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Total number of comments: 1491 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Bill

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  • Conspiracy Theorist in Chief: Trump's falsehood about 2 mn. illegal votes only tip of Melting Iceberg
    • No doubt Trump believes Area 51 is the secret base where the Air Force keeps captured aliens preserved in vats of formaldehyde; that the 1969 moon landing was a US Government hoax actually filmed at the Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, Arizona; that contrails from jet aircraft are actually "chemtrails," in order to destroy crops and thus reduce the world's population, and on and on.

      Interestingly, if Trump actually thinks that Clinton's 2 million vote lead is the result of illegal voting, it calls into question the margin of votes he won in the states that gave him the Electoral College and makes Jill Stein's request for a recount sound rational.

  • In Trump's Shadow, is East Aleppo on Verge of falling to Regime, Russia?
    • Very well put, Antoinetta. John Quincy Adams, as Secretary of State, delivered a speech on July 4, 1821 that included the line, "[America] is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

      Would those who call for intervention and regime change in Syria want another Libya on their hands? That likely would be the result. Countries that lack mature political, economic, and legal institutions are “built” into viable, mature nations only when a certain critical mass within the country is reached that spurs such development. That critical mass includes, but is not necessarily limited to, a standard of living that creates a reasonably-sized middle class; a respect for and trust in the rule of law; and the prospect that individuals can engage in economic pursuits of their choice. All of these act as a catalyst for a country’s population to demand greater political participation and leadership accountability. We cannot do it for them.

      Although no friend of the US, Syria did not interfere with US interests in the Near East, and we have managed those interests over a 46-year period under both Hafez al Assad and Bashar al Assad ruling Syria. We should have told the rebels from the very beginning that they could expect no assistance from the US. Our interedsts would have been better served had we done so.

  • When Reagan backed S. Africa Racism and Castro inspired Mandela
    • I do not know what Mumia Abu-Jamal (actual name Wesley Cook) thinks about "American free speech." What I do know is he was charged with and convicted for the murder of a police officer in 1981. He was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was changed by the court to life imprisonment. If you have evidence that his right to "free speech" was abridged, please provide it.

      No, the Castro regime did not shoot down its own citizens in the street. Instead, they put those who protested against the regime, considered "counter-revolutionaries," before a firing squad. Thousands of so-called "counter-revolutionaries" were executed in this fashion. The respected British historian of Latin America, Hugh Thomas, estimates 10,000 were shot. In later decades, such "counter-revolutionaries" were spared the firing squad and put in prison, largely as a result of European Union protests.

      There are plenty of governments that do not exercise the same level of "repression" as Castro's Cuba. His repression was felt by the Cuban people in all aspects of their lives, from the complete lack of free elections to choose their leader, to the ban on travel, to the state-owned and run economy that drove the Cuban economy into the ground.

    • And yet, how ironic that Nelson Mandela evolved in his political thinking and lived to be elected President of a democratic South Africa, while Fidel Castro never evolved beyond the dictator that he was. For some 50 years Castro did not brook any opposition to his iron rule, putting in prison those who opposed it while denying the Cuban people any democratic say in choosing their leadership. Nelson Mandela and South Africa demonstrated what enlightened leadership can accomplish. Castro, on the other hand, demonstrated the opposite, a police state dependent upon Soviet and East German trained secret police and informants.

  • Trump, Putin, and the new Middle East
    • Syria has been in the Russian sphere of influence since at least 1970, when Hafez al-Assad gained power.

      Regarding World War II, The Soviet Union bore the brunt of Hitler's forces on the Eastern front because it had been invaded. The war would not have been won without the Soviets on the Eastern front, but neither would it have been won without the U.S., British, and Allied forces in the West, from the North African campaign to the Italian campaign, and finally the Normandy invasion force. It took the joint Allied effort to do it.

  • Will Turkey leave NATO for Sino-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Council?
    • To say that Russia's constitution "was basically hand written by the U.S. Embassy" is nonsense. It reveals a complete lack of understanding of the elements that went into the final product and the role of the U.S. Embassy.

      Of the various proposals for a new Basic Law, or constitution, two were the focus of most attention-one drawn up by the Constitutional Commission of the Parliament, headed by Oleg Rumyantsev, and the other by the executive
      branch, written by Boris Yeltsin's advisors, most notably Sergei Alexeev and Sergei
      Shakhrai. They share much in common, but diverged in important elements. After negotiations, a final constitution was agreed upon.

