with Kate the Impaler holding the black standard, we’re not going to be inclined to show any mercy to the liars and the con artists. Nor, I suspect, will GamerGate.

I want the Justice Department to declare them a criminal organization and hit them with felony charges. It would not be an excessive response to their actions.
– Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 30, 2015, 11:25 PM

UPDATE: And here Larry and I were repeatedly accused of gaming the Hugos last year. I told them I didn’t, that I had nothing to do with it, but they didn’t believe me. If Jason Sanford is correct, perhaps they will now admit the accusation was false.


Why Western troops can’t win

Martin van Creveld, the author of The Transformation of War, Technology and War, and the newly published Castalia House books A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind and Equality: The Impossible Quest, explains how the technological transformation of war has ruined the effectiveness of modern Western militiaries despite their massive technological advantages over their opponents. From his essay entitled “Pussycats”:

For several decades now, Western armed forces—which keep preening themselves as the best-trained, best organized, best equipped best led, in history—have been turned into pussycats. Being pussycats, they went from one defeat to the next. True, in 1999 they did succeed in imposing their will on Serbia. But only because the opponent was a small, weak state (at the time, the Serb armed forces, exhausted by a prolonged civil war, were rated 35th in the world); and even then only because that state was practically defenseless in the air. The same applies to Libya in 2011. Over there, indigenous bands on the ground did most of the fighting and took all the casualties. In both cases, when it came to engaging in ground combat, man against man, the West, with the U.S at its head, simply did not have what it takes.

On other occasions things were worse still. Western armies tried to create order in Somalia and were kicked out by the “Skinnies,” as they called their lean but mean opponents. They tried to beat the Taliban in Afghanistan, and were kicked out. They tried to impose democracy (and get their hands on oil) in Iraq, and ended up leaving with their tails between their legs. The cost of these foolish adventures to the U.S alone is said to have been around 1 trillion—1,000,000,000,000—dollars. With one defeat following another, is it any wonder that, when those forces were called upon to put an end to the civil war in Syria, they and the societies they serve preferred to let the atrocities go on?

By far the most important single reason behind the repeated failures is the fact that, one and all, these were luxury wars. With nuclear weapons deterring large-scale attack, for seven decades now no Western country has waged anything like a serious, let alone existential, struggle against a more or less equal opponent. As the troops took on opponents much weaker than themselves—often in places they had never heard about, often for reasons nobody but a few politicians understood—they saw no reason why they should get themselves killed. Given the circumstances, indeed, doing so would have been the height of stupidity on their part. Yet from the time the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C were defeated by the outnumbered Greeks right down to the present, troops whose primary concern is not to get themselves killed have never be able to fight, let alone win.

Thanks to many of you, A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind is the #1 bestseller in History>Military>Strategy. The reviews are excellent; even the single 3-star review concludes: “Belongs of the shelf of every person who is interested in the theory and practice of warfare.” 

Another review says: “A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind earned five stars from me for being so readable and packed with content, despite being so brief. This is the first book of Martin van Creveld’s I have read and I look forward to delving into his catalog. In addition to being a good read, Martin van Creveld’s svelte A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind is a wonderful way for those not well read in military strategy to begin their self-directed study. Martin van Creveld discusses all the notable war theoretician authors more or less in accord with their significance as well as some of the war artisan authors. Creveld also provides a “Further Readings” section to aid those so inclined. Given the limitations imposed on him (low page count) Creveld does a fine job covering the material.”

I’m in the middle of reading van Creveld’s Technology and War myself, and I can say with confidence that the reviewer will find delving into that catalog more than worthwhile. As for the “Pussycats” essay, the observation by a military historian should cause some serious strategic rethinking on the part of those who insist on repeatedly sending unmotivated troops unsupported by popular enthusiasm into unwinnable military conflicts. It won’t, but it should.


Engagement is impossible

The other day, I visited Mike Glyer’s File 770 in response to his post that Sad Puppies 4 has been announced, with the infamous Kate the Impaler taking up the black flag from Brad Torgersen.

