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[personal profile] fridi
As per the monthly topic, Trump's UN speech comes just timely. If anyone had expected even a semblance of diplomacy and nuance in his address to the UN, they might've been struck by the depressing amount of predictability in the final product. Trump appeared before the UN session as a commander in chief rattling his nuclear sabres, rather than a statesman. And this failed to surprise anyone.

In his speech, he reiterated a Twitter jab he made the other day about Kim Jong Un, the Rocket Man. In the most important speech on foreign policy he has had since the start of his presidency, he told the world leaders that Rocket Man is on a suicide mission. Ha. Ha. Ha.

The insults in the speech of the president of the United States killed the last remaining hopes that he'd send an honest message to a regime that's been challenging its neighbors for years. It's time for NK to realize that quitting nukes is the only responsible future for them, Trump argued before the UN - which by itself may sound like a relatively rational requirement. Unfortunately, what would remain in memory from this speech is his choice of an Elton John song to irritate the fellow Dear Leader of a rogue state with nuclear aspirations.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] dreamville_bg
Historical Revisionism is a good monthly topic. And for us folks in the Balkans, the most obvious example that instantly comes to mind is probably the way the new nation of Macedonia has been crafting its new identity where none existed: by stealing history from neighboring nations. We've all heard of Skopje 2014, the huge, majestic, ultra-megalomaniac re-doing of the city center of the Macedonian capital. They put a huge golden statue of Alexander the Great on a horse - so huge that when you stand on this huge square and look to the statue, the only thing you'd see is the horse's golden balls. And that's just the centerpiece of a much larger complex of buildings that look as if they're in the capital of the Roman empire at its zenith. All the while, the rest of the country sinking in squalor and being torn to pieces by lingering ethnic tensions.

What a mess, eh? )


12/7/17 09:58
halialkers: A sister of battle from Warhammer 40K in full armor striding along (Xedevcekar)
[personal profile] halialkers
Article the 1st: The USA and Russia in the G20 and climate change  )Article the second from 2004 pointing out the ideas of article the first are hardly new )The reality that the Russia doing all this should be a lethal joke at best but has basically shown old model geopolitics works just fine, thank you )

If nothing else all this shows that the Fukuyama Thesis is not only dead but that the corpse of same has decayed into ashes like a staked vampire. ISIS has started the crumbling of the Westphalian concept of the state whether or not it collapses this year or in the next three. Its survival matters less than it legitimizing the non-Westphalian state by routing 30,000 Iraqi soldiers with 800 fighters at the Battle of Mosul.

And together with that, the Russians have overthrown the notions of collective security and re-established rules that powers other than the USA can unilaterally act according to 19th Century Great Power logic again. History is not dead, it just took a break while the USA grasped an illusion of power, and now the wheel of history is in motion again as a ravenous juggernaut seeking whom it can crush as the world's climate ratchets upward with precious little as a viable means to really stop or slow it down in a way that matters. 

[identity profile]
When George Marshall, Truman's secretary of state and former commander in chief of the US army visited Harvard to receive his honorary title in June 1047, the decision wasn't deemed too important by the press. The historians say his hosts at the university didn't know what he would say in his speech. But that speech marked the beginning of changes of enormous scale across post-war Europe. Within a single short paragraph, Marshall described the devastation in Europe and said it was logical that America would do whatever it takes to help restore the economic health of the world, because without a stable economy there could be no peace and stability anywhere. That day is considered the birthday of the Marshall Plan.

Read more... )
[identity profile]
Whatever their investment in Trump and monkey-wrenching the 2016 election was, the Russians are certainly getting more than their money's worth.

Now Germany (I repeat: GERMANY) is saying Europe can no longer rely on Trump's America.

If you thought GWB's tenure was the worst that could happen to America's relations with her allies, just take a look at this. 4 months. 4 months and relations with America's allies are as bad as they haven't been since WWII. Worse than ever in most cases. Meanwhile America's adversaries are pleased as punch.

Eventually the EU is likely to band together to oppose the US. And everyone will suffer because of it.

There are no good outcomes for either side at this point. All Americans will suffer because of those who were conned/indulged their hatreds and voted for Trump. Europe will suffer because it'll be weakened. And if Putin believes Russia won't suffer, he's a fool.

4 months.

Ps. Who elected the US "leader of the free world" anyway?
[identity profile]
Despite all the bold promises about breaking up with the old ways that Trump made during the election campaign, by his recent actions at the international scene one would conclude that in fact, Kissinger's doctrine is pretty much alive and well...

