On the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, as reported @FT

Headline: Machine guns and a hit squad: the killing of Iran’s nuclear mastermind

Assassination set to escalate tensions as US president-elect Joe Biden keen to restart nuclear talks

https://www.ft.com/content/a2fade69-f-9fd3-1641ae1fddb13b03-4d0


Note that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is named as the sinister, in fact evil ‘nuclear mastermind’

My comments:

___________________________________________________

How soon will the comments section get too pointed, so that the editors close down the comments section, of the reworked Mossad propaganda from yesterday? When the going gets tough…

Headline: Iran’s nuclear mastermind ‘assassinated’

Sub-headline: Officials in Tehran suggest Israel involvement in killing that escalates tensions with US

 https://www.ft.com/content/e1bf7e03-b760-4494-b7b2-4e26514a83cd


What if an American Scientist was murdered inside America? What would be the punishment for the responsible party, who hired thugs to do their dirty work?
StephenKMackSD

___________________________________________

In reply to Koln

Do better!!! I’m in America not in Tehran, and I have voiced my opinion, just like you have! Iran threw off the yoke of Imperial Oppressors.  A coup conducted by BP and Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA removed the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, and put the Shah, and his secret police in power: this was the incubator of the mullah’s that you now inveigh against.
The Iranians come by Anti-Americanism and Anti-Britainism  via the route of the machinations of the American National Security State and British Petroleum to deny the sovereignty of a state because Mossadegh said he would Nationalize Iranian Oil.
‘The West’ is the object of Iranian rage for very good reasons as I have mentioned.
The final question in my post still stands unanswered. Because the answer is clear!


Thank you for your comment.
Regards,
StephenKMackSD 

https://www.ft.com/content/a2fade69-f-9fd3-1641ae1fddb13b03-4d0   

    

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The Proud Boys, as reported in the London Sunday Times. Old Socialist comments, and asks a question.

Headline: Meet the Proud Boys — Trump’s unofficial militia spoiling for a fight

Sub-headline: Sporting Fred Perry shirts and heavily armed, the American far-right group the president refused to condemn is on patrol at his rallies

‘ I initially thought McInnes’s list of Proud Boy “degrees” of membership must be another one of his jokes. Initiates must swear allegiance to the fraternity, get beaten up until they can recite the name of five cereal brands, adhere to a “no wanks” pledge (so young men stop watching porn and meet actual women, Aaron explained) and get a Proud Boy tattoo.
It made them sound like a bunch of incels (involuntary celibates). Could this be for real, I asked Aaron, who, like Mike, is 33 and single. Yes, the rules were rules. He took my question about the ban on masturbation well — “It does wonders for your determination, energy levels and productivity” — but denied they were incels. “That’s just a cheap lowball insult,” he said.
Nor were they misogynists, he insisted. “We do venerate housewives, though we respect women who work. We want to put women back on their pedestal. They have a cherished role in western civilisation.”
In fact, he was off to see his girlfriend in Seattle this weekend, a black foreign exchange student from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I’m not a racist, 100%,” he added.
Aaron went on to remind me that there was a further “degree” for members — “getting into a physical altercation with Antifa”. He fulfilled that pledge in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in August when there was a violent clash with the far left. He sent me a video link. “It was wild,” he said. As he slugged it out with Antifa, he got hit in the face with a street sign.
If there is election chaos after November 3, as Trump has predicted, Aaron will be back on the streets with his Ruger AR-566 — all in the name of “self-defence”. If they are going to play at being Trump’s vigilantes, it will be a terrible joke on the American electorate.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/meet-the-proud-boys-trumps-unofficial-militia-spoiling-for-a-fight-9mjr8kccb



Sexual Puritanism & Violent Reactionary Politics, if the Freudians still enjoyed cultural/psychological currency they would … If only Eric Ericson and his clique!
Add to the ‘Proud Boys’ the ‘Bugaloo Boys’ and ‘The Oath Keepers‘ that represent an American political nihilism, that dwarfs ‘Antifa’ and ‘BLM’ that leads inexorably to the question: will America’s Second Civil War begin on November 4, 2020?

Old Socialist



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Andy Divine depends on the ignorance of his readers, Episode MCCVII: On Concentration Camps & more pressing Evils. Old Socialist comments

I’ll bypass the first two installments of the Mr. Divine’s encyclical of June 21, 2019:

The Next Step for Gay Pride

The Trump Code

I’ll just read this next segment of moral shaming with which Andy confronts his readers:

The Totalitarian Nightmare the World Is Ignoring

I don’t want a new Cold War with China. But it is, in my view, an evil regime, and we should have no illusions about that. Twitter has been having a great time this past week parsing whether detention camps for illegal immigrants in the United States should be called “concentration camps.” In China, this debate might seem somewhat beside the point. Over a million Muslims who have crossed no border and committed no crimes are being taken from their homes en masse and subjected to brainwashing in vast camps and compounds from which there is no escape. Watch this excellent new BBC piece on these “thought transformation camps” — and feel the fear everywhere. The BBC was given access to a show camp, which is creepy enough. We can only imagine what goes on in the hidden ones.

Somehow Andy has become an expert on ‘concentration camps’: now Andy isn’t very adroit about his attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her very welcome plain speaking on the concentration camps used by ICE to hold the Mestizo Hordes ,that are invading the land of Anglo-Protestant virtue, as articulated by that American political hysteric Samuel P. Huntington: in his Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. The separation of children/infants from their parents , not to speak of caging these human beings, is an action used by Trump and his minions: ‘Give me your tired,your poor ,your huddled masses…’! An utter betrayal of ‘American Values’ ?

Andy likes to engage in the time honored tradition of One-up-man-ship pioneered by Stephen Potter. Virtue signalling is the current term of abuse, but Potter’s old stand-by fully describes Andy’s dull-witted practice . His argument:  You’ve averted your eyes from the ‘Evil Chinese Regime‘  for too long -its Human Rights abuses! In sum, the Concentration Camps used by ICE are by comparison to the Chinese Regime’s forms of oppression/re-education are evil, while the human rights abuses practiced by ICE are subject to a kind of pseudo- apologetic! In sum,  the crimes of ICE are minimized in comparison to the Chinese.

 

On the left, we worry about Islamophobia, or we expend our energies protesting the oppression of Palestinians by Israel’s occupation. On the right, we talk of religious freedom too often as if it only applies to Christians or Jews.

