Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 13, 2014

Obama's Pivot Requires Serious Negotiations With Iran

In recent negotiations with Iran the United States again tried to fudge on Iran's right to enrich Uranium. Only severe pressure from Russia and China reversed that stand and made a deal possible. Writes the Washington Post:

Iran and six world powers took a significant and hard-won step toward nuclear rapprochement on Sunday, announcing a deal to implement a landmark agreement that caps Iran’s disputed nuclear program in return for a modest easing of crippling economic sanctions.
...
The weeks of bargaining to put the November agreement in force were more difficult than anticipated, with one brief walkout by Iranian envoys and rancor among the bloc of nations that negotiated the deal. Russia and China, long Iran’s protectors at the United Nations, pushed the United States to accept technical concessions that further make clear that Iran will retain the ability to enrich uranium, a key Iranian demand, once a final set of restrictions on its program is approved.

Russia and China threatened to ignore the sanctions and to thereby enable Iran to continue its nuclear program without limits while reviving its economy. The threat was issued via a Reuters "exclusive" on Friday afternoon:

Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable Iran to lift oil exports substantially, undermining Western sanctions that helped persuade Tehran in November to agree to a preliminary deal to curb its nuclear program.

Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a deal under which Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.

Should such an agreement happen "western" equipment, exported to Russia and China, would easily find its way to Iran. Russia and Iran are connected through the Caspian Sea where the U.S. has no capabilities to enforce a blockade.

For now the Obama administration has given in to the Russian pressure but the difficulties will only increase with the negotiations of a permanent deal. Russia and China have now clearly set limits to the outrageous demands the U.S. is making. Even U.S. allies press for the end of sanctions and a quick deal:

Speaking to the BBC’s Jon Sopel, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, spoke about a number of political issues in the region, in particular the Syrian conflict, sanctions on Iran and the future of Egypt.
...
The interview mentions the need to lift sanctions on Iran to secure better cooperation in the country’s nuclear disarmament process.

“Iran is our neighbour and we don’t want any problem. Lift the sanctions and everyone will benefit,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

The Dubai Ruler also said he believed Iran is telling the truth when saying they only intend to use nuclear technology for civilian means.

“I talked to Ahmadinejad and he said ‘if I send a rocket to Israel, how many Palestinians will I kill. And then the US and Europe will destroy my cities. I’m not crazy to go for that. It’s a weapon of the past’,” he said.

Obama has no other sane option but to seriously go for a permanent deal. If he does not get one the sanction regime will surely fall apart. Neither is a war on Iran a viable alternative. Attacking Iran, which is not developing nuclear weapons, under some "non-proliferation" argument would destroy the U.S. moral-political position in the world while such an attack could not hinder but would justify Iran to start striving for a nuclear deterrent. Additionally a war in the Persian Gulf would be devastating for the world economy. "Containment", without an effective sanction regime, is no containment at all and not serious option.

Obama wants a U.S. "pivot to Asia". To achieve such a reduction of U.S. engagement in the Middle East is a necessity. Neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia want that. They want to keep U.S. attention on their perceived enemies. But the U.S. can not further engage in Asia and stay fully deployed in the Middle East. It is either or.

The Zionist are pressing Congress to blow up the negotiations with Iran by legislating new uni-lateral U.S. sanctions on third parties. Obama can blame himself for having enabled such self defeating "suffocating sanction" strategy. That strategy is failing and the way out of it will be difficult for him. But Congress will not dare to vote directly for a war on Iran.

If Obama would negotiate in good faith with Iran the United States could acquire a serious and reliable partner in the Gulf and enable its pivot to Asia. But playing games, as Obama again tried last week until Russia stepped in, will leave it with a mostly unenforceable Iran "containment" strategy that will drain its resources and leave the pivot to Asia an under-resourced dream.

Posted by b on January 13, 2014 at 13:15 UTC | Permalink

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Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Strange Fruit

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 1:51 utc | 101

Lysander, Hoarsewhisperer, guest77 and everyone else who has answered my questions.

Thank you all for your thoughtful answers. I will perhaps explain my own answers to the questions that I asked, when I am a bit less occupied (later on today or perhaps tomorrow), but for now I just want to say that I like guest77's answer the most. Not because his answers were necessarily the best (no one is in a position to "judge" other people's opinion, least of all I would be in such a position) but because his answers come darn close to my own.

guest77;
It is always a great pleasure to read what you write.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 15 2014 2:20 utc | 102

We often make the mistake of interpreting the follies of the power drunk as highly sophisticated manouevrings in a long game.

That, I suspect, is the problem with the current round of US diplomacy which appears, at one and the same time, to be attempting rapprochement with elements in Iran eager to surrender to it, and going out of its way to discredit and humiliate those same forces, backers of Rouhani and supporters of the Presidential government.

