was once a brave KGB man in service to the Soviet while in East
Germany. He stood off a maddened crowd with a bluff and bought time for
the further destruction of KGB records in that Soviet satellite. He
may be admired for his extraordinary bravado, courage, and wiles.
he moved Russia off the pro-democracy track, he inherited an
effectively lawless state, one that had transferred the wealth of the
Soviet to the Soviet nomenklatura in a fire sale of state assets.
Opposition like Khoderkovsky came out of that transfer that had been
planned in the mid-1980s (reference: Karen Dawisha, RIP). In effect,
Putin inherited the challenges posed by the Vory and assorted
gangsterism on a scale unknown to the west (and western naivette about
that helped waste billions (I think) in capital that would never be
recovered. The mafia state was born.
The Capo de
capos, the Boss of bosses, has now to look inward and consider the
future of the now old Viking state that he has looted. He could retire
to Spain, where he has a house, and watch the cocaine traffic moving up
from Africa — just look out his window and know the ships and smile —
or he could turn around — this would be a good time — and address
Russia’s under-development outside of the Agricultural, Defense, and
Energy sectors. He could revert to rule-of-law in Ukraine and
apologize, at least, for the bombing of so many hospitals –he’s leveled
him — in Syria.
Judging from his behavior, he
appears to believe his mission has been to revive the glories of the
medieval world and the idolatry associated with political absolutism,
i.e., unquestionable authority.
I, not alone, believe he should reconsider that mission.
He has produce what he has promised the world: a “New Nobility”.
he should look around at what now lies at the feet of that circle:
atrocity, mayhem, murder, and the self-inflicted wounding of the image
and global acceptance of Mother Russia.
A change of course would be more helpful to him than his staying with old habits past their expiry.
Has one party or personality or other to always play the “bag guy”? The Bond villain? The head of the worst of the worst?
Vladimir Putin has children who will one day and in the natural course of living will look back on their father with an accuracy and perception beyond the public’s ken and the best of the world’s intelligence agencies. When he’s gone, whatever he was, they will know in ways beyond knowing.
For a glimpse at what his state has done at his behest: Idlib today. Here is some recent background involving Russian participation — missile strikes (got to about 7:15 on that)– in Assad’s scorched earth pursuits.
Aside: what the Assad Regime did to the Yarmouk Palestinian Camp —
Barrel Bombs, Chemical Weapons, “Red Lines” — The United States chose to sponsor pro-democracy forces against the Assad regime while repeatedly failing to apply force itself to ending the atrocities and injustices meted by that regime through the long course of now eight years of continuous destruction, depopulation, and horror.
Perhaps the west has become inured to mindless sadism after experiencing so many images and so much footage recording Assad the Tyrant’s infinite obscenities. Either way, and whatever our reasoning or weaknesses otherwise, it appears evil has prevailed in Syria.
Talmud 7:16 as Quoted by Rishon Rishon in 2004 Qohelet Raba, 7:16 אכזרי סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן
Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman
All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate.
More colloquially translated: “Those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be cruel to the kind.”
Rule by the Rich — Trump’s Tax Cut Legislation Largest Contributor to $4.1 Trillion Added to the National Debt
The biggest contributor to the $4.1 trillion that will be added to the national debt through 2029 is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This signature tax cut legislation signed by Trump in 2017 single-handedly increased the debt by $1.8 trillion, according to CRFB.
Is our governance — the governance of the United States of America — modern?
Is it representative, responsive, responsible?
Rule by the Vicious — Trump’s Remarks Sting West Baltimore
President Trump applied to “West Baltimore” one of his favorite words for those places not up to his standards (and perhaps not likely to be helped by him either): “infestation”. He applies it in proximity to people — or how he imagines people — he doesn’t particularly like as well. In this instance, he called Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic head of the House Oversight Committee, a “brutal bully” — and in the words of The Wall Street Journal — “for criticizing conditions at the Southern border and declared his district—which includes a large part of Baltimore—as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-portrays-baltimore-district-of-democratic-rep-cummings-as-rodent-infested-mess-11564248241 – July 27, 2019).