Yet, here is a man and writer whose moral/political enthusiasms for ‘The Bell Curve’ and the War in Iraq are facts that Andy can’t overcome. At least with his readers whose memories reach back to Andy’s reprehensible political past.  Andy achieves his ends by means of hectoring moralizing, in service to Andy’s pathological egotism, wedded to his political nihilism.

Old Socialist

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/andrew-sullivan-the-next-step-for-gay-pride.html

 

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More of the same: Edward Luce shaming Joe Biden, in The Financial Times. Old Socialist …

The ignominy of being compared to Jimmy Carter, and Mr. Luce self-serving myopia, regarding Reagan’s back door deal with the Iranians : topped off with an Oxbridger’s pastiche of a Psychoanalysis of President Biden, and Doom Saying. Maybe not Freud, but Jungian Jordan Peterson?  

As Biden addressed the nation, it was hard to escape the conclusion that he was not master of his brief. The president, whose life has been repeatedly marred by personal tragedy, teared up when he spoke of the sense of loss that the families of the dead US servicemen would feel. He mentioned his son, Beau, a former US army officer who served in Iraq and died of brain cancer in 2015. “You get the feeling like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest; there’s no way out,” Biden said of the grief that will hit the families of the dead. The poignancy was enhanced by the fact that Biden might have been speaking about what it is like to be in his job at this moment. The political black hole beckons.

The reader confronts the concluding paragraphs as if written by a Neo-Conservative! A mediocre comic performance!

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/29e1342b-adba-46d5-abba-8c471dc9a8fb

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The Biden/Harris New Cold Warriors offer an almost new Theatre of Conflict. Philosophical Apprentice …

After this stinging indictment, of the feckless Joe Biden, as presented by Mr. Luce:  

Headline: Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco: ‘We look like a deer caught in headlights’

sub-headline: The chaotic scenes in Kabul are unlikely to derail his domestic agenda but undermine his promise to restore competence

https://www.ft.com/content/c6e012d4-fe69-4579-a1b0-997c1a1e1bc9

Mr. Luce begins his latest essay with these paragraphs:


No, the western alliance is not about to break up. And America is not about to drift off into some isolationist reverie. Afghanistan is too peripheral to trigger such a dramatic shift. But the chaotic nature of America’s withdrawal, and the slight felt by most of its allies, have put an abrupt end to President Joe Biden’s international honeymoon. It has also left the world — and much of Washington — in confusion. What does Biden mean by “America is back”? To which America is he referring?

The answer is not obvious. Biden’s Afghan pullout fulfilled one promise, to get out of “forever wars”, and broke another, to restore the primacy of America’s alliances. The second promise was what sharply differentiated Biden from Donald Trump. Biden supposedly values allies. Europe’s chagrin is that Biden could have fulfilled both vows if he had closely consulted with them on his Afghan exit. He chose not to. The fact that Nato was there at America’s behest rubbed salt into the wound. The 9/11 attacks marked the only time Nato has invoked its Article V mutual defence clause — following an assault on America, not Europe.

https://www.ft.com/content/33b1644c-256f-4880-822f-b2bcfd70f551

To offer a cliché as one door closes, another opens :

Headline: Harris rebukes China in major speech on Indo-Pacific relations

Sub-headline: “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.”

SINGAPORE — Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a sharp rebuke to China for its incursions in the South China Sea, warning its actions there amount to “coercion” and “intimidation” and affirming that the U.S. will support its allies in the region against Beijing’s advances.

“We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,” she said in a major foreign policy speech Tuesday in Singapore in which she laid out the Biden administration’s vision for the Indo-Pacific. “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.”

Harris’ remarks also come during a critical moment for the United States as the Biden administration seeks to further solidify its pivot towards Asia while America’s decades-long focus on the Middle East comes to a messy end with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Harris’ remarks echoed and expanded upon remarks she delivered at the U.S. Naval Academy graduation in June, where she described a world that is “interconnected,” “interdependent” and “fragile.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/24/kamala-harris-china-singapore-pacific-506675

As the Neo-Conservative fiascos of Afghanistan and Iraq almost closes, the Biden/Harris New Cold Warriors, offer a newish Theatre of Conflict: the Chinese sphere of influence. How many fronts will this iteration embrace, and the return of perennial enemies? Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Peru etc., The bloated Pentagon Budget, and the mad dreams of American Technocrats, and their hero Samuel P. Huntington, will never let go of their hegemonic ambitions!

Philosophical Apprentice

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Joe Biden’s Show Trial: The prosecution team, Edward Luce, Ben Shapiro and Niall Ferguson! Political Observer comments.

Edward Luce addresses the reader :

Headline: Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco: ‘We look like a deer caught in headlights’

Sub-headline: The chaotic scenes in Kabul are unlikely to derail his domestic agenda but undermine his promise to restore competence

Not since Major General William Elphinstone’s retreating British army was picked off in 1842, has a foreign occupier left Afghanistan under such a cloud. It took three years after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 for its Kabul ally to submit to mujahideen forces. It was two years after the US military’s exit from Vietnam before Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. On Monday Kabul folded to the Taliban almost three weeks before the official day of America’s departure.

“We look like a deer caught in the headlights,” says Mathew Burrows, a former senior CIA officer now at the Atlantic Council. “It is one more chink gone in the American empire.”

https://www.ft.com/content/c6e012d4-fe69-4579-a1b0-997c1a1e1bc9

Further selections:


But as the president on whose watch the concluding fiasco took place, Joe Biden’s name will be indelibly linked to it. The question is whether he can extract any foreign policy gains in what one analyst described as Biden’s “Ides of August”. Since he was partly elected on a promise to restore competence to the White House, there is also concern that the fall of Kabul will wound Biden’s ability to push through his domestic agenda.


“It will be hard to separate Biden’s strategic decision to leave Afghanistan, which may ultimately prove to be right, with the hasty and sloppy and panicked way in which it has been executed,” says Steve Biegun, former US deputy secretary of state. “This comes as something of a body blow to Biden’s ‘America is back’ message. Everyone thought he was going to be different to Trump.”


“It defies belief that this withdrawal was imposed by the military,” says a former senior Pentagon official. “The US military was following civilian orders.” The official adds that it was also misleading to blame what has happened on intelligence failure. “The intelligence agencies gave a range of forecasts, including the worst,” he says.


The bigger impact on Biden’s role is likely to be felt with America’s allies and adversaries. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, told the European parliament that the departure was “a catastrophe for the Afghan people, for western values and credibility and for the developing of international relations”. Armin Laschet, Germany’s possible successor to Angela Merkel after September’s general election, described it as “Nato’s biggest debacle since its founding”. Even the reliably Atlanticist British failed to conceal their disappointment with an America that had failed to keep them abreast of the details of its pullout.


