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Showing posts with the label worldPolitics

Which Veterans Deserve the Most Honor?

This year, let's skip my typical oration for Veteran's Day, and instead, ask which (contemporary) veterans deserve to be honored the most.

There are so many to choose from. Syrian and Yemeni veterans certainly belong at the top of the list. But I suppose Afghan veterans are the greatest heroes of all. They defeated the Soviet Empire, and have fought the American Empire to a standstill for 18 years. If anybody deserves to be honored, it is a fighter who takes on a foreign invader who has more expensive weapons and all the other advantages.

How does an English-reader really appreciate what the heroes of Afghanistan have gone through? I am aware of a book by Eric Margolis about the interminable wars in that part of the world. But it would probably be nice to find something more contemporary.

I suppose it is possible to come up with something, after a lot of digging on the internet, and maybe some unsuccessful purchases of eBooks. 

If any reader has a suggestion, let me know.

Have We Seen the Future of the 21st Century?

Much of the destiny of the 20th Century was laid out in 1919, when the Versailles Treaty was worked out. Wouldn't it be a strange coincidence if September 2019 had the same significance for the 21st Century? That is the month of the successful attack against the Saudi oil facility by drones and missiles.

The story fell off the "front pages" after only a week. But what is on the "front pages" should not concern anyone who tries to understand the world. 

Perhaps September 2019 marked the end of the American hegemony of the post-World-War-II era, and the beginning of the Chinese hegemony of the 21st Century.

The attack showed the obsolescence of the U.S. military establishment. It showed the future of military conflict, dominated by inexpensive (but electronically advanced) drones and missiles. And in turn, whoever is best at manufacturing and selling these drones and missiles will dominate the world.

China has a huge advantage at this kind of domination because it is…

What Would You Do As a Political Strategist?

You think it is easy to be a political strategist? Imagine the self-control required right now of Democratic leaders in Congress.

What are they thinking? It is probably that they should give Trump enough rope to hang himself with. That is, he should get his and Netanyahu's way in starting a war with Iran, and make himself a one-term president. Of course the Democrats need to sound unsupportive of the War, while appearing to "Support the Troops." That's not easy.

The rope that Trump hangs himself with is likely to prove successful -- at least more successful than the phony Russiagate scandal the Democrats (and their Media) tried to pull off.

Then again, what if Trump is brighter than he sounds, and he limits the Iranian War to a few localized airstrikes? His real risk comes from sending ground troops. The American people won't get too upset about a video game in the skies over Iran. Heck, it will just be a form of Reality TV.

Unless the price of oil really spikes up. …

A Bridge Too Far in Staging a War Incident?

I smirked and rolled my eyes this morning when I read about the attacks on the oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.  Does the Netanyahu/Trump administration really have that low of an estimate of the intelligence of the American public?

Then again, maybe I should cheer the Netanyahu/Trump administration on. A good spike in the price of oil might be all it takes to bring on a global recession. The means bye-bye for Trump. It might also slow down the tourist traffic in Colorado this summer. Recessions and low prices are beneficial to retirees, especially ones who are in the market for a new motor vehicle. 

I don't watch cable news but they are probably parroting charges against the Iranians. Until any independent evidence shows up, here is my explanation for 'who dunnit.' Netanyahu finally convinced the Trump administration to bring on some sort of incident that Iran could be blamed for, and would achieve their long term dream of starting a multi-trillion dollar war with Ira…

The Artfulness of Irony

Long-suffering readers know that I use the term 'art' in the Tolstoyan sense, not in the more conventional sense of 'that which is beautiful.' Tolstoy thought that art could be defined as words, images, or sounds that transfer emotions between people, regardless of whether these images are pretty or not.

Lately I have stumbled onto some Irony which is having quite an effect of me.  Consider first the bluffmanship of the Trump administration in trying to get Iran to give Trump the excuse for starting a war with them. It is the oldest trick in the book: and one that makes a mockery of the idealism of the writers of the U.S. Constitution. Those poor naive fools thought that if people governed themselves, they would stay out of the wars that kings and emperors loved to start.

What matters most is that Israel wants the stupid goyim of the USA to fight and weaken their enemy, Iran. And that is where the irony kicks in.

