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Merkel, Putin & Obama: The changing balance of power

by Frank Schnittger Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 04:11:13 AM EST

The USA has been the undisputed Global superpower since the collapse of the Soviet Union; dominating the world militarily, politically, economically and culturally. In recent times China has begun to make some inroads into that economic dominance, Russia has begun to become more assertive again, and Merkel has consolidated her position as undisputed leader of the Eurozone. But the most significant changes have possibly been within the USA itself.

First came 9/11 which punctured the sense of American invincibility: that the US could do what it liked abroad without it having much in the way of repercussions at home. In military terms the event wasn't all that significant: 3,000 deaths is all in a weeks work in some of the bloodier conflicts around the world.  But what was significant was the reaction: America went collectively mad.

front-paged by afew


First they repeated the Soviet mistake of invading Afghanistan - in a conflict which has now gone on longer than Vietnam. Then they invaded Iraq for no very good reason at all - except that they thought they could do so with impunity, and perhaps grab control of a few oilfields for some of their contractors. Then they manufactured one of the biggest financial crises of all time, one which threatened to return them to the dark ages of the Great Depression.

The election of Obama put a halt to some of that hubris, though it didn't stop the still influential neo-cons from dreaming of the USA dominating the "New American Century".  Just how powerful they remain is illustrated by the utter inability of President Obama to rein in the NSA and CIA despite many flagrant breaches of the law and threats to democracy itself.  The Republican strategy of opposing everything Obama might do has also seriously damaged the USA's ability to repair it's economy and act coherently on the world stage.

The crisis in Ukraine might just be the first to demonstrate that the USA can no longer call the shots around the world, and that we may be re-entering an era of multiple superpowers competing for supremacy.  First the US made the mistake of being found out monitoring Merkel's private phone. So long the lapdogs of US power, a Merkel dominated EU may just be about to turn it's back on the US and conclude a historic concordat with Putin's Russia. And if Cameron's UK doesn't like it, they are more than welcome to leave the EU and become a vassal state of the US instead.

Afghanistan, Iraq, extraordinary rendition, torture, the financial crash, NSA spying, Ukraine and now Gaza. Europe has a large Islamic population. Europe and the USA's interests have simply diverged too far. A combined Russian and Eurozone bloc would have the military and economic muscle to rival the USA. Perhaps that is why the neo-cons are so desperately trying to stoke up trouble in Ukraine. And why they will fail.  They haven't even been included in the negotiations...

And the emerging deal? Russia gets to keep Crimea, abandons east Ukrainian rebels, East Ukraine gets some autonomy, Ukraine doesn't join NATO but retains links with the EU, everybody gets stable borders and secure energy supplies, and then business as usual... except that the US and UK aren't part of the deal. This is Merkel deciding to go her own way.

Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis

The Independent can reveal that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies.

More controversially, if Ms Merkel's deal were to be acceptable to the Russians, the international community would need to recognise Crimea's independence and its annexation by Russia, a move that some members of the United Nations might find difficult to stomach.

Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.

--------

At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join Nato. In return, President Putin would not seek to block or interfere with Ukraine's new trade relations with the European Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.

Second, Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agreement with Russia's Gazprom, the giant gas supplier, for future gas supplies and pricing. At present, there is no gas deal in place; Ukraine's gas supplies are running low and are likely to run out before this winter, which would spell economic and social ruin for the country.

----

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they had no knowledge of such negotiations taking place. However, the spokesman said he thought it highly unlikely that either the US or UK would agree to recognising Russian control over Crimea. There was no one available at the German embassy's press office yesterday.

Reaching a solution to the ongoing dispute is pertinent for the Germans as Russia is their single biggest trading partner. Under Ms Merkel, the Russo-German axis has strengthened significantly and, until the plane shooting, her government had been staunchly against punitive sanctions for commercial but also diplomatic reasons.

Such strong trade ties between the two countries have also served to strengthen Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russian speaker has emerged as the leading advocate of closer relations between the EU and Russia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.

The downing of MH17 has most probably put those negotiations on hold for the next few months. Merkel will not want to be seen cutting a deal with Putin whilst public outrage persists, particularly as so many EU citizens were killed. Perhaps at some point Russia will reveal that their investigation has discovered that "undisciplined untrained irregulars" shot the plane in error and agree to compensate the victims.  This will be done in the context of the above deal which effectively cuts the East Ukrainian insurgents out of the loop.

And the neo-cons can sing for their supper.

Display:
I believe this is a bit optimistic, but it is certainly a worthwhile read in the bilateral relationship.

Why Poland is the new France for Germany   By the ECFR on Oct. 17, 2012

Russia

It needed the tragic airplane crash in Smolensk in 2010, where Poland lost half of its military-politico elite, to effect a complete u-turn, not only in the Polish-Russian, but also the Polish-German relationship. The latter had developed in the preceding years quite nasty - and somewhat absurd -narrow-minded and revanchist reflexes in domestic policy affairs, leading to farouche Polish-German battles over ridiculous things (e.g. the right for Germans to buy property in Poland etc.). These were fuelled by the so called association of WW-II refugees in Germany ("Vertriebenenverband"), who often triggered - in a way completely deserved - equally harsh reactions in Poland.

[Read on ...]

Posted @BooMan - World In Turmoil: Role of Brzezinski and Albright, Our Democrats.

by Oui on Sat Aug 2nd, 2014 at 04:47:38 PM EST
I think Russia is more likely to be the new France, although Poland will move closer to the centre of gravity of the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 2nd, 2014 at 05:07:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Checking where the anonymous article has been printed: Belfast Telegraph - Kyiv Post - Kavkaz Centre - LiveLeak and PrisonPlanet.

[Prison Planet lists Margareta Pagano as author/editor of article. She is listed as a ResPublica Fellow. - Oui]

From my post @BooMan.

by Oui on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 08:49:44 AM EST
A number of papers in Poland published the article from The Independent ...

"The Independent": tajny układ Merkel-Putin zadecyduje o dalszych losach Ukrainy?
Tajny plan Berlin-Moskwa ws. Ukrainy? Berlin: Te doniesienia nie mają podstaw
  (Translation: Secret plan to Berlin-Moscow ws. Ukraine? Berlin: These reports have no basis)

Poland's FM Radek Sikorski will be on CNN's GPS Fareed Zakaria for an interview about rigorous sanctions on Putin's Russia in accordance with neocon policy.

Radosław Sikorski in Hardtalk BBC-Polish foreign minister - Part 1 (April 2008)

Radek Sikorski in BBC Hard Talk part III said: "I was a political refugee once, escaping the gulag."  Wasn't Sikorski part of British mercenaries fighting in Angola, in a job as roving reporter carrying arms? Seems more likely the argument he got British protection and later citizenship. Just doing a friend a favor ...

Several American presidents have given Savimbi support in the form of covert aid, state-of-the-art weaponry, and millions of dollars in hard currency. As reported in the Washington Post, President Ronald Reagan praised Savimbi as a "freedom fighter" who was seeking to expel Soviet and Cuban mercenaries from Angola and overthrow a dictatorial Marxist regime. Savimbi found many friends on the American right wing who considered him a noble soldier trying to save his nation from communist-inspired ruin.

"UNITA says it aspires to nothing less than making Angola the first democratic, free-market country on the [African] continent," wrote Radek Sikorski in the National Review. "Savimbi has been feted in Washington as Africa's premier freedom-fighter--the pictures of his meeting with Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George Shultz in January 1986 adorn every hut in Unitaland. It is largely thanks to [the] U.S. ... that UNITA is such a formidable force."

...
Even Sikorski admitted that Savimbi "has ended up by believing his own propaganda and accepting the cult he has nurtured as a confirmation of his messianic mission.... Ideology is something Savimbi can choose like the fashion of his soldiers' uniforms--patterned to please whoever provides the cloth."

CIA-Supplied mercenaries fight in Angola [pdf]

by Oui on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 11:42:24 AM EST
I have noticed many times, the intelligence community has closer ties between nations than the heads of state. The intelligence agencies form their own alliances. The might of the CIA can be witnessed today in the prevention of the release U.S. Congressional report on the 'treatment' of detainees in the War on Terror.

The goal of the neocons running Obama's White House, full disintegration of the old Soviet Union.

Does NATO make foreign policy decisions for the European Union? It appears so lately. Atlantic Council and NATO advocate new policy called "Containment 2.0" forcing Russia into a pariah state. The exact words of Ivo Daalder and others.

Is Radek Sikorski a MI6/CIA shill advancing NATO eastward and setting harsh EU sanctions on Putin's Russia. Sikorski is a veteran 'roving reporter' working with British mercenaries in Angola and CIA operatives in the Afghan War against the Soviet Union. Later Radek Sikorski was an advisor to Rupert Murdoch on investments in Poland.

by Oui on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 06:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First they repeated the Soviet mistake of invading Afghanistan - in a conflict which has now gone on longer than Vietnam. Then they invaded Iraq for no very good reason at all - except that they thought they could do so with impunity, and perhaps grab control of a few oilfields for some of their contractors. Then they manufactured one of the biggest financial crises of all time, one which threatened to return them to the dark ages of the Great Depression.

The election of Obama put a halt to some of that hubris, though it didn't stop the still influential neo-cons from dreaming of the USA dominating the "New American Century".  Just how powerful they remain is illustrated by the utter inability of President Obama to rein in the NSA and CIA despite many flagrant breaches of the law and threats to democracy itself.  The Republican strategy of opposing everything Obama might do has also seriously damaged the USA's ability to repair it's economy and act coherently on the world stage.


First, the invasion of Afghanistan was a reasonable success - initially. The USA had a real chance to foster a moderate, pro-USA, government and a modern society. We will never know how successful those efforts might have been - had they not been almost totally abandoned for five years due to the pivot to Iraq.