      The U.S. Embassy had no part in delivering a "hand written" constitution to Russian authorities. As for the "strong presidency," that is exactly what one would expect from the Russians, whose entire history was marked by strong central authority.

  • Will Trump bolster the Military-Industrial Complex?
    • "Your thinking about non-USA aircraft is dated, myopic and flat out wrong. The days when the “best” stuff came from the USA are LONG, LONG GONE and smart buyers are well aware they can get better stuff for less from non-USA sources."

      Your use of all-caps for emphasis notwithstanding, they do not enhance the validity of your argument. Our NATO allies, other non-treaty allies, the Gulf States, and other traditional purchasers of US military aircraft would heartily disagree with your cited quote above. They value not only the aircraft themselves, but just as importantly, they value the complete package that comes with it: continued training, parts, and ongoing maintenance. That is a big plus for the US that neither Russia nor China provides.

    • I suspect the F-35 will evolve as other newly developed frontline aircraft have in the past. Once the bugs are worked out it will prove to be a very versatile aircraft. And if enough are exported for sale, the price per unit will bring it within affordable range.

      Whatever the attributes of Russian and Chinese aircraft, they will not compete with the F-35 for the simple reason that American aircraft come with a full package of training and maintenance, something the Russians and Chinese lack, particularly continuing maintenance. Additionally, our allies prefer inter-operability with the U.S., something they would lose with Russian and Chinese aircraft.

    • To date, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is way over-budget, behind schedule, and has experienced significant problems. Nevertheless, it is naive to think the project could be canceled, and it has nothing to do with the "fly-boys having their bright shiny new toys." The F-35 will not be canceled because too many entities have a stake in continuing its development and production.

      To manufacture the air frame, engine components, avionics, and additional software required, there are 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs. The F-35 supports 40,000 jobs in Texas alone. Additionally, the F-35 will be the major export fighter, generating revenue downstream. That provides the F-35 with a lot of political protection from Congressmen who will not vote to cut the project's positive impact in their states and congressional districts.

  • 5 Trump Headlines more outrageous than the "Hamilton" Tiff
    • As a confirmed theatre-goer my entire life, I am surprised that I must point out the difference between performing plays that tackle the major issues of our time, universal and otherwise, such as those by Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, et. al., and the cast using the curtain call to lecture a specific member of the audience. The former is timeless and has been performed since the time of the great Greek playwrights, the latter is representative of a society that has been coarsened and seems to think that being "in your face" is the norm.

    • If they recognize the two contradictory ideas as such, it is not necessarily cognitive dissonance. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

    • If you think that criticism of the play's cast for exhibiting the rudeness and poor form that brings them down to the level of Trump is being a "Trump apologist," I suggest you need to re-calibrate your understanding of nuance and ability to make distinctions. No one is a "Trump apologist." Some of us expect more class from a play's cast than acting like elementary students at recess

    • It was not part of the performance. And as far as I can see Pence is not a "tyrant." It was rude and in very poor form.

    • The cast's demonstration of poor form and lack of class was not directed at Trump. It was directed at Pence, who was attending the play. Trump has no class, and neither did the cast. Pence is the only one who demonstrated some class in his response.

    • I agree that the theatre, where patrons have paid to see a play, is not the place for the cast to point out a single individual, even the Vice President Elect, and express their political opinion and lecture him on their point of view. Governor Pence demonstrated a lot more class than did the play's cast, which came close to competing with Trump in their rudeness.

  • Why Internment of Japanese Americans is an outrageous Model for registering Muslim-Americans
    • "About half the country’s eligible voters sat this one out because they were too busy doing – who knows?"

      A couple of days after the election, ABC Evening News covered one of the anti-Trump demonstrations. One young adult in the demonstration was asked if he had voted, and he replied he had not. The interviewer then said, "So you are protesting an election in which you did not participate." The protester sheepishly agreed.

      It reminded me of the Occupy Wall Street movement of a couple of years ago. In Washington, DC there was an encampment of OWS protestors in one of the public squares. One protester being interviewed said he had quit his job in Florida to come to DC and protest unemployment!!!

    • "Perhaps you can tell me prof, if Americans have to have any form of identity papers on which they have to state their religion?"

      The answer is no, Americans do not have to state their religion on any form of identification, e.g., driver's license, passport, etc.

