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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

On the continued disasters in the Middle East

“It is striking, however, that you have more than 170,000 people dead in Syria. You have the vacuum that has been created by the relentless assault by Assad on his own population, an assault that has bred these extremist groups, the most well-known of which, ISIS—or ISIL—is now literally expanding its territory inside Syria and inside Iraq. You have Russia massing battalions — Russia, that actually annexed and is occupying part of a UN member state—and I fear that it will do even more to prevent the incremental success of the Ukrainian government to take back its own territory, other than Crimea. More than 1,000 people have been killed in Ukraine on both sides, not counting the [Malaysia Airlines] plane, and yet we do see this enormous international reaction against Israel, and Israel’s right to defend itself, and the way Israel has to defend itself. This reaction is uncalled for and unfair. You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism, especially with what’s going on in Europe today. There are more demonstrations against Israel by an exponential amount than there are against Russia seizing part of Ukraine and shooting down a civilian airliner. So there’s something else at work here than what you see on TV… And what you see on TV is so effectively stage-managed by Hamas, and always has been. What you see is largely what Hamas invites and permits Western journalists to report on from Gaza. It’s the old PR problem that Israel has. Yes, there are substantive, deep levels of antagonism or anti-Semitism towards Israel, because it’s a powerful state, a really effective military. And Hamas paints itself as the defender of the rights of the Palestinians to have their own state. So the PR battle is one that is historically tilted against Israel. …”

These comments are from a very senior US politician with close connections to a recent occupant of the White House. There are pretty close to my own thinking on all this. Which, assuming the quotes are accurate, is quite perplexing. I do, however, wonder how sincere the author of these words is about all this. Can you guess who I am talking about?

47 comments to On the continued disasters in the Middle East

  • Well the Hildabeest is right. Oh I need a some antibiotics now

  • The Weekly Standard just used Hildabeest’s own words against the Dems. It is one of the most effective trollings a ‘respectable’ outfit has done.

  • jravin

    Who gives a crap what HRC says? When has she (or any hard Lefty) ever meant what she/they said? Or, for that matter, said what they meant. For them, words are for deceiving, not communicating. It’s all PR. If she thought for one second she could do better by going all anti-Semite/Jew/Israel, she’d do it in a heartbeat.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Perry, first you agreed with Obama, and then less than a week later Hillary. Keep this up and we’ll have to ask for your super-secret anarcho-capitalist decoder ring back….

  • I blogged it Monday so I knew. Trouble is I doubt her sincerity.

    BTW here is a NYTs link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/world/middleeast/attacking-obama-policy-hillary-clinton-exposes-different-worldviews.html?_r=0

    OH. And let us not forget that Syria was her doing.

  • From the comments at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/11/exclusive-obama-told-lawmakers-criticism-of-his-syria-policy-is-horsesh-t.html

    Sorry I can’t provide a link to the comments. They don’t provide one:

    Obama CREATED ISIS, Hillary/Obama were both involved in operations from Turkey to fund and arm the Syrian rebels, many of whom are the ones who created ISIS. Obama was perfectly fine with ISIS as long as they were fighting Assad. Notice the media NEVER REPORTED ISIS ATROCITIES IN SYRIA. They’ve been beheading and massacring Christians in Syria for months and NO REPORTING by any major American media. Only once they poured into Iraq and started beheading devil-worshippers (the Yazidis worship a God named “Satan” who was a fallen angel) and fighting against the US-backed government there, did Obama and the US media start talking about ISIS.

    As I said before: If America didn’t try to oust Assad, the civil war in Syria wouldn’t have happened, ISIS would not exist, and hundreds of thousands wouldn’t have died.

    and

    America needs to admit democratic Republics don’t work for everyone. Palestine elects terrorists like Hamas. The Egyptian Republic elected the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi and Obama had to overthrow him with US-financed Egyptian army and he put General el-Sisi as the new “el Presidente” dictator.