Second, while he did rein in the hubris, Obama retained neo-con sympathies - Victoria Nuland and many other neocons, while career civil service - still were left in positions to do great harm in Ukraine, and Obama retained great sympathy for the elite who ran the financial sector. This guaranteed that no effective remedy for the problems that led to the GFC would be forthcoming In order for that to happen it would be necessary that there be a strong effort to de-legitimate the economic dogma that disguised and distracted from the process that produced the crisis. Obama is a conservative when it comes to the financial sector. He won't challenge the dogma and he carefully revived his heroes and set them back up - using the full faith and credit, along with the sovereign fiat currency of the USA. He will pursue efforts in the social agenda that are supported by most wealthy elites and do just enough in economic areas to prevent the defection of what is left of organized labor.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 12:27:31 PM EST
Depends on what you mean by success.  The original Casus Belli was to get Al Queda for 9/11, and depose the Taliban which sheltered them.  Fair enough.

Then you had the usual scope drift and the neo-con claim that you could undermine terrorism by imposing a western style democracy.  How's that going?

When it comes to foreign and security policy, including the undermining of civil liberties and democracy in the US, Obama is little better than a slightly more competent version of Dubya.

To his credit he didn't get suckered into "boots on the ground" in Libya and Syria, and he did put an end to torture.

But when it came to closing Guantanamo his own party didn't have his back, and they seem determined to out Neo-con the Republicans on Gaza.

So in fairness to Obama, I am unclear how much scope he actually had to pivot dramatically from neo-con policies. His instincts were continuity and minimum (political) risk  when it came to changing anything.

Anything but the transformational leader he promised to be.  

But one of the points of my diary is that this failure, and the Republican policy of scorched earth, has dramatically and perhaps irretrievably weakened the USA's power and influence in the world.

Most of the factors I listed that might lead to a change in the balance of power were things that the US was doing, not anything particularly remarkable that Merkel and Putin are doing.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 12:57:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The way I remember it, Bush and Cheney wanted to hit Iraq first over 9/11 but Tony Blair convinced them they could get UN backing to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 01:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No way! The US didn't need any advise and started the Afghan bombing campaign in a matter of weeks. Afghanistan was their first and sole focus for retaliation. President Bush signed into law the

Joint Resolution on September 18, 2001.

    On October 7, 2001, President Bush announced the first official U.S. and allied airstrikes on targets inside Afghanistan since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Local forces worked with the U.S.-led coalition in the air and on the ground in the subsequent weeks to unseat the ruling Taliban and smoke out al Qaeda.

From CIA sources, the White House Bush/Cheney had a focus on Iraq as a future goal immediately after 9/11 but the 'case' needed to be made. It wasn't until August 2002 that the Iraq War was seriously discussed and preparations made, pulling assets out of Afghanistan. The Iraq campaign was part of Bush's pre-emptive wars in accordance with NSS2002.

For the Iraq campaign "Mission Accomplished" had reached its azimuth on May 1, 2003.

by Oui on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 03:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes way!

Juan Cole: Blair-Bush & Iraq: It's not just the quagmire but the Lawbreaking & Deception (June 15, 2014)

Blair had wanted to misunderstand the briefing. The British ambassador in Washington during 9/11, Sir Christopher Meyer, revealed that the Bush crew wanted an immediate war on Iraq in September 2001. Blair was afraid that if the Neoconservatives left Bin Laden and his training camps in Afghanistan alone and ran off to Iraq, that al-Qaeda would be free to hit London next. So he did a deal with the devil and persuaded Bush to hit Afghanistan first, with the promise he would support an Iraq war later. The ambassador also revealed that the Neoconservatives were worried that the grounds on which they wanted to hit Iraq could also be invoked against Israel (ethnic cleansing, weapons of mass destruction, wars of territorial aggression). They needn't have worried. Fairness is not a feature of american foreign policy discourse.
The link is to The Guardian: Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war (4 April 2004)
President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.

According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Bush, claims Meyer, replied by saying: 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.' Regime change was already US policy.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 04:25:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Bush's former counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, that Bush was 'obsessed' with Iraq as his principal target after 9/11."

Richard Clarke was responsible for Al-Qaeda terror threats during the Clinton administration but after the Bush transformation, no one in the White House was interested in Al Qaeda and in Richard Clarke. George Bush was already in early planning of getting revenge for the assassination plot by Saddam Hussein on his father. Besides, the Cheney team was focused on energy and Caspian Sea oil ...

In the first months of the Bush administration, his team even met Taliban representatives for construction of pipelines across Afghanistan for Caspian Sea oil.

    In March 2001, several Taliban officials, including Sayed Rahmattulah Hashimi, Mullah Omar's personal advisor, were invited to Washington by their U.S. lobbyist, Laila Helms, the niece of former CIA Director Richard Helms. The agenda included discussions of extraditing bin Laden as well as facilitating American companies' access to oil reserves in central Asia. The delegation met with representatives of the Directorate of Central Intelligence (DCI) and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department.

    This visit provoked concern and criticism in Washington over how Hashimi obtained a visa, a plane ticket, security clearance and access to American institutions -- including the State Department and the National Security Council -- despite travel restrictions on Taliban leadership imposed by U.N. sanctions (the official answer was that Hashimi fell below the rank of senior official covered by the sanctions.)

I believe the 20th September  2001 commitment wasn't about doing Iraq first. The focus was on Afghanistan and both men agreed. From your link:

    President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001. According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Sir Christopher: Blair's view on Iraq 'tightened' after Bush meeting (2002)

(BBC News) Nov. 26, 2009 - Most attention during the session focused on when the former ambassador believed the decision to go to war had become inevitable. Sir Christopher said the UK believed it was "pointless" to resist US plans for regime change in Iraq a full year before the invasion and speculated that the path to war was set at a meeting between the two leaders at President Bush's Texas ranch in April 2002.

Critics of the war maintain this was the moment that the prime minister pledged his support for toppling Saddam Hussein. Sir Christopher said no advisers were present for much of the meeting and therefore he could not be "entirely clear what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood".

But he said there were "clues" in a speech given by Mr Blair the next day when he mentioned the possibility of regime change for the first time. "When I heard that speech, I thought that this represents a tightening of the UK-US alliance and a degree of convergence on the danger that Saddam Hussein presented," he told the inquiry.

Sir Christopher, who left Washington in 2003, said Mr Blair was a "true believer in the wickedness of Saddam Hussein", his views pre-dating the election of the Bush administration.

by Oui on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 06:18:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama? Transformational President???

Excuse me (2007)

It was Matt Taibbi who first identified the real problem with Barack Obama, that he is a largely self-satisfied exponent of the status quo. Jerome's recent (and necessary) evisceration of his foreign policy statements only underlines the fact that, should Obama become US President, nothing much will change. Not on the foreign policy front, and, especially, not on the domestic front.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 01:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with evaluating Obama's Presidency is that he only had a Congressional Majority for the first two years and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a few Months. During that time he prioritized the stimulus plan and health care reform and, thanks to Republican delaying tactics and a spineless and very conservative Democratic centrist block, he only got half those jobs done and little else.

So you are left speculating on what he would have done had he had a filibuster proof majority for much longer, and to what degree he would have been quite happy with the conservative consensus in any case.  But what is not in doubt that the faced a very determined, disciplined and effective opposition on all fronts from Republicans, and not a whole lot of support from a whole lot of conservative Democrats as well.

There is not a whole lot of point to whingeing at the President for not doing what he simply didn't have the power to do, or projecting ideological preferences on him "self-satisfied exponent of the status quo" when he didn't have the power to do much else.

One area where he is less constrained by a lack of a congressional majority is in foreign affairs.  To his credit he more or less ended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, avoided boots on the ground in Libya and Syria, stopped torture, and tried to close Guantanamo.  

No he didn't go after the torturers, bansters and lying securicrats and has done little to restore civil liberties.  Whilst being able to change the direction of foreign policy he has conspicuously not tried to confront or dismantle those institutions (CIA/NSA etc.) responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights.

But would Democrats have had his back if he tried? They have just unanimously endorsed more aid for Israel.  Any analysis of his performance has to take into account the political context he is working in, and projecting and ascribing various innate psycho-political traits or policy  preferences on him doesn't help us a whole lot.  It's the system, Stupid.  And he is Sworn to uphold it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 03:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, he is sworn to uphold the Constitution, which he hasn't done such a good job of. But I'm sure he promised lots of people to uphold the System.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 05:21:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the current SCOTUS, the Constitution is more or less coterminous with the whatever the far right says it means.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 06:30:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with evaluating Obama's Presidency is that he only had a Congressional Majority for the first two years and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a few Months.

A bigger problem with evaluating Obama's Presidency is that he did all he could to make certain that nothing but the Affordable Care Act got done in the first two years, and the Affordable Care Act had aspects that were repulsive to almost everyone on the political spectrum. Thus, when the first Congressional Mid-term elections came, massive losses were almost guaranteed. There was nothing Obama supported in the first two years to get anyone left of the Blue Dogs positively excited. This was not, IMO, an accident, but the deliberate result of policies chosen. Obama had hustled most of the electorate left of the Blue Dogs.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 11:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is Obamacare repulsive to those "left of the Blue Dogs"?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 01:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one likes the Mandate by which you are forced to buy health insurance from private for profit corporations whether you want to or not - although it's the same for car insurance.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 04:52:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No-one... except the previously uninsured/uninsurable. A number of my Facebook contacts were elated.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 05:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's certainly preferable to the previous situation where private insurers could charge almost what they wanted and refuse cover on a whim.  However the left/liberal objection to Obamacare is that it still provides for a largely parasitic profit taking insurance sector which increases costs over a single payer system.

My brother used to work as a hospital doctor in the states many years ago.  He says he spent half his time negotiating with insurance companies as to what treatment he could offer his patients within their cover.  Some Ahole on the phone who had never seen a patient would tell him he could do x but not y and Z. Hardly optimized medical care, and a huge waste of clinical time too.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 05:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Car insurance is only mandatory if you choose to drive, which is not everywhere an actual necessity.  

The mandate is on everyone.  

Now supposedly it is a tax.  And taxes are on everyone.  

The difference that matters:  Car insurance companies still pay claims.  Health insurance usually don't.  