Trump’s Support and Praise of Despots Is Central to the U.S. Tradition, Not a Deviation From It

"Imposing or propping up dictators subservient to the U.S. has long been, and continues to be, the preferred means for U.S. policymakers to ensure that those inconvenient popular beliefs are suppressed. None of this is remotely controversial or even debatable. U.S. support for tyrants has largely been conducted out in the open, and has been expressly defended and affirmed for decades by the most mainstream and influential U.S. policy experts and media outlets."

Of course, there are number of downsides to all this. For one, the US loses the moral high ground. This whole empire-building tradition means that when the God-chosen nation does take a stand for "humanitarian" reasons, it's often to bomb other countries and/or justify regime change. Have to make it look good for the folks back home, right?

Read more... )
[identity profile]
Straight to the monthly topic. See, some have argued that Trump's promises of "America first", and about withdrawing America from most conflicts and letting other countries sort their stuff out on their own, which he so generously gave during his election campaign, were spelling danger for world peace. Some even made the comparison to pre-WW2 time when America had its head buried in the sand, believing that two oceans on both sides were protecting her, this way not allowing the world to recover from the Great Depression, and allowing enough leeway to power-hungry wannabe-empires like Japan and Germany to start aggressive expansion.

But worry not, pro-intervention folks! For the time of Trump's promised withdrawal from the world scene only lasted a couple of months - until he clashed with reality, that is.

Now he has made a full 180 from a supposed foreign-policy realist to just another interventionist neocon.

Trump`s biggest flip-flop yet: foreign policy )
[identity profile]
There's hardly a leader or politician left in the West Balkans, and "even wider" (as the Macedonians like to say), who's not willing to shout to Brussels: "Give me my European perspective back!" Indeed, there's wide-spread criticism to EU's behavior to our region coming from all countries in the vicinity. What's more, there are also warnings already. Warnings that if the Euro bureaucrats keep turning the other way to the recent events in Europe's so called "powder keg", Europe could soon be served a whole portion of new conflicts, problems, crises, and even hot wars in one form or another.

That's the context we could use for interpreting a short remark from the other day, made to Brussels by Albanian prime minister Edi Rama. The same Edi Rama who's been rumored to be the patron of the so called "Tirana platform", directing three of the ethnic Albanian political parties in Macedonia, which is being used as argument by the Macedonian politicians to resist the temptation of forming a government together with the Albanians. So, Edi Rama said the other day that if the EU doesn't give a clear sign for a European path to Albania, he wouldn't rule out his country uniting with Kosovo.

Tirana and Pristina have craved such an outcome for a while, although their respective politicians have refrained from stating it openly so far. They simply don't need to. The notion is just ingrained in the mind of every Albanian, wherever they were born. But pronounced in this open manner, Rama's threat was inevitably going to, or indeed, perhaps was meant to cause a sharp reaction from Belgrade. Serbia still views Kosovo as part of itself, unilaterally removed from its territory with the support of the international community and mainly the US, who've done this mostly out of geopolitical expedience, rather than sympathy for the big almond eyes of the Albanians (the latter have caused all sorts of trouble in Europe through the years - arms, drugs and human trafficking, and other sort of organized crime).

Read more... )
[identity profile]
 So, not satisfied with merely sending a carrier to the Indian Ocean, Dorito Benito has decided to treat nuclear weapons deployments to counter a nuclear state perfectly happy to use them on South Korea and Japan as a first option.
Cut )

I guess Dorito Benito wasn't kidding when he said he wanted to fire the damned things off.
[identity profile]
For centuries, Britain and Spain have quarreled for a rock at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula. After the Brexit, this row has sparked up with new force. We've even heard mentions of the word "war". So how real is this prospect?

Just days after the UK started the Brexit procedure, there's a huge scandal brewing over Gibraltar's future. This British overseas territory, carved off the Spanish coast, will have the full support of the British government, PM Theresa May has vowed. The UK has promised to seek the "best possible scenario" from the Brexit negotiations, and this obviously includes Gibraltar. Since most Gibraltarians voted against the Brexit, this has prompted the EU (mostly Spain) to make bold statements about possible plans of granting a special status to residents of the rock when it comes to EU/UK relations. Which of course was seen as a provocation in London, and drew the predicted hostile reaction. Ms May said Britain wouldn't allow Gibraltar to pass under control from another country, seeing blatant territorial claims from Spain.

Read more... )
[identity profile]
The chaos continues, as The Shambling Mound completes its second week as elected mayor of the most important local council in the global village. After introducing new levels of madness in his first week, Lord Dampnut turned his attention to foreign affairs. After all, a suffrance shared is a suffrance doubled, and we all know how Lord Dampnut loves things big.