  • llamas

    As to why she is saying this, now – American Jewish voters are historically a strong positive for the Democrats, they are very active in Democratic party politics, and they also strongly support Israel. Any Democrat with any serious chance at the Presidential nomination (NB, not the office, necessarily, but the party’s nomination for the office) has to keep this major voting bloc on-side. Everything that anyone who even once dreamed in 7th grade of running for President says about anything right now has to be viewed – carefully – against the timeline of the next US Presidential race.

    Once (whoever wins) gets into office, you may expect that he or she will absolutely, reliably screw up the Middle East, in the proud tradition of the last X persons to sit in that office. They will not, of course, limit that screwing-up to just the Middle East – they’ll totally bugger up policy in the Balkans, relations with Russia and China, and any other foreign-policy issue that comes down the pike. It’s just what they do. In this case, I don’t think it’s anti-Semitism per se – it’s just incompetence. When you put a laughable ass-clown like Kerry in charge – really, what did you expect? But the next one will be just as incompetent, just in a different way, maybe.

    That being said, Hillary is spot-on in her analysis.

    Now.

    I’ve never denied her intelligence, or her grasp of these issues. But you can bet good cash money that, as the timeline of her Presidential drive moves along, her public statements on these matters will become ever-more-refined, until she, too, reaches the point of perfect foreign-policy impotence (apparently) required to become US President.

    US Presidents are afflicted with the notion that their office somehow magically imbues them with the power to solve other people’s problems, and that if only we spend enough money and lives, foreign barbarians will be suddenly struck by the amazingness of our right thinking and all convert to being happy peaceful friends of the US who will coexist with their neighbors in joyful harmony, Kumbaya. Well, guess what – the world is filled with barbarians, it always has been, and nothing the US can do will change that. US Presidents labor under the misapprehension that peace and harmony are the normal state, and these psychotic lunatics are somehow the exception. It is, as we know, the other way about.

    Oh, for a President who will say ‘We will support any state that has a functioning democracy, the rule of law, and personal liberties, and that supports us 100% – and we get to decide what that means – against all comers. Attack us, in any way, or any one of those that we support, and our foreign policy will be encapsulated in the simple tenet that More Rubble = Less Trouble. Leave us alone – we’ll leave you alone. But we will not waste another dollar of US treasure, or a single US life, in trying to pick winners and losers from a rag-tag bunch of banana republics, medieval theocracies and kleptocracies. If you don’t have the stones to rise up and throw out the crazed megalomaniac whose beturbaned psychopaths are killing you because you don’t worship the same sky-being they do – if you are content to let thugs and thieves rule over you – if you choose to damn the US at home, and then whine and snivel for our help and treasure when it all goes sideways – that’s just Too Bad. Not Our Problem.

    A man can dream, can’t he?

    llater,

    llamas

  • Regional

    In Astraya the Meeja have been going ballistic about the Australian Newspaper showing a picture of the Australian child of an ISIS fighter on an Australian Disability Pension holding up the severed head of a Syrian soldier as being provocative and racist. The Press the world over are crap in not reporting the actual circumstances like where Hamas is actually firing rockets from into Israel. Like how dare the Jews defend themselves and they’ve come up with a term ‘Appropriate Response’ to attack Israel for defending itself. I’m not a Red Sea Pedestrian.

  • As I said before: If America didn’t try to oust Assad, the civil war in Syria wouldn’t have happened, ISIS would not exist, and hundreds of thousands wouldn’t have died.

    I assume this is the plot of some adventure novel?

    What happened was a popular protest against the sitting government in Egypt was sparked by an increase in flour prices due to removal of a government subsidy, leading to an increase in bread prices, and the protests grew unexpectedly large. Spurred on by this, citizens of neighboring countries who were also fed up with decades of corrupt and incompetent authoritarian, undemocratic rule rose up to challenge their own goverments, particularly in Tunisia and Libya. Having seen those governments fall, the Syrians took to the streets and the Syrians retaliated by throwing kids in jail and beating the shit out of them. This caused Syrians to take up arms against the Assad regime and a civil war started.

