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[personal profile] halialkers
So, as was recently shown, North Korea has indeed developed ICBMs that give it the capacity now to strike US soil, specifically Alaska (not that there'd be anything of actual value beyond wildlife lost if they did).
Iraq and North Korea: Axis of Idiotic US fixations  )

Context in all its morbid and even hilarious irony  )

The Cold War repeated as farce )

Of such morbid irony is the whim of reality, which unlike fiction needs no pretense of consistency or event A logically and neatly following from a cause that would indicate that this event could become that one.


[identity profile] abomvubuso.livejournal.com
https://media1.britannica.com/eb-media/20/6220-004-5D922DDB.jpg

A number of religious and ethnic conflicts are brewing again in the West Balkans, and the situation is starting to get dangerous. There are quite a few quarrels on that relatively small territory, some bigger, others smaller. Among them:

- The quarrel between Slovenia and Croatia about their sea border in the Gulf of Piran, as well as in the mountainous area of Sveta Gera.
- The quarrel between Croatia and Serbia about several islands inside the Danube river, including Sarengrad and Vukovar.
- The attempts of Republika Srpska, which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to join Serbia.
- The demands of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (14% of the population) to join Croatia.
- The secessionist movement in North Kosovo by ethnic Serbs who want to join Serbia.
- The demands of the Albanians in South Serbia to join Kosovo.
- The attempts of the Serbs in Montenegro (about half the population) to bring the country back into a union with Serbia.
- The quarrel between Croatia and Montenegro about the Prevlaka peninsula in the Bay of Tivat, etc.
Right now, the relations between the former Yugoslav republics are the worst since the time of the last Balkan Wars in 1991/2001. More and more republics and national-ethnic formations on the Balkans are calling for major map redrawals and federalisation of the existing states. This has caused quite a few analogies to 1912 (the Balkan Wars) and 1914 (WW1), as well as the early 90s (the collapse of Yugoslavia).

Read more... )
[identity profile] dreamville-bg.livejournal.com
I'm hearing opposing accounts from Syrian expats living here. Granted, most Syrian expats, being dissident refugees from the Assad regime, tend to support the official international position that Assad is evil, he's killing his own people, and he should be removed from power by God's blessing and the strong hand of the resolute president Trump who's now acting like a true Dear Leader.

However, one Syrian analyst argued the chemical attack was a false-flag, staged by the extremist "rebels" (there are indications that Assad had given up all his WMDs years ago, and that the WMDs used in this attack had a different signature from the ones Assad used to have). The idea was to get the US involved in the war and tip the scales away from Assad, who's been winning since the Russians got involved. That makes a lot of sense, frankly. After all, Assad has no interest to antagonize the whole world by using WMDs now, when he has almost won. In the past, maybe. Things were looking rather grim for him a few years ago, and he could've had a rationale for using WMDs back then. But now?

Besides, where's the proof that he had WMDs in that particular air base? Are we again jumping into a conflict based on an insinuation, like in Iraq? The media are cumming all over president Trump now, praising him for being presidential and even describing the bombing of that air base as "beautiful" and "poetic". Are we going to play this game again now? And how many times can the same mistake be repeated?
[identity profile] mahnmut.livejournal.com
The bar has been lowered quite a bit, hasn't it? Since even liberal pundits like Fareed Zakaria are now saying Trump has suddenly started to "look presidential" after his resolute actions against Assad in Syria.

Here's the deal. After years of holding a stance against intervention in Syria and repeatedly criticizing Obama for making a case for getting involved into "another quagmire", Trump now suddenly watches some heart-breaking footage of dead children on FOX, and decides enough is enough, and Assad should be punished. He doesn't need much evidence that it was Assad who gassed those people (although he's the most likely culprit, granted), or that indeed it was that base where the gas attack had been launched from. He just needs his fave pundits on FOX to tell him what a terrible person Assad is, and how he should be removed.

