We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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

Let’s just defund the UN and leave it immediately

Hidden deep below the headquarters of the United Nations’ aid agency for Palestinians here is a Hamas complex with rows of computer servers that Israel’s armed forces say served as an important communications center and intelligence hub for the Islamist militant group.

Wall Street Journal. ($)

Part of a warren of tunnels and subterranean chambers carved from the Gaza Strip’s sandy soil, the compound below the United Nations Relief and Works Agency buildings in Gaza City appears to have run on electricity drawn from the U.N.’s power supply, Israeli officials said.

A Wall Street Journal reporter and journalists from other news organizations visited the site this past week in a trip organized by Israel’s military. A tunnel also appeared to pass beneath a U.N.-run school near the headquarters.

The location of a Hamas military installation under important U.N. facilities is evidence, Israeli officials say, of Hamas’s widespread use of sensitive civilian infrastructure as shields to protect its militant activities. Tunnel complexes have also been found near or under some of Gaza’s largest hospitals.

Someone kindly explain to me the utility, at any level, of the United Nations. Take all the time you need.

Samizdata quote of the day – either way, China wins

The reason Beijing seems so relaxed about the crisis is obvious: this is a situation in which China wins either way. Either the threat continues but shipping is safer for Chinese vessels than for others, in which case sailing under the protection of the red and gold flag may become a coveted competitive advantage, or Beijing finally tells Iran to knock it off, in which case China becomes the de facto go-to security provider in the Middle East. Both outcomes would be geopolitical coups. No wonder China is willing to accept a little short-term economic pain as the situation plays out.

Nathan Levine

Samizdata quote of the day – sage geopolitical wisdom edition

Why we can’t leave the Houthi’s to shoot at us in peace is completely beyond me.

– the indispensable Zarah Bukake MP echoing nice Mr. Corbyn.

Samizdata quote of the day – Do we want Ukraine to Win?

Its in many ways the crucial question that needs to be answered honestly now. Do we want Ukraine to win the war and liberate all its territory? or Do we want Ukraine to be forced to accept a deal which hands over parts of the country to Putin? The rhetoric of western leaders is the former, though to be frank the policy looks more and more like the latter. We armed Ukraine this year specifically not to give it range, air superiority, etc. We forced it to launch direct assaults on defended Russian lines. Zaluzhnyi is saying that cannot continue. Either Ukraine is armed properly to win a modern war, or the technological imperatives will necessitate the continuation of this attritional war we have seen.

Western leaders must therefore answer that question now, and act accordingly.

– Phillips OBrien

China’s dilemma

As relations with the US deteriorate, China probably has little choice but to continue to strengthen its armed forces. But it should remember that its military advances to date have been underwritten by the wealth and technological capabilities created during the last four decades of reform and globalization. To stay in the game with a richer, more innovative, and more efficient adversary and its allies, China will have to reverse its anti-market economic policies and set its dynamic private sector free.

Today, Xi’s government is doing the opposite. Instead of liberalizing markets and lowering trade barriers, China has been cracking down on private entrepreneurs and driving away foreign investors. Over time, such policies will only widen the gap of economic output with the US and make China poorer and more insecure.

Minxin Pei, columnist at Bloomberg ($). He is also professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.

He wraps up the article thus:

Without “guardrails,” a weaker rival would face two unpalatable choices if an incident spirals out of control — either back down in humiliation (as Soviet leaders did in the Cuban Missile Crisis) or risk defeat. Meanwhile, arms control agreements can help a less wealthy power avoid wasting resources on unnecessary military hardware.

Chinese strategists appear not to appreciate these benefits. Instead of responding positively to US overtures, the Chinese military has suspended dialogue to protest US support for Taiwan. Even worse, China’s recent aggressive intercepts of unarmed US military aircraft near its airspace have elevated the risks of an accidental conflict.

The Cold War may be an imperfect analogy for today’s US-China rivalry. Unless China heeds its lessons, though, the end result may be the same.

Kaja Kallas sometimes seems like the only adult in the room

When people call for negotiations with Russia…

Words of comfort

The United Nations Human Rights Council:

“On Monday afternoon, the @UN Human Rights Council observed a moment of silence for the loss of innocent lives in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere.”

Perhaps I should regard it as a miracle and wonder that this august body got as far as implying that murdered Israelis might be included, albeit not by name, in the “miscellaneous” category of those entitled to human sympathy.

Samizdata quote of the day – Putin is not a mystery

Putin’s objectives are not an enigma, a mystery, or a riddle. As McKew emphasizes, they have been spelled out again and again in speeches, books, editorial, official documents, journal articles, conferences, interviews, and even in fiction. They have also been written in blood.


Proposing a peace agreement with a party who views such agreements not as binding commitments, but periods in which to rearm is delusional.

Claire Berlinsky

How Putin fooled the Western Left… & influenced some US Republicans

Well worth watching…

Understanding Turkish geopolitics

Highly recommended…

Escalation Strategy & Aid in Ukraine – How the West manages Russian nuclear threats and ‘red lines’

Another excellent presentation by Perun…

Why chocolate cake does not exist

I like the style of this guy Gaius:

Readers are invited to supply Modualwoman with a list of other nations whose cultures are nonexistent because they have been influenced by foreign persons and ideas at any point in their history. I am sure she will want to tell them this herself. While she’s at it, she can inform everyone in Britain whose ancestors came here more recently than 1714 that they are still foreigners whatever their passport says.

When Wokes and Racists Actually Agree on Everything.