Certainly the highlight of the week was the executive order banning refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim majority countries, regardless of whether the individuals in question are already US residents, leading to chaos and protests at airports across the country. This ban excluded countries where Lord Dampnut has business dealings, because if there's anything more important than bigotry, it's business. When the Attorney-General pointed out that the ban itself was probably illegal, he had her sacked.

Illustrating the fine diplomatic skills that Lord Dampnut is famous for, he tore the Australian Prime Minister a new one, which was probably a bit embarrassing for both parties. Of course the fact that twelve hundred asylum seekers are, once again, being used as a political football is typical behaviour of those who have never had to need to seek asylum. At least Lord Damput can plead ignorance.

Still, Australia is an ally. Other countries may not be so lucky. Mexico received an surprise offer of military aid to deal with "bad hombres". Iran was officially put on notice, as Spicer falsely claims that the Iran attacked "our naval vessel". Not that you would need to have the National Security Council to advise on such matters. To conclude the week, the most famous event of the twentieth century - the Holocaust - has been rewritten by the White House, omitting reference to Jewish suffering.

Next week might be quieter. After two week's work Lord Dampnut is apparently sufficiently tired to justify a long weekend.
[identity profile]

Even George R.R. Martin Thinks 2016 Was ‘Too Much to Bear’

“Please, let this wretched year come to an end!"

I don't know what it was for you like, personally. But 2016 was quite a horrible year for the world, overall. Even despite the statistical fact that we currently live in the most peaceful and least bloody times in recorded history, 2016 presented us with plenty of reasons to think that the world was going crazy.

Name me one place that is all right! )
[identity profile]
Some are arguing that Trump's unconventional and unpredictable, Twitter-enhanced behaviour regarding international affairs in the early stages of his ascent to the presidency, is not the workings of a madman, or more precisely, not just some random emoting of a spoiled teenage kid who has somehow incidentally found himself at the political scene and doesn't know what to do with his position. They are arguing that it's a well-calculated tactic called the Madman approach, previously employed by Nixon, where he is trying to make himself look dangerously unpredictable in the eyes of America's adversaries (and even the allies).

The purpose is to intimidate everybody into making concessions they wouldn't have made in more "normal" circumstances. Latest example: his reaction about that stolen naval drone, which the Chinese were prompt to return after he tweeted some passive-aggressive remarks that they should "keep it".

Read more... )
[identity profile]
CIA and FBI Now Agree: Russians Hacked to Help Trump

All right. Let's clear something out. To all those who are fuming over Putin's intervention in the US election, I'd like to remind that trying to manipulate elections is actually a well-known American sport. It was the CIA that started their work by intervening in foreign elections as early as 1948, when they influenced the outcome of the Italian elections. There's a book by Tim Weiner about it, called Legacy of Ashes. The purpose was to halt the advancement of the communists in Italian politics.

It was shortly thereafter that that CIA engineered the coup against Mossadegh in Iran. He was the democratically elected leader, right? Wasn't America supposed to be promoting democracy? Well, not really. The US conspired together with the British to install the Shah. We all know what happened after that. Axis of Evil? You created it, and now you're complaining about it!

And then there was Guatemala, Chile... The list could go on for quite a while. Hell, it even includes Japan, the paragon of post-war democracy! The liberal democrats there came to dominate Japanese politics in the early decades of that democracy. Sounds good - except that happened largely thanks to millions of dollars of covert CIA donations. We don't want the people to choose the wrong politicians, do we?

So let`s see now )
[identity profile]

Trump and Putin (plus some help from the right-wing clowns now rearing their heads across Europe) might really be the gravediggers of neoliberalism, the EU, Merkel, the "refugees" et al.

Although they'll have to come to terms between themselves on Syria somehow. Whatever the case, Russia's spiraling down will continue no matter what. Also, China's actions will be crucial. In a few years they'll be number one in the world and they'll be unstoppable - not just because of their military power and sheer numbers, but also the economy that's based on real production rather than the money-printing industry.

The US will have to work towards some kind of alliance - whether it'll be with Russia remains to be seen. Otherwise they don't stand a chance. The monopolar model may've been irretrievably lost already at this point.

