Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 13, 2007

Iran Timing

As Glenn Greenwald points out, Bush/Cheney believe they do not need congressional authorization to attack Iran. In this they are supported by the legal opinion of the author of the torture memos, John Yoo. He argues:

"As a matter of practice and history, presidents have used force abroad without any congressional authorization, [..] including the war in Kosovo, which I do not recall Senator Biden challenging as a violation of the Constitution."

Yesterday Laura Rozen wrote about possible findings and/or directives Bush may have signed for an attack on Iran.

Bush certainly has signed a finding allowing the CIA to counter Hizbullah in Lebanon. Secretary of State Rice confirmed authorization by Bush to arrest Iranian diplomats in sovereign Iraq. The recent direct military intervention with U.S. special forces on the ground in Somalia was done without specific congressional authorization (and without any protest.) The administration sees that operation as a blueprint for further missions.

Given the above, there is hardly any doubt that Bush would start an attack on Iran without an explicite authorization by Congress. To threaten the administration with "constitutional conflict" like Senator Biden has done will not deter it. The White House already prepared for this when it recently lawyered up with a specialist for presidential conflict with Congress.

While some like Senator Hagel think that an attack on Iran would be comparable to Nixon's attack on Cambodia, a last "surge" to cover a retreat, I believe the plan is different and bigger.

As Josh Marshall analysed nearly four years ago:

Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.

To me an attack on Iran seems certain, but what has to happen before it can take place?

First the military assets have to be in place. Currently there is no carrier task force in the Persian Gulf. The Eisenhower is near Somalia while the Stennis will leave Bremerton on Tuesday. For both to reach the Gulf, at least some three weeks are needed.

Unlike earlier I now think it does make sense to use two carriers in an attack because some U.S. allies in the Gulf may deny the U.S. the right to use the bases there for direct attacks on Iran. (BTW - these facilities in Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain are huge.) When we know whereto those Patriot missiles Bush announced to deploy are send, we will also know which air bases will be used in an attack.

The last of the additional five brigades to Iraq (only one is really additional, the others are brigades on extended missions) will deploy in May. As only three of the additional brigades will be needed in Baghdad, the other two may well have the mission to keep the roads from Kuwait to Baghdad open. These are certainly endangered when Iran gets attacked.

That attack will also require the seizure of Iranian oil plattforms and some smaller Iranian islands in the Gulf. Some Special Operation forces and/or Marines will be needed for that. The Expeditionary Strike Group Boxer is currently in the Gulf and just got its deployment extended, but the 15. Marine Expeditionary Unit, i.e. the troops that belong to it, is still in Anbar, Iraq. This element is thereby currently still missing.

On the personal side the military seems to be ready. Even though two ground wars are taking place in the Central Command area, a Navy air power specialist has been installed as CentCom commander.

But I still expect Rice to resign for personal reasons and Negroponte to take her job before the new war gets hot. Especially after the assault on her during last weeks Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, her resignation seems certain. To let it happen after an attack would look like her taking responsibility or showing dissatisfaction and will have to be avoided.

As promised, the Saudis have lowered the oil price and the world wide strategic petroleum reserves are filled up. A temporary interuption of the flow of oil, now or during the summer, will not have a devastating economic effect.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the Israelis are both pressing for war as are Bush/Cheney and the Neocons. With all the nessessary conditions being in place early this summer, I believe an attack arount June to be very likely.

There are ways for Congress to stop the war on Iraq and to prevent one on Iran. But without massive public counterpressure to the lobbying of AIPAC and Israeli hawks, there is no chance that certain Democrats in Congress will vote for one of the possible measures.

Even if there is such public pressure, a USS Maine event can easily be manufactured on short notice and then propagandizes to turn the public mood to war.

The only way out is the U.S. public to take an active stand against this and to be aware of any attempt of manipulation. I am not hopeful for that to happen.

Posted by b on January 13, 2007 at 13:50 UTC | Permalink

Comments

B,

I'm very glad you picked up on the JM piece I linked to yesterday and have gotten your hammer out.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 14:07 utc | 1

B,

Your link to the Stennis says: With the Bremerton, Wash.-based Stennis in the Middle East...

It's already there.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 14:16 utc | 2

#2 - wrong. mea culpa. read the thing too fast. you're right, b.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 14:19 utc | 3

Thanks for an excellent and thought-provoking post.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 13 2007 14:45 utc | 4

Thirteen Choruses For the Divine Marquis
I dreamed I called Rita Hayworth on the phone and asked her if she hears the babies of Hiroshima screaming in the night.

Note* b, In my often abstract and fleeting mind I see things a bit askew then most. Hence this post where some would say doesn't belong. I say looking and seeing are two entirerly different things.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 13 2007 15:01 utc | 5

Is China on board with Iran timing?

... China's helpful stance at this juncture will considerably strengthen the US strategy to "contain" Iran. Britain continues to be solidly with Washington. France is far too preoccupied with upcoming presidential elections. Germany under Chancellor Angela Merkel is restoring the traditional flavor of its trans-Atlantic ties. Thus, with China's "defection", Washington hopes to isolate Russia within the Security Council by the time the March deadline comes for the reviewing progress on Resolution 1737.
...

But the most important factor in Chinese thinking will be the strategic considerations of its relationship with Saudi Arabia. The exchange of visits by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and Hu to each other's capitals within a four-month period early last year greatly cemented Saudi-Chinese political equations.
...

Saudi Arabia's credentials for helping China fulfill its target are far more credible than Iran's.
...
The heart of the matter is that ideology or no ideology, as China's integration with the world economy grows deeper it is in China's interest to help the Bush administration preserve the stability of the Middle East's political order.
...

Against this background of gathering storms, Olmert was given a red-carpet welcome in Beijing with full military honors at the Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square. During the banquet in Olmert's honor, the band played "Jerusalem of Gold".

Very scary alignment here.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 15:09 utc | 6

I can imagine a process much worse than plain bombing and strafing. I can imagine an unimaginable catastrophe. Do you remember Litvinenko? whose death has miraculously disappeared from the news? Wasn't it a warning? I can imagine a few curies of Polonium 210 spread here and there, poisoning oil wells, creating stampedes of whole cities if not nations, producing disorder on a scale never seen before, the scale of terror that the destruction of the earth by warming would take decennia if not centuries to effect.

Posted by: jlcg | Jan 13 2007 15:24 utc | 7

The board is set, the pieces are moving.

