Clearly the US invasion of Iraq, and the chaos that followed has been a catalyst for islamism in the region. The US+European backed revolution in Libya, Syria and Egypt only added to the chaos. It is tempting to think that had we just stayed away from all that, the region would be under the control of ruthless dictators but at least would be in peace, and islamists would be in jail. When we think that half of the population of Syria are now refugees, of which half had to emigrate, is overthrowing Al Assad really worth that, and is overthrowing Al Assad worth creating ISIS? I must say that for how much I dislike Putin, he has a point when he tells Western diplomacy: look at the mess in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now you are telling me you want to invade another country in the middle east?
On the other side when we look at most of these conflicts, they are really ethnic conflicts. Sunnis vs Shia vs Kurds vs Alawites vs etc... Both Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi were old and were bound to die in the next 10-20 years (as of 2002). And the rise of Islamism is a global phenomenon that spans from Indonesia to Morocco, through Turkey or Pakistan, from the muslim suburbs of Paris and Brussels to the desert in Mali. Perhaps all of this would have happened anyway. Like it is foreseeable that when Saudi Arabia will run out of oil money, it will descent in a state of complete chaos.
I think of Islamism as a kind of a repeat of communism, it's an ideology which time has come, which will find a broad adhesion in the muslim world, and will likely disappear the same way communism did, through its own disastrous results when in power and inability to compete with the West, both economically and in term of values. The most anti-communist populations are the populations that have been ruled by communism (Eastern Europe).
As for ethnic conflicts, there are no good solutions. If two populations hate each others, grand speeches at the UN headquarters in NYC will not change anything. I'd be incline to think we should stay away from ethnic conflicts. We should keep in mind that whoever we decide to back in Syria, once that side wins, they will start a terrible ethnic cleansing. Do we really want to sponsor that?
There is a tendency for Westerners to overstate their own importance in the Middle East, which are also informed by inter-state, intra-state and extra-regional groups and actors that are neither European nor American.
The real regional meta-story that is playing out right now, in my opinion, is the inevitable collapse of the post-imperial order. It was caused not by any grand state actors (or by Twitter) but by a single Tunisian street vendor. He upended the unsustainable patterns of rule that have characterized the region since the withdrawal of the European powers after World War II. Nobody knows what comes next, and there is no good model, yet, of American statecraft to inform a regional posture.
The story made me shake my head, but not because of anything to do with of any sinister implications that it raised about the military-industrial complex, but because it looks like Keystone Kops. The Syrian civil war is a proxy conflict between the (Sunni) Gulf States and (Shia) Iranians with the Russians alongside the latter. It takes the form of members of ISIS killing Quds Force commanders, and it ignited without much help from the West. Which side would you pick?
You forgot the weird Turkey vs the Kurds almost war
thing. And the weirder thing of the Israelis almost protecting ISIS forces from Assard/Hezbollah. Or the bizarre Iraqi Mosal campaign where Iraqi backed Iranian militias almost had (or sometimes did have?) US Airforce backing.
Anything is possible in this war.
The Turkish state seems to have only a problem with the militant Kurds in Turkey and Syria but not the ones in Iraq as it seems that they get along very well and the Kurds in Iraq even allow Turkish forces to launch airstrikes in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan and for their troops to hunt down PKK members over there with the help of Peshmerga, the de facto Kurdish armed forces in Northern Iraq.
So, saying that the Turks are at complete odds with Kurdish militias all over the region is not entirely correct.
The are multiple Kurdish factions on all sides of all borders. The don't always get along, either with each other or with Turkey. I also believe that there is a multitude of views towards the Assad regime.
AFAIK they all fight ISIS though.
The talk was in NPR, you can search "Henry Barky NPR Kurds".
There's always been tension between Kurdish nationalist factions and they even had a brief civil war between Iraqi Kurds in the 90s (Talabani vs Barzani) and there's rivalry between the Peshmerga and the PKK esp. in the area where the Peshmerga deems its territories in Iraq where some PKK members challenge their authority there but despite all of this, some Kurdish nationalist love to portray the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds as an ethnic and not a political one as it garners more support and sympathy for their cause and make Turkey look like the bad guy in this conflict.
That's one aspect I find very confusing - Turkish attitudes towards ISIS aren't exactly hardline (eg frequent reports of ISIS supply routes over the Turkish border), and so it isn't clear to me what terror attacks by ISIS in Turkey would gain.
Except terror of course - that's always a thing. And I also understand that ISIS command and control isn't exactly centralised, so it could be random people somewhat aligned.
Another alternative is that they are more tactical in nature - maybe Turkey closes a border route, so ISIS bombs Ankara? I don't know enough to know if this makes sense.
Either way.. confusing.
For goodness sake, we'd been trying to topple Gaddafi and the Syrian regime for half a century and getting exactly nowhere, then as you say one Tunisian street vendor makes a desperate gesture and in the chain reaction from that the whole region falls into chaos. That's history for you.
As for IS, the reason they're such a nuisance isn't so much due to the invasion of Iraq, it's due to the power vacuum in north western Iraq caused by the withdrawal of US forces in 2011. The fact is the surge worked, but all of that was willingly thrown away.
"A bit of air support" is a strange characterization for destroying the Libyan government's entire tank fleet in the middle of an Islamist uprising. "Mainly keeping out of it" is a strange characterization for supporting a coup in Egypt that toppled a democratically elected government. Also, we never, ever, ever, ever talk about Bahrain, where the US supplied arms through Saudi Arabia against the uprisings and:
>By 2014, 5,000 Saudi and Emirati forces and almost 7000 American forces were positioned "less than 10 miles from the Pearl Roundabout, the center of the country’s protest movement."