“If Biden’s withdrawal shows that America is becoming less messianic and will focus more on looking after its people at home, then this decision will be a good one for America and China,” says Eric Li, a Shanghai-based political scientist and venture capitalist, who is a frequent defender of China’s stance to western audiences. “That is what China will be hoping for.”


“The joke was that in 1989 the ISI defeated the Soviets with American help,” says Sarah Chayes, an Afghan expert who was a senior Pentagon adviser. “Now the ISI has defeated the United States with American help.”

Ben Shapiro in full hysterical cry, complete with arched brows, and the usual staccato delivery. There is no transcript, of this not quite 24 minute rant, framed by the Islamophobic ‘8th Century Barbarians’. An Orthodox Jew who lives in a former Confederate State, he is no Harry Golden!

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/7QfovktOL_E?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0&enablejsapi=0

Niall Ferguson in The Economist:

Headline: Niall Ferguson on why the end of America’s empire won’t be peaceful

Sub-headline: As it leaves Afghanistan in chaos, America’s decline mirrors Britain’s a century ago. It may also invite wider conflict, warns a historian

“THE MULTITUDES remained plunged in ignorance… and their leaders, seeking their votes, did not dare to undeceive them.” So wrote Winston Churchill of the victors of the first world war in “The Gathering Storm.” He bitterly recalled a “refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the state.” American readers watching their government’s ignominious departure from Afghanistan, and listening to President Joe Biden’s strained effort to justify the unholy mess he has made, may find at least some of Churchill’s critique of interwar Britain uncomfortably familiar.

How inauspicious that Ferguson should begin his essay with Winston Churchill, in full hyperbolic rhetorical finery ! The reader has access to David Reynolds ‘In Command of History’ , of 2005 ,that argues that Churchill wrote, and re-wrote, the History of WWII, without apology. Or Richard Toye’s ‘Churchill’s Empire: The World that Made Him and the World He Made’ of 2010. Churchill as committed, vociferous Imperialist, not forgetting a career defined by political opportunism. Ferguson is a fellow traveler of Churchill’s, in ultra-respectable Oxbridger drag!

Here is a link to a review of Ferguson’s ‘Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire.’ from the New York Times of July 25, 2004 By John Lewis Gaddis:

At 384 pages, ”Colossus” is one of Ferguson’s smaller books; but it is his most ambitious effort yet to connect historical analysis with what is happening in the world today. His thesis is simply stated: the United States is an empire, however much Americans might deny that fact; its record of accomplishment in this capacity is not very good; and it should learn from the experiences of earlier empires, notably that of Britain.

Both ”Colossus” and Ferguson’s previous book ”Empire” proceed from a controversial assumption for which he makes no apologies: it is that empires have as often been a force for progress as a source of oppression. Their history, he reminds us, goes back much farther than does that of the modern state — that fact alone provides reason to question politically correct claims that we live in a postimperial age. Nor should we want to, Ferguson argues, because empires are a time-tested method for imposing order and securing justice, qualities sadly lacking in the post-cold-war world. ”What is required,” he writes, ”is an agency capable of intervening . . . to contain epidemics, depose tyrants, end local wars and eradicate terrorist organizations.” The United Nations has long since demonstrated its inability to perform this task. That leaves only the United States, together with such coalitions of the willing as it can assemble.

That Americans have the power to run such a ”liberal empire” Ferguson does not doubt: they have been doing something like this for decades. They have, however, been ”surprisingly inept” in their interventions, which are ”often short-lived and their results ephemeral.” This has happened, he complains, because they ”lack the imperial cast of mind.” Americans fail to train their youth to manage their empire. They resist annexation, preferring ”that foreigners . . . Americanize themselves without the need for formal rule.” They are more into consumption than conquest: ”They would rather build shopping malls than nations. They crave for themselves protracted old age and dread, even for other Americans who have volunteered for military service, untimely death in battle.”

At nearly 3200 words Mr. Ferguson’s essay is a crowded field of Historical Players: Britain, in its various rhetorical permutations, takes three large paragraphs. A comparison between America and Britain takes up six more paragraphs. Then notorious Neo-Liberal Larry Summers enters predicting ‘inflationary dangers’. Austerity is the lingua franca of Neo-Liberals, even in the face of the 2008 Economic Collapse, and the Obama ill-fated Simpson-Bowles, named ‘The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’! Churchill, Hitler, Mussolini, Imperial Japan, Fiji, Gambia, Guiana, Vancouver – the Ferguson Juggernaut is just gathering speed as the readers patience ebbs!

Luckily? for the reader she comes to a section titled ‘Power is Relative’, two paragraphs begin this part of the essay:

A relative decline compared with other countries is another point of resemblance. According to estimates by the economic historian Angus Maddison, the British economy by the 1930s had been overtaken in terms of output by not only America’s (as early as 1872), but also Germany’s (in 1898 and again, after the disastrous years of war, hyperinflation and slump, in 1935) and the Soviet Union (in 1930). True, the British Empire as a whole had a bigger economy than the United Kingdom, especially if the Dominions are included—perhaps twice as large. But the American economy was even larger and remained more than double the size of Britain’s, despite the more severe impact of the Great Depression in the United States.

America today has a similar problem of relative decline in economic output. On the basis of purchasing-power parity, which allows for the lower prices of many Chinese domestic goods, the GDP of China caught up with that of America in 2014. On a current-dollar basis, the American economy is still bigger, but the gap is projected to narrow. This year China’s current-dollar GDP will be around 75% of America’s. By 2026 it will be 89%.

Ferguson’s ‘idee fixe’ on China takes up the next two paragraphs, except that China become part of a carefully muddled historical analogy, if it even qualifies for that rhetorical status!

Beijing, Taiwan, Neville Chamberlain, Czechoslovakia,1938 as “a quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing”.

I had printed copies of these essays, so as to more easily engage with their arguments , yet this essay has almost reached the length of Mr. Ferguson’s essay. Here is the point of arrival, for this essays, swimming in historical/political/economic garnish, with the help of political fabulist Winston Churchill!

The acquisition of such extensive global responsibilities was not easy. But it is a delusion to believe that shedding them will be easier. This is the lesson of British history to which Americans need to pay more heed. President Joe Biden’s ill-advised decision for a “final withdrawal” from Afghanistan was just the latest signal by an American president that the country wants to reduce its overseas commitments. Barack Obama began the process by exiting Iraq too hastily and announcing in 2013 that “America is not the world’s policeman.” Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine was just a populist version of the same impulse: he too itched to get out of Afghanistan and to substitute tariffs for counterinsurgency.

