Member Profile

Total number of comments: 5 (since 2013-11-28 16:38:24)

piotr

Showing comments 5 - 1
Page:

  • Westbrook: Half-Measures in Libya will Fail
    • Ivory Coast is the nearest comparisons. For a variety of reasons powers that be had enough of a certain Gbagbo, President of Ivory Coast. Gbagbo is basically Christiano-fascist, his political movement tried to disenfranchise people from the northern part of the country, mostly Muslim, as alleged (or true?) illegal immigrants. In due time that lead to a civil war and de-facto partition.

      Next, the military-diplomatic consensus, AU and France, put some boots on the ground to SEPARATE the sides in the civil war. Shooting, rarely, if disobeyed.

      Next, in a brokered compromise, there were nationwide elections in the divided country for the President.

      Next, cronies of Gbagbo in the election commission invalidated votes from two northern provinces, upon which Gbagbo duly won. BUT! AU, France and UN did not recognize that. Thus a Ouattara became President-Elect. And living somewhat safely, under protection of foreign troops, in Abidjan, while in another part of town Gbagbo occupied Presidential palace and his residence.

      Next country, IN SPITE OF FOREIGN PEACEKEEPERS, started to "slide into a civil war". Basically, northerners had all signs of getting more money and weapons, and Gbagbo southerners, less.

      After of couple of months, the northern thugs moved onto southern thugs, and quite a few of innocent people were killed so far.

      Why am telling this longish (unfinished) story? Because all this stuff could be done more consistently. Either the principle of national souvereignity reigns, and if Gbagbo can eliminate challenges to his power, kudos to him. To the victor etc. Or the principle does not hold on the account of the moral iniquity of the ruler -- then we should remove him if we are serious. As it is, there was a protracted civil war, although kept surprisingly civil until recently, with the current bloody resolution.

      I think that the "messy middle solution" is actually superior. The principle of national souvereignity can go down the drain when the government looses control over a major part of the territory. Would Libyan military stay intact and made short work of the rebel, there would be some duly voted condemnation and that would be it. But they did not, and amazing ineffective rebels actually took over most of the country.

      Given that, it was very hard politically to do nothing at all. But should foreign boots on the ground go through the mess of sorting the good from the bad, killing and destroying for the good cause? Libyan are a mess, but given that, would we do anything better? The track record of "boots on the ground" is abysmal.

  • Top Ten Ways that Libya 2011 is Not Iraq 2003
    • The last point is rather weak. Libya cannot realistically influence neighbors too much. But the other points are valid and important.

  • Kusha: Iran vs. Egypt: Qualitative Differences in Capabilities
    • I think that Kusha Sefat managed to omit the succinct core of the argument: to be stable, a regime must have a broad base, at least a large minority of the population, and cohesive ideology that unites the state apparatus and the base.

      In Iran, there seem to be a core of at least 30% supporters of "conservatives". Like Chinese government, Iranian regimes delivers enough ideological consistency and economic performance to be stable. I have a little theory, namely, that provoking and enduring Western sanctions helps Iranian elite on both grounds.

      Economically, Iranian system may be suspect of cleptocracy, vast religious foundations control tens of billions of dollars each and offer huge opportunities for graft. However, it was observed that graft, even if exists, may be beneficial or detrimental. Beneficial graft unleashes enterpreneurial spirit into the economy. Detrimental graft is looting the economy and exporting the capital, to be hidden from the government (or the next government). In successful countries, corrupt tycoons and oligarch invest domestically and create jobs, in failed countries, they create speculative opportunities and contribute to capital flight.

      Iranian foundations have little opportunities to invest abroad, so they may have a better track of creating domestic jobs that Saudi Arabia, with more money but with investments going mostly abroad.

  • Turkey Shelves Israeli Cooperation,
    Considers breaking off Ties;
    Israel Lobbies in Congress denounce Ankara
    • I am not sure if Turkey was "every bit as brutal to the Kurds as Israelis to the Palestinians".

      For starters, Turkey is actually evolving for the better, and Israel, for the worse.

      On a meta level, Turkish nationalism is against Kurdish cultural rights, they view them as Turks who out of some sloth or atavism do not wish to speak in Turkish. Thus on the level of individuals, Kurds have all the rights that Turks have. The rights to practice their own culture and to vote for politicians representing that aspiration is abridged. Although, I understand that there was some recent progress. And of course, PKK are not the worst of the lot, but not exactly nice (I give them points for attacking, as a rule, military targets).

      On an individual level, Palestinians are treated either atrociously (if they are citizens or Jerusalem residents) or full blast apartheid (if they are the helotes of West Bank and Gaza). The range and scope of restrictions grave and petty is unprecedented in my opinion. Usually, when some nation subjugates another, it is not the main national project. Where else in the world you can find such spiteful policies like systematic denial of building permits and demolitions?

      And besides, is it really the case that Israel can suffer no ill consequences whether Turkey makes an actual alliance with Iran or not? Is it REALLY what they do not care about? If that is the case, how they can worry about Hamas having this or that piece of hardware? But perhaps it is actually a good thing. If the Israeli public will get convinced that they are on the verge of national anihilation, they could consider peace offers that now would make them laugh with ridicule. Say, half a million missiles capable of reaching precise targets in all major cities could counterbalance quite a few threats that Israel can issue.

  • The Greens in Iran are a Movement, not a Coup
    • About regimes based on brute strength and not so brute.

      If "stability" is the only goal, Egypt, North Korea etc. show that you can achieve high levels of stability by refining state repression to a fine art form. But those are rather stagnant states, and I guess Iranians, ruling circles included, have more lofty ambitions.

      For example, Iran is investing a lot in education, including engineering and computer science.

      The model of repression that Iranian revolution is using is still reliant on having an enthusiastic mass movement. Also, the division of power between spiritual, judicial, executive and legislative can provide some mechanism to rotate out the corrupt and incompetent, something that Egypt does not have.

      I may also wonder if sanctions can have benefits for economy by forcing some degree of import substitution and protection for domestic industries. It is very hard to maintain industrial employment in oil-rich countries.

      So I guess that the spiritual leaders of Iran have a dilemma. They obviously want something better than a moribund repressive state like SA or Egypt. They also are scared of the decline in piety that can result from a more modern society. (It is well documented that exposing human flesh, especially female, leads to shark attacks on humans. Did you see any shark attack movie with modestly segregated beaches?) I think that for octogenarian clerics this is a very grave consideration.

Showing comments 5 - 1
Page: