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Total number of comments: 1271 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Bill

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  • Israel: Netanyahu replies to Officers' charges of Fascism, makes far Right Lieberman their boss
    • "This incident, and the extremist Israeli attacks on Palestinians, so alarmed deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan that he went so far as to liken the “sickening” processes he saw taking place in Israel to Nazi Germany in the 1930s (note: not the 1940s, when the Holocaust took place)."

      Major General Golan did not have to reach back to Nazi Germany in the 1930s for his example. He could just as easily have cited the activities of Jewish terrorist organizations operating in the 1940s in the British Mandate of Palestine.

      Frankly, the Israel of today would be very recognizable and compatible with the vision of many of those fighting for an independent state of Israel in the 1940s.

      It should be noted that the rosy picture of a group of innocent, beleaguered, plucky, Jewish settlers fighting for an independent Israel was always a myth. Just as the Zionist call for “A land without people for a people without land” was a myth foisted upon a world that had little knowledge of the area. Many of the founders of the state of Israel were terrorists, plain and simple. The Sterngang, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, and other entities were certainly terrorist organizations, assassinating both British officers and Arab inhabitants of the British Mandate of Palestine.

      Yitzhak Shamir, a future Prime Minister of Israel, was a member of the Sterngang. Menachim Begin, Another future Prime Minister, was a leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. On July 22, 1946, the Irgun carried out the terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing several British officers. On September 17, 1948, members of the Sterngang assassinated Count Folke Bernadette, the UN Representative in Palestine. Just five months before the assassination of Count Bernadette, on April 9, 1948, the Irgun massacred some 150 to 250 (the figure has never been satisfactorily confirmed) Arab men, women, and children in the village of Deir Yassin.

      The purpose of the Irgun and Sterngang’s attacks on, and massacres of, Arabs was to create a climate of fear among the population so that they would flee. Some 700,000 Palestinian refugees fled Israel before and after its establishment. Some fled because of Arab broadcasts to leave before the invasion, but many had already fled as a result of Irgun, Sterngang, and other Jewish terrorist acts designed to intimidate them into leaving. It was clearly a form of ethnic cleansing.

  • Trump's Politics of Whiteness and the CIA tip that Jailed Nelson Mandela
    • You correctly note the one colonial possession of the U.S.: The Philippines. That's pretty small beer compared to the European powers carving up Africa, the Near East, and Southeast Asia. And the U.S. granted the Philippines independence in 1946, long before the European powers divested themselves of their imperial/colonial possessions.

      Gary Page is correct. Historically, the U.S. has been anti-colonial.

  • Top 3 Signs Bill Clinton didn't kill himself to "give" the Palestinians a State
    • While there was no doubt an anti-semitic cast to the State Department at the time, that was not the primary reason for the recommendation against recognition of Israel. State Department Near East specialists, almost to a man, advised against American support for a Jewish state on geo-political, national security, and economic grounds.

      Loy Henderson headed up State's Near Eastern Bureau after World War II, and his primary concern was that American support for the Jewish state would turn the Arab population against the United States and open up the Near East to Soviet influence.

      Moreover, American oil companies had broken into the nascent Saudi oil industry in 1933, and by World War II, the extent of Saudi reserves made it a national security priority. In order to placate the Saudi ruler Ibn Saud, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA) placed an Arabist, William Eddy, in charge of cementing Ibn Saud's confidence in American intentions. Eddy gained Ibn Saud's confidence, even staying in the royal tent on excursions to various tribal areas.

      It all culminated in Secretary of State George C. Marshall's recommendation to President Truman against recognition of Israel. Truman rejected Marshall and the State Department's advice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    • It has always been a source of wonder how little most people understand of the strong Soviet support for Israel in its establishment and early years of existence. Stalin believed Israel would be a socialist state in the Near East, more aligned with the USSR and its Eastern European satellites than with the West.

      Unwavering U.S. support for Israel really only began after the 1967 Six-Day War. And we should not forget that Eisenhower openly condemned the joint British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956.

    • "From Truman to Obama, Israel has been a creation of USA and no amount of posturing can hide it."

      The statement quoted above is simply not true when considering Israel's establishment and the early years of its existence. When Britain decided to give up its Palestinian Mandate, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko, announced in May 1947 and again in November, that his country supported the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947 calling for the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab.

      At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State. On that same date, the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional government as the de facto authority of Israel, but de jure recognition was only extended by the U.S. on January 31, 1949.

      Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was the first state to recognize de jure (on May 17, 1948) the establishment of Israel and its Provisional Government. This was eight months before the U.S. extended de jure recognition.

      Moreover, The Soviet Union, primarily via Czechoslovakia, was a significant arms supplier to Israel in its early years. From May 1947 until 1949, the Soviet Union supplied Israel with tanks and fighter planes which were used against the Arabs in the 1948 war.