The problem, as this month’s debacle in Afghanistan perfectly illustrates, is that the retreat from global dominance is rarely a peaceful process. However you phrase it, announcing you are giving up on your longest war is an admission of defeat, and not only in the eyes of the Taliban. China, which shares a short stretch of its vast land border with Afghanistan, is also closely watching. So is Russia, with zloradstvo—Russian for Schadenfreude. It was no mere coincidence that Russia intervened militarily in both Ukraine and Syria just months after Obama’s renunciation of global policing. Mr Biden’s belief (expressed to Richard Holbrooke in 2010) that one could exit Afghanistan as Richard Nixon exited Vietnam and “get away with it” is bad history: America’s humiliation in Indochina did have consequences. It emboldened the Soviet Union and its allies to make trouble elsewhere—in southern and eastern Africa, in Central America and in Afghanistan, which it invaded in 1979. Reenacting the fall of Saigon in Kabul will have comparable adverse effects.

https://www.economist.com/by-invitation/2021/08/20/niall-ferguson-on-why-the-end-of-americas-empire-wont-be-peaceful  

What have these three propagandists missed?

Headline: At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror

Sub-headline: A new report calculates the number of people who fled because of wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II.

The findings were published on Tuesday, weeks before the United States enters its 20th year of fighting the war on terror, which began with the invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; yet, the report says it is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies.

Political Observer

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Andy Divine’s sanctimony is his life-blood! Queer Atheist reads almost all, of his succinct 1750 words.

The first paragraph of his essay is cinematic in its sweep of images, and evocation of emotions:

The bookends of our two-decade entanglement in Afghanistan are two men falling from the sky. The first, on September 11, 2001, happened in Manhattan, as a figure facing imminent immolation in a skyscraper chose to jump instead. The second we witnessed this week, as another young human body, losing what grip he had on an airplane taking off from Kabul airport, tumbled through the sky for the last moments of his life. Their deaths were both a function of one thing: resurgent theocratic barbarism. And today, they can be seen as punctuating its resilience. 

https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/two-men-falling?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo1MzQ5NjEsInBvc3RfaWQiOjQwMTAzNjEzLCJfIjoiTFlyeU8iLCJpYXQiOjE2Mjk0OTI2OTksImV4cCI6MTYyOTQ5NjI5OSwiaXNzIjoicHViLTYxMzcxIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.eUJNIWNRAxiUSVhez6kRIbh64D3s0Q844GYLMLriU-c

 

His essay then appropriates the frame of the 21 inch black and white world of 1952.

Everyone who has ever tried this Sisyphean task has failed. We lost the war long ago, and had conceded defeat already. Despite extraordinary sacrifices by Americans and Afghans and Brits and others, a viable, stable, less-awful alternative to Taliban rule existed only so long as it was kept on life support by the West — and not a day longer.

Andy then resorts to a History Made to Measure, the standard trope for the pundit class. While respecting his framing, as vital to his political moralizing. But not content, he sharpens the melodrama:

Our swift victory in the winter of 2001/2 soon became a circle of pointlessness, with al Qaeda underground, Bin Laden in Pakistan, and a Western-designed “government” wallowing in a fathomless pit of corruption. We should have left then, instead of flattering George W Bush’s utopian “nation-building”. Obama should have done the deed in his first term, but he figured he couldn’t end two wars at once, and tried to turn the Afghan project into a moral calling, as he drone-killed thousands. He caved — against Biden’s advice — to the blandishments of the top brass and the piety of the Blob. Trump should have done it — as he promised — but Trump couldn’t even build a wall. And real battle and conflict — along with real accountability that executing withdrawal would have demanded? Trump ran away from all of that for four years.

Has the reader lost her patience with Andy’s Moral Melodrama stretched taught? I’ll just quote some of the more telling portions of Andy’s screed:

We can flagellate ourselves over this — and the futility of it all seems heartbreakingly obvious in retrospect — but it was not ignoble. Two difficult things can be true at the same time. Lives were saved, minds were opened a little, women breathed freer air for a while, bodies were less frequently bludgeoned by torture and barbarism, and souls were less stricken with constant dread.

But we also know that countless Afghans, exhausted by the incompetence and kleptocracy of their own government, unmoved by Western liberalism, had, over the last year, swiftly made deals with the winning party as it swept through all the provincial capitals.

Of course, we should have gotten our people out before the Taliban’s imminent victory — all the Americans and every single Afghan who helped us. That we didn’t is horrifying. To contemplate this betrayal is to shudder. 

But there is something about the unreal huffing and puffing this week from the left-media, the neocon holdouts and the opportunistic Republicans that seems far too cheap and easy. It’s as if they have learned nothing — nothing — from the 21st Century.

Bill Kristol — I kid you not — actually wrote another article condemning the withdrawal, quoting Churchill and Munich! How dead can a brain be?

I have tired of Andy’s political moralizing! I’ll just move to Andy’s quotation from The Economist:

Sitting on a dusty rug beside their lorries at the edge of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second city, a group of middle-aged drivers explain the difference between the Taliban and the government. Both groups take money from drivers on the road, says Muhammad Akram, leaning forward in a black kurta; both are violent. But when the Taliban stop him at a checkpoint, they write him a receipt. Waving a fistful of green papers, he explains how they ensure he won’t be charged twice: after he pays one group of Talibs, his receipt gets him through subsequent stops. Government soldiers, in contrast, rob him over and over. When he drives from Herat, a city near the Iranian border, to Kandahar, Mr Akram says, he will pay the Taliban once. Government soldiers he will pay at least 30 times.

https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/05/18/why-afghanistans-government-is-losing-the-war-with-the-taliban

The fact that Andy used to be a fellow Neo-Con, and published this 138 page mea culpa about his support for the Iraq War :

,https://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/andrew-sullivan-i-was-wrong.pdf

Should this present essay. lead the reader to consider exactly what Andy’s motive is for writing this essay? Still, there are 477 words left of Andy’s essay, yet to be read. One of the cornerstones of Straussian rhetorical practice, is to exhaust the readers patience, thereby dulling her ability to understand an argument, if such an argument presents itself to a critical reader’s attention!