  • A Jerusalem Litmus Test
    • I don't see any possibility of Obama granting Palestine full diplomatic recognition. Particularly now that the Democrats are in such disarray since the election, he would not want to create further fragmentation in the party.

  • Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East
    • "One has to understand the scope and historical currents to form the best opinions."

      Agreed. And for starters how about four centuries of Ottoman rule as one major factor that explains the Near East's apparent inability to come to terms with modernity. There are other cultural factors, but four centuries of the Ottomans is a good starting point.

    • Oil has enabled a few Near Eastern countries to coast without having to develop modern political and economic systems. Their lack of development is not due to Western interference. It is a product of buying their populations off.

      Oil certainly has little to nothing to do with the failure to embrace modernity one finds in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, and other Near Eastern societies. For that one must critically assess their history and culture in order to fully understand the internal dynamics that are responsible for their largely self-inflicted wounds.

    • We seem to be in agreement, spyguy, that the author has missed the boat by his simplistic mantra that the "West" is responsible for the failure of the Near East to modernize and develop. As I suggested above, the author should apply a mre rigorous study of the internal dynamics of these societies and not just blame the "West." That's just intellectual laziness.

    • But that's my point. Countries like Singapore (as well as Malaysia and the other examples) have a history of imperialism, colonialism, and (in the case of Latin America), intervention. yet, they have created modern states. The author of this piece does not seem to question why this has not occurred in the Near East, other than to blame the "West" again. My question to the author is: "If other regions overcame the West's imperialism and intervention to create modern states, why not the Near East?" My suggestion would be to look a little more rigorously at the internal dynamics, not just blame the "West."

    • The author of this piece is following in a long line of pundits who think the failure of states to come to terms with modernity and political reform "rests with the long-running policies of successive imperial and 'advanced-capitalist' administrations," as he puts it. This argument has become stale and doesn't begin to analyze the internal dynamics that have led to the present stasis (and retrenchment) in the Near East.

      All one has to do is look at the political and economic modernization of much of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and even Vietnam, as well as the many countries of Latin America, e.g., Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and others, to recognize that a history of Western imperialism and intervention has not held them back. The author would be well-advised to drop his knee-jerk mantra that the "West" is responsible for the failings of the Near East and apply a more rigorous critique of what ails the Near East when so many other regions have advanced.

  • A Gwen Ifill Interview with Juan Cole on Iraq & US Withdrawal: In Memoriam
    • Gwen Ifill was as good as they come in news and journalism. She was a real pro in a profession that has so much blather on both the left and the right. Gwen kept an even keel regardless of the topic or the individual under discussion, and she did it with a brilliant smile and good cheer. I will miss her greatly on the PBS News Hour and Washington Week.

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • This morning's "Washington Post" carried two articles that, juxtaposed against each other, tell an interesting story about personalities, substance vs. non-substance, and the election. Several "celebrities" who prior to the election said they would move out of the country (to Canada, Europe, etc.) if Trump won have apparently reconsidered. They include Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, some rapper called Ne-Yo, Bryan Cranston, the ever-predictable Barbra Streisand, Samuel Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Cher, and Miley Cyrus. This reminds me of the 2008 election when Alec Baldwin mouthed off that he would move out of the country if George W. Bush won. Bush won and Baldwin didn't. These "celebrities" are about as shallow and transparent in their "pronouncements" as one can be. They exhibit nothing but the solipsistic, self-absorption that is the cornerstone of their insulated lives.

      On the other hand, there was an OP-ED piece by a gentleman named Manu Saadia, a French citizen who has been a U.S. Permanent Resident for 20 years. He penned the piece entitled, "Resisting Trump by Becoming a U.S. Citizen." In his piece, Saadia writes:

      "I will become an American. It is a small act of defiance and resistance. I owe a debt of loyalty to my American friends, to the city where I live and to the amazing, crazy, troubled, quirky and always surprising country that has welcomed me with arms wide open."

      Saadia ends his piece as follows:

      "And so I will become a U.S. citizen at long last. I will be a hyphenated American, a proud French-American, an immigrant. I will take my rightful, if minuscule, place in the ranks of President Trump's loyal opposition. And to paraphrase the gracious words of former Senator Bob Dole, I will do my utmost to defeat him and his party as an opponent, not an enemy."

      Would that our "celebrities" demonstrate such class.