    The Americans and Brits thought about intervening to tip the balance in favour or the rebels but decided not to. The rebels were made up of reasonably same Syrians who were pissed off with Assad’s rule at the beginning, but after about a year foreign headcase jihadists started turning up and fighting the rebels (but leaving Assad and his forces alone, at least for now). One Syrian colleague says the word in Syria is that Assad encouraged ISIS in order to present the war as a general civil war rather than a popular uprising opposed specifically to his rule, but I have no idea if that is true or not. What I do know is that America did not start the uprising, nor try to oust Assad, nor create ISIS.

    The novel sounds good, though.

  • Should be “Syrian government retaliated…”

  • William Newman

    Where by “ask” we certainly do not mean “detonate” because nobody would like the consequences if the situation escalated to any unfortunate misunderstanding like that. Certainly we do not; we all understand each other here.

    “AAAAAAH! MY FINGERS! MY PRECIOUS FINGERS!”
    http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/07/social-justice-and-words-words-words/

  • Jacob

    America didn’t start the Syrian upraising, sure, she’s incapable of such a sophisticated move.
    It was Saudi Arabia, with Qatar and Turkey that started the “upraising”. America was dragged along, unwillingly. And she only gave “moral” support, no material support…

    As to Hillary – there’s an election coming, don’t you know. Hillary has no opinions of her own, she will say whatever her PR people advise, toward enhancing her chances.

  • Who gives a crap what HRC says?

    I do when she happens to be correct.

    I agree that it is highly unlikely to be any more than insincere political posturing, but when a major politician (sadly) says something that is insightful, it is worthy of note. Just as the other day I did what I have never done and praised the odious Obama… Obama… for getting something (kinda sorta) right.

    When people who are nearly always wrong about almost everything do something right, even if it is due to the ‘stopped clock effect’ or the political equivalent of Brownian motion, that is well worth mentioning. And what the Hildabeest said was right on the money.

  • America didn’t start the Syrian upraising, sure, she’s incapable of such a sophisticated move.

    Indeed. But many people seem to think anything that happens is always because of America. The people who push the notion the US ’caused’ the overthrow of the corrupt pro-Russian government in the Ukraine are equally deluded (or are on the Russian payroll, not that those two things are mutually exclusive by any means).

  • Julie near Chicago

    What llamas said !!

    Unfair starting quiz, however. “Very senior U.S. politician”? For heaven’s sake, the Shrilldebeeste held Congressional office from 1/3/2001 – 1/21/09 (eight years) and occupied the position of Secy. of State for another four, 1/21/09 – 2/1/13. Twelve years a “very senior politician” does not make. Think the late Ted Kennedy, or Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi. Unless one counts the years as First Lady, and while I admit that practically speaking the First Lady is in a position of potentially considerable political influence, that doesn’t make her a “politician” in the present context. Unless you want to include MooBelle as a “politician.” (Ugh.)

    As for the rest, Shrill will say whatever she (or Bill) thinks serves her (or their) purposes at the moment, even if (god forbid) it happens to be true. But I can’t say it better than llamas did.

    And in his last comment especially, What Perry Said.

    PS. Although I do think there’s one big difference between Shrill and the Sith, and that is that Shrill is culturally an American. This doesn’t mean she wouldn’t stab us in the back, nor that she is not an Ideological Progressive, Marxist version, but she’s aware there’s a Golden Goose here and I don’t think for a second she has a secret love affair for the various Third World hellholes and no wish to “lead” one. Whereas the Sith is not an American in any but (possibly) the strict legal sense, has no idea of what America is about and has no wish to learn. Here endeth today’s psychologizing from the bleachers, but I do stand by that opinion.

    This does not mean that in practice Shrill would be any better for the country than the Sith….