      In its early years, Israel received far more support and arms from the Soviet union than it did from the United States. Of course, that all changed later, but it is a part of history that is largely forgotten today.

  • 100th Anniversary: What did the Sykes-Picot Agreement mean for the Middle East?
    • This is a succinct summary of Sykes-Picot and the making of the modern Near East. The only thing I would add (and for some reason Mr. Pascoe omits) is that after Faisal was removed from the Syrian throne, Britain placed him on the Iraqi throne, thus making him King of Iraq.

  • Surges, Mission Creeps & Drones in the Mideast: America's Forever War
    • The point is Mr. Engelhardt failed to mention the Clinton military interventions at all. None involved U.S. national interests. The Somali intervention did not have to morph from a humanitarian mission into "nation-building." The war against Serbia did not have UN imprimatur. There was no UN resolution, which made it just as illegal as Bush's invasion of Iraq.

      And while the air war was "low impact for the U.S., it certainly was not for Serbia. Finally, both the Bosnian intervention and the Serbian war really should have been Europe's to handle, if they felt it was in their interest to do so.

    • Mr. Engelhardt's account of the post-Soviet implosion of 1991 and how the potential "peace dividend" turned into a "war dividend" jumps right to the Bush administration and conveniently omits the Clinton administration's interventions and wars of choice. In December 1992, President George H.W. Bush intervened in Somalia, with UN backing, for the purpose of opening a corridor to get humanitarian goods to the people most needing them. It was President Clinton who turned that strictly humanitarian mission into an effort to topple the Somali Warlord, engage in "nation-building," and subsequently pull out after the "Blackhawk Down" incident.

      In the mid-1990s, President Clinton intervened in The Bosnian crisis. Here was a situation that was in Europe's Southeastern backyard, and the Europeans were paralyzed. the did nothing. Bosnia and its discontents entailed no U.S. interests at all. None. James Baker correctly opined, "We do not have a dog in that fight." Yet Clinton and Secretary of State Albright intervened militarily. It ended with the 1995 Dayton Accords that stopped the fighting but did not create a viable state. Bosnia-Herzegovina today is just as politically and socially fragmented as it was then.

      In 1999, President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright went to war against Serbia. Serbia had been ethnically cleansing and forcing the removal of Kosovar Albanians. Again, this was a European problem. The U.S. had no national interests in Kosovo. None. Yet the U.S. under Clinton waged a 78-day air war against Serbia, bombing Belgrade and inadvertently bombing the Chinese Embassy as well.

      So while there are plenty of reasons to criticize the Bush administration for it's interventions, wars, and misguided attempts at "nation-building" in Iraq and Afghanistan, let's not overlook the Clinton administration's interventions, wars of choice, and failed attempts at "nation-building" that had nothing to do with the U.S. national interest.

  • Is Donald Trump at War with the Republican Party?
    • You appear to have missed my point entirely, Grumpy. My point is that we often criticize the mainstream media (MSM) for "creating" Trump by placing so much focus on him. Yet, we are emulating the MSM by placing just as much focus as the MSM does on everything he does and says.

      My reference to "stones and glass houses" suggested we should be careful in criticizing the MSM for focusing on Trump if we (Informed Comment contributors and readers) are just as guilty of it. The reference had nothing to do with Trump himself, as you seem think.

    • There has been a lot of talk circulating about how the "mainstream media" has created Donald Trump by focusing on him. Yet this piece is the fifth article on Donald Trump to be featured as an Informed Comment piece since May 2. Informed Comment appears to be just as enthralled with Trump as the Mainstream Media. Let's be careful about how we emulate those whom we condemn. Remember stones and glass houses.

  • Sadiq Khan and Trump: Why KKK Donald's values are Unacceptable
    • He is news. That's why they do it. That does not equate to endorsement, tacit or otherwise. It may be difficult for some to understand that distinction, but it is a distinction that must be made.

    • "This bigoted and deceitful person-of-wealth, Donald Trump, is what corporate-controlled media wants us to believe we should elect as our next President."

      I beg to differ. I challenge you to name one major newspaper or media outlet (other than perhaps Fox) that has endorsed Trump. I have not seen one endorse him, but I have seen many question his lack of knowledge and policy prescriptions.

      Please name major media outlets that you have seen endorse trump for President.

  • Sadiq Khan: Is London's first Muslim Mayor the ultimate weapon against Radicalism?
    • The Mayor of London has absolutely no authority to intervene in the Assange case. Sweden's extradition request was granted by the UK High Court, and Assange violated the terms of his bail when he requested asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. The UK High Court, not the mayor, has full authority to detain Assange should he attempt to leave the Embassy.