  • Putin targets East Aleppo rebels; Did Trump's Election doom them?
    • You are correct Chris. Russia has had a naval base at Tartus since 1971 via an agreement with Hafez Assad. In fact, Russia has been the predominent influenece in syria for decades.

    • That is because Obama was elected in a free and fair election, while Assad continues the 46-year reign of authoritarian, one-man rule begun by his father, Havez, in 1970.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
    • There is much more behind the revolt of the white working class than just "Neoliberalism" or the fact that the Democratic Party is not sufficiently Leftist. Looming large was a cultural component that liberals and others on the Left are loathe to acknowledge.

      Liberals and those on the Left have very often exhibited a smug attitude toward the white working class, sneeringly referring to them as "clinging to their guns and religion," as Obama did, or as a "basket of deplorables," as Hillary Clinton did. Right here on this forum recently one contributor added to it, referring to all Trump supporters as "Nazis."

      What we are witnessing is, in part, the rebellion of a class of people in America who are tired of being put down by a smug segment of American society who makes no bones about the fact that they think the cultural mores and beliefs of the majority of the white working class are unworthy. They are tired of this smug attitude that writes them off instead of trying to understand their concerns.

      We saw the same thing when much of the white working class voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. They were called "Reagan Democrats" then, and they bolted the Democratic Party for many of the same reasons, cultural and otherwise, that they bolted today. The smug, sneering attitude of the cultural elites in America toward the white working class is now reaping what it has sown. One hopes we learn from it

  • Dear Ann Coulter: Ben Franklin didn't think you or Trump are White, Either
    • Those ignorami (Please note the Latin plural of ignoramus!) who are so obsessed about race and color should contemplate the fact that we humans (all of us) are genetically nearly identical with chimpanzees and bonobos. We share almost 99 percent of our DNA with chimps and bonobos. I would love to see the reaction of those troglodytes who are race-obsessed and who reject evolution when advised that by less than two percent of DNA they just escaped being captives in a zoo.

    • It was long thought in England that the "WOGs" began at Calais.

  • Top 5 Times the FBI intervened to Help the US Right Wing
    • Big difference between a juvenile delinquent stealing hubcaps and someone insisting on carrying out a terrorist bombing.

    • The FBI did not "entrap" Mohamed Osman Mohamud. He was given multiple opportunities to back out of his plot, but each time he insisted he wanted to go through with it. Mohamud was a legitimate target who deserved the charges against him and the sentence imposed.

  • Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility
    • Are you seriously claiming only a "few refugees" have gotten to Europe? There have been more than a million illegal migrants (they are not all "refugees") who have entered Europe within the last year and a half. It is no wonder that the European system is stressed. They must determine those that are genuine refugees and separate them from those who are economic migrants just seeking a better life in a more tranquil environment. It is difficult to absorb so many at one time.

      You are correct, however, when you state that if Erdogan were to expel significant numbers of illegal migrants, on top of the million who have already entered Europe, it would prove catastrophic for European politics.

    • To maintain, as the author does, that Turkey's descent into authoritarianism under Erdogan represents a "failure" of the West is further evidence of a misguided mindset that considers the West and the U.S. omnipetent. The illusion that the West is capable of righting all the world's wrongs, if only it had the will to do so, denies nations such as Turkey any agency of their own. From there it is a short step to absolving Turkey of responsibility for its failures and placing the blame on the West.

      Moreover, the statement that, "The West's failure today is similar to the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s," represents a lack of understanding of what was at stake in the Europe of 1938. To compare Hitler's European macninations at the time of the Munich conference to Erdogan's turn to authoritarianism in Turkey today and suggest that the West's approach in both cases was similar reveals an inability to distinguish between two very different situations.

  • Are Arabs White?
    • Great, just what we need. The further disuniting and fragmentation of American society.

  • Save America from Trump to fix America, or, Did your Mother Drop you on Your Head?
    • You went much further than just condemning Trump as a Nazi. You labeled all of his supporters as Nazis, and in doing so you demonstrate a lack of nuance as well as a lack of historical understanding of Germany in the 1930s and many Trump supporters today.

      Many Germans supported Hitler because their lives had been devastated by the crushing effects of the reparations demanded by the allies, particularly France, and the ensuing hyper-inflation. Hitler promised jobs and economic growth, and he, in fact, delivered on that promise. Most of his supporters who voted him into office in 1933 were not "Nazis." They were caught in an economic vise and saw Hitler as a way out of it.