  • The Steel Ferret

    Although I do think there’s one big difference between Shrill and the Sith…

    Huh? Wanna decode that for us civilians?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Shrill: Hillary Clinton, former Sen. from New York and Secy. of State; also former First Lady. A.K.A. Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.

    The Sith: Barack Obama, present incumbent of the White House when not off golfing, campaigning, fundraising, and taking zillion-dollar trips to god-knows-where. Officially, primarily engages in signing diktats left and left, and in dabbling almost always to ill effect and, say I, ALWAYS with ill intent, in messing about with American foreign policy.

    One could refer to this object as the Mucker-Upper-in-Chief.

    In the minds of some,

  • Julie near Chicago

    Concluding sentence fragment: Ignore, Data-entry Operator Error.

  • Rich Rostrom

    A more important question, to me, is: does she understand what she said? A well-schooled talking head can recite talking points, or even believe them as required. But actually understanding them is a different matter.

    I find it difficult to believe that someone who has a scion of the Moslem Brotherhood as her closest adviser and assistant could really grasp these issues effectively.

  • Good grief even Hodges gets it.

    Good grief indeed. Human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together… The end-of-days must be at hand ;-)

  • Jeremy

    Since she’ll likely be the next President, we need to understand that she invents facts. In the quoted example, she says: the vacuum that has been created by the relentless assault by Assad on his own population, an assault that has bred these extremist groups, the most well-known of which, ISIS—or ISIL—is now literally expanding its territory inside Syria and inside Iraq. That’s a half-truth: ISIS is expanding by consuming the rebels, not Assad. And succeeding because the West, not just the US, has left the rebels swinging in the breeze.
    Her Russia …shooting down a civilian airliner is equally lame. The US has provided zero proof of that although it tracks very missile launch on the planet. The public sigint and photo evidence suggests it was either the rebels with a captured Ukrainian SA-11, or the Kiev bunch themselves.

  • The public sigint and photo evidence suggests it was either the rebels with a captured Ukrainian SA-11, or the Kiev bunch themselves.

    Actually the ‘public sigint’ (such as the copious phone images and circumstantial evidence thereof) strongly suggests it was the ‘rebels’…. but it is foolish to pretend that is not a synonym for Russia. They are as much a creature of the Kremlin as the cetics were creatures of Belgrade during the collapse of Yugoslavia. It simply does not matter.

  • Jeremy

    We’ll have to disagree on the data. And synonym for Russia…creature of the Kremlin doesn’t tell us anything about who ordered and executed this. And that does matter. Because if the West acts as if Putin ordered this when both it and Putin know he did not, we have a Reichstag fire moment. And that’s extraordinarily dangerous.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    I don’t think Hillary will be the next President. Obama is dragging the whole Democrat brand down by not doing much, or not being able to get his favourite program (health) up and running.
    So who will be the Republican Candidate? (Now ‘Republican’ is a name with two meanings! Republic implies that all the public, everyone, has access to political office, but the party of that name is believed to be a rich man’s club! I wonder if this is what Laird meant, a few weeks back, about things turning into their opposites?)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natural Genius ;) ,

    Elizabeth Warren, the senior Senator from Massachusetts,
    is widely touted as a possible Democratic contender. The buzz is (well, was, as of last week, but a lot can change in five days) that she’s highly popular and would likely beat Mrs. Clinton. (If anybody’s curious, consult

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren .)

    As a taste, here is La Warren’s list of “Eleven Commandments of Progressivism” that she enunciated in a speech at the Netroots Nation conference in mid-July. GatewayPundit Jim Hoft’s column is one source for the list, and besides it displays a snazzy poster of Sen. Warren with text Counting The Ways in which you owe Society for … wait for it … the roads!, as well as lots of other nifty nifty stuff including, I suppose, the horse that draws the wagon that hauls your stuff to market on The Roads. Mr. Hoft’s source is National Journal, but you have to sign in and I’m already inundated with newsletters, so my citation is to GatewayPundit:

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/07/elizabeth-warrens-list-for-progressives-is-eerily-similar-of-hitlers-nazi-list/

    The introductory paragraph, by Mr. Hoft, is followed by The List:

    .