If BushCo thinks China just greenlighted an attack on Iran, they're delusional fools with very short-term memory. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if China basically said "we have no opinion on US-Iran conflict".
The real question now is if China thinks they gave enough support to Iran for them to crush the US Army and sink the Navy - in which case they would do their best to make sure Bush will attack - or if they still think the US can do massive damage and is really able to seize and keep the Iranian oilfields - in which case I wouldn't be surprised if China and possibly Russia would threaten US with nuclear retaliation.

Whatever happens, I think any sane human can now see that USA is the biggest rogue state of all. Unless the US people take down the current administration, try it and hang the lot of them, they just as complicit in this as the Germans were in 1941. At the end of the day, people have to take responsibility for their act, as the right-wingers say, and this means that if you elect traitorous scum, then reelect them, chances are, you actually are traitorous scum too.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 13 2007 15:30 utc | 8

Bartender, I'll have a double... make that a triple.

Posted by: crone | Jan 13 2007 15:39 utc | 9

NYT p. 1 today (and other papers as well): Rice Says Bush Authorized Iranians' Arrest in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 — A recent series of American raids against Iranians in Iraq was authorized under an order that President Bush decided to issue several months ago to undertake a broad military offensive against Iranian operatives in the country, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

“There has been a decision to go after these networks,” Ms. Rice said in an interview with The New York Times in her office on Friday afternoon, before leaving on a trip to the Middle East.

Ms. Rice said Mr. Bush had acted “after a period of time in which we saw increasing activity” among Iranians in Iraq, “and increasing lethality in what they were producing.” She was referring to what American military officials say is evidence that many of the most sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s, being used against American troops were made in Iran.

Ms. Rice was vague on the question of when Mr. Bush issued the order, but said his decision grew out of questions that the president and members of his National Security Council raised in the fall.

The administration has long accused Iran of meddling in Iraq, providing weapons and training to Shiite forces with the idea of keeping the United States bogged down in the war. Ms. Rice’s willingness to discuss the issue seemed to reflect a new hostility to Iran that was first evident in Mr. Bush’s speech to the nation on Wednesday night, in which he accused Tehran of providing material support for attacks on American troops and vowed to respond.

Until now, despite a series of raids in which Iranians have been seized by American forces in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq, administration officials have declined to say whether Mr. Bush ordered such actions.


Posted by: Bea | Jan 13 2007 16:07 utc | 10

In the year 2050, after petroleum became too rare and valuable to be legally burned anywhere on Earth, China, the American Union, the European Union, India and Russia looked back with satisfaction at how well they had handled the great Drawdown of Middle Eastern petro products.

Avoiding world war through a series of permitted localized wars, the ownership of the petroleum was always kept away from the Middle Eastern masses, and placed in the control of appointed local oligarchs instead.

The strategy was to view the nations of the Middle East as a collection of leaky buckets. The oil would inevitably flow, out of one bucket or another everyone knew, and so it was of no concern if this bucket or that one needed to be broken or kicked over now and again to keep the handle in approved hands. It would fill up again, and the oil would get to all the proper places in time. It was a matter of maintaining reliable local management.

In the wrong hands, in the hands of the uncouth natives of these leaky lands, oil monies would foment socialism, would dilute capital, and lead to global instability, above and beyond the local variety.

This was the key to the near unanimous policy of managed chaos in the Middle East that emerged in the opening years of the 21st Century, and continued through Depletion. The twin goals of preserving the petroleum for foreign nations while preserving it from the indigenous populations dictated all local politics, and all the local wars that followed.

These huge Muslim populations, destined for utter penury once their greatest natural resources were extracted and burned in distant engines of industry, merely needed to be kept in turmoil and internal jihad for the few brief decades it took for foreign pumps to drain their futures dusty dry.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 13 2007 16:10 utc | 11

Clueless Joe@8,

agreed. China is not on board.

China intends to leveragee its massive & still growing industrial & economic might to the max, whilst keeping friends with as many as possible.

still, the Chinese & Russians must have sought assurance from USA that there will be no nuclear strike on Iran. Thats the envelope.

might be this is all about letting GWB have his double-up "surge" moment. And then hopefully back to hard cold reality.

still, its doubtful Iran will be attacked. They will be provoked but they will take a deep breath at every turn. Unless something really major comes down. Like a blockade.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 13 2007 16:11 utc | 12

The US is preparing to attack Iran? Again? I do not know about you, but I am getting a bit tired of all the déjà vu.

Alternative theory: the Shrubbery-gang is trying to get something by making it appear they will attack Iran any time now, but they will not. But in that case, what is the objective? It is of course always possible that they are playing for the domestic audience, promoting fear of muslems with the Bomb. Another alternative would be that they are trying to get the rest of the big powers to appease them.

But what would they want in return for not attacking Iran? Sanctions on Iran (to cripple their economy like they did with Iraq)? Something completely different?

Maybe I am just trying to find reasons which does not have to end with a war.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 13 2007 16:16 utc | 13

Just stumbled on this in random surfing:

Day One: The War With Iran

by USAF veteran Douglas Herman

The war began as planned. The Israeli pilots took off well before dawn and streaked across Lebanon and northern Iraq, high above Kirkuk. Flying US-made F-15 and F-16s, the Israelis separated over the mountains of western Iran, the pilots gesturing a last minute show of confidence in their mission, maintaining radio silence.

Just before the sun rose over Tehran, moments before the Muslim call to prayer, the missiles struck their targets. While US Air Force AWACS planes circled overhead--listening, watching, recording--heavy US bombers followed minutes later. Bunker-busters and mini-nukes fell on dozens of targets while Iranian anti-aircraft missiles sped skyward.

Read the whole thing... it is short, and chilling.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 13 2007 16:22 utc | 14

Maybe the Donald should read that link, Bea.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 16:39 utc | 15

another out of the ballpark antifa

Posted by: annie | Jan 13 2007 16:58 utc | 16

Following right on Antifa's excellent post at #11:

In testimony to the Armed Services Committee on Friday, new DefSec Gates said that the US troops should remain in Iraq even if the "surge" fails to bring stability.

The United States should not withdraw troops from Iraq even if its plan to send in 20,000 extra forces to stabilize the country fails, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.

In a second day of grilling before a skeptical US Congress, Gates acknowledged the new plan unveiled by President George W. Bush on Wednesday sets no timetable for disarming Shiite and Sunni militias behind the mounting sectarian violence.

"If we talk about the consequences of the American failure and defeat in Iraq, then saying, 'If you don't do this, we'll leave, and we'll leave now,' does not strike me as being in the national interests of the United States," he said.

"So the question will be: What different kind of strategy might we be able to come up with that would have some prospect of avoiding a failure or a defeat in Iraq?"