      Likewise, many Trump supporters are caught in what they perceive as an economic vise today. they may be misguided and, in my opinion, wrong, in thinking Trump is their saving grace. Nevertheless, to label them all "Nazis," as you do, is just as wrong-headed as thinking all of Hitler's supporters were Nazis.

      In fact, essentializing all Trump supporters as "Nazis" puts you in the same category as Trump when he labels all Mexicans as rapists and criminals, or all Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists.

    • "He is a Nazi. His children are Nazis. His supporters are Nazis."

      You paint with a pretty broad brush. What evidence do you have that Trump's children and supporters are all Nazis? One does not have to support Trump (I certainly do not) to conclude that anyone who invokes "Hitler" and "Nazis" has no intellectual arrows left in his quiver. To throw out the term "Nazis" is to admit one has run out of arguments.

    • Please provide evidence to substantiate your statement that Hillary Clinton "is already planning more wars and she hasn't even been sworn in yet." What wars is she planning for? Against whom? What is your evidence? Let's have credible evidence, not some amorphous speculation from the "gut."

    • Intellectual leadership will not create massive civil disobedience sufficient to overcome "police in riot gear, dogs, mace, tasers, armored vehicles, etc." Your statement is detached from reality.

  • War within War - Iraqi PM: We don't want to fight Turkey but we're Ready
    • You have just confirmed Gary Page's excellent observation regarding certain ideologues' simplistic notion that the US is responsible for all the bad things others do. Your comment is exhibit No. 1 in the gallery of ahistorical, unsubstantiated statements based on the "gut" rather than on evidence.

  • Emails and Groping: Our Halloween Election keeps Scaring us to Death
    • See my comment above. Huma Abedin is an albatross around Hillary Clinton's neck.

    • I made no comment on Huma Abedin's competence. I stated that she has become too great a distraction for Clinton's campaign and should be dropped. That Huma Abedin chose to marry Anthony Weiner, who was an arrogant little SOB, says something about her judge of character. And her subsequent, apparent sending and receipt of official E-mails on a computer to which Weiner had access demonstrates her lack of judgment and professionalism.

      Moreover, I didn't state she failed to control Weiner's behavior. I stated she was unable to control her personal life, turning it into a grade B soap opera. For evidence just consider that she agreed to appear in that soap opera film "Weiner," which purported to catalogue Weiner's attempt to run for mayor of New York between his first sexting episode and the second. This film showing their domestic trials, tribulations, and thoughts was akin to "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette." It was Huma Abedin's tribute to "The Kardashians."

      Hillary Clinton does not need the huge distraction Huma Abedin's personal problems and lack of professionalism represent. She should drop her from the campaign and focus on the final few days before the election.

    • Halloween would be a good time for Hillary Clinton to cut Huma Abedin loose. Hillary has clung to Abedin for far too long. Huma Abedin first demonstrated bad judgment when she married Anthony Weiner, who was an arrogant little SOB even before his multiple sexting scandals. That Abedin has been unable to control her personal life (which has morphed into a grade B soap opera), and that she allegedly has State Department-related E-mails on a computer used by Weiner, simply confirms her continued bad judgment.

      Huma Abedin's bad judgment, inability to control her personal life, and all-around lack of professionalism has become too great a distraction for Clinton's presidential campaign. Clinton needs to drop her from the campaign and as an advisor, in order to clear the decks for a final push these last few days before the election.

  • Does Trump's lag prove the end of White Christian America?
    • Yes, fundamentalist. Southern Baptists, Pentacostalists, and other White sects of the fundamentalist variety do exactly the same thing.

    • The double adjective "White Christian" describes a diminishing presence in the United States. I suspect, however, that it is the "White" that is diminishing, not the "Christian."

      Consider that Christianity wields a strong presence in Black America, and much of it is of a fundamentalist variety (singing, waving of hands, testimony, "amen," etc.) And Chrstianity in the U.S. may be growing with the increasing numbers of Hispanics, both Catholics and the exponentially increasing Protestant (much of it evangelical) variety. Additionally, Koreans represent a strong christian presence as well,.

      Before "Thanking God" for the diminishing presemce of White Christians, it would be wise to consider the fact that many Christians in non-White communities are very conservative. The California initiative on gay marriage resulted in 70 percent of Blacks voting against it. No doubt a like number can be found in the Hispanic community. Anyone who thinks a diminishing "White Christian" presence will result in a better America might exercise caution over what he wishes for. It makes little sense to replace one form of intolerance for another.

