Are You a Neocon?

Before we get to ye olde quiz, which is interesting, we had ourselves another lovely debate tonight. Think what you want about Palin, but she came out tonite and laid it into Biden exactly the way I'd hoped for. She came across knowledgeable, tough, determined, and ready to take on the responsibility she's been tasked with. Biden on the other hand seems pathological in his claims and came across weak, smug, and elitist. Almost like he felt Palin didn't deserve to be in the same room as him.

Now then. I don't even remember now how I came across this quiz, but I figured I'd go ahead and take it. As with many of these sorts of things, the questions being asked are loaded in a biased way but if you can filter your way through what they want, you'll still be able to answer honestly. Please people, can we start asking poll style questions that aren't push-polls and get back to simple shit? The descriptions of some of the things they wanted you to respond to appeared to deliberately paint someone as pro-military, pro-defense, pro-America as an evil imperialistic bastard. Perhaps that's what being a Neocon is supposed to be. I don't know. I do know it seems about as useful as comparing G W to Hitler. Anyway, I took the quiz and my outcome was:

"Based on your answers, you are most likely a realist. Read below to learn more about each foreign policy perspective."

They define that as being:


* Are guided more by practical considerations than ideological vision
* Believe US power is crucial to successful diplomacy - and vice versa
* Don't want US policy options unduly limited by world opinion or ethical considerations
* Believe strong alliances are important to US interests
* Weigh the political costs of foreign action
* Believe foreign intervention must be dictated by compelling national interest

Historical realist: President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Modern realist: Secretary of State Colin Powell

You decide if their assessment is right: and then post your results too :)
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Oct 2, 2008 11:37 pm by Samson in: , | 14 comment(s) [Closed]
Realist here, too. Although if you add in any kind of realistic appraisal of my domestic views that probably changes a lot. But it's more or less accurate in terms of my foreign policy views, although I wanted a "None of the above" answer on about half the questions. I also want to hear somebody argue this answer well as regards the Vietnam War: "A hard-won victory. US forces paid a high - but necessary - price to contain Communism in Southeast Asia."

To the debate, I missed the first 20 minutes or so (damn you, class), which probably skewed things, but:

- To be sure, Palin did better than I expected her to do, while being reasonably bright and shiny and happy and whatnot. Although as a small town person, I thought she laid it on kind of thick. And, as a small town person, the feeling was more "That's ridiculous" than "She gets me!" But then, I'm not the audience for that.

- Biden, considering his reputation, also came across better than expected. I found it interesting that I thought he came across as being less of a politician than Palin did, all things considered.

- A few moments aside (Biden's enormous sigh, Palin's blowing past Biden's moment of emotion wrt his kids), I did like that both of them were pretty congenial with each other.

As regards the actual substance:

- Jesus, that moderation was BAD. I don't mean biased, because both candidates spent a lot of time ignoring her, let's be honest, but flat out ineffectually bad.

- Palin...yeah, I dunno. I mean, when she answered the actual questions, she...mostly gave decent answers. Except when she didn't, and except how there really wasn't any meat to any of them.

- Biden, not so exciting, talked in numbers a lot, but that resonates with me so I like it. Also he answered the damn question, even if he then went off on tangents a lot, which is worth points with me, although I suppose my standards are probably pretty low considering.

- The Iraq thing aside, which is still a little ridiculous even when Joe Biden talks about it even though he does better than Obama at it, I think the foreign policy questions were pretty much, once you got to specifics, Biden not so much taking Palin to school so much as taking her to school and then beating her up with the textbook. It felt pretty brutal, and was not helped by Palin's getting simple things wrong, like General McKiernan's name, much less actual substantiative things, like what he actually said.

- That having been said, Palin DID do quite competently on, say, energy policy, which even if I don't entirely agree with her (or disagree for that matter), she seems to know her stuff. Whereas on foreign policy, she so clearly has no idea, and watching her make her points, you could clearly tell the difference.

- I think most of what I missed was economy, so no comment there.

Dwip said:

I also want to hear somebody argue this answer well as regards the Vietnam War: "A hard-won victory. US forces paid a high - but necessary - price to contain Communism in Southeast Asia."

I would venture that some would describe the successful defense of South Vietnam from communist invasion, and the resulting peace treaty of '73 and withdrawal of all American forces as a victory. And that victory was pissed away the following year by the actions of Congress.

Only, well, not so much. The basic point here, I think, is that any victory is at best illusiory - if everything you've accomplished is gone in two years, what did you REALLY achieve? If Vietnam goes all Communist, followed shortly thereafter by Cambodia and Laos, not so much containment going on, I'm thinking. Or much winning.

In a little more detail:

- By 1968 or 1969, the VC pretty much eliminated themselves with our help post-Tet.
- By 1972, largely through the efforts of US ground and air forces, we had essentially secured the majority of South Vietnam.
- That aside, we failed to adequate address the fundamental weaknesses of the South Vietnamese government (corruption for one), or the fundamental weaknesses of the ARVN/VNAF, namely that as an actual fighting force, they sucked except in the cases when they didn't. Granted that doing so was really super hard, but it didn't get done.
- Even so, they did pretty well with our help, primarily via air support, in the 1972 offensive.
- Cutting off aid really crippled the hell out of the ARVN, but especially the VNAF, leaving them with terrible logistics and terrible command (well, ok, they had that for themselves) and pretty much unable to deal with the NVA, who totally didn't have those issues at all. Cue 1975 and the fall of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to Communists of various stripes.

Cue also the complete devastation of US society in general, and the US military in particular, which took at least a decade to fix.

Cue, for the South Vietnamese, re-education camps, repression, and exile. Ditto on the exile for a lot of Laotians, ditto on the repression for Cambodians.

