The Paras

The French Generals that had fought the Algerian war for a long time came to think that Algeria was important.  Terrible things would happen of France gave it up.

Gee, I wonder if the chuckleheads that spent most of their professional careers in Iraq and Afghanistan are that dumb.

Of course they are !

 

 

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117 Responses to The Paras

  1. Steve Johnson says:

    Terrible things did happen to France – just not quite as fast as expected. Deciding that your collective civilizational will to live is gone is ultimately fatal.

    Of course Iraq / Afghanistan aren’t the same because there aren’t Americans born, raised and who make their lives there.

    • Zimriel says:

      The field of this battle was not the Barbary Coast, however.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        I’m not so sure.

        If they couldn’t fight to preserve the lives and property of their fellow countrymen that breaks something fundamental. Everyone starts thinking defect / defect on the social dilemmas because the society and civilization seem weak. Since those are both shared illusions seeming weakness translates into real weakness and loss of cohesion.

        • saintonge235 says:

          Except their fellow countrymen were colonizing a foreign land that didn’t want them there.

          “France’s Civilizing Mission” had failed, and they failed to think through what came next.

    • Eugine Nier says:

      Also France used to be a major world power. That it’s not anymore has a lot to do the loss in Algeria. (It’s not the only think but our host would probably take the same attitude towards them as well.)

      • EJ says:

        The linchpin of french hegemony: Algeria!

        • Eugine Nier says:

          Except, you and our host would apply to same logic to argue that it was correct to pull of out of the rest of its colonial empire.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Since their empire was worthless, why keep it?

            • The cost of giving up Algeria was to be invaded by Algerians. France was weak in the face of militant Islam and now metropolitan France has Algeria on her doorstep, both in terms of immigration and terror. Previously, the generals kept the Algerians—their children and their guerrilla warfare—in Algeria.

              Further, millions of Frenchmen had poured their lives and resources into the Algeria, making it a modern country and fully settling there. You don’t just give up territory that your ethnic group has won by blood and toil because the balance sheets are down for a few years.

              The French were forced to withdraw from Algeria by the successor empire, America; she pushed all the European countries to dismantle their colonial regimes, either ceding the ground to Moscow or pro-Washington “progressive” regimes. It was not a sensible move.

              • gcochran9 says:

                All nonsense. Algerians never forced their way into France. Nor did the US kick the French out.

                I think that historical discourse should be at at least loosely related to what actually happened.

      • gcochran9 says:

        France stopped being a major power because other nations eventually greatly exceeded it in power. larger populations, more technological dynamism. It wasn’t pulling out of Algeria – it was the pull-out method, starting much earlier.

      • gcochran9 says:

        If you think that losing Algeria had anything to do with it, you are silly.

        • Dividualist says:

          It had. Algeria under French rule was better governed and more prosperous, so Algerians were less desperate to leave it. It had more of those qualities that make Europe desirable for Muslims to live in, because it was governed by Europeans.

          • Ilya says:

            Come on, man, there is such a thing as border enforcement. It used to work well, and it still works well in a few countries. Plus, an average Algerian (unless you count Sephardi Jews) doesn’t exactly look like a typical native French, which helps, too.

        • Algernon Sydney says:

          Algeria was a bridge to the wider French empire in Africa that arguably gave it access to resources that would be difficult for the US to interdict, unlike any other European power except Russia.

          That’s the best I’ve got.

    • Dividualist says:

      Yes. In the hindsight, the point of France being in Algeria was that the Algerians stay in Algeria. Now that the French went back to France, the Algerians also went to France.

      • gcochran9 says:

        They were imported for cheap labor. if the people running France hadn’t wanted them, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s not as if they could teleport in.

        Moreover, their population ( like that of many backward groups) increased a lot under French rule, and as a result of various medical improvements invented by the West.

        Don’t be stupid. At least try not to.

        • M. M. says:

          They were imported for cheap labor.

          Der Spiegel on Algerian immigration to France in 1964
          Link to complete translation at wp.me/pc5QDQ-F

          FRANCE / ALGERIA
          Brown tide
          15.07.1964

          »The French health authorities were unable to take special measures to combat the unhygienic flood, nor could the Paris police take special measures to combat brown-collar crime: under the Evian agreements, Algerians enjoy the same rights as the French, in particular unrestricted freedom of movement. It was not until 1965 that the 600 000 immigrants had to decide whether to opt for France or Algeria. Ben Bella’s subjects could then be treated as foreigners and, for example, be subject to special health checks.