Fairly, a personal source suggested that Baltimore has become the heroin capital of America, but still the President’s vitriol was neither matched nor softened by any offer of greater Federal assistance or support in the addressing of the problems besetting Rep. Cummings’ district.
Baltimore fought back.
Off the headlines —
Dubbed the “heroin capital” by the Drug Enforcement Agency, there are estimates that put the rate of drug addicts in the city as high as 1 in 10 residents. Baltimore is now designated a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government so that local police receive more funding to try to combat the issue.
Despite the better and more practical relationship between “West Baltimore” and the Federal government, the impression made by the President’s belittling and contemptuous mouth for all who are not his nor his adoring base would seem to be paving the way for the ascent of the vicious (and surreal) in American politics.
Rule by the Immune?
Rep. Ken Buck (R) Colorado: Could you charge the President with a crime after he left office?
Robert Mueller: Yes.
Buck: You believe he committed . . . you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?
Who says the President has to leave office (ever)?
The true test for Americans would seem to be that of appreciating the Constitution and supporting its intents and its work in the creation and sustaining of the nation’s so far authentic and fully working democracy. Bullies, demagogues, malignant narcissists were not meant to last long in power in this nation, but where such do or may, one might suggest that the constituents themselves allowed that to happen.
The response to that statement by this blog’s editor follows:
That has been the power of Soviet / post-Soviet propaganda and one of the more basic features of misguidance on the Left. “Colonialism” — horrific and true enough in the age of the Grand Game — lost its legitimacy as the empires got the native boot and, with time, local political forces reestablished their claims and writs to the point, which one might suggest is about now, where the finger cannot be pointed at other than themselves. British power and European kingdoms have not gone missing, but they are not what they once were.
The Soviet engaged in two egregious behaviors throughout its tenure: it whipped resentments into small conflicts that it could then manage to its own advantage; and through the this-and-that “liberation” movements, it produced piratical dictatorships that would become centers for the promotion of ideology and the worst kinds of mischief.
For how Cuba and Venezuela turned out, I would recommend looking up both at the InSight Crime website.
The creation of Arafat and the PLO (along with the courting of Arab power) follows the Soviet / KGB template, and the fact that the movement persists with the Soviet long gone only to be replaced by an autocratic mafia-type (and mafia-associated) regime tells of a modern take on the thuggish history of mankind — but it also leaves the Palestinians trapped between a defunct political era and a more cooperative, idealistic, and higher-integrity modernity.
Why should the Palestinians now be kept from authentic critical historical scholarship?
The Soviet duped everyone.
The KGB would use the term “framing” to describe how it positioned events and persons psychologically. Indeed, the propaganda became the perception but because of its baseless qualities — and in the way of Potemkin — the Palestinians may stand up and look brave (which they do) but there’s nothing really beneath them and there won’t be until they acquire the power to pursue independent inquiry with integrity in their own right.
Regarding post-Soviet Cuba and Venezuela
With regard to Soviet / post-Soviet influence, BackChannels had the following in mind in relation to its suggestion to have a look at Cuba and Venezuela via the information window provided by InSight Crime.
BackChannels has long featured a get-you-started (got the editor started) library page titled, “Russian Section“. It’s a worth a look (but ageing right along with the editor who may wish to start over with that focus).
What if one awakes from a dream or nightmare one morning with the knowledge that much of what one has been taught to believe has turned out simply . . . not true?
The Earth has been proven round, not flat.
Does one go on as before without change in aspirations, beliefs, routines?
Or one may have a fresh look around at a world wildly different from that which one had for so long imagined on the basis of falsehoods and deliberate misguidance fashioned by the powerful and powerfully corrupt.
