Enough Already | Scott Horton on The Unraveling Podcast with Jocko Willink and Darryl Cooper  

  • Check out The Unraveling Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes
  • Disclaimer: There is no doubt that Putin is the aggressor and is doing terrible things to the Ukrainian people. However, there is a long interwoven history of US misadventures abroad that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Key Takeaways

  • Going to war means you are ready to kill innocent civilians
    • “The nature of war is death.” Jocko Willink
    • War is rarely justified; people who start wars do not understand the nature of war
  • War is loaded with an infinite number of variables; personalities, egos, agendas, etc. and somehow we think that some small team of bureaucrats is going to predict the outcome of an invasion
  • “This is actually about great power politics and American imperial hegemony that loves to dress itself up as the global liberal international rules-based order of friendship and co-operation and governance.”Scott Horton
  • “People don’t know the history of these things until they pop up on the news.” – Darryl Copper
    • People knew nothing about Putin until the election (fraud claims) in 2016; that’s where the story starts for most people
    • Nobody knows the history of CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden
  • America, not Russia is the world empire
    • America lost 30 years ago; Russia is the reacting end of America’s unipolar world order
  • Ukraine is the “little guy” suffering largely because they got caught in the middle of this
    • “Kick a dog until it bites, shoot it and then say ‘see I told you the dog was dangerous'”.Darryl Cooper
  • What led to the current conflict?
    • NATO expansion (including right up to the Baltics and promises to bring Ukraine and Georgia)
    • Bush, Jr. and Donald Trump tearing up the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty or ABMT) and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
    • Overthrew the government of Ukraine twice in 10 years (Orange revolution of 04, the neo-nazi protest of 2014)
  • “I absolutely condemn what Putin has done here, the war is absolutely horrible.” Scott Horton
    • Jocko, Darryl, and Scott believe there were ways to solve this diplomatically without war
  • Why couldn’t America calibrate their Eastern European policy to make sure that the most dangerous force on the planet (Russia) is compliant with their goals?
    • “If this isn’t their achievement then it’s their greatest disgrace.” Scott Horton

Key Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Scott Horton (@scotthortonshow) is a typical anti-government extremist type from Austin. He is the director of the Libertarian Institute and the senior editor of antiwar.com
    • He’s also an author of books such as Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terror
    • “I absolutely condemn what Putin has done here, the war is absolutely horrible.” Scott Horton
  • In this episode of the Unraveling Podcast, Scott Horton joins Jocko and Darryl to discuss the nature of war, the history of US foreign relations, and the increasingly complex Russia-Ukraine crisis
  • Hosts – Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) and Darryl Cooper (@martyrmade)

Governments Can’t Control or Predict the Outcome of Wars

  • Going to war means you are ready to kill innocent civilians
    • “The nature of war is death.” Jocko Willink
    • War is rarely justified; people who start wars do not understand the nature of war
    • Combat is a humbling experience that teaches you that you can’t control, predict, or count on anything
  • “The enemy gets a vote.” – common saying from the US Military
    • The saying is a reminder that it is always possible that the enemy might do something unexpected
    • Even the best plans can spin out of control because people are unpredictable
  • Governments can’t control or predict the outcome of wars
    • Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
      • There is a section that discusses two Soviet economists describing a situation in which their government raised the price it would pay for moleskin pelts
      • What happens? Many hunters and trappers hunt many more moles and sell them to the government
      • Quickly, the warehouses are overflooded with moleskin pelts that no one wanted or needed
      • They could’ve adjusted the price but they were too busy adjusting the prices of 24 million other items
      • It wasn’t possible. “The government can’t effectively control the pricing of a moleskin pelt, and if they can’t predict that, how can they predict anything at all?”Jocko Willink
  • Sometimes, we fall into the trap of thinking that the government can predict what is going to happen in a foreign country and the reaction of the local population
    • War is loaded with an infinite number of variables; personalities, egos, agendas, etc. and somehow we think that some small team of bureaucrats is going to predict the outcome of an invasion