How is any of this presidential? )
[identity profile] mahnmut.livejournal.com
The first 45 days of the new presidency show that despite his promises, he keeps pursuing the same failed interventionist policies that he used to criticize his predecessors for:

U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432% Since Trump Took Office

Trump the candidate was very nebulous and misleading about the military operations he would support as president. He used to claim he had been opposed to the Iraq War in 2003, although in reality he supported it. He claimed he had opposed the Libyan intervention in 2011, while in reality he was strongly supportive of it, and even called for sending US troops on the ground.

Still, Trump and his surrogates constantly claim he would support bloody overseas wars much less than "Crooked Hillary". That may or may not be true, but since he became president, he has considered sending more troops to Syria, loosening the rules for air strikes, and increasing the deadly firepower that the US supplies the Syrian rebel groups with (some of them, openly Jihadist).

But there is this one indicator where Trump's foreign policy is clearly showing to be even more interventionist than that of his predecessor's: the approved drone strikes and spec-ops in foreign lands, where the US is waging undeclared, unofficial wars: Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia.

Read more... )
[identity profile] dreamville-bg.livejournal.com
Trump’s First Military Operation Kills 8-Year-Old Girl, 6 Years After Obama Killed Her Brother

It’s really sad that the crazy American war machine is immune to scientific and rational reality-testing of its perverse ideas: Targeted killings of high-value targets DOES NOT WORK! Especially not against an ideology-based hydra with enourmous recruitment potential. Against such a foe, targeted killings work as a forced evolution of the leadership group towards smarter, more creative, more radical, more ruthless and more covert people and unless the recruitment to the group is blocked as well, the capacity and viciousness of the group increases.

In fact the biggest terrorists are the US congress and the corporations they work for. he American soldiers aren't defending America because America is not being attacked, rather they're pointlessly losing their lives for agenda-driven, narcissistic wealthy elites that will do anything to have power and control and continue this worldwide unrest.

The establishment creates false narratives and instills fear in societies such as America to justify what they do and continue to segregate groups in order to divide and conquer. The more you think that people in the Middle-East are the "Others" you should fear, the more power you are handing over to the figureheads of the corporatocracy that continue to act as a mouthpiece for the various corporate industrial complexes: military, financial, energy, food, pharmaceutical, prison, etc.

The more the US expands this idea of "terrorism", the more they will expand wars and armed attacks into more and more countries - for their agendas. Whoever believed the new administration was going to interrupt this vicious cycle, was an idiot.
[identity profile] johnny9fingers.livejournal.com
Bannon, obviously.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/02/steve-bannon-donald-trump-war-south-china-sea-no-doubt

As declarations of intent go this is pretty telling.

As my mad chum would say, in his rhyming way

Is Bannon
A loose cannon?

So, being the resident TP odds-setter and bookie my questions are:

If there is war, how soon will it take to go nuclear?

Will there be much collateral damage to Europe, apart from nuclear winter, the loss of crops, and the disintegration of the world economy?

And how will Bannon and Trump manage to blame it all on illegal immigrants, asylum-seekers and other folk with pigmentation divergent from Mr Bannon's ideals?
[identity profile] dreamville-bg.livejournal.com
Here's a handful of crackpot conspiracy theories for breakfast. Let's see if something sticks, and helps your digestion. See, for the last few weeks US secretary of state Kerry has toured nearly half the world, doing his best not to lag behind his Russian counterpart Lavrov, pushing hard for a ceasefire in Earth's current hottest spot, Syria. Several times he has said in the media he was doing this on Obama's bidding, which is natural. The former is the latter's employee, after all. Indeed, the Nobel peace prize laureate did need some tangible peace-related success at the end of his term, especially after the debacles in Beijing and Manila. He also needed a "see? we're the good cop, but Russia is blocking us cos they're sobad" sort of narrative, for propaganda purposes.