There is a temptation to see US moves as part of a deep and well thought out policy, designed to enhance the “national interest.”
It is a temptation best resisted: the US is incapable of diplomacy. It can threaten, bribe and subvert, all military/terrorist tactics but it can no longer attempt to build coalitions and isolate opponents in any other way. It is muscle bound: its ethos is that of the military since time immemorial, force is always the answer.
Rouhani represents the best chance the US government has of gaining its objectives in Iran which includes using Iran’s influence to help ease the States out of the quagmire in the middle east , in which it is now neck deep and sinking further. The obvious and painless next step for the US is to allow its puppet Ban Ki Moon to invite Iran to Geneva, where its presence is essential, anyway. Instead it has used its power over him to humiliate Rouhani by not inviting his government’s assistance.

Is there a purpose behind this silliness?
The answer is yes, that it is intended to please the Israeli regime and its thuggish supporters in the USA.
And, no: it is completely gratuitous. Hours after honouring Israel’s rich fascist heritage by attending the funeral of the criminal Sharon, the US is in a perfect position to require recompense from Israel for pissing on the thousands of corpses that Sharon left in his wake. Instead it looks for others to insult.

All this must be exceedingly heartening to the statesmen running China and Russia. It makes their work very easy. The US can no more “pivot” to Asia than it can escape the consequences of decades of drunken idiocy in the middle east.

It cannot escape from the region because the wars it started, thoughtlessly, are getting more intense and spreading more widely. It cannot ask Iran to cool the situation because its salafist proxies were enrolled to fight Iran. It cannot make peace because it is committed to war. If it were to leave the region Israel’s careful plans to divide its peoples into dozens feuding factions would evaporate as one or another of the big powers, Turkey, Egypt or Iran became dominant. And dangerous.
Meanwhile in Asia, as someone posted above, the real pivot-the transfer of much of the world’s manufacturing and economic dynamism to that continent, coincident with European and north American social and economic suicide- is well under weigh. And the only role open to the US there, as elsewhere, is that of arms supplier and shit disturber. It can mess things up but it no longer has the opportunity to be anything more than a murderous nuisance.
As to Iran: another generation of “reformers” full of admiration for the white man and an inherited subservience to imperialism seems destined to learn, the hard way, that the pre-condition of reaching agreement with the US government is to wage war against Iran’s nationalists and its poor. That, and being ready to betray Hezbollah, Syria and Iraq, to dismantle Iranian industry and to recreate the relationship the Shah enjoyed.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 15 2014 2:46 utc | 103

Pirouz_2 23
*4) Do you look forward to US being able to "pivot to China"? Would a successful "pivot to china" be a positive development in your opinion?*

the only positive muricun pivot for the world is to mars...a one way trip !

Posted by: denk | Jan 15 2014 3:54 utc | 104

WSWS not impressed with Rouhani:

For the US, the nuclear issue has always been a pretext to bully Iran, bring forth fabricated claims and new demands, and lay the political groundwork for war. It will do the same now, to squeeze Iran for concessions and to exploit fissures inside Iran’s bourgeois political elite. Within Iran the response to the agreement has been muted, doubtless in part because its details are not yet public. In recent weeks, however, there has been growing criticism of the Nov 24 agreement for leaving the sanctions virtually untouched. Many members of parliament have also accused the government of concealing secret codicils and understandings bound up with the agreement. Predictably, Hashemi Rafsanjani hailed the agreement, declaring it “a win-win for both sides.” The mentor of Hassan Rouhani, Rafsanjani has for a quarter century spearheaded the drive for an accommodation with US imperialism. As president of Iran from 1989 to 1997, he oversaw a brutal IMF-inspired austerity program. Rouhani is similarly identified with the push for pro-market reforms to eliminate what remains of the social concessions made to the working class and poor after the 1979 Revolution. Last weekend, as the interim nuclear deal was being finalized, Tehran announced that Rouhani will travel later this month to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he will woo the Western business and political elite. Rouhani has already rolled out the red carpet for US and EU energy giants, offering them privileged access to Iran’s massive oil and natural gas reserves and suggesting that Iran is eager to see them supplant the Chinese as the principal “partner” of Iran’s oil industry.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/01/14/iran-j14.html

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 15 2014 4:16 utc | 105

Thank you Pirouz, and I'd like to very much return the compliment. Your comments are always something I can learn from. It is because of so many thoughtful people like yourself that this is never, ever a dull place - and b's starting and setting the topic is of course invaluable.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 15 2014 4:16 utc | 106

b, guest77 & al

FWIW: Yes, stfu is a quick fingered ping pong poster.
But: Quite usually his posts are centered around the matter at hand while neretva isn't any more hesitant than him and does push out posts completely ignorant of the matter, meant only to attack personally and to insult.

Unnerving they can be both (sometimes). But neretva is outright aggressive and insulting (sometimes).

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 15 2014 6:52 utc | 107

bevin (103)

As to Iran: another generation of “reformers” full of admiration for the white man and an inherited subservience to imperialism seems destined to learn, the hard way, that the pre-condition of reaching agreement with the US government is to wage war against Iran’s nationalists and its poor. That, and being ready to betray Hezbollah, Syria and Iraq, to dismantle Iranian industry and to recreate the relationship the Shah enjoyed.