Scott Horton – A Typical Anti-government Extremist Type… From Austin

  • “It was clear to me then that all this stuff about building up the UN in the name of humanitarian interventionism is fake.”Scott Horton
  • Ever since he was a boy, Scott disliked the Republicans and he knew Bill Clinton was one of them all along
    • He was a conspiracy cuckoo in the 90s but got over it with the change of administration (when Bush and Cheney came to power)
    • “This is actually about great power politics and American imperial hegemony that loves to dress itself up as the global liberal international rules-based order of friendship and co-operation and governance.”Scott Horton
  • The US is an imperial state that brakes those same rules and does whatever it wants
    • In the case of Iraq and Kosovo- the law says that you can’t start a war unless you have a United Nations Security Council resolution
    • They knew they couldn’t get their resolution, so they just did what they wanted to do regardless
  • The liberal rules-based world order is an illusion for what is essentially a right-leaning imperial power
  • The United States continues to exercise imperial power, but Jocko thinks they are not good at it
    • Considering the strength and technology, the US could rule the world if they wanted to
  • “The only way to get Americans to go to war is it’s gotta be a moral crusade.”Scott Horton
    • Eventually, the moral intensity needed to get Americans to go to war wears off and they get stuck in “back-and-forth” – they can’t commit

No Plan Survives First Contact With the Enemy

  • War doesn’t care about plans; once people engage, war takes its own course
    • According to Jocko, the US government has a big problem with the lack of adjusting strategic plans
    • “We get the idea, and we keep going with the same idea without adjusting.”Jocko Willink
  • The iterative decision-making process
    • Taking a small action, assessing the outcome, making adjustments
    • This is a problem that the US has been doing ever since WW2; they come up with a plan and execute, get unexpected feedback, and then they walk away despite the sunk cost
  • No one says “We messed this up.”
    • In the case of Iraq, it took them years just to adjust the strategy on the ground 
  • While in Iraq, Jocko was encouraged to continue with the standard operating procedures they have always been doing as a nation (go, out, capture/kill bad guys, bring them to base, find their friends, capture/kill the next bad guy)
    • “Yeah, I know we get the bad guy, but we’ve been here for 3 years and the enemy attacks are up 300%, it’ doesn’t seem like it’s working.”Jocko Willink (to his superiors)
  • The other mistake the US makes is overlaying their values, visions, and worldviews on other people
  • “The US never takes responsibility.”Scott Horton
    • Joe Biden has been calling shots on all American foreign policies since 1973
    • His first act as a senator in 1973 was condemning Nixon for hasty withdrawal from Vietnam (Yesterday’s Man by Branko Marcetic)
    • He championed all of the Eastern Europe policies (Nato expansion, missile defense in Eastern EU, etc.)
    • He was co-chair of the Senate’s formulations under Bill Clinton, chair of the Senate’s formulations committee under George W. Bush, vice-president during Barrack Obama
    • “This is a guy who was been wrong about everything the whole time he’s the guy sitting in the chair right now.”Scott Horton
    • The only good decisions he could make would have to be based on him saying that he was wrong and that he is changing his mind

“We (The Us) Are Playing Checkers, and the Russians and Chinese Are Playing Chess.” – Jocko Willink

  • Chess is a game with rules and limited moves, the laws of chess do not apply to human beings
    • Just because you move a “piece” in a certain position, it doesn’t mean that the other side with react accordingly
    • Why does the US government have a problem with understanding this? The Cubans didn’t do what they thought they were gonna do, and neither did the Vietnamese and Iraqis
    • “The best way of going into these situations is not overcommitting, but actually doing iterative decision-making process and trying to figure out what mistakes you made as you go.”Jocko Willink
  • The people who had the best predictions were the people who were against it (Col. David Hackworth understood the situation in the Middle East and the Shia–Sunni relations)
    • “He [Hackworth] knew better, he didn’t know everything in the world, but he knew that Iraq was a supermajority Shia society ruled by Sunni minority dictatorship.”Scott Horton
    • Hackworth warned about the danger of not knowing what would happen, warned against opening the can of worms
  • “People don’t know the history of these things until they pop up on the news.” – Darryl Copper
    • People knew nothing about Putin until the election (fraud claims) in 2016, that’s where the story starts for most people
    • This goes for the situation in Iraq, or 9/11; nobody knows the history of CIA and Afghanistan
    • It’s not part of the general knowledge or even that of the government

