Open Thread – 26 December 2017



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73 Responses to Open Thread – 26 December 2017

  1. Christian Chuba says:

    A comment on Trump’s national security doctrine, I read it as ‘U.S. uber alles’.
    The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left. On CNN, their reaction was, Trump is talking the talk but not walking the walk. They were miffed that he had a polite phone conversation with Putin. It’s not enough to send weapons to Ukraine, call the Russians and Chinese revisionist powers, have aggressive air patrols near Crimea, maintain sanctions in perpetuity, have a massive increase in Defense spending, and expand NATO, you have to be rude to Putin on every possible occasion, perhaps even allow a terrorist attack.
    Some see this as a big fake out to satisfy the Neocons, he’s got me eating grass too (picture Defensive End missing a Running Back in a football game). I guess we just have to wait to see what the next 3yrs bring.
    BTW this link shows the flight pattern of U.S. surveillance aircraft as they take off from Bulgaria and fliesl along the coast of Sevastopol

  2. turcopolier says:

    Several weird things today: 1. A sixteen year old girl and her family are in jail in Israel today because she slapped an Israeli soldier whilst he was going about his duties an an occupier. He is probably two or three years older than she. A columnist in Haaretz is writing that when she is released she should be set upon in the night so that she can be taught a lesson (and presumable all the other Aghabs as well). 2. DJT tweeted this AM he has fed the ACA a poisoned pill in removal of the individual mandate and that the ACA will die of that. And that at some point the GOP and the Dems will get together and figure out a new medical plan. IOW he’s through with it and is moving on. The MSM including Fox manage to “understand” that as DJT raising the issue again. Incredible. 3. Nikki Haley continues to threaten the world with our displeasure. More craziness. pl

  3. ann says:

    Russia to have a nuclear presence in Syria. According to RT. And how will Israel react to having Russian nukes closer than Irans non existent nukes. I think Nikki Haley might have another fit.

  4. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, FYI, our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador Nikki the bookkeeper, is hoping for a newly independent island nation of “Binomo“ rising from bottom of South China Sea, and delivered by Santa to her huge Christmas tree in Guatemala.

  5. J says:

    Torture of Saudi detainees in Riyadh by hired Mercenaries
    Saudi royal brigadier, Ali bin Abdullah al-Jarash al-Qahtani. It is believed the officer died as a result of torture at the hands of interrogators at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh. He was arrested on charges of corruption linked to the sons of the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz”.
    In Israel an Israeli MP calls a Palestinan prisoner a dog to the prisoner’s mother.

  6. EEngineer says:

    All signs that the citizens of the imperial court have poisoned themselves with their own propaganda. Apparently they’ve collectively forgotten that it all started out as a con for the rubes. An exceedingly dangerous condition.
    I was surprised neither China or Russia vetoed the recent UN sanctions on North Korea. I can see how the SCO countries would want to play for time, but I wonder if throwing NK to the wolves makes war more likely rather than less so. I could see Iran interpreting it as being on deck (next, a baseball term), and the Neocons as a green light.
    And so few seem to care… It’s almost as if they’ve been conditioned to want war.
    I was dragged to the latest Star Wars movie this weekend. Explosion porn… For a story ostensibly about sacrifice and honor, it had so many silly comic book jokes I was almost surprised it didn’t have a laugh track.

  7. ked says:

    She might even unfriend them on FB.

  8. ISL says:

    Ann, this is important. Here is the link so it works directly.

  9. ISL says:

    Hmmm, Dear Colonel, if it doesn’t reply under ann’s email, please post this version.
    Russia to have a nuclear presence in Syria. According to RT. And how will Israel react to having Russian nukes closer than Irans non existent nukes. I think Nikki Haley might have another fit.
    – from Ann
    Ann, this is important. Here is the link so it works directly.

  10. Steve G says:

    Fifty year anniversary of
    Hitting the Yellow foot prints
    MCRD San Diego.
    How time flies when
    Your having fun!!
    Happy New Year to our
    Host and to all the committee

  11. Quartered Safe Out Here says:

    Not only is Nikki “taking names”, she intends to take those names to the Principal’s Office and it’s all going into the countries’ Permanent Record (school teacher humor).

