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October 16, 2016

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Dipper

I agree with this. Getting enough understanding of an issue to be able to give meaningful commentaries and opinions, let alone propose actions, is extraordinarily hard and time consuming. Most real-world political and international relations are evolved not designed, and evolved systems are very hard to disentangle and understand. In the absence of that depth of knowledge most public pronouncements are simply personal prejudice plus supporting anecdote.

Bob

Younger people should be considering options and making plans.

The fall out in the Northern Hemisphere will affect all life. (BTW, the North Pacific has already been contaminated by Fukushima).

Oz and NZ are possibilities in the Souther Hemphishere, but they will likely also be targets.

Avoid Europe at all costs. It will be the epicenter.

Costa Rica, Ecuador and Chile are possibilities. They are free societies. The down side of Ecuador is that it also in the crosshairs for regime change.

Or chose to stay in the belly of the tiger and take your chances will resisting the growing crazy.

Bob

The strategy is to turn Syria in Russia's Vietnam with mujahideen proxy "freedom fighters" on the way to ousting Assad, driving Russia form the Middle East, as the US did in Afghanistan by inserting mujahideen under Osama Bin Laden to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan and fatally wound it.

What could possibly go wrong with this plan? It worked so well for Zbig :-)

Bob

Hmm. It seems posting links to The Saker is not allowed :-)

Here is the main body of text:

"This central issue is whether or not to continue to move forward with the American government’s plan, ever since the Soviet Union and its military alliance the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991, to extend NATO — the anti-Russia military club — right up to Russia’s borders, surround Russia with NATO nuclear missiles a mere five minutes flight-time to Moscow, and simultaneously build a “Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” (BMD or ABM) system to nullify Russia’s retaliatory missiles against an unannounced blitz U.S.-NATO invasion to take over, if not totally eliminate, Russia and its resistance to U.S. power. This operation is an ugly reality, but it is an American-led reality, and the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election will bring it into its final stage, either by ending it, or by culminating it — two drastically different outcomes, but one side or the other will prevail in this political contest, and the present article links to the documentation that America’s voters will need to be aware of that shows not only that they’ve been lied-to, but how and why they’ve been lied-to. The documentation is all-important, especially because the facts that are being documented have been hidden so successfully for so long. This is not a world that Americans want to know, but it is a world that especially the few Americans who are in control, don’t want the American public to know. That’s a toxic combination (public ignorance, which the people in control want to continue), but it is tragically real (as the documentation here will make clear).…"

The situation is actually worse than this since the Establishment has been demonizing Putin and XI as evil dictators, and the US media elite have been priming the American public psychologically for confrontation with Russia and China.

From Arse To Elbow

Because foreign affairs don't usually impact on us directly, their political value is as a series of moral tales, with all the dangers of cartoonish simplification this implies (Nick Cohen is guilty of the same sin he condemns in the left). They also offer the opportunity to "offshore" domestic antagonism and thereby indulge in the sort of emotional language that would look odd in a dispute over tax policy (see the Home Affairs select committee).

These two factors together made foreign affairs catnip for the emerging popular press of the late-19th century, and little has changed since then. Neville Chamberlain's famous quote - "a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing" - was not so much callous as evidence of a Victorian frame of mind, before liberal interventionism became hegemonic.

I was amused to read this in The Guardian's report on the Home Affairs guff: "The committee acknowledged that there was “no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour party than any other political party”. Nevertheless, it is withering about the Labour leader’s response to antisemitic attacks on his own MPs, and his understanding of modern forms of racism".

Roy Lonergan

@Chris. Earn your living in the morning. Fish in the afternoon. Plenty of time for liberal polymathry in the evening.

Steve

One rule of thumb is to see what right wingers think and take an opposing position. I well remember them frothing that Mandela is a terrorist. This also works similarly in Belfast/Glasgow where support for Israel/Palestine appears to reflect traditional sectarian divisions.

But the selection of Israel for special attention is baffling. I am doubtful as to whether most of the world's Muslims give two hoots about the plight of the Palestinians. I can only assume Israel is held to higher standards as it is seen as Western.

Millions have died in Congo this century, yet I have not heard any Euston Manifesto types demanding we intervene. Folk have strong views on Tibet but nobody's too worried about Western Sahara.

MacG

Foreign affairs, or home affairs?

http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/partisan-report-on-antisemitism-discredits-home-affairs-select-committee/

https://electronicintifada.net/content/how-israel-lobby-manufactured-uk-labour-partys-anti-semitism-crisis/16481

https://opendemocracy.net/jonathan-rosenhead/jackie-walker-suspense-mystery

David Friedman

"I’d contend that that was an exception. Apartheid was such a great evil that it seemed that pretty much anything was superior to it. "

A greater evil than the Nigerian Civil War going on over the same period, a race war (Yoruba against Ibo, both dark skinned) in which about a million people were killed?

