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Barbara Ann
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Fatima ...banned by Disqus... If a technology can 'ban' you it is a media organization masquerading as a technology. IMO Disqus falls into this category and I can confirm a poor experience; it has deleted a number of my comments it thinks are 'spam' for any number of bizarre reasons - which included simply embedding a link. My preference would be for our gracious host to retain full control of who gets banned (& as importantly un-banned).
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2018 on By popular demand ----- at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Colonel Lang Hallelujah, now he is indeed risen. I commend your brave decision. You could not have chosen a more opportune time. If the "foule" becomes too much in the future please consider my suggestion re limiting comment capability to 'members' only, which if not possible with Typepad, certainly is with WordPress. As Oscar Wilde might have said; "There is only one thing in the world worse than a blog with comments, and that is a blog without comments."
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2018 on By popular demand ----- at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Thank you Mr Crooke for this excellent description of the dangerous current state of affairs. I have thought for some time that the increasingly belligerent actions of the US and those of its coerced European and other allies, are in the end likely to bring about an outcome the opposite of that desired - i.e. a swifter change to a multi polar World. Either that, or if the PNAC crazies hold sway, America may indeed prove itself exceptional when it destroys us all, rather than cede to an otherwise inevitable new World order. If we do somehow keep finding the off ramps, it surely cannot be long before China, Russia and other Asian powers do indeed call America's bluff. Throw Russia out of SWIFT? Well that will just hasten the advent of an Asian alternative. Likewise with the ever increasing use of sanctions. Russia & Iran are learning to live with them and in the end may be obliged to immunize themselves thru trade within a bloc that no longer includes the US and its diminishing set of friends. That bloc will certainly include China and many other nations who recognize where the future of Eurasia lies. Bullying only works if the other kids are obliged to share the same playground. If pushed around enough, one fine day we may find they have up and formed their own gang, moved elsewhere and learned to play exclusively among themselves (and to paraphrase Mr Trump; their playground is bigger). The Global Times editorial is astonishing in its honesty. To me it reinforces the fact that the bullied are getting closer to just such a breaking point.
Most folk would guess the "Melian States" are the ones the FLOTUS has visited, I guess. I hope you finish The History of the Peloponnesian War and when you do, appreciate that The History of the Peloponnesian War will never be 'finished'.
Fred Another from the 80's I recall fondly was 'Apocalypse: The Game of Nuclear Devastation'. It was set in Europe and the aim was for your armies to conquer territory - so far, so normal - but the twist was that when you defeat an enemy you get a piece of missile to place somewhere in your territory. Missile pieces can be stacked for greater range and best of all they all had nuclear warheads. When fired you get to place radiation markers on the areas they land on (of course destroying all occupying enemy). The radiation makers make the areas inaccessible for the remainder of the game. I embellished the rules myself by adding submarine-based missiles, the location of which the player would not need to declare. Interestingly it was possible to effectively 'draw' if all territory between yourself and an enemy became nuked and impassable. Central Europe did not usually fare well. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/201281/apocalypse-game-nuclear-devastation
Babak (comment #68) It strikes me as paradoxical to advocate the ballot box for the crowd you describe, many of whom have no cultural background in such a method of governance.
Babak ..why enable the young people to be consumed by the Past? Precisely because there are far more dangerous things for the young people to be consumed by. Especially if one is not, in fact, a visionary statesman and is instead a kleptocrat nationalist with an irrational irredentist fervor.
Wholeheartedly agree re the rules of chess vs. the real complexity of international affairs. Trump is sometimes described as playing 4D chess and perhaps we should recognize this as an insult, rather than praise. Putin, on the other hand, is clearly comfortable playing a game with an infinitely more complex set of rules.
KHC (comment #50) Does your use of the word "unfortunately" belie 'engineering' thinking? One would hope the visionary would question the desirability of developing computers capable of beating us at chess. One such was the late Stephen Hawking, who warned of the dangers of developing ever improved AI, simply because we can. After all, is it not our superior intelligence that allows us to dominate 'lesser' species on this planet? But you are right that a good policymaker should be able to detect when the fundamental game being played has changed - even if others still see it proceeding as before. We must hope that Russia's red line in Syria has prompted the right people to detect just such a change.
Unpredictable chaos is also too scary for many to accept. There is no real excuse these days for ignoring the possibility of unpredictable chaos, even in a deterministic system. My eyes were opened to this by James Gleik's excellent book; 'Chaos: Making a New Science'. In it, Gleik describes the history of Chaos Theory (a poor name for the phenomenon in my view, as what is described is mathematical fact) or the behavior of 'non-linear' dynamic systems - i.e. those which include feedback of some kind. Any system including the behavior of people in a group - where an individual's behavior is affected by the observed behavior of others - is such a system and thus inherently both unstable and unpredictable. Gleik describes many such systems, both natural and man-made, which can appear to be stable & predictable over the long term. Yet all retain the potential to suddenly change into a chaotic and unpredictable state, if subject to the right level of external stimulus. 'Engineers' worth their salt should thus have an understanding of this phenomenon and yet many seemingly choose not to - perhaps due to the very fact that such behavior defies predictive analysis. A classic example is Greenspan's "flaw". Greenspan clearly did not understand the inherent nature of the system he was charged with overseeing. Had he done so, he would have been aware that the risk of an unpredictable boom or bust in the financial system was an intrinsic feature of that system, regardless of the types of controls employed. By the way, another such system is the planetary orbits in the Solar System - one would have thought one of the most stable and predictable of all. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_of_the_Solar_System
catherine Adelson's name and ZOA came up with regard to McMaster's demise in this Haaretz article (paywall). The author was Israel's Under Secretary of Defense and has a very high opinion of McMaster. https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-plot-against-mcmaster-1.5441955
TTG Erdogan today - apparently Idlib is now on the agenda next, as well as Manbij. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-not-stop-in-afrin-manbij-and-idlib-are-next-erdogan-129210
That piece links to a tweet by the arch swamp creature which begins thus: "When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history." Brennan seems to have mistakenly used the second person pronoun, when of course the first person was appropriate here.