          In Marseilles, the main importing city, the arrivals had already been medically screened, but so carefully that there was no question of effective controls: For the sake of Algerian oil and the Algerian nuclear bomb sites, the Paris authorities are avoiding anything that could look like discrimination against Algerians living in France.«

      • Eugine Nier says:

        It’s notable that one of the reason the French wound up in Algeria in the first place is that previously the Algerians were in the habit of preying of the shipping of any country currently not powerful enough or too distracted to stop them. Sometimes going so far as to kidnap Europeans from coastal villages.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Sure. An ancestor of mine was imprisoned by them for ten years. After the Napoleonic Wars ended, the French and British Navy plastered Algiers, and rightly so. The French stayed…

          Stopping Algerian pirates was easy – but ruling them was fruitless.

          • Eugine Nier says:

            Getting them to stay topped was harder.

            • Eugine Nier says:

              *stopped

            • saintonge235 says:

              Periodically plaster them, burn any city or village withing ten miles of the coast, seize anyone near the coast and sell them into slavery in other Arab countries . . . it wouldn’t have been hard at all. The U.S., with a minuscule Navy, stopped them quite easily.

              But monkeys gotta shove around other monkeys, to show their status in the troop. Hence colonialism.

              • Eugine Nier says:

                Periodically plaster them,

                That requires permenantly dedicating a naval squadron to deal with the problem.

                burn any city or village withing ten miles of the coast, seize anyone near the coast and sell them into slavery in other Arab countries . . . it wouldn’t have been hard at all.

                If the French had been willing to commit those kinds of atrocities they wouldn’t have had any problems keeping control of Algeria.

      • EJ says:

        Why are Algerians crossing the mediterranean a force of nature?

  2. You can’t be serious, Algeria was a part of France, next to it on the Mediterranean Sea with 1 million French citizens. Oran, Alger and Constantine controlled by France would have strengthened it. Of course, you would have to create a wall around it. Incentivise even more heavily non-Black Christian migration to the Area. Basically a French Israel.

    • Eugine Nier says:

      And now France is having to fight the same fight in Metropolitan France. Meanwhile, China is now moving into the power vacuum crated by the fall of European colonialism and the weakening of American power. For all his insights into population genetics, our host has major blind spots with regard to strategic matters (among other things).

      • gcochran9 says:

        France imported a lot of Moslems – later. Because they were idiots.

        • j says:

          The French are not idiots, they were misled by the Jacobins.

          • Woof says:

            If you allow yourself to be misled you are an idiot. Ignorance is a choice, conforming to stupid ideas is a choice, believing obvious lies is a choice. Too many people are choosing to be ignorant and stupid.

            • bomag says:

              If you allow yourself to be misled you are an idiot.

              Some paths are only clear enough in hindsight.

              • Woof says:

                Being misled early on is understandable, but I think at this point in time if you are still being misled it is a willful choice. I have observed too many people pushing bad ideas any reasonable person could see were destructive. That marxism is still treated with respect in some circles is an obvious one.

        • Michel Rouzic says:

          French person here to correct the record. The French are indeed idiots and not victims of circumstance, they looked at savages and barbarians and thought “wow they’re just like me”. They believed that with a bit of republican education they would turn the children of those savages into highly productive and intelligent law-abiding members of the republic who would abandon their backwards beliefs and identity to become just like us. Then they spent decades asking themselves what did they do wrong for second and third generation immigrants to be even worse than the first generation (less productivity, more crime, more religious radicalism, more rejection of French “values” and identity) while still promising that total integration and social harmony were right around the corner. The French chose centuries ago to believe in things that are false (they still mindlessly repeat mantras such as “we are all born equal” as if that meant anything) and won’t allow themselves to backtrack, condemning themselves to self-destruction.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      My understanding is that Algeria was a colony, like Indochina.