“It’s Us and the Good Guys vs the Bad Guys, Back to You Jim.”

  • Listening to government officials during the second Iraq war, Scott realized they are basing their policy on the same ignorant information as the general public
    • They don’t even know who Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is
    • They frame the problem as “The US and Iraqis on one side vs the terrorists on the other side”
    • And that’s all anybody knows about it, including the guys on the ground
  • When Scott started working at antiwar.com, one of his first jobs was answering letters to the editor
    • Occasionally, people would write, call them traitors, and complain about their content while many soldiers risked their lives for freedom 
    • They are not fighting for freedom as they think, they are “…fighting for the power of the United Iraqi Alliance which is made up of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa party which are both sponsored by Iran.”Scott Horton
    • Simply put, they are fighting against the former regime for one group of people to take power over another
    • “You know that guy al-Sadr who you hate, you work for him. He is a part of the United Iraqi alliance too, so what are you fighting him for?” Scott Horton
    • He would win them over with facts and they would agree afterward
    • Freedom has nothing to do with it, they were fighting the war for the Ayatollah in Iran
  • Jocko finds it even more disturbing that no one actually knows what’s going on
    • The experts don’t know what’s going to happen
    • “When the reel estate market melted down in 2007, how many Goldman Sachs economists were sitting around and said we see what’s going to happen?”Jocko Willink
    • Only a dozen people capitalized out of the entire world of people studying the market 
  • War is an infinite number of variables and just because you are studying something or grew up in e.g. Cairo or Bagdad it doesn’t mean that you will be able to control an infinite number of variables
    • The people who were against the war had an incentive to figure out who Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is, what is the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the influence of Iran over them, their agenda, etc.

The Guys on the Ground

  • The vast majority of people are normal people that are not wrapped up in the political Twitter: “In America, we have like Twitter wars, in Iraq you have a real war going on, but most people don’t want to be involved in Twitter battles, in Iraq, in big scary wars.”Jocko Willink
  • The Sunni, the Shia, the Americans, the Israelis… these are far too broad categories
    • Iraqi supermajority does not equal people, we are talking about the Supreme Islamic Council and the Dawa party – the power factions among the Sunni and the Shia supermajority
  • American troops did horrible things in Iraq, but they also went to great lengths to avoid collateral damage, killing civilians
    • The guys on the ground are dealing with the situation regardless of the questions if it was a good idea to go there in the first place
    • “You put 1.4 million testosterone latent 22-year-old dudes in a foreign country, you are going to have some things happen.”Darryl Cooper
    • Especially if you are fighting the local militiamen, not the state army
    • Even in 1967′ Vietnam (when the drafting started), every single person was convinced they are here to help and free people, they truly believed that
    • The same goes for the situation with Iraq
    • It’s always about the bigger moral cause for Americans
  • The people who volunteer for the US army are the exact kind of people that you want in an ideal world
    • The country says “We need you” and they go serve their country because that is how they were brought up
    • Darryl agrees those are great people and great citizens and then we sent them to war and put them in situations that corrupt their souls
  • As a kid growing up in America, Scott learned that killing is morally justified when you go kill people like Hitler
    • America stopped Hitler and that means when America goes to war it means they are fighting people who terrorize your land, family, and country
    • Why else would the government be sending you?
  • People sign up for the army because they think they are going to fight people that threaten their land and family, or at least all of Europe (as in the case of Hitler)
    • Otherwise, what the hell are you doing 7000 miles from home unless it’s to protect your family back here?
    • “It was always the case that us killing people over there was what caused them to generate terrorism over here.”Scott Horton

