WWI: Armistice

The Treaty of Versailles proved a disaster, at once too harsh and too soft. Its terms were far less punitive than those the victorious Allies would dictate to Germany after World War II. Earlier, Germany itself had demanded tougher concessions from a defeated France in 1871 and Russia in 1918.

In the end, the Allies proved unforgiving to a defeated Germany in the abstract, but not tough enough in the concrete.

One ironic result was that the victorious but exhausted Allies announced to the world that they never wished to go to war again. Meanwhile, the defeated and humiliated Germans seemed all too eager to fight again soon to overturn the verdict of 1918.

The consequence was a far bloodier war that followed just two decades later. Eventually, “the war to end all wars” was rebranded “World War I” after World War II engulfed the planet and wiped out some 60 million lives.

.. For an enemy to accept defeat, it must be forced to understand why it lost, suffer the consequences of its aggressions — and only then be shown magnanimity and given help to rebuild.

.. Had the Allies continued their offensives in the fall of 1918 and invaded Germany, the peace that followed might have more closely resembled the unconditional surrender and agreements that ended WWII, leading to far more than just 20 years of subsequent European calm.

Deterrence prevents war.

Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 because it was convinced that Britain would not send enough troops to aid its overwhelmed ally, France. Germany also assumed that isolationist America would not intervene.

Unfortunately, the Allies of 1939 later repeated the errors of 1914, and the result was WWII.

Germany currently dominates Europe, just as it did in 1871, 1914, and 1939. European peace is maintained only when Germany channels its enormous energy and talents into economic, not military, dominance. Yet even today, on matters such as illegal immigration, overdue loans, Brexit, and trade surpluses, Germany tends to agitate its allies.

Empathy, Accuracy, and Credibility

One wished that Ford could at last have named one witness who could corroborate her allegations that the 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her 36 years ago in a place where witnesses were apparently present, or at least produced convincing evidence that the testimonies of those alleged to be at the party who had no memory of her narratives were sorely mistaken.

Ford might have been deemed more credible had she just been able to locate the scene of the alleged assault, or to explain how and why the alleged gender and number of those at the scene of the alleged assault were not reported by her consistently, or to remember how she arrived and left the scene.

The “process” of memorializing Ford’s testimony involved a strange inversion of constitutional norms: The idea of a statute of limitations is ossified; hearsay is legitimate testimony; inexact and contradictory recall is proof of trauma, and therefore of validity; the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser; detail and evidence are subordinated to assumed sincerity; proof that one later relates an allegation to another is considered proof that the assault actually occurred in the manner alleged; motive is largely irrelevant; the accuser establishes the guidelines of the state’s investigation of the allegations; and the individual allegation gains credence by cosmic resonance with all other such similar allegations.

Those assumptions played out as extensive examination of minute details of Kavanaugh’s teenage life with little commensurate inquiry into Ford’s. The premise was that victimizer Kavanaugh thought he had an entitlement to be on the Court, rather than the fact that victimized Ford had initiated the entire line of inquiry, whose aim was to establish that a teenage Kavanaugh 36 years ago was a sexual assaulter and foiled rapist, and therefore now unqualified to take Antony Kennedy’s vacant Supreme Court seat. All that meant that the accuser was exempt from providing substantiation at a level required from Kavanaugh. I don’t think the American people have yet evolved to accept such a line of reasoning or quite yet believe that the U.S. Senate is entirely free from the spirit of the Constitution when conducting confirmation hearings and investigations.

Mueller at the Crossroads

After almost a year, Mueller has offered no evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. Aside from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a few minor and transitory campaign officials have been indicted or have pleaded guilty to a variety of transgressions other than collusion.

Ironically, the United States has often interfered in foreign elections to massage the result. Recently, Bill Clinton joked about his own efforts as president to collude in the 1996 Israeli election to ensure the defeat of Benjamin Netanyahu. “I tried to do it in a way that didn’t overtly involve me,” Clinton said.

.. In his search for Russian collusion, Mueller might also investigate Steele, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, and the Clinton campaign. All used Russian sources to leak unproven gossip and smears to the press in an effort to warp the 2016 election.
In his search for obstruction of justice, Mueller might also investigate whether top DOJ and FBI officials deliberately misled the FISA court by withholding evidence that the Steele dossier was flawed. Did Justice Department officials inform the FISA court that Steele’s dossier was hired research paid for by the Clinton campaign? Did they tell the court that the FBI had stopped using Steele as a source because he purportedly leaked information to the media? Did they tell the court that Comey was on record as saying the Steele dossier might not have been credible?
In his search for obstruction of justice, Mueller might also investigate whether top DOJ and FBI officials deliberately misled the FISA court by withholding evidence that the Steele dossier was flawed. Did Justice Department officials inform the FISA court that Steele’s dossier was hired research paid for by the Clinton campaign? Did they tell the court that the FBI had stopped using Steele as a source because he purportedly leaked information to the media? Did they tell the court that Comey was on record as saying the Steele dossier might not have been credible?
.. In his search for felonious behavior concerning the leaking of classified documents, Mueller might determine:1) Whether Comey’s memos regarding presidential conversations, which Comey leaked to the press, were classified;

2) Whether former top national-security and intelligence officials — among them John Brennan, James Clapper, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, and Susan Rice — requested that the redacted names of surveilled Americans be unmasked, and whether officials then illegally leaked those names to the media;

.. 3) Whether FBI officials such as Comey and McCabe leaked confidential findings from their investigations to the press during the 2016 campaign and lied to investigators about it.