Problem is, the peace he seemed to be pushing so hard for, got instantly shot in the leg, and not by his presumed foe Putin, but by factors dwelling back home. Just two days after the much heralded ceasefire was proclaimed, the US-led coalition hit Syrian positions from the sky, killing scores of Syrian troops (Russia massacred UN aid workers shortly thereafter, which is even more deplorable - although Putin's own transgressions are a whole separate story on its own). The issue here are those positions that the US bombed. The positions were not ISIS. They were Assad. Contrary to what they'd tell you on the media, there can't have been much confusion about their identity. Assad's positions were well known, as were ISIS positions at the time. They could be clearly recognized from the sky.

Logically, the question arose, what is ISIS in relation to the US. Foe? Friend? What is it? And why would the US ultimately want to give ISIS a breath of fresh air by hitting the troops that were directly fighting them on the field? (As opposed to distantionally, from the sky, as the US usually fights). Don't the series of deadly terror attacks at both sides of the Atlantic mean anything? If they do, why would a US operation want to aid ISIS while claiming to fight ISIS? And even more importantly, who's really running the US military?

More of the same sort of rant... )
[identity profile] underlankers.livejournal.com
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/saudi-arabia-appears-to-be-using-american-supplied-white-phosphorus-in-its-war-in-yemen-a7316841.html

^The patron saint of US asshole regimes adored and given money out the ass to run their little neomedieval autocratic fantasylands is now not only further involved in the forgotten war the USA is fighting in Lebanon, but employing white phosphorus. This is, to put it perfectly frankly, a war crime and yet further proof of why nobody with a brain cell to rub together in the region trusts the United States or anyone associated with it.

For the last few years the Nobel Peace Prize winner at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has been waging a long-term undeclared war in Yemen, which if anyone had bothered to consult what happened when Nasser tried that shit they would have realized like Afghanistan Yemen is a resource hog that eats armies alive and asks for more whenever the maw of death is insufficiently glutted. The same people who thronged in hundreds of thousands to protest George Bush are conspicuous in their silence here as well, because nobody gives a flying fuck in the USA's so-called antiwar movement about open-ended bloodbaths when it's not a Republican in office. Overseas, perhaps, but then overseas lives with and sees what the USA does, here we pretend it doesn't happen like we live in a vacuum.

What's more, my country is supplying these neomedieval pieces of shit with the very materials used to commit the war crimes in question. With friends like this, the USA really doesn't need to bother invading countries to make enemies, this kind of foreign policy genius is gonna take care of that even if occupation armies were entirely removed.
[identity profile] underlankers.livejournal.com
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/21/politics/mustard-gas-us-troops/index.html

Daesh finally managed to do what nobody since the FDR Administration has done: hit US troops with a WMD in time of war. Technically it was a damp fizzle, nobody was hurt and the shell was poorly maintained, but it's a case of finally goading the superpower with a direct WMD strike of any sort at all. US policy here for some decades is that use of chemical weapons against US troops is literal grounds for bringing out canned sunshine. WMDs haven't been used by US troops with the Bari exception since the 1940s in anger, except Agent Orange and other defoliants in Vietnam, and of course tear gassing US civilians in the streets.

Yes, for US readers, tear gas is a chemical weapon so US law enforcement regularly gasses civilians. Put that way US policing starts looking rather totalitarian, don't it? But this is the first external use of any kind of chemical weapon on US troops since the First World War. What, if anything, comes of this is is a fascinating question in all the worst ways. Do I expect WWIII? No, I sincerely think humanity will still tease itself with its impending apocalypse while lacking the balls to go through with it.

But this does make WWIII much less hypothetical than it used to be and is a potentially profound moment in the worst senses of the term. In the height of the Cold War contemporary terrorist movements may have had the weapons but never dared to do even failed launches at the superpowers. Now one has.