Democrats, who now control Congress, have called for a withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in four to six months time -- a proposal Gates rejected as little more than an invitation to the insurgents to wait it out.

"I think it is highly likely that there would be a significant increase in sectarian violence in Iraq, that the government would probably begin to come apart, that the army might come apart, and that you would probably have outside elements," he said.

All according to plan...

Posted by: Bea | Jan 13 2007 17:21 utc | 17

askod @13

Another alternative would be that they are trying to get the rest of the big powers to appease them.

in oppo to this alignment?

The Iranian president has left on a Latin American tour of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, countries whose governments are critical of Washington.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will hold talks with his ideological "brother" Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, on the start of his tour.

In Caracas, the two leaders were expected to sign a series of new trade and economic co-operation agreements.

"Iran and Venezuela are two important allies on a global level, the two countries have important industrial and oil projects which we will follow up in this trip," Ahmadinejad said before flying from Tehran.

Ahmadinejad has praised Chavez for his outspoken support of Iran's nuclear program, which the US and European governments say is part of a project to build atomic weapons.

Facing sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over its uranium enrichment work and the threat of international isolation, Iran is keen to demonstrate it has backing among a number of leaders in Latin America.
...

While Ahmadinejad seeks to cultivate Latin American allies, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has headed to the Middle East to rally Arab support for a new US strategy in Iraq and to counter Iran's alleged interference in Iraq.

Let the oil wars begin.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 17:25 utc | 18

Let's see ...

Isolate Russia.

Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua ...

vs.

US, UK, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and ... China?

C'mon, world, pick a team.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 17:37 utc | 19

It is appalling the way all public discussion veers to Iraq, and sticks to Iraq, as if all in all was riding on that one piece. It is blinding.

When there are 32 pieces on the chess board. When the real moves are the next three, not the one you see.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 13 2007 17:44 utc | 20

@Antifa #20

Definitely. This is why we are so lucky to have Moon... we can take a much broader look, with a large team filling in bits and pieces from all over. So that being said, what do you see as the next three upcoming moves?

Posted by: Bea | Jan 13 2007 17:51 utc | 21

Instead of sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, as President Bush plans, Clinton said it is time to start re-deploying U.S. troops out of Iraq.

"That would really demonstrate to the Iraqis that we don't have an open-ended commitment," she said. "We are not going to be here providing protection for their leaders, which we do. We are not going to be here standing by and trying to be called in from time to time as they see fit. That is not in the cards."

So, is Hillary trying to position herself for total withdrawal? She says yes to redeployment "out of Iraq" and in the next breath "not standing by" (as in Saudi bases?, the Gulf states?).

All of them should be pinned with where they stand vis-à-vis a wider war.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 18:19 utc | 22

If you look at Chinese energy policy, the Chinese government much prefers buying oil from national oil companies, often with wellhead agreements, than going through US and western major oil companies and buying on the spot market. This shows that the Chinese do not expect the western majors to honor agreements if overridden by their respective governments.

The Chinese only sign agreements with the western majors when 1)they do not have the technology to get the stuff out of the ground and 2)when they want to drill in contested territory, such as the gas fields off the coast of China which are in dispute with Japan.

Of course, the Bush administration will try to lobby the Chinese, offering to honor previously signed agreements with Iran, but not discussing the price.

"Yeah, right..." say the Chinese.

Although the Chinese have tried to diversify their oil sources, they get 58% of their oil from the ME, and that trendline is tracking up because of the country's growing energy needs.

Posted by: Chris Marlowe | Jan 13 2007 18:35 utc | 23

Professor Richard Heinberg posits a rosy future where all the nations of Earth agree on energy allotments fair to all, with a gradual Power Down according to the decline of petroleum products in our lives. No war, no oil spills, no terrorism.

The real power in this globalized world, which is amassed capital -- mountains of money a million miles high in the hands of a tiny group of people -- is ten steps ahead of Richard's idea.

They want to do the same thing, but only share between whichever pirates can dominate the Middle East and the Caspian/Caucasus for their own profit n' pleasure, arrrrrr.

Economic power, running national governments as proxies, will seek to seize, dominate, control, or deny unto others -- the Earth's petroleum products while they still flow.

Now, the two biggest strategic threats to foreign capital sucking the oil and gas out of the Middle East under the beneficent gaze of suit-wearing local governments are rising Shiite dreams of Power At Last, and abiding nationalism in Iran, Lebanon and Syria. These people want to run their own affairs. As if!

Liberation movements are odious to capital; nationalism is supposed to be a tool of absentee capitalist landlords, not -- Good Lord !-- a means for indigenous peoples to guide their own destinies.

These things are bad for business. So moves will be made:

Erode and attack the sovereignty of these above mentioned sovereign nations, turning them to internal fighting to weaken them, to make them ripe for regime change; smash them as necessary, but put them into submission to the business interests of foreign capital for the coming decades. Dress their new government leaders in nice suits. Lear jets. F-22's and howitzers. Forty years will do nicely, and then buh-bye.

Divide and conquer Shia factions in Iraq and Iran by playing them against one another and against Sunni factions to weaken all of them, to make them ripe for dominance by force of arms. Do not let these people get by, or get along, or they will do just that -- which won't do.

Peace and economic cooperation will break out between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and America/Europe within three years, followed by conjoined diplomatic to military confrontation with Russia in the Caspian Basin and Caucasus. The petro products up there will still be worth fighting over in 2075. Russia will either have to be thoroughly stiffed, or brought in on the provender, if everyone is to get home safely with their gas and oil.

The GWOT, the global war on terra, is actually an accurate caricature of what is coming under this Great Drawdown strategy of the capital class, where the monied people get their share and the little people get to swear.

In plain English, GWOT means "Yo, the folks we are going to be stealing everything from? They are going to come for our effing heads, right up to the day they die, so watch out!"

To my Chinese and European and Indian and Russian and African brothers and sisters under the blue sky and the winter moon I send word that my only solace for living in a vampire nation like mine, is that you live in one, too.

Money piled a million miles high decides how, when, where, how you and I live and die.

We have got to get out from under this, you and me.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 13 2007 18:55 utc | 24

Managing the Chaos also required addressing the problem of keeping the natives from fleeing No Womans Land in significant numbers, since they insisted on bringing their godawful religious practices w/them. Since The Civilized Nations had vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons, this problem likewise was manageable. While in Israel, Academics were prohibited from putting official numbers to the skyrocketing cancer rates until most of the Professional Classes had quietly exited back to their homelands.

Posted by: jj | Jan 13 2007 19:26 utc | 25

@21 (Bea) & why Moon is so lucky to have Antifa. I'd take Antifa over 20 Billmons anyday.