Queer Atheist

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The War in Afghanistan is a catastrophic, murderous failure! Old Socialist …

While reading Katrina Manson essay I was thinking: where are the Neo-Cons who advocated and ‘sold’ the war in Afghanistan, to the American Public, as politically, morally necessary? Recall David Brooks’ ‘The Collapse of The Dream Palaces’ dreck?
David Brooks of July 18 , 2021 :

Headline: David Brooks: The American identity crisis

For most of the past century, human dignity had a friend — the United States of America. We are a deeply flawed and error-prone nation, like any other, but America helped defeat fascism and communism and helped set the context for European peace, Asian prosperity and the spread of democracy.

Then came Iraq and Afghanistan, and America lost faith in itself and its global role — like a pitcher who has been shelled and no longer has confidence in his own stuff. On the left, many now reject the idea that America can be or is a global champion of democracy, and they find phrases like “the indispensable nation” or the “last best hope of the earth” ridiculous.

On the right the wall-building caucus has given up on the idea that the rest of the world is even worth engaging.

Many people around the world have always resisted America’s self-appointed role as democracy’s champion. But they have also been rightly appalled when America sits back and allows genocide to engulf places like Rwanda or allows dangerous regimes to threaten the world order.

The Afghans are the latest witnesses to this reality. The American bungles in Afghanistan have been well documented. We’ve spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of our people. But the two-decade strategy of taking the fight to the terrorists, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, has meant that global terrorism is no longer seen as a major concern in daily American life. Over the past few years, a small force of American troops has helped prevent some of the worst people on earth from taking over a nation of more than 38 million — with relatively few American casualties. In 1999, no Afghan girls attended secondary school. Within four years, 6% were enrolled, and as of 2017 the figure had climbed to nearly 40%.

https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2021/07/19/David-Brooks-The-American-identity-crisis/stories/202107190006

Here is Bill Kristol of June 19, 2021 on twitter :

Neither of these men have any kind of military experience, yet ‘we’ must defer to what? not anything like military experience! They both make a ‘moral argument’ that is about American Exceptionalism. Even though Brooks casts it in Pop Psychology terms. as an ‘Identity Crisis’.

With this shopworn chatter from both these Neo-Cons, what ‘we’ have is death, devastation and human suffering on grand scale. Allied to dismal apologetics that fails to even recognize, not just complete failure, but an utter contemp for human life!

Headline: At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror

Sub-headline: A new report calculates the number of people who fled because of wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II.

The findings were published on Tuesday, weeks before the United States enters its 20th year of fighting the war on terror, which began with the invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; yet, the report says it is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies.

The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger.

Old Socialist

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The Financial Times, and its reporter Gideon Long, can’t let go of Peru, in the persons of Pedro Castillo, Guido Bellido and Pedro Francke! Old Socialist comments

Mr. Long’s unsurprisingly inauspicious opening paragraph, in regards to Pedro Francke:

Pedro Francke has been called many things in recent weeks: a moderate in a radical leftwing government, a Marxist who will wreck Peru’s standout free-market economy and a turncoat for accepting the finance minister job in President Pedro Castillo’s administration after initially refusing

Mr. Long in his fifth paragraph is the briefest examination of Peru’s Economy:

While Peru’s economy has been one of Latin America’s success stories in the 21st century, recent political instability has taken the shine off. The country has also been hit hard by coronavirus: it has the highest per capita death rate in the world, and gross domestic product fell 11.1 per cent last year.

Here is an alternative view to Mr. Long’s enthusiasm:

Peru’s strongest interest groups were its business confederations. The most powerful was the Confederation of Private Entrepreneurial Institutions (Confiep), founded in 1984. By the 2010s, Confiep comprised more than 20 business organizations, including the especially influential associations representing extractive industries and financial services. Confiep enjoyed powerful support networks in public relations firms, the media, and think tanks, and influenced key government appointments.

By contrast, grassroots organizations were atomized; they were often strong at the local level but were rarely able to collaborate and develop national-level organizations (Vergara, 2015). One exception was the Indigenous Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP), representing the Amazonian indigenous people. Yet, even AIDESEP remained unconnected to any political party (Gustafsson, 2018, p. 53). The challenges to national-level popular organizations in Peru included the withdrawal of collective rights in Peru’s 1993 constitution and the Shining Path’s assassination of leftist leaders and its discredit of leftist ideologies.

Another important force was illegal: the drug trade. Since the 1980s, Peru and Colombia have vied as the world’s largest cultivators of coca. In Peru, most coca is grown on the eastern slopes of the Andean mountains; in the 2010s, the area of greatest cultivation has been the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), on the eastern slopes of Peru’s central and southern highlands. In United Nations estimates, the area under cultivation between 2010 and 2015 was between 40,000 and 60,000 hectares (UNODC, 2016). Peru’s coca and cocaine are shipped out of Peru through its ports, headed north to the United States, or by air or land east to Bolivia, Brazil, and Europe. Revenues were immense. For example, in 2012, just one of many money launderers active in the VRAEM was charged with laundering more than $100 million (Bajak & Salazar, 2012).

https://oxfordre.com/politics/politics/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-1706

The reader might arrive at an inconvenient conclusion, that Confiep , AIDESEP and VRAEM share political power and influence beyond the reach of any party or faction?

More of ‘hard left hysteria’, to play on the political fears of the very exclusive readership of The Financial Times. The available numbers are 1.1 million: 960,000 digital and 140,000 print. It’s competitor The Economist 909,476 print , this, combined with its digital presence, runs to over 1.6 million.

Castillo’s election on a hard-left ticket rattled financial markets and sent capital fleeing, pushing Peru’s currency, the sol, to record lows against the dollar. The day after a hardline leftist, Guido Bellido, was named prime minister it registered its biggest one-day drop in seven years. It has since stabilised but not rebounded.

The condition of the sol, must be in the ‘rebound’ column rather than the ‘stabilised’ column?

The Castillo government has set up a “special commission” to reverse that trend, and Francke said he expected the sol to recover. “I think we’re going to see greater calm on the markets,” he said. “If I had to make a recommendation to investors, I’d tell them they shouldn’t sell sols to buy dollars. It seems to me they [dollars] are a bit expensive.”

The question of who Pedro Francke is before the readers gaze, in the above quote and below:

Francke prefers the terms “modern leftist” or “moderate leftist”.

“I’m a leftist who believes that reducing inequality is absolutely fundamental and perfectly compatible with reasonable macroeconomic management,” he told the Financial Times. “The two things can go hand in hand.”

‘A former World Bank economist’ is the ally of Castillo and Bellido: at sixty Francke will make the leap from Left-Wing Social Democrat to what? Marxist or ‘Hard-Line Leftist’? Or is he more likely a follower of Piketty, or simply his attentive reader?

Francke’s revelatory quotations speak for themselves: (In italics)

“If it’s not broken don’t fix it,” Francke said. “We have enough problems in Peru to start fixing things that are working well.”


“How can it be that a Chilean, a Chinese or an American comes to Peru and has the same rights as a Peruvian on economic issues?” he asks. “This doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.”

Asked about the comments, Francke said they reflected his personal opinions but “I am now in another role”.

“I’m answering as the minister of economy and finances in August 2021,” he said. He also acknowledged the new government could “only work within the political space we have” — a tacit acceptance it might be thwarted by congress, where Castillo’s party has only 37 out of 130 seats.

Mr. Long attaches an political comment to Francke answer: ‘— a tacit acceptance it might be thwarted by congress, where Castillo’s party has only 37 out of 130 seats.’

“If you look at the economic measures that President Castillo unveiled in his inauguration speech, none of them require a constitutional change,”

“It’s very negative that just one week into the new government, people are talking about impeaching the president or shutting down congress,” he said. “These are problems that come from the constitution.”

“This is a government of change and I understand that generates a certain lack of confidence, turbulence and misunderstanding.”

“But we absolutely respect private property and we’re absolutely opposed to any proposal for exchange rate controls and price controls. We have a clear policy of fiscal responsibility.”

https://www.ft.com/content/69eae055-3903-4806-8389-82ffe0afa0f6

I have copied directly from the Long’s essay. I have attempted to quote Francke’s own words, as presented, without the ideological interpolations the writer supplies.

Old Socialist

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The Financial Times on ‘‘a rural primary school teacher turned crusader’: Pedro Castillo. Old Socialist comments.

A selective list of the actors, players in this Financial Times political melodrama:

Alexander Tocas

leftist president Pedro Castillo

Alfredo Thorne, a former finance minister

The stock market slumped nearly 6 per cent.

a hardline leftist, Guido Bellido

Free Peru, the Marxist-Leninist party

global advisory company Teneo noted.

former World Bank economist Pedro Francke.

Julio Velarde, the long-serving and respected head of the central bank,

The reader could construct an essay, that might rival, but be quite similar to Gideon Long ‘news story’, based in an ideological fixation, that afflicts this newspaper and it’s reporters, or rather its opinion writers. In sum, The Left in its various iterations is a political/economic toxin!

Simone Bolivar, Liberation Theology, The Sandinistas, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales are the precursors and possible models for Castillo and Bellido? The utterly unsurprising indictment of the new president:  

Castillo, a rural primary school teacher turned crusader for the
poor, is in thrall to Free Peru’s Marxist ideologues, and cannot be
trusted with the economy.
 

The leaders of the opposition, wedded to some speculations, of that opposition to Castillo:

Keiko Fujimori

Peru’s close-knit, Lima-centric business community is deeply worried,

The chief executive of one Peruvian company

Pablo Secada, a Peruvian economist and politician,

Other government opponents propose a less incendiary strategy.

“That, I think, is a more advisable path to follow,” the senior
business leader said.

How many times, in the years that I have read this newspaper… It’s almost ‘as if’ a template exists, that offers step by step instructions, as to how to write an attack against any, and all, ‘Leftist Politicians’. Jeremy Corbyn being the most glaring example in recent memory. Hugo Chavez, Nicolás Maduro, Evo Morales in a southern American context! The reader might note that Castillo, in the view of Gideon Long, is subject to what reads like unsurprising Oxbridger class bias: ‘a rural primary school teacher turned crusader’.

Old Socialist


https://www.ft.com/content/9adb386e-0a8e-4851-9b20-311ccc84545a

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Tory Tribune Ferdinand Mount ‘reviews’ The Immortal Bagehot’s ‘The Aristocracy Of Talent : How meritocracy made the modern world’. Political Cynic offers some thoughts.

Here is the opening paragraph from Francis Mulhern’s review of Ferdinand Mount’s ‘English Voices: Lives, Landscapes, Laments’ :

‘By the time Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister’, Ferdinand Mount has reported, he ‘had long ago abandoned any thought of a political career and had happily settled for a life of writing anything that came to hand or mind’. English Voices is the book of that prospectus: only one among the score he has published, including novels and works of history and political advocacy too—for as it turned out, politics had not altogether done with him—but the one that answers most readily to this light sketch of a career in the world of letters. Ranging across thirty years from 1985, it gathers up some fifty-three substantial book reviews, half of them from the Spectator, where Mount has written since the 1970s, most of the rest coming from the Times Literary Supplement, which he edited for much of the 80s and early 90s, and the London Review of Books, which bulks larger in the more recent work. A compilation on this scale does not lend itself to conventional synopsis—the number of books discussed is greater still, totalling more than sixty. The title and subtitle of the volume are designed more to accommodate its diverse materials than to define them or to indicate binding themes. An introductory discussion of Englishness stresses the mongrel historical constitution of its people, taking a cue from Defoe’s well-known satire—and motivating the indefinite plural ‘voices’. But the appeals to shared legacies of common law, and a language both rich and loose-limbed—with echoes of Tennyson and Orwell respectively—have no follow-through in the preambles that sub-divide the contents, or in the essays themselves. However, there are other ways of characterizing it.

https://newleftreview.org/issues/ii105/articles/3239?token=PEaoCC92X68U

Here is Mount, a bit later in Mulhurn’s essay:

The subject that speaks in English Voices is recognizably the older self of Ferdy Mount in Cold Cream, at ease and engaged across a wide range of matters, convivially learned, with a sharp eye and an attentive ear and a particular knack for correcting the blunders of writers less inward than he is with the usages of the titled classes. The novelist is never very far away. Mount is droll, affectionate at times, with a mild suggestion of decadence—the word delicious has an improbably wide range of attachments in these pages, most of them not normally edible. ‘Sheer delight’ was the response of the Times Literary Supplement, pursuing the metaphor of consumption; ‘lovely’, said the London Evening Standard. Yet it cannot be a great surprise to find him, in the early 60s, working in the Conservative Research Department, on the way, he hoped, to a parliamentary seat, without any evident prior process of political acculturation; or to find him, twenty years later, in 10 Downing Street, where he had been invited—just like that—to head an independent policy unit for Margaret Thatcher. True to form, it seems, he had been always-already a Tory, and by 1979, after an instructive stay in the United States, he was done with ‘convictionless, wind-blown politicians’. Writing in the Spectator in the days after Thatcher’s electoral ‘triumph’, he hailed her ‘individualist and populist Toryism’ and concluded: ‘A cautious half-glass of good ordinary claret may safely be raised to the future.’