Obamacare is just free money for the health insurance industry--taken directly from the citizenry.  

If you don't live in the US you may not know how bad the medical system is:  Predation on the helpless.  Every year it gets worse.  

--Gaianne

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Aug 5th, 2014 at 01:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In most parts of the USA there is no alternative to driving - unless you are an Amish. Yes, Obamacare is terrible, unless you compare it with what went before. The profit motive and good medical care don't work together - but you are asking Americans to become socialists even just to consider that possibility.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 5th, 2014 at 04:20:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For one there seems to be considerable bitterness that single payer, which as I understand it was actually in the party platform was taken off the table right away and replaced with some anaemic public option.
The other thing I keep hearing is that a mixture of high deductibles, narrow networks, intransparency and fraud will negate most of the benefits of having insurance.
by generic on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 06:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps 'everyone left of the Blue Dogs' overstated the case. Certainly the progressives were disgusted that there was no 'Medicare for all' option and that the details of the law were written by insurance industry lobbyists. The bad things were pretty much permanent while the good things were vulnerable to legal challenge. And this was largely what was aimed for by the Obama Administration.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 08:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is something to the idea that "everyone left of the Blue Dogs" and "progressives" refer to a layer of (upper?-)middle-class Democrats who typically had insurance to begin with.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 09:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am very glad for those who had no insurance and who now do. Too bad it had to be done in the worst and most expensive way possible. It passed with NO Republican support and I think a more progressive version could have also passed under those circumstances. It seems to me that the Obama Administration went to extraordinary lengths to insure that this was as good as it got. If they were trying to mitigate the first midterm election losses they were not likely to have been too much worse in any case. I think the problem was more Obama's concern for his wealthy supporters and that there was a similar dynamic at play regarding banking reform. About the best I can say for Obama is that he got something done and he was better than the Republican alternatives.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 10:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have a problem with him deciding to do a few priorities first. The problem with trying to get even your most conservative Senator on board is that you get an ideological miss mash no one likes.

You're closer to this than I am, but my recollection is that when Ted Kennedy got ill Obama lost his filibuster proof majority (which his spineless senators wouldn't nuke) a very successful and disciplined GOP strategy prevented anything else being done.

Call it legislative management naivety if you will, but his legislatively window was tiny (2/3 months?) even assuming he could keep his 60th. most conservative Senator on board.

The bigger problem is that Dem legislators act as individuals - in their own interests - whereas GOP legislators acted as a team - in their collective interests - and any who didn't show an excess of fealty got primaried - never much of a threat on the Dem side because the Dems are so seniority/establishment orientated.

Personally, I could never understand why Obama didn't simply extend Medicare by allowing younger non-eligible people to "buy-in" and gain coverage that way - and effective create a non-profit single payer system.  But that was probably too socialist for some of his legislators.  

In any case, at least Obama succeeded where the Clintons failed, and Obamacare has made a significant contribution to improving health coverage, reducing costs, and perhaps even stimulating the economy

Whatever, I think the tendency to psychologize about what Obama really wants/wanted in an absence of an understanding of the constraints of his office is very naive - and very American media which wants to personalize everything and turn it into a "character" issue.

Its buying into a Republican paradigm to analyze politics in this way.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 05:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That problem is just an excuse. Nothing better was in "reality based" cards.
by das monde on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 07:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 07:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A realist is someone who tries to achieve their objectives within the constraints of the system. An idealist is someone who tries to achieve their objectives by moving the Overton window of what is possible within the system.

Realists tend to get elected to office and do very well in business.  Idealists are often artists, and musicians, and writers and poets and film-makers and bloggers - and critics - the guys who stand on the sidelines and criticize what everyone else is doing.

It takes both to make the world go around.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 06:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perception of reality boundaries is not perfect. Who can challenge them realistically? Pro-active people with a relaxed attitude towards achieving objectives do most of the turning the world around.

Fooling each other about what is possible is perhaps a favourite social or interpersonal game.

Ever wondered how do the neocons, corporate ideologous perceive reality boundaries, play with them? They must be the only acceptable idealists in the US last decades,

by das monde on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 11:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Gay lobby have also effectively changed the boundary of what is politically possible within the last few years.  The Marijuana legalisation lobby may also be on the verge of widespread success.  The neocons have very successfully played into oligarchical dreams of omnipotence, racist xenophobia, and militaristic authoritarianism to play the system probably better than anyone else, to the point where policies that are generally unpopular have become the "moderate centre" of "acceptable" political debate.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 5th, 2014 at 04:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was the deal with Obama. Most of the financial elite are fine with socially progressive issues - provided that stays far away from any economic or work related issues. Raising the minimum wage is about the most acceptable work related issue to the financial elites. Significant revision of the regulations affecting banking, taxing wealth, limiting executive compensation, increasing shareholder rights - off the table.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:59:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos... The US has quite a dirty history since then if not earlier (Guatemala, Nagasaki, etc)

I just had a dinner with plenty of sea food and sake - brought up impressions of Vietnam, Cambodia - and got a second hand confirmation of all that American gifts.

Excuse me for yet another Just Expanding Imagination thought - but what if Russia, Germany indeed know more than they wish to tell about (possibly a sloppy situation in) Ukraine? Would they be really quick to embarass the hegemon - or they would rather ask him to step aside for an adult conversation?

by das monde on Mon Aug 4th, 2014 at 07:25:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Russia's case, they absolutely would embarrass the Americans. They've done it before, and they took great and evident pleasure in it at the time.

This has never prevented them from having adult conversations.

And if (it can be hard to tell, given your refusal to state a coherent hypothesis) you are postulating that the Germans bought Russia off in order to get the Americans off their backs while they negotiate, then you need to be able to point to a material concession that Russia got in exchange for taking the blame. Russia is not run by stupid people, so giving major handouts like that is unlikely.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 5th, 2014 at 05:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has done nasty things in Indochina, Latin America, right under the Soviets' noses. Yet the Soviets did not push embarassament buttons for (in fact) human attrocities. In particular, what did they say about the Cambodia bombings? How did they allow to define Cambodia as the darkest hell of Marxism?

Other example: Iran-Contra was mostly a (contained) internal embarassement. Neither taking down Iran Air 655 had particular embarrasement pressure.

So Russia (as other countries) has a definite history of not embarassing the US on that high moral level. What do you mean they proudly did it before? Just the Sputnik, an U2 accident?

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 12:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean aside from Snowden, Syria, Sakhalin, and Sevastopol?

And that's just from the 'S' column.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 04:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not quite that league.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How did they allow to define Cambodia as the darkest hell of Marxism?

Just musing.. I wonder how the Soviet spinmeisters of the time should have gone about presenting the Khmer Rouge social experiment positively? I suspect, rather, that they may have been relieved that the Khmers stole the "darkest hell of Marxism" crown from Stalin.

More concretely, if I recall correctly, they backed the Vietnamese who put an end to that regime.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a link up this thread about Marxism of Pol Pot and such matters. And yeah, Vietnam was about to end the regime - while the Americans came to its side!
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, that's a relief. I thought for a moment that you were pro-Khmer Rouge.

So, if the linked article is an accurate resumé of your thinking, you believe that

  1. most of the deaths in Democratic Kampuchea resulted from US bombing etc
  2. the Khmers Rouges were not marxists, but simple peasants driven mad by US bombing etc.

Unfortunately, anecdotes don't trump recorded history. Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphân, Pol Pot etc. studied in France in the 1950s and became fervent Marxists. They later implemented a "final solution" to the problem of class warfare, in an extraordinarily thorough manner.

You and I may feel that they betrayed Marx, who was really more of a social democrat. However, the Soviets, who never hesitated to sacrifice millions of lives for a higher cause, would have been on shakier ground in denouncing them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that we painted Prince Sihanouk with the same brush and that was a totally different situation. In fact, our treatment of the Cambodial government is what led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot was a monster of US creation as surely as was Saddam Hussein.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my, Where does it say that "most of the deaths resulted from US bombing"?

Yeah, the most dense bombings in the history were a non factor. And Pol Pot finished his Marxist thesis.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me : eurogreen:
most of the deaths in Democratic Kampuchea resulted from US bombing etc

Your article :
Cambodia and Western Fabrication of History » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
There can be no doubt that the great majority of those who died during that era (between one and two million people) were victims of the US bombing, of famines related to these bombings and of becoming internally displaced people (around 2 million became refugees in their own country, lacking medical care, food, and enduring despicable living conditions).

The author of the article takes a "revisionist" approach to history. The period of US bombing was 1965 to 1973, but was most intense in 1969-73. The Cambodian civil war of 1970-75 is estimated to have caused between 150 000 and 300 000 deaths, US bombing included. (source: Wikipedia). So the unsourced estimate of half a million in your article seems somewhat high.

The Khmer Rouge regime, 1975-1979, is generally credited with killing 1.5 to 3 million people (Wikipedia again).

My conclusion : It would seem that during "that era" (covering the periods of US bombing, civil war and Khmer Rouge regime), well over a million people died, perhaps three times that; and ten times as many died during the Khmer Rouge period than during the period of American bombing. That article contains a lot of interesting anecdotes, but I wouldn't trust its numbers.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
3 million is a liberal upper estimate (while 300'000 is a modest one), so 10 times is unlikely.

Laos is other case.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am old enough to remember being angry about the US bombing of Laos and Cambodia at the time. You don't need to convince me that the US bombed the region back to the stone age. The article's author does valuable work in recording the atrocities; but evidently, he feels obliged to minimise the numbers killed by the communists, and even to deny that they were communists, which is frankly ridiculous.

My original objection stands : it is pretty difficult to argue that the Soviet Union could have turned the Khmer Rouge regime into a propaganda triumph, rather than a black mark against communism.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 11:20:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Propaganda trumph... This accurate reading is just nice.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 02:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point of bringing this up: given this history of US violence without adequate embarassement, what best/worst scenarios, surprises can we expect now?
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:57:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I meant to include this quote from the article too :

Cambodia and Western Fabrication of History » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Yet the intensity of U.S. bombing in Cambodia was greater than it ever was in Vietnam; about 500,000 soldiers and civilians were killed over the 4-year period, in the territory of this small country.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Cambodian civil war of 1970-75 is estimated to have caused between 150 000 and 300 000 deaths, US bombing included.