In general, a weakened EU will be a breath of fresh air for the US (because short-term profit could be done at the expense of others), but only for a while. There'll be bigger players ready to take a chunk of their pie in the years to come, and Trump will be treading on thin ice in that respect. Not sure the guys he'll be surrounding himself with, are aware of that, or even capable of grasping it, let alone responding to these new realities adequately. But we shall see. You never know with that guy. He could surprise us yet again.
[identity profile]
Case-in-point as per the monthly topic: The Philippines. Their bombastic president Rodrigo Duterte has become prominent for showing the middle finger to America, actually calling Obama a sonofabitch, and generally turning his back on the US interests in the Pacific. Last month he ordered a halt to his nation's long-time military alliance with the US (read: being a US puppet), and got entangled in a bitter war of words with the global empire. Now he's ordering the US troops to leave the country, and America to stop treating the Philippines "as a doormat".

To put this into perspective... )
[identity profile]
...And hardly a word has been uttered anywhere about it.

Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire Erdogan’s aggressive nationalism is now spilling over Turkey’s borders, grabbing land in Greece and Iraq.

To put this in some more context,

Erdogan’s expansionism claims “from Thessaloniki to Mosul, from Gaza to Siberia”
“We will have to deny our identity if we consider that what is happening from Gaza to Siberia where we speak the same language and share the same culture, does not concern us.”
He cited “some historians” – Turkish, of course – who “believe that the borders of the National Oath* also include Cyprus, Aleppo [Syria], Mosul, Arbil and, Kirkuk [Iraq], in Batum [Georgia], Kardzhali, Varna [Bulgaria], Thessaloniki and the Aegean islands.”

Here's the deal. Turkey has violated the territorial integrity of at least three separate countries: Syria, Iraq, and Greece. And now they are openly discussing and examining the annexation of territory within those countries, and a whole array of other sovereign countries, by extension.

So where are the endless stories and reports decrying Turkish aggression, expansionism and imperialism? Apparently, multiple invasions and the de facto annexation of territory is only a problem when it concerns Russia, right?

Meanwhile, the fascist Turkish government continues to slaughter the liberal-democratic Kurds in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, and amping up its crackdown on anyone they don't like. The outrage over this has not just been non-existent, some have even praised it.

Does this gross violation of human rights warrant attention from Western governments or the western media the way they've gotten worked up about Assad? Hardly.

Just keep this in mind the next time you hear someone rant about Russian aggression. Chances are it's not the aggression itself that bothers them.
[identity profile]
"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer" - Henry Kissinger

First off, now that we've established that given the available options, a Clinton in the White House is much more preferable than a Trump (well, isn't anything preferable to Trump?), now let's talk about what we should be bracing ourselves for, once we've got a Clinton II at the helm (and I do mean the whole world). Just to provide some context, let me remind that Henry Kissinger was instrumental to the murder of literally millions of people:

"Kissinger... enabled dictators, extended the Vietnam War, laid the path to the Khmer Rouge killing fields, stage-managed a genocide in East Timor, overthrew the democratically elected left-wing government in Chile, and encouraged Nixon to wiretap his political adversaries."

This, in addition to Kissinger ordering the US air force to carry out "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia... Anything that flies on anything that moves". In other words, an explicit order for genocide.

And yet... )
[identity profile]
We've talked about this before. The idea that Hillary could go trigger-happy in world affairs just because some prominent neocons have endorsed her, was dismissed as outlandish. But the voices making the same point keep on mounting. Here's one:

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Relevant part:

Vijay Prashad: "But let’s take the case of Hillary Clinton. You know, here’s somebody who actually pushed Obama to go into the Libyan operation. You know, Obama was reticent to enter the operation in Libya. The French were very eager. And Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, you know, damn the consequences. And I think, therefore, if you’re looking at this from outside the United States, there’s a real reason to be terrified that whoever becomes president—as Medea Benjamin put it to me in an interview, whoever wins the president, there will be a hawk in the White House."

Read more... )
[identity profile]
Time for more insinuation, but this time about Trump. His financial ties to Russia, more specifically. Let's see how this tomato-pelting session goes. Perhaps we're going to have a far more positive response from the audience. Trump is a bad guy after all, haven't we all agreed on that already?

First off, Trump has said he admires Putin. Strong leader who knows what he's doing, and one who doesn't shy away from doing what's "right", no matter the consequences. Whatever "right" might mean - to me this sort of approach seems rather fascist-ish (to use another label we like to ascribe to Trump), but that might just be me.

Then, there's the fact that guys like Kim Jong Un and Putin seem to like and admire him back.  The feeling seems to be mutual there. We've heard what he has said about them, and we've seen what they think of him. These should get a room for themselves, or something.

Read more... )

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Divisive Rhetoric


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