I think it's more a question of men who care more about justice and honour (like Achmadinedschad) and men who think more like politicians. And yes, of course, whores are everywhere incl. Iran although there they are considerably less than in zusa or zeu.

One should not forget that many high-level Iranians grew up in the shah era and have a western university education. While zamericans don't have the slightest clue of Iranians, many in Iran know zus, zuk, and the like from the inside.

But there is another, and in my mind more important, point: Iran is based on a high culture over thousands of years while zusa basically is a bunch of expelled european scum with virtually no culture at all, except for some later immigrants.

And yes, zusa has little to no policy other than force and brutality (and don't forget greed!). I don't know why the european nobility didn't just kill the scum rather than to send it over the Atlantic. Maybe greed, too, combined with illusions of vast plantations and rich income.

Sure enough though Russia, China and some others have learned that lesson and will send zamericans to where they belong, into insignificance or a dark pit of history.
I'm btw convinced that their (zus, iszrael) main reason to paint Nazi Germany black and blacker and to endlessly bring up (their exaggerated and unilateral version of) Germanies past is quite simply to appear less evil themselves.

Ceterum censeo israel americamque delenda esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 15 2014 7:09 utc | 108

@100. Surely not without included the "he he he" neretva'43 moron

Posted by: DM | Jan 15 2014 10:20 utc | 109

Clearly guest sees a kindredspirit in the moron neretva

They're both dishonest
They're both frequently moronic
They both spout off with no knowlede of the subject matter
In fact actually knowing something about what you are discussimg is generally considered a bad thing with these 2 morons, because then you might contradict what ever stupidity they are currently engaged in boring people to death with
Neither can ever admit error especially error of fact. Facts are a big no no for these intellectual midgets

Twins basically

Posted by: stfu | Jan 15 2014 10:58 utc | 110

It's the 2nd time in one week that snipers shoot demonstrators in Thailand
http://www.lemonde.fr/asie-pacifique/video/2014/01/15/deux-blesses-par-balle-lors-des-manifestations-en-thailande_4348320_3216.html

Where are Ashton and McCain when you need them?
They haven't been seen in Kiev anymore either. Too cold? Busy with Christmas/ski for new year?

Posted by: Mina | Jan 15 2014 11:02 utc | 111

Where are Ashton and McCain when you need them?

egging on the shooters most likely

and lets be honest here

NO ONE "needs" a McCain nor an Ashton.

NO ONE - not even their own families

Posted by: stfu | Jan 15 2014 11:20 utc | 112

for a Savage(s) /ˈsæv.ɪdʒ/
- a person whose way of life is at a very early stage of development
- lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings
- lacking complex or advanced culture

You are not even at very early stage. Sorry this is Billie Holiday, I know you hate them, but couldn't find anybody from your tribe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Fruit

Do you like Rachmaninoff. No, no, no it is not a food. It sounds like Stroganoff but it is not food.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 14:04 utc | 113

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Web007rzSOI

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Strange Fruit

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 14:07 utc | 114

Do you like Strange Fruit in interpretation of Nina Simone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcCm_ySBslk

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 14:16 utc | 115

This clip is right for you. Racists do not need to watch this, since this is Savage's Tribal Reality.

Nina Simone musical arrangement is much better...dramatic, real.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Lq_yasEgo

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 14:29 utc | 116

Hello all,

This is my first post on this site, which I visit regularly due to many incisive views by "b", as I think that my perspective is sufficiently different that it might contribute to the discussion.


Re: Syria: While the ongoing civil war is clearly fueled by the KSA, it is eminently clear to me that it would have started, and might still be ongoing, without any foreign intervention or incitement. What many of the commentators do not take into account is that Syria has a Youth Bulge of stupendous proportions. Its population has !quadrupled! in the last 50 years. Countries with huge Youth Bulges are very susceptible to inner turmoil or expansionist wars. Historical examples can be seen in the 16th till 19th centuries by the conquering of the Americas, Australia, many parts of Africa, and the subjugation of major parts of Asia by European states with extreme Youth Bulges.

In addition, due to the construction of dams in Turkey and climate change, Syria's main sweet water source, the Euphrates, is becoming increasingly dry. That severely reduces the extent of agriculture in Syria, leading to shortages in available and affordable food supply.

Last, and certainly not least, Syria's oil production has been declining to such an extent that the profits were not sufficient anymore to cover state expenses and subsidize oil consumption for its citizens.

These are the main drivers for the Syrian civil war, and they are almost entirely applicable to Egypt (which is going to explode or crumble as soon as the Saudi monetary prop-up is coming to an end).