This only counts deaths from fighting, not the excess mortality caused by displacement, infrastructure destruction, etc. Which are generally well in excess of the number of battlefield casualties, particularly for campaigns of terror bombing against light irregulars.

By contrast, the fatalities generally quoted for Stalinist and Maoist regimes include excess mortality from famines, failed development programs, etc.

So the 300 thousand are not comparable to the 3 million. Going by other armed conflicts throughout history, a conservative estimate of the total excess wartime mortality (which is what would make an apples-to-apples comparison to the 3 million figure) is more like 1 million (assumes that around 2/3s of the excess mortality happens off the battlefield, which is not that high by historical standards). Which puts the two in roughly the same ballpark.

(In an interesting bit of hypocrisy, the death toll of fascist regimes and tinpot colonial viceroys generally do not include the excess mortality from deprivation caused by neoliberal economics.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 07:23:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean aside from Snowden, Syria, Sakhalin, and Sevastopol?

Yep! To whose embarrassment?

by Oui on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MH17 going down presumably (in the Western media/political world) because the Russians/seperatists did it makes it much harder for Merkel to negotiate with Putin and come to a public agreement. The only people to benefit (in that context) are the neo-cons and Ukrainian extremists who don't want Merkel/Putin doing a deal over/under their heads and sidelining them in the context of a larger Russian/German accord.

In that context a false flag operation would make sense, and the failure of the USA to release what is presumably definite satellite imagery would add circumstantial evidence to that hypothesis. Why the Russians wouldn't then release their satellite and radar tracking imagery is a mystery - unless it isn't as good or as definitive and they don't want to reveal how poor their intel really is.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 03:30:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A false flag also assumes the Ukrainian military is able (and willing) to keep secrets from Russia.

That's a lot like claiming that, say, Chile's or Argentina's military is able (and willing) to keep secrets from the Americans.

It's not impossible, of course, but neither is it plausible.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 04:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't take many to man a BUK battery, and if you had been responsible for downing a civilian airliner, would you be shooting off your mouth about it?  It's possible they kept it to themselves and v. few, if any, in the command structure. And even if rumours leaked out, who had any evidence to prove anything?  Really only those with Satellite and radar imagery.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 04:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But there has to be quite a lot of radar operators in Ukraine, and a lot of them must have been looking at those five divisions Russia has sitting right next to the border.

And most of them would have been trained by Russia, or the Soviet Union, or at the very least by the ancien regime. That Russia would have no spies among them is of course possible, but it does seem implausible.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 05:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do the sort of radar systems in use in Ukraine have full recording capabilities?  Otherwise an operator not particularly interested in MH17 could have missed the incident altogether or only seen something in an instant and not have a recording to analyze.  Also I presume standard civilian radars are not particularly geared to tracking missiles launched near vertically from the ground.  I'm afraid I'm not an expert in this area and so can contribute little to the discussion.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 06:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We non-experts can always JAQ off :D

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 07:21:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or keeping secrets does not matter that much at that level.

Presumably, the false flag history is pretty rich - but public disclosures are extremely rare. The extraordinary evidence standard makes it very likely that governments know quite a lot of damning things about each other, yet would rather hide and even obstruct them. Or use them more creatively, with a few other reasons building up. We have no clue what is the disclosure etiquete up there. It might be obvious that burning the US might immediately lead to the end of all, basically.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 07:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably, the false flag history is pretty rich - but public disclosures are extremely rare.

This is an utterly moronic presumption.

We know that this is a moronic presumption because it presupposes that the deep state is good enough at keeping secrets that it can conceal massive conspiracies involving hundreds of people, yet can't keep the lid on grubby little cockups like Rainbow Warrior or Iran-Contra.

And we know that it's a moronic presumption because it presupposes that the general public is simultaneously paying enough attention that you need an actual atrocity to get them to rally around the flag, yet so little attention that this kind of operation is sufficiently low-risk to pull off on a regular basis.

And we know it's a moronic presumption because we have access to the archives of several formerly major powers that didn't make it to the end of the 20th century. And those archives contain nothing that so much as hints at a whiff of the suggestion that false flag ops are a routine part of how states work.

Your train of thought really isn't going anywhere other than crazy-town.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would agree to scale down "pretty rich" here, but... inconsistencies in power are exactly interesting signals to me. How trustful should I be of the archives?
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:45:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes, every historian who has ever looked over the archives of half a dozen different defunct governments, speaking as many different languages, as well as records from extant empires old enough to be released for historical research, are obviously in on the conspiracy.

Just like all paleontologists, and geologists, and physicists, and biologists are all in on the giant conspiracy to suppress Creation Science.

Obviously.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:52:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not talk about trusting historians and geologists.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because obviously collapsing empires are able to wave magic wands and make just those parts of their archives go away (without a hint of a trace - no out-of-sequence reference numbers, no conspicuous holes in the paper trail, no nothing) which concern their false flag operations.

But at the same time they leave evidence of major war crimes, minutes of meetings discussing genocide and other such paraphernalia around.

Obviously.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:15:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Just like all paleontologists, and geologists, and physicists, and biologists are all in on the giant conspiracy to suppress Creation Science.

Well actually...yes, because their evidence requires it!

But more seriously... there used to be strong military codes of honour about how you treated uniformed combatants, particularly Officers and Geneva conventions etc. Spying and false flag operations were all somewhat disreputable in that context, and those who carried them out could be treated far more harshly.

However with the rise of "intelligence agencies" like the CIA all sorts of dirty tricks, false flags, misinformation, agent provocateur, torture, psyche-ops,  and contracting out to military contractors not bound by any military law have become more the norm - the Neocons and CIA in particular seeming to take quite a schoolboyish delight in their own cleverness - in ways which were quite frowned on by the conventional military.

It doesn't absolve analysts from the responsibility to try to dissect hard evidence from false trails, it just makes that job harder, and results in a frustratingly slow pace of coming to any firm conclusions. However just asserting that it could have been a false flag op just because these have been organised in the past is not in itself evidence of anything. It just forces us to be more cautious about coming to conclusions.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the thing about too-clever-by-half cowboys is that they can't keep secrets worth a damn. Which means that although we may see more risky behavior if there are more cowboys in the dirty tricks departments than there used to be, we should also expect a larger probability that these operations will leak, or just blow up in the cowboy's face.

And I'm not actually completely convinced that there really are more cowboys around these days. The whole "officer and gentleman" shtick was always more about public relations than about the realities of the officer's day job.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 07:39:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read about domestication last week. Apart from cats, all domesticated animals are herd, pack, hierarchal species. That indeed makes domestication much easier.

As you already know, I got impressed by human hierarchal instincts (not just in obvious ways) since recently. So let me play this evolutionary "hammer " card fully. The hierarchy manners can help consipracies in many ways. On the highest alpha level, there is the benefit of being an insider, of actually living from ignorance of others. Why would you destroy your own good living? On the lower (but still respectable) levels, there is the sense of duty, own value to those you serve. Your living is too good to loose just for raising some congruency questions. You would rather despise those "less earnest" below. Then you have intelectual types (like here?) that dislike wrong things, but do not have status or willingness to do much about it, nor aggression to go beyond their intellectual comfort zone. And the rest are mostly too busy to make a living for noticing and contemplating their condition. The roles are psychologically old as primate species. All is set up for smooth "domestication" by propaganda and social-economic power displays.

For a cowboy to break a big secret, he needs to be hugely disrespectful to the hierarchy game. But then very likely, he would not raise to the position of keeping the secret in the first place. So my perspective is that top-down conspiracies have a long evolutionary history (think of stone age leaders managing the size of their tribes), come in different shapes, shades and sizes. We are swimming in them. The experience is there on various smaller scales, without much contemplation. The industrial-intellectual progress might have reached a point of instability here -- but hierarchy instincts are still more reliable than ethical preferences (if there is much psychological distinction at all).

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're assuming the reason cowboys cause leaks is that they leak on purpose.

That's not true.

Cowboys cause leaks because cowboys fuck up, and cowboy behavior causes other, otherwise competent, people in the organization to fuck up, when they end up committed to timelines and deliverables from la-la-land.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:06:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fuck-ups are a big problem in rigidly designed coordination structures. Evolved hierarchies, conspiracies would be pretty robust.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 11:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fuckups are a big problem in rigorously designed coordination structures because best-practice bureaucratic process design places an emphasis on detecting and mitigating fuckups.

There is no evidence whatever that feudalism - which is what "evolved hierarchies" boil down to when you strip out all the soothing euphemisms - is better at actually avoiding fuckups. And quite a lot of evidence that it is not.

Feudal organizations just have lower standards for acceptable professional behavior, so something that would have been a fuckup in a bureaucratic organization goes undetected and uncensured in the feudal organization.

This does not make the feudal organization better at keeping secrets (or anything else it sets its mind to, for that matter), it makes it worse.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 05:12:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Top-down feudal relationships were robust, despite a great assymetry in "fuck-ups".
by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 09:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being robust is not the same as being able to keep secrets and develop and execute complex processes on time and on target. Organizations can be good at one and poor at the other: There is no simple, straight-line scale of "organizational quality," which covers all the things any organization might ever want to be good at.

Feudal power structures are robust precisely because they sacrifice task efficiency for power structure robustness. Bureaucratic organizations position themselves at the other end of the spectrum, which is why bureaucratic organizations are vulnerable to degenerating into feudalism, but extremely (if narrowly) competent in performing the function for which they are designed.

Modern industrial states' deep state bureaucracies are not designed for false flag operations and other James Bond style bullshit. And while postulating a feudal instead of bureaucratic power structure would get you around the "wrong specialization" objection, it comes baked-in with a general objection based on the extreme incompetence of feudal organizations in terms of actually getting anything done on time, on target, on budget, on schedule, or in confidence.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 02:55:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keeping vertical secrets was basically a non-issue in feudalism. Even horizontal secrets were kept pretty well - no worse than ever.