Some people think that much of what we now consider Judais…

Obsolete for a Quarter of a Century

There is no point in an amateur blogger reacting to the daily news, especially if they just hashed-and-rehashed the same stuff picked over by professional bull-shitters.

There is something to be gained by an amateur blogger questioning the assumptions of the professional bull-shitters. The latter don't overtly lie so much as they tacitly agree not to discuss certain questions; that is, they lie by omission, not commission.

With that preface out of the way, NATO is "celebrating" its 70th birthday. There has been a bit of discussion about NATO, but they safely avoid discussing anything important. For instance, the media considers it safe to discuss whether European countries contribute enough money to this worthless cause. 

Does anyone ever say, "NATO has been obsolete for a quarter of a century?" Probably not. That would get you accused of being a crank, radical, or Russian Collusionist.

There are even more fundamental issues. Europe is ceasing to exist. It (or rath…

Constructive Use of Honduran Marchers

Much of this post will seem like an impractical 'thought experiment.' But I still think it can be worthwhile.

Let's imagine that the Honduran marchers actually make it all the way across Mexico in large numbers. That would be quite a feat, wouldn't it?! At the very least you have to admire their gumption. Where would you find 5000 Americans who could accomplish something like that, for any cause?

To me, a demographic invasion should be handled with the same seriousness as a military invasion. But before resorting to drastic methods like that, we need to ask a couple questions:

If invading somebody else's country is an act of war -- and it is! -- why hasn't America's meddling to our south been seen in that light? We have committed one crime after another down there since the days of Teddy Roosevelt. It was and is immoral and disgusting.

We have been invading other people's countries in the Mideast for 17 years. Most of those peoples had nothing to do with &#…

The Death of Europe

Long-suffering readers of this blog are used to me praising moldy old books, while ignoring or even denigrating modern books. I am happy to be proven wrong. I have finished reading 2/3 of "The Strange Death of Europe," by Douglas Murray.

It's an "anti-mass-immigration" book by an Englishman, or rather, a Euro-person located on the island of Great Britain. It is uniformily calm and rational throughout.

To give you a flavor of the book, 2/3 of the way through the book he might have hit the essence of the problem:
The problem is one that is easier to feel than it is to prove, but it runs something like this: that life in modern liberal democracies is to some extent thin or shallow and that life in modern Western Europe in particular has lost its sense of purpose.That statement made quite an impact on me, in part because I was simultaneously reading a book by the famous Catholic historian, Hilaire Belloc, "The Great Heresies." In his chapter on Islam, he re…

Natasha Dances for the American Deep State

How nice that I have managed to appreciate art in 'this lifetime.' Although music and comedy were two forms of art that were easy to appreciate, the visual arts left me yawning, in the past.

I refer to "art" in the Tolstoyan sense. This is quite different from Beauty, which most people confuse with "art."  Tolstoy thought that art was anything that transferred emotional experiences from the artist to the viewer/reader/listener, by means of words, pictures, sounds, or stories. Beauty is a another matter, according to Tolstoy.

Movies should be good at providing "artful" experiences in this sense of the word, and, one would think, the Russian movie version of "War and Peace" should be good at it, too.

I watched the first third of the three-disc movie, and couldn't make up my mind if I liked it. The star of the second third of the movie was "Natasha," the young Russian noble-girl who came of age during the lead-up to Napoleon'…

There Really Is an Exceptional Nation

Britain impressed the hell out of me a couple years ago when Parliament refused to go along with the Nobel-peace-prize-winning president in sending troops to Syria, to add it to the post-9/11 casualty list of destroyed countries.

But this recent move of theirs to withdraw from the European Union! It certainly made me appreciate Britain as the Exceptional Nation. As luck would have it, I had been reading books by Madame de StaĆ«l [*], written during the Napoleonic era. She too praised Britain as the exceptional nation, not that she used that exact phrase. 

The pre-Brexit polls showing the opposite result look a little fishy, to say the least. Oh, but we don't want to give into conspiracy theories!