Re: Iran: Iran certainly should have the moral right to use nuclear energy peacefully, as long as it adheres to the NPT. Moreover, the US would gain and increase some desperately needed resources by agreeing to a deal and gaining access to the Iranian markets. Needless to say, this is even more pertinent to Europe (I am European) as we really need the lowered oil price that would ensue as soon as Iranian oil would available for purchase again. Our industries also need the boost generated from increased trade with Iran.

However, relations between humans, and nations in particular, are not based on what is moral, rational, right or beneficial to the majority, but on might, the ability to impose on another party a specific outcome, and the self-interest of the mighty few in a given society. This tendency becomes even more pronounced in times of scarcity, such as we experience them now. By scarcity I mean scarcity of available energy (high oil prices!), scarcity of arable land, scarcity of potable and clean water, scarcity of resources that we need to to warm, clothe and feed ourselves, and to be able to have and sustain a family. Increasingly, scarcity is felt all over the world and it expresses itself by high unemployment, low economic growth civil wars, political turmoil, etc.


Therefore, Iran will, in all likelihood, not gain what it deserves, but what it is able to force the US and Israel to give up without being bombed to smithereens. I am not sure how many concession Iran will get, but I wish it all the best.


Re: Pivot to Asia: This is where I do not understand the majority of the commentators or "b". I actually support the pivot as a means to contain China, because an American empire is vastly preferable to me than a Chinese one.

And let there be no doubt about it: As long as our energy resources will permit it, we will have a globalized world with a global empire. If history is any guide, then a power vacuum can not exist for very long. Neither, it seems, is a multipolar world in any way stable, peaceful or achievable.

The Chinese have clearly imperial aspirations and border disputes with virtually every neighboring country. In addition, China (same as India) has a severe overshoot in male population and a deeply ingrained sense of cultural and racial(Han) superiority. About 50-100 million sex craved Chinese men who cannot get some because of a lack of women, along with that sense of superiority do not spell anything good for countries that happen to be sucked into its orbit of dominance. Admittedly, they have some right to feel culturally superior has they have been so for several thousand years prior to the invasion by the British.

A confrontation, even a military one, between China and the US is much more likely than most of us would like to acknowledge as scarcity will bite ever deeper in the coming years and decades. Preparation is, as a consequence, an absolute key. Any western or Asian industrialized country has, as I perceive it, nothing to gain in a Chinese Hegemony but very much to lose because the current system works very much in these countries' favor.

Only China and the US have some room in determining how "hot" that confrontation between them will turn out to be. Any other western or industrialized country would benefit much more if it supported the US. Russia, of course, is an exception as it could gain influence and standing by taking advantage of a confrontation that is bound to weaken both of its major competitors.

Posted by: HnH | Jan 15 2014 14:46 utc | 117

yo should probably go back on the meds, dude - clearly this med-free thing ain't working out for you

Posted by: ROFL | Jan 15 2014 14:47 utc | 118

118 directed at the idiot troll neretva'43

Posted by: ROFL | Jan 15 2014 14:49 utc | 119

An investigation by El Universal has found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs in exchange for information on rival cartels.

Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.

There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.

But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.

Right

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 14:54 utc | 120

Uh, oh...there is some "progress", you reinvented self!?

What do you think about the Evolution? E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N, you know Darwin???

Did you learn anything at all. Was it banned subject in your hole.


http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-and-the-sinaloa-cartel-2014-1

Borat

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 15:03 utc | 121

@

"yo should probably go back on the meds, dude - clearly this med-free thing ain't working out for you"

" You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?
Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me?
Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?
Oh yeah? OK."

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 15:13 utc | 122

@HnH, thanks for your input. Be sure to get back to us when China starts lobbing Hellfires on Luxembourg or strafing Monaco.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 15 2014 15:20 utc | 123

@117
Your contribution was thoughtful and informative. I hope that you will not be deterred from joining these conversations by the abuse you receive from trolls and tenth rate comedians.

I disagree with your assessment of the relative merits of the Empire that exists-centred in Washington and half a millennium in age-and the putative Chinese Empire which not only does not exist but is very unlikely ever to do so.
The idea that humanity has to choose between submission to criminals in Washington or to another set who lack the advantage of being known devils, is not only profoundly pessimistic but unrealistic. The only hope of dismounting the current Empire involves mobilising all the forces opposed to it, under the banner of liberating all men and ending capitalism and class rule forever.

In one respect your post was very useful: it is a reminder of how deeply ingrained in our culture is a shallow propagandist image of US liberalism. In fact the history of the United States and, more generally, of the post-Colombian European imperialist impulse which it represents, is one of unequalled savagery and callous inhumanity.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 15 2014 15:38 utc | 124

@ruralito, I am not sure that I understood your comment or what you were getting at.

Also, Hellfires are US-made missiles to which the Chinese have no access because of the weapons sales embargo since the Tian Nan Men events. It would be quite dumb and wasteful, from a tactical or strategical standpoint, to use Hellfire-type missiles to bomb any kind of country or mini state. Chinese leaders and decision-makers are neither.