Kurdish defense elements may represent an amalgam of Kurdish interests largely beneath the authoritarian semi-socialist umbrella of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Conceived in the Far Left zeitgeist of the 1970s, an era saturated in and partially shaped by agent provocateur, disinformation, and money pouring off of Russia’s “Active Measures” programs, the PKK appears to have followed the pattern known to other Soviet-associated “liberation fronts” in relation to ruthless consolidations of power, funding through criminal means, and the launching of violent revolutionary actions against forces impeding organizational ambitions, concepts, and ends.
In 2013, Erdogan promised to recognize Kurdish identity and language, and increase Kurdish liberties. A truce followed, but hostilities resumed in 2015. Erdogan said he was responding to PKK terrorism. The PKK claimed Erdogan destroyed the ceasefire by building dams and security stations in Kurdish regions. In either case, a war was on. Erdogan attacked with helicopter gunships, artillery and armored divisions, murdering thousands and displacing 335,000 mainly Kurdish citizens. A UN report described destroyed villages as moonscapes.
The recruitment of mixed Kurdish forces to fight ISIS necessarily involved diplomatic magic as some best trained and experienced in the business of fighting were to become those fighting Assad’s idea of “The Terrorists” — ISIS.
Here’s a section representing one starting point — the American State Department’s continuing designation of the PKK as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” — and both the required finesse to shift popular impression plus an expression of America’s intent to defend its Kurdish allies (and front line) in the effort to defeat Islamic State —
The Department of State has reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended (8 U.S.C. § 1189). The PKK was originally designated as an FTO in 1997.
. . . .
Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that the PKK remains a terrorist organization. In addition to its continued status as an FTO, the PKK has also been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 since 2001.
BackChannels refers often to the “Phantoms of the Soviet”, a mixture of KGB-Era ideas, methods, personalities, and relationships that have for about 26 years outlived the Soviet Union. Wherever cultivated, the same have fairly suspended geopolitical space in the barbarism and political repression best associated with feudal / medieval political absolutism.
The PKK’s role in potential Turkish-Russian escalation should be viewed through the lens of Moscow’s deep historic ties with the group — and with Damascus. In the 1970s, the PKK was established with Soviet support in the Beqa Valley of Syrian-occupied Lebanon. As one of two NATO countries boasting a land border with the Soviet Union, Turkey was considered Moscow’s soft underbelly during the Cold War, providing Washington with numerous assets such as listening bases capable of intercepting communications across the Black Sea. The Russians saw the PKK as a means of undercutting a key U.S. ally.
The PKK also enjoyed support from Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafiz, who cast his regime as the champion of Turkish Kurds despite oppressing Syria’s own Kurdish community. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan lived in Damascus while his group ran training camps in Lebanon and used Syrian territory to attack Turkey.
Moscow’s support for the PKK eventually dissipated with the end of the Cold War and the emergence of pressing political and economic problems at home. Syria ended its own support in 1998, after Ankara threatened Damascus with war for supporting what had become a terribly destructive PKK campaign throughout Turkey. As part of this abrupt shift, Hafiz al-Assad expelled Ocalan.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) emerged from the radical ferment that swept the Western world in the 1960s. It was founded in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist organisation infused with Kurdish nationalism and a cult of personality around its leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK spent much of this period attacking other Kurdish and left-wing groups, and its own dissidents – hundreds of whom would be killed over the years – in an attempt to monopolise the support base for its ideas.
While BackChannels happily and humbly defers to The Henry Jackson Society’s wizard of political science, Kyle Orton, it recognizes inherent value in the Kurdish community as singular among the world’s ethnic and tribal cohorts and with that equally inherent rights to autonomous self-determination and dignity — in defense terms: freedom from cultural and religious persecution.
BackChannels, being neither international organization or potent state, however may best demur to an analyst closer to the issues and altogether more experienced — in this instance, Michael Rubin of The American Enterprise Institute:
More importantly, PKK tactics have changed: There remains low-level military insurgency, but gone are the days when the PKK targets Turkish civilians (alas, the reverse is not true with regard to Turkish forces and Kurdish civilians, as the residents of Cizre, Nusaybin, and Sur can attest). Certainly, breakaway factions of the PKK such as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) have claimed attacks, but such factionalism is common when former terrorists come in from the cold. That was the case with the “ Real IRA ” which emerged after the IRA entered into a peace process in Northern Ireland.
