Tag Archives: Just War Doctrine

Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tom Kratman

The Lotus Eaters is the third installment of the Legio del Cid series by Mr Kratman. The book picks up after the Legion has successfully pacified Pashtia and returned to Balboa. Its takes place mainly in Balboa as the Legion prepares for their inevitable showdown with the corrupt rump regime protected by the Tauran Union in their enclave near the Balboan Transitway.

This is an obvious stepping stone book that fleshes out the story and provides more background rather than really advancing the plot line of the series. If I were a cynic I would say that this appears to be a mash up of all the mini-plots Mr. Kratman put together as he developed the main story line. I do not know that to be the case however. This is almost like the most recent Honor Harrington book in that it essentially goes nowhere in an entertaining manner.

All that being said, I like this book. I particularly like the development of the glider and submarine as well as finding the discussion of the way in which the Isla Real is fortified to be not only interesting, informative as well. This may not be the book that I wanted to read, but it is excellent nonetheless. All in all, another great read from Mr. Kratman. My only complaint is not with this book but rather with the wait between this book and the next one. This book ends with a teaser that leaves the reader wanting to know more. The next volume is titled Come and Take Them and will be released in November and it’s about damn time. eARC’s should be available on Baen a few month’s before that.

The Developing Situation with Iran – The Craziness Continues

I don’t necessarily want to make a habit of talking contemporary issues on a regular basis but the events in, around, and about Iran over the past few weeks have really got me thinking.  There are a couple of points I would like to bring up.

  1. The US administration and European leaders don’t seem to really have a clue what they are doing.  They keep making statements about what they will not tolerate, and hen tolerate it anyway.  This has been going on for years and on the US side started with the Clinton administration as far as I can see.  A clear line has not been drawn and stuck to, that is probably the root of Iran’s boldness, they have not really been held to account for ignoring the West’s concerns.  It also helps that they have the backing of Russia and China.  Unless and until the West grows a spine, Iran will continue to defy them.  Concrete measures need to be taken, a sow of force more impressive than an aircraft carrier moving into the Gulf.  I am thinking something along the lines of “Gunboat Diplomacy” here.
  2. Russia and China, what do they get out of support for Iran other than sticking it to the West?  I don’t detect anything other than spite on the part of both nations.  They have just as much to lose by the existence of a nuclear armed Iran as the West or do they really think they can control the Mullahs in Tehran?
  3. Israel.  Except for Iran, Israel is the wild card.  They will do what they think they have to do to protect themselves.  The bombing attacks aginst Israeli targets over the last few days increase the risk of Israeli action.  What is Iran trying to do here, actually provoke an attack by Israel?  That would be a mistake on Iran’s part.  A nuclear Iran is the nightmare scenario for Israel and they will not allow that to come to pass.  I can almost see US and Israeli planes getting into a shooting match over an Israeli strike on Israel because the administration does not have the balls to do what the Israelis have said they will do.  Do not doubt that Israel will act when they feel it is necessary.  Lastly, we should not forget that Israel is also an undeclared nuclear power in their own right.  There is a probably a powderkeg right there we don’t to see lit.
  4. The rest of the Middle East.  I am very curious to see the results of the Arab Spring of ’12.  I almost expect to see the UAR resurrected.  It seems apparent that fundamentalists, if not outright Jihadists are coming to power in both Egypt and Libya.  That does not bode well for results in Syria.  The ironic part of that is Obama and Europe are definitely not getting the results they said they would.  The conservative Cassandra’s of last spring, me included, seem to be getting vindicated with the rise of Islamist politicians in the post revolt countries.

I think if things keep going the way they are, we will see some sort of military exchange with Iran this year.  I am guessing that Iran will start it.  I don’t think they are bluffing about trying to shut down the Straight of Hormuz and it makes me wonder how far along there nuclear program really is?  It would be bad for us if there first nuclear test was in a boat anywhere near the US 5th Fleet.  I am not even certain that Obama and Co. would react to an act like that as forcefully as they should.

The situation certainly bears watching.  We are indeed living in “interesting times.” I think I am going to start reposting stuff here about Iran over the next few months to keep my readers abreast of what is going on.

R2P or not?

R2P means “Responsibity to Protect“, and is the idea that the “International Community” has an obligation to “prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.” This obligation extends regardless of whether or not traditional national interests are at stake. We can see that clearly in the case of the UN sanctioned attacks on Libya over the past five weeks.

The question is since the West is bombing Libya to protect and save civilian lives from a government attempting to put down a rebellion, how long until we start bombing Syria since they are doing the same thing as Libya.  The even bigger question to my mind is when will it all stop?

The West is setting a dangerous precedent here, and one I am not sure the West is able to live up to. We are already seeing that the militaries of Europe and NATO have a difficult time maintaining the attacks against Libya without significant American help. That inability or incompetence on the part of the European militaries is a legacy of 70 years of anemic defense spending under the security umbrella of the American military that has only gotten worse since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.

One of the biggest issues I have with R2P is that it goes against historical precedent for the use of the military for the last several hundred years. It also violates just about every tenet of Just War Doctrine as I understand it. Then again, I adhere to the classical theory as propounded by St Augustine of Hippo in Chapter 7 of Book XIX of his City of God Treatise and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Let’s start a discussion about this! Does R2P even make sense as a rational for military action?  Is the entire West somehow obligated to be the world’s polceman?