    Darling of the far left Sen. Elizabeth Warren released her 11 commandments of progressivism this week during her stop at the Netroots Nation annual conference.

    The National Journal reported:

    – “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

    – “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”

    – “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”

    – “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”

    – “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

    – “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”

    – “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”

    – “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.”

    – “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”

    – “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”

    – “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

    And the main tenet of conservatives’ philosophy, according to Warren? “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh dear, Natural Genius, some of us don’ read so good. :(

    You asked about REPUBLICAN contenders. I hope you were just as happy learning about Mizz Clinton’s Democratic rival. It is said that E. Warren is far to the left of der Hildebeest….

    The latest I heard, a day or two ago, was that the Ephelunks might try re-running Mitt Romney. Heck, if he learned anything about campaigning and debating the opposition, he might even have a chance.

    Not to name any names (except that of Walter Block), but I just listened to a talk from just before the 2012 election in which the Professor allowed as how he’d voted for the Sith the first time and that if the choice were between Romney and Obama he’d vote for Obama again, because “there’s no difference between them” [*gag*] except, I guess, that Obama really really really dislikes the idea of America (probably not the glitzy parties, nice scenery, sanitary food and other worldly Beautiful Things and High Society) and wants to run it into the ground, and Romney doesn’t.

    There is also a slight possibility that Mr. Romney is an honest man. This is not a word anyone could possibly associate with Obama.

    And I am not much of a Mitt fan.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Mitt Romney!!!
    MITT Romney!!!
    MITT ROMNEY!!!
    Haven’t they got new material?
    If clint Eastwood lasts, he’d be a good candidate.
    Then again, Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960, and made a comeback. (What if Nixon had won in 1960? Would he have been relatively honest thereafter, with not Watergate scandal? how would we have named scandals then if we couldn’t add -gate to it?)

  • Mr Ed

    Won’t Michelle walk the Dem nomination for 2016? After all, she got back those girls from Boko Haram by simply tweeting a picture, didn’t she?

    Or did I miss something when on holiday?

  • Julie near Chicago

    In all seriousness, Nick, and speaking as one who has never been a Nixon fan (but who thinks Watergate is really really really tiny potatoes beside the Sith’s malfeasance — and, I will note, the lying in the Watergate case was possibly not Nixon’s, whereas every time Obama opens his mouth he lies) —

    Ahem. Never a Nixon fan, but if he and the Republicans had contested the theft of the Kennedy “election,” and had been successful, I believe we would have escaped a world of hurt. For one thing, we wouldn’t have had Johnson, Medicare, the Great Society, the War on Poverty, and all the junk that’s followed on from them. It’s entirely possible that V-N would have been more-or-less properly conducted and concluded with dispatch. Nixon might well have done a decent job within the admittedly far-from-libertarian standards of the time, and if followed by one or two decent Presidents our entire situation today would be different.

    It’s also possible the EPA would never have come into existence. That alone would have been worth six presidential scandals, as long as they were relatively mild…not, I may say, a very high bar considering the goings-on of the Clinton and Sithian WH’s.

    I can feel myself ramping up for a 1000-page tome on this, but it’s late Near Chicago, past our girl’s bedtime.

    Anyway, that’s my opinion.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed, sshhh! That idea has also been bandied about. MooBelle indeed! Think Dolores Umbrage, only with less fashion sense.

  • Kevin B

    Steve Goddard sums up Hilary’s qualifications:

    Hillary Clinton is now trying to distance herself from the disastrous presidency of Barack Obama – which she was a key enabler of.

    She is hoping to make herself more popular by piling disloyalty on top of dishonesty and incompetence as her political assets.