We have surrounded the middle east with armies for more than a generation and armed the worst governments in the area. "Mainly keeping out of it" is a gross mischaracterization of what we do there.
I don't recall any major role for the US in the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt except just saving their interests whether in the Presidency or the military but saying that the West orchestrated the whole thing is just blatantly false and totally dismisses the sweat and blood we Egyptians scarified to get rid of dictatorship and take all the credit for themselves.
Now to ISIS, we could argue that ISIS was a byproduct of the Iraq invasion in 2003. ISIS was born out of the Iraqi Insurgency and the Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia under the leadership of Abu Mosab Azzarqawi.
So yeah the US invasion of Iraq contributed indirectly to the rise of ISIS in Iraq first and then to expand in the neighboring Syria and eclipsing Al-Qaeda as the "hottest" Islamic terrorist organization in the world.
"The Syrian civil war is a proxy conflict between the (Sunni) Gulf States and (Shia) Iranians with the Russians alongside the latter."
Would be appropriated to say "with the Americans alongside the Sunni"? Is this, then, a kind of proxy-proxy war?
Because it seems to me that we always heard how bad are the Iranians but very little about how bad are the Saudis and company.
And the purpose of this article seems to be to demonstrate that the Americans don't have any clue which side they are on.
The Iranian government has literally been chanting "Death to America" every week since 1979. Our relationship with Saudi is much, much more complex.
Fuck that. If anything had happened in Iran before Mosaddegh was overthrown by USA that would constitute a defensible justification for that action, I'm sure you would have told us already. Instead, here's some innuendo. Gosh that chanting is bad.
Also, implicit in your criticism, such as it is, is the notion that the chanting is representational of the Iranian population. It is not; most of the country has lived for long enough under the 'revolutionary' rule of the IRGC that they are actually more disposed towards the West than you might think.
Regardless, you asked why the U.S. was tilted towards Saudi in its conflict with Iran, and I was trying to provide a summary: that is an outgrowth of regional balance-of-power politics as much as anything else.
I wasn't the one who initially asked why USA traditionally favors Saudi over the Ayatollahs, but frankly your response to that query is an exercise in question-begging. They wouldn't chant "death to America" if that chant weren't rhetorically useful. It wouldn't be rhetorically useful if USA hadn't intervened to remove an elected Prime Minister.
However, by invading Iraq, we introduced a new humongous source of chaos to an already chaotic situation. Chaos and destruction cause historical events to become even less predictable than they usually are and impossible to control. What is predictable is that they tend to support the worst in people and suppress the best. I think it's quite safe to say that the cure was worse than the disease (Saddam, at least), and we are responsible for that. History tells us that this usually happens when people try to solve problems by invading countries.
In other words, I think we shouldn't pretend we can predict outcomes of chaotic situation. One thing we can be guided by is that the things we feel are bad (war, oppression, genocide, etc.) cause more chaos and create far more misery than the politicians and the public doing the bad thing imagine when they convince themselves it's necessary/worthwhile/inevitable. Also, no situation is so very bad that you cannot make it worse (as apparently astronauts like to say).
While governments have professional analysts, they don't do all that much better than chance even on direct predictions and then what they do share with the public is filtered by their biased interests.
Not only do we not know, for example, if the chaos after an accelerated arab spring was a better outcome from the perspective of maintaining western financial/political interests at a cost of preventing a more gradual transition into stable democracies. But more importantly, we also don't know if government analysts had that hypothesis and they still chose to interfere.
Personally, I don't think western democracies will continue to function with that type of secrecy of knowledge combined with increasing computational modeling/prediction capabilities.
For full datasets, I'm not sure if they provide it since not all researchers are good about open data. You could look at open prediction markets which are directly observable but they wont give you any insight into how professional analysts compare with the crowd.
Imagine if Trump realizes that he can't rule all of America, but he could totally rule Southern States. So he devises a plan to divide the states and cause a rebellion. Eventually he manages to persuade some Nothern States officials that they are better off without Southern States and that they implicitly or explicitly agree to divide the USA between them. That's a more accurate version of what Miloshevic did.
So the Enterprise just leaves that system of two stars hosting two societies that have developed a symbiosis relationship (one exploiting the other based on lies) without exposing the lies even though they can give a better solution. The only thing they tell them is that "Maybe you'd discover that there are ..options"
The Prime Directive was a great idea; I really wonder what exactly spurred Roddenberry to come up with that. But TOS was chock full of episodes where Kirk brushed aside the Directive and intervened anyway, frequently by blowing up some big computer.
If you like, you can go on dailymotion.com/video and search for it.
WTF? I completely disagree; ST:TNG (and TOS) is a breath of fresh air compared to modern TV. No over-the-top ultra-violence, no half-second-long Michael Bay-style shots, no requirement that you've followed the series religiously and are watching the episodes in order; it's a great way to relax and watch something enjoyable. It's also nice that all the characters are hyper-competent; this is a nice break from the real world which is full of incompetent morons. If I want to see "dark, gritty realism", I'll go walk around a ghetto or something.
For example, there is this one episode that develops a bit strange. Piccard shouts "shut up Weasley" and blindly ignore the fact that Data is acting weird. Of course that's the plot, but I don't find it convincing.
Also, the episode Hide and Q (I like Q character), it's a bit trivial in script writing compared to today understanding. However, Q comes back at the end of the next generation and make a profound appearance (he puts Piccard on a trial because he is interested in Piccard as a superior human which is a nice thing because he and the Q continuum regards publicly human as an inferior species).
I just say that there is "some" plot holes but overall, it's still something I'd stick to.
