Charles Lane: . . . . that brings us to the present day and present President whose name, by the way it’s Donald Trump, does not appear in your book. Now that can’t be an accident.
George Will: The names of Charlemagne and Audrey Hepburn and Duke Ellington don’t appear in the book either [Lane: That’s true] because this is a book about ideas and the current president is not part of that discussion. He has nothing to do with conservatism. He really to his credit has never pretended to be a conservative. He’s an entrepreneur in politics and he’s maximizing whatever he wants to maximize. This is a book about important arguments, and he’s not part of that.
Method #1: detect and amplify any present national, racial, or religious suspicion into self-righteous anger and resentment — and crank it up;
Method #2: develop and deploy appropriate agitprop and agent provocateur — and for the Devil’s sake, don’t worry about anything having to do with ethics, ideals, principles, or values: in fact, dispense with the possession of conscience altogether and reduce all complexities — also, all cultural richness and intercultural relations to two essential dimensions: will and survival.
Method #3: Prepare the violence to come: arm convinced militia and move the same toward perceiving slights or promoting provocations, for either will serve the dual purposes necessary for the inhabiting of a renewed medieval world governed by feudal arrangements in support of “absolute power” (to be shared between political criminals and similar life forms).
Method #4: In hybrid, highbrow, and lowest manner, infiltrate target organizations and states for purpose of abetting their destabilization, perpetuating disinformation, and for ultimately exploiting legitimate business and labor for gain leveraged by bribery or extortion / reward for cooperation and threat for independence in either thought or action.
Centrist leaders across Europe hope the fallout from the “Ibiza scandal” will be felt beyond Austria in the European parliament elections this week, in which populist, nationalist and far-right parties have been forecast to make gains.
Strache’s apparent eagerness to embrace corruption is in stark contrast to the “drain the swamp” rhetoric populists routinely deploy in their attempts to portray politics as a battle by decent ordinary people against a venal elite. The FPÖ is a key member of an alliance of European nationalist parties led by Matteo Salvini of Italy’s League.
BackChannels has embedded with many posts the key word or phrase, “medieval v modern”, and that has worked for the editor, but what has emerged in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, and elsewhere also could be called a “Reactionary Conservatism” that fits with the anti-democratic and piratical renewal of feudal absolute power. Where such has succeeded, so far, the same has devolved into patently criminal cronyism.
I may note that the Jewish Liberation Story — the Exodus from Egypt — has stood signal as God’s affront to human power for almost 6,000 years. In that narrative, God commands Moses while having at the same time control of Pharaoh. While Jews treat Moses with reverence, none ever conflate or confuse Moses with God (he was lucky to have been rescued from among the reeds; spoke with a stutter or lisp (I think — he was most imperfect); and seemed to need a sidekick for courage. Moses was . . . merely human. He didn’t part the waters: God did.
Jesus, rabbi; the first Christians; was it really a Seder?
BackChannels will leave the gathering and weighing of history’s slim evidence to the curious, but as depicted by da Vinci, inspired by The Bible, and inscribed now in the intellectual awareness and evolution of mankind, The Last Supper changed the character of the world.
NATO stepped up its game in Russia’s “Near Abroad” in response to the post-Soviet (and cynical) near destruction and depopulating of Syria; Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimea (and installation of another Moscow-sustained “Frozen Conflict”), and the dictatorship’s continued support for terrorism (for Afghanistan’s Taliban challengers to state authority; for Hezbollah, the global transnational crime operation); and for its “Active Measures” meddling in EU/NATO territory.
Generally speaking, The Bear has been a bullying, cowardly, and disingenuous force on the world’s stage, persistently authoritarian, underhanded, and totalitarian, and NATO has made itself popular to states wishing to be not so broadly . . . played.
Welcome to Cyprus
Fifteen years ago, NATO welcomed seven new members into the Alliance, expanding its borders eastward from the Baltic to Black Seas. As NATO reaches its seventieth birthday, it could now be time to look toward adding a new member: this time in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The end of the Cold War (Dec. 25, 1991) failed to sustain western-leaning government in Moscow. Yes, the Cold War was over; the habits of Russian paternal authoritarianism were not. With the ascent of Vladimir Putin to power, Moscow continued to act as a beacon of hope to dictatorships intent on remaining unfettered in their brutality, corruption, and criminality in relation to the ginning of their wealth.