How many Americans are feeling the irony and significance of these two recent moves by the Exceptional Nation of Britain? We were all by brainwashed by the government's schools that Americans were 10 feet tall, and that:
we had courageously broken away from the evil empire of the British k…

Mental Junk Food in a Town of Health Food

I certainly am mooch-docking in a town of health food, vegetarian, vegan, organic, high-priced, food ideologues.  I have always dismissed food purists. Granted, not all of America is as wacky about food ideology as this town. But doesn't it seem strange how little the subject of mental junk food gets talked about?

The limiting case of mental junk food is television news, especially during presidential elections.

For instance, the moment the word 'Muslim' is mentioned, the word 'terrorist' comes to mind. It was not always so.

Perhaps that is why I appreciated a book by (the late) Maria Rosa Menocal, "The Ornament of the World", about medieval Andalusia (southern Spain). It was certainly a colorful time, with clashes and coexistence between the dominant Arab Muslims, Jews, and backward Christians.  Today many people overlook how advanced and dominant Muslim culture was from 800-1200 A.D. It was through Andalusia that European Christian civilization was awakene…

Being a Geo-political Strategist is Tough

(Must I add that the title is meant tongue in cheek?)

As I read an interesting book on geo-politics, I am struck by a couple things:
1. How incompetent politicians and diplomats are at avoiding war. (Perhaps because they don't want to avoid it.)
2. How naive and easily deceived the masses are. They will believe anything. Immediately the war drums are being beaten. Preachers are talking about their War God from their pulpits. And how useful the Media is in starting a war.
3. How powerful hindsight is.
4. How poor I am at looking at international crises today, determining who is really behind it, what they hope to gain, and what is likely to happen.

In fact, #4 is so strong that I sometimes think that reading history is a waste of time. For instance I was surprised by Russia's military involvement in the current Syrian crisis. Then I was surprised by the recklessness of the War Party in Washington DC in wanting to send American planes and troops to Syria, despite the risk of an incide…

Will Post-Attack France Be as Unwise as America?

Will the French be as stupid after the Paris attacks on Friday the 13th as America was after 9-11? For their sakes I hope not. But there are always those who seize on terrorist attacks to implement their own agenda, an agenda decided-on long before any attacks.

The two best editorials I've run across on the recent Paris attacks are described now: The first was by Andrew Bacevich. This isn't the first time I've been impressed by one of his editorials.

The second recommendation appealed, in part, because I am a sucker for analogies. Bret Weinstein wrote in Salon that:
But to the nation as a whole that level of damage [from the 9-11 attacks] was about as dangerous as a bee sting.You may find that analogy suspect because bee stings are deadly to those with an allergy. But what kills people is not the sting itself. It is their own massive overreaction to an otherwise tiny threat, that fatally disrupts the functional systems of the body. And that is exactly what terrorists hop…

Asymmetric Warfare When Playing Chicken

While detesting the neo-con/Israel-first/Republican/Rapture Christian doctrine of permanent war, I still have an interest in being an 'armchair general' or military strategist. Yes, it is inconsistent, but if consistency is your hobgoblin, you are at the wrong blog.

The world seems to be beating Washington's pants off lately, with a Russian/Syrian/Iraqi/Iranian axis building up in the Mideast, and China becoming more assertive about its reclaimed islands in the South China Sea. One way to see these developments is as a growth in a new type of asymmetric warfare, aimed straight at the least trusted government on planet Earth.

Do any readers know of any good articles or books about asymmetric warfare? The Wikipedia article is a good place to start. They give several famous examples in history.

What if the world is learning to exploit the fragility and hollowness of the American economy to play 'chicken' with Washington, and to win? Washington's rivals around the wo…

Are the Uni-power's Glory Years Over?

Most people probably don't talk about geopolitics and world events with family members. Who wants to have an argument with your own mother about politics? Perhaps that is why I still remember when my mother talked about the dissolution of the Soviet empire circa 1990: " all seemed so easy!" 

After all, most of her life had been spent during the "Good War" and its aftermath, the Cold War with the USSR. It must have seemed strange to her to realize that the world had suddenly become something quite different from what she had known.

So too it must seem to people, say, 35--45, whose adult years have been spent during the era when Washington DC was the great Uni-power, the mighty Hegemon of the world. It was a time with no "first world" military opposition. Washington could take over any country it wanted, on the flimsiest -- and phoniest -- excuse. The financial cost meant nothing -- they just borrowed whatever they needed.