Recall that rebellion against Qaddafi started in Benghazi and then spread and then he fought back and was about to put the insurrection down when a no-fly zone was imposed.
With Syria, it all started as more or less peaceful demonstrations as a part of the Arab spring. The financing of rebel groups by western powers started much later once the war already commenced.
Really? Clinton on Qaddafi:
ADDENDUM regarding "US+European" involvement in Libya and Syria (as I was on mobile and had time constraints as I wrote the above):
'The Libyans were emotional because the U.S. and its allies had toppled leader Moammar Kadafi in a military campaign that averted a feared slaughter of Kadafi's foes. Obama administration officials called the international effort, accomplished with no Western casualties, a "model intervention."'
This USG cable (https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06DAMASCUS5399_a.html) written in 2006 (!) lists a number of "vulnerabilities" and "possible actions" - almost like a playbook - on how to change Syrian regime.
(background info and analysis of the cable: http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33180-wikilea...)
In case of Syria, Asssad blamed the protests that followed the execution of the teens squarely on Israel, so you can't be right.
For once? France is one of the most trigger happy developed nations next to the US. They've been involved in more than two dozen major conflicts since Korea, and far more smaller operations, many in which they were they main or only foreign force.
The difference is that the conflicts France tends to get involved in are less flashy and/or shorter and more targeted. E.g. a standing counter-insurgency force of 3,000 in the Sahel, isn't very flashy. Helicopters and fighter planes and a few thousand troops in Côte d'Ivoire got some coverage when they helped depose the former president, but it was over quickly, and so on. But they have active combat troops in at least a dozen countries right now.
"Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011 — Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata — violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period."
And who has armed protesters/rebels there in early 2011... those same rebels who have stormed the US embassy on September, 11th 2012? (interesting date... it must be a coincidence)
America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels
You may be asking yourself, why would USG and its NATO allies (yes, French government primarily) do such thing (topple Ghaddafi)? One hint is hidden in recently published Clinton e-mails:
FRANCE'S CLIENT & QADDAFI'S GOLD
Qaddafi's government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March, 2011 these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.
This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).
(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals, Sarkozy's plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi's long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.)
So much for "the West" just trying to avoid being blamed for atrocities in Libya.
More interesting e-mails:
H: LOTS NEW. FRENCH ECONOMIC GRAB/LEVY/Q & OBL/AQ BASE IN ALGERIA. SID
H: LOTS OF NEW INTEL; POSSIBLE LIBYAN COLLAPSE. SID
French, British and Egyptian Special Forces troops are training the rebels inside of western Egypt, and to a limited degree in the western suburbs of Benghazi.
GERMANY LOANING $144 MILLION TO LIBYAN REBELS (AP)
(2) On Syria: I assume you are referring to Daraa protest and arrested children (who were released afterwards)? Not even MSM (mainstream media) spoke of an execution. Information about that came from Rami Abdul Rahman, a guy who heads up the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and sits in London! Not the most credible source. A more balanced view:
Syria: The Hidden Massacre
Besides (and this relates to Libya, as well), do you really think that a protest and arrest lead to a civil war? For a war to be fought you need weapons, trained people, communication equipment, structure, food and medical supplies, organizational structure. We are to believe the protesters had all that? Another hint of the real cause for the war in Syria is this:
Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS
Funnily enough the first target NATO bombed was the man made "river" to the desert aquifers. So much for bringing democracy to Libya.
I hardly doubt that the US is clean of this.
I don't think that's true. The most anti-communist population in the world is by far in the US. I guess the close second are the Islamist, thanks to US policies to use Islam against Communism.
I live in Turkey and this picture is very clear. Islamist rule my country and the number one reason is that this is US policy. They systematically gain power after an US-backed coup in 1980. That coup killed the left-wing and secular right movements. Only winner was the Islamists, a minor radical movement at that moment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_Turkish_coup_d%27%C3%A9ta...
So, yes, western interventions play a big role here. When they try to fight one enemy, they create other monsters.
Not to say that this is only applicable to US. France at the height of its power committed similar things in Algiers (destroyed a third of population). France, Russia and Germany divided up Poland, later on Germany sent her jews to death camps outright.
Thanks for this.
Whether or not you agree with those actions, or the whole system, is a matter of politics. I'm not condoning anything, just trying to explain the potential reasoning behind the decisions. I do hope that radical islamism runs its course in the same way that communism did. One big complication is that there are a lot more foreign powers involved in the Middle East than there were in the Soviet Union. It could be harder for them to find their own way while being manipulated by so many other hands.
– Joseph de Maistre
Seen from a systemic perspective one could argue that "every country gets the government they deserve" and by meddling with that "order" we created even more chaos.
Meddling with systems is something we are pretty confident about unfortunately (think about the recent findings regarding Greenland sweet water accelerating global warming).
The multitude of motivations behind our actions ultimately don't matter, what matters is the root cause - believing that we can or should "meddle" in the first place.
We notoriously think we understand but as "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" we usually suffer from collective Dunning-Kruger effects all the time.
Imagine that right now, on some point of the globe, there's a popular rebellion against a dictator who is, without a shadow of a doubt, suppresses the people, kills his political opponents, and tries to indimidate other countries of the region with his military machine.
Hell, just imagine it in North Korea (but forget about the big China brother for a second, to make this situation a more simple example).
Would you honestly tell that you support the dictator in this conflict, because otherwise the whole situation will turn into a bloody civil war, and he's the only hope for stability? That when those western-looking, english-speaking, democracy-loving rebels are gassed and killed, western states should not intervene?
Well, may be you are — but then any website with political hivemind similar to HN will downvote you to the oblivion.