For a complete destruction bombing raids or nuclear ballistic missiles would be much better suited. If the objective were to be the preservation of infrastructure, chemical weapons or a wholesale invasion would serve much better.

Luckily, that won't happen as France and the UK have a nuclear triad, so that would be very painful for China with very little to show for. In addition, the US has still nuclear missiles stationed in Germany.

Posted by: HnH | Jan 15 2014 15:43 utc | 125

@

All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take 'em to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won't even take spooks. Don't make no difference to me.

No rain can wash the scum and the savages of this continent, no amount of water on planet Earth can did it. Maybe, just maybe, high level of radiation, ten and more times of Fukushima.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 15 2014 15:48 utc | 126

"I am not sure that I understood your comment or what you were getting at."

Lol, you don't have both oars in the water.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 15 2014 15:54 utc | 127

HnH 125

the chinese leaders r certainly anything but dumb, but im not so sure about u if u dont unstand what ruralito is saying ?

playing dumb perhaps ?

lets put it this way...
if tomorrow u read a head line saying *hellfire missiles killed 100 civies in xxx*
who'd u think might be the perpetrator, china or ur preferred hegemon ?

Posted by: denk | Jan 15 2014 15:56 utc | 128

HnH 125
*About 50-100 million sex craved Chinese men who cannot get some because of a lack of women, along with that sense of superiority do not spell anything good for countries that happen to be sucked into its orbit of dominance.*

fuck u
who r the ones raping teens n grandmas from okinawa, korea, philippines n beyond , asshole ?

Posted by: denk | Jan 15 2014 16:06 utc | 129

@HnH
good input about the Pivot to Asia but I think most of us dismiss any kind of empire.

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 15 2014 16:28 utc | 130

"In fact the history of the United States and, more generally, of the post-Colombian European imperialist impulse which it represents, is one of unequalled savagery and callous inhumanity"

I would love to have that as a tatoo...

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 15 2014 16:33 utc | 131

All these scandals are scripted. Hollande doesn't really want to dip his wick in actresses but he has to provide his handlers with something juicy every once in a while and being a good stooge he plays his role to the hilt. dh at 32

No.

This came at a very bad time for Hollande, even though the French basically ignore this kind of thing, even the ‘right’ has shut up (for now.) There is consensus that the connection to the murdered ex-companion of the friend who rented the lodgings in which the couple met (etc. if one follows) are fortuitous. (That is in everyone’s interests!)

The alarm expressed concerns Hollande’s security (yes he behaved in a foolhardy and ridiculous fashion), F’s image abroad, what happens now, can other countries accept a Prez. who is not married, has GF’s, etc.? (Some splinter factions etc. are appalled..)

The disquieting fact is that France is descending even deeper into a media circus with personality and social issues etc. at the forefront. > Bread and circuses.

Gayet, ha ha, the actress now Hollande ‘mistress’ : her original career aim was to be a circus performer, she went thru the top Circus school.

Kerry meeting Lavrov in Paris, gives him Idaho potatoes. They look exactly like ‘quenelles’, hilarious.. universal symbolism there, an international meme?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QC3L6YQpZ8

They met in Paris because Hotels in many other places (hub, central, neutral) are full. Or maybe Lavrov likes Paris? Nothing to do with Hollande. Kerry prefers Switz.


Posted by: Noirette | Jan 15 2014 17:04 utc | 132

@denk, ruralito. I certainly do not like the US to be the hegemon since my country is an imperial colony in all but name. I simply think that a hegemon China would be much worse, even if they might not use drones on countries to inflict pain and suffering on people considered a threat or nuisance.

In addition, while US soldiers are surely not morally superior to any other nation's soldiers, rape is neither allowed or condoned by USG or US military policies.

I also did not mean that an imperial China might allow for their soldiers to go on a rampage, but I alluded to a male Chinese overshoot that inherently increases aggressive policies and a more favorable view on war and expansion. Who do you think fueled the militaristic and conquering drive of the European countries from the 16th up to the 19th centuries? These were the second and third sons who did not inherit anything and could not find employment adequate to support a family, that's who.

The current system is not functional in many ways, and very cruel for some. Any new power structure with the Chinese at the helm, however, has no conceivable way in being better, and a myriad of possibilities of being much worse.

The reality is that there will always be an empire or somebody lording it over you, if there is something with a semblance to civilization. The only people without that experience were and are Hunter Gatherer communities, and these communities are too small to resist when faced with any conquering ambitions of even the weakest nation, army, be it in the name of economic "development" or otherwise.

The only thing one has some influence on is who one is subject to. Most do not even have that.

If you think that my arguments or views are without merit, then prove so with logic and knowledge. Name calling, ad hominems, and one liners filled emotion, braggadocio but little else just imply that my arguments are too heavy for you to weigh up against because yours have been found wanting.