  • Starstruck & Party-Fanatic: The Moral Paradox of Trump Support
    • A large contributing factor that led to Detroit's downfall as an automotive giant were the "sweetheart" deals between the United auto Workers Union and the automotive companies. This had nothing to do with Japanese comptetition or Mexican labor. It had everything to do with a combined wage and benefits package that reached $71.00 per hour in the 1980s. The auto companies priced themselves out of the market. Japan just made a better product at lower cost.

    • Theodore Roosevelt was much more a progressive Republican than a "populist," as we understand that term today. (And as it has been applied to both Sanders and Trump.) Nevertheless, the parallels you draw between Roosevelt and Trump are insignificant compared to their differences. Roosevelt had a keen sense of the U.S. national interest at a time when the U.S. was coming into its own. He knew how the system worked and was able to move forward on both the domestic and international fronts with calculated boldness.

      Trump, on the other hand, lacks a sense of the U.S. national interest and the ability to move it forward. Unlike Roosevelt, Trump is a blowhard with little intellectual capacity. Rather than calculated boldness, Trump is just plain reckless.

      It may be, as you say, that the "outsider" perception of Trump may propel him into the White House. But that would just confirm that his supporters are as ignorant and reckless as he is.

    • In fact, the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did save American (and Japanese) lives by shortening the war and rendering an invasion of the japanese home islands unnecessary.

      Scholarship over the last two decades, MAGIC decrypts of Japanese diplomatic traffic, and the evidence we have of the deliberations of Japanese officials and the Emperor indicate that the Japanese were not ready to surrender. They approached the Soviet Union (which was not a belligerent against Japan and had no standing to negotiate on behalf of the allies), but they offered no concrete terms themselves.

      Moreover, we know that what the Japanese had in mind was more an armistice rather than a surrender. It included no allied occupation of the japanese home islands, no allied war crimes trials (which if conducted at all would be conducted by the Japanese themselves), and continued Japanese occupation of Manchuria (Manchukuo, as the Japanese called their conquered puppet state). This would have been a case of the vanquished dictating terms to the victors and was unacceptable, particularly given that the Japanese initiated the war and the atrocities they committed in its execution.

  • Trump says Clinton will Start WW III with Russia, but Moscow Disagrees
    • When Donald Trump, that "military analyst extrordinaire," pronounces on the likelihood of World War III over Syria, he reminds me of those who invoke "Hitler" or "Nazi" to describe someone they don't like. Those who invoke "World War III," "Hitler," "Nazi" and other assorted bogeymen and epithets demonstrate such a lack of analytical ability and imagination as to be useless as commentators.

      Both Russia and the United States are rational actors on the world stage. Both pursue their interests, but both know enough to consult and negotiate in order to avoid any dispute that could escalate into anything resembling war. And the idea that China would fan the flames between the two on one side or the other is nonsense.

  • Why Trump is (really) wrong to bet against US Military-backed Mosul Campaign
    • Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, not "Robert Nuland." Let's at least get the players correctly named.

    • Anyone who takes Trump seriously as a military stategist and analyst needs his head examined. Trump knows as much about military matters as he does about international affairs and geopolitics, which is to say--nothing, zilch, zero. Trump is a windbag and a blowhard, and like all windbags and blowhards he knows nothing about which he speaks.

  • Failing Libya
    • Just one more example of the old adage, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The United States national interest was not served in any meaningful way by participating in the "humanitarian" intervention in Libya. It sure has been set back, though, by assisting in the creation of one more failed state.

  • Will Turkey, Iran & Iraq make the Mosul Campaign a Land Grab?
    • No one is denying that European powers engaged in imperialism. Yet one should not be blinded by Lenin's critique that imperialism represented the highest form of Capitalism, which generally implicated the West.

      There is a good argument to be made that the Ottoman Empire was just as imperialistic as Western powers. The difference between the two was Western imperialists emphasized manufacturing while the Ottomans emphasized agriculture. Ottoman bureaucratic and military expenditures were financed by taxation of its subjects, who were just as subject to rule from the center in Istanbul as any other subjects of Western powers were subject to rule from the center in London or Paris.

      There are varying interpretations of imperialism and colonialism, as well as similarities and differences between the two. Nevetheless, to return to the original subject, Otto9man rule extracted wealth from the Empire's subjects every bit as much as the British and French mandatory powers did, and they did it for a much longer period.