  3. georgioxblog says:

    Sunken cost fallacy was rather the rule than the exception in decolonization wars especially for France and Portugal. But at least the Portugese have the good excuse that they were a dictatorship, when they turned into a democracy they quickly pulled out of Africa. And the French should already have learned their lesson in Bien Dien Phu. There was probably a psychological component too. After their disastrous quick loss in 1940, they just needed to show the world, that they could win. After Algeria, France was rather pacifist again, with Chirac (Algeria Veteran) keeping France out of Iraq.

  4. brendan says:

    le pied cerveau

  5. shadow on the wall says:

    Gee, I wonder if the chuckleheads that spent most of their professional careers in Iraq and Afghanistan are that dumb.

    Fighting never ending war on terror: promotions, awards, medals, combat pay, retirement bonuses.
    Sitting in Fort Nowhere, North Dakota: nothing.

    If you were smart professional soldier, what would you pick?

  6. pyrrhus says:

    France wouldn’t fight muslim radicals to preserve French Algeria, so now it has to fight them in France, and doesn’t have the stomach for it….Nor did it have the stomach to fight muslim immigration…France is finished.

    • Eugine Nier says:

      so now it has to fight them in France, and doesn’t have the stomach for it….Nor did it have the stomach to fight muslim immigration

      Well according to our host, that was because the French inexplicably developed a bout of temporary idiocy and had nothing, nothing, to do with them not having the stomach for fighting muslim radicals in French Algeria.

      • gcochran9 says:

        De Gaulle was not only good at not giving up when every else around had, he was SMART. These qualities more than make up for being utterly impossible.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Always refreshing to hear from someone being an idiot in a way that we don’t see that often nowadays. Not a new way, but definitely not woke.

        • shadow on the wall says:

          Indeed, it is nice to see vintage 1890’s craziness (HURR DURR RAISE THE FLAG! HURR DURR PAINT THE MAP BLUE! HURR DURR GLORY ABOVE ALL!). We are all bored out of our minds by the 2020’s ones.

          • Eugine Nier says:

            Well if you don’t “paint the map blue” as you say, someone else likely will paint it (possibly including your country) his color.

          • Eugine Nier says:

            As opposed to the perennial “if we close our eyes and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist it will go away” form of stupidity. Frequently phrased as “if we (collective) don’t bother anyone else no one else will bother us” which amounts to the same thing but is somehow considered more respectable.

          • “Frequently phrased as “if we (collective) don’t bother anyone else no one else will bother us” which amounts to the same thing but is somehow considered more respectable.”

            It’s seemed to work quite well for post-1945 Japan.

            • Eugine Nier says:

              Only because Japan is part of the pax Americana and the US won’t permit Japan to bother or be bothered by anyone.

              • Woof says:

                Plus everyone in the region remembers what it was like to fight and lose to the Japanese. No one with brains wants round two.

              • Eugine Nier says:

                Just like after the devastation of WWI no one in Europe wanted to might again?

                Japan’s military isn’t what it used to be and China would either invade or at least intimidate Japan if it wasn’t for the US presence. In fact, it may do that anyway if it thinks US power has sufficiently weakened.

              • newt0311 says:

                Agreed. China will decide any day now (i.e. in a decade or two) that it doesn’t care for the Pax Americana extending all the way to the shores of Beijing and Japan’s going to flip into a Chinese colony virtually overnight.

              • Yet the US is constantly being “bothered” by other countries. I wonder why…

              • Eugine Nier says:

                @Alexander Turok

                Mostly because the US is so used to being left alone that it’s threshold for what constitutes being “bothered” is extremely low. If the US’s ability and willingness to do power projection decreases, they’ll discover what being “bothered” truly means.

              • Algernon Sydney says:

                Without the US presence Japan would be a nuclear weapons state and probably militarised to the level of Russia or Israel. It would keep its independence but probably adopt a conciliatory attitude towards China anyway. Which it is doing now by the way. Go there some time and it is obvious on the ground level that they see Chinese and Koreans as low/middle status cousins and whites as (temporarily?) high status strangers.

        • rz says:

          But why is he wrong?

          Compare to Israel, and the costly occupation of the strip.

          It’s a costly occupation. No taxes from the occupation area, all cost.