  • I Blame the US Media for Donald Trump
    • "I demand that more Republicans de-register as Republicans, as many have been doing since the announcement came through, because your party is now officially backing racism and bigotry. I demand that the U.S. media actually give a fuck, because we can see right through your bullshit. I demand that you take responsibility for the state of this nation because you have allowed the exploitation of Black and brown bodies to result in today’s political landscape."

      If you would actually make a cogent argument supporting your position instead of making shrill demands punctuated by four-letter words, someone might listen to you. As it is, your shrill rant simply serves to emphasize the lack of supporting evidence in your position. Making "demands" is no substitute for a well-reasoned argument.

  • Trumping Terrorism with Torture?
    • You are correct in the long-term strategic sense of winning the war or keeping Algeria. But in the two cases I mentioned, it had value in providing actionable intelligence in the tactical sense of rolling up resistance cells. Of course, it takes much more than that to prevail strategically. And the Germans in France and the French in Algeria were not going to win given the opposition they eventually faced in each case.

      And it has been noted, by Alistair Horne in his book, "A Savage War of Peace," about the Algerian War (among others) that torture did as much damage (psychologically) to the torturers as it did to their victims.

      My point is that, tactically, torture has worked in some cases, and it is dishonest to shut the debate down by saying it never works. Torture should be condemned on moral and ethical grounds, not by shutting off debate.

    • "Torture not only violates the U.S. Constitution – but is of questionable effectiveness."

      There is ample evidence that torture does work. It does not work all the time, and it does not work on all people. But it works often enough to suggest that those who say, “Torture doesn’t work because those undergoing it will say anything,” are simply wrong.

      To cite two examples: There is a great deal of evidence that during World War II the Germans in occupied France tortured captured members of the French resistance and elicited information that often led to the breakup of resistance cells. And during the Battle of Algiers in 1957, both sides have acknowledged that torture resulted in the French capturing Algerian resistance leaders and decapitating FLN cells, and that it was a crucial factor in the French prevailing in that battle.

      This is not an argument in defense of torture, but to cut off all discussion by categorically stating that “torture does not work” is intellectually dishonest and simply wrong. Torture should be banned based on moral and ethical considerations, not by cutting off the debate by denying it can be effective.

  • Al-Qaeda Everywhere: US support for Oppressive Gov't's made Bin Laden's Killing Moot
    • Whatever one thinks of U.S. foreign policy since World War II, the point is that countries lacking the elements of a modern democratic political, economic, and social system will not advance until the critical mass mentioned above is reached. Until that happens and the people demonstrate sufficient social capital and begin to demand a modern democratic society, they will remain mired in their dystopian morass. So-called "nation-building" cannot do it for them.

    • Professor Cole’s post drives home the futility of “nation building.” Underdeveloped 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 with the reasonable expectation that contracts will be enforced. All of these act as a catalyst for a country’s population to demand greater political participation and leadership accountability. Without such a critical mass, for outsiders, including the U.S., to engage in "nation-building" is a fool's errand.

      In spite of all the effort put into “nation building” in Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States, we have failed to create viable “nation-states.” The reason is the Iraqis and Afghans lack the elements essential to reaching that critical mass that becomes the catalyst for becoming a modern nation-state with a mature political, economic, and legal system on its own. No amount of money thrown at it; no amount of hectoring on human rights; no amount of building a number of girls’ schools; no amount of police trainers; and no amount of “advisors” in various Ministries are sufficient if the Iraqis and Afghans themselves are not fully engaged and up to snuff, as clearly they are not.

      Regarding counter-insurgency, It is nothing new, and it has nearly always failed. The only truly successful counter-insurgency operation was that spearheaded by the British in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency, an effort that lasted from 1948 to 1960. The Malayan Communist Party was terrorizing both the British and the local Malayan population at the time. The British fielded a combined counter-insurgency force of sufficient numbers to reach the ratio of 50 per 1,000 of the local population. It was not all military. It included intelligence experts, police, and others, as well as British Army personnel.

      Nevertheless, just reaching the ratio of 50-to-1,000 probably is not sufficient in itself. The British were in control of Malaya and governed it, so they could have their way. Additionally, they erected "new villages" and moved much of the population into them in order to deprive the "Communist Terrorists" (as they insurgents were called) of the ability to demand support and "taxes" from the local population. The combination of British counter-insurgency maneuvers and depriving the insurgents of a base of local support resulted in defeat of the insurgents. Nevertheless, the conditions under which the British operated were unique and clearly could not be replicated in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused
    • "Riiiiiiiiight. If NATO folded and the US Army left Europe then the inevitable consequence of that would be a rush by Russian conventional forces towards the English Channel in order to “handily” subjugate all of Europe?"

      Your desperate attempt (quoted above) to suggest that my reference to the potential Russian threat to very specific countries bordering Russia actually meant subjugation of "all of Europe" is risible and won't wash. If you wish to make the case for dismantling NATO, do so on its perceived merits, not by transparently misstating a position with which you disagree.