This Is a Lot More Complicated Than Good Guys vs Bad Guys

  • “There’s a significant chunk of neo nazis in Ukraine, teamed up with actual extremist Islamists and they are part of the whole scene.” – Jocko Willink
    • “We are not talking about Vladimir Putin’s guys, we are talking about Joe Biden’s guys in Ukraine.” Scott Horton
    • “Ever since the first Soviet Afghanistan war when Saudi and other allies activated the Madrasa network and start filtering every young dude with nothing better in the slums of Cairo into Afghanistan” – Darryl Cooper
    • It worked great, and ever since the US became addicted to that kind of mode of warfare
  • “Strategic as “hole reserve” (as Darryl calls them) is a floating group of people you can brief and direct if necessary
    • The US has been backing up Bin Laden’s people from 1979 through 2022, except after 9/11
    • The Redirection by Simon Hersh – essential reading
      • America and Bin Laden have been literal allies
    • “We have known for years that jihadists from the CIA’s dirty war in Syria have been going off to Ukraine to link up with the literal Hitler-loving nazis to kill Russians in the Donbas.”Scott Horton
    • “A lot of them were Bill Clinton old terrorists from the Chechen group who Obama used to fight in Syria.”Scott Horton
    • Sometimes they set them up to fight the Islamists in Libya, or the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and then they ship them to Ukraine
  • This is a lot more complicated than good guys vs bad guys
    • Zelensky is Jew, how is he going forward with this stuff?
    • He has no choice, they got the reputation as the best fighter
    • S14 surrounding Ukrainian parliament a few years ago
    • They have overthrown the last government, they could do it again
    • There is no force strong enough to keep these nazis out of bay according to Scott
    • “We are not talking about rednecks from Alabama with no shoes out in the woods burning the cross, these are proud grandsons of the SS Division ‘Galicia’ who perpetrated the holocaust.”Scott Horton
  • America has a Star Wars complex
    • Anybody going against the empire (whoever our freedom fighters are) the US tends to support them (despite them being nazis or Islamic extremists)

Are You a Putin Apologist?

  • You are either in full support of Ukraine or you are a Putin sympathizer
    • We have to understand the complexities of what is happening
    • Some things will be out of our control
  • Inside the Soviet Army by Victor Suvorov
    • Suvorov speaks about the policy related to nuclear war
    • Russia’s whole strategy has been built around the “offense is the best defense” proverb
    • They won’t wait for someone else to draw first
  • Darryl wishes for the US to just have a little more awareness concerning the Russia-Ukraine conflict
    • He is aware that this might make him look like a Putin apologist, but Darryl believes Putin is reacting to things that are reasonably interpreted as aggression from the US towards Russia
  • The case of Georgia in 2008
    • NATO saying we are putting Ukraine and Georgia on a fast track to join NATO
    • They’ve been telling the US since the early 90s; Georgia and Ukraine are the red lines for Russians
    • Introducing any kind of nuance, context, or responsibility to how you come across is tantamount to treason
  • There is no other way for Russia to interpret this other than aggression; they are targeting their allies, bringing them into the anti-Russian military alliance (NATO)
    • NATO supposedly has an open-door policy, but Russia asked twice to join NATO and was rejected
    • “We have the most eminent foreign policy and diplomatic people that we’ve had in the 20th century, all the people who’d cut their teeth in the Cold War and came in that environment; every single one of them said ‘this is a terrible idea, we are clearly provoking them'”Darryl Cooper
  • Are you a Putin apologist?
    • There is no cult of Putin
    • “Maybe if you look at 4chan you’ll find 1 of the 75 absolutely minuscule and powerless white supremacist groups say that they think he’s a really great leader. Yeah, big deal.” – Scott Horton