Posted by: jj | Jan 13 2007 19:28 utc | 26

@Hamburger, Clinton will line up behind whatever James Baker says. This is just posturing. Things are Very Black & White now, as there's a failure in WH who has never said anything in his life to anyone, never negotiated w/anyone, 'cept Mah Daddy is a Powerful Mother' so give me what I want. Hence there are no negotiations 'cuz he literally does not know how to talk - just warslaughterkillingmayhem...much less sophisticated operation than destruction of Yugoslavia her husband oversaw.

Let's see we plundered Iraq... oil agreements about signed (never mind now thinking about how they'll actually be fulfilled around the bend down the road)..check...so it's onto Step II - Iran...Gotta knock off 'em pesky guys that could choke off our supply lines first...PM depends on that army to stay in power...no problemo there 'cuz now that we've got OUR OIL, don't need no figleaf of democracy anyway, so time to replace him w/a new dicatator ..too bad dem Irakiis is too backward to want a democracy...and off we go. ..

Posted by: jj | Jan 13 2007 19:46 utc | 27

Antifa @24: We have got to get out from under this, you and me.

Do you mean like this?

Independence from the Corporate Global Economy
by Ethan Miller

Suppose we try a different story: instead of defining the economy as a market system, let's define it as the diverse array of activities by which humans generate livelihoods in relation to each other and to the Earth. Extending far beyond the workings of the capitalist market, economic activity includes all of the ways we sustain and support ourselves, our families, and our communities. Peeling away the dominant economic story of competition and accumulation, we see that other economies are alive below the surface, nourishing us like roots. These are not the economies of the stock-brokers and the economists. They are the economies of mutual care and cooperation—community economies, local economies.

Speaking of cooperation, it seems to be what we've evolved for.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 20:20 utc | 28

A better link to the cooperative eye hypothesis.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 20:33 utc | 29

Money piled a million miles high decides how, when, where, how you and I live and die.

Such as this.

An in-depth expose from Playboy (h/t The Washington Note).

Apologies in advance for all the racy Playboy ladies in the margins. That is NOT the intended content of my link... ahem.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 13 2007 20:40 utc | 30

Israel's German-built submarines are reputed to carry an uprated Harpoon missile that could carry a lightweight nuclear weapon. (in comments @ 9:36pm)

H'burger: Germany builds submarines for Israel?

Bun: Probably for free. This is never talked about.

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 13 2007 21:47 utc | 31


the Nato countries can agree & cooperate on a preferred model for keeping weaker resource-rich under the heel. This is nothing new. Its been going on for hundreds of years. But their model is far from being the only available option. China will not follow the Nato model in its interaction with resource-rich countries. The Chinese have always chosen their own model politically, industrially & developmentally. And its worked well for them so far. Hence if anything is predictable, its that the Chinese will once again shy from following a model advanced by the Nato countries. China will go it alone.

also, colonization works best when the colonized perceive that submitting to a greater power provides security & protection from other adverse forces, sometimes local, sometimes economic. Or if the colonized perceives that the colonizer brings a belief system of value. But those were the days. There is little incentive today for even the tiniest nation to submit its sovereignity or key parts of it to more powerful forces. "Divide & Conquer" mixed in with brute-force can only achieve so much in todays world. In fact, it may just achieve the opposite.

increasinly, weaker nations will fear the threat of being nuked over the threat of colonization or the threat of the big powers colluding/conspiring towards super-exploitation.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 13 2007 21:52 utc | 32

via Digby- Laura Rozen, at Washington Monthly, talks about the real unitary executive, Cheney, and his still entrenched pro-torture, pro-Iranian invasion, pro-domestic spying gangsters in relation to a power struggle with Congress.

rather than impeach, I recently read somewhere, but cannot find the link now, about a strategy to charge and try the underlings rather than bushwa in order to remove the brains behind the beastiality.

In such a case, Addington, Yoo, Gonzales and Wurmser would all be prime targets for subpoenas. Since the law, according to them, now allows these, it is tempting to wish for a little detention without charges to question them, or a little torture to get information. But I do not wish to become the beast that they birthed.

and I don't believe that torture elicits truth.

Nevertheless, it might behoove Congress to consider a strategy of going after those who justify Bush's basic sadism at an international level. (and what does that make them?)

jony-b-cool- after the Iraq experience, how many of them seem to say they preferred Saddam's puppetry to the current instability? I wonder if the knowledge of their experience would influence the elites in other countries. better to support a tyrant you know? don't know, just wondering.

what is the China model? As far as I can see, China has an elite class that exploits the rural/poor to produce cheap goods that are sold abroad. how is that diff. than other sorts of colonialism -- isn't the only diff. an internal provinces/capital colonialism? when China can support an internal consumer economy, I would imagine they might find it useful to use cheap labor in other countries.

however, I have to say that I agree with slothrop's basic premise (as far as I can tell since I am somewhat jargon deaf) that a global elite is the "new world order" and nationalism is the opiate of the people. it doesn't matter what the pretention to this ideology or another may be to those who move capital among capitals.

which goes a long way toward explaining the use of private contractors to wage war in ways that national soldiers cannot without being held responsible.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 13 2007 22:41 utc | 33

@ Hamburger & Bea -- great links! Thank you!

@ jj -- take not the name of Billmon in vain . . .

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 13 2007 22:49 utc | 34

fauxreal233
"what is the China model? As far as I can see, China has an elite class that exploits the rural/poor to produce cheap goods that are sold abroad. how is that diff. than other sorts of colonialism"

it comes down to the class system that yields from the intent.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 13 2007 23:08 utc | 35

Going after Iran is a way--a very dumb way--of reckoning up our losses in Iraq. A way of accepting, more precisely, the bad news of the Baker Report. As a power-play, it expresses weakness rather than power, and can't hope to succeed at the only thing it aims for--i.e. demonstrating that we don't lose wars. This punishes only us, not the folks we aim to punish, because we've shown that we don't know what to do in a war other than bombing people and places to smithereens. We are unable to capitalize on our investments, so to speak. Were von Clausewitz among the living, the actions of the USA today would probably drive him to suicide.

A curious thought from nowhere in particular: if we go to work on Iran--compounding our failure in Iraq--I can imagine any number of people starting to talk about, and even to study, the dreadful devolution of the war in Viet Nam, something they'd never done before.