          But if they lost the stomach to occupy, and conceded self-rule, would you not expect a loss of righteous confidence? Leading to more concessions, immigration, inclusion, diversity, etc.

          • The Gaza Strip? They’ve been letting it wither on the vine for the last 15 years.

          • Eugine Nier says:

            But if they lost the stomach to occupy, and conceded self-rule, would you not expect a loss of righteous confidence? Leading to more concessions, immigration, inclusion, diversity, etc.

            Not to mention rocket attacks, suicide bombers, etc.

  7. teageegeepea says:

    You already had a post like this with the same title:
    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2019/10/23/the-paras/

  8. jbbigf says:

    Is it your contention is that no terrible things have happened since France left Algeria? One or two rather unsettling events come to mind.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Do I think that France suffered for the lack of Algeria? A sand shortage, perhaps? No.

      Look, colonialism back in 1830 seldom paid – but at least it was easy. In 1960 it was no longer cheap & easy, was in fact a big loser. Hardly any kind of natural resource, other Kuwait-level oil, is worth a war: – and Algeria didn’t have that much oil. Algerian labor was A. unproductive ( still is) and B. surly.

      Keeping Algeria didn’t make France stronger in any material way.

  9. jbbigf says:

    It is a principle of ecology that when species contend for a resource, the winner will be the one that is better adapted to use that resource productively. This principle applies to nations as well, and explains the ability of Europeans to seize the Americas. The French were able to considerably enhance the productivity of Algeria for a time, but they were unable to sustain their dominance over the original inhabitants. The Spanish had the same problem. The Europeans who colonized North America solved this problem by largely eradicating the original inhabitants. Hitler tried the same thing in Ukraine, but encountered difficulties. The French were unable, or perhaps unwilling, to apply this method. So, Algeria remains a shithole. I guess that’s not so terrible.

    • Eugine Nier says:

      It is a principle of ecology that when species contend for a resource, the winner will be the one that is better adapted to use that resource productively.

      That doesn’t apply to warfare. It’s entirely possible that the group that’s less economically productive is better at fighting.

      Sometimes then winners the proceed to exterminate the more efficient losers as the Mongols almost did to the Chinese and as the ANEs appear to have done to the Northern European First Farmers.

      Other times the winners let the losers continue working the land and simply establish themselves as the ruling class over them, e.g., what the Mongols actually did to everyone they conquered.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Europeans, in North America did not, generally, eradicate the Injuns. A reasonable estimate of the Indian deaths in all the wars with settlers – over several centuries – was something like 30,000.

      The real cause: infectious disease.

      You have an inaccurate picture of the world.

      By the way, ecology, hardly has any principles, which is too bad.

      • Henry Scrope says:

        Algérie française. An emotional commitment, not strategic or logical. Over a million French citizen in the departement of Algérie. A blood commitment.

        I dunno about your generals but the people who control your US foreign policy have a blood commitment far far away from Alabama or Idaho. It’s your blood they spill though, and the native’s of course.

        • shadow on the wall says:

          If million Americans decided to settle in Afghanistan, would you be happy to pay forever for million strong American army that will prevent the locals from cutting their heads?

          • gcochran9 says:

            We’d have an effective monopoly of lapis lazuli.

            • shadow on the wall says:

              Yes, we must secure the most strategic material of the 21st century by any means necessary.
              Who controls lapis lazuli, CONTROLS THE WORLD.

              https://mysticcrystalimports.com/pages/lapis-lazuli-properties

              Metaphysical Gemstone Properties
              Lapis Lazuli is said to be quite a powerful thought amplifier, stimulating the high faculties of the mind; bringing objectivity, clarity and encouraging creativity through attunement to The Source.

              Lapis is also connected with Jupiter and thus expands the intellect, wisdom, and leadership qualities, as well as helping in legal matters that arise. The stone works as a shield from psychic attack. It is used to relieve insomnia and let go of anxieties.

          • Henry Scrope says:

            Why are your, and our, squaddies still bloody there? 20 years of watching them grow poppy and buggering small boys on a Thursday and being ordered to ignore it!

            I can’t see the 82nd Airborne doing what 1e REP did in Algeria if ordered home. The Taliban are, like it or not, the group who the Pashtun majority want in charge.

