Saturday, October 31, 2015

Crash & Burn, and other apocalyptic tales

Vienna, October 30, 2015: the Annual Lodge Meeting, AKA the Annual All Sinners Day Encounter, or the New Vienna Congress 2015: celebrating the passing of 200 years since the conclusion of the first Vienna Congress
DDGD – October 30, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by: The Proxy Wars Consortium – we’re just greedy amoral assholes, too busy with the big picture to notice those pesky little details called citizens and children.

 Editorial Comment

The Polonialist Dictum emerging out of the Vienna Meeting and addressed to the Syrian people and opposition groups can be summarized in one simple sentence: it’s time for you to begin making peace with the realities we are imposing upon you. During this internal peacemaking process, the expiry dates of some useful idiots will come to pass, and new useful idiots will be produced. Sources say that my name is being bandied about as a potential member in this new idiotic bunch, but this comes as a major surprise to me, since I’ve never been “useful.” Just ask my family.  

 Briefly Noted

Egypt: Russian Passenger Plane With 224 Aboard Crashes in the Sinai. Even if this turned up to be an accident, the possibility of it being the result of a terrorist act will linger in the minds of many Russians – a people who have historically prove to be no less susceptible to the allure conspiracy theories than Arabs. The current context, that is, Russia’s participation in the Syrian civil war on the side of Assad, will serve to reinforce this impression. Indeed, so long as Russian strikes proceed in Syria, every accident and every tragedy involving Russian victims will be seen as terrorist in nature by many Russians, and will contribute to the quietly growing domestic disaffection with Putin. To boost, echoes of Chechnya are still reverberating in the consciousness of so many Russians. The ghosts of the past have not exorcized yet, and may never be, and Putin continuous strumming on the cords of fear is not helping: “Putin told the council that it was imperative to review and if necessary, strengthen Russia’s defense protocols against “nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological threats, both in peacetime and — God forbid, of course — in wartime.”

They freed a Syrian town from ISIS. Now they have to govern it. And governing means finding ways for Arabs and Kurds and Kurds from different political groups and factions to live together in peace, finding ways to accommodate the needs and aspirations of the Christian minorities in their midst, or willing to return to live amongst them. The ability to govern “liberated” areas well is critical for the return to stabilization, especially now that a new offensive against IS/Daesh headquarters has been launched.

When governments shirk their responsibilities, children drown as volunteers, relying on meager resources, try to do their job, and find themselves having to “live with death every day.” But Europe continues to exert a certain pull, the promise of a better life with security, liberty and justice are no longer dreams but experienced realities, even as certain rightwing forces try to undermine this premise for all. And since moderates cannot be safe in neighboring countries, as ISIS killing and beheading of Syrian activists in the town of Sanliurfa in Turkey shows, where are all the decent people going to go?

How ISIS Spread in the Middle East: And how to stop it. A long read by David Ignatius about how a series of unfortunate errors paved the way to the rise of IS/Daesh. But it fails to pay enough attention to the roles played by the Iranian and Syrian regimes in this phenomenon. Also, near the end of the narration, there is a quote attributed to Raja Sidawi and with which Ignatius concurs to the effect that “America has not changed Iraq or Syria, but the wars there have indeed changed America.” But in reality, America has been changing countries since the 1950s. No, she was not the only one, and yes, the major problem here is our region’s ability to churn out so many useful idiots, and yes, this dynamics have been having an impact on America and everywhere else in the world it seems. Why? Because there is no perfect victimhood in life, a reality that the members of the International Left still find hard to understand it seems. The dynamics governing our interrelations have always been a two-way street.

Bernie Sanders: US sending troops to Syria could mean ‘perpetual warfare.’ Well, Bernie, let’s talk about this for a second. I don’t like war any more than you do, and I am a strong believer in nonviolence. But I don’t take it as a religion, and I know that it has practical limitations, especially when dealing with psychopaths, ideologues and megalomaniacs armed with the considerable resources and institutions of the states they happen to control. Dealing with such figures and systems sometimes leaves us little choice but to engage in warfare as part of that “perpetual struggle” against our darker sides and its myriad all too real manifestations in our lives. Now, there are those in the free world who in order to avoid this necessity tend to in delusional thinking, for instance, by insisting that certain starkly criminal figures are in fact “reformers-in-waiting” and need to be cajoled into “coming out” through constant engagement and reassurances. Obviously the strategy didn’t work with Assad, as John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and so many members of Congress can attest. The desire to avoid warfare at any cost paves the way for even greater, longer and deadlier wars. There is no wisdom in refusing to see that.

Month into Russia's Syria strikes, what has changed? Not much, except for a spike in dead bodies, mutilations, and refugees. Russian intervention in Syria: significant, but not a ‘game changer’. Rebels simply found ways to adapt to the changing battle scene: Trenches tactics help rebels survive Syria onslaught.

With Syria escalation, Obama may win leverage on and off battlefield. Rather, with a serious Syrian escalation, Obama could win leverage on and off battlefield. With the current one, he might get a Popsicle at best.

Iran Unleashed. All manner of unsavory and downright criminal regimes and figures have been unleashed of late. This is what dumb delusional diplomacy gets you: a world without rules, a jungle, a set of colliding dystopias.

Airstrikes Kill 227 Civilians in Bloodiest Day, Including 65 Children and Women. How do we know this? On account of those Syrians risking their lives to collect these data in the hope that justice might prevail some hapless day.

 Quote of the Day

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” --John Quincy Adams (But not necessarily a good leader, since Al-Baghdadi, the Caliph of our time, has similar effect on his followers)   

 Tweets of the Day
 Video(s) of the Day

Benedict Cumberbatch's speech at the end of Hamlet at the Barbican Centre on Monday, 12 October 2015. He is asking for donations for Save the Children and their projects to help Syrian refugees.

 Artistic Delirium

“Apocalypse” – by the recently departed Syrian painter Omar Hamdi,AKA Malva


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