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Total number of comments: 1231 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Bill

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  • Top 5 Dangers that the Syria Conflict could Destabilize its Neighbors
    • "Correlation and causation. I remember those notions."

      I hope you also can distinguish between the two.

      "And what’s the point, whether it’s Kurdish parts of Iraq or Azerbaijan?"

      To someone who apparently trusts everything he reads on the internet, I can see where he would not see a difference betweeen Kurdish Iraq and Azerbaijan. In fact, I wrote that Azerbaijan would be the more likely venue for Israeli activity regarding Iran. I did not suggest that it would be.

      In fact, there is no evidence (the infallible internet notwithstanding!) to suggest that Israel would use either Kurdish Iraq or Azerbaijan for such activity. I don't think either Kurdish Iraq (which, after all, is still part of Iraq) or Azerbaijan would allow such activity by the Israelis. Neither would want to set themselves up for Iranian retribution.

    • Coups d'Etat and rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960:

      A. 1962: First Tuareg Rebellion
      B. 1968: Moussa Troare's Coup
      C. 1990; Second Tuareg Rebellion
      D. 1991: Amadou Toure's Coup
      E. 2007: Tuareg Rebellion in Mali and Niger
      F. 2011: Tuareg Rebellion resums in Mali
      G. March 22,2012: Malian soldiers overthrow Toure

      Mali has a long history of Coups and, certainly, Tuareg rebellions, which have ebbed and flowed over the years. To suggest that the Libyan intervention is responsible for the latest coup is to confuse a correlation of the two events with a causal relationship.

      As for the rest of "Central Africa" being destablilized by the intervention, that is even more of a stretch.

    • While "reports" of Israeli bases in Kurdish Iraq, for gathering intelligence on Iran, have surfaced from time to time, I have never seen them definitively sourced. They are more like rumors. A far more likely host for Israeli activity regarding Iran would be Azerbaijan, which has a (very discreet) security relationship with Israel and lies due north of Iran.

      Regarding the Libyan intervention and the destabilization of Central Africa, there is no causal link. There is a correlation, in that one followed the other, but a correlation is not necessarily a causal relationship. The rooster crows each morning and the sun rises in the East. We can count on that each morning, but surely no one would say that the rooster's crowing causes the sun to rise.

  • Happy Palestine Land Day: Israel Earmarks 10% of West Bank for Settlements: White
    • The best source detailing terrorism of Palestinians by the Irgun Zvai Leumi (led by Menachim Begin) the Stern Gang, and others in advance of Israel’s establishment (in order to get them to flee), as well as the confiscation of Palestinian land and ethnic cleansing after the establishment of Israel, is still David M. Lillienthal’s “What Price Israel,” first published in 1953, with an updated 50th anniversary edition published in 2003. When Lillienthal first published his book, it was almost unheard of to counter the false narrative of Israel being established as (in the old Zionist phrase) “a land without people for a people without land.”

      Whatever one’s position on Israel (and my position is that after 64 years of existence, Israel certainly has earned the right to exist, but the U.S. has no obligation to defend Israel’s military adventures and conquests), one must understand the very high price that was paid by the indigenous Palestinian population. Many critics of Israel focus their attention on current events such as the “flotilla,” Iran, Gaza, etc. But Jewish terrorism, ethnic cleansing, confiscation of Palestinian land, etc. were prominent features, both before and after the establishment of Israel.

      No work that I know of brings these facts to the fore as succinctly (and as early as 1953!) as David M. Lillienthal’s “What Price Israel.”

    • The best source detailing terrorism of Palestinians by the Irgun Zvai Leumi (led by Menachim Begin) the Sterngang, and others in advance of Israel's establishment (in order to get them to flee), as well as the confiscation of Palestinian land and ethnic cleansing after the establishment of Israel, is still David M. Lillienthal's "What Price Israel," first published in 1953, with an updated 50th anniversary edition published in 2003. When Lillienthal first published his book, it was almost unheard of to counter the false narrative of Israel being established as (in the old Zionist phrase) "a land without people for a people without land."

      Whatever one's position on Israel (and my position is that after 64 years of existence, Israel certainly has earned the right to exist, but the U.S. has no obligation to defend Israel's military adventures and conquests), one must understand the very high price that was paid by the indegenous Palestinian population. Many critics of Israel focus their attention on current events such as the "flotilla," Iran, Gaza, etc. But Jewish terrorism, ethnic cleansing, confiscation of Palestinian land, etc. were prominent features, both before and after the establishment of Israel.

      No work that I know of brings these facts to the fore as succinctly (and as early as 1953!) as David M. Lillienthal's "What Price Israel."

  • Medvedev slams Romney for "Number one Enemy" Slur
    • Are you suggesting that you are "offended" that the electoral choice of "uninformed and moronic US voters" in 2008 resulted in the election of Barack Obama? And are you suggesting that Barack Obama "pandered" to your "uninformed and moronic US voters" in order to win the election?

      Two questions:

      A. How have the "uninformed and moronic US voters'" choice of Barack Obama in 2008 adversely "affected your life?"

      B. As a non-US citizen, what is your country of citizenship, and are the voters in your country all "informed" and "non-moronic" in their choice of leaders? (I am assuming that your country has free and fair elections. If it does not, you are hardly in a position to criticize the US electorate, moronic or not.)

  • US Public Wants out of Afghanistan as 3 Western Troops Killed by Afghan Troops
    • "Who gets the rights for this arrogant bit of “we reserve the right” aggressivism?"

      Nothing "arrogant" about it. Every nation, including the United States, has the right to take out a serious threat existing in another country, if that country will not do anything about it. Apparently, in your world-view the U.S. was "arrogant" for invading Afghanistan and disposing of the Taliban, who offered shelter and assistance to Al Qaeda in its attack on the U.S. What do you say? Should we have sent a United Nations rapporteur to establish a "negotiating process" with the Taliban and Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks?

    • Post-script to my post above. After hitting the devoping terrorist threat, we return to the status quo ante, including the rapid exfiltration of special forces after they have done the job.

      In time, Afghanistan and Pakistan may see it in their best interest to nip the terrorist threat in the bud, rather than let it fester until we come in and do the job.

