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Ingolf Eide
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All, Re the 404 problems with the site links. They’re working again (hopefully permanently!). For anyone interested in what had happened (I’m thinking of you TTG), each link contains a reference to the page on which it’s found and for some reason that had changed to “writings-2” (the original name of the page during its draft stage) instead of “writings”. I don’t know why the software made this change and therefore can’t be certain it mightn’t happen again. I’ll check occasionally but if it does recur please send up a flare.
And, of course, Happy Birthday Brig Ali . . . may there be many more to come. Ingolf
James, Out of curiosity I tried the site with Opera, a browser I hardly ever use. No problem, no need for a Google sign in, just straight to the site's homepage. For anyone who does have any difficulties, TTG's is probably the best answer; just copy the URL and paste it into your browser.
TTG, Yes, another in the seemingly unending sequence of unforced errors. Given your comment about “God ordained manifest destiny” perhaps it’s reasonable to bring a recent essay by Patrick Lawrence (“After Exceptionalism”) to the committee’s attention. “There is no certainty Americans will reach for any of what is available to them. To abandon our claims to exceptionalism is to give up our customary assumption of assured American success. It requires us to accept the difference between destiny and possibility. One does not find abundant signs Americans are yet ready to do this—not among our leaders, in any case. There seems to be little awareness that the only alternative to the change of course Jimmy Carter favoured forty years ago this past summer is decline—decline not as a fate but as a choice, one made even as we do not know we are making it.”
Second that from out here in Oz.
Indeed. Putin and his team have been consistent in their broader goals while retaining tactical flexibility. They've also sought to build and maintain good relationships with all the players. Given the goals are in accord with international law with a primary focus on sovereignty, it's an understated but powerful combo. So no, it's certainly not all luck . . .
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2019 on SAA/SDF progress at Sic Semper Tyrannis
"It has not bee SHOWN. Peer reviewed academic studies generally prove one thing and that is that academics are conformists who seek approval from other academics." PL, I'm sure you're right that academics (including scientists) are prone to conformity. To conclude that a broad scientific consensus is therefore worthless, however, seems to me a step too far. Anyway, for what they're worth, here are two links of the sort that eventually persuaded me to shift away from scepticism. The first looks at the sceptics' case and also provides links to quite a few more detailed aspects: The second visually presents the contributions of various natural and man-made factors:
I'm no climate expert and don’t have the knowledge (or any desire) to debate the science. FWIW after starting out as something of a sceptic 15-20 years ago I ended up coming down on the other side of this issue. To my mind, Nassim Taleb has the right approach: “This leads to the following asymmetry in climate policy. The scale of the effect must be demonstrated to be large enough to have impact. Once this is shown, and it has been, the burden of proof of absence of harm is on those who would deny it. It is the degree of opacity and uncertainty in a system, as well as asymmetry in effect, rather than specific model predictions, that should drive the precautionary measures. Push a complex system too far and it will not come back. The popular belief that uncertainty undermines the case for taking seriously the ’climate crisis’ that scientists tell us we face is the opposite of the truth. Properly understood, as driving the case for precaution, uncertainty radically underscores that case, and may even constitute it."
Thanks John. Seems to me it's slightly understating matters to say that the birthrate and life expectancy are merely no longer in their 1990s trough. Far as I can see there have been a number of recent years where Russia once again experienced natural population growth and, according to the stats on Wikipedia, life expectancy for both men and women has hit new highs. As for controlling less territory, that's probably a net plus. Yes, the transition from Putin will be critically important. He's of course very aware of that and my guess is at least as much thought and effort will go into managing that as he seems to bring to most things. While I think Russia is better placed than almost any other nation to survive and prosper, as you suggest nothing is certain.
"Notably weaker than it was in the 1980s." Really? Seems to me the very opposite. Would you care to elaborate?
Good stuff Patrick, thanks. Russia may be uniquely inoculated against all manner of foolishness by the two catastrophes it lived through over the last century. For now at least, it seems driven by a bone hard realism.
The Quincy Institute will launch in November, with core funding from George Soros and Charles Koch and the following mission statement: "The Quincy Institute promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace." Cofounders include Trita Parsi, Andrew Bacevich, Suzanne DiMaggio and Stephen Wertheim. Picked up from a Stephen Kinzer article:
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2019 on Open Thread 29 June 2019 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Much appreciated, PL. Let me acknowledge my ignorance up front and hope these few questions aren't entirely ridiculous: - I get the impression you think that if this happens it won't be half-hearted. Unlike earlier episodes of "shock and awe", it'll be for real. Yes? - If that's so, this would presumably be an existential event for Hezbollah and maybe for Iran, Lebanon (and Syria?). - I accept Russia would prefer to not get dragged in. Is it reasonable to think this might be difficult for them? It seems to me there would be an awful lot at stake, not just immediately but in the larger strategic picture. Perhaps leading to an "If not now, when" moment? - As for Iran and Syria, ditto squared? Would I be right in assuming that if it came to it, both would fight back with everything they've got, whatever that might mean? Any thoughts you're willing to share on these issues, and anything else flowing from them, would be greatly appreciated.
PL, are you willing to provide an overview of how such an attack might unfold?
Hallelujah, Colonel. I never much liked Disqus. Quite apart from everything else, the inability to easily view the most recent comments was a constant annoyance.
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2019 on Disqus at Sic Semper Tyrannis
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May 10, 2010