The Chinese cursed wisely. "May you live in interesting times." And while I understand the idea of rational responses, as Paris showed, Europeans will piss and moan about the evils of imperialism until their citizens are the ones being killed by would-be martyrs operating on neomedieval mindsets at which point they bring out the bombers and start reverting back to 19th Century methods with finest fashion. So what happens if this is ignored and the next use of mustard gas hits, say, Parisians?  Judging by the previous response, we certainly can't see the French being more restrained than the US?

For that matter, letting it slide and essentially giving terrorist movements open season to perfect use of gas shells on US/NATO troops is literally gambling that these people can't learn from experience or perfect the use of chemical weapons. Technology's been around since the 1880s at least, so it's not like they're *all that* sophisticated to get right. So how should the response be calibrated here?
[identity profile] luvdovz.livejournal.com
Whoever really believed the armistice that Lavrov and Kerry achieved for Syria a few days ago, was going to last, must have not paid any attention at all.

Not only was that cease-fire not respected by either Assad's forces or the so called "moderate rebels" (not to mention Daesh), but it was being actively violated in the very first hours after the agreement.

Syria war ceasefire: Government and rebels violate peace deal 'within hours', say activists

The accusations between Russia and the US started raining within hours, too. The biggest problem here being, there's no chance to get the much needed aid into the cities that most need it. And the situation remains disastrous.

And of course, now comes this:

Syria conflict: US air strikes 'kill dozens of government troops'

Of course, given the fact that both the US and Russia have refused to coordinate their actions in an increasingly complicated situation, resulting in close encounters and misunderstandings on the field, such incidents were bound to occur at one point - and increase in frequency. And of course, both sides are now going to use the occasions for some propaganta. Russia has alleged that this incident is proof that the US really supports terrorists. The US says "investigation is underway, no more comments". The more neutral observers are bemoaning the lack of political will between these two great powers to work more closely together. And the incompetence of the US command which, in lack of enough data, seems too trigger-happy in conducting high-risk operations, the US diplomacy then having to wipe the shit from all over the place afterwards.

Ultimately, the conclusion here is that this conflict is not going to end anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Merkel is getting hammered in Germany because of her open-arms policy towards the migrants (an issue directly related to the ongling mess in Syria, but also the chaos that Gaddafi's removal has caused in Lybia). And Putin has expectedly won the Russian election by a landslide - so, expect more of the same in the years to come.
[identity profile] abomvubuso.livejournal.com
Recently relevant case in point: Laos. Obama did try to heal old wounds while visiting the South-East Asian country. He was actually the first US president to visit Laos - ever. Still, the country has half a century old grudge with the US. The American invasion in Laos had all the features of a horror thriller movie from the Vietnam War times. One only with losing sides in it. And the biggest loser of them all was of course the people of Laos.

They were relentlessly bombed by the US between 1964 and 1973. The first 5 years were actually secret war - even the US Congress was kept in the dark about it. The US unloaded over 2 million tons of bombs over Laos, many of them never exploding. 1/3 of the country is still covered with cluster bombs today, many are still taking lives. Some regions will probably never be fully cleaned.


Read more... )
[identity profile] luzribeiro.livejournal.com
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] underlankers.livejournal.com

Four or so years ago, Assad started shelling Turkish villages and Ankara wanted a major NATO intervention in the Syrian Civil War.

cut for length and links )


Does Turkey's intervention amount to anything more than oppressing a long-oppressed group denied its rights still further? Yes. At the end of the day, the USA and the EU must decide if they intend NATO and anti-terrorist rhetoric to mean anything, or if Turkey, which is clearly degenerating into the worst excesses of the region it's in, should have a free hand to engage in wholesale imperialism using anti-terrorism as a cover.

Then again too it's a bit late to decide that particular barn door should be locked after 2003 blew it wide open and carried off the whole farm with it. The real victims here will remain the long-suffering people of Syria who've seen their country halved and turned into a latter-day variant of 1930s Spain with Great Powers fighting over the twitching corpse purely to prove a point.