    • After ten years we should cease the counter-insurgency, nation-building campaign, as Afghans clearly are not prepared to come together in agreement on running a modern nation. Their entire history runs counter to the idea. We also should give up on the idea that pouring more money into Pakistan will result in anything resembling a joint U.S.-Pakistan vision of mutual interests.

      Nevetheless, we should continue the counter-terrorism program in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. We should advise both Afghanistan and Pakistan that we will depart militarily, and the financial aid spigot will be turned off. in other words, we will leave them alone to determine their own fate.

      With one exception: We will continue to monitor activity and collect intelligence (electronic, photographic, etc.) in the area using a variety of techniques that do not require a presence in each country. The minute we perceive a terrorist threat developing in either country, we reserve the right to hit it and hit it hard, with drones, missiles, and even the insertion of special forces.

  • Bush Senior Also Promised Moscow more Flexibility after Election
    • Obama wanted his comment regarding "greater flexibility" after the election to be conveyed to Vladimir Putin, who will then be President. There is a world of difference in President Bush suggesting flexibility to Gorbachev, who was a genuine reformer, and President Obama suggesting flexibility in his future dealings with Putin, who is an authoritarian and has tried to stymie the U.S. at every turn. In fact, it does make Obama look like he is trying to appease Putin.

  • Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots
    • "It’s interesting how the claims of bias and prejudgment and encouragement to “wait for all the facts” seem to come mostly from the shall one say more reactionary side of the spectrum? From people who as a general rule, when the First Facts are reversed, are more than happy to form up a mob and hang first, ask questions later?"

      As you no doubt did in the case of the Duke University lacrosse players' lynching.

    • "And yet, they were mistakenly accused of the most wicked acts committed in the name of religion."

      Apparently, you are unaware of the Sikh militants and the push for "Khalistan" in the 1980s. Sikh terrorists committed several atrocities at that time. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her two Sikh bodyguards. in 1985, Sikh terrorists bombed an Air India flight from Canada to India, killing all 329 people aboard. There were many other acts of terrorism committed by Sikh militants and terrorists. Sikhs, like any other group, have many peaceful members, but they also have those who will commit any atrocity to reach a goal, in this case the establishment of a Sikh homeland known as "Khalistan."

    • Great post, Brian. Regardless how things look on the surface, it is best to let the investigation play itself out before coming to conclusions. Remember the Duke University lacrosse players? Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knew the lacrosse players were guilty. The D.A., the President of Duke, most columnists and pundits, and the average consumer of news knew they were guilty.

      Well, as we all now Know, the woman at the center of it was a pathological liar and concocted the story from whole cloth. The Duke lacrosse players were, in fact, innocent. The sad part was their innocence was established only after their reputations had been shredded by the rush to judgment. Everyone was so afraid of being seen as politically incorrect by challenging the woman's story that they threw justice out the window.

  • Western Intelligence Analysts Worry that Iran Sanctions are Hurting West: IRGC
    • "Other than outright war and sanctions , there is a third option – talks !! why dont west do that ? Turkey and Brazil made Iran agree to swap whole of it’s enriched Uranium for the fuel rods .. Thus robbing Iran of weaponiable Uranium and relieved west ..

      but for some reason Obama walked away from that and instead put more sanctions and closed all talks !!

      When will west realize their folly ??"

      Actually, it was Brazil and Turkey that committed folly by entering into talks with Iran over the nuclear issue. They ended up getting snookered by Iran. The West was smart to stay out of it.

      The visit of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s former President, to Tehran to broker a nuclear deal with the Iranians was a naive attempt to insert Brazil onto the world stage and a not-too-subtle dig at the United States. The irony is that the attempt backfired on da Silva, even in Brazil. It is generally acknowledged that Iran was using the da Silva mission to both forestall implementation of the draft sanctions that had just been agreed to by the UN Perm Five (including Russia and China) and to stall for more time to develop their nuclear capacity.

      Under the agreement brokered by Brazil (as well as Turkey), Iran agreed to send uranium enriched at a low level abroad, reviving parts of a fuel swap plan originally proposed the previous October. Despite the agreement, however, and to the consternation of the Brazilians (who were caught flat-footed), Iranian officials announced that they planned to continue enriching uranium. This announcement revealed how hollow the agreement really was.

  • The Arab Revolutions Continue, its Just not Mostly on American TV
    • Astute observation, Joe. I find those armchair revolutionaries in the U.S. who call for an "overthrow" of the system especially amusing. Having never experienced a real revolution themselves (but having learned by heart the slogans and lingo from their reading of Marx and Che), their self-absorbed view of themselves in their call for "revolution" would do justice to a sophomore dorm room bull session. If they ever experienced a real revolution and its aftermath, they would be throwing up in the streets, that is if they survived.

  • Fayyad: Stop Exploiting Palestinian Children for Terror
    • "There’s a reason why most Palestinians are to put it charitably not very fond of this guy."

      And what would that reason be? That he is rational? That the Palestinians finally have a rational leader who, unlike Arafat and others, does not always miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity? Prime Minister Fayyad's words quoted in Professor Coles piece above are a welcome change from the red-hot (but ultimately self-defeating) rhetoric one usually hears.

      Not only that, they speak the truth. Arab governments, as well as individuals, have always used the plight of the Palestinians to further their own ends. In the case of the former, it was used to divert populations from focusing on their own inadequate governance; in the case of the latter, it was used to justify any heinous act of murder and terror by individuals and groups. In their view, it provided a patina of legitimacy to their act.

  • Is Anti-Immigrant, Islamophobic Campaign Rhetoric fomenting Antisemitism in France?
    • How about condemning the perpetrator of this heinous crime, whether he is a Muslim extremist or a right-wing extremest, without using it as a platform for your own agenda? That the far right may use it (if he indeed was a Muslim extremist) for their own purposes does not lessen the guilt and wretchedness of the one who committed these murders.

  • Why don't we have better Reporting on the Afghanistan Army? It is our Best Hope for Getting Out
    • "Is it so surprising that the ANA doesn’t show quite the same level of enthusiasm for killing its own countrymen and US troops do?"

