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Alan Richards

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  • Was Ayatollah Khamenei right about Washington? Trump Reneges
    • Alan R Richards 10/06/2017 at 10:32 am

      Here we go again. Like so many of us, I was a vociferous opponent of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. People sometimes say to me, "Man, we're you ever right about that!" I say, "Yes. And so was everyone else I know who actually knew anything about the region. But it is not that we were geniuses. It's that they were idiots--and deeply corrupt." Plus ca change...

  • "Those People:" Trump plays to White nat'lism from N. Korea to NFL
    • Excellent post! Racism pervades everything Trump and the GOP do, from North Korea to Puerto Rico, from Iran to sports, and on and on. If we cannot transcend our grim historical inheritance here, we are doomed as a country--and we can easily doom the species, of course.

  • Are ISIL recruits more street gang members than zealots?
    • Alan R Richards 08/21/2017 at 11:31 am

      It's instructive to read some of the novels by Yasmina Khadra, pen name for Mohammed Moulesehoul, ex-Algerian army officer, now living in France. These explore the psychology of the young men attracted to fanatical violent Islamist groups. See especially "Wolf Dreams," "In the Name of God," "The Attack," and "The Sirens of Baghdad". Parallels the arguments of this author.

  • Are we Monsters?
    • A corollary to this thoughtful argument: every act of kindness, of common decency, of empathy is an act of resistance these days. it's obviously not enough, but it is certainly something that each of us can do.

  • Obama's Journey: Top 10 signs of Extreme Climate Change in Alaska and why it Should Scare Us
    • All true. Of course, it's much worse than this: since, as you rightly point out, the Arctic warms faster than the rest of the planet, this melts the permafrost. But the consequences of melting permafrost go FAR beyond sinking houses and damaged roads. It threatens MASSIVE release of GHG, both carbon and--worse yet--methane. See, e.g.,
      link to nasa.gov

  • Chart: Euro-American boycott of Iranian Petroleum would Fail
    • Nice graphic. And there is some truth to various comments. 1)If the EU boycotts, then Iran will lose some revenue, unless Iran can find other buyers. 2) Iran will not, as the chart shows, lose ALL or even MOST of their revenue, although 3) it does seem that the Chinese are demanding a lower price from Iran. And 4) given the rampant (and rancid) bellicosity emanating from D.C., if the boycott is perceived to be a failure, then U.S. & Israeli hawks will beat the war drums still louder. But, I think, 1) the Iranian regime can certainly survive this loss of revenue, whatever it may be; 2) this loss will mainly harm ordinary Iranians, not the core support base of the regime (cf. anti-Iraq sanctions of the 1990s). So, sanctions will do little, except to poison relations still further and make sensible policies even more difficult. And the risk of "accidental war" remains uncomfortably high. Averting a catastrophic (and idiotic) war between the U.S., Israel, and Iran remains a crucial task. As Prof. Abrahamian said in his "Modern History of Iran", such a war will be the equivalent of the opening salvos of the Thirty Years' War of the 17th Century in central Europe. Criminal, stupid, venal, unnecessary--we must all do whatever we can to halt this rush to the abyss.

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