Here is a link to Tessa Hadley’s review in the TLS, referred to in Mulhurn’s essay. The first two paragraph’s Hadley’s essay are indicative of the emeritus status of Mount? Begin with the title and subtitle:

Unblinking eye

This collection of Ferdinand Mount’s essays – on politicians and writers and a miscellany of characters and subjects, loosely connected by their Englishness – is sheer delight. Any sensible reader…

This collection of Ferdinand Mount’s essays – on politicians and writers and a miscellany of characters and subjects, loosely connected by their Englishness – is sheer delight. Any sensible reader would take the essays slowly, putting the book down between each one in order to savour its stories and digest them; but I found it difficult to resist temptation and kept leaping eagerly forwards into the next revelation, the next unexpected insight or novelistic portrait. The pieces – mostly written for the London Review of Books, the Spectator and the TLS – are a cornucopia of wonderful gossipy details, informed ­analysis, complex psychology: the deep seriousness is inextricable from the exuberant fun. I knew even as I couldn’t stop turning the pages that I was doomed to forget three-quarters of the new things I was finding out, even though as I happened on them they seemed like essential additions to understanding.

Mount’s thinking is satisfyingly thick with particulars; his history is a drama of lived moments and spoken words. It’s fleshly and tangible – and vividly audible. “‘What a thing it is to have Power’, Dickens told his wife Catherine.” “Hurting people’s feelings seems to be my prevailing vice”, worried Margot Asquith. Henry Kissinger wrote confidently to his President in 1975, “I don’t think Margaret Thatcher will last”; you can hear him growling it. Sir Robert Peel apparently had a slight Staffordshire accent: one “snobbish observer noticed that ‘Peel can be always sure of an H when it comes at the beginning of a word, but he is by no means sure when it comes in the middle’”.

Unblinking eye

The former editor of the TLS enjoys the praise of a contributor!

Wooldridge and Mount are Oxbridgers, and both shared in the benefits of ‘The Meritocracy’, that Wooldridge extols in his ‘History’. Mount praises Bagehot and James Wilson:

Wooldridge is the political editor of the Economist and author of its “Bagehot” column. He is indeed a worthy successor to Walter Bagehot and to Bagehot’s father-in-law James Wilson, who founded the magazine and also devised India’s first income tax. The Aristocracy of Talent is unfailingly entertaining, effortlessly drawing on a wealth of anecdote and statistics. Wooldridge quotes liberally from the most scorching critiques of meritocracy: from Walter Lippmann’s indictment of IQ tests in the 1920s to Michael Young’s incomparable satire, The Rise of Meritocracy (1958), in which the word itself makes its debut, much like “Whig” and “Tory” first being deployed as pejoratives. He sets out Young’s exploration of what a fully realized meritocracy would mean for the losers, though he does not quote what seems to me the most telling passage:

Chapters One and Two of Alexander Zevin’s ‘Liberalism at Large: The World According to The Economist’ puts Mount’s praise of Wooldridge into proper historical perspective!

Let me defer to Pankaj Mishra’s review of ‘Liberalism at Large’, in the New Yorker, the first two paragraphs, just the opening salvo:

Liberalism made the modern world, but the modern world is turning against it,” an article in The Economist lamented last year, on the occasion of the magazine’s hundred-and-seventy-fifth anniversary. “Europe and America are in the throes of a popular rebellion against liberal élites, who are seen as self-serving and unable, or unwilling, to solve the problems of ordinary people,” even as authoritarian China is poised to become the world’s largest economy. For a publication that was founded “to campaign for liberalism,” all of this was “profoundly worrying.”

The crisis in liberalism has become received wisdom across the political spectrum. Barack Obama included Patrick Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed” (2018) in his annual list of recommended books; meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has gleefully pronounced liberalism “obsolete.” The right accuses liberals of promoting selfish individualism and crass materialism at the expense of social cohesion and cultural identity. Centrists claim that liberals’ obsession with political correctness and minority rights drove white voters to Donald Trump. For the newly resurgent left, the rise of demagoguery looks like payback for the small-government doctrines of technocratic neoliberalism—tax cuts, privatization, financial deregulation, antilabor legislation, cuts in Social Security—which have shaped policy in Europe and America since the eighties.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/11/liberalism-according-to-the-economist

Later, Mount attempts to demonstrate, to the reader, that he is not a captive to his status, as an unidentified member of a Class of Beneficiaries, that he and Woodridge share:

Wooldridge admits that meritocrats can be not only intolerably smug and conceited but also blind to the practical disadvantages of their wheezes – nowhere more so than in the case of the golden generation of the McNamaras and Bundys who brought us the Vietnam War and were so excoriated in David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest (1972). There are occasions, though, where the author lets off the cocksure meritocrats too lightly. He praises Thomas Babington Macaulay and Macaulay’s brother-in-law Charles Trevelyan for introducing meritocracy to the civil service in India and Britain, without mentioning Trevelyan’s wilful negligence during the Great Famine, during which his almost religious belief in the free market condemned millions of Irishmen to starvation or emigration. Wooldridge does, however, mention Macaulay’s notorious “Minute” of 1835, which proposed to educate an elite that would be “Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect” – surely the apogee of imperial arrogance. And he seems unduly admiring, too, of the meritocratic revolutions of Oliver Cromwell and Napoleon Bonaparte. The carrière ouverte aux talents is a splendid principle but the actual legacies of all this social mobilizing were millions of dead across Europe and a political instability so profound that it could end only in the restoration of a revamped ancien régime.

Not that Wooldridge and Micklethwait began their tandem writing careers with this collection of books : ‘The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus’, of 1996, ‘A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalization ‘ of 2000, ‘The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea’ of 2003, ‘The Right Nation: Why America is Different’ of 2004, ‘God is Back’ of 2009, ‘The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State’ of 2014, ‘The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West – and how to Fix it’ of 2020.

As a reader of The Economist from the early 1990’s till sometime in 2007: the editors decided to remove, and expunge the record of the comments section. I spoke at length to an Economist Sales Rep. about why I stopped subscribing!

I can comment on portions of ‘The Right Nation’. Every page of this book, that I read – I had a feeling of déjà vu. As if I had read it before, in another iteration: call this unsettling!

The last two paragraphs of Mount’s essay almost resembles critique of a very particular kind.