      No, it's not surprising at all, and it has nothing to do with the ANA's "love" for their own countrymen. Afghanistan has never developed a national identity that would lead to your observation. In fact, Afghans have shown throughout history that they have no compunction about killing "fellow" Afghans when they see it in their interest to do so. That they have historically come together to fight foreign invaders does not alter that fact. The reason they are not as effective as U.S. troops is (pardon the tautology) they are not as effective as U.S. troops. They lack the culture of discipline that an effective military needs.

    • Good observation, Ann. High-level elements of the Pakistani military support the Taliban for two reasons. One, they know the U.S. will eventually leave, and they want an Afghan government they can influence. Two, Following on that, they want an Afghan government they can influence as a counterbalance to their doctrinally-determined enemy, India. As you so succinctly put it, the U.S. indeed has quite a balancing act.

    • I am well aware of Joseph Campbell's work, and it has nothing to do with the reality (not the myth) of Al Qaeda's activities over the past two decades. It is evident that you, too, have been living in some parallel universe.

    • "and why is the usa there after all these years? not the mythical al qaeda … it must be the minerals, and keeping them from china"

      Are you joking? The Chinese are already involved in attempting to work out deals for access to Afghan mineral wealth, and the U.S. presence is inadvertently providing the security that, if successful, will enable them to do so. The U.S. is not in Afghanistan to keep the Chinese out.

      As for the "mythical Al Qaeda," I don't know what parallel universe you have been living in the past two decades. Some universe! Some myth!

    • "What is the current troop strength? How much of the country is the ANA responsible for now (the US and NATO have been turning provinces over to it one by one)? How many tanks does the ANA now have? How many helicopter gunships? What is the ethnic composition of the officer corps now? How loyal are they to Karzai? Who is the army chief of staff and how good is he?"

      Troop strength, ethnic composition, helicopter gunships, and areas of responsibility are all interesting. Nevertheless, the most important determinant of the ANA's capability to conduct operations is its effectiveness to operate on its own, without ISAF support. To date, all indications are the ANA has not reached that level. When ANA forces do conduct operations, they very often have to call on coalition support to back them up and finish the job. That there is only a year left for them to get up to speed does not bode well.

  • Syria Revolt Enters Second Year as World Stands Feckless
    • "In the case of Syria, it’s not the Chinese and Russians talking about a military intervention, so I don’t bother to point out their flaws, as they are not the ones making a moral case for bombing."

      Of course you wouldn't point out their flaws, SomeGuy, because the Russians and the Chinese are perfectly happy to allow their client, Assad, massacre his own citizens in order to safeguard the naval base in Syria (the Russians) and protect a fellow authoritarian (both). You flaunt your solipsistic moral superiority by criticizing the U.S.; yet you appear pleased with yourself to remain silent (let's not point out their flaws!) while the Russians and Chinese run interference for their authoritarian brother as he commits mass murder. So much for moral superiority.

    • "None so blind as those who will not see…"

      Or those who make completely unsubstantiated allegations.

    • "what has your comment to do with whats happening in Syria?"

      I suggest you direct your question to SomeGuy, Fonzy. He is the one who used U.S. interventions in Latin America to support his argument against intervening in Syria. Having used the argument, it is certainly fair game to question its accuracy.

    • Please provide your source for the observation that "unfortunately the US and UK have got their special forces already in Syria." I have seen nothing to indicate such activity and would be interested how you have captured such information.

    • Lula actually fooled a lot of people, such as you SUPER390 (although from your post, you do not seem to realize it), by continuing the relatively free market established by President Cardoso. Brazil dispensed with a lot of restrictions to investment and welcomed foreign direct investment under Lula. As a result, Brazil's economy has flourished.

      Relatively speaking, Mexico's economy is better today because it has loosened some restrictions. The drug cartel problem is a separate issue.

      You have not addressed the question of why Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuela (the oil sector excepted) are doing so poorly under their statist systems.

    • "Since WW2, how many US interventions have resulted in poor civilians making progress vs US interventions resulting in US dictated neo-liberal economic systems that only serve to exploit the poor?"

      U.S. interventions notwithstanding, it is precisely those countries in Latin America that have adopted neo-liberal (the currently fashionable term for free-market economics)policies that have been doing well. Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru have all been experiencing growth and have made a dent in their poverty levels as a result of their more-or-less free market approach.

      On the other hand, it is precisely those countries that have rejected the free market that are experiencing little or no economic growth. Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuela all have little to show for their statist systems. Venezuela, of course, is somewhat an exception because it relies on its oil. But outside the oil sector, it has regressed.

  • Israel's Atom Bomb Factory in 3D
    • "There is no illusion in the middle east that any even conventional challenge to Israel is going to get a response from US."

      What is your evidence that a "conventional challenge" to Israel will get a "response from the U.S."? The U.S. has never intervened militarily in response to conventional challenges to Israel. Of course, the U.S., the former Soviet Union, Britain, France, and others have used diplomacy to dampen down conflicts. But your post clearly suggests that the U.S. response would be in the form of military support.

      The U.S. certainly did not intervene in 1948 when five Arab countries attacked Israel. In 1956, when Israel, Britain, and France attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal, President Eisenhower condemned all three for their aggression. The U.S. did not intervene in the 1967 "Six-Day War." In 1973, the U.S. did not intervene militarily when Egypt attacked Israel.

      A "U.S. response" indeed. To date, it has not happened, and there is no reason to believe it will as a result of any future conventional challenge to Israel.

  • High Oil Prices Cushion Iran from Sanctions, Hurt Obama
    • As a final note, I would add that Iran's announcement after the agreement with Brazil, that Iran would continue uranium enrichment, demonstrated just how prescient President Obama was in questioning whether or not Iran was prepared to engage Brazil in good faith.

    • The leaked letter (dated April 20, 2010) that President Obama sent to President da Silva, in no way requested President da Silva to go to Tehran and cut a deal, as suggested in Mr. James's post above. In fact, the penultimate paragraph of Obama's letter demonstrated how skeptical the Administration was of any offer the Iranians might make to the Brazilians.

      The paragraph, in part, is quoted below:

      "Throughout this process, instead of building confidence Iran has undermined confidence in the way it has approached this opportunity. That is why I question whether Iran is prepared to engage Brazil in good faith, and why I cautioned you during our meeting. To begin a constructive diplomatic process, Iran has to convey to the IAEA a constructive commitment to engagement through official channels — something it has failed to do. Meanwhile, we will pursue sanctions on the timeline that I have outlined. I have also made clear that I will leave the door open to engagement with Iran. As you know, Iran has thus far failed to accept my offer of comprehensive and unconditional dialogue."