Serving, to say the least, as an apt analogy, studying Viet Nam will enable any number of people to" figure out" how the US can fail, but enable them so without staring at the raw and open wounds of Iraq. But research of this kind is always self-serving and self-defeating, because the question itself is hardly a question at all: we fail because we can only think of military solutions as a way of addressing problems of all kinds. I seem to remember that Bush asked Rumsfeld to clean up after FEMA in New Orleans (or, perhaps, to take over the tasks of FEMA, or maybe even FEMA itself). Rumsfeld fairly shouted his refusal to get involved with any such thing, but I bet the day will come when the Pentagon cleans up after all our natural disasters.

Posted by: alabama | Jan 14 2007 0:03 utc | 36

"Unless the US people take down the current administration, try it and hang the lot of them, they just as complicit in this as the Germans were in 1941."

That's a poor analogy, Clueless Joe. The Nazi Party never, ever got anywhere close to a majority of votes in Germany's Parliament-- and this is despite the furious resentment over the Versailles Treaty and economic problems (such as hyperinflation) which were much worse than in France and Britain, which were able to cushion their suffering by stealing resources from their overseas colonies in Asia and Africa.

Hitler got power in 1933 by means of Parliamentary maneuverings and, then, by terror. You seem to forget that there *were* many Germans, hundreds of thousands, who bitterly opposed Hitler and fought against him up to the start of WWII in Europe itself in 1939 and even after-- Hitler just threw them into the concentration camps or gunned them down in firing squads. Even after this, countless other Germans continued to oppose Hitler-- the White Rose Society, Stauffenberg, Popitz, Schulenberg, the Kreisau Circle and countless others-- despite the Nazi terror and terrible risks to their lives.

I say this as a Jew myself, but I am very, very tired at accusations of collective guilt pointed at the German people. They stood up by the hundreds of thousands against Hitler and never gave the Nazis an electoral mandate. After 1933, the Germans no longer had the means to evict Hitler via the ballot box, and they had the Gestapo terror to contend with, and yet they STILL stood up to Hitler in great numbers, even after the war had commenced. This is a major reason that Germany rebuilt so quickly to become Europe's most economically successful country after WWII with the Wirtschaftswunder, it was because leaders such as Konrad Adenauer and countless others had never supported the Nazis in the first place.

Now, I will say something that may shock you at first but that you will quickly realize as true: The British people and, yes, the Americans bear far more responsibility for their countries' atrocities, since they indeed had democratic elections and the capacity to put political pressure on their leaders at the time of their worst atrocities. Britain was killing millions of people in India with forced famines during the 1800's http://tinyurl.com/ykkdm8
wiping out the native populations of Australia and its neighbors (not thru disease-- thru deliberate military targeting), brutalizing Ireland, starting their own concentration camps in South Africa (which killed over 30,000 Boers and Zulus mostly children and women), pushing Indian opium onto the Chinese people en masse in the Opium Wars and launching brutal invasions of South America in the Rio de la Plata http://tinyurl.com/y7hxgb and Afghanistan on multiple occasions in the Anglo-Afghan Wars, even though their enemies this time defeated the British.

This was public knowledge in Britain which had become a nation with a participating electorate, yet the British ministers in charge of these atrocities rarely suffered at the ballot box.

Likewise, the American electorate knew full and well what George W. Bush was planning in 2002 and 2004, yet voted for Iraq War supporters in Congress in 2002 and then again in 2004, while reelecting Bush the warmonger in 2004. Anger at Bush right now stems less from moral opposition to the war than frustration at Bush's practical and logistical failures in waging it. Unlike the German people in 1939 and 1941, who were in a dictatorship by then with no voice at the ballot box, the British and the American people had access to knowledge about their governments' atrocities and the capacity to vote on them, yet chose largely to condone them.

We need to be careful about facile analogies to the Nazi period-- indeed, the most dangerous fallacy (about appeasement in 1938) is largely driving the continuing push to war in the Middle East. In analogy to Godwin's law, we should really look for analogies elsewhere whenever possible. WWII was just one war in history, and frankly it wasn't even anywhere near the most influential one despite its scale-- it didn't much change the cultural map of the world as earlier wars had done, and even in the 20th century, WWI had a far greater long-term impact, especially on our current mess: Iraq, after all, was a British colonial creation in the wake of WWI.

In this case, a better analogy might be the US public's support for the Spanish-American War or the Vietnam War, both launched subsequent to disgusting lies (the Maine explosion and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident) that people all too credulously bought into. This is what we're currently facing with Iraq, and its probable spreading soon to Iran.

Posted by: Aqua Teen Tom | Jan 14 2007 4:31 utc | 37

jony_b_cool,
"it comes down to the class system that yields from the intent."

Hu? (Hu s on first)

Could you develop that a bit? I ask because I do feel that in some important ways China is following their own path, but I am not sure on how and where that path differs from the Nato path.

In other news we (finally!) has a had bit of snow here in Sweden, but as I am writing this it is the rain on my window is signaling that this too must go.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 14 2007 4:57 utc | 38

...both launched subsequent to disgusting lies (the Maine explosion and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident) that people all too credulously bought into. This is what we're currently facing with Iraq, and its probable spreading soon to Iran.


Chris Floyd questions the plausibility of the "Iranian" IEDs in Get Your War On: Bush Plays Casus Belli Card Against Iran.

Make no mistake: this is the marker that has now been put down; this is the card that's been laid on the table. The Bush Administration has openly accused Iran of killing American soldiers in Iraq. Again, this is a charge far more resonant, far more effective as a pretext for war than anything offered during the successful stampede to invade Iraq. Even a president as weakened and isolated as Bush is at the moment would be able to get support for an attack on a state that was "killing our soldiers in the field."

And once again the Bush Faction's masterful use of the corporate media – which many thought had utterly deserted them after the November electoral debacle – is shown in how the two most prominent members of what is laughingly known as "the liberal media" are being used to establish the casus belli against Iran: the New York Times and CBS. Despite their reputations of speaking truth to power – reputations not always (but mostly) undeserved – both media mavens obligingly delivered the Regime's propaganda payload in reports that offer nary a demur or a nano-second of skepticism about the claims being offered.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 14 2007 5:23 utc | 39

Aqua Teen Tom,
first a public service announcement (without guitars): If you copy->paste the text including the aclu-link [A HREF="http://www.aclu.org/"]Link to ACLU[/A] (but with "<" and ">" instead of "[" and "]"), replace "http://www.aclu.org/" with your adress - say "http://tinyurl.com/y7hxgb" and then replace "Link to ACLU" with a text you want to be the text on the link - say "neat link", you get a neat link. It is advicable to do preview and check that the link works. In my experience clickable links are read more. Psychology I guess.

Over to the content.