  12. Brad Ruble says:

    I wish we could see this on American television

  13. Barbara Ann says:

    I saw the slapping incident covered by Haaretz, including an Op. Ed. by Gideon Levy. Have you a link to the piece to which you refer? An opinion of the kind you describe (diametrically opposed to Levy’s piece) would indeed be weird for Haaretz.
    Levy questions whether an “intifada of slappings” may succeed where the two previous, more violent versions, failed. I am inclined to agree that on-camera non-lethal mass action of this kind by obviously defenseless women could indeed have more impact than traditional versions of resistance. The Occupier will always counter violence with much more of the same, but a sustained attempt to emasculate and embarrass the IDF’s fearless warriors at every opportunity, as they go about the everyday business of occupation, could be interesting.
    A belated Merry Christmas to all Outposters.

  14. Lyttenburgh says:

    Last month or two, “Vovan” and “Lexus” presented their book on Moscow’s bookfair – For whom the Phone Rings. Fun read, providing not only transcriptions of their phonecalls, but also the background information – how they acquired the phone number, who connected them to their victim, how they prepared for the prank, the context and consequences. Most of all they targeted Mikhail Saakashvili. The most damaging their prank was for Ihor Kolomoisky, back when he was still governor.
    Oh, and Julia Ioffe (kicked out from the Politico) mentioned them two raskals in her latest (unreadable) article for the Atlantic – What Putin really wants.

  15. Lyttenburgh says:

    On the new National Security Doctrine – excellent! The US does not mince words and states clearly, that both China and Russia are “resurgent” and “revisionist powers”, who “threaten the world order”. The US dominated unipolar world order that’s it. Which, again, is true.
    If Obama/Clinton had their way, Russia will be listed among the “threats to the national security” such as ISIL, Ebola and DPRK. Well – who remembers about Ebola’s outbreak and ISIL is losing its memeticness by hour. The esteemed members of the establishment (the legislative branch) also would have liked to see Russia among such “top priority national security threats” as Iran and DPRK.
    Instead we, Russia, are in China’s company. Not bad, not bad at all. Cuz the US can’t negotiate with Iran, North Korea and ISIL without losing a face. With China – now, here a sort of détente is possible.

  16. D says:

    “Apparently they’ve collectively forgotten that it all started out as a con for the rubes.”
    Exactly. And that condition seems to appertain to the formation of most domestic and foreign policies emanating from Washington these day. That’s what you get in a country where folks like to gorge themselves on the swill of cable news and talk radio.

  17. JamesT says:

    Perhaps I should not be quoting Debka, but I find this fascinating and it isn’t being reported anywhere else.
    Debka claims that the White House has decided to quietly withdraw from all its ties with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas. Furthermore:
    – US-Palestinian interaction is to be suspended – not just at the senior levels but in day-to-day interchanges.
    – The US will halt its contributions to the UN Work and Relief Agency (UNWRA), an estimated one billion dollars per annum.
    – The Trump administration will not make any public announcement of the cutoff of financial aid to the Palestinians. Since the funds are mostly earmarked for specific economic projects, each allocation will simply be held back on the pretext of the need for a “reappraisal.”
    Since I see US funds for the Palestinian Authority as a way for US taxpayers to subsidize the Israeli occupation, this looks to me like another way for Trump to harm’s Israel’s interests while pretending to be Israel’s best friend.

  18. Fred says:

    Why don’t you read this crap before you post some click-bait crap. “host up to 11 Russian warships, including those with a nuclear power plant. ”
    Russian ships with “nuclear power” plants have been sailing the Med for years. You might be surprised to know they may or may not have nuclear weapons onboard even if they have a conventional power plant. That’s been true for years too. Where have you and “ann” been for the last few decades to not know that.

  19. Bill H says:

    No, most don’t “read this crap,” and apparently don’t even read headlines very carefully before freaking out. How does, “Russia begins development of Syrian bases to host nuclear warships & warplanes” translate to nuclear weapons?

  20. jld says:

    As I understand it the base is to have nuclear POWERED ships, not nuclear weapons.

  21. J says:

    Colonel, PT,
    Has Larry Sanchez stepped over the line?

  22. J says:

    It also appears that both Brennan and Morrell are knee deep in it as well.