            Support our Troops; Bring them Home.

      • Kevin Balch says:

        Speaking of ecology, why is it that “invasive species” seem to overrun the local flora and fauna where they are introduced (according to the environmentalists)? You would think the native species would be optimized for the local environment. And why do those that fret about invasive species have no qualms about millions of immigrants from the third workd doing the same?

        • benespen says:

          Often the problem is that the native environment is optimized to the local flora and fauna. Invasive species are often more successful by not being susceptible to the local parasites and diseases.

  10. Henry Scrope says:

    I read, or possibly re-read, The Centurions a while back. Brilliant read regardless of whether you agree with the man or not.

    • Henry Scrope says:

      I might try to find PDFs of the others in the series to read, they should be out of copyright now, Larteguy, it seems, has been dead for nine years.

  11. j says:

    The chuckleheads feel that winning wars is important – not the lapis lazuli monopoly. Losing and going home tends to become an habit, and it will certainly end in that you have no home to go back. BTW, lapis lazuli is mined also in Chile and of course, in Minecraft.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Go conquer some useless backward country and occupy it for for a generation. Maybe you’ll discover a new disease !

      • Jim says:

        The Romans conquered the useless backward country of Southern Britain. They ruled it for over 300 years without getting much out of it. Maybe tin from Cornwall but they didn’t need to conquer Britain for that. It was available through trade.

        The Romans were smart enough not to bother with conquering Ireland.

        • Eugine Nier says:

          Yet the Anglo-Saxons somehow managed to make great use out of the “useless country”.

          • Jim says:

            Not for near to a thousand years after their arrival.

            • Eugine Nier says:

              So what changed in those thousand years that caused the country to stop being useless?

              • Jim says:

                I don’t know. The Norman Conquest was certainly a major change. But in say 1400 AD Britain hardly seemed likely to become the center of a world wide Empire.

              • Eugine Nier says:

                Why? How was the Norman conquest significantly different from the Roman conquest?

              • georgesdelatour says:

                There’s an asymmetry. Britain as an offshore adjunct of a continental great power naturally tends to be peripheral and marginal. But Britain as territory denied to that continental power turns out to be really important. It’s the perfect location to blockade the continental coast, control the sea lanes etc. Plus, it’s relatively difficult to invade.

            • random observer says:

              Well, mileage varies on the value of things like religion and artwork, but they seemed on par with other Western European societies of the pre-1000 period in terms of political organization and material culture, facing some of the same organizational, political and military [Vikings] challenges, and doing no worse than the Franks, if on a smaller territorial scale.

              Along with the Irish, the English were even in a position to dominate the Christianization of Germany by missionaries, for a time. Decent diplomatic and cultural relations with the Frankish courts, too.

        • dearieme says:

          Roman Britain: like most such adventures it must have run at a loss.

          It did, however, supply corn (wheat) to the Rhine garrisons for a while. I doubt that anyone foresaw that in 43 AD.

          • gcochran9 says:

            England has some good farmland, and its ag output could be fairly easily mobilized (all close to the coast). I suspect it paid for itself. Scotland could not.

            Significant parts of the Empire must have made a profit, else Italy would have had to subsidize everything else. I don’t think they did.

            • dearieme says:

              Those significant bits were presumably the areas that were already conspicuously civilised and prosperous before Rome swept them up.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Think logistically: taxation means that it is possible for a region to produce more than it consumes and also ship that surplus somewhere at reasonable cost. Egypt was the best example. But England was quite feasible.

              • Kevin Balch says:

                Climate was warmer then than now.

            • dearieme says:

              Compare the cost of the garrisoning of Britannia with, say, Hispania at the same time. It makes Britain look pricey. In a wkpd table (“Early Empire legions”) Britain is shown having four legions, Spain one.

              The Britons used coal: if the Romans had realised its wider potential that might have changed things.

        • random observer says:

          Southern Britain seemed to be at about the same level of iron age technology, tribal polity, and village/town social organization as Gaul had been. Or any of the other Celtic areas stretching from Helvetia through Noricum and into Pannonia. Even a bit ahead of all the continental Germanics with the exception of those closest to the Romans.