As for the "organizational quality", you are veering from "the same as keeping secrets" topic yourself. Feudalism was little about doing something, rather being a lord or a servant.

by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 06:32:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Vertical secrets" and "horizontal secrets?"

Do you have a difference to go with that distinction?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 07:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are talking about social stratification, and elites acting for public perception. But never mind.
by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 07:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
think of stone age leaders managing the size of their tribes

Please tell us what you actually know about that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 03:26:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel like discussing evolution or climate change denialists.
by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 09:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Merkel & Putin feel disadvantaged by (possibly nasty) Washington games, they still can talk and act less publicly. Without doubt, there is a lot of action outside public display. Why should we assume the the officials would go public with the first incriminating info? Little blackmail is just as fun. Or as they say in chess, threat tension is better than threat execution. And this kind of situation might be far from unique up there.

The information dynamics follows a familiar pattern by now. Public conclusions are made quickly and loudly. They are not to be questioned again, as official silence sets in from all sides - even if initial evidence, reasonings are phony or even fabricated, and glaring questions remain. This happens even faster this time. Plus, the Israeli Gaza offensive started just at that loud time accidentally.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 07:38:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And do you have any actual evidence for this?

Hell, do you have something resembling a coherent (let alone plausible) story about how this is supposed to actually work in the real world? Motive, means, opportunity, that kind of basic, basic stuff that you need to think about before you go off half-cocked into the wide new world of fairie tales.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:09:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are already disagreeing what evidence or coherent story is. You hardly ever touch concrete points I suggest.

Are you satisfied with all that gappy official implication?

The basic stuff gets pretty lost after a whole evolution of all dirty governing, hegemonic posturing and provocations. We are just very far behind the scope of their motives and means, very likely.

I will have peace with the frame gap between us.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What "concrete points" have you hidden in all the flabbergab? Please point one out, and I will be happy to touch upon it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:32:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you like the information dynamics?
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still waiting for a concrete point to address.

I'm not obligated to attempt to infer what brainwave you've had from your vague, snide insinuations. It is your obligation to state your hypothesis plainly, and marshal whatever supporting evidence you find required and sufficient.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You seriously happy with first hour official conlusions - based on quickly detiorating first evidences (say, rebel "conversations") - and no basic explanations thereafter?

And then you ask me for a much better evidence standard?

Thanks, I will have better things to do.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that is not an accurate description of what I am saying.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:08:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So we finish up with concrete points (not to say anything about reading accuracies).
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:13:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Global Research .ca is Just Asking Glaring Questions.

JAGQ as usual.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:25:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their formulation is pretty intelligent (and less edgy than other presentations). Won't you be able to look at a few questions without without prejudice?

I cannot rely just on the polite media. GR is more interesting than questionable for quite some time.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:41:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want people to answer questions, then pick the most interesting question and substantiate why you think this question is interesting and should be considered.

And don't bother if you haven't spent at least five minutes - by the clock - on Google looking for existing debunkings.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard to choose actually. What should I know more about No 2, 5, 8, 9, 11-13?

I assume you google up a lot.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:03:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still waiting for you to pick a question and substantiate why you think it deserves our attention.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:16:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should follow you to a tee, oh oh. A tad too much, really. Didn't I already told around here about being not that submissive? Enough for today.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:22:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you should follow the rules to a tee.

Specifically:

By evidence, we don't mean linkdumps or long quotes from webpages and nothing else -- if you reference something, you are expected to at least point out how you think it is relevant and why you think the source is authoritative.

(Bold mine)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No 2 is of key interest - yet there is no evidence released, nor official commentary. Tell me this is not relevant.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:55:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You rely on just another website where pure speculation is deformed into a presentation of hysteric 'fact'.

Specifically, for No 2:
The Malaysian Airline MH17 Crash: Sixteen Central Issues Which Cannot be Ignored | Global Research

The flight path was changed. We still don't know who ordered it, but we know it was not Eurocontrol:

MH17 was diverted from the normal South Easterly route over the sea of Azov to a path over the Donetsk. Oblast.

This links to a previous post which writes:

The Flight Path of MH17 Was Changed. July 17 Plane Route was over the Ukraine Warzone | Global Research

The information conveyed in these maps suggests that the flight path on July 17 was changed.

MH17 was diverted from the normal South Easterly route over the sea of Azov to a path over the Donetsk oblast.

Emphasis mine. In the space of one sentence, it jumps from 'suggests' to a definite 'was diverted'. Yet it presents no evidence whatsoever that the flight was 'diverted' or 'changed'. It only provides data that the flight path of the doomed MH17 flight was different than flight paths a few days before, which is seized upon to stuff it with tin-foil, then rewashed in a later post as incontrovertible fact.

If this is all there is you have to offer, please go post some place else.

by Bjinse on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 11:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You got down to those two sentences at the bottom of the article. Good. One sentence refers to the maps just presented. The other paragraph appears to refer to the gist of the whole article. Up there:

  • The Malaysian airlines are referenced as confirming the change of the route and the altitude by Ukraine air traffic control.
  • The audio records of MH17 were taken (confiscated) by Ukraine authorities. I saw BBC mentioning this as well.
  • The British media explained the route change by Azov thunderstorms, but that was denied by MAS operations director.

So you are very sensitive to my offerings, but not to a fabricated explanation, and otherwise total silence on this matter by Western media and authorities.

And then you are that fast to state all there is to offer. That is exactly what I was wondering about yours head-deffensive frames.

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 03:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because I actually cross-check available evidence, as opposed to regurgitating tin-foil claims unquestionably. You were asked, specifically: "pick the most interesting question and substantiate why you think this question is interesting and should be considered."

After prodding, you picked:

No 2 is of key interest

And no 2 is: 2. The flight path was changed.

For which there is 1) presently no evidence the flight path changed actually happened, although it remains possible but more importantly there is 2) zero evidence the flight was ordered to change route, and all claims that this is true are mere speculation.

Yet instead you want people to look at more hand waving and hands wringing tin foil.

The Malaysian airlines are referenced as confirming the change of the route and the altitude by Ukraine air traffic control.

They are indeed referenced, but MA did not confirm change of route, only change in altitude.

1.    Flight plan

MH17's flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, who are solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. Eurocontrol is the air navigation service provider for Europe and is governed under ICAO rules.

The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.

In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky. At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO.

2.    Altitude

MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the `optimum' altitude.

However, an aircraft's altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.

The audio records of MH17 were taken (confiscated) by Ukraine authorities. I saw BBC mentioning this as well.

Completely unfounded. The audio records weren't and the BBC didn't. If you saw this, provide an actual website reference or a screenshot, or this is simply unfounded.

The British media explained the route change by Azov thunderstorms, but that was denied by MAS operations director.

More of that trustworthy he said, she said, not backed up by any actual website reference or a screenshot of this so-called British media report. Thus: more unfounded claims.

Sick of them.

by Bjinse on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 04:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am curious about the route diversion from Day One. How much is in asking authoratative sources to investigate (or just say what they can say) how the route deviation happened? All that lack of evidence (regarding the route deviation, the weather conditions) is evidence for something fishy in itself.

On your BBC link, check the 15:29 entry for the Ukrainian SBU action.

It is not clear from the Flight Plan report above whether the "approved" route was the one for that day, or the Azov route frequently used in the previous months. GR assumes the latter, and repeats that Eurocontrol was not involved in directing to the Donetsk route.

So indeed we do not know whether the route was changed in flight - but why we would not know? And was there any comment why the altitude was changed to the minimal allowed?

by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 08:52:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is where you need to state a clear hypothesis.

If your conspiracy theory is that the Kiev government shot the plane down then the flight altitude doesn't do jack shit for your case, since the relevant equipment can easily intercept even above 35 thousand feet.

While if you are merely arguing that the Kiev government monkeyed around to make the flight look suspicious and make the separatists' mistake more probable... well, then you have a much more reasonable story. It would still be light on evidence, but at least it would not be in "obviously paranoid delusion" territory.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:14:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So just a curious position, without jumping to single scenarios without much evidence, and accepting uncertainties, multiple possibilities is intellectually unacceptable? Living on this planet is hard enough :-)
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 09:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Entertaining multiple possible explanations is not a license to entertain fairie tales as though they were legitimate possibilities.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am actually avoiding overly specific fairy tales - even if you ask stubornly.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 11:44:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Entertaining multiple possible options is also not a license to JAQ off in public.

Just like an open mind is allowed to have a door policy.

And, to round out the standard clichés for the occasion, the fact that the wise suffers fools lightly is not a license for any fool to demand suffering.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 05:27:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not count that many question marks in my posts, so your JAQ cries are, well, too funny. But anyway - my suffering is my stuff.
by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 10:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're making statements of fact, then?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 04:43:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do mix evidence and broader perspective suggestions - perhaps not in proportions or ways likeable to you. But I fancy to go through that for a while, within my interest and time limits.
by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 05:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, you are making insinuations that you know are bullshit, and therefore keep purposefully vague in order to multiply the effort required to debunk them in detail.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 11:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am curious about the route diversion from Day One.

And I see no curiosity from you that there hasn't been evidence from Day One for 'route diversion'.

check the 15:29 entry for the Ukrainian SBU action.

I saw. That is far from hard proof to take it as gospel on a subject that is riddled with propaganda stratagems. And even if this has happened, this makes the information stored on the MH17 black boxes far more relevant.

I'm not interested in speculative debate on motivations why information on flight plans or other has not been publicly released. It hasn't. It is not known either what questions the investigative teams are asking and whom they are interviewing.

All the rest veers into conspiracy thinking, which is fun only for as long as people don't take it too seriously.

by Bjinse on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 05:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If BBC has a recording, then this is not "no evidence" but "no hard proof".  Bah indeed!