  23. ISL says:

    With due respect, I beg to differ. First off, the article does not appear in anyway fake, while google suggests it has been widely picked up already.
    More to the point, there is a big difference between the stationing permanently of ships with potential nuclear missiles versus ships with nukes sailing about. In one case, a hostile force can wait for them to just sail out of the theater.
    In any case, this indicates that a nuclear deterrent will soon exists on Syrian soil (Russian control). I do not see any effect on US geo-strategy, but it will change the balance with Israel – A direct massive airborne attack on Syria could lead to a Russian field commander turning all of Israel into a graveyard. To me this seems significant.
    In any case, I will go out on a limb and propose that at some point in the next year, Russia will extend its nuclear umbrella to cover Syria. As to whether there would be a formal announcement, I suspect not, as I would hazard solely discussion on recently unsecured channels.
    Imagine if China was to permanently base nuclear missile capable ships in North Korea tomorrow. IMO, such a move has implications that would be discussed on SST.
    Additionally, this suggests that over the next year we will learn just what the price Syria paid to save their country from the jihadis. The Russian’s are far less do-gooders than the US (There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, except when you can snooker Uncle Sam, which happens too often for my taste)

  24. Hunsdon says:

    Twenty five and change for me. Where does the time go?

  25. Fred says:

    Nothing like a discredit, disqualify response to troll things up. The Russian’s have had a base at Tartus Syria since the 1970s. They moved there after the US “persuaded” the Egyptians to move out of the sphere of influence of the USSR. The “nuclear deterent” related to any intervention in Syria by the US was discussed here in detail. It was public knowledge as well. Why do you think CJCS Dempsey convinced Obama not to intervene in 2013?

  26. blowback says:

    If Russia wanted to threaten anyone in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, it’s already done so firing nuclear-capable Kalibr cruise missiles from corvettes of the the Caspian Sea Flotilla. With a range of 2,500 km, these cruise missiles could hit Cairo, Riyadh, Doha, Dubai, etc from Russian territorial waters so Russia has no need to locate nuclear weapons in Syria. So it’s unnecessary, as well as being expensive and risky. That’s not to say that the Russian warships visiting Tartus won’t be carrying nuclear weapons just like US warships/

  27. Matthew says:

    Barbara Ann: Imagine this girl had slapped a British soldier on the Falls Road in Belfast. Now imagine the subsequent outrage about her extended confinement.
    Sympathy for the IDF depends on whether you think they have a right to enter Palestinian towns. I do not. A slap, therefore, is the least the People Who Chose Themselves deserve.
    This “intifada of slappings” will be powerful. Gun Zionism is harder to defend when the victims are young women.
    A women-led struggle will also destroy the myth of liberal Zionism. The IDF has been murdering, raping, and abusing Palestinian women since its origin in the Irgun. (Read Benny Morris.) Liberal Zionism’s sole function is to disguise this ugly truth. Americans need to see what Zionism really is. Bull Connor’s police were angels in comparison.

  28. GeneO says:

    Dempsey for President!

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the real price, since the Islamiv Revolution in Iran, has been the dissolution of any pretense to European-inspired modernization project in the Islamdom and the re-emergence of older patterns and ideas. This also applies to the Western Fortress and Russia, out with Enlightenment, in with Religion.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They ran over Rachel Corey without any protest from government or people; it won’t matter this time either.

  31. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    “US lets militants train, mount attacks from its Syrian bases – chief of Russian General Staff”
    Of course, RT is just Russian propaganda.

  32. Scott Ritter takes on the Haley “Iran missiles in Yemen” story and destroys it.
    Propaganda Aiming to Prove Iran Supplied Missiles Backfires
    He also notes that thinking the US and South Korea can take out North Korea’s missile launchers easily is delusional since even Yemen can produce missiles that evade Saudi airstrikes and US intelligence and also elude the Patriot missile defense system.

  33. SmoothieX12 says:

    Russia to have a nuclear presence in Syria
    Russia will have a presence of ships with a nuclear power plant–be that project 1144 nuclear missile cruisers or nuclear powered multi-purpose subs which will use Tartus as a base. That is not a nuclear presence, which Russia already has since any 3M14 TLAM or anti-shipping 3M54 missile can be armed with a nuclear warhead and some of them, on board of both surface ships and subs, which took or are taking part in operation in Syria, are most likely already armed with them. So goes for US Navy’s ships and subs operating in Med–all of them have nukes on board. This is not news, really. Turning Tartus into a full fledged naval base was done precisely with this in mind–having capital ships replenish and rest there.

  34. JamesT says:

    RT is reporting that the 16 year old girls Twitter account has been deleted.

  35. JamesT says:

    ‘Merry Christmas’ is a dog whistle for white nationalists, according to Newsweek:
    So all those people I have said “Merry Christmas” to must now believe that I am a neo-nazi. Hmmm.