Kate the Impaler, of the Evil Legion of Evil, will be picking up the banner for Sad Puppies 4 and running with it. I even promised not to impale anyone with it (it’s such a pretty flag, and getting blood and… stuff… all over it would make those poor sad puppies even more sad. Even the Evil Legion of Evil has standards, you know. We’re completely against letting Sad Puppies stay sad. We want them to be happy).

There won’t be much action from Sad Puppies 4 for quite some time, but rest assured I will be lurking in the shadows looking for worthy candidates for the campaign to End Puppy-Related Sadness. When the time is right, announcements will be made and campaigning will begin in earnest. In the meantime, I shall rub my hands together and practice my evil cackle.

This is good news, of course, for those of you who were unable to join the Legion in the Sad Puppies 3 campaign. In any event, I explained that a number of the commenters had some fairly basic misconceptions about Sad Puppies in the following manner.

With all due respect, Mr. Fitch, I suggest that a popular movement led by a woman named “Kate the Impaler” is not overly concerned with an appearance of dignity. In fact, her appellation tends to suggest what the members of the movement believe can be done with those historical concerns about professional dignity.

As for the notion of being scorned, well, that’s the benefit of having been roundly scorned before. It renders one immune. They had one bullet. It’s been fired. And it is worth noting that Sad Puppies are simply following the advice of Mr. John Scalzi.

“Change the Hugos by nominating, voting and participating, or (much more slowly and far less reliably) actively making your case to the people who are nominating, voting and participating. As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole.”
– John Scalzi, April 5, 2013

After answering a number of questions, correcting still more misconceptions, ignoring numerous passive-aggressive shots at me, and deflecting Andrew Marston’s usual nonsense, that led to this comment from one Martin Wisse:

Vox Day loves to play the victim, loves to fall back on his 1/8 Cherokee princess ancestory when called on his racism and it’s never, ever his fault that people are mean to him, despite his long and sordid history of being a racist, sexist gobshite.

He doesn’t care about science fiction, not even to the extent a Correira or Torgedsen still care about it, he just cares about sticking it to the liberals in his head.

What the Sad Puppies are doing is just your bog standard wingnut culture war, fighting an imagined persecution of their “art” when the truth is that their work is at best mediocre and worse, not nearly as popular of that of their perceived enemies. It burns them up inside to have Redshirts winning the Hugo and optioned for a tv show.

On top of that, James May posted a Twitter stream at Brad Torgersen’s site by some of the very people who were “engaging” with me at File 770. As you can see, they don’t appear to have been doing so in good faith:

Cora Buhlert ?@CoraBuhlert 3h3 hours ago @PrinceJvstin @shaunduke @SFReviewsnet Are we talking about VD vomitting all over File770?

Paul Weimer ?@PrinceJvstin 3h3 hours ago @CoraBuhlert @shaunduke @SFReviewsnet yes, and how I’m crazy for trying to engage with him.

Cora Buhlert ?@CoraBuhlert 3h3 hours ago @PrinceJvstin @shaunduke @SFReviewsnet I tried to engage with these people, too, at first, but I really think they’re beyond engaging.

shaunduke ?@shaunduke 2h2 hours ago @CoraBuhlert @PrinceJvstin @SFReviewsnet It would be nice if one could reasonably expect an actual engagement, but you can’t, really.

Paul Weimer ?@PrinceJvstin 2h2 hours ago @shaunduke @CoraBuhlert @SFReviewsnet I’ve tried. Lord knows I have tried

shaunduke ‏@shaunduke 3h3 hours ago @PrinceJvstin @SFReviewsnet
After all, calling him out for being racist and sexist is just fact. He
is both of those things.”

Setting aside the observable absurdity of calling someone racist then openly mocking his Native American heritage, what is important is for us to understand that there is no point in even trying to engage with these SJWs because they quite clearly believe that we are beyond engagement.

Well and good. That is a feature, not a bug, as far as I am concerned. There is no reason to bother trying to convince them otherwise, as we shall simply cease to engage with them. When the SJWs whine and complain and cry and beg for mercy, they will hear nothing from us. From now on, let the only engagement we give them be the bottoms of our boots treading upon their fat, tear-stained, and screaming faces.

