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  • Citizens United is just frosting on the cake. The two major parties haven’t given Americans the choice of voting for someone who represents their interests at least since Jimmy Carter. Ross Perot came in with a strong showing as a third party candidate, so the two war parties made sure that that would never happen again.

    As for Obama being the worst recent president, the informed view is that the current president is the worst president, until he is replaced by a new president, who will be even worse.

  • Demian commented on the blog post West Ukraine Elects Oligarch President, East Stays Home

    2014-05-26 18:21:49View | Delete

    Nothing about the Kyiv regime is serious, including Mr. Poroshenko.

    Even Yulia Timoshenko, who is far madder than Poroshenko, acknowledged in an intercepted phone conversation that the Crimea is back with Russia for good.

    Poroshenko had a chance to make a difference by demanding that the Ukrainian invasion of Novorossia be halted, but he has called for the opposite: intensifying it. It is unlikely that Ukraine will have its present borders when his presidency ends.

  • Demian commented on the diary post Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine by GREYDOG.

    2014-05-25 17:11:18View | Delete

    Excellent documentary. The song it ends with, Такого как Путин (One like Putin) is good, too.

    Speaking of censorship, Google is now officially evil, since it banned ANNA News for uploading this video, during the filming of which an Italian reporter and his cameraman were killed by mortar fire by junta forces.

  • Speaking of Putin, I just watched this excellent video, which I found about at MoA:

    GRTV: Propaganda and the Ukraine Crisis

    At the end, it has a nice trance song praising Putin. :-)

    Since you mention Obama, another thing I got out of that video is that when Obama talks, he acts like a person who knows he has sold his soul to the devil and still hasn’t come to terms with that. I really can find no other explanation for why he comes across as such a down person.

  • Speaking of diplomacy, the defense ministers of Russia and Iran agreed to develop closer relations

    MOSCOW, may 23 – RIA Novosti. Russia and Iran will develop military and military-technical cooperation, given the current world political situation, – about it agreed on Friday the Ministers of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu and Iran Hossein Dehghan.

    “This transition to a fundamentally new level,” said Dehgan during a bilateral meeting held in the framework of the international security conference in Moscow.

    The Ministers condemned the policy pursued by the US, and agreed to continue cooperation. Whether the meeting led to any specific agreement, was not announced.

    As reported by RIA Novosti known military expert Igor Korotchenko, Iran may become a new major partner of Russia on military cooperation in the conditions of aggravation of relations with the West. In particular, according to Korotchenko, it makes sense to return to the fulfillment of an earlier signed contract to supply Iran with air defense missile systems s-300.

    This contract was annulled due to sanctions imposed on Iran by the West.

  • Found out about a Web site (in Russian) with reports of breaking events in the war in south-east Ukraine.

    Igor Strelkov, the rebel military commander, has called for the evacuation of Slavansk, expecting use of heavy artillery by invading putsch forces.

    There is also a video of how Uki soldiers manning a checkpoint kill a woman with sustained fire from machine guns when she does not stop her car in response to warning shots.

    I really didn’t think it would come to this. Obama, Kerry, and Nuland have turned the Ukraine into Iraq.

  • Demian commented on the blog post Russia And China Complete $400 Billion Energy Deal

    2014-05-21 18:28:38View | Delete

    To be fair to Superfly, apparently he wanted to take US troops out of Afghanistan, but the generals, including David Petraeus, maneuvered him into a troop “surge”, largely by using leaks to the press. Petraeus getting fired as CIA director, ostensibly for adultery, was payback for that. Firing Petraeus is the one instance that I know of in which Obama made an executive decision. In all other cases, as far as I can tell, Superfly is no more than a figurehead. Superfly obviously bore a grudge against Petraeus.

  • Demian commented on the blog post Russia And China Complete $400 Billion Energy Deal

    2014-05-21 14:55:52View | Delete

    Since Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard, the US dollar has been a special case in this respect. It’s called super imperialism:

    Effectively speaking, the United States has compelled the older nations of the West to pay for the overseas costs of the US war in Asia. Whatever they may desire, the central banks of Europe had no choice but to continue to except the paper dollar equivalents annually created as the domestic and overseas deficit of the United States increase. Otherwise, the whole of shaky structure of the world monetary system will collapse into rubble. America has succeeded in forcing other nations to pay for its wars on a systematic basis, something never before accomplished by any nation in history .

    Printing dollars need not cause inflation, since those dollars end up overseas and stay there. That is the benefit of the dollar being the international reserve currency.

