A review of Michael Rubin (2014): Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes. NY: Encounter.
Six years ago in Washington, D.C:
“Mr Gerlach … people stand and applaud when I mention impeachment.”
“Yes, things could get mean . . .”
According to Rubin, “Engagement” – finding good in talking and offering gifts – has been a regular gambit in American diplomacy. Engagement, however, produced few good results in negotiations with North Vietnam, North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Russia. The GOP has also used “engagement” with Barack Obama with piddling success.
Engagement requires talk and gifts to anyone who talks with us. Often, the other participant “games” us – acknowledging gifts but also developing missiles, satellites, and laser guided chemical and nuclear weapons in secrecy. Rubin, in 326 pages, offers no convincing explanation for why America and Americans approve of engagement despite its failures. He only suggests that engagement flourishes because diplomats need good news to polish their own careers. (Diplomats are also rewarded by first class airfare and first class hotels and first class access to reporters.) Engagement is even used when politicians woo voters. Engagement also shows up in our daily news which is often talk about talking. For example, Karen deYoung (2014) sketched recent conversations between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama:
“When President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukraine in two lengthy phone calls this past week, neither expected the other to say: ‘You know what (Barack/Vladimir)? You’re right.’
“Instead, each leader laid out his own set of facts with no common ground between them, according to public and private accounts of the calls. Putin told Obama that ethnic Russians in Crimea needed protection from attacks by Ukrainian nationalists. The government in Kiev, he said, was illegal, and Russia’s actions to defend them were completely legitimate.
“Not so, Obama responded. There were no attacks against ethnic Russians, and Putin’s deployment of troops to Crimea was illegal. Obama said Russia could withdraw and allow international monitors to assess the situation, or risk serious international consequences, according to a senior administration official listening in.
“But despite the near-total lack of common ground, the U.S. side, at least, considered the calls useful. It’s always worth talking to Putin, the senior official said, because he says what he thinks and may even reflect later on a conversation that seemed to go nowhere at the time. . .”
Continetti (2014) reached a similar conclusion when he wrote “Barack Obama: First Woman President . . . His collaborative, intuitive, soft, and attractive style makes him worthy of the title.” I can hear a white rat reaching the same conclusion as he “games” a reward schedule of partial reinforcement . . . whatever he did just before the food appeared is apt to be repeated and even he will invent books of explanations that align what he experienced with what he already wanted to believe. (See Steele, 2007)
Engagement’s Annoying Foundations
“Engagement” confuses diplomatic agreement with a marriage contract but even in marital engagement, we should remember that the female sometimes woos a tough male but can also castrate him. That is, she fills his time, calls him often, wears her best outfits, and is more sexually inventive during the courtship. She promises warm dinners and happy, gifted brats when she delivers a Saturday night screw. Things often change immediately after the nuptials – a female mantis will bite off the head of her mate while he’s still inside of her. Modern female humans take over his check account.
There is a foundation, especially in genetics, statistical physics, and human evolution and I apologize to any who detest my faith. Please read on!
1) The conservatives are correct – Every living creature manufactures its own world. True for coral, worms, crickets, spiders, and termites (Turner, 2000; Odling-Smee et al., 2003; Fewell, 2003). In humans, infants smile at their parents and turn them into 150-pound guards, butlers, and maids with teats. The sculpting of the mother’s body starts at conception when father and mother engage in biochemical wars to influence their infants size, muscularity, brain organization, and impulse control (Moore & Haig, 1991; Haig, 1993; Haig, 2010). Most eight-year-old humans make and keep an environment that is immediate, and personally unique. Such environments consist of books, games, web-sites, and parental lectures that match the personal choices of the child. (Plomin, 1994; Rowe, 1994; Scarr & McCartney, 1983; Segal, 1999).
2) Two decades have passed since we discovered “genomic imprinting” – that is, the activity of a gene depends on whether it originated in a mother or in a father (Moore & Haig, 1991; Haig, 1993; Haig, 2010; Keverne et al., 1996). We once knew of one or two imprinted genes but have lately found 1300 (Zhang et al, 2010a & 2010b) Indeed, we have found a “male” and a “female” bias in not only minds but also in specific organs (Zimmer, 2014). It is possible for a masculine stomach to nest alongside a feminine liver.