You can smell the SJW fear already. And however acrid and reminiscent of Cheetohs it may be, the scent is sweet indeed:

If there is proof on the Gator thing (and it is certainly wretchedly plausible, since Beale threw in with them early in one of his desperate bids for fanboys) I will be angry, and a little frightened, since coming to the attention of that particular group has proved very unsafe.

At the same time–and this is the part that frustrates me–a vote from someone who wants to watch the world burn is just as good as a vote from someone who read and agonized and voted for books they loved, and the judges can’t distinguish because then we careen down the slippery slope–and the extra maddening bit is that there doesn’t seem to be anything to DO about it!

How do you bring the weight of community disapproval on someone who isn’t part of the community? 

They had one bullet. Or rather, they thought they did. It turned out to be a blank. What’s amusing is that last year they were busy victory-dancing and babbling about how upset the Sad Puppies were about our failure to win any awards. I said, entirely truthfully, that I didn’t give a damn about awards. I never have. Perhaps now they are starting to understand that I do not lie.

And I didn’t throw in with GamerGate. GamerGate is MY community. It has been for my entire life. GamerGate is my brothers and my sisters. And while I’m not the smallest billy goat in #GamerGate, I’ve certainly got some big brothers who are much bigger and badder than me.


Transgenderism is child abuse

Words don’t suffice to describe how intrinsically harmful the evil, unscientific nonsense of “transition” is to the children of the psychological freaks involved:

My biggest concern at age nine was how to keep my daddy’s secret, the one he revealed to me as we sat alone on a hill near our home. In a sense, I lost my dad that day, when he told me he wanted to become a woman. As I tried to process that revelation, he blindsided me with another. He told me he never wanted to have children. To him, my siblings and I were mistakes, because we did not align with his desires.

His confessions left me confused and hurt. After all, I just wanted a dad who would love and cherish me, who would make me feel special as a daughter. I felt rejected and abandoned by my own father. By the time I was eleven, my dad had begun to abuse me emotionally and sexually. Even so, I continued to keep my dad’s secret locked away, deep down in my heart.

My dad created a home environment that made me feel as if I was walking on pins and needles. His resentment over my possession of what he so deeply desired for himself—a woman’s body—turned into anger and abuse. As his desires intensified, he began to borrow my clothing. Many times I discovered my underclothes and tops under bathroom towels, or in the attic—often in places I had not been. I learned to organize my clothes just so, in order to know if he had been in my dresser drawers. When I confirmed that he’d worn an article of my clothing, I simply could not bring myself to ever wear that item again.

The thing that is so ridiculous about “transgenderism” is that it flies completely in the face of both science and religion. You have to be an indoctrinated moron to take the concept seriously; most people that make a big production about saying “she” where “he” is the genetically appropriate pronoun obviously know better. As Orwell pointed out, the more ridiculous the concept in which you are willing to feign belief, the more complete your intellectual submission.

To look at a man and say “she is a woman” is on the level of insisting that 2+2=5. It’s all about control of the narrative. Never, ever, submit to it.

Nor should it be any surprise that those who are so transgressive as to mutilate themselves in order to pretend to be something they are not are going to be inordinately inclined to maltreat and abuse others. Including their own children.


“A necessary supplement to Clausewitz”

A HISTORY OF STRATEGY: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind

Martin van Creveld ranks high among military historians, and given the changes in technology since Napoleonic times, his work is a necessary supplement to Clausewitz. His reflections have influenced strategists and grand tacticians since his first books appeared, and as an Israeli historian, he has been in a unique position to observe the changing nature of modern warfare on both the grand strategic and tactical levels, particularly with regards to asymmetric warfare. Scholars and military planners ignore his thoughts at their peril.
 