A little more than six months ago, BackChannels published “Moscow as Medusa with All the Snakes Attached” (January 2, 2019), and what it had had in mind was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leveraging of arrangements involving leadership in several EU / NATO states fit for the flattering of an emperor. He had President Erdogan apologizing to him for shooting down two MIGs overflying Turkish air space (and, lo and behold, the “Turkish Stream” energy project got back on its feet) and, later (about now), purchasing Russian air defense technology suited to knocking NATO air power out of the sky . . . .
So here with the above in mind is reference to “east-west” and “medieval v modern” conflict that continues to validate the idea of the presence of the “Phantoms of the Soviet” and their generally impeding progress toward modern governance in the near and middle east:
The Kurds have historically played an important role in Russian efforts to exert its influence in the Middle East. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used the Kurds to bypass America’s containment strategy in the region.
Shortly after World War II, Moscow supported the creation of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan to increase its influence in the region. After the Iranian army crushed the Kurdish forces, the fighters led by Mustafa Barzani took refuge in the Soviet Union.
Political analyst Gonul Tol appears in the third video featured in the next section, which presents another set of impressions having to do with the Kurdish struggle for Kurdish autonomy and unification.
Presented here: a flurry of the editor’s opinion prompted through the daily round of chatyping/expressing on social media. Probably, others, including Palestinians, have had these notions on their minds for some time
A narrative through which the Palestinians have been lied too for more than 70 years is not something either Israelis or Palestinians need to or should respect. The soul of the conflict sustained by PLO / PA has to do with Palestinian intentions for Israel far more than the history of the place, but the accompanying demonizations of Jews and of Israel is not something that Israel, the west, or modern Palestinians need to accept or tolerate. Those old lies, that propaganda from another age, needs to drift into the past and, at some point, be sealed in it.
The Hamafia has before it the ultimate jihad: the struggle to change itself. Otherwise, it probably will be diminished in its ability to wage a continuous war of displacement against the Jews of Israel. Think about what Hamas has taken from the Palestinians. It has looted them; it has deflected construction and development funds to war purposes (e.g., “terror tunnels”); it has robbed Palestinian children of modern educations; and it has stolen from them their ability to express themselves politically and engage in regular and fair and free elections. Hamas occupies the Gaza Strip by force.
Regarding sentiment related to “Judea and Samaria” v “Palestinian Territories”, I would think most of moderate temperament would hold open the option of a two-state solution with semi-autonomous Palestinian statehood adjusted according to level-of-threat in relation to terrorism and genocidal will on the part of the Palestinians.
As things stand, the PLO / PA and Hamas have a functionally complex relationship with Israel, but the two are very much the Administrators of their turf. They may abuse the Palestinians all they want, and it seems neither Israel nor the west will interfere with them. However, for basic services and trade, Palestinian government cooperation with Israel seems unavoidable and, in fact, long established.
Back in 2006/7, the election results came as a surprise to Washington and to the PLO / PA.
Hamas was to more firmly establish its power on the Gaza Strip by force.
“In 2006, Hamas won a slight majority of the seats in the Palestinian Authority legislative elections. This would have put Hamas in a commanding position for both the West Bank and Gaza, but there was a problem: Hamas refused to accept previous deals that the PA had made with Israel. That lead Western powers to freeze out aid, which the PA depends on, to any Hamas-led PA. Tensions between the PLO and Hamas eventually escalated to outright war between the two factions, which ended up with Hamas governing Gaza independently from the West Bank–based PLO” — https://www.vox.com/2018/11/20/18080058/israel-palestine-hamas
Hamas brutality toward the Palestinians has been well noticed.