  36. JamesT says:

    Scott Ritter – a thorn in the side of the neocons since 2003.

  37. different clue says:

    (Reply to comment 6)
    It might be that the governments of China and Russia really would like the NorKor atom bomb testing to stop. Why might they want that? Because the NorKor undermountain test site is apparently getting geologically weakened and maybe even crumbly. Maybe China and Russia fear that another such test could collapse the mountain and send clouds of fallout over China and Russia.

  38. optimax says:

    In the following article Jeremy Hammond refutes Ben Morris’s claim that the Arabs started the 48 war and that the Zionist’s goal was not to ethnically cleanse the Jewish state of Arabs. It is long but well researched and uses Morris’s own research and words against him.

  39. EEngineer says:

    I’m not buying that one. FUD.
    Besides the prevailing winds blow to the east. Any residue would go out over the Sea of Japan.

  40. different clue says:

    (reply to comment 44),
    Well, it was just a hopeful suggestion. The thought gave me hope that China/Russia might really want to do something about this testing. I did not know the prevailing winds blow east.
    So China and Russia continue to share their long-standing incentive to support NorKor’s bomb and missile testing, however much they might deny it. Their incentive is to keep making trouble for America and between America and its East Asian allies. And keep the AmeriGov too pre-occupied to think of other things as much as they should be thought of. ( And of course China wouldn’t want a NorKor collapse that would bring SouKor and American troops right up to the China border.
    But maybe America could remove that problem by getting SouKor to give up on ever re-unifying the penninsula. And going from there to diplomatic recognition of North Korea if North Korea will recognize South Korea at the very same time. That might
    change incentive structures. Just another thought).

  41. different clue says:

    On to another subject. Man! it sure is cold here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is officially 8 degrees beLOW zero. Where is all this global warming I’ve been talking about? Not here.
    So where is it? Maybe its hiding somewhere? I am looking up the right-now real-time temperature in various cold places. Google, type, google . . . so let’s see . .
    In Barrow, Alaska it is 11 degrees aBOVE zero, right now. That’s 19 degrees WARMer than Ann Arbor.
    In Nome, Alaska, it is 18 degrees aBOVE zero, right now. That’s 26 degrees WARMer than in Ann Arbor.
    In Anchorage, Alaska, it is 11 degrees aBOVE zero, right now. Again, warmer than here.
    In Fairbanks, Alaska, it is 17 degrees beLOW zero. Colder than here and thank goodness for that.
    In Yellowknife, Northern Territories, it is 27 degrees beLOW zero. Some things still make sense.
    How about Russia? Yakutsk–minus 41 which makes sense. But its 34 in Moscow,
    31 in Saint Petersburg, 7 in Murmansk, 9 in Archangelsk.
    So I think I found where some global warming is hiding itself . . . around coastal Alaska and in European Russia.

  42. Morongobill says:

    Been trying to figure out which is more important in the buildup to another Israeli strike in Lebanon- Hezbollah or the impending possible indictment of the Netanyahu(s?)

  43. Optimax – In the report you quote is a reference to the often repeated assertion about the Balfour declaration – “The purpose of the declaration was to secure Jewish support for the war effort.”
    That was one purpose, along with very many others. A different perspective is given by the historian James Barr, in “A Line In The Sand, Britain, France, and the struggle that shaped the Middle East.”
    Barr had access to newly released papers and using those wrote what must be the best and most useful account of the crucial Mandate Period in Palestine and what led up to it. Unfortunately neither we nor the French emerge from Barr’s account with much credit. The Americans come out of the very early days mostly as the good guys, though reduced in influence after Wilson was incapacitated, the Arabs as the betrayed, and we and the French as managing to combine Realpolitik with muddle in a deadly combination that inflicted tragic harm both on us and on the the unfortunates who found themselves under our control. In particular, and relevant in the context of the source you cite, the Balfour Declaration was part of a British stratagem to deny to the French control of Palestine.
    Sykes/Picot, in as far as it was considered to have validity, allocated Syria to the French and there was good reason historically for the French to consider that this gave them a right to Palestine as well. The French also seem to have had a Messianic vision of their role in the ME, a role that they dated back to Crusading times. Such names as Guy de Lusignan still resonated with some French officers. The French Imperial Mission is mostly forgotten these days, except by the French of course, but it was alive and well back then and inevitably clashed with the resented and by then somewhat shop-worn British Imperial Mission. From this clash of failing empires the modern ME emerged and nowhere were the results as disastrous as in Palestine.
    We wished to keep control of Palestine ourselves since it was seen as essential to the defence of the Suez Canal. The recent discovery of oil in Mosul, the necessity of a pipeline to the Mediterranean that would be under British control, the British Navy’s need for oil and the need to reduce reliance on America for oil were all cited as further reasons for the British insistence on controlling Palestine and keeping the French out. The Balfour declaration and its subsequent implementation therefore killed a lot of birds with one stone. Given that in the closing period of the Great War straight colonialism was disapproved of by the Americans, who did not see their entry into the war as being for the purpose of propping up other countries’ empires, it was believed that settling Jews in Palestine would give us a more respectable reason for denying the French possession of the territory.
    That’s a brief and therefore necessarily crude, though I hope not misleading, account of Barr’s study, but he does show clearly that there was more to the Balfour Declaration than has been generally recognised.