You are right that history needs to be nuanced, however I do have some disagreements with your interpretations. It is true that the nazis came into power by way of parliamentary (and presidential) manouverings. However, this is quite normal in a proportionally elected assembly. A first past the post election system like in Britain and USA instead discourages participation by those whose votes does not affect anything as they will not vote for one of the two electable candidates. So instead you get low participation numbers. And despite that low participation Bush did not get into office without some help from his family and did not stay there without some help from Diebold.

Without violating Godwins law I think it is good to notice that the German reichstag continued to meet until 1942, even though after the enabling act their was no real need to. Fascism came crawling in Germany rather then marching on the capital like in Spain. In many ways the old society was kept exept when it came to state-enemies, an ever widening group. (Outside the Bundestag, I saw at least one stone commemorating a DVP mp that was killed in a concentration camp in 1944 or 1945. IIRC, DVP was one of the far-right parties allied with the nazis when they came into power. Lesson for weak spined politicians: Enabling dictatorship might not help you.)

Both Britains and USAs empires has had their internal enemies, but because neither Britain or USA has been conquered and de-whatever-ised, those enemies are more known to us as terrorists and crazy people, then heroes.

I am not in favor of collective guilt, but I reccon "Unless the US people take down the current administration, try it and hang the lot of them, they just as complicit in this as the Germans were in 1941" can be a useful way of invoking action in the sense that most people in the west has been fed with a lot of stories of the evil nazis and how people should have stood up to them more. It is an overly simplistic story but you go into rethorical battle with the frames people bring, not the frames you wish people would bring.

Hope this makes sense, as I should sleep now. Sun is coming up in a couple of hours, so it is getting pretty darn late here in the land of dark winters (without the snow it is depressingly dark, with snow you get a whole other scenario).

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 14 2007 5:40 utc | 40

Bush used his televised address last week to call on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to embrace the reintegration of former Baathists. Maliki told Bush recently that he supports a revised de-Baathification law -- but the issue isn't in the prime minister's hands. It's still with Chalabi.

Chalabi is the chairman of the Supreme National Commission for De-Baathification, which continues to have ultimate authority to decide which ex-Baathists can return to work and which cannot. He has prepared draft legislation that calls for easing some elements of Bremer's policy, but he said parliament has been unable to act on it because a majority of the members of the legislature's de-Baathification committee belong to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's political party, which walked out in November to protest a meeting between Maliki and Bush.

Speaking by telephone from Baghdad, Chalabi said he expects progress "pretty soon."

But he said the law will not contain a key demand of the U.S. government: a sunset clause that would abolish the commission, effectively depriving Chalabi of political influence. He called it unconstitutional.

Chalabi said he heard Bush's call for swift action on the de-Baathification law, but he emphasized that he and his fellow Iraqis, not U.S. officials, are in charge of the legislative timetable.

"We don't feel any pressure," he said.--link to WaPo

Posted by: alabama | Jan 14 2007 6:09 utc | 41

I'm sicken by all of the Iranian shout. In my suburban Vancouver neighborhhod Iranian / Persians are significant community members, along with the rest of our mosiac of colors and languages and accents. They are my friends and neighboors; on my street they are doctors and electricians and hair-dressers. They shop in and cashier in the local Safeway. They teach in the schools and attend in the hospital.

This is actually a pretty affluent neighborhood; maybe still 60% white but comfortable with the newcomers- a lot now second generation. It's morphed into they are us and we are them. The food choices are pretty good too.

Across the street from my pub, the offices of Iran Air are next door to TD Waterhouse and upstairs from Hachi Japanese Restaurant and across from the Burrito place. We like the balance.

I'm with an architectural/engineering firm that does projects through-out Canada, the States and Russia. My project teams include Bosnians, Serbs, Poles, Egyptians, Carribians, Portugese, Chinese, Australian, American, South American. None of us can comprehend this "clash of civilizations" rethoric. We can't imagin it actually being a sellable notion amongst knowledgeable people. A number of us won't work on American projects; a few refuse to travel to the States.

The US finally has succeeded in its age old desire to be "Isolationist". We wish you luck and hope you keep it that way.

Posted by: allen | Jan 14 2007 7:03 utc | 42

askod@38,

"jony_b_cool,
"it comes down to the class system that yields from the intent."

Hu? (Hu s on first)

Could you develop that a bit? I ask because I do feel that in some important ways China is following their own path, but I am not sure on how and where that path differs from the Nato path."

there is a European class system. As you know, all the European monarchies have close blood ties that go back a very long time. This is a particular distinction of Europe and the relevance of this is left to the observer.

The Chinese renounced their monarchial tracings. And then went from being the most communnist country (maybe with the exception of DPRK) to arguably the most capitalist in certain respects, in about one generation.

The Chinese have travelled a different road from the Nato countries. And culture is a driver too probably moreso for the Chinese. Religion is another driver, probably moreso for the Nato's. In a rough sense, ideology points China and culture drives it massively forward towards the intent.

And the class systems that yield from both regions will reflect to the rest of the world.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 14 2007 7:08 utc | 43

The execution of Saddam was mishandled, says the president, who saw only parts of it on the Internet because he didn't want to watch the dictator fall through the trap door. "I thought it was discouraging... It's important that that chapter of Iraqi history be closed. [But] They could have handled it a lot better." link to Drudge Report

Bush, as we know, is one of those characters who occupies political office chiefly to gratify his or her lust for the torture and killing of other people. Why, then, taking the man at his word, wouldn't he want to "watch the dictator fall through the trap door"? That's the part where you get to watch the neck break and the face go dead, and all those other things that have made this particular act one of the world's favorite spectator sport for thousands of years? Could it be that Bush really feels a little queasy at the sight of death? Torture is quite another thing, of course--since the victim gets to survive for another round of agony. Survivng isn't quite the same as dying.) Or at the sight of this death--the death of a man who has given him a sense of purpose for the last fifteen years of his life?

A bit of both, no doubt, with a bit of something else thrown in: Bush, by now, must appreciate the challenges confronting Hussein as the dictator of Iraq; he knows that Hussein managed to keep the country together at all costs (his unfairness in doing so is a secondary issue here). Perhaps he misses him as an easy and convenient punching-bag.

But what are we talking about here? Bush is damaged goods.

Posted by: alabama | Jan 14 2007 7:33 utc | 44

j-b-c- pardon my ignorance, but I still do not understand what you mean by this:

ideology points China and culture drives it massively forward towards the intent.