    • The visit of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's former President, to Tehran to broker a nuclear deal with the Iranians was most definitely NOT at Washington's request. This was a naive attempt by President da Silva to insert Brazil onto the world stage and a not-too-subtle dig at the United States. The irony is that the attempt backfired on da Silva, even in Brazil. It is generally acknowledged that Iran was using the da Silva mission to both forestall implementation of the draft sanctions that had just been agreed to by the UN Perm Five (including Russian and China) and to stall for more time to develop their nuclear capacity.

      Under the agreement brokered by Brazil (as well as Turkey), Iran agreed to send uranium enriched at a low level abroad, reviving parts of a fuel swap plan originally proposed the previous October. Despite the agreement, however, and to the consternation of the Brazilians (who were caught flat-footed), Iranian officials announced that they planned to continue enriching uranium. This announcement revealed how hollow the agreement really was.

      President da Silva returned to Brazil and faced much criticism from his own countrymen. Amoury da Souza, a political analyst in Rio de Janeiro captured much of the criticism by noting, "The most charitable interpretation is that we were naive, but in a game like this, being labeled naive just shows you have third-rate diplomacy."

  • Big Coal and Big Oil Wipe Kiribati off the Face of the Map
    • Good points, Danh. I especially love those who complain bitterly about $4.00-per-gallon gasoline as they sip on their $5.00 cup of Starbucks while filling up their SUV.

  • Iran's Leader Seeks Control of Internet
    • You make some very good points, Frank. Most of the "blue" countries with no censorship appear to be those with no ability to apply state censorship (although Chile would certainly be an exception). That is a far different animal than making a conscious decision not to censor.

      And some censorship, limited to policing child pornography, outright financial scams that prey on the vulnerable, and the like, is not a bad thing.

  • Top Ten Dangers for Obama of Iran Sanctions on behalf of Israel
    • The Japanese goal was always to take the Netherlands Indies and exploit the oil fields. They would have continued their drive regardless of whether or not the U.S. cut off sales of oil.

    • Imprecise and sloppy use of language leads to imprecise and sloppy thinking, Kilani, which in turn leads to a distorted view of the "forest" you mentioned, trees notwithstanding.

    • "And if it walks like a blockade, quacks like a blockade, and all that, does calling it a “sanctions noose” make it something other than a blockade?"

      If it "walks like a blockade, quacks like a blockade, and all that" then it would be a blockade, Mr. McPhee, and not the application of a sanctions regime. Unfortunately, your inability to distinguish between a "blockade" and "sanctions" has led you to conflate the two and render them indistinguishable in your own mind. Thus, your non-sequitur.

    • I am pleased that you understand the correct use of "reification/hypostatization," Mr. McPhee, since you appear to employ both terms in most of your posts. (Although I think you understand the meaning of the terms, you insist on mis-applying them to what some of us are stating, but that is an issue for another time.)

      Now, if you would only learn a bit of history, as well as the difference in meaning between "conspiracy" and "narrative," as well as between "sanctions" and "blockade," you will have put in a satisfying and fruitful day's work.

    • "A blockade is an act of war"

      Exactly what I said in my post, Professor. The application of sanctions, however, is not considered an act of war.

    • "6. Wide-ranging and deep sanctions can bleed over into being a sort of blockade. Blockades are a casus belli in international law, and very frequently provoke wars. FDR’s decision to stop oil sales to Japan helped precipitate Pearl Harbor."

      This statement has it exactly backwards. FDR's decision to stop oil sales to Japan in July of 1940 was a result of Japan's aggression in conquering Southern Vietnam (Cochin China). It was Japan's aggression (the ultimate Japanese goal was the Netherlands Indies' oil fields) that provoked the U.S. into stopping oil sales to Japan. Such sanctions were perfectly legitimate under international law. It was not a case of "bleeding into a blockade." Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in an attempt to knock out the U.S. ability to respond to Japan's conquests in the Pacific.

    • "Obama has ratcheted up US financial sanctions against Iran to the point where US policy may be a casus belli or a legitimate grounds for war"

      Since when have international law and the Law of War considered sanctions an Act of War? The sanctions the U.S. and the E.U. had in place against Burma (Myanmar) for years were just as onerous as those against Iran. Do you consider our sanctions against Burma an "Act of War"?

      The fact is, sanctions (no matter how tight) are not considered an Act of War, under either international law or the Law of War. I think you are conflating "sanctions" and "blockade." A blockade is an Act of War, but that is not what is being applied in the case of Iran.

  • Khamenei Takes Control, Forbids Nuclear Bomb
    • "And all the Republican Presidential contenders bar one have said that they will support an attack on Iran. How much more of a “reliable source” do you need !"

      President Obama and his administration are office and in charge, Alec, not the Republican Presidential contenders. Your statement is a non-sequitur.

    • You wasted an inordinate amount of verbiage to camouflage your inability to substantiate your claim that there is a "Western media conspiracy" to suppress Khamenei's statements, Mr. McPhee. The term "conspiracy" has a very precise definition, and to toss it around (as you did) with little regard for precision, resulted in your being hoisted by your own verbal petard. I understand why you want to shift the conversation from "conspiracy" to "narrative." Nice try.

    • Are we moving again inexorably toward ANOTHER war, Janine? President Obama is attempting to convince Israel NOT to attack Iran. And just a couple of weeks ago, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff counseled that Iran was acting rationally, and we should allow sanctions to continue.

      Doesn't sound like war-talk to me, Janine. Or have you got much more reliable sources that have given you inside info that the rest of us don't have?

    • Yes, Mr. McPhee, that Khamenei's statement is discussed among the media does demonstrate that there is no "Western media conspiracy" to suppress it. If there were, it would not be discussed on such networks as ABC.

      I would only add that, as you apparently think there is a "Western media conspiracy" to suppress Khamenei's statement (in spite of the example I gave), as one making the charge, I challenge you to "prove" the existence of a conspiracy.

    • Tiene razon. El jefe supremo de Iran es (y simpre ha sido) Jamenei. Su autoridad incluye sobre la Guardia Revolucionario tambien.