The MH17 route was markedly different from its other latest routes, from the point of entering Ukraine. The dispatcher records would have answered a lot right away. The lack of official evidence and commentary on the route deviation is an insult to the public intelligence, and says volumes about attitudes of those decider & technical elites. Yeah, we can trust seriously only the modern governments on environment protection, finance regulation, expert investigations, right... They are basically asking to build up conspiracy theories.

by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 09:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with conspiracy argumentation, is that it is so hard to keep speculations straight. Nowhere it was claimed the BBC has 'a recording'.

The relevant snippet:
BBC News - As it happened: Reaction to MH17 Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine

Ukraine's SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.

Emphasis mine. So yes, there is a claim the audio records from the Ukrainian air traffic control were confiscated (and not the audio records on the black boxes, which I at first mistakenly thought was meant).

This snippet is, at minimum, third hand information, and even if we take for granted that BBC and Interfax did their job properly, the original source remains anonymous and unverifiable. Perhaps Interfax has a recording of said source, that's certainly possible. Even then, there is a huge gap between what is claimed to have been said, and what can be actually verified.

So it is a claim like so many - with no hard evidence at present to back it up.

Feel free to join the evidence based community any time.

by Bjinse on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 12:50:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bjinse:
even if we take for granted that BBC and Interfax did their job properly

It should be noted that the BBC included that item in a timeline, on the fly like live-blogging. It has no claim to being BBC fact-checked (however that expression might bring a smile to our faces). A report came through from the Interfax agency and was cited on the timeline. Linking to that later on, as Zero Hedge does, with an insinuation that this a BBC-verified fact, is just spreading bullshit (nothing new, coming from ZH).

So what this is is an Interfax wire. A search for the terms "SBU" or "Ukrainian air traffic controllers" on the Interfax site produces no results. Maybe it was a wire in Russian, which increases the uncertainty due to translation. And finally, if the BBC is to be seen as a propaganda outlet, then Interfax certainly should be too.

In other words there is nothing sure and verifiable in this at all. But I bet we will go on hearing that "the BBC has a recording".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 01:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Originally I saw that statement definitely inside a BBC article - but the link now points to the timeline. This article confirms that there was a BBC article, nor just the timeline.
by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FFS. Find the article or drop the subject.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 01:29:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are now talking about evidence of BBC removing the article. It is not like it never removes anything.
by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 03:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No we are not.

You are attempting to revive controversy once again on flimsy pretexts.

The SU-25 couldn't have shot down the MH17? No problem, your ever-curious mind suggests it may (no evidence offered) have been just one extra-special type of SU-25 that the Ukrainians had somehow procured.

The supposed BBC recording is nothing of the kind? No problem, your inquiring spirit proposes the shadow of a supposed BBC article that might have been deliberately suppressed.

Your insistence is now beyond the limits of reasonable discussion and well into trolling territory.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 03:59:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have a better record of ranting (for any flimsy reason) than addressing a discussion matter.

The lone BBC 15:29 record is already too hot for you to handle.

by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 04:12:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

That's enough. Other ET users have gone to great lengths to debate with you and find evidence to ascertain the facts, in spite of a clear prohibition of CT on this blog. Yet you persist, even when it is clear you haven't got a leg to stand on, and you are now resorting to insults.

Stop it immediately or you will really be considered a troll.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 04:16:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have gone to great lengths as well to address tangents that were not exactly of my intended direction. Almost as much in volume as most of you combined.
by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 05:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The lone BBC 15:29 record is already too hot for you to handle.
You mean this?
15:29: Ukraine's SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.
Presumably you can find the Interfax agency wire BBC lifted this from?

Also, it's a story from a single anonymous source. Not fit to print in most contexts.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 04:37:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So THAT reply is censored. Classy for the evidnece based.
by das monde on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 09:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here, let me spell it out for you.
a source in Kiev has told Interfax
is a "single" "anonymous" source. It's okay on an "as it happened" timeline or a twitter feed, but without independent corroboration it's "not fit to print". It shouldn't take a master's in journalism to know this, but in your case apparently common sense is not enough.

People zero-rating your answertirade so it doesn't show is not censorship, it's housekeeping. See ratings in the site FAQ:

The "Down" ratings

2 is rarely used. It may be used as a warning for comments that are unnecessarily aggressive, personal or disruptive in their tone.

1 is used to rate a comment "trollish", i.e. appears calculated to provoke angry reactions, is grossly aggressive or insulting, or really inappropriate. Even more rarely used than 2.

You've received a mega-troll rating. Congratulations.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 09:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since when Interfax is an anonymous source? I'm dunno. Single or not, it was good enough for BBC to print.

THAT particular answer was definitely not a tirade - but a transparent answer to your evidence requests. There was nothing personal in it, it was all about EVIDENCE in every paragraph. The ratings tell more about the fascinating group dynamics here than about me.

Anyway, I got the message - I am not welcome here, with or without "evidence". With this editing, I have no reason to stay here. Just asking to keep my diaries for a few weeks available.

by das monde on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 09:38:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

The anonymous source is the "source in Kiev" who is unnamed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 10:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
I am not welcome here

That is not the case.

What is not welcome is endless argument around conspiracy theories.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 10:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It takes more than one for an endless tango.
by das monde on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 11:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't we all stop here and wait fpr the black box results?
by IM on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 11:23:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have the Interfax agency wire?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 10:30:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does that matter within this context? 17:38 here looks like that.

Can't believe THAT post was deleted. No use to bring the same points surely. But if that is the only info about dispatcher recordings, where they are supposed to be? What scenarios are supported by this remarkable absence?

by das monde on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 11:09:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
17:38 here looks like that.
Except it doesn't
17:38 Ukrainian Security Service withdraws records of exchange between traffic controllers, Malaysia Boeing crew
At least on that page Interfax says nothing about "a source in kiev" so they make themselves to be the primary source. Now, you would still want to find an independent source.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2014 at 02:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard to censor myself from this topic like this.

The BBC item is 51 minutes later (taking into account the time difference in Moscow), so this must be that Interfax wire. I guess BBC inquired Interfax for more info, clarification. Both Interfax and BBC took responsibility for this report. The source could have been an Ukrainian Snowden.

Given the nature of the info, you cannot expect an official Ukrainian source. They just started to deny it 3 weeks later. It is unlikely that Interfax made this up so quickly - denials would be immediate. BBC posted it quickly as well - and that likely reveals a momentary lack of partisan censorship (as with the initial film with eyewitnesses).

It is very rare that dispatcher records of an aircrash are never revealed, nor even talked until weeks later. By the way, it is reported that Air India pilots overheard an interesting bit of the dispatcher communication.

by das monde on Sun Aug 10th, 2014 at 08:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2014 at 06:02:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your post shows complete misunderstanding how the involved press is organised. Interfax is a press agency, similar to Reuters and AFP, while BBC a news media broadcaster.

I guess BBC inquired Interfax for more info, clarification.

That's not how it works. A news organisation buys to receive a news stream from a press agency, it doesn't call for further verification. That there are 51 minutes between the reports only strengthens that the BBC copied the message from Interfax. To add: the webpage you found most likely shows only the title, not the whole contents of the Interfax news report. If you want to see that, you'll need to pay for the subscription.

Both Interfax and BBC took responsibility for this report.

No, Interfax is responsible for the contents. BBC considers the message worthy for publication, crediting Interfax. That's far from the same.

The source could have been an Ukrainian Snowden.

That's possible. It's also possible the source wasn't. There's no way to verify, which makes all of this debate spent on a this detail pretty fruitless. And most of all because it's not clear whether the investigative teams have been denied access to the recordings, which is far more relevant.
by Bjinse on Mon Aug 11th, 2014 at 06:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Further, it's important to note what kind of journalism the BBC was presenting. In the heat of events, it was live-blogging. That means that the journalists in charge were receiving a feed from all kinds of sources: news agency wires, Tweets, media reports, BBC people on the ground, public declarations and press releases... And were simply noting them on a timeline without futher investigation or checking. We have all seen these live-blog timelines. A good deal of what is reported or claimed turns out, with time, to have been mistaken.

In this case, just because a BBC journalist noted the Interfax wire in a timeline does not provide the news contained with the same guarantee as if the BBC was publishing a cross-checked report from its own journalists. Indeed, the BBC says clearly (foot of page) that it is not responsible for reports from external sources. The way in which "the BBC has reported" has gone round certain sites in order to claim that this constitutes "real evidence" (like Global Research) is simply abusive.

Since we can't see the full wire, we don't know how much evidence it offers. The BBC journalist (reading the wire) noted "a source in Kiev". That is an extremely low level of reliability, close to simple hearsay.

This is not to say that the news in question is false. Just that it does not measure up to standards for "real evidence".

The Ukrainian ambassador, reported in the New Straits Times, seemed very evasive on the issue. Either Ukraine produces the recordings, or it doesn't, and then there will be real evidence one way or the other.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2014 at 07:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it would be useful if someone put together a diary which accumulated all the "evidence" and "intelligence" and hearsay/anecdotes pointing towards a false flag conclusion in one place. I don't feel qualified to do so, but I do feel there are an awful lot of relevant questions to which we don't have clear answers at the moment, and it is looking increasingly odd that we don't have clear answers to at least some of them by now.

I am more interested in the political implications: would western intelligence agencies allow such an accident conclusion to be reached, could they prevent it, how would such a finding effect the legitimacy and lifespan of the Kiev regime, how would it effect Russian actions in Eastern Ukraine and the ultimate settlement which might be reached?

Personally I think it would make a Russian/EU rapprochement all the more likely, with Putin negotiating from a position of much greater strength, but also with Merkel finding it much easier to conduct a new Ostpolitik. The neocons would also have a lot to answer for...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 11th, 2014 at 08:34:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At this time I cannot be endlessly busy with this. And I have to suppose that mine (or anyone's) summary would not be of big service to everyone here.
by das monde on Mon Aug 11th, 2014 at 09:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it was done in good faith, it would be welcomed by all. If it were done in a partial and partisan manner, it would get hammered.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Aug 11th, 2014 at 02:04:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are now talking about evidence of BBC removing the article.