  44. outthere says:

    We are way past 1984, and going faster than you imagine.
    > The State Council has signaled that under the national social credit system people will be penalized for the crime of spreading online rumors, among other offenses, and that those deemed “seriously untrustworthy” can expect to receive substandard services. Ant Financial appears to be aiming for a society divided along moral lines as well. As Lucy Peng, the company’s chief executive, was quoted as saying in Ant Financial, Zhima Credit “will ensure that the bad people in society don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and without obstruction.”

  45. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, what ratio of importance do you assign to Old-Testament Obsessed English Protestanism and Zionist Judaism on the one side and all else that you have enumerated on the other side?

  46. outthere says:

    New biography of Woodrow Wilson reviewed
    > In 1921, on the day of Harding’s Inauguration, Wilson rode with the President-elect from the White House to the Capitol. In the car, Harding was horrified to see that the President was weeping. When the motorcade halted, Harding leaped out and bounded up the Capitol steps, waving his hat at the crowd. Wilson stayed in the car as it inched ahead to a seldom-used freight door. There, concealed from the crowd by mounted police, guards lifted the President out of his seat and took him inside.He had earlier suffered a massive stroke. As A. Scott Berg details in “Wilson” (Putnam), he had spent the last seventeen months of his Presidency almost entirely confined to his bed, the state of his health unknown to the public and little known even to his own Cabinet. He could see only out of a tiny corner of his right eye. His thoughts no longer came in trains but in torrents. He could not use his left arm. He could barely walk. By no means could he manage the Capitol steps. He could not possibly attend the Inauguration. “It cannot be done,” he said quietly.

  47. optimax says:

    english outsider
    I’ve read that about France. To be fair, Hammond focuses on the Jewish/Arab conflict and not on the international colony bargaining.
    Not a drop of oil was discovered in Iraq before or during the war. There were suspicions of oil because the terrain was similar to an oil gusher drilled by the British in Persia in, I think 1903. The size of Middle East oil reserves wasn’t realized until the ’20s, so I don’t know how important a pipeline was in creating the Palestine mandate. War has a way of making itself foremost in countries policy decisions. I always think the religious elemnt was huge.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Reconquista will likely continue in the coming centuries.

  49. Fred says:

    That’s a policy of the state government. In the West it is the actions of individual social justice warriors who will be taking these actions because they know who is “good” and who isn’t.

  50. Fred says:

    You mean the Europeans are going to launch Reconquista II?

  51. LG says:

    OT, but I see reports of pro-Shah and anti-Islamic “regime” protests in some Iranian cities, particularly in Mashhad. Would appreciate your views on that.

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iran is experiencing the economic hard times that often follow a war, in this case the Western Fortress’s. Government’s anti-inflationary policy has made things worse. Many instances salaries are in arrears,

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The slogans are meant in an ironic manner, shaming the government officials into action. I only have heard of those in Mashad. On the other hand, no one wants to admit the pernicious effect of government subsidies over the last 70 years, specially the first 30 years of Islamic Republic.

  54. outthere says:

    Gareth Porter explains how Cheney destroyed the Agreed Framework with DPRK. Secretary of State Powell and National Security Adviser Rice were overwhelmed by Cheney’s tactics and repeated deceit. Even the CIA was forced into retreat. Cheney wanted a threat so that he could implement huge expensive Missile Defense project. Israel was complicit and influential in Cheney’s deceit.
    Please read whole story for yourself. As usual, GP provides lots of facts you will not find assembled elsewhere.

