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The Russians are certainly musical. I visited Moscow in 1998. My buddy and I were taking a taxi from the train station to his mom's flat, and a song came on the radio that (I presume) the radio DJ had mixed himself - it was a Russian opera singer singing over American gangster rap. It was awesome. My impression is that the quality of popular music there has declined as the industry has become more corporate and various oligarch's daughters decided they wanted to be pop stars. But I really like Leningrad (this video has English subtitles):
I also highly, highly, highly recommend this youtube video of a talk given on Iran by Bob Baer and Trita Parsi: I wish everyone in the world would watch the part (at the 24:40 mark) where Parsi explains that Israel and Iran both have a common interest in pretending that their differences are ideological, when in fact their differences are pure competition for regional hegemony. It is interesting how the leaders of two rival powers can have such convergent interests - at the expense of their own peoples and everyone else in the world.
I don't entirely trust Bob Baer, but I found his book The Devil We Know to be very interesting. The book goes into some detail about Iran and Hezbollah and how capable they are. To my mind, it is a story of how the Persians have watched how we Americans and British work and how they are emulating our strategies of recruiting, training, and arming proxies/allies.
I've been wondering all day what bump fire looked and sounded like. Thanks for the youtube link.
doug I remember it rather differently with respect to Fivethirtyeight's assessment of Trump's chances. In fact, I remember being convinced that Nate Silver was intentionally lying. Here is "7 Times Nate Silver Was Hilariously Wrong About Donald Trump":
Colonel I respect your principled opposition to totalitarianism - unlike so many others you have literally fought against it. That said, Singapore has long been an example of soft authoritarianism that (arguably) works. I've heard that Lee Kwan Yew was friends with Deng Xiaoping. Perhaps China and Vietnam are evolving into the new Singapores.
Walrus If you ever go to Syria I think you will find the Syrians to share many of those qualities of the Vietnamese - they are certainly neither sevile nor lilly livered. I was struck by the difference between the people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City - they seemed like two different countries.
From what I have seen Israel has allowed Saudi Arabia and other gulfies to provide US made arms to Al Qaeda, while Israel has only provided Israeli made arms.
I think if it goes full out nuclear the NK leadership will do all it can to make the US an international pariah. So they will attempt to take as many Japanese, Chinese, and Russians with them as they can (in addition to the South Koreans). China has said that if the US attacks first China will enter the war on the side of NK. Since the Chinese population is at risk, this is not irrational in my opinion.
I'm not one to assume Russian generals are lying and that US spokespersons are telling the truth, but in this situation especially I think it would be a mistake to assume the reverse. The SDF and SAA are currently scrambing for control for the same set of oilfields. If the Russians were going to do some IO I think now would be the time to do it. On a somewhat related note, War on the Rocks has an article on SDF's "Arab problem": - PYD is monopolizing power in the SDF (“the thing that upsets residents is that 80 or 90 percent of internal security are from all ethnicities…but the final [decisions lie] with Kurdish leadership"). - PYD has forced thousands of Arab you to serve in the SDF. The rate of volunerary enlistment by Arabs has fallen in line with the PYD’s alienation of some rebel brigades in northern Syria, and reports of human rights abuses against Arab residents.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2017 on Day off at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Personally, I think this investigation is patterned after the independent prosecutor's investigation of Bill Clinton. Bill was brought down by a dalliance with an intern. If they pressure Trump long enough then Trump may well make a mistake such as lying. Or they can use their investigative powers to find something embarrassing (they get to question everyone they want under oath and those questioned have to answer the questions). Otherwise the investigation can just drag on forever. I wish more people understood that this is not about Democats vs Republicans.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2017 on Whither Mueller? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Walrus - I strongly agree with you.
Nick I don't think you should convolute "implied" with "asserted". Furthermore, it was the mainstream media which interpreted Trump's artfully vague tweet as asserting that the wiretap was illegal. That was putting words in his mouth. Trump likes to be vague, and the MSM like to interpret his words in the worst possible way - then insist that their interpetation is some sort of self evident obective truth.
Mike, Our last Prime Minister here in Canada, Stephen Harper, strove to be more Likud than Bibi. He closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran and closed the Iranian embassy in Canada. There is still no Iranian embassy or consulates in Canada. Years ago (before Harper) I asked a woman who worked for CSIS (our intelligence agency) how they determined which groups were terrorist agencies and which were not. She said they pretty much followed the UN designations - which sounds reasonable to my ears.
Erdogan takes al-Bab and solidifies his "safe/no-fly" zone in northern Syria. Erdogan buses in as many friendly rebels from Idib as he can. The western press reports that Qatar has provided newly branded "Free Syria" with air defence equipment, which are backed up by Turkish SAMs located in Turkey. SAA mops up some rebel pockets and deploys to take Idib in much the same manner as they took Aleppo.
Thank you for this.
The US Dollar will remain the World Reserve Currency regardless of what Riyadh does. Anyone who is saying otherwise is repeating neocon propaganda IMO. (This paper convinced me that it would take much more than Riyadh to knock the USD of its perch:
If Turkey tries to hold any Syrian territory in the long term I would expect Syria to retaliate by providing the PKK inside Turkey with ATGMs and/or explosively formed IEDs. And training.
Toggle Commented Dec 17, 2016 on Update on Rojava - TTG at Sic Semper Tyrannis
There is a famous quote along the lines of "I never learned anything from people who agreed with me". Extremely smart people who see the world differently than me are my favourite people to talk to.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2016 on Update on Rojava - TTG at Sic Semper Tyrannis
I'm not sure the French are in the mood for a Thatcher. I think they are looking for someone who will (i) secure the borders, (ii) create jobs through economic nationalism. Americans trust the invisible hand of the market much more than the French do, and they elected a guy who said he would create jobs by intervening.
Perhaps this could help?
No kidding - look at the whole "anonymous snipers firing into crowds" phenomenon. Its been done in Venezuela, Ukraine, and Egypt - basically everywhere the CIA has been accused of trying to engineer a revolution. Those responsible are never apprehended.
Toggle Commented Dec 12, 2016 on What to make of this... at Sic Semper Tyrannis
I also think this is a campaign to de-legitimize Trump, but I am confused about whether Trump will be able to do anything about it once in office. Since these people who are effectively slandering Trump will soon be working for Trump, I guess their plan is to go work for a neocon thinktank? And once Trump takes office he won't be able to air the details of this secret report to expose it for what it is ... or will he?
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2016 on What to make of this... at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Thank you as well, LeaNder.
This is by far the best explanation I have ever read about an alliance that I have long wondered about. Thank you very much.