    • You missed my point, Herbert, which is that the British and French are labeled Near East "imperialists" for their 38 years of hegemony in Iraq and syria, while the Islamic Imperialist Ottoman Turks are not tarred with the term in spite of more than four centuries of hegemony over their Islamic brethren. My point was that the Islamic Umma is loathe to criticize one of its own whose record of imperialism in the Near East far exceeds that of the British and French.

    • "On October 18 Erdogan said, that Turkey has a "historical responsibility" in Mosul and Kirkuk, as they were both historically Turkish land."

      In fact, the whole of Iraq and Syria were "historically Turkish land" under the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic empire that subjugated its Muslim brethren for more than four centuries every bit as much as the British and French did for a mere 38 years. It is odd that the British and French are tarred with the epithet of "imperialists" while the Ottoman Turks are rarely mentioned as such, a result of the inability of the Islamic Umma to criticize one of its own.

    • The "historic parallel" to the United States, Britain, and France pushing into German-occupied territory from the west and the Soviet Union pushing from the east is a superficial analogy at best. For one thing, the allies pushing from both west and east were liberating, and in the Soviet case occupying, whole nation-states that were under German control and occupation. The one exception was Germany itself, which was divided among the allies.

      In the current case involving the various players in Syria and Iraq, we are witnessing the potential dismemberment of sections of the two nation-states. Moreover, in the World War II case, the United States could have pushed further and occupied both Berlin and Prague, but the decision was made, for both political reasons and in recognition of the tremendous sacrifices made by the USSR, to allow the Soviets to take both. The two sides met at the river Elbe.

      Finally, the worldwide repercussions of the division of Europe were historically much greater than would be those resulting from the dismemberment of parts of syria and Iraq. that's not to say there would be no repercussions, but they would not have the political, economic, and ideological effects that resulted from the division of Europe between East and West for 45 years.

  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism?
    • It is a shameful episode in American history that the arrival of Europeans was a disaster for the American Indians. Nevertheless, the Indians' conduct among themselves was hardly a lesson in moral superiority.

      it is a historical fact that many Indian tribes and groups were subjugated and forced out of their territory by other Indian tribes. A prime example in Arizona is the Navajo who, along with the Apache (both Athabaskans), came down from Canada to their current territory in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

      Both Navajo and Apache were nomadic and aggressive toward tribes existing in the region. They made war against the sedentary tribes such as the Hopi, Zuni, and other tribes who had been in the region for centuries. In fact, the Hopi, Zuni, and others, who we now call "Pueblo Indians," established themselves in their iconic cliff dwellings, not because of the Spanish, but prior to the Spanish arrival in order to protect themselves from marauding Navajo and Apache.

      The myth of "peaceful" Indians living in harmony with their surroundings and their fellows is, in many cases, just that--a myth. It was true in some cases, and in some cases not. In other words, American Indians could be, and in many cases were, just as rapacious in raiding and pillaging among themselves as were the Europeans. The Europeans prevailed because they possessed better technology and tactics, but history suggests that neither could claim moral superiority over the other.

    • American Indians did not commit genocide or disrupt anyone's way of life because they arrived before others, no question about that. Nevertheless, just the act of arriving at a piece of real estate first does not make one more a "native" than others who follow. Regardless of where one or another ethnic group stands in the sequence of "arrivals," we all arrived from somewhere else and thus are all immigrants.

    • If you are referring to American Indians, they, too, are immigrants. The original ancestors of today's American Indians crossed the land bridge of the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America and made their way south. Just because they arrived before Europeans does not make them any more "native" to North America than those who followed later. We are indeed all immigrants.

  • Dylan, the American Left, and What We have Lost
    • In a 1971 interview with Time Magazine, Bob Dylan praised Meir Kahane, calling him a "real sincere guy" and stating that "he got it all together."

  • US Goes to War with Houthis in Yemen (Openly)
    • Do you have any idea how long it would take to obtain an AUMF from Congress, particularly when it is unnecessary in order to mount defensive action?!

      Radar stations do not themselves launch missiles, but they do have the targeting function. Take out the radar and you blind the launchers.