And the class systems that yield from both regions will reflect to the rest of the world.

what do you mean by "the intent?" what do you mean when claiming something "yields from" something else?

and for the europeans among us- are monarchies in europe really relevant anymore? The only one that seems to still try to pretend it matters is the GB, but it seems to me it's mostly a venue for tourism.

otherwise, those monarchies that remain, in spain, the netherlands, belgium...am I forgetting any other ones? are figureheads...even spain, since they're making greater strides toward self-determination after getting past Franco...Juan Carlos wouldn't support the fascists the last time they started making coup noises, if I remember correctly.

France and Germany, the two great continental powers, did away with their monarchs...so how would they figure into an idea of monarchy?

Or maybe the issue is a class system that is determined by assets? Is that what you are saying, j-b-c?

and, heretic that I am, once again I question whether China was ever a communist country, or rather had ambitions to be such. But, as has been the case, the bureaucracy never fell away, and instead totalitarianism was the actual form of govt.

Arendt's early work is still interesting in light of her understanding of totalitarianisms from either "left" or "right." I don't know of any nation or system that has not had an elite who benefited from the functions of the particulars of power, whatever ideological window dressing....which, to me, seems to indicate that it is relatively easy for the elite of any govt. system to move to "capitalism" because they were living within the worse darwinian models of the same all along.

same in the middle east. the perogatives of the ruling classes include an appeal to cultural identity, but don't seem to matter.

but maybe my view is too reductive.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 14 2007 7:34 utc | 45

fauxreal@45,

from the anthropological standpoint, the ancient & still persisting European class system (likewise shared by the USA) is a venerable instituitional force also characterized by an highly admirable type & level of gentrification. Its probably the fundamental reason that draws so many immigrants to Europe & the States.

the European class system is probably (aside from the economic benefits) a big reason why Turkey would like to join the the EU. The desired outcome being to absorb the advantages of the Euro class structure by osmosis. So far so good. On the other hand the Turkish aspiration has caused great discomfort & debate amongst the "native" Euro's. The question being whether the Turks are sufficiently "European" enough to be allowed in.

This is perhaps a good example of a glimpse into the "intent" of Europe both historically & in its present configuration -- the EU.

a country club providing recreational & social facilities to the community is a very good thing. Golf, tennis, spa's, swimming, social events, graduation events, debutante balls can enhance the quality of life & well-being of community. But when a particular country club limits membership by regulation or from a practical-standpoint on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender, wealth, ... it takes on a separate character from a country club that does not have such restrictions. Even though settting aside the particular profiles of club membership, everything might look pretty much the same in both clubs. A golf course is a golf course, a well-stocked bar is a well-stocked bar, a dinnner event is a dinner event.

the point being that a class structure is characterized by "intent" in addition to other factors.

by the way, I am not refering to "class structure" or "class system" in the sense of the nature & extent of demarcations between the classes. Rather the focus is on the dynamics of interaction between the respective class groups. Hence the nature of gentrification (however one may define it) is a marker.

also, there have been other highly instutionalized class systems that differ very strongly from Europes - i.e. Ancient Egypt (which also attracted a lot of immigrants). And there have been other class systems around the world with a nature of gentrification that Euros might readily identify with. And there still may be some, though in various stages of challenge.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 14 2007 15:13 utc | 46

Steve Clemons on Iran: A Glimpse at America's Brewing Nightmare with Iran

I suspect that we will soon see more collisions between US military squads and Special Force operations against suspected Syrian and Iranian convoys and personnel -- civilian and military -- inside Iraq as well as more border interdiction. At some point, these units will go into Syria and Iran to accomplish their "disruption" missions.

At that point, Syria and Iran will make a calculation as to whether they should respond with proportionate military force against US military assets -- or whether they respond in lateral ways against other players in the region -- like American allies in Afghanistan or Iraq, or Israel. Alternatively, Iran could pump up the sophistication of weaponry it is supplying to Shiite groups and design and organize higher profile assaults on the Sunni population and American and British forces -- operating through proxies.

Despite Vice President Cheney's desire to see Iran directly fire a few missiles at our troops in response to provocations from the U.S. -- thus firmly establishing a casus belli for a full-fledged American attack against Iran -- Iran will probably be craftier than that and will respond in fuzzy, indirect, but highly disruptive ways -- through Hezbollah, Shiite militia, and other agents.

Posted by: b | Jan 14 2007 18:07 utc | 47

From the bbc news website:

US Vice President Dick Cheney has warned Iran not to interfere in Iraq.
The US government thought it was very important that the Iranians should "keep their folks at home", he said...

Well, just imagine the nerve of meddling with another nation's internal affairs and *gasp* even sending troops and weapons there!

You tell'em, Dick.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jan 14 2007 19:59 utc | 48

j-b-c- because meaning is in the words, I continue to seek to understand them. In the use of the word "gentrification," do you mean "upward mobility?" If not, what does it mean to you? this is a class issue, as you mention later...teaching the "unwashed" how to behave? if so, what is the extent of this "teaching?" do you mean to say that ppl who are not as wealthy have a different way of interacting with others that is not available to an elite class?

What is your view of the reason for the EU? I see it as a trading block, and, more importantly, as a way to stop the wars that destroyed the most vulnerable on continent for centuries. You would seem to have a different opinion, based upon the idea that the EU is a country club? Is your view based upon Jacques Delors statement that the EU is a "christian club?" --is his view universal, or the view of the conservative christian democrats? Or do you see it as a way for Europe to exploit third world nations as its most important reason for being?

I don't doubt that there is prejudice and unwarranted fear about the influence of Turkey, but wouldn't Turkey's inclusion in the EU be a good thing...to overcome those prejudices?

By saying the EU wonders if Turkey is sufficiently "European," do you mean that Turkey accepts human rights laws that (however they may be circumvented when 'convenient') are considered a basic tenet of the move from monarchy and to enlightenment? This article discusses one such situation regarding concern over laws that make adultery a crime and are thus viewed as closer to sharia than current western thought.

The EU nations also condemn the U.S. for its laws that allow capital punishment, not just Turkey (but, of course, the U.S. doesn't seek to join the EU.) But it would seem to me that the EU might afford a measure of protection against the sort of Grey Wolves dictatorships/reduction of human rights that seemed to be urged on by the CIA, esp. after the fall of the Shah and the war in Afghanistan. It would seem to me that joining the EU would be more likely to lead to more self-determination...tho, of course, that self-determination exists within the EU definitions of laws.

Is that the "country club" you mention? What is "country club" about refusal to support laws that punish women more than men for the same "crime," for instance? Is it "country club" because it isn't grounded in religious fears of women that the three monothesisms revel in? (Vatican City, in other words, should not/would not also be allowed into the EU, based upon the same reasoning.