This is the sort of claim that you need to back up with at the very least a Wayback Machine search.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 12:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Evidence Based" = No dispatcher recordings ever announced. (Usually the simplest thing in the world.)

"Evidence Based" = No expalnation of roue deviation ever offered. (Apart from a Guardian speculation

"Evidence Based" = Barf, Bah, FFS (with a lot of words wasted as soon"corrected" arguments).

P.S. With "BBC has a recording" I refer to 15:29. There was never any retraction, debunking of that item - no further comment whatsoever. So that looks like a blurp of truth among all those quick "there are recordings of rebel conversations" fabricated announcemnts.

by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 06:03:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to find the Guardian article.

Yet claims need evidence, they are not evidence themselves. And for extraordinary claims, you have to provide extraordinary evidence. So far no one has. This goes equally for suggestions on the involvement of a SU-25, a Ukrainian false flag operation or on Russian involvement of handling the BUK missile system.

You're purporting to show that an absence of explanations or evidence are indicative of an extraordinary claim. That doesn't hold. And I'm not going to follow the path of speculation on how things 'look like' - which is where madness lies.

by Bjinse on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 04:14:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue is absence of evidence that is normally expected in these situations. E.g., Sherlock Holmes did make a big conclusion about a dog that did not bark.
by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 05:12:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're aware that Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, right? I feel the need to check ... 
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 05:53:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does it matter, fictional or not? It is a standard of logical deduction.
by das monde on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 09:04:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me know when you can show with concrete examples that the investigative teams don't possess that information either, that would actually represent something somewhat interesting. A big hang-up about what is normally expected certainly ain't.
by Bjinse on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 06:02:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pertains to traffic tower recordings confiscated [preserved?] by SBU.

Ukraine's Security Service Has Confiscated Air Traffic Control Recordings With Malaysian Jet  by Tyler Durden on 07/19/2014 20:45 -0400

The simple answer would have come if Ukraine had merely released the Air Traffic Control recording from the tower and flight MH 17, something Malaysia did in the aftermath of the disappearance of flight MH 370, which at last check has still not been uncovered.

It now appears that answer will not be forthcoming because as the BBC reports "15:29: Ukraine's SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency."

The SBU was directly involved providing accusations the rebels did it with falsified recording of phone intercepts.

Aviation Herald [unfortunately has not escaped becoming politicized]  

But what's the point now, Dutch PM Rutte has abruptly stopped the MH-17 Recovery and investigation of crash-site. The Dutch Safety Board OvV - report of flight recorders delayed by weeks, does not meet official deadline.

July 17 Updates on Malaysia Airlines Plane Crash in Ukraine - NY Times

by Oui on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 01:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Dreary Turd on Zero Hedge, who keeps up a constant flow of sensationalist "news", quotes the BBC timeline quoting Russian outlet Interfax citing "a source in Kiev".

At a rough guess, I'd say that is just one more minor puff of smoke in the the thick propaganda fog. It certainly can't be taken as evidence of anything at all.

Oui:

Aviation Herald [unfortunately has not escaped becoming politicized]

Is the following entry evidence (according to you) of "politicisation"?

Crash: Malaysia B772 near Donetsk on Jul 17th 2014, aircraft was shot down

On Jul 21st 2014 Russia's Ministry of Defense claimed they have compelling evidence (contradicting Ukrainian government reports of Jul 17th 2014) that an Ukrainian Air Force SU-25 fighter aircraft was within 5km around flight MH-17 at the very same altitude at FL330 and shot down MH-17. The Ministry claimed, challenged with the service ceiling of the aircraft, that the SU-25 would be able to briefly reach 10,000 meters of altitude. SU-25 fighter jet aircraft have a service ceiling of 7000 meters (FL230) clean and 5000 meters (FL160) with maximum weapons. While Sukhoi's website continues to state, that the service ceiling (the altitude that can be reached with a climb rate of 100 feet per minute, above that altitude the maximum possible climb rates fall below 100 feet per minute) of the clean SU-25 is 7000 meters, Wikipedia have experienced several dozen edits modifying the surface ceiling up to 10,000 meters and back. From an aerodynamics point of view it is impossible to reach 10,000 meters of altitude with a service ceiling at 7,000 meters unless energy of substantial excess speed is being converted into altitude. To have the SU-25 climb 3000 meters above its service ceiling would require supersonic speeds, that the SU-25 is not capable of however.

To back that up, here is the SU-25 specifications page on the manufacturor Sukhoi's site. The SU-25 without external ordnance and stores has a ceiling of 7 km, and a maximum speed of Mach 0.82.

Now that is evidence. No Ukrainian SU-25 shot down the MH17, full stop.

How much time has been wasted here in arguing the pros and cons of that kite flown by the supposedly admirable Russian military?

Advice to ideologically-blinkered conspirationists: read the ET Editorial Guidelines and stop clogging this place up with

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 03:06:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please check the supplement section here.

(still not handy with copy&paste on ipad, sorrry)

by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 10:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AnderweltOnline: Shocking Analysis of the `Shooting Down' of Malaysian MH17
If you go to the trouble of broadening your knowledge by questioning a specialist book, you'll get completely different information: the maximum flight altitude of the SU 25 is 14,600 meters.

This guy sends us to broaden our knowledge by not looking at the manufacturer's specs?

I suggest you take a look at the Wikipedia discussion of repeated edits (scroll down) to make the SU-25 fit with Russian claims. No, I don't think people on Wikipedia are part of the great Western media fixing. I think they are just looking at the clear evidence that the SU-25 is a ground attack craft that reaches its ceiling at 7,000 metres.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 10:46:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And even if it were capable of flying at 14,600 meters as the article claims, MH17 was flying at 33,000. A bit of a gap there.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:05:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
metres/feet...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
feet?? wtf are feet??
Mea culpa.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:13:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German manual he references gives 14,600 m as having been reached in a test flight (no date or further reference as to particular conditions for that flight). But the operational ceiling is there given as 7,500 m.

The author claims also that Wikipedia said the ceiling was 10,000m previous to the MH17 crash. I took a look at the Wayback Machine for a date this year previous to July:

Before the MH17 incident, Wikipedia said 7,000m clean. It was pro-Russians that tried to alter the record.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There goes eurogreen crashing into Mars...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see in Haisenko's German link the numbers 7500m and then
"... (flight test) 14600m"

So I will admit at operating at the MH17 cruise height is unlikely.

Do manifacturer specs change for modernised versions?

by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 11:16:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Before the rest of us spend time digging out an answer for that last question, would you mind finding out whether (and preferably approximately when) Ukraine actually did modernize their fleet of SU 25s?

Because refurbishing fighter planes is expensive, and Ukraine has been flat broke for pretty much its entire existence. And half the time on unfriendly terms with Russia, which is where you would go to get the refurb done in practice, making it quite unlikely that they got a freebie for old times' sake.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 03:04:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine is not broke for determined, professional "anti-terrorist" actions in Odessa and East Ukraine. Or for cash rewards for turning in weapons. Or for the ballistic missiles it is firing. One unconventionally upgraded Su25 would be really a surprise.
by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 06:11:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes it would.

It is one thing to over your motor pool and stockpile of old assault rifles to your favorite goons ("professional" my ass - if that's professional, I'd hate to see what amateur night looks like), or hand out some chump change to a few defectors. It is something else entirely to more than double the performance envelope of a Soviet-era turbojet aircraft.

Even if the latter is possible (and that it is possible is actually something you need to provide a plausible story about, because prima facie it sounds insane), Ukraine does not have the sort of industrial plant they would need to do it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 07:27:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A plausible story would be US/NATO support.
by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 03:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not a plausible story about how it is possible to double the performance envelope on a Soviet-era turbojet.

Until and unless you establish that this is even remotely feasible, you do not get to speculate on who performed the modifications that you have not yet established are even possible.

But for the sake of the argument, let's pretend you didn't skip over the most important part of your burden of proof. You're still completely off your medication if you think NATO would go to the trouble of refurbishing a single obsolete turbojet as a favor to a pet client state, instead of just giving them a couple of F16s or Mirages slated for the scrapyard.

The only possible reason to do something so obviously nonsensical would be if they had been planning ahead of time to stage a false flag operation. Which they weren't, because this plan would involve way too many people to keep it secret for six hours, let alone six months.

And on what timeline is this mythical modification exercise supposed to take place, by the way? Kiev was run by the ancien regime until six months ago, which is, eh, not enough lead time to smuggle a fighter to the other side of the planet, dismantle it, reverse engineer it, double its performance envelope, and then put it back together again so seamlessly nobody notices, and smuggle it back again.

Or are we supposed to believe that Langley has a stash of dispatchable replica Soviet military hardware with physically implausible performance specifications, just for the purpose of staging false flag operations?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 12:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

das monde has been asked to stop posting CT. I suggest the (fruitless) debate has gone far enough.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 12:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, and sorry about that. Didn't catch up with the relevant subthreads until after hitting 'post.'

Lazy mistake, my bad.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 12:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One interesting thing then: if the rebels shot MH17 by mistake, what were they aiming for at that height?! Was there anything else than Su25 mentioned?

Here are some numbers of Ukraine cambat aircrafts.

by das monde on Thu Aug 7th, 2014 at 10:38:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't have to know the height of the plane to shoot at it with a radar-guided missile.

An airliner can easily be mistaken for a bomber, or an AWACS.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 04:32:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Photographic evidence suggests a rather cloudy sky, with small windows for visual observation. They had to rely on radar (in any case) - with height information then available. So they would had been aware of the (limited) possibilities, one should presume.
by das monde on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 05:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cloudy sky? Even better for target misidentification.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 10:37:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought this discussion is ended?
by IM on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 10:47:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. I got carried away.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2014 at 03:03:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not giving straight answers only makes the matter murkier ...

Malaysia wants the 'missing' Ukrainian ATC tapes

KUALA LUMPUR (New Straits Times) Aug. 8, 2014 - Ukraine has denied that its State Security Service (SBU) had seized the air-to-ground transmission tapes between its air traffic controllers and Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on the day the jetliner was shot down.