I don’t entirely agree with him on the effectiveness of guerilla operations absent a sanctuary, or with his conclusions concerning Viet Nam, which I consider to be a victory won, then given up. And while the Iraq War was certainly unwise, I don’t believe that it was necessarily unwinnable, as the U.S. military was given an impossible mission, then undermined by political errors made above their pay grade. That being said, if winning is defined as a nation being better off after the war than it was before, it is hard to see how winning in Iraq was ever possible. So perhaps we agree after all.
 

But whatever your position on modern conflicts might be, Martin van Creveld’s writings are worth reading and they are vital to reaching informed conclusions about the art of war.

Jerry Pournelle
Studio City, California

Castalia House has published a lot of books over the last twelve months. I’m proud of those books and I believe all of them are worth reading by at least one specific group of readers or another. But most books, even the excellent ones, are not what I consider to be absolute must-reads by everyone of sufficient intellect to comprehend them. Such books are very few and far between; the last one we published that I personally felt this strongly about was AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C. Wright.

I feel much the same way about A HISTORY OF STRATEGY: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind by Martin van Creveld, although for very different reasons. Most of you are aware that I am very well-read in strategic matters. I read Caesar and Mahan and Oman for entertainment, I rely heavily upon Frontinus, and to a lesser extent, Onasander and Vegetius, in my fiction, and I am no stranger to the great works of military strategy and tactics from the ancients to the moderns.

And yet, in A HISTORY OF STRATEGY, van Creveld not infrequently cited military thinkers of whom I’d never even heard before, let alone read. This is not a history of war, but a history of thinking about war, and it is arguably one of the most masterful summaries of a single millennia-spanning train of thought ever written. It’s not long, it’s not deep, and it’s not hard to follow, but it is an education in 116 pages. Read this and you will be better-informed on the subject of war than 99.99 percent of the human race.

Better still, you will be in a position to dive deeper into any one of a hundred areas and to understand where you are diving as well as the historical significance of that area. Van Creveld begins at the beginning, with the ancient Chinese, and proceeds methodically through time, crediting each cognitive breakthrough to its author before explaining its significance as well as its consequences.

I highly recommend this book, especially to parents who are homeschooling teenage boys. Featuring the foreword by Dr. Jerry Pournelle quoted above, it is available for $4.99 at Castalia House in both EPUB and Kindle formats and at Amazon.


Iran’s nukes: an Israeli perspective

Last week, a number of people were expressing their opinions concerning the prospects that Iran would obtain nuclear weapons as a result of the Lausanne talks and what this meant for the USA, Israel, and the Middle East. Most of those opinions, including mine, were largely uninformed, but then it occurred to me that Castalia House’s newest author, Martin van Creveld, was someone who has spent a good deal of time thinking about this very subject, and as Israel’s leading military historian, he is in a position to know considerably more about the situation than anyone else here.

Later today we will be announcing a second Castalia House book by Dr. van Creveld that I cannot recommend highly enough. Perhaps reading this response to my question about his perspective on the likely consequences of the prospective Lausanne treaty will help you understand why.

“More may be better” was the title of an article published back in 1981 by the redoubtable political scientist Kenneth Waltz. Going against the prevailing wisdom, Waltz argued that nuclear proliferation might not be all bad. Nuclear weapons, he wrote, had prevented the US and the USSR from going to war against each other; as, by all historical logic since the days of Athens and Sparta in the fifth century B.C, they should have done. Instead they circled each other like dogs, occasionally barking and baring their teeth but never actually biting. Such was the fear the weapons inspired that other nuclear countries would probably follow suit.

To quote Winston Churchill, peace might be the sturdy child of terror.
Since then over thirty years have passed. Though Waltz himself died in 2013, his light goes marching on. At the time he published his article there were just five nuclear countries (the US, the USSR, Britain, France, and China) plus one, Israel, which had the bomb but put anybody who dared say so in prison. Since then three (India, Pakistan, North Korea) have been added, raising the total to nine. Yet on no occasion did any of these states fight a major war against any other major, read nuclear, power.