Or is the "country club" the insistence on recognizing genocide during the Ottoman Empire? Or for Amnesty International and others noting the charges against Orhan Pamuk for discussing Kurdish and Armenian genocide? (which were thankfully dropped in January of last year.)

This is an issue of freedom of speech, which is also a basic tenet of enlightenment freedoms from monarchical rule and the lettres du cache sort of laws. Is that a "country club" issue?

I do understand that Austria has expressed concerns over Turkey's muslim population, but have you seen such an attitude across the spectrum?

do you dismiss the idea of liberal democracy because it's a sort of "gentrification" in your mind? and as compared to what?

what about the demographics that note that places in which women are accorded equal rights to work and to determine their own reproductive future are also places that are more stable and offer greater freedom for all? it that a "country club" issue?

and another definition that I don't understand:

I am not refering to "class structure" or "class system" in the sense of the nature & extent of demarcations between the classes. Rather the focus is on the dynamics of interaction between the respective class groups.

how is the interaction between respective class groups different than demarcations between them?

again, I ask these questions because I don't really understand what you are saying, it seems, and further explanation helps to explain your point. maybe others here understand and can help explain, but ultimately my questions stem from your meaning in what you say.

Hopefully others can also learn, as I can, from hearing different povs.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 14 2007 20:37 utc | 49

fauxreal@49,

if Turkey were a Christian country, the framing surrounding its EU intentions would be very different, despite issues like the Armenian genocide, adultery laws ...

as for "intent", the "intent" that guides the process of forging "class dynamics" is crucial and it persists. And the development of "class dynamics" (intra & inter) goes on to impact extra-class dynamics at the international levels. And to stay on topic, the point is that China has been guided by a different manner of "intent" than Europe, both in the distant & near past.

The further point is that China cannot be predicted based on the European record. We already see a lot of evidence of China doing things it own way at many levels.

"do you dismiss the idea of liberal democracy because it's a sort of "gentrification" in your mind? and as compared to what?"

Its hard to define gentrification and it can **suggest/actually-mean** different things based on culture, religion ... In America, gentrification tends to suggest expensive lofts, Thai food and Starbucks, but in Europe, its deeper than that. I think its related to class dynamics and can be traced back to long before liberal democracy was even on the table.

I am substituting "class dynamics" for "class system" in my earlier posts as it captures the concept better, but I just may have suceeded in making things harder.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 14 2007 22:00 utc | 50

What is the word for almost getting what someone else is saying? Anyway that is how I feel.

fauxreal wrote (45):
and for the europeans among us- are monarchies in europe really relevant anymore? The only one that seems to still try to pretend it matters is the GB, but it seems to me it's mostly a venue for tourism.

otherwise, those monarchies that remain, in spain, the netherlands, belgium...am I forgetting any other ones? are figureheads...even spain, since they're making greater strides toward self-determination after getting past Franco...Juan Carlos wouldn't support the fascists the last time they started making coup noises, if I remember correctly.

Yes, european monarchies are political figureheads (and you forgot Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monacco, Andorra) who formally rules as long as they are not dumb enough to actually try it. But what I think jony refers to is their cultural importance in how classes are consitituted. The royal events is the hob-nobbing events for the upper-class. Like those debutant balls.

But if that is the case - the cultural importance of class and reflection on international politics - I do not really see such a difference with China. They also had a monarchial system with titles and such until the revolution. And as in Russia the new bosses has turned out to be not that different from the old bosses.

The further point is that China cannot be predicted based on the European record. We already see a lot of evidence of China doing things it own way at many levels.

This I tend to agree with, but I am not sure of why, as I remain unconvinced of a fundamental difference in class systems. And one should be wary of ones own gut feeling in that it can be fueled with just an exposure to orientalistic pictures. Like watching to much chinese movies with pretty sword-fighting.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 15 2007 15:19 utc | 52

The simple answer is that China is acting different on the international scene by using the carrot (money and investment) rather than the stick (military aid or threats) that the US uses in foreign affairs. And the carrot is proving to be far more potent than the stick.

Posted by: | Jan 15 2007 16:30 utc | 53

Sure, but China has a smaller stick and has been quite willing to use it in the past both internally and externally (Tibet (or that can be counted as internal depending on how you count), Vietnam, against US in Korea) when they have felt the need for it.

The US used to use a lot of carrots back in the days.

That difference does not quite add upp to a different model then the Nato countries that jony mentioned:

the Nato countries can agree & cooperate on a preferred model for keeping weaker resource-rich under the heel. This is nothing new. Its been going on for hundreds of years. But their model is far from being the only available option. China will not follow the Nato model in its interaction with resource-rich countries. The Chinese have always chosen their own model politically, industrially & developmentally. And its worked well for them so far. Hence if anything is predictable, its that the Chinese will once again shy from following a model advanced by the Nato countries. China will go it alone.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 15 2007 18:39 utc | 54

Posted by: b real | Jan 15 2007 19:42 utc | 55

typo correction - the reuters' srticle above is dated is friday, jan 12

Posted by: b real | Jan 15 2007 20:28 utc | 56

On Darfur - blame the Sudanese government? I don't:

Darfur rebels divided over proposed truce

A proposed ceasefire between Darfur rebels and the Sudanese government has exposed cracks in the fragile military alliance between insurgents in Sudan's west, highlighting the long road ahead for peace talks.

The ceasefire was negotiated by U.S. governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson in a visit last week and the 60-day truce was to begin on a date fixed by the African Union and the United Nations who are mediating peace efforts.
...
On Monday Jar el-Neby, a commander from a faction of the NRF called the G-19, said he would abide by the truce.

"We do agree with the truce," he said. "Others in the NRF say they don't agree, but we do agree to it."

But leaders from another NRF faction, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), said there was no ceasefire.

"This declaration of ceasefire is unilateral by the government. There is no coordination with JEM at all," JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim told Reuters from Darfur on Monday.
...


This is the second time "rebels" - some warlords in reality - have denied an international negotiated peace deal with the government - maybe Cloney or whoever will pay more than they can personaly expect from such a peace deal.

Posted by: b | Jan 15 2007 20:51 utc | 57

b- you are, of course, correct, and i probably should have added additional language to make that position clear. my intent was to post those extracts wrt contextual ongoing discussions over china's influence in africa. that, whatever intent/methods one may ascribe to china's relations w/ the african nations, china itself is under pressure to enforce the western model. and it doesn't necessarily have to come only from the united states. many powers wanting to keep/get their hands in africa's pockets.

Posted by: b real | Jan 15 2007 21:47 utc | 58

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