Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Odds and Ends AP*

*After Paris

A couple of thoughts on the aftermath of the attacks in Paris on Friday, November 13.

What’s With This “We”?

Patrick Smith at Salon has written much on this topic since then.  In one column, he rightly takes to task those who come to the issue of terrorist extremism without context; in the case of current events, without the context of Western (not the least of which, French) meddling in the Middle East and North Africa.  I will not cite anything directly on this subject, but he offered an interesting point – one that some have passed through more easily than others, and more easily than Smith, apparently:

I wrote above that I fail to understand why the question of responsibility is controversial. I take it back: This is why. Facing one’s part in others’ deprivation, repression, violence and all the rest is an errand requiring humility, resolve, commitment, and an enlarged vision. We Americans score poorly on all counts these days. But summoning all four—if it helps to think of it this way—is a matter of self-interest now.

There is no “one’s part in others’ deprivation…we Americans” responsible.  There are individuals, individuals who act.  The point – ignored or easily missed by too many: why do so many self-identify with the state?  Why are the actions of those employed by the state deemed to be “our” actions?

There are dozens of murders committed daily by every-day, ordinary criminals.  Does any reasonable person attach a “we” to these?  

So Much For a United Front

Again from the aforementioned Smith column, posted November 17:

First and most important, Washington seems to be opening itself at last to the idea of a united front against the Islamic State that the Russians have proposed since it emerged as a force capable of taking territory—and many lives—last year. The press picture of Obama meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 session Monday tells you all you need to know about the changing political and diplomatic environment.

To further the point, Simon Tisdall offers “Vladimir Putin: from pariah to powerbroker in one year”:

The reason is not a mystery. Under merciless attack from Islamic State, flailing on the refugee crisis, and consequently desperate to end the war in Syria, European leaders, backed by Obama, have come to an uncomfortable but, in historical terms, not wholly novel conclusion: they need Russia.

From Smith:

When we say “Paris changed everything,” we seem to mean more than what some of us understood 10 days ago. The complexities will be obvious, but there is a straight line now between a violence-adulating resistance movement in the Middle East, its attack on a European capital, a new resolve to defeat terrorism in Syria, the prospect of an orderly settlement and—dotted line here—a kind of latter-day Concert of Europe, which coalesced after the Congress of Vienna, included Russia and lasted a century.

All of this was before Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet.

Somebody decided to try to end this budding rapprochement before it started, apparently.  Take a look at the map: even if one accepts Turkey’s version of flight paths, someone would really have to want to tear Russia and NATO apart for this airspace “violation” to result in such catastrophe – no matter how many “warnings” were offered (or not).


  1. So, did Turkey do this on there own? Or under direction? or....
    In the end, cui bono?

  2. Just as Paris spun the wheel, just so, the shoot down gave an even more ominous spin to it, Putin used the words, "stab in the back" for Erdogan,

    We, the little-guys, can have no idea what is really going on. Erdogan has made an irreversible decision. They say it will cost him billions in tourism and industry and pipelines.

    Who can afford to bribe Erdogan with even more money and compensation? --- Not very long ago, before the major players changed the spin, I read to a very informed source (From the Saker Blog I think) describing how the Head Office, and main supply line (quoting routes, facts and figures) of ISIS was Turkey. They slowly morphed that into "other " logistics as the spotlight shone on Turkey.

    NATO does not have enough collective cohesion or brain power to have told Turkey to attack. The US has the most to lose if Russia and France win. A superficial observation would suggest that if Russia was hurting Turkey's enemy, a few disputed meters over a border would not matter. Clearly ISIS is somehow married to Turkey/NATO/US.

    It is possible that the Turkish bigger fear is the Kurds and Russia had to be sacrificed). It is conceivable that the Kurd could actually destroy the Turkish State over time and so it was a calculated risk.

    Turkey's disaster is just beginning. --- They are in the middle of the New Silk Road and both China and Russia will make sure they can pass down that road, irrespective of what ISIS, or the Kurds do. ISIS is strictly a bogey man for America and its clones, it is not a Chinese or Russian issue, other than ISIS is threatening Tartus and the Airbases. Russia is Muslim enough to live with ISIS had they played in the same game. Notice it is only after 5 years that Russia has had to step in.

    I see ISIS trying to redraw the old 1921 Mesopotamia lines and to create a Sunni Caliphate after the US proposed to them and then chased them out of Iraq

    Personally I think this downing of the Su24 will help Russia. Their "New Military" is only 9 years old and has not been tested. If the Su31 and Su35, which will now be on standby, can whip the nearly 30 year old F16, Russia beats NATO. Russia needs to know this now before the real game begins.

    Russia will now have the perfect excuse to start testing all its modern generation of armaments. Turkey is only in NATO because it is the buffer state between the West and the real Arabs, not because the West actually loves them. Turkey. has made a tremendous mistake by backing the wrong side and the Ottoman Empire will end up being shrunk yet again.

    China is still the wild card with the most to lose.

  3. Erdogan is a gangster and a terrorist. Nothing else need be said about him.

    This is a huge error for Turkey, if Russia wants to up the ante in a way that Turkey can't do anything about. All Russia need do is reverse what Turkey has been doing in Syria, only far more effectively. What is that? Set up a safe zone for anti-Turkish rebels (usually Kurds) on the border of Syria-Turkey, where Turkey has until now been succoring Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and other terrorist groups.

    What then happens is that Kurds can engage in cross border attacks and fall back under the protection of Russian anti-aircraft missiles. Exactly how Syria was destabilized from Turkey.

    Russia should also pursue legal processes against Turkish people benefiting from the illegal Islamic State oil trade, including family members of the Turkish president. Likely they will never be brought to justice but it will be very embarrassing and it is possible that they won't be able to leave Turkey for fear of arrest.

  4. On the "we" thing, actually "we" do it fairly often. I am a graduate of a university with a pretty good football team (at least, right now). I have never remotely played organized football, but when Monday morning comes, I join my buddies in talking about how the team did. And I admit it. "We" comes out of my mouth at times when describing the exploits of the team. The playing field may be fairly innocuous. Statecraft is another thing, entirely.

    1. Without suggesting it is directed or not, the relationship of fans to their favorite sports teams helps to condition many to feel the same toward the state.