    • Perhaps, as you state, no major American news broadcast reported on Khamenei's statement. (Are you sure about that? Have you monitored all of them?) Nevertheless, it has been brought up in various other fora.

      For instance, today (Sunday) on ABC's "This Week," Christiane Amanpour specifically brought up Khamenei's statement that Iran would not pursue nuclear weapons because to do so would be a sin under Islam. She also mentioned that the Iranian Foreign Minister echoed Khamenei's statement. So it is not as if there is a Western media conspiracy to suppress it.

  • Dear President Obama: On Iran, Listen to the Israelis, not the Likud
    • "I can’t understand how any country can attack Iran legally (i.e. without authorization from the UNSC.) (use of force rules)"

      The same way the U.S. (under President Clinton) and the Europeans initiated and waged war against Serbia in 1999, without a UNSC Resolution. That was just as illegal, if one believes that the legal conduct of war requires a UNSC Resolution unless one is attacked.

      Serbia did not represent a threat to those who attacked it. The U.S. and NATO waged war against Serbia because of Serbian ethnic cleansing of Kosovars. Yet, One cannot pick and choose one's reasons for conducting warfare (including humanitarian reasons) without a UNSC Resolution and maintain consistency. Once an exception is made, regardless of how much one might agree with the reason, then anyone's exception is just as valid.

  • A Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East: Fathollah-Nejad
    • "Without nukes Israel would eventually become a country with the influence and weight of a country with the population of 5 to 7 million people."

      Not with regard to the U.S. Israel's support in the U.S. has nothing to do with nuclear weapons and everything to do with an ethnic lobby that punches far above its weight in numbers. Contributions to favored Congressmen and Senators and a well-financed public relations machine would continue to guarantee Israel's outsized influence in the U.S.

  • Top 5 Stratfor Revelations
    • "Iran and Russia have never had a good history with one another."

      Good comment, D. In fact, after World War II, the Soviet Union occupied Northern Iran and only withdrew under pressure from the U.S. and Britain.

    • "Do you mean those same mutual funds that abetted the one percent to shift masses of wealth from the middle class to the one percent through market manipulation, selling short, etc."

      No, Steamdude, I mean the stock market that allowed millions of ordinary people during the 1980s and 1990s to invest and build large portfolios. You can't judge the history of the market by 2008.

      My original question to Mr. Stewart about owning stock or mutual funds was to determine his intellectual and moral consistency. If he owns any, he is just as much a willing part of the Capitalist system, hoping to reap gains from it, as those with much more wealth. If he refuses to own any, he at least would be consistent with his words posted above.

    • Do you own any stock or mutual funds, Mr. Stewart?

    • "The Administration aggressively prosecutes those who leak to Wikileaks. Will it be as aggressive here? Or is Stratfor special?"

      That assumes that the report can be trusted and the information confirmed. Like battlefield reports, first reports such as this often are overtaken by more reliable information.

    • "Military…or intelligence officers?"

      In the case of the ISI, they are indistinguishable.

    • "1. Up to 12 Pakistani active-duty and retired officers from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency knew that Usama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad and were in regular contact with him."

      Although hardly what I would call a "revelation" (one would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to know that Pakistani military officers knew of Bin Laden's presence), this information (assuming the Stratfor memo was correct) is interesting because it puts a number to those who knew.

  • Top Ten Differences Between Rick Santorum and JFK
    • My response was no "cheap shot," Bruce, and I certainly do not engage in Francophobic behavior. What you apparently fail to understand is the depth of resentment De Gaulle had for the U.S. involvement in South Vietnam. The French in general, and De Gaulle in particular, considered Indochina "their turf." Having failed there themselves, they did not want to see the U.S. succeed.

      As a side note, I would observe that American foreign policy was no more "bungling, arrogant, and interventionist" than French foreign policy, then and later, in French Indochina and in Africa, particularly Algeria.

    • I did not state that Kennedy "initiated" the deployment of the advisors, Susan. As you correctly point out, the initial deployment of advisors occured long before Kennedy assumed office. I stated that Kennedy had authorized 12,000 advisors to be in South Vietnam by the time of his death in November 1963. Kennedy certainly authorized an increase in the number of advisors deployed to South Vietnam.

    • You are correct to point out that Kennedy did not "authorize" the coup, Joe from Lowell. Poor choice of words on my part. Kennedy and his advisors did know about it beforehand, though, and were quite willing to let it occur, as Diem was perceived as an obstacle by the U.S. In any case, Kennedy did not intend for Diem to be assassinated, although that was the result.

    • The "advisors" were not sitting behind desks, Sean. They were in the field with the South Vietnamese troops, and it is their deployment that began the slippery slope that led to full American involvement in the war.

    • We will never know for sure, Mr. Lewis. Nevertheless, there is a large body of scholarship that suggests Kennedy may well have doubled down in Vietnam lest he be seen as weak and "soft on communism, after his humiliation by Khruschev in Vienna and the Bay of Pigs failure.

      I am skeptical of the idea that Kennedy would have withdrawn on the advice of De Gaulle. Everyone, including Kennedy, knew that De Gaulle had ulterior motives for wanting the U.S. out of Vietnam. The French, having lost it, did not want to consider the possiblity of the Americans succeeding where they (the French) had failed.

    • Jimmie Carter wore cardigans during his attempts to emulate FDR's fireside chats, and most historians (correctly) consider Carter's a failed presidency. Perhaps the lesson is no president (or presidential candidate) should wear sweaters of any type.

    • "he had decided to get out shortly before he was killed"

      Please cite your evidence for the above-cited statement, Professor. There has been speculation, particularly among his advisors (McGeorge Bundy and others) whether or not Kennedy would have gotten us in as deeply as did Johnson.

      But there has been no evidence that he would have withdrawn from Vietnam. In fact, many historians argue that Kennedy's humiliation by Khruschev in Vienna (1961) and the Bay of Pigs fiasco compelled him to draw the line on communism and hang tough in Vietnam, lest he be seen as weak.

    • "2. John F. Kennedy opposed wars of aggression, saying, “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war."