NATO has stood fast against Putin’s rush to sink the world in a renewed feudal morass informed by vanity and absent of conscience, such being the nature of his own malignant narcissism.
Cyprus, of course, lists among the world’s frozen conflicts.
In Damon Wilson’s analysis for the Atlantic Council, the time seems ripe for unification: “Cyprus remains the only European Union member who is not even a member of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, due entirely to the outstanding reunification problem. Immediate NATO membership for a reunified island, however, would automatically embed, and therefore replace, a joint Greek-Turkish-British security guarantee within an Alliance commitment to the entire island without any need for alternative mechanisms.”
Yes, but . . . .
Feudal Absolutism v Modern Democracy: Turkey’s Islamist Leader
Our minarets are our bayonets
Our domes are our helmets
Our mosques are our barracks
We will put a final end to ethnic segregation. No one can ever intimidate us.
If the skies and the ground were to open against us
If floods and volcanoes were to burst
We will not turn from our mission.
My reference is Islam.
If I am not able to speak of this
What is the use of living?
Cyprus would be more easily unified if the Turkish President were an authentic NATO leader. However, in BackChannel’s humble opinion, by apologizing for the downing of two Russian jets overflying Turkish airspace, Erdogan made himself part of Putin’s new feudal estate — the estate of post-Soviet dictatorships responding to Moscow.
Not so noble that New Nobility.
While pressure has been applied — okay, infant terrible, Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air missile defense or American F-35s — from whose jets do you intend defense of, say, your Islamic principles. . . or of Turkish Stream? — results, so far, appear indefinite.
Ah well, every family has a conflicted, selfish, and troubled member.
Perhaps the baggage is only getting in the way of the journey, for the Turkish government speaks in glowing terms of the state’s relationship with NATO: “Ever since our NATO membership in 1952, the North Atlantic Alliance has played a central role in Turkey’s security and contributed to its integration with the Euro-Atlantic community. Turkey, in return, has successfully assumed its responsibilities in defending the common values of the Alliance.”
There would seem to be some discrepancy between Turkish idealpolitik and its president’s realpolitik.
Another Neo-NATO President: Hungary’s Viktor Orban
Written into existence by James Kirchik:
Most of the international criticism directed at Hungary over the past nine years has focused on domestic indicators such as the rule of law, separation of powers and press freedom. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been remarkably blunt about his designs for Hungary, citing China, Russia and Turkey as models. After an election in April widely deemed free but not fair, he sounded a triumphal note, declaring that “the era of liberal democracy is over.”
The indicators of reversion to the feudal mode and its medieval blood-and-soil worldviews, including the idolatry associated with the “Great Leader” may be the same across afflicted states: the boast of a gloriously romantic history; contempt for and manipulation of the press, previously free and independent; renewal of anti-Semitic tropes accompanied by tolerance for Far White Right extremism (in Hungary, that would be Jobbik); transfer of powers to family and with it the growth of associated business alliances (open nepotism and cronyism); xenophobia; fear of George Soros 🙂 : the democratic state succumbs to the will of the President (for Life!) who then treats the assets of the same as if they were of his very own feudal estate — and so they become exactly that.
In every way, Orban’s illiberal Hungary — or the illiberal Orban’s captive state — fits with the renewal of — or renewed drowning in — feudalism in more than one or two NATO states..
Russia may not have need for plowing tanks into EU/NATO targets where “Active Measures” and the leveraging and seduction of deeply narcissistic state leaders may suffice for the perversion of NATO values — those supporting the democratic and liberal humanism that have been the hard fought and won treasures of western civilization — in targeted space. No sane child of the post-WWII west would think continuous conflict, political absolutism, and the wars of all against all the natural fate of western states, but that’s what has drawn near.