  • Demian commented on the blog post Russia And China Complete $400 Billion Energy Deal

    2014-05-21 14:32:20View | Delete

    What do you think about the Russia/China gas deal? The CEO of Gasprom said that there was a “compromise”. I know that you don’t like speculation, but here’s what I think.

    China wanted to get a discount on Russian gas; Russia wanted to charge China what it charges to western Europe and what it will charge to Japan. (The fact that plans are being laid to build a pipeline from Russia’s Sakhalin Island to Japan seems to be oddly absent from most news stories about the Russia-China pipeline.) This much, I think, is clear.

    So what could be the compromise between those two positions? I don’t think it was on price (“let’s split the difference”). I imagine that the compromise was that Russia gave China the discount it wanted, but that the discount will be gradually phased out.

    Keeping the deal secret makes sense, since giving China but not Japan a discount would likely piss Japan off, and the deal between Japan and Russia on natural gas is still being worked out.

    Making the deal now was a priority for Russia not because Russia felt “isolated” or economically cornered, but to reinforce the impression that the US is becoming irrelevant.

  • Demian commented on the diary post Over Easy: Putin Pivots to China by yellowsnapdragon.

    2014-05-20 18:18:59View | Delete

    Interesting timing: China bans government purchases of Windows 8, surprising Microsoft

    The Orient is so inscrutable.

  • Demian commented on the diary post Over Easy: Putin Pivots to China by yellowsnapdragon.

    2014-05-20 13:56:48View | Delete

    It’s pretty remarkable that that Taiwan’s permanent seat on the UNSC was given to China by Nixon. That means that of the three major powers that are not vassals of the US, two are permanent UNSC members, with veto power.

  • Demian commented on the diary post Over Easy: Putin Pivots to China by yellowsnapdragon.

    2014-05-20 10:33:39View | Delete

    Ukraine Crisis Pushing Putin Toward China

    In highlighting that the sanctions are helping to disrupt the Russian economy, the Obama administration has virtually ignored that it is pushing Russia toward greater dependence on China

    The Obama administration has also “virtually ignored” that the pivot to Asia, encouragement of a resurgent Japan, and indicting Chinese soldiers for cyberspying [...]

  • You didn’t answer my question, which is how nation-states, lines drawn to create failure, sometimes succeed. What is required?

    I really am not qualified to answer that question, since I can’t relate to the problem (I can only relate to the US, major European countries, and Japan, with China growing on me) and know little of the relevant history.

    In my view, the preferable solution to the problem you pose is to set up a secular, socialist, authoritarian state, along the lines of Syria and Iraq before the US/UK destroyed it; this avoids ethnic cleansing combined with genocide and inventing false national histories, destroying one’s authentic cultural identity in the process.

    Yugoslavia was another example of a state with arbitrarily drawn borders and multiple ethnicities, which was able to build a shared identity on socialism. Since it was successful, its destruction was mandated by Superpower with the collapse of the USSR, which a (real) statesman has called the greatest disaster of the twentieth century. (And the state of Israel still talks to him after that!)

  • There are instances of multi-ethnic and/or multi-religious European countries: Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium. As far as I know, those countries don’t significantly distort the history of their various ethnicities and cultures. (Of course, Europeans only learned to live that way because they grew tired of religious wars.)

    I believe that Russia and Iran are both examples of countries with a dominant, majority ethnicity/religion that allow their minorities to preserve their own cultural identities. Peter the Great built a Mosque in St. Petersburg. Case proved. :-)

    When Russia conquered territory, it did not have to kill or expel the people who lived there, the way the English settlers of North America did, or the way Kemal did in order to consolidate his state.

    Zbig does not understand how the Russian Empire solved the multiethnicity problem because he is a Polish nationalist, and hence cannot see anything good in Russian history.

    I would say that this is the most Russian nationalist that I have ever sounded here…

  • I can’t understand why you seem to be such a big fan of Turkey. It is occupying to this day a European country, and supporting Salafist terrorists in Syria. It’s leader is an out of control megalomaniac and authoritarian, yet his party keeps getting majorities.

    I don’t hold up the US as a model, so saying that Turkey is not much worse than the US is not an impressive argument for me.

    If a nation can’t build its identity on an authentic culture, it simply shouldn’t exist. Building a society on lies never leads to good results in the long run.

    You said before that you watch PressTV. I might start doing that too, because I respect Iranian culture. I think Asghar Farhadi is one of the best living directors. I tried to watch a Turkish movie once, and found it so boring that I couldn’t finish it.