You also may be forgetting one other factor at work in the Middle East — Russia. While it's not USSR kind of superpower it once was, it still has deep ties with arab world that it nurtured for the whole second half of twentieth century. It had established good relationship with many authoritarian regimes and terror groups in the region: Khomeini, Hezbolla, Assad and Hamas. And dichotomy of "chaos vs dictators" is exactly what Russia wants for Middle East: dictators are easy to deal with, they're much more ineffective as oil producers, and, of course, the whole dilemma greatly legitimizes Russia's own political system as well.
What we are dealing with in the middle-east are dictatorships that keep a lead on ethnic tensions, very much like in Yugoslavia. I would expect that any diplomat would have predicted tensions between Sunni and Shia in Iraq. Exactly like similar tensions exist in Saudi Arabia and will most likely blow up if the regime becomes unstable.
Well, there's just one small issue: people. Have you met them? Do you honestly think that inhabitants of North in South Korea actually want to live together as one country? That southerners want their first-world economy to support the shit-poor north for several decades? That northerners want all their lifestyle and ideals that they have been taught from the crib, destroyed? That these people are ready to trust each other in general? Hell, even northerners who defect and run to the South encounter a lot of hostility — can you imagine what the shitstorm happen when millions of them will cross the border in search of better life?
In the 1900s, Russian left wingers were educated, nuanced people who were trying to lead the country to a brighter future. 20 years later, Russian left wing consisted of ruthless fighters who burned down entire villages, performed brutal performed mass executions of thousands and built the biggest terror machine world have ever seen. These were, for the most part, the same exact people.
That's a drastic oversimplification. The majority of the Russian Left was made up of SR (which later split, but for the sake of it they can be treated as one group), and the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks split the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (with the other part being the Mensheviks) roughly down the middle, but the moderates outnumbered them substantally.
Already shortly after their coup (the czar was arrested in the spring; the interim government was SR led from the summer; in November the Bolsheviks decisively lost the election to the the Constituent Assembly, and that's when they struck - there was no revolution, but a coup d'etat against a more moderate socialist government that had the support of the people), the Bolsheviks started getting rid of the parts of the Russian Left that had opposed them, and soon groups were actively fighting them in the civil war, while others were fighting to stay out of prisons or to avoid being killed, and some forged uneasy, temporary alliances in the hope of survival. Soon their parties were illegal. As Stalin gained control, the purges intensified, including purging the Bolshevik party itself.
The Russian left changed because the moderates (including communists/marxists) were imprisoned or murdered for opposing the Bolsheviks, until there were hardly any left.
The Bolsheviks, or at least their leadership, largely remained the same people, but in 1900, and all the way to at least 1917, they were by far outnumbered on the Russian left by their future victims.
That was my entire point — people who are saying that US was funding future Al Quaeda in the 80s are just as wrong in the nuance but are just as right in general. Bolsheviks were the logical conclusion of radicalization of the left. Revolutions devour their own children, after all; just like Mensheviks, just like the _real_ democracy-loving anti-Assad protesters. All of them either die, or become the radicalised, grotesque and horrible plagiat of the original.
But FWIW US didn't start intervene in middle East policy in 2001. They have half century of destroying in any imaginable way.
BTW the way you are dividing ethics show you don't have clue what you are taking about.for example Kurds vs Alawites? Really ? These are allies most of the time.
And another thing you completely missed is the idea of West intervention in middle East weakened liberal politician position in middle East.by intervening you are basically proving yes.liberals are our puppets.
And I don't know you have read or watched any documentary (beside midia establishment fantasies).fightig against West and taking "revenge of our people" is best propaganda for Isis in recruitment process.
(By people they refer to who have died in iraq, afghanistan invasion, or when US did support dictators which some of them brutally tortured people/journalist)
Welcome to real world , and turn off your CNN
Look at the border between France and Spain, there are big mountains there. Now look at the border between Egypt and Libya, a straight line in the middle of nowhere. How is that possible?
"if a finger had to be pointed at anyone it should rather be Saudi Arabia,"
Who is the best ally and supported of the Saudi royalty? One of the more backwards regimes in the world.
What about Iraq?
What about Iran?
"In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected as the prime minister. He became enormously popular in Iran, after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the US had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War"
Not accepting how the west have messed in the area has become a kind of a reflex.
USA and West political intervention in middle East created mojaheddin at first place dude.because they thought they need these guys against Soviet.no one in that time cared about people of middle east, when they was creating these monsters.do you know any history? Mujahedeen was small group of people in caves.when USA made them hero's.
You can look at times when people in middle East lived together peacefully for hundreds of years.Jew , Christian, Muslims and go on. And remember this was time when slavery and lynching was cool thing to do in your society.
P.s. I am not saying middle Eastern people are better or worse. This is complete nonsense. People are homo-seipans and all of us are animals. There is no bad or good.
But they will become bad when you make their lives miserable. When there is no education.
Only because Chomsky says so is like saying: Jesus said so.
I'd like to follow the logical arguments myself.
btw.: I do think, that the western interventions, the capitalistic land-grabbing, the weapons trade, the support for partisan groups, because of mutual political enemies and so on are (at least) some of the reasons this powder keg keeps exploding.
Non the less are the underlying ethnicities, animosities that go back generations and different believe systems (like sunnites and shiites) at least as much to blame.
Only doing finger pointing in the direction of the big bad wolf called US of A is too easy, too simplistic (imho) and will not lead to a better understanding.
I do not believe in such a simplistic logic when it comes to world politics. Most of the time there is a multitude of influencing factors at play. These have o be understood like in a multiple regression analysis (just a metaphor).