Its ambassador to Malaysia Ihor Humennyi, in an exclusive interview with the New Straits Times, said that reports alleging that the SBU had seized the recordings had not been independently verified or confirmed by Kiev.

"There is no proof or any evidence that the tapes were confiscated by the SBU. I only read this in the newspapers."

Interview Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Humennyi on MH17: Status of Ukrainian tapes still in question.

Almost immediately after the shootdown, several news agencies, including the British Broadcasting Corporation, carried reports saying that Ukraine's SBU security service had confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner.

If indeed the SBU had not seized the tapes, then where are the air-to-ground communications tapes between MH17 and the ATC? When asked this, Humennyi said he did not have the answers.

Asked if the tapes had been handed over to the investigators, Humennyi said: "We don't have any information that it had not been given to the investigation team or that it was not received by the (team of international) investigators."

Humennyi said that if a formal request was made by Malaysia or the international investigation team, Ukraine would extend its cooperation. At one point, Humennyi seemed to question the significance of the ATC tapes, saying that "it is just the same as the flight data and cockpit voice recorders".

Address of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Tragic Death of People as a Result of a Terrorist Act over the Territory of Ukraine - July 22, 2014

Cross-posted from my recent diary - Dutch PM Rutte Abruptly Calls-off MH-17 Recovery Mission.

by Oui on Sun Aug 10th, 2014 at 04:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Backing off, after JAQing off?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice JAQ! Even that edgy, you should be more accurate, attentive and polite.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 10:49:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find your tactics here to be more about baiting than debating : I find that pretty impolite (and I find it amusing that you are concerned about accuracy). You were asked to bring something substantial to the table, or go away : apparently you choose the second option. That speaks for itself.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 11:24:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You here are asking for quite a lot of time from me - for nothing constructive, fascinating in return. Yeah, that's a way to ask me to go away. You can't help but get baited? Surprise.
by das monde on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 03:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See my diary updates, Dutch PM Mark Rutte has called in quits at MH-17 crash-site ...

Dutch PM Rutte Abruptly Calls-off MH-17 Recovery Mission

Most likely the Dutch government has received intelligence of increased violence in the Donetsk region. Ukrainian warplanes straved the city of Donetsk last night. Ukraine has used ballistic missiles in their attack on the anti-Kiev rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia has advanced 20,000 troops along the border with Ukraine. There is a chance Putin will decide to intervene on the U.N. principle of R2P, the Right to Protect.

Russia has asked for the U.N. Security Council to meet about the worsening humanitarian situation for the Russian-speaking population.

NATO warns Russian 'peacekeepers' could invade Ukraine
Risk of Russian military deployment in Ukraine has risen, says Poland's PM Donald Tusk

by Oui on Wed Aug 6th, 2014 at 04:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that, until very recently, the hubris amongst the USA's political leadership left them in total denial of the potential effect of the development of an alternate international payment clearing system centered on China, let alone the possibility that the EU might prefer to work with the BRICS and their economic bloc than attempt to thwart their development. A loose partnership between the EU and the BRICS could give Europe preferential access to much of the development that will occur in the remainder of this century. This will be at the cost of US world influence. Perhaps Merkel is good for something after all.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 12:38:34 PM EST
I dunno, most of the EU elites are still heavily wired into the US-centric world.

You only have to look at the near certainty of TTiP being imposed on us to realise that.

And the UK would become more important for the US and wold never be allowed to leave the EU, we are their trojan horse, sent to wreck any step europe might take towards an independent foreign policy

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 12:55:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole Ukrainian fiasco has, I strongly suspect, been seen by neo-cons for a while as the surest way to prevent a further alignment between Germany and Russia.
But the logic of the situation is a strong countervailing  factor. Time will tell who holds the trump cards, or if there is even a trump suit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 3rd, 2014 at 01:08:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Essay in Englisch: The West on the wrong path - Kommentare - Meinung - Handelsblatt

German journalism has switched from level-headed to agitated in a matter of weeks. The spectrum of opinions has been narrowed to the field of vision of a sniper scope.

Newspapers we thought to be all about thoughts and ideas now march in lock-step with politicians in their calls for sanctions against Russia's President Putin. Even the headlines betray an aggressive tension as is usually characteristic of hooligans when they 'support' their respective teams.

The Tagesspiegel: "Enough talk!" The FAZ: "Show strength". The Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Now or never." The Spiegel calls for an "End to cowardice": "Putin's web of lies, propaganda, and deception has been exposed. The wreckage of MH 17 is also the result of a crashed diplomacy."

Western politics and German media agree.

Every reflexive string of accusations results in the same outcome: in no time allegations and counter-allegations become so entangled that the facts become almost completely obscured.
Who deceived who first?

Someone with his eye on the bottom line...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2014 at 12:50:09 PM EST
This is a good, and insightful analysis of the geopolitical situation and of the changes within the US regarding its continuing commitment to global governance given the outcomes of 9/11. I would be even more pointed than you about the collective madness that has apparently enveloped the foreign policy space in the US. Instead, the right wing of the US political landscape has become paralyzed by collective cowardice, which has encouraged a world view, and subsequent policy advocacy predicated upon a building a kind of Fortress America that engages only minimally with the world outside the "Homeland" except to extract resources and trade and to engage in punitive military actions. Foreigners of all kinds are viewed with suspicion, immigrants, allies, trade partners, and enemies alike. This kind of extreme cowardice has no better example than the humanitarian crisis of 100,000 impoverished and unarmed children showing up at the US border and inducing calls from the right to send armed national guard troops to ... what?  Shoot them?  

But the emergence of the Tea Party has awakened the long dormant, but ever-present, isolationist wing of the US electorate.  Gen. Eisenhower famously entered the 1952 presidential campaign as a Republican for the explicit purpose of suppressing this far right element, but President Bush's disastrous failure in Iraq has blown much the credibility of the remaining rightist elements, including neocons, about continuing 60-year-old US project of -- essentially -- global governance. The old alliance between left (well-center-right to be exact) and right on the overall framework of foreign policy has been shattered in the US by the resurgence of an isolationist and extreme right wing in the wake of 9/11 and Iraq. Rather than providing a realist counterargument to the liberal idealism for engagement abroad, the GOP has been reduced to an anti-engagement party which seeks to build bigger and better walls rather than contest power in the rest of world.  

However, this resurgence may well be short-lived and may not even outlast the eventual emergence of an electably centrist GOP presidential candidate, so it would be foolish for foreign contenders for global power to count on any real change in US policy or commitment to global engagement on the basis of framing, forming,  enforcing, and at times imposing, its particular conceptions of international law in a liberal democratic ideology as it has more or less successfully done over the last 60-70 years.

At the present time, I don't think that anything Merkel might be trying to do in the Ukraine with Russia comes close to creating a coalition of nations that has both the intention and capability of contesting power over the custodianship of global governance with the United States. At best, such an interaction is best interpreted as playful retribution for the US's public humiliation of Merkel in a number of recent occasions. But more likely, Merkel is engaging a negotiation for the outcome you describe regarding Putin and Ukraine with full knowledge and support of the Obama administration, in which case it would not represent any shift in balance of power at all.

Because of the immense and uncontestable power over all of the world's oceans by the US military and its deep and operational network of alliances with most countries in the world, the only project external to the US capable of challenging US power over global governance would be the formation of Napoleon's dream of a continental Eurasian trade and security alliance.  Without creation of a military force capable of challenging the US Navy's dominion of the world's sea trade lanes (which is, presently, impossible to do even if all of the world's militaries combined against the US), only the creation of an alliance that can maintain industrial production and growth if cut off from most of oceanic trade routes could conceivably challenge US dominance of global governance. I don't even know if a combined Eurasia has sufficient resources to do that, but it's an interesting question.
 

by santiago on Tue Aug 12th, 2014 at 02:29:01 PM EST
Thanks for this comprehensive comment.  I think the comment threads here have more or less died, so you may wish to post it as a diary in its own right.

I don't disagree with what you say - I think Merkel's ambition is likely limited to solving Europe's problems without the meddling neocons, and doesn't represent an attempt, or even an ambition, to rival the USA militarily.

It could have the effect of reducing European dependency on and subservience to the USA, and increasing the ability of Europe to rival the USA economically, and perhaps politically.

An EU allied with Russia might be less inclined to support the wilder US neocon adventures - say a war with Iran, or quite such an unconditional support of Israel.

Europe might also become a bit more precious about it's intellectual property and protective of its global corporations when they are subjected to unfair competition by US corporates, but beyond that, I would never expect any actual confrontation with the US: merely a more pronounced refusal to swallow the cool-aid hook, line and sinker - if I might mix my metaphors rather atrociously.

In any case it will be a long term process - and as you say, not necessarily opposed by the more moderate elements in Obama's administration.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 12th, 2014 at 03:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GWB, a clear advocate of the US right to global dominance, demonstrated that all the military domination in the world won't allow you to attain your policy objectives if you do stupid shit.

Obama is a multilateralist, no doubt the first since Carter. But

  1. he was left with an exceedingly shitty hand to play by his predecessor, who destroyed a huge amount of the US's "soft power" capital, and
  2. he seems unable, or unwilling, on this as on domestic issues, to actually change the direction of US policy much.

The Obama doctrine, "don't do stupid shit", is possibly the best that can be hoped for from the military hegemon. And the mouth noises being made by his probable successor, notably on how the US could have won the war in Syria, make me think that we should perhaps now be hoping for a right-wing isolationist president instead of her.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 12th, 2014 at 03:42:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
The Obama doctrine, "don't do stupid shit"

Not a bad summary!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 12th, 2014 at 04:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently it's the semi-official doctrine. No doubt it's the best he can hope for as a legacy, but I'm not sure if it retrospectively justifies the Nobel.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 13th, 2014 at 01:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's when you can bet on stupid shit :-))
by das monde on Wed Aug 13th, 2014 at 01:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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