  • Jeremy

    Kevin B, excellent, a fellow Goddard fan! He is, as usual, spot on. But I still expect Hillary to win, barring her having another stroke. That’s just a decision tree starting with ‘Dems will win’ through electoral fraud, Executive suppression of Repubs (not the IRS this time, they have plenty of other routes), no voter ID, and a big amnesty to buy the Hispanic vote. Then its down to brand recognition (as in Kennedy, Bush), which Hillary easily wins.

  • doesn’t tell us anything about who ordered and executed this. And that does matter.

    No it really does not matter. Clearly it was the ‘rebels’ (ie the arms length Russian proxies) who shot it down and clearly they did not realise it was a civilian airliner. The public SIGINT was clear this was an “OH FUUUUUCK, we did WHAT?” moment. The Russian military are not known for their care and delicacy, thus it is hardly surprising irregular proxies will be even less disciplined and careful before pulling the trigger.

    The Malaysian airliner was shot down because there is a war in the eastern Ukraine that Russia has enabled. I am all for making as much cynical political hay against Putin as a consequence (because I despise Putin and favour the Ukrainians) but the reality really is that simple.

  • Jeremy

    The Malaysian airliner was shot down because there is a war in the eastern Ukraine that Russia has enabled

    Sure, but there’s a war because of the EU’s support of the ousting of the President & its signing of its Acquis Communautaire with his replacement. That agreement includes a military co-ordination clause that would have shut down Russia’s only warm water port (see Richard North).

    I don’t support Putin. But we must try to see the world through the eyes of our enemies. And what I see is Putin and Russia vilified by a US/EU coup and misinformation campaign. Now he’s excluded from the ‘free world’ party he’ll block the deal to make Iran give up its nukes (and probably give it S-300 SAMs to keep that program safe). Not to mention shutting off the gas.

  • Sure, but there’s a war because of the EU’s support of the ousting of the President & its signing of its Acquis Communautaire with his replacement. That agreement includes a military co-ordination clause that would have shut down Russia’s only warm water port (see Richard North).

    Well yes but… so?

    I don’t support Putin. But we must try to see the world through the eyes of our enemies.

    The only reason that you are correct is that is how best to understand the enemy and thereby determine how best to disaggrandise them and generally fuck them up without causing WW3.

    And what I see is Putin and Russia vilified by a US/EU coup…

    Here is where you are categorically wrong. Us Samizdata folk know some of the Euromaidan folks and the notion they did what they did at the behest of the US/EU is nothing less than preposterous. Did the EU and US act in a supportive manner to Ukrainians ejecting their corrupt government and throwing off Russian client state status? Indeed and I would bloody well hope they would! But that hardly make a widely supported political movement a US/EU coup! Indeed that is pure propaganda straight out of the Radio Moscow playbook.

    …and misinformation campaign.

    That is certainly true. Warms my heart to see not everyone on ‘our side’ is as clueless as I feared and actual understand how to make Russia look as bad as possible when they present an open goal (i.e. when their proxies shoot down a civilian airliner).

    Now he’s excluded from the ‘free world’ party he’ll block the deal to make Iran give up its nukes (and probably give it S-300 SAMs to keep that program safe).

    Which was never going to happen anyway. And no amount of S-300s will keep them safe if Israel and/or the US decided to blow the programme to pieces.

    Not to mention shutting off the gas.

    I hope they do for all sorts of reasons ;-) It is a one shot weapon that hurts them as much as the EU, but one which will have lasting long term beneficial political consequences.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Yes, there are substantive, deep levels of antagonism or anti-Semitism towards Israel, because it’s a powerful state, a really effective military

    Whilst on the surface her remarks bear a similarity to most commentators here, the fact she is a high ranking western politician who can’t see a fascist when they are in plain sight and makes excuses, means she’s actually a million miles from any position they’d take.