The west, lead by the US, has been destabalizing the middle east since the 1940's in order to pillage their natural resources and it continues to this day. This is their clear motive, stated in writing.
Here  is an FOIA'd email to Hillary's private server from a French aide where they are found casually talking about overthrowing Gadaffi in order to look after their interests in global oil markets, regional monetary dominance, and to make their military look good for the sake of internal political posturing. This email changed the way I saw the world so much.
I used to hear people say this sort of thing and think, "Well, it's the internet. Lots of crazy people out there. I guess what they're saying is plausable, but I don't believe that our government is making such a conscious, concerted effort." But it's hard to look at an email like that, served from a .gov domain, and think that the cheap oil we get from destabalizing this region is just a pleasant side-effect of pursuing an honest humanitarian goal.
And this isn't something new. It started with the Red Line Agreement in the 20's, where we entitled ourself to middle eastern oil. This became another agreement and into another, but the point is that we wanted their oil, and their political climate was in turmoil. All it takes is one nationalist movement to shut down a pipeline and our economy goes to hell.
Turns out there's a very simple solution: throw muscle at it. Don't risk someone unfriendly getting into power by reducing power all-together through destabalization and make sure that those who are in charge are effectively puppets.
: They actually retroactively took this email off foia.state.gov, so a cached version will have to do... : http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/...
This region has been robbed of its ability to develop. The governments are dysfunctional by design. Is it any surprise that the people would start to identify more with their church than their government? It's local. It has set values and rules.
I'm not saying this accounts for centuries-old conflicts. But Sunni and Shia get along without killing each other in other parts of the world-- what's different about the middle east?
> But Sunni and Shia get along without killing each other in other
> parts of the world-- what's different about the middle east?
I.e. where else in the world is there a mixed Sunni/Shia population?
Nowhere? Isn't that what's different about the Middle-East in this
With that being said, 15-20% of the Shia Muslims in the world live in the Americas, believe it or not.  Granted, all the Muslim sects together make up a minuscule portion of the population of the Americas, so it's reasonable to argue that this isn't a fair comparison.
The difference in my eyes is that Muslims in the Americas have governments they can depend on for arbitration.
Of course they aren't tracking down and killing each other in the US, because they're both minority groups and probably rarely even run into each other.
That doesn't say anything about whether they would be doing so if they were both in the majority and their sectarian conflicts were the dominant aspect in society.
> The difference in my eyes is that Muslims in the Americas have
> governments they can depend on for arbitration.
You can't both say that Sunni & Shia conflict happens in certain areas of the world because of US foreign policy, and also suggest that Sunni & Shia conflicts would arise between Muslims living in the US who aren't subject to US foreign policy.
When I reference a person like Chomsky or any other scientist (which is well respected scientist) I am not referencing to his character.I am referring to material and position which he takes (for example in his books, which is based on logical inferring, or factual evidence)
I don't think any good will come out of this discussion because you keep nitpicking.But for further information you can read Chomsky's,Finkelstein's and serius scientifics book.
>I do not believe in such a simplistic logic when it comes to world politics. Most of the time there is a multitude of influencing factors at play. These have o be understood like in a multiple regression analysis (just a metaphor).
I 100% agree with this part.but I don't agree with make matters complicated. This is fact and simple. USA did support Mujahedin for many years.
And go on.
careful I am not saying USA is responsible for all things in middle East.but they are major part in this fucking mess they created. And after they left middle East we can start to talk (without any military intervention from outside) and push for reform in middle east.And I would personally beg/appreciate for providing cultural material.( I don't know. Internet. TV shows. Thing like this , which shows people how people live in West)
Me being "seriously ridiculous"? Maybe - but I see Chomsky (and others) being thrown around as a killer phrase more and more. Not to further any discussion, but to end it with a final bang.
So no, I will not refrain from comparing these argumentative structures to religious arguing like it happened in the medieval times during different fractions of "the faith" for example. Great thinkers were back then also used as pars pro toto of their writings. And were also used as "arguments" - so yeah, I (on purpose) showed the flaws in your argument.
This last part by the way is just me interpreting your own argument against you. Probably totally misrepresenting you in the process and misunderstanding you as well. As you by the way did with my argumentation.
I totally agree with your view, that western intervention in the middle east did make matters way worse on the whole. I do strongly believe that we should reign them in (will not happen) and should not hail them as the source of freedom and democracy in the world (will also not happen). I am cynical and I do believe that the western (so called) democracies will be further doing their thing and we, the western people will further be supporting these systems without knowing most of what happens in the dark and unknown to us.
I do not agree with you calling me ridiculous though. As I strongly believe every "well respected" scientist has to have his writings and thinking strongly challenged for progress.
> the big bad wolf called US of A
The whole zombie genre (probably anything post-apocalyptic) is based on the premise that the US would immediately collapse into reactionary, extremist militant gangs often out to impose a new state.
What other country goes to the other end of the world and topples governments? Does China drop bombs on US militants? Set up military bases in Canada? Of course the US gov't is the global hegemon, like the big mafia boss, regardless of what propagandized inhabitants think.
It's like firing a dev who introduced a bug. Sure you can fire him, but you haven't fixed the problem. Fix the build.
...and is all the rage in the Middle East today.
It is a little bit disgusting, the same people who created this fuckig mess, the same people who supported brutal dictators, the same people who created Mujahedeen at first place , now came and claims ,
"Oops , we didn't mean to create this mess.maybe some thing wrong in your people's gene?"
No people are people.They do bad thing when there is no education , when there is no economy.when there is no future. When you humilate their existence.
Do you wanna see bad thing? Take trip, and go to one of trumps rally , when they literally yell at black people: " go to your fucking continent, what the fuck are you doing in my country? "
And in the end you are the one looking bad and not having reached any goal. If you can't win with arguments, but try to do it with statements and ad hominem attacks you will probably never convince anyone here.