Jaafari just said otherwise: Iraq's foreign minister says no joint anti-PKK campaign with Turkey http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/6cd2c769-ffe5-4b03-b090-5dd2cd45c71a
Fred If you torture the data long enough it confesses. I love it; Disraeli + EIT Or perhaps Beria for the 21st century: 'show me the data and I'll find you the crime'.
Andrey Subbotin, scott s, CP Thanks for your responses. Well if it is surface vessels my guess is we can expect them to be the subject of a real world demo of the Kinzhal if they are used. I think it is worth reminding everyone what SmoothieX12 said on the subject recently: The usage of such a weapon, especially since we know now that it is deployed already in Russia’s Southern Military District is very simple–the most likely missile drop spot by MiG-31s will be in the international waters of the Black Sea, thus closing off the whole Eastern Mediterranean to any surface ship or group of ships. Russia can also close off the Persian Gulf completely. https://www.unz.com/article/the-implications-of-russias-new-weapons/ Is anyone out there listening now?
Colonel Re the Russian assertion that the US now has "Strike groups of naval carriers with cruise missiles" in both the Med. and the Red Sea - is this credible/verifiable? One (Theodore Roosevelt) is already in the Gulf, but short of an attack being launched, how would we learn of the presence of other Naval forces in the area? Is there a recent open source for CSG locations (link below maybe)? I am assuming one cannot sail a CSG between the Pillars of Hercules without being noticed, for example. Thanks http://www.gonavy.jp/CVLocation.html
This is not encouraging. SF's last CSG map was Feb. 9th, is it possible one or more has deployed to the Med and/or Red Sea since? https://southfront.org/u-s-deploys-naval-strike-groups-for-attacks-on-syria-trains-militants-for-false-flag-chemical-attacks/
Lars "I would wish that more people as capable as he is would help run the country, regardless of the dumb people that get elected." Niccolo would argue that wise advisers will not help. I tend to agree.
If the Boss surrounds himself with sycophants, were are told what to expect: Therefore a wise prince ought to hold a third course by choosing the wise men in his state, and giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to him, and then only of those things of which he inquires, and of none others; but he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions. With these councillors, separately and collectively, he ought to carry himself in such a way that each of them should know that, the more freely he shall speak, the more he shall be preferred; outside of these, he should listen to no one, pursue the thing resolved on, and be steadfast in his resolutions. He who does otherwise is either overthrown by flatterers, or is so often changed by varying opinions that he falls into contempt. http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/217/the-prince/5603/chapter-23-how-flatterers-should-be-avoided/
"Engineers usually come up with neat, clean, packaged solutions.." ingenious adj. characterized by cleverness or originality of invention or construction The people you describe may call themselves engineers, but they don't sound like the kind I know. Perhaps that bridge in Florida was build by one of them.
Roland One significant omission in your list of weak governments; Israel. And this is the one that, at least perceives, the greatest threat to its security. Good point re the apparent dearth of the classically educated among our leaders (Boris Johnson is one exception & has no excuse). I guess this is partly due to the 'modernization' of our Western education systems. After all, of what possible use could be the study of Thucydides, his "possession for all time" and The Melian Dialogue, now that we live in a post conflict, liberal utopia?
David Habakkuk Thanks for the link to the 'Doubts about “Novichoks”' article, this is very encouraging. The second point made by the authors is that"..any organic chemist with a modern lab would be able to synthesize bench scale quantities of such a compound."Now Theresa May is not a scientist and may believe that a chemical compound can be 'Russian'. But you are right to speculate about pressure having been put on the boffins at Porton Down, as they will know better and seem to be choosing not to say so. Given that the means in this crime now seems to be open to a far wider range of suspects, I would hope that the investigation would give at least some consideration to motive and opportunity. But of course the investigation is a side show in this piece of orchestrated political theater - in much the same way as is Mueller's indictment of Russian trolls, who have no prospect of being brought to trial. God forbid they should actually catch the perpetrator. I'd put money on their being a state actor, just not that state.
Smoothie ..even most hysterical (unless they are completely berserk) functionaries get the idea of being evaporated in the nuclear blast.You are a military analyst and a good one from what I read, but I believe that this misses the point here re the danger. The issue is not that the people who matter do not know what nuclear Armageddon looks like, it is that they may not appreciate that a chain of unpredictable events - of the kind that JohnsonR described upthread - can lead us there from here. I think the Colonel is absolutely right in his analysis and historical comparison because we now have exactly the right (wrong) mix of personalities in combination with an already dangerous proxy war. A very dangerous game is being played and I am not at all convinced that one side has the imagination to appreciate how dangerous it is.
@snarwani and other brave people like her, seem to be the best chance to derail the single track 'Assad/Russia uses chemical weapons' narrative.