At the very least, we need to reflect on the complexity of political action. Meritocracy is an admirable principle but it is not the only game in town. Businesses thrive on competition but they also depend on intricate networks of co-operation. Societies flourish not just on capitalism’s famous waves of creative destruction but also on the steadiness provided by the rule of law and by institutions that strengthen the sense of community. These other values are not “alternative”, as Wooldridge calls them, but complementary and intertwined. Unless you want a ruthless rat race, equality of opportunity cannot rule on its own without going hand-in-hand with other sorts of equality, of access to justice, to healthcare and education, social arrangements designed to suit us all as we are, not merely as vehicles to speed the fortunate few to their proper destination. Wooldridge quotes Donald Trump’s boast, “I love the poorly educated”, which is creepy and cynical, especially coming from someone who regularly denounces those who disagree with him as “losers”. All the same, the thought does offer something of a challenge to the self-absorption of the meritocrats. If you can’t love the losers, why should they love you?

The Aristocracy of Talent is a serious treat from first to last. Not the least of its pleasures are the possibilities of disagreement that it provokes.

The guidance of brains

Political Cynic

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janan.ganesh@ft.com re-imagines the political career of Joe Biden. Political Reporter comments.

Mr. Ganesh’s utter lack of knowledge, of the history of Joe Biden, enables his extemporaneous – free imaginative variation- riff on his political career re-imagined?

Joe is and was a stunning political mediocrity! Who is not a pol ‘who anchored the New Deal alliance in the middle of the last century’ ! Joe is a Neo-Liberal ! His notoriously draconian ‘Crime Bill’, and his dire warnings of the morally/politically un-anchored ‘Predators’ was the Party Line of the New Democrats, like Hillary Clinton in the years of the ascendency of those ‘Democrats’. They were the plangent echo of Reagan’s ‘Welfare Queens Driving Cadillac’s’ of ’76 & ’80 ! Not to forget New Cold Warrior Joe:

In his ramble Mr. Ganesh fails the recognize the fact that this is Joe’s ‘Last Act’ or more appropriately his ‘Last Hurrah’!

https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/L/bo22213372.html

Joe’s pastiche of ‘The New Deal’ is just that! Its is the political monument to his status as that ‘political mediocrity‘!

Who can forget Joe’s performance at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings , or his weak attempt at self-rescue, in the matter of Anita Hill ?

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-joe-biden-hasnt-owned-up-to-about-anita-hill

Political Reporter

https://www.ft.com/content/ac275a8d-fe8d-48ee-83ac-57a25eb331c3

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The American Empire, The Bearer of Catastrophe: Afghanistan… Political Reporter comments.

From May 4, 2021 by Michael McCaul and Ryan C. Crocker

Headline: Here’s What Biden Must Do Before We Leave Afghanistan

Last month, President Biden announced a complete withdrawal of all United States troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the day terrorists killed almost 3,000 people.

Many in the defense and intelligence communities oppose the move. A complete withdrawal based on an arbitrary deadline, rather than conditions on the ground, threatens our long-term national security. After all, it was the decision to rapidly pull out of Iraq, creating a power vacuum that allowed the Islamic State to grow, that ultimately forced our return to Iraq, prolonging the war.

We cannot allow history to repeat itself.

It’s foolish to think the Taliban will engage in good faith with the Afghan government or abide by the commitments made to the previous administration after we’ve departed. In response to the withdrawal announcement, the Taliban tellingly announced they would not participate in a peace conference planned to start late last month in Turkey and refused to commit to a date in the future, effectively ending the already fragile peace process. The Taliban clearly does not want peace.

From June 13, 2021 in The New York Times, by Robert M. Gates

Headline: We Cannot Afford to Turn Our Backs on Afghanistan By Robert Gates

Within a few weeks, the last U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan, ending a military engagement that began 20 years ago this October. More than 2,300 of our finest have been killed, and more than 20,000 were wounded. More than 71,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians have died as a direct result of the war. We have spent much blood and much treasure.

Most Americans just want to close this painful chapter, but we cannot completely abandon Afghanistan. It would be a disservice to our troops, to our Afghan partners and, most important, it would not be in the U.S. national interest.

It may be hard to remember now, but it took just two months in late 2001 for the United States to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan and rout Al Qaeda in one of the shortest military campaigns in American history. On the diplomatic front, the Bonn Agreement in December 2001 forged consensus among Afghan factions and international parties on the formation of an interim government in Kabul. It called for the establishment of a “broad-based, gender-sensitive, multiethnic and fully representative government” that avoided corruption and placed armed groups under government control.

From August 2, 2021 New York Times by Kai Eide and Tadamichi Yamamoto

Headline: We Cannot Stand By and Watch Afghanistan Collapse

The past few months in Afghanistan, even by the standards set by two decades of war, have been especially calamitous.

Since April, when President Biden announced the withdrawal of United States forces from the country, violence has escalated at a terrifying rate. Emboldened, the Taliban have advanced across the country and now surround major cities, including Kandahar, the second largest. The toll has been terrible: Vital infrastructure has been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and the number of people killed or injured has reached record levels. As the United States and its allies complete their withdrawal, Afghanistan, so long devastated by conflict, could be on the brink of something much worse.

It doesn’t have to be this way: Peace is still a possibility. For too long, there was a belief that the conflict could be resolved militarily. Throughout that time, the United Nations was too hesitant to step in. We should know: Between 2008 and 2020, across six years, we served as U.N. envoys to Afghanistan. In those years, the U.N. endeavored to create openings for the peace process but could not get one underway. Though last year’s agreement between the United States and the Taliban made possible the withdrawal of international forces, it sadly did not create conditions conducive to peace.

Bush The Younger, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their Neo-Conservative coterie commenced ‘The ‘War On Terror’ with Afghanistan! The utterly stark historical object lessons of the British and the Soviets was subject to their self-willed ignorance, and offered an opportunity to make real Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ , as American Policy: the lesser beings of Planet Earth must be subject to the power and the will of The Hegemon, to engage in rhetorical foreshortening.

The New York Times offers another stark object lesson about the watershed of this hubris:

Sept. 8, 2020 by John Ismay

Headline: At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror

Sub-headline: A new report calculates the number of people who fled because of wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II.

The findings were published on Tuesday, weeks before the United States enters its 20th year of fighting the war on terror, which began with the invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; yet, the report says it is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies.

The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger.

Afghanistan was succeeded by Iraq, Bush began his war mongering regarding Iraq with the United Nations? His speech :

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/sep/12/iraq.usa3

The whole political melodrama: one of it’s many denouements, like Colin Powell’s U. N. speech. Or Judith Miller’s pro-war lies in the New York Times. etc., etc., …

Political Reporter

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