          Not as advanced in social organization, legal institutions, state-concepts, military thinking or engineering as the Romans or the Hellenistic kingdoms, or indeed classical Greece. But not all that bad either. Tier 2 for Europe of that age.

  12. Coagulopath says:

    Teach a child chess, and watch them play their first game.

    They’ll battle furiously to retain all their pieces, no matter what it costs them. They won’t even willingly part with a pawn. The larger picture (sometimes pieces are irrelevant, sometimes you need to allow a capture to advance your overall position, and so on) is lost on them. Losing a piece means you’re losing the game!!!

    Some past and present countries behave like this: refusing to back out of some useless war, holding on to pointless money-sink colonies…

    History has fewer Magnus Carlsens than we’d hope.

  13. Smithie says:

    What might be crazier than trying to hold on to Algeria is trying to teach the Third Word proper French and expecting some net benefit out of it.

  14. adreadline says:

    Any thoughts on the Barrington Declaration?
    (Accidentally posted earlier on the earlier ”The Paras”)

  15. ghazisiz says:

    All soldiers want to believe that the cause for which they fought was just and that their fighting was effective in achieving justice. This is an important reason why civilian oversight of the military is absolutely essential — someone with a cold heart needs to evaluate whether we really belong in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the other 70 countries that currently harbor our troops.

  16. bob sykes says:

    France died in the trenches of the Western Front–1.3 million soldiers plus maybe 0.4 million civilians. Everything unravelled after that. There was a brief interlude between the wars, but France was finished.

    There is a beautiful montage of paintings of interwar Paris with Satie’s Gymnopedie as background on YouTube. 15 minutes. How beautiful Paris was.

  17. The G_man says:

    Greg is being kind of stupid here. You can’t just ignore the internal political consequences of imperial defeat. Separating the surrender in Algeria from subsequent Algerian immigration and other leftward political developments is almost libertarian levels of autistic. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter. There’s no conceivable circumstances in which France could actually have won in Algeria. Pretty much everything that has happened in western Europe was baked into the cake in 1945. At most, the Algerian war could have been dragged out for another decade and though, as Salisbury said, ‘delay is life’, war is also death.

    • Eugine Nier says:

      Of course. One of Greg’s biggest blind spots is that he doesn’t take culture seriously.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Of course I do. What is the next stupid thing you will say? Shall I guess?

        • Eugine Nier says:

          Of course I do.

          Claim not in evidence based on your previous writings. Seriously, is there anything you will admit is determined by culture as opposed to genes or random chance.

      • The G_man says:

        I’m not saying that. I’m saying that when it is pointed out to him that two phenomena are or were connected in people’s heads, he insists on saying they are not connected based on the fact that if everyone was a smart physicist with a bias towards disaggregation like him, they wouldn’t haven’t been connected.

        • Eugine Nier says:

          Also, I suspect that if everyone was a smart physicist like Greg, unless everyone was a literal duplicate of Greg, society would collapse since they couldn’t agree on any Schelling points.

        • ragak says:

          I think I might agree with something like this: Greg tending to treat group psychology and decision-making as having more degrees of freedom than they actually seem to in practice. But I don’t think that implies France should have tried hard to keep Algeria.

          If we drew simplified causal diagrams, we have a few possibilities:
          1. A -> F, where A = “colonize Algeria”, F = “well-being of France.”
          2. S -> F, where S = “capacity for rational self-interest” is directly manipulable, and A is irrelevant.
          3. V -> S -> F and another edge V -> A, where V = “vitality, virility, what-have-you” is directly manipulable, but S = “capacity for rational self-interest” isn’t.

          Greg seems to assume we live in world 2. It’s not totally implausible to me we live in something closer to world 3, in which increasing the well-being would entail colonizing Algeria, but only due to a confounder.

          But you guys seem to either be assuming world 1 (wrong for reasons already pointed out by Greg many times), or a version of world 3 where reverse causality from A to V is much stronger than seems plausible.

    • Algernon Sydney says:

      It’s not like these things happened only to France. The epicentre for postmodernist decay and immigration/colonisation of white countries is Sweden, and they never had an empire and didn’t conquer anyone except the Fins and parts of Germany long long ago.

      France fell to this postmodernist power for the same reasons it lost Algeria: it was already too weak to resist.

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