  • jdm

    We will support any state that has a functioning democracy, the rule of law, and personal liberties…

    Heck, not even *we* can live up to those conditions. ;-)

  • Jeremy

    I hope they do for all sorts of reasons ;-) It is a one shot weapon that hurts them as much as the EU, but one which will have lasting long term beneficial political consequences.

    You miss my point: the attempt to take away Russia’s only warm water port could never have succeeded. All it’s done is start a war & killed several thousand poor bloody Ukrainians, screwed up EU fruit exporters, and tanked the Euro economies. You may be happy with a gas cut off, but lots of old people will die if we have a hard winter.

    And no amount of S-300s will keep them safe if Israel and/or the US decided to blow the programme to pieces.

    Obama will not attack Iran. He dislikes Israel and Libya & Syria show he has no balls for a fight. That leaves the IDF struggling to figure out how to get a few Strike Eagles through an S-300VM screen. They won’t thank us for that.
    Anyway, it seems this is not a libertarian forum, so I will leave you all in peace.

  • All it’s done is start a war & killed several thousand poor bloody Ukrainians, screwed up EU fruit exporters, and tanked the Euro economies.

    Really? That is all it has done? Did you not notice the part where the Ukraine no longer has a Kremlin approved government? I think it did that too. The Kremlin sure noticed that bit even if you didn’t and they really don’t like it at all, which is a strong indication it is a good thing.

    I thought you said you were not a Putin supporter! Ah, then again, you did say “I don’t support Putin. But…”

    Yes, better to just let the Kremlin run things rather than mess up fruit exports or ‘tank’ the economy. Silly Ukrainians should have just accepted Russian domination. Got it.

    That leaves the IDF struggling to figure out how to get a few Strike Eagles through an S-300VM screen. They won’t thank us for that.

    Yeah because the IDF has no experience taking down SAM defences, right? :-D

    Anyway, it seems this is not a libertarian forum, so I will leave you all in peace.

    Ah you must be that kind of ‘libertarian’ who thinks doing things the Kremlin does not like is bad because it means the USA is doing stuff and we all know the USA is the bad, ergo Kremlin must be the good, or at least gooder, guys. Paul Marks really enjoys writing about you guys who say you are ‘libertarians’. But you are right about one thing, this is not a libertarian forum, it is a libertarian blog.

  • Heck, not even *we* can live up to those conditions

    Indeed, it would be great if we actually had the rule of law and personal liberties. As if.

  • Tedd

    You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism, especially with what’s going on in Europe today.

    I’d always heard about anti-semitism lurking beneath the surface of many Europeans, but I hadn’t really witnessed it until a few days ago — a Swiss executive I was having lunch with. It was a shock to see how casual and open he was about it, as though it didn’t even occur to him that I might not share his prejudice. With only that one example to go on I can’t say much about how common his anti-semitism is, other than that his matter-of-fact attitude about it suggests that he himself considers it a fairly widely held point of view.

    I know a lot of people here in Canada who are anti-Israel, but I’ve never noticed any clear sign of anti-semitism among them, only credulousness toward those who are anti-semitic.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    By the way, here is an excellent item on the strange phenomenon of “libertarians” making excuses for Putin.

  • Nice one JP, I added them to our sidebar.

  • Thanks JP, very good indeed.

  • You miss my point: the attempt to take away Russia’s only warm water port could never have succeeded.

    Firstly, Russia has several warm water ports. What they haven’t bothered to do is move their naval base from Sevastopol to one of their own ports over the last 25 years because they are too unorganised to do it. So they rented it from Ukraine instead. This is a bit like me renting a house and then deciding it would be a lot better if I owned it when the landlord considers moving in himself when my lease expires, and changing the locks.

    Secondly, not once in the 25 years since independence was the status of Sevastopol up for question. Not once. The whole notion of Russia being denied access is bullshit, which the whole of Russia and a lot of the west have swallowed wholesale.

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    Yes, they have several warm water ports, one of which they thought was ideal for hosting the Winter Olympics.