  55. Optimax – You point out – “Not a drop of oil was discovered in Iraq before or during the war.”
    The first strike was apparently in Baba Gurgur, 1927. There followed a long wrangle between us and the French about how to get the oil out. Barr’s quotation from an internal French document on that is instructive – “If…England declared war on us, we could, for a while at least, block their supply of Iraqi petroleum, and in the last resort, render the terminus and a significant length of the pipeline running through Syria unserviceable.” (1928)
    The quotation’s instructive because it shows the poisonous relationship between us and the French in the inter-war years (and before, even though we were fighting as allies on the Western Front.) And 1928 was one of the better years. Other times we were openly supporting Druze fighters against the French in Syria, and yet later the French were openly supporting Jewish terrorists who were posting letter bombs across the channel. Must have been one hell of an Entente Cordiale.
    But they knew about the Mosul oil long before 1927. German geologists had first identified the possibility of oil there and later it was a factor in the acrimonious post-war ME settlement –
    (Barr, Pge 65, 1918) “The prime minister’s sudden interest in Mosul was down to Hankey. It was he who had alerted Lloyd George to the importance of the city eight weeks earlier, after he had read a memorandum written by a senior admiral on Britain’s need for oil. The admiral explained that, as oil was four times more efficient than coal, it would eventually take over as the major marine fuel. This would leave Britain vulnerable because whereas it had coal reserves of its own, it depended on the United States for its supply of oil. Against the backdrop of President Wilson’s hostility to imperialism, if the British Empire was to remain the dominant maritime power, it was therefore vital ‘to obtain the undisputed control of the greatest amount of Petroleum that we can'”
    (pge 66, again from the admiral’s memorandum) ‘the Power that controls the oil lands of Persia and Mesopotamia will control the source of supply of the majority of the liquid fuel of the future.’ ‘This control must be absolute and there must be no foreign interest involved of any sort.’
    That admiral, and those who thought like him, were not Zionists manque hunting around for pretexts. They were simply wishing to keep the Navy going and were, in effect, telling the politicians that to do that they had to grab the oil any way they could.
    Which they did. Elsewhere one reads that the Navy was fully conscious of the need to ensure oil supplies a decade and more before 1918, but as far as the Northern Iraqi oilfields are concerned, Britain’s need for oil, and for a route for getting that oil out, was explicitly part of the mix of considerations that led to the post-war colonial settlement in the ME.
    But as you point out so cogently, only part of the mix. Who knows what passions and convictions were concealed behind all those carefully written official documents that Barr examines?

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Clinton did that and not Bush II.

  57. outthere says:

    please read the article
    here is a small quote, much more in the article
    the election of George W. Bush in November 2000 was a major victory for the missile defense lobby. Bush named Rumsfeld, the primary political champion of a missile defense system, as his Secretary of Defense. And no less than eight figures with direct or indirect ties to Lockheed Martin, the leading defense contractor in the missile defense business, became policymakers in the new administration. The most important was Dick Cheney, whose wife, Lynn Cheney, had earned more than half a million dollars serving on the board of directors of Lockheed-Martin from 1994 to 2001.
    Cheney set about killing the Agreed Framework and securing the missile defense system even before Bush entered the White House. Cheney chose Robert Joseph, a hardline supporter of missile defense and foe of an agreement with North Korea, as a key member of the transition team that Cheney led. Cheney then made Joseph senior director on the National Security Council (NSC) staff with responsibility for both missile defense and “weapons of mass destruction” proliferation policy.
    “Joseph really hated the Agreed Framework,” Larry Wilkerson, then in the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, told journalist Mike Chinoy. “His objective was first to kill the Agreed Framework and to make sure that nothing like it could ever get created again.”
    . . .
    Colin Powell’s State Department posed the main obstacle to the Cheney group’s plans for trashing the Agreed Framework. The Department’s East Asian Bureau got Bush’s approval for a formal policy review on North Korea, which concluded by defining the policy goal of exploring a deal with North Korea that would involve “an improved relationship.”
    But Cheney had a bureaucratic strategy to frustrate that endeavor and finish off the Agreed Framework. The NSC staff initiated a “nuclear posture review,” which was carried out without any participation by Powell’s allies. The final document included North Korea on a new list of countries that could be targets for US use of nuclear weapons.