While socialists stress environment’s contributions to the differences between individuals, genes manufacture those environments while magnifying some conditions or minimizing others. For example, if have my mother’s mouth and jaw, my father’s brow and nose. I led with her jealous, impulsive nature for my first twenty years but gradually adopted in my thirties my father’s cautious sense of the future (Brody, 2008).
3) There are biases in the outcomes from imprinted genes. Males often fight, explore, do math, and are apt to be autistic. Females are usually more verbal, negotiate nearly anything, and formalize those negotiations with contracts. The girls are more apt to become paranoid, anxious, or schizophrenic (Baron-Cohen, 2003; Crespi & Badcock, 2008; Badcock, 2009). So are liberals (Podhoretz, 2010), even those who confuse themselves with pot.
4) The game called “Tit-for-Tat” underlies many human interactions (Poundstone, 1992; Wright, 2009) … both parties benefit if each prolongs the relationship by taking a bit less during any one exchange. “Engagement” is born and it can be profitable! If, however, one partner knows that things will soon end, he/she benefits the most by cheating without limit on the final turn. Sales people pretend that things will go on forever, the brush-man promised to return but never did, and a practical blonde on a first date runs for the door when she gets back home. Even our ideas of God have changed him from a jealous controller to a patient, love-us-forever, kindly gramps (Wright, 2009). Tit-for-Tat, thus, accounts for some of the changes that happened to Judaism and Christianity as time after Christ passed, changes that eventually put liberals Jews in New York (Podhoretz, 2009).
5) Lying appears to be a female specialty (Brody, 2013) Women’s appearance suggests the best possible eggs, a woman’s fidgets suggest splendid health, and they promise loyalty in return for our opening doors and giving them presents. Females perhaps do such things because they are smaller than most males: flirting elicits more money and fewer bruises . . .
Lying is also a replay of the GOP’s failures with international relations, illegal aliens, the IRS, the NSA, and voter fraud … if we are nice to liberals, reciprocity operates and they will vote for us. Not so . . . Our best gambit might be to favor rule-bound immigrants who volunteer to go through years of waiting and paperwork . . . they are more apt to have developed a “sense of the future” and to inhibit impulse when they make a promise (Bronowski, 1977; Barkley, 1997).
The feminized high-verbals – with or without a penis – thrive in the English, Sociology, political science, and History Departments and are perhaps more apt to enter government “service” in the State Department or as a legislative staffer. They also become college administrators, haunted by “white guilt” (Steele). They are also not likely to get caught when they lie (Brody, 2013). The “male” editions tend to be conservative and are more often found in math, engineering, ROTC, and sculpture and – aside from the lowest paid discipline, psychiatry – medical school. Thus, collectivism is a cancer in our urban hives, individualism thrives in the countryside (Copley, 2012).
If we imitate Putin, then rogue regimes will treat us differently . . . but don’t expect illegals to remember presents from the GOP. . .
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Barkley, Russell (1997) ADHD and the Nature of Self Control. NY: Guilford.
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Brody, James (2013) In Her Genes. CreateSpace. Http://www.amazon.com/Her-Genes-James-Brody-PhD/dp/1482674491/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377029783&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=%22James+Brody%22+In+her+genes
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DeYoung, Karen (2014) “Ukraine on the line: Obama, Putin find little common ground in telephone diplomacy.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/ukraine-on-the-line-obama-putin-find-little-common-ground-in-telephone-diplomacy/2014/03/08/92ed99c4-a622-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html
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Segal, Nancy (1999) Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us about Human Behavior. NY: Dutton.
Steele, Shelby (2006/2007) White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. NY: Harper Collins.
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Wright, Robert (2009) The Evolution of God. NY: Little Brown.
Zimmer, Carl (2014) Seeing X Chromosomes in a New Light. NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/science/seeing-x-chromosomes-in-a-new-light.html?_r=0