While NATO may be militarily on its game and strong, the system has shown its weakness in the egotism — the malignant narcissism — of several of its leaders (add another but lesser figure in Jeremy Corbyn, a perhaps unwitting son of Soviet Era cant and today’s piper of Far Out Left — and anti-Semitic — attitudes and beliefs — and then note his xenophobic complements occupying the British Far White Right).
May God smile on them all 😉 — but it is NATO that defends them, and if the same or similar come into power, then what would it be that NATO found itself actually defending?
From the deposing of old generals to the defeat of a pro-democracy coup, Erdogan’s story has unfolded and been met by the west even more slowly — but at least, finally, met.
What of others?
Nonetheless: Happy Birthday, NATO. May you and the full suite of pro-democracy institutions and moral entrepreneurs worldwide advocate for and defend authentic democracies, related responsive and responsible governance, and forever human dignity and freedom and the many good dream and rights given to mankind.
“The Chinese government already knows everything about me. If I’m not committing a crime, I don’t give a shit”
@9:40 of below-posted video.
While this post may be based on year-old data, it’s still cogent. Like “Socialism”, it would appear that “Technological Totalitarianism” will be a work in progress for some time to come, but perhaps not as much as most would like even if we don’t yet know it.
Perhaps it’s time that grinds away at religious cohorts and their unity in thought, both dividing communities while also distilling and isolating what will come to consider itself the authentic, core, real, traditional, true community in spirit and behavior.
Here time might beg old questions, lawful, spiritual, practical: who is a Jew?
Who among Jews would the righteous pure evict?
What proportion — as Jews are a small community by numbers, how many Jews would the traditional, the Orthodox, consider . . . Jewish?
The secular principle may encourage religion at each his own expense: we are free to sustain belief and practices as we see fit privately and on our own dime. That’s not going to work in any neo-theocratic or theocratic environment in which the majority-something (all states have a “majority-something” – or a powerful minority) needs must defend a religiously codified image of organizing ethical and moral principles.
Are “true believers” (everywhere) medieval and reformers modern?
Are the believers (everywhere) the good and the reformers irreversibly decadent?
In the end and whatever the ramifications, all of our decisions — taking place in each separated mind — are private and privately reasoned and motivated — and time x God, Nature, and the Universe + Social Surrounds have their influence.
Nature over long time encourages diversity / experimentation; we humans, especially with philosophy and religion, have made a competition out of differentiation (and “experimentation”, God only knows).
Earth’s Living Language Inventory: fewer than 7,000. N Religions Extant: 4,200 estimated.
Our geopolitical boundaries, which may be as small as a community around a single church, mosque, or temple, really do help us be what we consider ourselves as community tradition, experience, God, intuition, learning, practical survival, and reason have made us. In the realm of embraced and enthused believe, the social set may be as small as a band (truly, music), a band (tribal warrior subset), or cult or as large, of course, as a transnational ethnic, political, or religious enterprise.
Inspiration for the post: a defense of traditional male-privileged access to Israel’s holy Western and the intrusion — and degradation of tradition — symbolized by the modern feminist Women of the Wall who intend as Jewish women to do everything that Jewish men have done traditionally by way of the express permit of God, so believed or others given for themselves to do. The patriarchal culture than has it’s “little lady” insult built into it, so from the modern perspective looking backward through time, the closest encounter with God through prayer must be for men (who are clean: free of menstruation) — and, “little lady, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.”
As evolutionary as the cultivation and transforming of conscience, empathy, and language may be, tribal identities worldwide and their ways have persistence through time even though time — like water — has always its carving, eroding, shaping work busy at changing the face of humanity.
The conversation progressed in the direction of the real-social-politik involved in sustaining Israel’s Jewish-majority state in atmosphere and character. Although not all Jews are perfect (or pure) anywhere — all humanity is imperfect) all in Israel understand the mission of the state as the proverbial “light unto nations”, which it has been, and as THE Jewish Homeland. Herewith a little more comment on the Western Wall; ancient tribal, medieval, and modern cultures; and the latest brought up by the impertinent behavior of the Women of the Wall movement.
Social influence and pressure move in both directions, but each place has its near starting points — the day we’re born (and surrounded in the cradle of family and community) and they day we become aware (psychologically autonomous and decision making).