  58. optimax says:

    This isn’t an earth shaking article and I would never read it if not for a friend sending it to me. It’s part philosophical treatise, part guide, to dumpster diving.

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Macro level, while prices go up.

  60. LG says:

    thank you. what about the slogans raisedagainst involvement in gaza or against support for hzb. is this a commonly held view?

  61. Babak – not only is that a question I’m not qualified to answer, I believe it’s a question no one is. The historian I mentioned, James Barr, does a superb job of setting out all the various strands leading to the disaster, but does not and cannot attempt to rank them in order of importance.
    For me, what comes through from start to finish in Barr’s account is the sheer force of Blut and Boden Nationalism. Surmounting all obstacles, shying away from no atrocity, summoning all resources, it was an unstoppable primal force even though most of the other players knew that what the Zionists wanted was wrong.
    In the Ukraine, in the ME, and in those early times in Palestine we in the West have attempted to harness such primal forces for our own ends. In all cases it has led to devastation for the occupants of those regions and is now backfiring badly on us, as the Manchester bombing showed in England and as the refugee crisis shows in Europe. In a more recent article the Colonel asks us to predict what will occur in the coming year. I can’t enter that discussion – I simply don’t know enough about the probabilities – but one thing I do hope is that we cease this murderous “Great Game” and attend to our own affairs rather than interfering so ineptly and disastrously in the affairs of others.
    Here, towards the end of Barr’s study, is an English colonial administrator coming in his own way to much the same conclusion:-
    “Years later Sir John Shaw, the former Chief secretary of Palestine who survived the King David Hotel Bombing, was asked to assess Britain’s record in the mandate.
    ‘In many cases we thought that we were doing good to the people concerned, and indeed we were,’ he said. ‘I mean we stamped out all sorts of abuses and malpractices and things but.’ he hesitated, ‘ if you look at it from a purely philosophical, high minded point of view, I think it is immoral, and I think it’s …it’s not only immoral but it’s ill advised.’
    ‘Why?’ Shaw was asked.
    ‘Why? Well … because it’s not your business or my business, or British business, or (for) anybody else to interfere in other people’s countries and tell them how to run it, even to run it well. They must be left to their own salvation.'”

  62. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not know.

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Please investigate what Cinton did not do. He, like everyone else in DC, wanted a cost-free resolution. He elected to drag his feet, waiting for North Koresn state to collapse.

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you.
    Per the Bayesian approach, I would assign equal ratio; half religious and half profane.
    I guess over time, the religious component has begun to predominate.

