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Showing posts with the label worldPolitics

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…

The Indispensable Country, The Exceptional People, The Judge of the World

From a CNN article we have:
"President Obama made clear that Russia's continued violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would negatively impact Russia's standing in the international community," according to a statement released by the White House.Gee, aren't you happy and proud to live in a country, like the USA, which would never seriously consider violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another country?

Stay Optimistic About the Syrian War

As you follow the operations of the Media, the Congress, and the Imperial Presidency, it is easy to get disgusted and ruin your day feeling sour about the future of what's left of the American Republic. Do yourself a favor and resist the doom and gloom.

The faster the hateful amerikan Empire breaks down, the sooner something better might replace it. It took over 400 years for somebody to sack imperial Rome, starting the clock from the time of Augustus. For the sake of argument, let's say that the British Empire collapsed when Indian and Pakistan gained their independence. We could date the end of the French Empire in the early 1960s, when Algeria gained independence. In either case, it took these two empires 200 years to collapse.

The amerikan Empire didn't start until the end of World War II, so it isn't even 70 years old. The good news is that it is making great progress in destroying itself. We should all wish It continued success.

But it is easy to forget the long-ter…


Within a couple hours, news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings had become repetitive and predictable. Every uniform or badge was a "hero"; endless drivel about "pulling together"; bravado about American fortitude; "how did you feel when..." questions; platitudes from politicians trying to assume a mock-Churchillian pose; and all the rest of it.

Let's assume, until something definite is known, that the perpetrator was a Middle Eastern terrorist. There is something good that could come out of this bombing, if we could just channel our shock and disgust in the right way, that is, sieze the moment to ask questions that normally never get asked. The most draconian dictatorship could not impose tighter censorship than we impose on ourselves, voluntarily it would seem.

Rather than lay out these questions in a point-by-point, policy-wonk style, I choose a concrete representation of all those questions. Let the questions arise indirectly when millions of A…

How Long Will the World Tolerate the YHWH Cult?

The world as a whole is a remarkable practitioner of Jesus's instruction to 'turn the other cheek' when it comes to putting up with the YHWH cult in its three main manifestations: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It angered me to see President Hope-and-Change groveling in front of AIPAC, the most powerful Israeli lobby in the USA. This isn't a partisan attack against the Democrats; a Republican president would probably already be bombing Iran.
Won't some leader get up and say that the YHWH cult has long outlived its use to the world, if indeed it ever had any!? And that the rest of the world is sick of the violence and economic hardship that this ridiculous superstition is inflicting. Where are Tom Paine and French Revolutionaries when you need them?
Which of the three main branches of the YHWH cult is most bizarre and dangerous? Most people would probably answer, Islam, because of the enormous publicity given to terrorists. But how many people have terrorists ac…

Why People Don't Like Political Essays

It's so much easier to find political opinions on the internet these days, compared to the dead tree era. Remember how you could travel from one end of the country to the other and buy newspapers that featured the same six pundits on the editorial page? But even though there are more choices today, dualism gets in the way of enjoying political essays. You're either on my side or the other side, Good versus Evil, left versus right, big government versus small, blue versus red states, etc.

That's why the ideal political essay should try to stay away from this trap. It should reach out to opinions and values that aren't necessarily "political" in the normal sense of the word.

Besides avoiding simplistic and divisive dualisms, we should also avoid excessive consistency and predictability. For instance Eric Peters writes about automobile regulations from a libertarian point of view. At times I agree with him; at other times, he irritates me with his gearhead cultu…

The Churchill and "Good War" Cults

The favorite war of most Americans is World War II. In fact it is part of their mental furniture that World War II was the Good War fought by the Greatest Generation; that it was Churchill's finest hour and that He was the man of the century; that Hitler was the Devil incarnate; and that Stalin... well we won't talk about Stalin.

I just finished reading an excellent book by Patrick Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. Some people wouldn't consider reading the book because Buchanan was a speech writer for Nixon. That's too bad, because the book doesn't concern itself with partisan politics. Also, Buchanan writes clearly.

What a relief it was to find that the first 100 pages of this 400 page book were dedicated to the Great War, World War I. Any discussion of World War II that ignores WWI is seriously flawed. To a large extent they were the same war, interrupted by a 20 year armistice.

Let's take just one example from our standard World War II my…

iDrones on Sale at Walmart?

Zero Hedge is a financial blog that I sometimes scold myself for reading: it is doom-and-gloomy, hot-headed, and sensationalist. But perhaps a person has to tolerate a certain amount of kookiness from a blog or a person in order to get something other than predictable, Establishment cheerleading and conventional thinking.

At any rate Zero Hedge outdid themselves recently with some comments about President Obama asking for the errant drone back from Iran:
"We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said at a news conference. Obama said he wouldn't comment further "on intelligence matters that are classified." Great, the only problem is Iran will never return it, as they have already indicated, for the simple reason that it has already been reverse engineered 5 ways from Sunday somewhere deep in the bowels of one of China's unpopulated cities, which just doubles as a very populated military intelligence base. The only go…