      John F. Kennedy had authorized 12,000 U.S. "advisors" in South Vietnam by the time of his death on November 22, 1963. In doing so, Kennedy had laid the groundwork for the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War that followed. Moreover, Kennedy had authorized the coup d'etat against President Diem in November 1963. That led to Diem's assasination, thereby enmeshing the U.S. in the politics of determining the fate of South Vietnamese leaders. You should not confuse Kennedy's Cold War liberalism with liberals today. He was quite willing to use U.S. power when he perceived it benefited U.S. interests.

  • Qur'an-burning Protests Spread, Santorum calls Obama Weak for Apologizing
    • "I have no idea what you did, of course."

      Intelligence (listening posts), all overseas.

      "Many gung ho people with military experience also spent their tours in air conditioned billets, eating Class A rations, playing golf, swimming, doing black market stuff, going to movie theaters."

      In other words, much like any other profession, there are those who are gung ho about their jobs and perform accordingly, and those who attempt to skate by with a minimum of effort. My experience is that the latter do not go very far in their careers, military or civilian.

      "I have Air Force friends, also Vietnam vets, who share my views on the nature of the “military mindset.”

      As do I. The difference, at least with my friends who have such views, is that they are sophisticated enough to understand that one cannot apply that standard to every member of the military just because some may meet it. And that assumes that we can agree on what the "military mindset" is, although I think I know what you and Mr. McCarthy mean by the term. Where I disagree with Mr. McCarthy is he seems to assume that the two murdered officers were displaying the "military mindset," and, thus, brought their deaths on themselves. There is no evidence to substantiate such a conclusion.

    • "you don’t insult someone’s beliefs in a manner which could lead them to extreme actions."

      There you go again, Mr. McCarthy, assuming that the two U.S. officers were murdered because they "insulted someone's beliefs." There is no evidence that that was the case, but apparently to admit that would violate your ideologically preconceived frame of reference.

    • It was not an "ad-hominem impeachment of Mr. McCarthy" Mr. McPhee. Rather, it was an observation based entirely on his own statement. Moreover, I need no lectures from you on the "military mindset." I was in the U.S. Air Force, probably during the same period you were in the military during the Vietnam War.

    • "Could this be the start of Afghan Spring?"

      Only if you consider the premeditated murder of two advisors attempting to assist the Afghan Government to extend its writ over a tribal society ruled by warlords as the beginning of an "Afghan Spring."

    • So you have made up your mind that the "usual military macho mindset" applied to the U.S. Lt. Colonel. and the Major who were each shot in the back of the head, Mr. McCarthy? I would say two things in response: A. You display a breathtaking ability to categorize two men based on their profession; and B. You apparently think that if they did fit your preconceived category, they deserved to be shot. "If it walks like a duck and it quacks......" You seem to be very quick about sizing people up, according to your lights, and for determining whether or not they deserve to live or die, according to your lights, of course.

      By the way, I am not the "Bill" to whose post you responded, but I have been posting here for some time, so I guess you will have to get used to two "Bills." on this forum.

  • Gingrich Endangers US troops by Slamming Obama for Apology over Qur'an Burning
    • "It is Gingrich who should apologize. It is despicable that he should play politics with the lives of US troops."

      You are spot on, professor. This is one more example (if any were needed) of Gingrich as an ignorant gas-bag.

  • 71% of Americans think Iran already has the Bomb (Also we used to have pet triceratops)
    • "But on the substance, Bill: Did I misrepresent your views on proper governance? You set up the binary choice."

      Would you please pay attention, Mr. McPhee? You are confusing me with I_LIKE_IKE52. It is his post to which you refer when you speak of "views on proper governance" and "binary choice."

      My post regarding your bombast, ad hominem attacks, and being marked as a blowhard was in response to your use of my name, in your usual perjorative fashion, in your response to I_LIKE_IKE52.

    • "I bet you put yourself up there in the list of “qualified electors,” right? You and Bill and Dickless Cheney and the Kochers and their spaniels?"

      Your attempts to bully everyone with whom you disagree (including me in your quote cited above), with bombast and ad-hominem attacks, reveal your intellectual poverty and mark you as a blowhard, Mr. McPhee. You would be far better off observing the maxim that it is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought ignorant than open it and remove all doubt.

  • US Interventions in the World since WW II
    • Well, Carlos, if terrorist groups in Hawaii or Puerto Rico were targeting China or Russia, I would understand China's or Russia's targeting of those terrorists, as the U.S. is doing in Yemen. Where your anology fails is there are no equivalent of terrorists in Hawaii or Puerto Rico targeting China or Russia, as there are in Yemen targeting the U.S.

    • The U.S. was not "bombing Yemen," as if Yemen were the target of an attack, DC. The U.S., in concert with the Yemeni Government, was attacking elements of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who were operating in Yemen.

    • Exactly, I-LIKE-IKE52. The map with no context has little value. Does the author consider some of these interventions good and some bad? If so, which are good and which are bad, and for what reason? Does he consider all the interventions bad? If so, why? And what would have been the result had the U.S. not intervened, particularly in Cold War hot spots?

      Was he against the U.S. intervention in Sebia that resulted in the ultimate liberation of Kosovo? Was he against the U.S. intervention in Bosnia that put a stop to the Serb-sponsored killings of Muslims? Was he against the recent U.S. intervention in Libya that deposed Ghadafi? We don't know because there is no context provided.

    • To read your post, Carlos, one would think that the United States invaded a sovereign nation-state when it invaded Cuba in 1898. In fact, if you recall your history, the U.S. was at war with Spain, and Cuba was (and had been for more than 300 years) a Spanish colony. Are you as indignant over Spain's 300-year history of colonialism in Cuba as you appear to be over the United States' actions in Cuba at that time?

    • The United States did not materially help Britain in the Falklands War of 1982, Carlos. In fact, although the U.S. ended up officially supporting Britain's war to repel the Argentine invasion of the British territory of the Falklands, there were some in the U.S. Government who actually wanted to remain neutral because of the Argentine claim to the islands.

      What is interesting is that both Brazil and Chile secretly allowed British Vulcan bombers to refuel en route to their bombing runs over Argentina. Latin American solidarity was a superficial fiction designed to placate the public in some countries, but it did not exist at deeper levels of government. In fact, my impression is that quite a few people in Latin America were glad to see the Argentines get their comeuppance in that war, although they had to publicly support the Argentines for the sake of perceived "solidarity."