  65. Babak – As usual you’re looking below the surface. OK, if the Colonel permits, let me try as far as I am able to join you. We disagree, I think, and have done several times before on the point of how far modern disputes are traceable to ancient prejudice.
    It may be that when you look at what is occurring in the ME what you see is a triumphalist West, seeking to impose itself on other societies, and giving expression in its foreign policy to the convictions and prejudices of the peoples of the West. You see this side of the “Diocletian line” as opposed en masse to the other side, as it always was.
    If that’s so I have to disagree. What I see is a dysfunctional West with, crucially, the peoples of the West more or less divorced from our political and administrative apparatus. We are of course swayed by the PR put out by that apparatus but we don’t and have not for some time had much control of that apparatus. On top of that, and it’s a hard thing to say, I’m not sure that we in the West would have much idea of what to do with our political and administrative apparatus even were we to control it. Ideologically, we are rotted out. That the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity isn’t just a good bit of poetry. The worst everywhere have always been full of passionate intensity but the best can never have been so devoid of conviction as now. Religion, or ideology, is a bastard when you get it wrong. Even worse when you deny its existence as a force at all.
    The “religious (ideological) component” you treat as an entity itself has components. A spectrum of components, ranging from our relationship to, or at the least our acknowledgement of, the Transcendent, to a cultural marker, to a cloak for straight secular prejudice.
    Let’s look at the top end of the spectrum. It’s a truism that we in the West don’t do the Transcendent any more. We’re atheists or materialists and that’s that. Complete nonsense of course. Our rejection of any formal or communally agreed relationship with the Transcendent merely means that we make it up as we go along, integrating scraps from here and there with precepts derived, if derived at all, from Benthamite or utilitarian thinking the foundations of which are never examined. So the reigning Western ideology that we loosely term “progressivism” is in truth a religion, but a religion without its own foundation. A religion that denies it has any foundation, in fact, and is therefore incapable of proper examination or development.
    If you look at the kill rate you see that this modern Western religion ends up as considerably more dangerous than the religion of the most doctrinaire Wahhabi fanatic, so such considerations as these are not merely pointless philosophical musings but real considerations with practical and dangerous implications for our and other societies. Religion, or as we in the West prefer to term it, ideology, is not simply a matter of the individual man’s relationship with the Transcendent, but of a society’s relationship. If that gets skewed we see, according to the means available, such horrors as the Munster Anabaptists or the Jewish genocide in Eastern Europe. But an ideology, or a religion, that doesn’t even know it’s a religion, and therefore is not susceptible to examination, releases the immense forces of fanaticism that lurk in all ideologies or religions with no means of moderating or controlling those forces. That is the true danger of the Western rejection of the Transcendent.
    Moving to the other end of the spectrum, the consideration of religion as a cloak for identity politics, the BNP lookalikes who walk through Muslim areas in England bearing a cross are not of course making a statement about religion. They’re grabbing any old symbol to make a statement about Englishness. About their own identity. It’s a pity they choose that particular symbol and choose to make their statement in that particular way, but the outside observer should not confuse what they are doing with religious impulse.
    The point of all this is that when we are looking at the conflict between the West and Islam the respective spectra don’t match. What appears to be Muslim fanaticism to the Westerner may be no more than an intuitive rejection of Western ideology. What seems to some Muslims to be Christian hostility to the Muslim world may be no more than chance events resulting from the dysfunctionality of Western ideology and the resultant dysfunctionality of Western politics.
    I think to you, looking at the feeding of arms and Jihadis into Syria that wrecked that fragile country, or watching ME cities being bombed to rubble and the civilian suffering that resulted, it must be impossible not to see that as the result of a settled malevolence on the part of Western society as a whole, as a result of an age old hostility this side of the “Diocletian Line” to the world of Islam. That is how it must appear your side of the line. I do not believe that is true. What you are witnessing is not Western Society on the march against your world. It is Western society failing in itself, and thus unable to control its politics and therefore to control the immense forces of destruction it has at its disposal.
    You may not agree with all that, but to return to the original point of this discussion, that’s not quite so central in any case when we examine the Palestinian tragedy. Here we need not concern ourselves so much with matching up spectra or with examining how you see things here with how I think things are. The Palestinian tragedy is, callous though it may seem to describe it so, a very ordinary tragedy. The failure of the West in Palestine, and particularly the failure of my own country as that failure is described in James Barr’s book, is the result of no settled Western hostility to the Muslim world. It is simply a result of dysfunctional Western politics that allowed play to what I have described as Blut und Boden fanaticism. Zionism is a very ordinary pathology, and what is remarkable is not that it existed but that it found, by the saddest of chances, such a tragic outlet.

  66. Adrestia says:

    IMO is an interesting development which is a step up from the Sham 2. Syria has some creative engineers or are they receiving technical assistance from that other drone pioneer?
    What especially disturbs the Russian analysts – and on this point they are still unable to identify the source – is that the drones were accurately programmed not only to reach the bases, but to hit specific targets that could not be attacked using standard GPS-generated maps or rely on GPS for accurate targeting. The single camera-equipped drone was there to help adjust the final target, indicating a fairly sophisticated command and control capability, something that clearly impressed the Russian General Staff. The drones also were programmed with accurate intelligence that was harmonized with GPS maps.
    All were stopped by the Pantsir and ECM, but if the ability to make DIY Smart Attack Drones (abbreviate to SAD ? ) becomes more common this will be a significant threat. Although the load is (still) very small, the accuracy will compensate.
    I doubt if countries not in a war zone (including the US and Europe) will be able to stop this? Especially when the drones are launched 5 -10 miles from their targets. Off course a solution will be found, but at what cost (to society or required assets)?

  67. Adrestia says:
    “There were some provocateurs, but they were not Turks. We know who they are, who paid who for this provocation and what the actual sum was. As for this kind of incidents, there is nothing good about them. These are provocations aimed at destroying previous agreements,” Putin said.
    He added that those actions were also aimed at undermining Russia’s relations with Turkey and Iran. “We understand it perfectly well so we will work together,” the Russian leader stressed.
    “As for these attacks, they were undoubtedly prepared well. We know when and where these unmanned vehicles were handed over [to the attackers], and how many of them there were. These aerial vehicles were disguised – I would like to stress that – as homemade. But it is obvious that some high-tech equipment was used,” Putin said.

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