    • No. When U.S. naval vessels are transiting peacefully in international waters and are fired upon by Houthi installations (whether by Houthis or Iranian Revolutionary Guards) they have every right under international law to defend themselves by taking out those installations. It is no different than if an Iranian gunboat were to fire on a U.S. destroyer. Would you suggest that the captain of the U.S. ship would have to obtain an AUMF from Washington before he could return fire after being fired upon by a hostile naval vessel? Whether an attack on a U.S. warship is by land or by sea makes no difference. The right to defend against attacks requires no AUMF.

    • It is the 5th Fleet, not the 4th Fleet, and it is based in Bahrain and has been for decades. The U.S. Navy's posture in the Persian Gulf is definitely not offensive. It is strictly defensive.

      They are not fighting "imaginary pirates" as you suggest, a statement that reveals a stunning lack of geopolitical awareness. The Strait of Hormuz is the world's most important oil chokepoint due to its daily oil flow of about 17 million bbls. Roughly 35 percent of all seaborne traded oil and 20 percent of oil traded worldwide pass through the Strait of Hormuz. The 5th Fleet protects the seaborne oil shipments and would swing into action should any other country attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz.

    • The United States is not "going to war" with the Houthis in Yemen. The Tomahawk missile strikes on the three remote radar stations was a defensive move to render them incapable of locking on U.S. warships that have been exercising the right of passage in international waters. Prior to the firing of the Tomahawks, the Houthis had targeted the vessel twice, on Monday and Wednesday.

      Regardless of one's position on U.S. support of Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen, the U.S. is not a belligerent in the conflict under international law and the Law of War. Under those very same laws, the U.S. has every right to defend its warships against further attempted strikes by taking out the radar stations and blinding those launching the strikes.

      Of course, one can argue that the Houthis consider U.S. support for Saudi Arabia as constituting indirect aggression against them, thus rendering U.S. assets open for targeting. So be it. But the Houthis must understand that if they target U.S. assets, they can expect retaliatory strikes in return.

  • GOP finally shocked as Trump admits to being serial Groper of white women on Hot Mic
    • Why the emphasis on "White Women" in the headline for this piece? There is no reference to race or ethnic background in the article. Trump's actions are deplorable, but the author of the headline seems to want to make this a question of race.

  • How Far will Americans take anti-Muslim Hate? Making them wear Green Stars?
    • Actually, Anon, it is you who should stop consulting Wikipedia to formulate your answers. I realized long ago that Wikipedia not only often wrong, but even more often incomplete.

      Your latest response is a case in point. Your statement that the Sumerians and Mayans attached a value to "zero" is simply wrong. They used "zero" as a placeholder, but they attached no value to it, "null" or otherwise.

    • It was the Indian concept of giving "zero" a value that was incorporated into mathematical calculations that was the seminal achievement. This takes nothing away from the Arabs who carried mathematics forward with their own achievements. But it was the Indian concept of "zero" as having a value that enabled them to do it.

    • The Sumerians and the Maya used "zero" as a placeholder. The Indians advanced the "zero" to have "null" value in the numerical scheme of things long before the Arabs. The Arab contribution was the oval symbol we know as "zero," but the concept of the value of "zero" as being "null" was an Indian invention.

    • It was actually India who introduced the concept of zero as having "null" value in the eighth century. The Arabs refined the symbol into the oval we recognize today, but the Indians developed the concept that became so important in mathematics. The Arabs borrowed it.

  • The Ugly American: Donald Trump is our Mirror, not an Outlier
    • "From the moment the first scribe etched a paean of praise to Nebuchadnezzar into a stone tablet, it’s reasonable to conclude that never in history has the media covered a single human being as it has Donald Trump. For more than a year now, unless a terror attack roiled American life, he’s been the news cycle, essentially the only one, morning, noon, and night, day after day, week after week, month after month. His every word, phrase, move, insult, passing comment, off-the-cuff remark, claim, boast, brazen lie, shout, or shout-out has been ours as well."

      And with his piece above, Mr. Engelhardt has demonstrated that he is just as enamored with, and willing to carry forward, the "Trump Phenomenon" as those upon whom he places the blame. As he states, "This is not about Donald Trump." He is correct. In this case, it is about Mr. Engelhardt.

    • China is hardly making moves to "cover Russia." China has minimal interest in Syria, and it certainly is not going to jeopardize its position by concocting a scenario that Xi Jinping no doubt would consider far-fetched: that Russia will be "broken" in a confrontation with the U.S. over Syria. Neither the U.S. nor Russia are about to get into a confrontation that "breaks" one or the other. Both are smarter than that, and China knows it.

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