BackChannels wonders if the enemies of liberal democracy have not chosen the subtleties of seaborne violence to launch attacks that may be received as ambiguous by the western public. The Bush Administration’s WMD cover, which may have been more true in behind-the-curtains details and regime tendencies than in blatant near-time evidence may have damaged future-claims credibility as regards the authenticity of official narratives in the run-ups to war — or, for this blog, the bridge between less obvious and more obvious war.
Did the clump of snow just happen to fall on one’s shoulders or was it hurled?
Almost by definition, remove events, and especially those at sea, would seem little observed by other than dock and seafaring workers and then, of course, the parties to military listening-watching activities.
China, Russia, and Iran appear to wish for every greater power and control over populations and wealth in the world through the imposition of Draconian laws using Orwellian methods or tools to keep their elites enriched and their subject populations dumb in relation to their grooming at best (and literally so beneath the shadow of the “Islamic Revolution” in Iran) or, at worst, their invisibility (have a look into poverty in the three states operated by wealthy political elites).
What follows: a few words From The Awesome Conversation —
Much of the Arab World and the Palestinians (who have been separated from the same even while touted as an Arab cause) are in a pickle in relation to the benefits of the modern world that are so ubiquitous within it that we take them for granted.
We all miss the good conversation with the Palestinian side because their political communities demand conformance and otherwise appear inflexible as well as deeply and viciously politically repressed.
While the puppet masters — advisers, financiers, manipulators — are elsewhere in the Arab, Persian, and Soviet / post-Soviet worlds, cognizant Israelis and hapless Palestinians are stuck on the fault line between “east” and “west”, and the hell of it is neither can do much for authentic Palestinian liberation.
One friend, Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, had the audacity, courage, loving motivation, and spirit to bring a class of Palestinian students to Auschwitz, a breakthrough in peace making if ever was. His reward: a torched automobile courtesy of the nefarious political mafia power n the Palestinian midst. Today, some hold a hard line even though they know what I know as regards the KGB’s meddling in the middle east (see also the last section of this post as regards a true telling of the Palestinian experience). While Daoudi searches for the middle path, he sees no going backward on the “Palestinian narrative”, which has been such an invention in language — and in academe, an intellectual infection — that none (who are of the west and disinclined toward “magical thinking”) can work with it.
That’s my explanation for the question, “Why is it so difficult to expect the same thing” — fair and forward-thinking reciprocity — from the Palestinians. Political and social methods of repression work, and the “leaders” have made a mint while managing what is just one among the world’s “frozen conflicts”.
The focus of the world really should be on the PLO / PA, Hamas, and, one big step up in the world of foreign affairs, the malicious political creativity of Moscow and Tehran. The old Arab side power nodes have not been much better, but with the Shiite v Sunni conflict in play, Washington has been trying to pull the Kingdom forward while addressing the “Islamic Revolution” with punitive measures.
Related on BackChannels
My argument for the Palestinian People: after 70+ years of comparative isolation associated with Arab Apartheid, the cohort defined by the Arab refugees of 1948 have indeed become a People, but they have been also deeply intellectually poisoned. The big lie as a thought left unaddressed to fester . . . to whip resentment into boiling anger: “The Jews stole your land and God wants to you to seize it back (and annihilate the Jews)”. Never mind the Turkish land registries, the land purchases that began long before WWII, the agricultural industry that drew Arab labor into its economy, or the continuous presence of Jews in Roman-named “Palestine” across millennia.
The myth: Israel was an invasion.
The truth: Israel has been an investment legitimately obtained.
The cruelties to which the Palestinians — in some radicalized part — remain subject: Hitler’s license for the harboring of genocidal ambitions now supported by Hamas, at least; Uncle Joe’s and Father (I guess) Andropov’s reliance on “Information Warfare” and political repression in the ordering of their own delusional worlds.
Peace for Israelis and Palestinians may turn out a thing that swells up into political space rather than something forced by arms, it being more the natural inclination of humanity to establish a natural security through heightened interaction and more normative reciprocal and trustworthy social behavior.
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.