The big positive example here is how the French and German `Erbfeindschaft' seems to be over. But perhaps that was never an ethnic conflict?
Does anyone have a nice lists of resolved past ethnic conflicts? That might be instructive.
The process whereby nations are built from multiple ethnic groups, and then nationalism and international tension is replaced by international co-operation seems to me to be one that we can't say reaches a stable state. The Cold War hasn't been over for that long, the European financial crisis has revealed some pretty ugly attitudes between various European polities.
Perhaps the democratic peace thesis is right, however it is also possible that France and Germany kick off again in our lifetime.
The last major war of religion there was from 1618-1638
The interesting 1632 series of books is set just after the sack.
(Thanks for catching the typo.)
Islamism is not new to the region
> the rise of Islamism is a global phenomenon
Is it? I have yet to see an islamist political party in the west.
While the philosophies are around 100 years old, this doesn't mean the Middle East has embraced those philosophies for the last 100 years or that it does today.
There has been a measurable trend to right-wing conservatism and religious affiliation in the Middle East which can be seen not only in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but also in Israeli society, and in Lebanon. This shift has happened over the last twenty years or so.
The US is allies with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and it's in their interest that no significant power forms in there.
While politics is often seen as off-topic, this has applicable lessons to those of us building distributed systems.
1. Any large enough system will eventually generate exceedingly surprising side-effects.
2. Hot-patching routing of resources in response to run-time surprises (backpressure, etc) is essential for correction of error.
3. Monitoring of resource allocation can help raise awareness and prevent problems before they get big enough to be a national newspaper headline.
Very few of us will work on systems that impact human life (manned space travel, driverless cars, etc) and it is a privilege to not have a day job building systems that have lethal failure modes.
That attitude is a huge problem. Everything is political, because politics is simply the way we solve problems, negotiate details, and make decisions in a society.
> lethal failure modes
Non-lethal failure modes can still be just as much of a problem, and small problems are still problems.
> Very few of us will work on systems that impact human life
Everybody that makes a product is impacting human life. You may not be making something with immediately obvious lethal failure modes, but it still has an impact. At ever step in the building process decisions are made that affect people. Many of these are probably small and inconsequential, but prediction is hard and sometimes supposedly-trivial things have large, widespread effects.
Hiding from politics and claiming that something is "apolitical" cedes the decisions to others, and technology is rapidly magnifying the impact even trivial things can have. So please, consider the surrounding politics before working on something, and at least try to consider the greater context of how people will be affected - both good and bad ways - by the work you do.
Why? Because there is "no neutral ground, in a burning world".
 Which is the title of Eleanor Saitta and Quinn Norton's 30C3 talk, which explains these ideas better than I can.
 https://media.ccc.de/v/30C3_-_5491_-_en_-_saal_1_-_201312272... http://opentranscripts.org/transcript/no-neutral-ground-burn...
(The phrases to look at are "red empire" and "blue empire").
I can only say one thing to your politician's :
Get the fuck out of middle East.
There is one way to change middle East and it is to change culture by improving your own society.
When I read news about USA domestic issuse my mind blows up, how these fuckers (politicians) can bring us democracy?when they don't even care about their own people. Looks what's going on in Flint Michigan.
At the otherhand when people go and see what is going on in countries like Norway/Finland(which didn't invade any country in middle East in recent years.didn't intervene and overthrow government in middle East) then they really start to think there is something wrong about us culturally (middle East) and we should start to change , and bring to ourselves what these country's have already, like democracy, freedom of speech.(this is when real change start to happen, not when some moron like bush spend billions and billions without achieving single goal and for just making enemy's)
At the other hand by USA presense in middle East they (usa)are basically undermine our (liberal people in middle East) argument for common people in middle East.Believe it or not hardliners will say we are traitor and West's puppets, and believe me people believe it when West's does actually occupy or intervene in their country politics.
I can't understand, what is hard to get?
Get the fuck out of middle East.
Overthrowing Mossadegh(democratically elected).
Backing Saudi Arabia (one of the worst human rights record, maybe a little bit better than ISIS itself) for many years.
Backing Egyptian dictator (mobarak) for many years.
Backing Saddam against Iran , while Saddam did use chemical weapon.
Backing mujahedeen (basically Tliban) against Soviet Union.
And list goes on.
You cannot keep snake in your backyard and expect them to only bite your neighbor.
honestly asking ? What the fuck do you want from us?
It also has the advantage you don't have to figure too accurately who the good and bad guys are. In Syria there are loads of warring factions, all of which have been involved in atrocities so it becomes tricky knowing which to shoot hence the problems mentioned in the article.
Imagine attacking their culture with cultral war.It would have been paradise for me at least. I live in middle east, I can see how internet make people to change their mind.
It is beyond words I can explain.yes it would have take more time.you are not going to change a 80 million(for example) population culture overnight.but it is doable and after overcoming the hurdle you have done something great for humanity.one of the most achievement in human history maybe.when you culturally eliminating a religion from a area and replacing it with better culture.
The US will leave you alone when liberals decide that spreading liberal values isn't worth a war with Russia, and that supporting Israel isn't a liberal cause, and when conservatives realize that the oil isn't worth it, and that Israel is a horrible "ally".
That one point of view. What would have happened on the other hand, if some countries did not intervene in Bosnia? Could we have watched one ethnic group genociding another? Should we have stood by the sidelines doing nothing?
I have no final opinion on my last point, as I as pacifist do not believe in military interventions at all. On the other hand I am a realist and have to calculate the possible costs for every alternative. And in some cases the costs of inaction might outweigh the cost intervention.