I was astonished when the ne…

Failure of Washington's Foreign Policy Imagination

Although I genuinely believe that Washington DC has become an Evil Empire, it is probably useless to write about its foreign policy in terms of morality and emotion. Nobody who disagrees with me wants to be told their government is eeevil, since that is like being told that they are evil; nor do they want to see me indulge in moral posturing on the side of the angels.

That is the advantage to seeing an issue in intellectual terms. It is possible for people in different moods to reach some sort of common ground. "Losing or winning" an argument in this way can be a partial thing, not an example of unconditional surrender. Nor is it as offensive as being told your side is eeevil.

Let's look at Washington's current policy in the Ukraine in this manner. Let's see it as a parallel with another historical event: the lead-up to the Great War of 1914.

Recall that in August of 2014 the Media took a break from its usual drivel to mention the centenary of the Great War. I was …

The Salad Days of Secession

It improves your life to pay little attention to the "News," but not for the reason usually offered: that it is too negative.  At the moment there are Baja-hurricane-related flash flood warnings in southern Arizona. That's certainly negative, but it is worth knowing about if you live near an arroyo down there.

A better reason for ignoring news is that most of it is trivial entertainment, spin, and government propaganda. But I certainly admit that some of it has been interesting lately.

Consider the Scottish Independence vote. Incredible news actually. Isn't there an old proverb on Wall Street that a stock market adviser can give the price of a stock OR a date, but should never give both. In defiance of that I am here to make a fool of myself, on the day of the Scottish vote, and predict that they will vote 'No' to independence.

Perhaps it will be close, but the whole thing is redolent of Quebec versus the rest of Canada. Threatening to secede is just a bargainin…

A Practical Way to Get Started on the Origins of World War I

If you are interested in the centenary of the Great War but don't know where to get started, consider this brief article by Eric Margolis. Recall the old quote by the Latin poet, Horace, that "fleeing vice is the beginning of virtue." In studying the origins of the Great War, the first mistake you must avoid is the British bias, which is also the bias of Anglophiles in the power establishment of the American Northeast.

Many people see diplomats as empty talk, talk, talkers, as well as duplicitous scoundrels. But the diplomats at the end of the Napoleonic wars crafted a peace that lasted a hundred years in Europe -- not complete peace of course, but there were no general European-wide wars for a hundred years after their peace treaty.

But halfway through that remarkable century of progress, something new happened: Germany became a united country, and started industrializing and arming itself at a rate that soon threatened to make it the Big Cheese of Europe. The former Big …

Optimism about the Country that used to be America

For the first time since the Fourth of July was officially declaimed (by me) as the most idiotic national holiday, I feel optimistic about America, or what remains of it. 

1. Many Americans seem to be at a tipping point: they are abandoning their passive acceptance of the neo-con dream of permanent war (mostly in the Mideast.) Republicans are catching on to the fact that today is not the day after 9-11, and that endless militarism is not the ticket to electoral success.

2. It's not impossible that Rand Paul will be the Republican candidate for president, rather than some senile warmonger like McCain or some low IQ Bahbll Christian.

3. No matter what your politics most people know that at least two healthy parties are necessary for a healthy democracy. Until the Republicans free themselves of the neo-con, Rapture Christian, Israeli-lobby doctrine of Permanent War, the Republican party is doomed. Is it just wishful thinking or are they actually starting to free themselves of the stain …

Admit it! You Too Admire Putin

From a BBC article today we have,
"The constitution of Ukraine requires that any effort by any entity within Ukraine to secede be done through the constitutional process," Mr Kerry said.Aren't you proud and happy to live under a Washington DC regime/Imperium that understands the constraints of constitutions? (emoticon eyes rolling upwards) And knows everything about how to handle secessions sensibly?

I don't follow the news very closely. There's a tendency to get angry, and anger gets wearisome. And yet, this Ukrainian debacle is perversely fascinating in the sense that it has resulted in theoretical maximums. How complacent can the Media be? How hypocritical can the Washington DC regime be? How poodle-like can Europe be?

It demonstrates to perfection how nothing of importance will ever be discussed in the establishment Media. Does anyone ever say, "Isn't the Cold War over? Washington and Russia aren't enemies."  Why is NATO trying to encircle Ru…