Posted by: HnH | Jan 15 2014 17:27 utc | 133

the reaction to HnH is proof positive of the hostility shown here to anyone not swallowing the groupthink

HnH has been nothing but polite, and has received little but puerile hostility in return


So the next time one of the pompous over-educated blowhards around here talks about "polite debate" being the only thing important around here, as they frequently dishonestly do, the the reaction to HnH will serve to prove them to be pure hypocrites

Posted by: Tom | Jan 15 2014 17:46 utc | 134

I hope that you will not be deterred from joining these conversations by the abuse you receive from trolls and tenth rate comedians.

denk and ruralito were the 2 people attacking HnH

which of those 2 is the troll and which is the tenth rate comedian?

Posted by: Tom | Jan 15 2014 17:48 utc | 135

@132 My comment about M.Hollande's sexual proclivities was meant for Mr. Berkeley who sees the hand of imperialism everywhere....even in French bedrooms. I am sure les gens normeaux will just see it as rien d'exceptionnel.

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2014 17:52 utc | 136

yes dh I see what you mean. let's have a drink! on me, then you.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 15 2014 18:39 utc | 137

@HnH - welcome

Syria - some revolt in Syria because of the youth bulge could have happened in the coming years - could

But the revolt that happens now was instigated from the outside. The U.S. planned and payed for a "color revolution" while the Qataris and Saudis paid for "muscle" that would use the color revolution to incite a civil war. This was well planned and Seymour Hersh reported about it in 2007(!!!).

Pivot to Asia - its a project of the U.S. military industrial complex. Wars in the Middle East are now disliked by the U.S. population and new reasons must be found to spend lots of money on useless weapons.

China has, for now, certainly no imperial interests nor would it have any chance developing such. It needs energy from far away which is it weak point and will always be its weak point. The male bulge you see in China is more like 10 million than the 100 million you claim and not as much as problem as you perceive. Men can share a woman just as women can share a man :-).

Posted by: b | Jan 15 2014 19:20 utc | 138

@all

Tom aka ROFL banned for sock puppetry

Posted by: b | Jan 15 2014 19:23 utc | 139

@139....hmmm, foff, stfu, rofl will be back soon as lmao.

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2014 19:29 utc | 140

@b, bevin, some1, thanks for the replies.

With regards to Syria, the US, SA, Qatar and Israel certainly had and have their parts in keeping that conflict alive and burning. However, the outbreak into a civil war could not have happened without a highly restive population with little to lose and a weakened control of the Assad government precisely because of the conditions that I have mentioned previously.

While the US contributed training and intelligence at the beginning of the conflict, I am not so sure about its current involvement, which I estimate to be nil to very minor. A cue is the lack of Israeli aerial attacks on Syrian territory recently and the openly expressed disgruntlement by Turkey about the lack of support for the Syrian free armies. Turkey even seems to have started to close its borders for resupply runs destined for the insurgents. The US has also stopped its homeopathic weapons deliveries after they went to Sunny extremist war parties. Saudi Arabia is another story entirely.

What I mean by that is that US imperialism is not nearly as omnipotent as it is often made out to be. Contextual factors are more often than not far more influential. The US were "merely" exploiting the existing conditions.


The pivot to Asia will surely lead to gleefully rubbed hands in the boardrooms of the MIC corporations and their stockholders. It is, however, much more than that. It is the fight of the weakening but still preeminent global power to hold in check the most serious contender, whose might is growing with astonishing speed. Just a couple of days ago the news appeared that China was now the biggest trading nation. This further undermines the US Dollar as the global currency, the position of which has already taken some hard knocks by inter-BRICS trading agreements in Renmibi, Roubles, Real and Rands. The advantage of issuing the world currency is very significant for the USG in terms of income, trade and plain savings due to the lowest possible interest premiums of debt servicing.

China is also becoming much more assertive in foreign policy demands and in claiming ownership of territories that haven't seen any kind of Chinese exertion of control over the last hundreds of years, if ever. China's behavior in business relations with African countries, Australia and Pakistan, to name a few, has also become ever more imposing. This is coupled with demands of adjusting behavior in foreign relations so that it can be deemed acceptable by China, or else...

Combined with the exponential rise on defense R&D and procurement, and the aforementioned territorial disputes with virtually every neighbor, China has all the trappings of a potential Empire on the rise. It may not show the hallmarks of US- or European style imperialism, but the effects on suffering and death because of its policies do not have to be any less detrimental. It is telling that many Asian countries, overtly or covertly, have started to seek out closer relations and protection by the US because they are intimidated by China, if they don't fear it outright already.

The other point is the male overshoot in China. "b" argued that the number was quite closer to 10 million rather than the 50-100 million that I mentioned. "b" is right if we are talking just about the 15-64y demographic, whereas my number includes the 0-14 demographic as well (53 million). Both numbers are a bit misleading because the one child policy was introduced with strong incentives but without coercion in 1972 before it became law (with coercion) in 1982. Also, Two year old children don't care about mating. The numbers mislead, because it is precisely the younger generations from 1972, and 1982 in particular, onwards where the male overshoot is especially pronounced. This is also the age range, where the overshoot shows its strongest effects because these people are young(ish) and in a brutal competition over the few women in that age bracket. Reading news on China about the harsh requirements on men before they are considered marriage worthy is quite illuminating. I also don't think that Chinese traditions support the practice for a woman to have several men/husbands at the same time ;).