  • Ayatollah Santorum Excommunicates Obama, Mainstream Protestants
    • I think it is likely that President Obama will win a second term regardless of who the Republican candidate is, but Obama's reelection will be a certainty if Rick Santorum is the candidate. Not much to worry about there, thank goodness.

  • Ring of Iranian Bases Threatens US
    • And yet, containment, as carried forth by the United States and its allies, accomplished exactly what Kennan predicted: The collapse of the Soviet Union. The USSR was forced to confront (and had a realist leader in Gorbachev to accept the inevitable) its own inability to hold the communist empire together.

      The supreme irony is communist doctrine always held that internal contradictions would lead to capitalism's demise, while, in fact, it was the internal contradictions of communism that led to its collapse. The United States and its allies, including NATO, by relentlessly maintaining their policy and practice of containment, had a lot to do with forcing the Soviet Union to recognize that it could no longer sustain a crumbling edifice built upon those internal contradictions.

    • Janine, if you do not appreciate precision in the use of language and the clarity of thought and expression that follows, I can see why you might find this boring.

    • "Your main point is very clear: that Cole intended to leave the impression that the U.S. had constructed military bases “in order to encircle Iran.”

      Dorothy, your statement (quoted above) indicates that you certainly did not read my post carefully, or at least you did not understand what you read. I did not in any way indicate that Professor Cole "intended" anything by his post. What I wrote was: "Professor, your post reads as if the United States maintains the aforesaid military bases for the express purpose of encircling Iran."

      While I indicated that Professor Cole's post "reads as if the United States maintains the aforesaid military bases for the express purpose of encircling Iran," I did not attach to it nor suggest an "intent" on the part of the Professor regarding his post.

    • Actually, the only country to seriously create an independent force was France when de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO's military command structure in 1966. The U.S. certainly did not "ice" that. We simply moved NATO headquarters from Paris to Brussels, where it is today.

      The U.S. has not interfered with Europe's attempts to create a 60,000-man "Rapid Reaction Force" over the past ten years. What has held that up has been the Europeans' inability to finance it because of their very low defense budgets, their almost total lack of logistics capacity to project such a force, and the Europeans' lack of political will to address those issues.

    • The situation during the Cold War, Redshift, was that the Soviets maintained a threatening posture toward the U.S. via their ICBM nuclear arsenal, but an even more threatening posture toward Western Europe via their intermediate-range missles and the conventional forces they maintained in Eastern Europe. Their conventional forces were far larger than those maintained in Western Europe by NATO. This is the reason the U.S. maintained bases in Europe, including Greece and Turkey. The Soviets brought it on through their own aggressive and threatening behavior.

    • "as well as having fleets of warships in it’s territorial waters."

      I assume that you are implying that the United States maintains fleets of warships in Iran's territorial waters, Economist. Please indicate specifically where the U.S. has fleets of warships in Iran's territorial waters.

    • Actually, any U.S. military action against Iran would be far more likely to be spearheaded by U.S. naval assets (off carriers) and B-2 Stealth bombers based far from the theater of operations than from the small bases we maintain in the Gulf, including the Fifth Fleet naval base in Bahrain.

    • Had you read my post carefully, Dorothy, you would have noted my point, which was to put the Professor's post about U.S. bases in context. You even repeated my line but appear not to have understood it. So let me repeat it here: That they [the bases] happen to be in the same neighborhood as Iran is incidental to their mission. That is very different than leaving the impression that they exist in order to encircle Iran.

    • "It made the point that the United States, which professes itself menaced by Iran, rather has Iran encircled by military bases."

      Professor, your post reads as if the United States maintains the aforesaid military bases for the express purpose of encircling Iran. In fact many of the bases (e.g., in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain) have been in place for decades, long before the Iranian nuclear issue became front and center. Most of the other bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgizstan, Tajikstan, etc. are there to support the effort in Afghanistan. Others, such as in Djibouti, are for monitoring and striking against terrorist organizations, particularly in Somalia and in and around the Horn.

      In other words, these bases exist for reasons far removed from "encircling Iran," and most are not configured or equipped to mount any "attack" against Iran. Some can fly drones over Iran and monitor Iranian activity, but their primary purpose is to maintain the U.S. effort against terrorism, insurgents, and threats in a very rough neighborhood. That they happen to be in the same neighborhood as Iran is incidental to their mission.

  • General Assembly Condemns Syria as Regime Bombards Homs Again
    • "Well, the stage is certainly set, all those weapons having been introduced, for fun and profit, all those politicians and entrepreneurs playing on the fault lines of faith."

      You do mean all those weapons introduced into Syria by the Russians and those given to Hezbollah, courtesy of Syria on behalf of Iran, don't you? Neither was done for "fun and profit." Rather, both were done in order to maintain clients and for perceived geopolitical advantage.

  • Santorum Hypes Iran 'Threat'
    • Don't be too sure the leadership in Iran has "learned" from the collapse of the Soviet Union that "nuclear weapons won't do you any good," Daryoush. The collapse of the USSR was an internal implosion. Nuclear weapons are arrayed against external threats, not internal collapse.

      I would say that the Iranian leadership may have learned a great deal about how nuclear weapons can increase one's bargaining position from North Korea. You may "run interference" for Iran if you wish, but at least use examples that more accurately reflect the "lessons" Iran may have learned.

  • Greek Lessons for the Arab Spring: Majid
    • You are simply wrong about al Ghazali, Samuel. You should read a bit more thoroughly about Islam during the tenth and eleventh centuries. You would find that al Ghazali indeed rejected Greek reason, Plato, Aristotle, and all that up to that time had been accepted by Islam. Al Ghazali shut the door on reason and enquiry and thereby was instrumental in the closing of the Muslim mind.

      Your statement that "only after the advent of colonialism did the Muslims cede their classical heritage to the Europeans" is absurd. They ceded no such thing after the advent of colonialism. Islam ceded it long before colonialism in the Near East.

    • "Yet the call for democracy in the Arab world today is unfolding without any education in Greek and Roman political histories."

      Well, Henry James, that is precisely why the upheavals in the Arab World today may fail. There is a major difference between a "call for democracy" and the practical "implementation of democracy." So far, we have seen the "call" but we have not seen the "implementation." The "call" is the easy part. Perhaps the "implementation" would be more secure if the Arab World had retained some knowledge of the Greek and Roman heritage that we in the West take for granted. It is a precious heritage, and the Arab World is the poorer for having rejected it.