  • Demian commented on the blog post The Roundup for May 19th, 2014

    2014-05-19 20:39:48View | Delete

    Took a look at the orange place to see if they had anything about the latest USG slap in the face to China, and I found that Glenn Greenwald had been attacked on the front page for writing this:

    Hillary is banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion. I mean, she’s been around forever, the Clinton circle. She’s a fucking hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere. But she’s going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy. Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist. It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power. They’ll probably have a gay person after Hillary who’s just going to do the same thing.

    It’s like stating the obvious is tabu in the “mainstream” progressive blogosphere these days.

  • Sorry, that’s Kemalism, not Kemeralism.

    Watching Super Fly now. Never saw it before.

  • I don’t think statesmen should commit acts of genocide or suppress their nation’s authentic identity, basing it instead on myths spun out of thin air.

    Kemeralism didn’t take. Hence Morsi’s Islamicism.

  • Ataturk and deGaulle, who gave up empires

    My recollection is that the Ottoman Empire disappeared because it was defeated by the British and French in World War I, not because Ataturk “gave it up”. And given the continued occupation of Cyprus, I don’t see how one can claim that the Turks have given up their imperial ways.

    Kemal strikes me not as a statesman, but as a Turkish Bandera:

    if Kurds were no different from Turks, whatever their language, customs or sense of themselves, what defined the indivisible identity of the two? Tacitly, it could only be what Kemalism could no longer admit, but with which it could never dispense – religion. There were still tiny Christian and Jewish communities in the country, preserved essentially in Istanbul and its environs, and in due course these would be subjected to treatment that made it clear how fundamental the division between believers and unbelievers continued to be in the Kemalist state. But though Islam delimited the nation, it now did so in a purely negative way: it was the covert identity that was left, after every positive determination had been subtracted, in the name of homogeneity. The result has been that Turkish secularism has always depended on what it repressed.

    The repression, of course, had to be compensated. Once religion could no longer function publicly as common denominator of the nation, the state required a substitute as ideological cement. Kemal attempted to resolve the problem by generating a legendary essence of race and culture shared by all in the Turkish Republic. […]

    Kemalism fashioned for instruction the most extravagant mythology of any interwar nationalism. […]

    Observing Kemalist cultural policies in 1936-37, Erich Auerbach wrote from Istanbul to Walter Benjamin: ‘the process is going fantastically and spookily fast: already there is hardly anyone who knows Arabic or Persian, and even Turkish texts of the past century will quickly become incomprehensible.’ Combining ‘a renunciation of all existing Islamic cultural tradition, a fastening onto a fantasy “ur-Turkey”, technical modernisation in the European sense in order to strike the hated and envied Europe with its own weapons’, it offered ‘nationalism in the superlative with the simultaneous destruction of the historic national character’. […]

    Such nationalism was a new formation, but the experience that it repressed tied it, intimately, to the nationalism out of which it had grown. The continuities between Kemalism and Unionism, plain enough in the treatment of the Kurds under the Republic, were starker still in other ways. For extermination of the Armenians did not cease in 1916. Determined to prevent the emergence of an Armenian state in the area awarded it – costlessly, on paper – by Woodrow Wilson in 1920, Kemal’s government in Ankara ordered an attack on the Armenian Republic that had been set up on the Russian side of the border in the Caucasus, where most of those who had escaped the killings of 1915-16 had fled. In a secret telegram the foreign minister, later Kemal’s first ambassador to the US, instructed Kazim Karabekir, the commander charged with the invasion, to ‘deceive the Armenians and fool the Europeans’, in carrying out the express order: ‘It is indispensable that Armenia be politically and physically annihilated.’ Soviet historians estimate 200,000 Armenians were slaughtered in the space of five months, before the Red Army intervened. […]

    in the taxonomy of dictators, Kemal stands apart in one unusual respect. When Politburo members assembled at Stalin’s villa, liquor was poured throughout the night; but the general secretary himself was careful to keep control of his consumption, the better to force his entourage to lose theirs, with the chance of revealing themselves in their cups. Kemal’s sessions were more genuine revelry. He had always been a heavy drinker, holding it well in debonair officer fashion. But in his final years, raki took its toll of him. Normally, absolute power is an intoxicant so much stronger than all others that alcohol, not infrequently shunned altogether, is at most only a tiny chaser. But in Kemal, perhaps because some scepticism in him – an underlying boredom with government – kept him from a full addiction to power, continual drinking became alcoholism. […]

    A ruler who took to drink in despair at the ultimate sterility of his rule: that, at any rate, is one conjecture to be heard among critical spirits in Turkey today.

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