    • "Without the use of nuclear weapons NATO could defeat Russia in 20 minutes."

      You could not be more wrong. Last year Rand Corp. war-gamed a Russian invasion of NATO's Baltic members and the NATO response. With its superior numbers of both ground and air forces stationed across the border from the Baltics, the Russian forces overwhelmed NATO forces and occupied those countries.

      Nevertheless, in a backhanded way, you have made the case for a continued NATO presence in Europe binding us in a mutual defense treaty. Putin knows that were he to make such a drastic move, the NATO alliance would consolidate and eventually prevail. Were the NATO alliance to dissolve, there would be nothing to prevent Russia from invading Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, just as it did under Stalin in 1940.

    • Ironically, your entire comment, with your "points" such as they are, point to the reason NATO has been the most successful security alliance in history. It successfully kept the Soviet Union at bay during the period of Containment, and it continues to reinforce security today against potential Russian adventurism in a way that individual European countries, particularly the Baltics, could not. NATO continues to justify its existence in terms of United States and European interests.

    • "Riiiiiiiiight. If NATO folded and the US Army left Europe then the inevitable consequence of that would be a rush by Russian conventional forces towards the English Channel in order to “handily” subjugate all of Europe?"

      If you had actually read what I wrote you would have noted that I was speaking of the NATO Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It helps to read and understand before responding.

    • "I am finding ideologues of the left as unrealistic as ideologues of the right. One says the US can do no wrong, the other says that the US is to blame for everything that goes wrong. Nuance be damned."

      This phenomenon can be found in populist demagogues on both the left and the right, dating back at least to the 1930s, and particularly in foreign policy. The left thinks America is not good enough for the rest of the world, and the right thinks the rest of the world is not good enough for America. Both are laughably unrealistic.

    • Were NATO and the U.S. to abandon Europe, nukes would be unnecessary. Russian conventional forces would be more than adequate to accomplish the job handily.

    • To state that NATO countries "are under no conventional or nuclear military threat whatsoever..." demonstrates a lack of geo-strategic awarness. The three Baltic states--Estonia, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Poland, have all been threatened by Putin. The Baltic states in particular were once a part of the Soviet Union and part of what Russia now calls its "Near-Abroad." Without a strong NATO presence, Putin would be sorely tempted to bring them back into the fold.

      There is also Turkey, which has always had friction with Russia and the former Soviet Union. Without NATO backup, Putin would not necessarily invade Turkey, but he would most certainly apply strong pressure to bring Turkey under Russian influence.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left
    • I have studied the history of Europe in the 20s and 30s in depth. I am very much aware that fascism was a right-wing phenomenon, and that liberalism as used in Gramsci's manifesto was not the U.S. "liberalism" of today.

      In the European context, "liberalism" basically adhered to the tenets of John Locke, Adam Smith, and others who valued political freedom (such as it was defined at the time), free markets, and the individual.

      That Italy and Germany became fascist was not due to "liberalism." It was primarily due to weak institutional structures within each country; and in the case of Germany, the crushing reparations demanded by the Treaty of Versailles and rampant inflation in the 20s. Liberalism as such had nothing to do with it.

      Gramsci, of course was a communist and viewed liberalism and fascism both as obstacles to attaining his vision of a "Sovietized" Italy. Thus his manifesto, "Neither Fascism Nor Liberalism: Sovietism!"

    • Antonio Gramsci did not say, "Liberalism paves the way for fascism." What you may be referring to is his 1924 manifesto entitled, "Neither fascism nor liberalism: Sovietism!"

      In 1924 Italy was already fascist under Mussolini, and Gramsci was stating that liberal attempts to replace fascism, if successful, would result in a system no better than fascism.

      In his clarion call for "Sovietism," Gramsci was calling for a Soviet style regime, run by committees of workers and peasants, "Soviets," which would, of course, be led by a "Vanguard of the Proletariat."

      We see the horrors that led to when the Soviet Union, with its Leninist totalitarianism, was inflicted on the Russian people. Surely you are not suggesting that as an appropriate form of "government" for the U.S. or any other nation.

    • You really do want the Republicans to win, don't you?! If Sanders bolts the Democrats for the Green Party, he will split the Democratic vote, taking his followers with him, just as Nader did in 2000. A recipe for a likely Republican win.

  • US finally acknowledging al-Qaeda factor in breakdown of Ceasefire
    • No one is "talking rubbish." We are talking about precision in language use, something that apparently was lacking in the gentleman's comment when he referred to the U.S. wanting to "maintain the world's last monarchies." If he was specifically referring to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, he should have so stated.

      Lack of precision in language use is responsible for many misunderstandings, not only in the U.S. but in the world. Thank you for making my point.