Apartheid was an evil that westerners found it easy to identify with, but far from the greatest evil going on at the time.

Alasdair King

"Apartheid was such a great evil that it seemed that pretty much anything was superior to it."

That's a foreign policy statement, but you disqualified yourself from making foreign policy statements on the grounds of ignorance. How do you know it was such a great evil? Or that Putin (say) isn't?

I love your blog, but I think in this case you're not commenting on Israel/Palestine or Russia because of ideological reasons. Like conservatives might say "I can't comment on climate change, I don't know enough about it".

Of course, you could write "I opposed apartheid because everyone I liked and respected in my peer group was doing it, and also it was wrong. There's no such emotionally-satisfying and universally-respected cause nowadays, so I proclaim uninterest." Which is fair enough, and probably describes my own position...

Lindsay Berge

To give Chamberlain's quote context, have a look at a map of the Sudetenland in 1938 and note that its composition was largely ethnic Germans excised from post-war Germany at the insistence of France. As few people in England at the time would have been familiar with the geography of the region as are familiar with the middle-east now, outside of a few enthusiasts.
From the debate following the Munich Agreement (http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1938/oct/05/policy-of-his-majestys-government)
"I say without offence, I hope, to anyone, certainly without offence to Dr. Benes, that there is a lot of sentimental tosh talked about Czechoslovakia. It had never been agreed, as I told my friend and inquirer, that the Sudeten Germans should be coalesced into that entity which was never real, national or homogeneous. Where is Czechoslovakia was the next question put to me? My inquirer said, "I have never heard of it before, where is the place?" I said, "Look at the map. There is Germany, with Austria now part of Germany, encircling it for two-thirds of the way, and the rest, like a sausage, going down into Yugoslavia, Rumania and Hungary." I was asked, "Do you mean to tell me they are proposing to send our lads out there?" On Tyneside—in Northumberland and Durham—we raised more men for the Army during the last War than any other district in England. We are proud of the fact. "Do you mean to tell me," I was asked, "that our people are thinking of sending our lads into the backyard of Germany hundreds of miles away, with no point of contact, and that they must march through Germany to get there? We should be stark, staring mad to agree to that." One man said to me, "When I thought that I could give the other fellow a hiding, I chased him into his back lane. I had more sense than to chase him into his backyard, for all his family would be there to fight me." There is sound sense in that."
I read this debate with amazement at how informed, rational and realistic the positions were of all the participants compared with the squabbling kindergartners who seem to run countries now.

Doug

'But the selection of Israel for special attention is baffling. I am doubtful as to whether most of the world's Muslims give two hoots about the plight of the Palestinians. I can only assume Israel is held to higher standards as it is seen as Western.'

Er no, it's because Israel has been given a free pass by the so-called Western democracies (not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars), to flout UN resolutions over the past 70 years or so in its murderous colonial behaviour towards Palestinians.

Why you still seem concerned about Nick Cohen's opinions of the far left bemuses me. Cohen is a Zionist, so what he says goes through that prism i.e. anything deemed anti Israeli interests must be denounced, distorted and misrepresented.

It's an interesting phenomenon - former leftists turned Zionists and their trajectory into right wing hysteria e.g Cohen, Aaronovitch and Phillips.

CMK

So this makes a solid case for

a) Not allowing politicains on question time (or allowing allowing them to answer in areas they know about)
b) Technocratic government (or at least a move towards it).

Bonnemort

"there are some issues that are clear-cut, such (as) the massacre of civilians in Aleppo"

You may notice that BBC (and other media) coverage of the Iraqi Army attack on Islamist-controlled Mosul (population 1.3 million) is somewhat different from their coverage of the Syrian Army attack on the Islamist-controlled sector of Aleppo (population 0.3 million in the relevant zone).

Mosul coverage features rolling columns of tanks and armoured vehicles, upbeat talk of artillery bombardments and air strikes. Conspicuously absent are pictures of rubble, weeping parents and bloody, bewildered children.

Odd, that.

Dave Hansell

Also absent is any coverage of attacks on Syrian held Western Aleppo which also involve the deaths of children and attacks on schools etc.

But we can ignore that, can we not, because that is being covered by non official media which is by definition just official 'enemy' propaganda and therefore does not count.

Bonnemort

I can't but wonder, Dave, if the huge PR campaign, presumably funded by the US/Saudis, isn't affecting media coverage.

http://www.alternet.org/world/inside-shadowy-pr-firm-thats-driving-western-opinion-towards-regime-change-syria

I'm old enough to remember the lies we were told in Gulf War 2 (1990) about babies being ripped from incubators.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_%28testimony%29

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