@bevin regarding US propaganda & economic liberalism. I have read Schumpeter, Marx, Chomsky, Hayek, Smith, along with a couple of other "worthies". The Prince by Machiavelli is my favorite, which is probably saying something about me. My conclusion is that true Marxism or Communism is just as big as a idealistic pipe dream as the notion of a Free Market. Both concepts can only exist as theoretical ideas, never to see the light of reality because of human nature and the simple fact that linear economic growth is incompatible with an exponential monetary system.

Current neoliberal capitalism has carried the day over sovjet-style socialism because it proved to be much more efficient in producing goods and wealth; up to now. It did so by pushing the "externalizations" onto the commons and the weaker and poorer nations. It has had its heyday and I doubt it will survive another decade, but who knows what comes next. A liberal, free and equal system it will most certainly not be, until we all revert to live in Hunter-Gatherer communities, for which we are far too many populating the planet.

Any kind of civilization needs structure and hierarchical levels. Systems thinking and network analysis suggests that very strongly, as does all our history since 10 000 BC. The more hierarchy, the more inequality. The one thing begets the other.

Enough for today.

Posted by: HnH | Jan 15 2014 23:03 utc | 141

neretva


Mihailovic however was an actual Chetnik. Milosevic closer to a national communist.
Be that as it might, the "American" neocons like Kristol and co supported terror against the
Serbs. A tradeoff to take pressure off Israel.

Posted by: truthbetold | Jan 16 2014 1:39 utc | 142

*If history is any guide, then a power vacuum can not exist for very long. Neither, it seems, is a multipolar world in any way stable, peaceful or achievable. *

yeah right, we just cant live as equal partners in this world, we need some dear leader to protect us [sic]

chomsky once say something like this...
once upon a time there were two super powers n the world enjoyed a relative peaceful period .
after the demise of ussr, murikka has been running amok like a two bit punk with his first gun coz there's no one to restrain it.
i think he actually called murikka a gangster nation , cant say i disagree with it!

thats what u prefer innit, the world under ur thumb ?


************
*n addition, while US soldiers are surely not morally superior to any other nation's soldiers, rape is neither allowed or condoned by USG or US military policies. *

a moral muricun soldier is an oxymoron kid

how long has this shit been going on in okinawa alone, sixty yrs ?
if this isnt condonation then i dont know what is ?

u want more proof ?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16096.htm

but u aint seen nuthin yet,
murikka is the very definition of evil.
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/27e/080.html
same mo from dresden to hiroshima, iraq, yugo, libya, syria...

and ur here worrying about viagra driven pla soldiers running amok in future
wtf.

Posted by: denk | Jan 16 2014 3:39 utc | 143

the above post to hnh 125

Posted by: denk | Jan 16 2014 4:11 utc | 144

HnH, you don't appear to have mentioned what 'your country' is, and it might be rather relevant, considering that you are trotting out anti-PRC propaganda of a pretty basic sort, though you sound like an interesting person. For instance, the suggestion that Chinese troops rape civilians and US troops do not, is what one might call 'propaganda for dummies' or 'propaganda 101'.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 16 2014 4:24 utc | 145

Enough for today.
Posted by: HnH | Jan 15, 2014 6:03:35 PM | 141

Now, that's what good trolling looks like... friendly, polite, dispassionate ... and wrong.
Too many blind spots and too much wishful thinking.

"However, the outbreak into a civil war could not have happened without a highly restive population with little to lose and a weakened control of the Assad government precisely because of the conditions that I have mentioned previously."

The above version of Alice in Wonderland overlooks the fact that Assad's enemies used their subservient MSM to paint Assad as an evildoer (who kills his own people). And even before it became obvious that there weren't enough anti-Assad Syrians to support Obama's 'rebels' Obama & Friends were supplying 'rebels' from outside Syria, and paying them, arming them, providing safe havens outside Syria, and offering cash bonuses for atrocities against civilians (to blame on Assad).
In case you've forgotten, FSA = Foreign Supplied Army.

Nice try, though.
7/10.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 16 2014 5:44 utc | 146

HnH is not trolling at all he/she just did his "homeworks".
It seems that he does not share the admiration that some here have for the Al Assads,Putins and Rouhanis of this world.Maybe he predates most of us and posesess a better memory or he is aware of the current situation on the ground called everyday life-struggle in ME.

@HnH
"The reality is that there will always be an empire or somebody lording it over you, if there is something with a semblance to civilization."