[identity profile] mahnmut.livejournal.com
Turns out, the war crime blame game is not so cut and dry, eh? The villain has turned out to be not-so-villainous, after all...

...And nobody cared. Still looking around the news-feeds and news aggregates, nobody is reporting on this essential news. Nobody anywhere near the top pages anyway. And the second-from-top pages. And third. It could be buried somewhere under heaps of useless stuff, granted, but it ain't where it ought to be. But that's not the point.

Why is this news "essential" - that's the point. Well, because it displays yet another example of the modern recipe of how to conquer a country. Create fake instability, mark a villain, send in "peace-keeping troops", and boom - you got yourself a country. Then build military bases while keeping control of leadership by placing a well-trained US-educated puppet in power. Then, after everyone has forgotten all about the evil dictator (preferably conveniently murdered in an "extrajudicial" assassination), you can safely apologize for having picked the wrong villain and being on the wrong side of history. Oops! Sorry. Did we do that again? But not to worry! You get to keep the military bases anyway, and the country will stay under your control. Can't let a good banana republic go to waste. Brilliant! World domination in a few simple steps, copy and repeat.

It`s probably not news because the scheme is actually pretty old )
[identity profile] tcpip.livejournal.com
In 2004 Prime Minister, John Howard, has said that he takes total responsibility for Australia's decision to join the war. However as the the Chilcot Inquiry has shown the decision to invade Iraq was most certainly a breach of international criminal law and and specifically a crime against peace. Now all this is evident, Howard has the temerity to claim "I am sorry for the wounds or injuries that anybody suffered".

In what way is this "total responsibility" or apology going to be shown? In the world of political double-speak, "total responsibility" means "no responsibility", and a generic apology to everyone means a specific apology to nobody. Is John Howard, in any way, going to make restitution to the families of the hundreds of thousands who have been violently killed as a result of the invasion, and for the subsequent rise of global conflict and terrorism related to that invasion, even if on a pro-rata basis? Will he visit these families and make a personal apology? Or will he, as he continues to do, defend the decision to engage in the invasion.

No restoration is possible when the atrocity is so great. Ideally, following the Chilcot Inquiry, there should be an extension of the powers of the International Criminal Court to include Crimes of Aggression which, although defined, the ICC has no power to exercise its jurisdiction. If that was the case, the likes of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard - along with an assembled group of motley if powerful cronies - would spend some time at The Hague answering a few difficult questions. In the meantime however, there is a clear and demonstrated need for an Australian (and US) investigation equivalent to the Chilcot Inquiry, with equally broad terms of reference and inquiry, to determine Australia's role and decision-making in this tragedy - because that would be the responsible thing to do.
[identity profile] underlankers.livejournal.com
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/armenia-heavy-fighting-in-nagorno-karabakh-helicopter-hit/2016/04/02/9396dd14-f89f-11e5-958d-d038dac6e718_story.html

Armenia and Azerbaijan are at it again. This time the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh are posting pictures of the dead Azeris (a bad PR move) and it's given Putin an unexpected chance to be a genuine statesman and peacemaker if he decides to take it. Or given his prior pattern he'll just bomb shit to ashes and choose to take a leaf out of the US book and initiate major force without any clear goal or endgame as to what the force is theoretically intended to achieve. But in any event in the midst of surprising chaos, here's some that actually fits right into prior patterns fairly niftily. The more things change, the less some of them change. 
[identity profile] underlankers.livejournal.com
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-syria-peace-talks-20160314-story.html

So Russia just decided (by which it clearly means Putin decided) to withdraw its military forces, at least the bulk of them, from Syria. Which is interesting as it offers them an easy chance to potentially end the war on favorable terms to a degree, and to avoid protracting a war that was clearly backfiring against Putin's interests in the long term. So now the biggest potential cause of WWIII has been nipped in the bud, moving this from potentially civilization busting catastrophe to merely a catastrophe in a more regional sense.