And how about Iran? First, note that no country has taken nearly as long as Iran did to develop its nuclear program. Started during the 1970s under the Shah, suspended during the 1980s as Iranians were fighting Saddam Hussein (who invaded Iran), and renewed in the early 1990s, that program has still not borne fruit. This suggests that, when the Iranians say, as they repeatedly have, that they do not want to build a bomb they are sincere, at least up to a point. All they want is the infrastructure that will enable them to build it quickly should the need arise—a desire they have in common with quite some other countries such as Sweden, Australia, and Japan.

Second, the real purpose of the Iranian program, and any eventual bomb that may result from it, is to deter a possible attack by the U.S. Look at the record; one never knows what America’s next president is going to do. With another Clinton, who attacked Serbia, and another Bush, who attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, in the White House a distinct possibility, caution is advised. The Mullahs have no desire to share the fate of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Khadafy.

The latter’s fate in particular gives reason for thought. In 2002-3, coming under Western pressure, Khadafy gave up his nuclear program.  As his reward, no sooner did the West see an opportunity in 2011 than it stabbed him in the back, waged war on him, overthrew him, and killed him. Leaving Libya in a mess from which it may never recover.

Third, Israel is in no danger. Alone among all the countries of the Middle East, Israel has what it takes to deter Iran and, if necessary, wage a nuclear war against it. What such a war might look like was described in some detail by Anthony Cordesman, an American political scientist a former member of the National Security Council. His conclusion? The difference in size notwithstanding, the outcome would be to wipe Iran, but not Israel, off the map.

Netanyahu has Iran in his head and effectively used it to win the elections. Yet truth to say, no Iranian leader has ever directly threatened Israel. To be sure, neither Iran’s presidents nor the Mullahs like the Zionist Entity. They do not stand to attention when Hatikvah is played. They have even had the chutzpah to deny the Holocaust. Yet all they have said is that, if Israel attacked them, they would respond in kind. Also that “rotten” Israel would end up by collapsing under its own weight. All this serves to divert attention away from their real purpose. That purpose, as I just said, is to deter the U.S. And to draw as much support in the Moslem world as verbal attacks on Israel always do.

Finally, morality. Are the Iranians really as bad as some people claim? Taking 1981 as our starting point, we find that in the three and a half decades since then the U.S has waged war first against (or in) Grenada; then Panama; then Iraq; then Serbia (in Bosnia); then Serbia again (in Kosovo); then Afghanistan; then Iraq again; then Libya. In some of these praiseworthy enterprises it was supported by its allies, the Netherlands included.

The Iranians are not angels—far from it. They have meddled in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, as they still do. They have also assisted terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. But everything is relative. They have not waged large-scale warfare against any other country. Let alone bombed it or invaded it.

And that, in the final analysis, is all that matters.

Now, Martin van Creveld is the very opposite of an innocent on this subject. He knows more about war, the history of war, and the strategy and tactics of war than nearly anyone on the planet. And so when a world-famous military expert, who lives in the heart of the land that is most threatened by Iranian weapons, contradicts the neocons living in the USA who have been beating the war drum for a decade and claiming that the mad mullahs are simply slavering to hurl nuclear-tipped missiles at Israel the moment they have them, I suggest that it is wise to listen to the former, not the latter.


Her precious….

You may recall that the Toad of Tor said this yesterday:

1. I have less power than I feel I should have.
2. I feel those people over there have power I don’t have.
3. They must have stolen mine!

A clear case of psychological projection, one would have to conclude. Especially after reading her subsequent statement today:

“The Hugos don’t belong to the set of all people who read
the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend
and/or support it. The set of all people who read SF can start
their own award.”

– Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 29,
2015, 03:43 PM

That’s coming right from the Toad’s mouth. And yet, here is what Sasquan itself has to say about the Hugo Awards.

Worldcons are the site of the Hugo Awards, the premier awards in the science fiction field, recognizing the greatest books and stories, related works, film, television, podcasts, and fan works.

So, we’re supposed to believe that the premier awards that recognize the greatest books and stories in science fiction don’t belong to the set of all science fiction readers?  Then what makes them “the premier awards”? Why are they even supposed to be relevant, if they mean nothing to anyone who isn’t one of the small number of people who attend “the worldcon”?