Cue, by the late 1970s, wars between a resurgant Vietnam and Cambodia, and then with China.

What exactly did we win here?

Dwip, I think the point you completely missed is that we had a victory achieved by 1973 and our goals had been met. I tend to trust what my father had to say on the matter years later considering he served in that war and was there in 1973. Everything you mention fails to counter that argument because what you've failed to acknowledge is that the victory we had in 1973 was undermined by Congress in the following years. So you'll forgive me if I don't fault the military with a defeat when that defeat came at the hands of the Democrats. What came afterward belongs directly in their laps. Laos and Cambodia. Pol-Pot ( however you spell it ) and the whole killing fields thing. If they hadn't deliberately sabotaged a clearly won victory then none of that would have had an opportunity to happen.

This is why so many people were and are so disgusted with them because they obsess over the same things today. After we've won certain victory in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Democrats trot forth attempting to undermine it all by trying to kill funding and surrender to the enemy. Thank God we've got a president who was willing to stand up to them and veto the attempts, and enough Republicans in the way to block an override vote. Otherwise you'd be seeing the same thing happening again. Congress cuts off funding, support dries up, and we're forced to retreat and watch Al Qaeda pour in to fill the vacuum and kill anyone who dared to rise against them. It would make the 1974 massacres look like a bank robbery.

Surprisingly enough, I too scored realist, of the choices they offered in the end, I would've expected my views to fall closer to isolationist. Go figure.

Realist here, too. Though my experience was that there were lots of response options where they listed a bunch of premises, then a conclusion, and half the time I wanted the premises of one and the conclusions of the other. For example - the one that said that Bush was right to make national security the highest priority after 9/11, so we should accept the increased deficit and the movement of some domestic priorities to the back burner. I do think he was right to do make national security the top priority, and have noticed the part where we haven't had a terrorist attack here in 7 years. But I don't think that all the spending that contributed to the increased deficit - even that in the name of national security - was wisely spent, and did we really move anything to the back burner, or just keep spending on all of it (hence the huge deficit)?

You'd noticed that about the quiz too, eh? It seemed more than a biased, but then Samson did warn us of that before we followed the link. Personally, I found it even more annoying that the poll itself was, at least in Opera 9.5 under Windows Vista, off to the right (past the right scroll bar) and about half way down the page so that I had to search for the silly thing to begin with. But that's certainly not Samson's fault either.

The poll was positioned in the wrong place in FF3 too, so it's probably just borked HTML or something. I bet it "works" just fine in IE though *eyeroll*

Oh, I missed a couple days of comments.

Agree with Regina - I wanted so very much for there to be "None of the above" answers on like 5 questions.

Too, as to page errors, it duplicated the whole page in IE7, and threw the poll way down off to left on the second page copy. Very bad.

As to Vietnam, it's a pretty basic fact of these things that in any war, to obtain victory you must do two things - achieve your goals militarily, and achieve your goals politically. War being a continuation of politics by other means, and all that.

If our goals were to create a South Vietnamese state to contain Communism, and they pretty much were, the point is that we failed on both halves, although we came close by 1973 militarily. But we, among other things, failed to decisively crush North Vietnam's military and industrial base, which set the stage for the 1975 offensive. Politically, we in no way succeeded in any real sense - South Vietnam proved itself completely unable to sustain itself, and was obliterated. And by 1975 most of SE Asia is Communist.

That is no way a victory, regardless of whose fault it is, and between elements of the executive and legislative branches, plus military leaders, there's plenty of blame to go around on that. And while it's impossible to praise all of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, because there were a lot of bad apples, by and large they did amazing things under amazing conditions. Bad leadership is not their fault. Or, in other words, the fact we didn't win shouldn't suggest that we didn't fight the good fight for a noble cause.

As to Iraq and Afghanistan, we shall see. We haven't won in either one yet, though we're well on the way in Iraq. Afghanistan is a little more troublesome.

Nope, Samson, just tried it in Chrome, Safari, and IE to see. While it does in fact show up least badly in IE (and worst in Safari), even in IE it's half off the right side of page. *shrug*

I'm going to simply stay out of the rest of this one.. as long as I can...

Dwip, I think you're assuming someone holds the peculiar position in the quiz.

South Vietnam proved itself completely unable to sustain itself, and was obliterated.

Yeah, like Poland.

Personally, I wasn't aware that South Vietnam (or Poland) had been oliterated. As far as I know, they are both still valid countries on the map... well, South Vietnam is still part of Vietnam as a whole much like Louisiana is still part of the United States despite the efforts of recent hurricanes.. but Poland appears to still be it's ver own nation, despite the efforts of Hitler and his regime, just ask any of it's 38 million citizens. But maybe that was Tyche's point?

Tyche said:

Dwip, I think you're assuming someone holds the peculiar position in the quiz.

I said I wanted to see somebody try to make the argument. People tried. *shrug*

By obliteration, I mean "ceases to have a viable national government/identity" which I think is fair enough to say about South Vietnam especially - expatriates aside, there's not a lot of chance for a re-independent South Vietnam. And, if you want to make that argument, it's happened a couple times to Poland - 1795 and 1939. Of the two, the first was a lot worse for the Poles - they didn't regain independence until 1918. Culturally, of course, the Poles are a pretty distinct group from, say, Germans, or Russians, or Finns. I'd wager that it's a lot harder to make that same argument for South Vietnam, whose people (as best I know) tend to think of themselves as Vietnamese (or one of the assorted minority ethnic groups) first.

In short, yes, South Vietnam is a part of Vietnam as a result of getting conquered by North Vietnam and reorganized to have no seperate identity from Vietnam as a whole. As a political entity, South Vietnam is utterly obsolete, thus it has been "obliterated."

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