    • "we also want to maintain the world’s last monarchies."

      Which, in addition to those in the Near East, include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Japan, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland, Thailand, and Tonga.

  • Why Burqa Veils Are Illegal In Some Countries
    • "The idea that every tradition of every culture needs to be respected is bull."

      This is especially true of those who choose to immigrate to countries with a culture very different from there own. I have spent many years living and working in Muslim countries, and I always observed and respected their culture in terms of conduct and dress. When Muslims choose to immigrate to Western countries, they should be equally sensitive to the culture of their host country.

      We in the west do not completely cover a woman in a veil, whether with a burqa or a niqab. It is not considered appropriate to hide one's entire face behind such a facade. It could almost be termed rude. When Muslims, or any other group, immigrate to the West, they bear the burden of accommodating themselves to Western culture and values; it is not up to the West to bend its values and culture to accommodate the culture and values of the immigrant.

  • The Future of the Mideast: A decentralized, Networked Pan-Arabism transcending Sykes-Picot?
    • I am well aware of the difference between pan-Arabism and nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire. It was Mr. Khanna, in his piece above, who wrote, "Arabs-— not just Turks-— speak yearningly of the Ottoman Empire."

      I have no nostalgia for the British and French Mandates in the Near East. I was simply comparing their short-lived existence to the four centuries of Ottoman rule over the arabs.

    • Pan-Arabism? Nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire? These are hardly bets to place your chips on. The Pan-Arabism implicit in Nasser's United Arab Republic (the union of Egypt and Syria) accomplished nothing, and it broke up after a short-lived existence.

      As to European colonialism in the heart of the Arab World and any nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire, the Ottomans were imitators at best. As the West increased its knowledge in all spheres, the Ottoman world remained static. While the West continued to advance, the Arabs and all other Muslim subjects of the Ottomans were victims of an Islamic—not Western—empire’s bureaucracy, regulations, corruption, and consequent failure to modernize, leaving them ill-equipped to meet the Western challenge when it did come. Compared to the Ottoman legacy, the post-World War I British and French Mandates in the Near East were short-lived and hardly the impediment to development that they are often portrayed to be.

      It would be folly to place your bets on the Arab World coalescing and finding common cause in another Pan-Arab enterprise, this time writ large.

  • Jailed without trial for Life? Guantanamo's Lawlessness may outlast the Obama Administration
    • In a report dated January 15, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) noted that 647 detainees had been transferred from Guantanamo. Of these, 116 (or 17.9 percent) were confirmed to have reengaged in terrorist or insurgent activities and another 69 (or 10.7 percent) were suspected of having reengaged.

      That's a pretty high percentage of recidivists. As to guilt, some probably attaches to the U.S. for transferring at least some for domestic and international PR, but I would suggest that the countries which accepted the transferred prisoners bear the greatest responsibility, as they were supposed to ensure they did not return to terrorism or the battlefield.

  • Top 7 Reasons Israel must give back the Occupied Golan to Syria
    • You are spot-on Collins. Both Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties and established diplomatic relations with Israel. It is not to let Netanyahu off the hook for his bull-headedness and intransigence to suggest that Syria might consider discarding its bull-headedness and intransigence by signing a peace treaty and establishing diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for a return of the Golan Heights to Syria. It does take two parties to negotiate these deals, and both Israel and Syria would have to be willing parties.

  • Syria won't have Peace until there is Accountability for War Crimes
    • No, not like in the US. To compare the situation in Syria with the situation in the US demonstrates a lack of understanding of both.

  • Dilemma of the Left: How to be anti-racist, anti-War and yet oppose Radical Islamism?
    • "How to oppose violent Islamism without contributing to Islamophobia?"

      Can we please stop using the term "Islamophobia" to describe critics of certain elements of Islam? Every religion, including Islam, has elements that can be legitimately criticized. But "Islamophobia" has become a mantra every bit as insidious as "anti-Semitic" is to describe critics of Israeli policy and West Bank settlements. Both are used frequently to silence critics or paint them as bigots. Neither term should be employed lightly. Distinctions should be made instead of painting all critics with the same broad brush.

  • Abortion Clinics, White Christian Terrorism and GOP Candidates
    • "What do you call it when STATE actors use violence against civilians to achieve a political aim (for example, the fire-bombing of Dresden or the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki)?"

      ...or the Nazi bombing of Coventry and the Japanese Rape of Nanjing?!

  • One Nation, under SWAT: The undemocratic Militarization of the Police
    • Interesting that the police sent "chills up and down your spine," but, apparently two internal terrorists bombing innocent Americans did not.

  • The Deep State is Vulnerable to People Power
    • "Regarding the “love it or leave it, USA Number One” narrative..."