As said not really sure myself, still evaluating this thought.
And I also try to look at the reasons behind these actions. Why did some countries (US and others) do what they did, what was to gain, what to loose. What are the economic implications - and so on.
Bosnian Serbs having their own country? Unfortunately for them Bosnia is ally with Turkey, a NATO member. So the intervention was on behalf of Bosnia. Nobody cares though when it is allies who commit the same atrocities - like Turkey does to Kurds and what Saudi Arabia does today in Yemen (for fun consider a story - "rebels oust government, and a neighbor supporting the ousted government intervenes military" - in the last 2 years that happened in Ukraine/Russia and Yemen/Saudi Arabia - and compare which side Western countries have supported :).
Side note, https://theintercept.com/
One of the best sources for news.I have such respect for Greenwald, I would work for the guy for free. I think in this climate ,Greenwald and people like him are true hero's.
I see hefty reasons to be against interventions and having studied history, I also see some cases where interventions might be, in the long run, for the greater good. But that can be decided in hindsight and I find it hard (to impossible) to do so smack in the middle of such a situation.
We do not have lots of information and we have to make decisions under massiv uncertainty. If politicians then have multiple voices telling them this or that viewpoint (with their own hidden agendas) - who of us would be any better in deciding rationally? And I do mean the rational part of the decision, that cold hard rationality, that might not look good in the press, but is necessary? To make a decision is mostly easy. To do it right is hard (or do it based on ideology - also quite easy imho).
So Bosnian Serbs having their own country? Did I get something wrong while studying history or didn't the Bosnien Serbs for the most part want to stay with Serbia? And weren't it the Bosniaks who pushed for a separate state?
Weren't the Bosniaks the ones who did (in a 1990 questionnaire) identify mostly as a non religious ethnic group, but were traditionally sorted into the "Muslim" category since the Ottoman Empire (thereby gaining support during the war by muslim countries).
Weren't it for the Serbs who did most (around three quarters) of the war crimes and atrocities (not that the other quarter wasn't as bad).
So yeah - not intervening here might just have perpetuated a situation. It also might have made it worse. But that's easy to discuss in hindsight. Having only partial information it might not be that easy to decide in the given situation. And I am willing to give the politicians back then some slack for deciding in uncertainty.
And no, that is no "get out of jail" card or anything. It is just me trying to have a rational view based in reality, while trying to build a more final view on these questions.
Not saying, that the current interventions are anything good at all or not driven by purely economic interests or interests in securing access to natural resources or such.
Just two easy copy-paste from Wikipedia:
"Bosnia conflict took place between 1992 and 1995,[..] 100,000 people were killed during the war."
"During the approximate 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994, an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed"
I was not saying, that this is/was the only reason for these interventions. By the way I hope I am not that "naive" to believe in easy answers in a complex world.
Not doing so and realizing easy answers being thrown around was the reason I did comment in the first place. Do you really believe the world is cut into black and white that straight?
I do not. I am far to cynical for that. For example we in the west did not hear that much of Rwanda during that time. There was no press storm I can remember (compared to the situation in Bosnia during the same time). There was no public outcry so no politician felt that pressure - maybe. Just maybe that was one reason.
If people believe interventions happen because (for example) of lobbying interests of the military complex Rwanda would have been a perfect PR opportunity to sell some more ammunition and to have western countries engage in a yearlong conflict. That not happening might be oversight within these lobby groups or it might show, that this way of thinking does (at least not always) not work that easily.
So please - let's be civil. Sheathe your "ad hominem"-sword and let's "fight" with solid arguments.
I don't think I have misrepresent your comment. Obviously I have misrepresented your opinions but I think, after reviewing your initial post, that it's hardly my fault.
No idea what is the problem with pasting from wikipedia for making a point.
I agree that the use of "beyond naive" was not appropriate and I want excuse myself for it. I would try to avoid this kind of thing in my comments in the future.
As for Flint, Michigan... A quick google will give you a lot of info, but the gist of it is that they have had lead in their water for over two years and it's beyond toxic. Their government has failed them.
I've seen less intelligible writing from Americans who only speak English.
it doesn't always work this way. Russia ventured out this way in 199x and crawled back scared (in particular by the number and size of things what are wrong with Russians individually and at a whole society level) into the old cage. It is very hard to overcome mentality developed over centuries.
Russia and middle East are two different story.
I am in middle East and I can see , there is only one way to solve this problem (radicalism). and it must solved by middle East people themselves. whether you like it or not, . whether you spend 200 years from now bombing.
This is not going to be solved. Yes. Sad news but truth.
BTW mentality for middle East people started when your fucking government started overthrowing democratically elected government in middle East.
Russia was virtually a failed state in the 1990s, except for half-a-dozen pro-Western crooks who became instant billionaires stealing assets the Russian people had built and paid for, and who helped steal the 1996 election for their partner in crime, Yeltsin.
I'm no fan of Putin or his own kleptocratic cronies, but whether you like him or not, Russia seems to have become far stronger and more stable under him than under his drunken pro-Western predecessor.
> “It is part of the three-dimensional chess that is the Syrian battlefield,” he said.
Corrupt congressmen explaining the supreme unaccountability associated with this type of unofficial warfare as something too complex and mysterious for the average observer to comprehend should be classified as a radicalizer by the FBI.
Seriously, though, be on the lookout for news of FBI missions to "investigate Syrian sources of domestic terror".
There is really a need for change; unfortunately it is a bit hard to see where that will be coming from at the moment.