It's one of those genuinely savvy moves from a man I largely see as a brute that makes me wonder if he learned more from the KGB than means to creatively murder people he doesn't like.

Now, the war might drag on after this, it probably will. Russian aid has been the key factor propping up Assad while the USA might just have been clever enough to wait out the Russian economy's implosion and ending up able to impose a bit more of its own will.

What happens? Who knows. Either way, Syria just got a whole lot more interesting for all kinds of reasons, and good on Putin for deciding for a change to not endlessly waste money on a futile war. If only American leaders could be half as intelligent. 
[identity profile] underlankers.livejournal.com
http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2016/02/22/did-russia-just-threaten-turkey-with-nuclear-weapons/
cut for length )

However, that implies that Russia is going to go beyond this precedent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kargil_War

Which, as might be straightforward, was another of those quasi-not really but kinda yeah nuclear wars between zealously Muslim US-sponsored terrorist creating Pakistan and quasi kinda sorta meh whatever secularist India, when it's not got problems with both Muslim and Hinduvta fanatics wanting to retcon Nehru's idea for a new religious state joining all the other great success stories that exist only in the minds of deluded religious adherents. Even when one side believes Brahman justifies itself and the other is all hot and willing to blow up its sons and daughters in Helmand and Kabul for Allah, nuclear weapons never were fully resorted to.

But sure, like the USA over Cuba and the Soviet Union with the Ussuri River, Russia will totally end the period when the only state to use nuclear weapons in anger is the USA over fucking Damascus. Even goddamn Israel ain't willing to use fucking nukes in the region over wars that are much more relevant to it than any war here is to people in Putin's Russia. The USA has set a precedent of nuclear brinksmanship, but at the same time the last time anyone used the damn things was 1945. Endless posturing about this is just empty bravado, and in this case in no small part a reflection of a regime that judging by the forgotten protests is not entirely as stable as its KGB Apparatchik likes to think.

Now if the USA is fucking stupid enough to elect the walking hairpiece with a mummified animal on his bald skull, we might actually see WWIII from two macho posturers incapable of walking their way back from anything halfway intelligent. If. But right now, this is just a sign of further escalation, a sign that the bear learned the wrong lessons very well from the eagle, and yet more proof of what a smashing success Hillary Clinton's Reset policy was. Yes, the USA did reset things all right....right back to 1953! And for this we want to reward the dipshit that reverted the clock back a few decades with the same power Putin and Obama have, the ability to fire nukes in anger!

If there are any alien imperialists out there wanting to blaze Earth for an intergalactic highway, c'mon ahead, humanity keeps sinking the bar lower enough that you couldn't do any worse with this space than we are! 
[identity profile] underlankers.livejournal.com
There is no way even if Hell freezes over that Russia is actually going to start a legitimate war with a NATO power and risk a general nuclear exchange over the fucking Kurds. This is the PKK and its like-minded movements trying a really, really audacious bluff. We will sooner see Putin sent to Katorga in Siberia than an actual NATO-Russia conflict, because the oligarchs know that if it goes to that the nukes'll wreck their money and they won't like being penniless any more than large parts of Europe will like Cerenkhov Radiation as street lights.

Parts of the USA may have it, but who knows after all these years if the nukes'll even work. Obama's not intending to replace them all for confidence that they will, after all. But if Russia does do this, well, Europe's long delusion that it could let the USA pay for its military defense and never have to fight any wars itself ever again just got shot between the eyes. I highly doubt Russia's oligarchs will allow this, though. Very highly.

The reason I'm all for brinksmanship with the Russians is precisely because I believe Putin, in the wake of the protests of 2011-3 and 2014-5, is fragile enough in power that a full-scale counter-response like this would topple him and that's all she wrote for his regime and that puts Russia on the back burner for another generation.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-18/kurds-warn-turkey-of-big-war-with-russia-if-troops-enter-syria

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