      That certainly has never been my narrative, although it appears to have been the narrative followed by the likes of Edward Snowden.

      "The rate of emigration appears to be increasing, for some reason(s)"

      A drop in the bucket compared to the rate of immigration by those all over the world who view the United States' freedoms and opportunities much preferable to those in the lands from whence they came. (More than one million a year legally immigrate here, and the number would be much higher if we did not place numerical quotas on each country.)

      "the Chilean milito-oligarchs that killed Allende"

      Still buying into the old Leftist myth I see. It has long been established, even by those who opposed the coup, that Allende committed suicide in the Presidential palace, using the rifle given to him as a gift by Fidel Castro.

    • "The entire Washington, DC establishment of amoral power players is among the greatest obstacles to an enlightened and civilized nation."

      What makes you think the "entire Washington establishment" is filled with "amoral power players"? How many do you know? How many have you any idea of their biography? I doubt that you could name the "entire Washington, DC establishment," much less provide evidence that they are "amoral power players." You are probably against essentializing various ethnic, religious, and racial groups; yet you apparently feel completely free to essentialize many in Washington, DC of whom you know nothing about. That says more about you than it does about those whom you rail against with your lack of evidence.

  • The GOP, Race and Ted Nugent: If you won't Denounce Nazi Insults, What does that Say about You?
    • I don't think "Well, Basically" was criticizing the author's free speech right to criticize Nugent. What he criticizes is the charge of "treason," which is a very well-defined term under the Constitution and law, and which Nugent clearly has not committed.

  • Racializing Politics: We don't say "Slav" Democracy troubled in Ukraine, why Talk about "Arab" Failures?
    • Nice try, Joe. But your shift from suggesting I used World Wars I and II as examples to finessing it as if you had asked the question originally is too transparent. Now, back to the issue at hand, the Balkans.

      The Balkan War of 1913 was a discrete historical event that I used to follow up on your original comment about the Slavic World (which I took to mean the Balkans of the 1990s).. I used it as an example of much ethnic bloodletting and cleansing in itself. That is a fact that was brought out in spades by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Commission's report in 1913, to which I referred in my comment.

      That the Balkan conflicts were part of the mix that went into the start of World War I is common knowledge. But we weren't discussing the origins of World War I; the discussion centered on ethnic strife, killings and cleansing in the Balkans. I prefer to stay on topic.

    • "Bill, ethnic and religious strife, killing, and cleansing has a long history everywhere. You bring up World Wars I and II as examples…okay, so why don’t we hear that old trope applied to France and Germany, who did a great deal more killing than anyone in the Balkans in both of those wars?"

      Pay attention to what I wrote, Joe. Nowhere in my comment did I bring up World Wars I and II as examples. I specifically referred to the Second Balkan War of 1913. And I kept my comment specific to the Balkans because I was responding to your posting regarding the "Slavic World," although in referring to the 1990s, you must have meant the Balkans, since it was in the Balkans, not the wider Slavic World, where the ethnic strife, killing, and cleansing occurred.

    • The overnight truce between protesters and the Ukrainian government has been broken, and the violence has ratcheted up. Can Senator Mcain's call for the US to establish a "No-Fly" zone be far behind?

    • The division between those who want to throw their lot in with the West and those who want to throw their lot in with the Russians follows the religious demarcation line between the Uniate western part of the country (which recognizes the Vatican and Pope as supreme, but practices the Orthodox faith) and the Eastern Orthodox eastern part of the country.

    • Actually, the Slavic World is much larger than the components of the former Yugoslavia. What people were referring to in the 1990s regarding a history of "killing each other" was specifically the Balkans.

      In fact, ethnic and religious strife, killing, and cleansing does have a long history in the Balkans: Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria, experienced ethnic strife, violence, and killing during the Second Balkan War in 1913 that could have been taken from the headlines of the 1990s.

      In 1913, with the outbreak of the Second Balkan War, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace established an international commission to establish the facts in the conflict. The noted diplomat and historian George F. Kennan describes the commission's report and compares the Balkan crises of 1913 and the 1990s in his article, "The Balkan Crises in 1913 and 1993," originally published in the New York Review of Books, edition of July 15, 1993. The affected peoples were not living in idyllic harmony in 1913, any more than they were in 1993. It was Marshall Tito (a Croat, by the way) who kept the lid on the disparate ethnic, religious, and national groups, and he did it with an iron fist. Without the iron fist, the place fell apart.

    • "For the life in me I can not figure out why they think that if their country became part of the EU they would end up living like Germans and not as Greeks."

      If they were to become a member of the EU, whether they lived like Germans or like Greeks would depend largely on whether or not they ran a disciplined economy: foregoing a bloated, overpaid state bureaucracy; foregoing subsidies; the government collecting, and the public paying the full amount of taxes owed; etc.

  • Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity
    • Satire it may be (and it is very good!), but, David Gregory aside, there are all too many politicians (and voters!) who fit the image of Rep. Louie Gohmert. Think of all the climate-change deniers, all of the creationists and intelligent-designers who don't believe that evolution is settled theory, all the conspiracy theorists who don't believe the US landed a man on the moon in 1969, and on it goes. These rubes don't know the difference between theory and hypothesis.

      Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all other forms that have been tried from time to time." I agree with him that democracy, warts and all, is best, in spite of the fact that one must accept the ignorant along with the intelligent. But sometimes I long for rule by a benevolent philosopher-king, without the rabble interfering with settled science and inserting their crackpot ideas into school text books.

  • Three Years Later: Can the Libyan Revolution Succeed?
    • "Oddly enough, Bill, the Libyan people don’t seem to agree with you that they were better off under the vicious oil dictator."

      That's a non-sequitur, Joe, because I did not claim the Libyan people were better off under Gaddafi.

      "There is a notable difference between Libya and post-Saddam Iraq..."

      Yes, but that does not address my point, which is that in both cases there was no thought given to what would follow our intervention.

    • Actually, I should thank you for the link to that chapter of the book, Mr. McPhee. I don't think you read it very carefully, as it describes in spades the Soviet efforts to culturally and psychologically twist the Germans (and other Europeans) view of the United States and the West in the post-War years. The author does a fine job of describing why the circumstances prevailing at the time made it necessary for the CIA and other US government organs to use culture, art, and letters in the battle to counter the Soviet propaganda (Agitprop, again).

      The Soviets were pouring rubles into the Communist Parties of France and Italy, as well as others, in an effort to win votes. That effort on the part of the Soviets, coupled with their propaganda machine, made it imperative for the US to counter it with our own effort (including the successful Marshall Plan), an effort that, thank goodness, resulted in Western Europe remaining free of Communist tyranny.

    • Ms. Whitson has succinctly described what, in her own words, is a state "teetering on the brink of failure." After two and one-half years, it has developed none of the institutional marks of a coherent state in control of its destiny: No rule of law; no functioning legal and judicial system; no security forces--police and military--accountable to the government; and on it goes.

      In some respects, it reminds me of the U.S. toppling Saddam Hussein and creating the wreckage that is Iraq. Those who supported the intervention to depose Gaddafi and his government apparently gave no thought to what might follow, any more than the Bush Administration gave thought to what might follow in Iraq.. Well, now we see what followed, and in both cases it isn't pretty. Perhaps we should think long and hard before deciding to intervene, whether on the basis of false information or on humanitarian grounds. If there is no U.S. interest at stake (and there was no U.S. interest advanced in the cases of either Iraq or Libya), perhaps it is best to stay out of it.

    • Human Rights Watch does not always get it right, but it is a lot more objective in its reporting than the ideological, anti-U.S. screed from NACLA linked above. It reads at the level of Soviet Agitprop during the period of the Comintern and the Third International.

  • The Day the 5th Amendment was Droned to Death
    • "Did “the US” not KILL the younger al-Awliki?"

      The point is he was not the target. He was with the target when the drone struck.

    • The answer, Ms. Marshall, is that it is well known that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not the target of the drone attack. The target was an AQAP operative named Ibrahim al-Banna. The younger al-Awlaki was with al-Banna at the time of the drone strike. It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The U.S. did not, repeat did not, target the younger al-Awlaki.

  • Dear GOP: Top 5 Biblical Marriage Moments far worse than Gay Marriage
    • "Not only does the Bible authorize slavery..."

      The Qur'an condones slavery as well, but it also suggests that manumission is an act of goodness.

  • How Iraq Vets against War & Peace Groups stopped Senate bid to derail Iran Talks
    • "I am encouraged to see that the men and women that actually put their lives on the line see the difference between actually defending their country, and serving as an enforcer for the imperialist designs of Bush Cheney."

      Perhaps you haven't noticed, but the events under discussion regarding Iran are occurring under the Obama-Biden Administration. Bush and Cheney left office five years ago, and it would be unwise to suggest that they are still responsible for "imperial designs."

  • Saudi Valentines elude Puritan Morals Police
  • CAR Muslims Risk Ethnic Cleansing: What if Thousands of Christians were forced out of a Muslim Country?
    • "It is ironic that these horrible crimes of ethnic cleansing, by murders and attacks on poor, unarmed, civilians, go unnoticed in the world, especially in the US?"

      Especially in the US? What evidence do you have that leads you to conclude the U.S. is more indifferent to ethnic cleansing than other countries in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere?

      "A new article in Juan Cole shows Americans do not have favorable opinions about Muslims, which explains why they are indifferent to what is going on."