What’s Really Going on Here According to Scott Horton

  • America, not Russia is the world empire
    • America lost 30 years ago, Russia is the reacting end of America’s unipolar world order
  • The worst things Putin has done in this century have been in Ukraine and Syria
    • But, as Scott says in his book, he believes this is also Barrack Obama’s fault
  • Ukraine is the “little guy” suffering largely because they got caught in the middle of this
    • “Kick a dog until it bites, shoot it and then say ‘see I told you the dog was dangerous'”.Darryl Cooper
  • What led to the current conflict?
    • NATO expansion (including right up to the Baltics and promises to bring Ukraine and Giorgia)
    • Bush, Jr. and Donald Trump tearing up the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty or ABMT) and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
    • Overthrew the government of Ukraine twice in 10 years (Orange revolution of 04, the neo-nazi protest of 2014)
  • “For 23 years, after the fall of Soviet Union, Russians were perfectly happy to abide by the status quo and let the Ukrainians administer Crimea as long as they get to keep their naval base.”Scott Horton
    • It wasn’t until Barrack Obama overthrew the government for the second time in 10 years and used Hitler-loving nazis to do it, and threatened to kick them out of their naval base
    • Taking Crimea from Russia means they would no longer be a regional power because of the access to the black sea
  • “This has nothing to do with caring for people of Ukraine, and everything with American imperial politics.”Scott Horton
  • At the same time taking their ally Syria and that is their only Mediterranean naval base
    • Scott asked Lyle Goldstein (director of Asia Engagement at Defense Priorities) why Putin took the Donbas now when they voted to join the Russian Federation in 2015 and they told him no
    • What changed? Lyle said it was probably the attempted revolution in Belarus last year
    • They attempted to overthrow the government of Belarus
    • The entire national security state in Russia knew they had to draw a line because of America
    • There was a consensus to move in on Ukraine
  • People say the war started when Russia invaded in February, but that’s not right
    • There has been a war going on there for 8 years
    • Russia’s major demand was to implement the Minsk II deal offers, Biden told him he would do it last July, but never did
    • This is a battle between the US and Russia, Ukraine is just stuck in the middle
  • Why isn’t Antony Blinken in Geneva meeting with Sergei Lavrov right now?
    • Because they want this war; the US wants to see this war drag on
    • The US keeps saying how they want to replicate Afghanistan and Syria (backing up insurgency); the model for what they want to do in Ukraine by giving them weapons
  • Scott believes America is sacrificing the people of Ukraine
    • Zelensky’s speech at Munich Security Conference
    • Potential last straw for Putin? 
    • Why did Zelesky say they will maybe get out of the Budapest Memorandum? 
    • Did that mean they were considering making nuclear weapons
    • They can’t make them, and the US doesn’t pass out a-bombs, why would he say it? Maybe someone put him up to it to provoke Putin to make the choice

The World Is Canceling Russia

  • Putin knew hell was going to come down on Russia economically
    • Either he lost his mind (which was what we are seeing on the news right now) or they felt so backed up into the corner that they didn’t know what else to do
    • Scott believes it’s the latter: “They always do this, everybody who is against them (The US) is crazy and they can’t negotiate with them.”Scott Horton
  • Global cancelation
    • We haven’t seen a country getting canceled by the whole world before
    • What kind of pressure is this going to lead to?
    • We don’t know how Russian will respond, they are used to suffering
    • Will this affect China’s future decisions?
  • “I absolutely condemn what Putin has done here, the war is absolutely horrible.” Scott Horton
    • Jocko, Darryl, and Scott believe there were ways to solve this diplomatically without war
    • Why couldn’t America calibrate their Eastern European policy to make sure that the most dangerous force on the planet (Russia) is compliant with their goals?
    • “If this isn’t their achievement then it’s their greatest disgrace.” – Scott Horton
  • They had every ability to stop this from happening
  • “Biden’s been running shotgun on this policy for 25 years.” Scott Horton
The Unraveling Podcast with Jocko Willink and Darryl Cooper : , , , , , ,
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