Now we are in the age of comunication,networks and knowledge and we try to say that we do not want the reality you mentioned.
MoA=network/postings=communication/all with the aim to find more Knowledge.
ImO this is the only thing we can and should do to change the reality without doing too much harm to others(except brain-pain).
So what you say is true and its right to share it here but it should not be taken too seriosly unless you are 60+ years.

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 16 2014 15:08 utc | 147

HnH is not trolling at all he/she just did his "homeworks".
Posted by: Some1 | Jan 16, 2014 10:08:20 AM | 147

Rumsfeld, Cheney & the Bush Regime did their "homeworks" too, but I haven't seen anything vaguely resembling a contribution to a semblance of civilization arising from those endeavors.

I said what HnH wrote looked like good quality trolling. My ears pricked up when he was using cheap tricks to whip up a frenzy of panic about China (as RB pointed out in the comment above mine) in an earlier comment. I don't think anyone can afford to give China "good cop" guernsey just yet. BUT comparing the crimes China has NOT committed with those the US & UK HAVE committed (all over the world) China deserves the benefit of the doubt. And HNH's anti-Assad comment contained many distortions of, and departures from, the truth.

If it wasn't trolling it was a pretty good imitation.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 16 2014 15:51 utc | 148

HnH

There's one point with which I do not agree, (of course) the hegemony/vacuum point.

- There has not always been, will always be a (single) hegemon. Actually, if zusa were one within a multi-polar constellation, they would behave way more civilized. The very fact of being the single hegemon is what made zusa so law-ignoring and brutal, meanwhile increasingly (open) even against theimselves (*if* their leader can be considered zamericans).

- Even if China were the only and single hegemon to be I would chose it *anytime* over zusa.
Simple reason: China has a very old culture, always valued intelligence, education and wisdom highly and, not coincidently, prefers a multipolar model anyway.

I'm afraid, many don't get that point but zusa isn't just bragging and propagandizing *now* or in some areas. Nope. Bragging, lying and propagandizing is their "basis"; Lacking any significant culture, the scum exported from Europes lower bowels in the 18th, 19th and 20th. centuries just do - and have to do - what is always done when the basis and knowledge are non-existant but due to some circumstances inept people reach some kind of power.
You can see that in Russias nouveau riche, and you can see that in most western politicians, too. They lack solid grounds, a solid understanding, and quite usually some kind of souvereignty that comes with achievements - and so they "fake" it, they basically play the role that in their insufficient and tight views comes next to the real thing.
It's a somewhat like the simple farmer who, maybe because oil is found on his land, suddenly becomes "someone". Of course, he can't but to "emulate" what he thinks an important persons is, does, acts like, etc.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 16 2014 17:24 utc | 149

"Rumsfeld, Cheney & the Bush Regime did their "homeworks" too"
No they did not.The Germans did,and that was the reason they did not join the "Party" at least not blatantly.

And the frenzy of panic about China is observed in all western EU nations exept in GB.

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 16 2014 17:49 utc | 150

anybody who roots for the evil empire can only be a moron or a shill.
elementary watson.

Posted by: denk | Jan 17 2014 16:27 utc | 151

And the frenzy of panic about China is observed in all western EU nations exept in GB.
..delivered by people competing with Tony Bliar for the Nobel Prize for Sincerity.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 17 2014 16:33 utc | 152

Personally, I am just fascinated by the fact that the Chinese ruling party still calls itself 'Communist'. I know everybody will immediately think of the encyclopedic evidence that all that the ruling 'Communist' mandarins do is make corrupt deals and enrich themselves, but what fascinates me is the theoretical anomaly itself. I assume they still educate their cadres (what a useful if confusing word) by making them read the Marxist classics and pass exams in them. Surely they do. What can the effect of this possibly be? You may say it merely shows that any language can be bent to any purpose, that not even Marx and Lenin have any inherent meaning - a startling claim, but not beyond certain philosophers of language...

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 17 2014 17:57 utc | 153

And the US ruling party calls itself Democratic. As to the texts its children read and are tested on, these include the US Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers and the works of, eg Gabriel Kolko and WA Williams.
As to the effect of all this, we know what it is and that it includes a systematic offensive against the Constitution, international law and everything else deemed, by the theorists, sacred.
The sad truth is that much of Marx and Lenin can be construed to justify "modernisation" "development" and other excuses for capitalism.
Perhaps the CCP leadership sees its, on the face of it, corrupt dealings and neo-liberal policies as steps to transform the rural masses into proletarians and the proletariat into revolutionaries.
They wouldn't be the first.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 17 2014 18:17 utc | 154

Yes. There are the Stalinist precedents. Most spectacular is the claim, "The Party is always right, even when it's wrong." This is a genuine CPSU line, which was maintained at least until Krushchev's Feb 1956 'Secret Speech' denouncing Stalin's crimes, and the dissolution of the Cominform (the successor to the Comintern) in April of that year. I know that, because the great Althusser (or at least I think he's great) was still adhering to it in his earliest writings available in English, which date from around then.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 18 2014 1:27 utc | 155

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