I’ve give higher value to political equilibrium x place then to absolute (black-or-white) thinking and zealotry that becomes labeled “extreme” even though the “extreme” might be a right extreme. The reason is that the strong humanist umbrella would defend the faith of the faithful in place. Israel’s existence as ancient, medieval, and modern — and “hypermodern” as a progressive democratic open society — creates what is essentially a modern challenge
? |Men Only —————————– | Women’s section | –> |Men Only —- | All Allowed ——————————– | ?
I am going to demur, I hope wisely, from launching arrows for either the sustained ancient world brought forward through identity, belief, and tradition or this new modern portal to a next civilization — that’s what the future leads toward always — that finds its common base as one against harm and threat in the defense of greater equality, inclusion, and respect across a broad cloud of humanity.
The Western Wall is public and the woman want to do as men do as equals with respect, but the same may indeed degrade and diminish the ancient systems that have both informed and sustained Hebrew existence.
Do the women (of the Wall) in their zeal think about that endowment?
Inspiration for this little bit of wisdom: another set-to about the God of Judaism and the God of Islam — or depictions, expressions, instructions, etc. seemingly attached to the construction or perception (in mind, of course) of each.
Basically: “Your God is not my God — and my rightness must be therefore more right than your rightness.”
And God must have put us here to prove how right we are about God.
Something like all of that plus the bloody historical baggage that has been dragged through time with that kind of thinking.
Ethnolinguistic cultures on earth: about 7,000 (fewer, actually). There are many ways of looking up at the stars and experiencing or interpreting the divine.
In the Torah, God hears Ishmael’s cries too.
The more true challenge of the present lies in handling the habits attending medieval politics and worldviews that better account for turning something we cannot know — God, as we think of God, is greater than our observational capabilities — into something we think we know. Judaism represents the Tribal Way of the Hebrews, an old People with a calendar to prove it and a distinct trail through time planted on or in the earth in built space or artifacts. Rather than mosey on to other civilizational uptake, adaptation, and competition, it might prove healthier to visit the present, take a deep breath, and have both a broad and long view backward, the better perhaps for considering and taking the next step forward.
Having given up the burning of witches and largely ejected “contra-lateral amputation” as inhumane (although there are some barbaric, malignant, primitive, and sadistic holdouts), we might do better than eternally trying to erase one another.
Call it a plea for peacefulness momentarily enshrined in a blog post . . . also a plea to perhaps stand together for a broad and great gaze backward from this extraordinary plateau in human communicating and social interaction — and then: think fresh; think forward; think next.
The “New Nationalists” — there’s a term that’s getting around — are old feudal reactionaries. Each — start with Erdogan in his White Palace — means to live as if in a castle socially surrounded by nobility and attended by peons and slaves.
BackChannels hopes they will one day find themselves left floating in their own blood-dimmed and greed-soaked clouds and the better world, broadly inclusive, culturally self-sustaining (we should be concerned with keeping and growing our 7,000 or so living language cultures), earth conscious, still in awe of the universe, and beautifully interwoven will look back on them with a shudder.
Inspiration for the post: a conversation about women in combat roles and the relative physical advantage men have as regards the demands and energy required by related combat training programs and evaluations.
Problem: there may be more required across the “combat” or war fighting spectrum than the agility and strength so tested in training — and at times demonstrated in the field — as well as admired for entertainment and, perhaps, general cultural inspiration.
Variable not mentioned in this lopsided patch of talk: the span of combat mission roles. Regarding the “grunt” – okay, that’s the old industrial steel-driving guy at war and in the mess in big numbers.
From the Awesome Conversation (FTAC)
This is for fun:
But this has been perhaps the changing face of war:
I hesitate on posting because I know (confession: from the armchair) that “field operations” have been complex as well as irrevocably changed by technologies, assets, and strategies (and politics) throughout. Is the drone’s remote jockey in front line combat? With relation to terrorist “actions”, where isn’t the front? For that matter, what isn’t combat in the age of “Hybrid Warfare” and “Information Warfare”?