      Is that the explanation? Then how do you account for the United States putting a stop to the killings and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia via the Dayton Accords in 1995? Or the U.S.-led NATO war against Serbia over the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo in 1999?

    • Even more than the United States, it was the Europeans who did nothing during the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia, and it was happening in the Europe's backyard. And don't forget it was a Dutch commander of United Nations forces who stood by and did nothing as 7,000 Muslims were slaughtered in Srebrenica.

      It was, in fact, the American diplomat Richard Holbrooke who hammered out the Dayton Accords that ended the fighting. The U.S. was slow to get involved, but did more to end the slaughter and ethnic cleansing than anyone else.

  • Putinism in Cairo? The Rise of the Russian Model
    • " What in particular is our interest in Egypt “not turning to Putin”. It should be articulated so that we can assess it. If it’s got something to do with protecting Israel from additional pressure to settle with the Arab World and Iran it will be exactly what we should be considering."

      Our interest in Egypt, the most important country in the Near East, has little to do with Israel and everything to do with our overall interests in the region. Your constant hobbyhorse appears to be your fixation on Israel. That is not America's only interest and never has been. Israel has an outsized influence on U.S. policy, but it does not control our entire policy. You need to stop looking through the wrong end of the telescope and realize the larger U.S. interests in the Near East, which includes the Arab World writ large.

    • Everyone calls for "democracy," Joe. That is the mantra of the age. The fact is, however, there is a lot more support for the current secular authoritarian government in Egypt than there was for the Islamist authoritarian government under Morsi.

    • "Apparently, your understanding of history ends in 1992...May we learn from the history of September 2001?"

      The year 1992 has nothing to do with divergent interests of Russia and the United States in the Near East today. That dog won't hunt, Joe.

      What you apparently fail to understand is the Egyptian political architecture had nothing to do with the Al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001. It may be comforting for you to think the attacks would not have occurred if only we there were democracy in Egypt at the time. That, however, was not, and is not, what Al-Qaeda and the various Jihadist groups are all about.

    • "Libya has cash, Tunisia has expertise, and Egypt has a huge labor poor and networks of state-owned factories. Put it all together and the Maghreb will blossom."

      Egypt is not considered part of the Maghreb. The Maghreb includes Northwest Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya) lying west of Egypt. That said, the idea of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt cooperating on a development program is a pipe dream. They would never agree on priorities.

    • "If the Egyptian economy starts humming along nicely, who’s going to look back on the Morsi years with nostalgia? (In case it isn’t clear, I’m not saying I would support or agree with such a response, just that it is easy to predict.)

      The Egyptians have made a rational choice to support a secular authoritarian government over an Islamist one. It is a perfectly rational choice, and whether one agrees with it and supports it or not is irrelevant.

    • "The Cold War is over. If Obama’s efforts to promote democracy “lose Egypt” to Russia…so what?"

      So what? If you think it does not harm our interests having the most important Arab country aligned with Russia, you need to apply yourself a little harder to the study of the history of American-Russian relations in the Near East. I guess for you it is not enough to have Russia working against us in Syria and other issues. You apparently see nothing wrong with Egypt working against our interests as well.

      As I stated in my original comment, "We should have learned from history (but, unfortunately often we don't)." You have just confirmed my point.

    • Back to the future! It appears that General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi views the United States' unenthusiastic relationship with his government much as Gamal Abdel Nasser did during the period 1955-56. Nasser wanted arms from the U.S., but we sent mixed messages via the "back-channel" diplomacy of CIA officers Kermit Roosevelt and Miles Copland on the one hand, and "front-channel" diplomacy via Ambassador Henry Byroade on the other. Ultimately, the U.S. insisted that any arms deal include U.S. military officers accompanying the arms. Nasser objected, turned to the Soviet Union, and the Soviets arranged a deal to supply Nasser with Czech arms.

      With the Soviet-Czech arms deal, Nasser turned increasingly anti-U.S. As a result, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles withheld the financial aid promised Egypt to help build the Aswan High Dam. Once again, Nasser turned to the Soviet Union for help, and the Soviets provided much of the financial aid to build the dam. From that point until Nasser's death and the assumption of power of President Anwar Sadat in 1970, Egypt was openly hostile to the U.S.

      We should have learned from history (but, unfortunately, often we don't). General al-Sisi may not be the poster-child for democracy that we would like, but he is in control of the most important Arab country in the Near East. If he turns to the Soviets due to our short-sighted policies of withholding arms and aid, and our propensity to publicly hector him over democracy and human rights, we will have only ourselves to blame. There is a place for advancing democracy and human rights in our toolkit, but it is best accomplished through quiet diplomacy. On the larger issue of our overall relationship with Egypt, it is in the U.S. national interest to maintain it in such a manner that Egypt sees it in its interest to rely on the U.S. and not turn to Russia, as Nasser did.

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