    • Anouar Majid is to be commended for noting the profound legacy of Greek and Roman culture and thought in the development of the West, and the devastating effect Muslim rejection of that culture and thought has had on Islamic societies. I would take Mr. Majid's thesis one step further and suggest that the problem faced by Islamic societies today (particularly the Sunnis) is rooted in the Ash'arite school of Islam and Imam al Ghazali who, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, rejected the reason of Plato, Aristotle, and their followers, and instead taught that total submission to Allah, without question, was the only true path. The Qur'an was the only reference worthy of study and held the answer to all relevant questions. To reason and question outside of that framework was folly.

      The result of this effort was to shut down all inquiry and reason in the Sunni Muslim World. It was intellectual suicide, and its effects continue to be felt today. For centuries the printing press was banned by Ottoman Sultans because it was considered blasphemy to use it to disseminate the sacred Arabic script of the Qur'an. The result was the Islamic World fell ever further behind the West in inventions, military strategy, etc. The imprisoned Muslim mind could not advance because the resort to reason was unavailable due to the deliberate shutting off of such enquiry.

      What the Islamic World needs is not the equivalent of the West's religious "Reformation." What the Islamic World needs is the equivalent of the West's eighteenth century "Enlightenment." Islam needs to recognize a distinction between the sacred and the secular realms. I realize that many Muslims will respond that if it were to do so it would no longer be Islam. But the same thing was said about Christianity when the West went through its evolution from dogma to Enlightenment. There is no reason why Islam cannot do the same and recapture the spirit of reason and enquiry that existed before dogma imprisoned it.

  • Indian Investigators do not Suspect Iran in Israel Embassy Blast
    • "Bibi blamed Iran within hours before even the dust settled down or smoke evaporated. How Netanyahu new right away?"

      The most likely conclusion is he did not know, Shahid. The Israelis reflexively blame Iran, but it does not mean the attack was a "black flag" job "hatched by Mossad." There are enough conspiracy theorists running amok without you adding to it with unsubstantiated accusations. As I stated in my post above, let's take a deep breath and let the Indian authorities complete their investigation.

    • Let's take a deep breath and not jump to any conclusions about who did or did not commit the attack on the official Israeli Embassy vehicle in New Delhi. It could have been Indian Muslim terrorists; it could have been (more than likely was) Pakistani Muslim terrorists; and it could have been Iranian terrorists, either tied to Iranian intelligence or the Revolutionary Guards.

      The wise course of action would be to let Indian authorities complete their investigation and let the chips fall where they may.

  • The Dilemma over Syria
    • Well-put, I agree, SUPER390. I have long thought that "genocide" is one of those terms that many over-use incorrectly. It is thrown around loosely with a lack of precision, which is a problem with much of our language-use these days.

  • Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Homs
    • Thank you for reinforcing my point, Mr. McPhee. Whatever Israel may have done is no excuse for ignoring Syria because of the (mistaken) notion that Israel may have done worse. As you correctly point out: "Would it not make eminent sense to make the effort to reduce the net volume of horrors in the world?"

  • Chinese Envoy: Veto aimed at Protecting Syria from Civil War
    • "He said he also wanted to avoid another Iraq or Libya fiasco. This is the first time I’ve seen either Russia ore China give the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as a reason for their opposition to further Western intervention in the Middle East. The chickens are coming home to roost. Bush and Cheney thought that they were nailing down another American century, but they may have been hastening the demise of that whole notion."

      Please note that the Chinese envoy placed the Western intervention in Libya along with that in Iraq. There are enough reasons one can oppose the intervention in Iraq without resorting to the self-serving statement of the Chinese envoy to support one's position. Would you re-think your position on the Western intervention in Libya because China links it to that in Iraq? Of course not.

      China supports repressive dictatorships such as Assad's because it perceives it in its interest to do so. China opposes Western intervention because it fears (probably correctly) that it will result in reduced Chinese influence. Let's not make China out to be some moral arbiter of "good" and "bad" interventions.

  • The Generals try to stop an Iran War
    • SUPER390, where on earth did you dredge up your statement that I am "admitting, then, that after we attack the reactor, we will be in a state of war" with Iran? I never made such a statement. You are creating a straw-man to fit your ideological predisposition. You may think we would be in a state of war with Iran, but don't project your assumptions on to me. When Israel targeted the Iraqi Osirak nuclear facility in 1981 and the Syrian nuclear facility in 2009, neither action resulted in a "state of war." Whether there is a state of war or not would largely depend on Iran, and we cannot know what Iran's reaction would be at this point, regardless of the Ayatollahs' bluster.

      Also, don't engage in mental gymnastics by assuming that I am advocating targeting Iran's nuclear facilities. This a question that is being discussed, and whose feasibility is being debated, on this forum. Discussion and debate do not equate with advocacy. You must learn to distinguish between the two.

      Your comment about being "so 2003" demonstrates how little you know and does not deserve a riposte.

    • Your original statement, Keith, was that those advocating targeting Iran's nuclear facilities consider Iran an existential threat to the U.S., and that they think a "few well-placed smart bombs" could take Iran out. My response to your statements stands. No one I know of believes Iran is a threat to the existence of the U.S. And certainly no one thinks "we can take them [Iran] out with a few well-placed smart bombs."

      Your reply to my response indicates you may be adjusting your thinking in order to dispense with the hyperbole that undermined your original post. If so, I commend you for it.

    • You apparently do not see the contradiction in your post, Janine. How is Iran to fire off "numerous missiles," that have been already been taken out? More to the point, your premise is entirely wrong. Taking out nuclear facilities in Iran no more means taking out Iran than taking out the nuclear facility in Iraq in 1981 meant taking out Iraq, or taking out the nuclear facility in Syria meant taking out Syria.

    • No, Orville, Malaysia is not an "ethnic tenderbox." Your statement makes me wonder if you have ever set foot in the country. I lived there for four years and have followed it closely. Have you ever been to Malaysia?

      Malaysia is not perfect, but it is a pretty good example of a multi-ethnic country that has made a go of combining various ethnic groups in a reasonably working political and economic system.

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