Can anyone name a single US intervention in the Middle East that hasn't backfired on us in some way? Propping up the Shah of Iran backfired on us in the form of the Iranian Revolution. Propping up the Saudi regime led to a safe haven for militant Wahabi Islam. Our interventions in Iraq led first to a massacre of Kurds and Shia, and later to a civil war that was directly responsible for the creation of Islamic State. Our intervention in Libya led to another civil war that has turned a major oil producing country into essentially a failed state. Our intervention in Syria hasn't helped matters, and has only brought us into further confrontation with Russia, while simultaneously discrediting our ability to hold intransigent dictators to account for their crimes.
And yet we keep going back, to exert our "leadership".
If you look at what the military-industrial complex talks about when they're hyping their capabilities, it's all about China and Russia. Sure, they pay lip service to "asymmetric warfare", but their main focus has been on keeping the US military's capabilities ahead of other emerging conventional militaries, not fighting insurgencies. In fact, the most successful anti-insurgency tools, like the Predator drone and MRAP armored trucks have been created over the objections of the military industrial complex (who want to make more sophisticated, expensive weapons).
I think they would be on the forefront of fanning the flames of war with China, if they thought the public had the stomach for it. Instead, they have to make do with the few smaller,unconventional wars, continuously. When was the last time the US of A was not engaged in combat somewhere in the world?
Surely, having your poorly trained 'moderate' rebels surrender their arms and munitions frequently is good for business. Now you get to resupply them (at American tax-payers expense), and indirectly supply arms to both sides of the conflict. It's almost genius - and barbaric.
I want to guess December 6th 1941.
Hillary on the other is as hawkish as they come, this was demonstrated through her emails. She is a neo-con.
Yep, and Democratic voters are happily voting for her over anti-war Bernie. This really says something about Democratic voters, doesn't it?
That may be true.
However; I do (still) find it unlikely that Trump will be the next president. And I am also not quite sure what his foreign policies will be.
Another big change may come from Britain's exit from the EU (also something I find unlikely). This will be the end of EU as it is today. And will probably lead to a more protectionist and less interventionalist foreign policy regime across the board.
The fact that the EU is ruled by political midgets played a najor role too.
I must say that the handling of her case has boosted my faith in the internal integrity of the US government.
If you look at the history of the USA, from its original 13 states, which themselves were a product of imperialism, and at Manifest Destiny, I'm not sure how this is even a serious question.
The US economy hinges on sustaining the petrodollar system. http://ftmdaily.com/preparing-for-the-collapse-of-the-petrod...
This is an incredibly uninformed view. Dollar hegemony rests on our being the sole trusted enforcer of the oceans' open navigation. That confers us, directly and indirectly as a large economy, economic advantages which in turn reinforce our military's ability to defend this position.
Petrodollar monetarism is no longer a dominating factor to our financial system. Relying on it as a forecasting model, for economic or geopolitical aims, will produce bad outputs.
Chilling insight into foreign policy of a superpower (an euphemism for "empire"). Not that he says something new (if you've read Carroll Quigley), but still... it's a fresh proof from the founder of the "Shadow CIA".
Lawrence Wilkerson, "The Travails of Empire"
EDIT: It seem that, at least some, of the e-mails of the "consulting" branch are exposed.
Makes me crazy.do people actually watch fox? Apparently they do. And here we are.
For instance, perpetual conflict also means that no strong power can appear in the area.
In this agreement they would divide the area, give it new names, put it under foreign control. Since then the area is a constant mess. By design.
Then every other year they finance some rebel group or army here and there so there's never peace.
"War has changed. It's no longer about nations, ideologies, or ethnicity.
It's an endless series of proxy battles fought by mercenaries and machines. War - and its consumption of life - has become a well-oiled machine. War has changed. ID-tagged soldiers carry ID-tagged weapons, use ID-tagged gear. Nanomachines inside their bodies enhance and regulate their abilities. Genetic control. Information control. Emotion control. Battlefiled control. Everything is monitored and kept under control.
War has changed. The age of deterrence has become the age of control, all in the name of averting catastrophe from weapons of mass destruction. And he who controls the battlefield, controls history. War has changed. When the battlefield is under total control, war becomes routine."
– Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 4
US aided Mujahideen of Afghanistan in past later become Talibans. US aided Pakistan Army and Afghan government to fight against them.
Since it's Hackernews, the best analogy would be funding by VCs to different startups to compete with each other. Here CIA and Pentagon are VCs providing Emos to "Startups" to test their weapons for other wars.
It's a long and old (decades!) story, per US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks. The news story:
The US ambassador 2006 leaked cable itself:
So it's not by accident that Chelsea Manning was treated as he was for leaking these cables. And that Assange still can't leave the embassy in London.
It's easy for us in the West to sit here and say that he was better that what came later. That certainly wasn't apparent at the time, and I think that alone is enough of a reason to be wary of him.
If that wasn't enough, there's his regime's history of attempting to build nuclear weapons with North Korean help as well as it's use of chemical weapons against civilians. These aren't the Iraqi-war mythical weapons of mass destruction, but real weapons that were either used (chemical) or destroyed.
It's possible that the rebels used chemical weapons too, but absolutely certain that Assad's forces did. Notably, the Russians (who don't often fall for Western propaganda) were the ones who forced Assad to give up his chemical weapon stockpiles after they were used. The Russians did blame the rebels for one attack, and it is likely that may be correct. That doesn't remove Assad's guilt for the other attacks.
By contrast, Sun Zi's The Art of War, being more a manual of practical statesmanship and less an ethical or philosophical sounding board, states that one should only go to war when in a position of strength and certain victory. Further, actual warfare is a last option: "the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field."
America, are we the greatest or what. USA rocks. :-)