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16 June 2010


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Babak, Arab and Greek Orthodox are mutually exclusive? That will be news to my Palestinian neighbors in the Christian Quarter.

Patrick Lang


Taleb takes the same position as you with regard to his identity. I tend tp agree but then I am an anti-nationalist. pl


. On Oct. 19, 2005, Rice told a Senate committee that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were part of a plan to "redesign" the Middle East.

The Transformers. Rice, another non-thinker.

I remember she sent tons of Arms to Dahlan in Gaza. But Hamas won the election. Part of their grand design.

clifford kiracofe

1. Referencing Adam Silverman's comment on the academic world. One can note, for example, the Middle East Studies Association:

There are also similar international organizations. I have friends and colleagues who are members of these and attend the conferences and give papers and the like.

As I have said a number of times, it is not as if we in the US do not have academic and governmental expertise on the Middle East. We have been out there since the late 18th century as I point out in my book Dark Crusade (London:Tauris, 2009). Our Med Squadron was founded in 1801 as I recall.

2. The issue is fundamentally political. "Experts" who are willing to service the imperial foreign policy elite are advanced to positions of influence in the major foundations and think tanks and inside the Beltway. Otherwise one is vetted out and marginalized.

To be in the service of the imperial foreign policy elite you must demonstrate a "pro-Israel" orientation. If you deviate from this you are vetted out or blocked from advancement. The Freeman case is just one example, albeit highly visible.

3. Our present political parties are both are dominated by the "pro-Israel" lobby. Thus the Republican versus Democrat thing in foreign policy is a staged Punch and Judy show, a mere charade.

The general public is too dumbed down, propagandized, and manipulated to have any conception of what goes on at higher levels of the federal government, particularly with respect to foreign policy and international financial matters.

The majority (for a few more years) white middle class, which pays the bills, are like cattle herded to slaughter.

4. The 500 year cycle of "European" dominance and colonialism unleashed from the late 15th century is coming to an end. This republic navigated pretty well in the 18th and 19th centuries but became caught up in the Anglo-Zionist grip in the 20th.

In the 21st century, the emerging and evolving multi-polar world is and will present much graver challenges to the United States than a few terrorists sprinkled here and there.

Meanwhile we cannot control our borders not to mention the catastrophic (for generations to come) volcano of oil in the Gulf and the security of our sea space which includes protection of our marine resources and ecosystems.

The US foreign policy elite, such as it is, is simply not up to the job of defending this republic.

Is this not noticed in Asia? In the Middle East? In Latin America? Are not conclusions being drawn in foreign capitals and among foreign elites? I think so and I talk with people around the world who think so...

Babak Makkinejad

clifford kiracofe:

"The general public is too dumbed down, propagandized, and manipulated to have any conception..." - I think you are excusing the US electorate.

The Protestant Christians in US support Israel. Their elected representatives reflect that. This has been demonstrated election after election.

And my observation is that many such people think that there is also a margin in fighting Islam.

This will go on until the cost of this support becomes too much for the electorate.

FB Ali

Clifford K,

Your last (8:25 PM) post was excellent. In this short piece you have precisely summed up the (self-inflicted) US predicament.

Patrick Lang


That is true, and the non-Protestants are so intimidated that we cannot resist anyone, including you, my friend. pl



sorry, I just saw this, but I wondered about your saying,

"In France, in late 19-th century, 1/4 the population did not speak French."

what DID they speak then? I could not find a citation to this particular fact (though I agree with the general principles you are arguing for).


Farmer Don, I agree with you about the US needing to revitalize its manufacturing base.

Fanto, I somewhat agree with you about healthcare being a source of unproductive jobs. Even though healthcare is very beneficial to society, it's more of a cost than a benefit to the economy. This is why healthcare will always be, at most, a mere handmaiden to our economy. So if we keep letting healthcare gobble up bigger and bigger chunks of our GDP, as we are now letting it do, our economy is destined for the poor house.

And I must say that it would've been far less painful for all of us had we enacted national healthcare for everyone, not just for the old and the poor, back when healthcare made up only a small sliver of our GDP. But now that healthcare, as it now stands, has grown to the point where it's eating our GDP out of house and home, it's gonna be very hard to tame this beast without killing it.

Let me also say that there are three things that we should've never let happen. First, we should've never let banking overtake manufacturing, as the driving force of our economy. Second, we should've never let healthcare sap the strength out of manufacturing, causing it to become a mere ghost of its former self. Last, but not least, we should've never let such a huge chunk of our Federal budget go towards arming our war machine. It sickens me to no end that we've become so damn barbaric that we'd rather spend our tax dollars on killing others than caring for them!

Babak Makkinejad




clifford kiracofe

FB Ali,

thanks for your kind words. I am concerned for our younger generation as the present one has failed them or more precisely has betrayed them. It will be a difficult road ahead for them and for this republic.

I would add that the traditional culture of this republic is fundamentally broken and disintegrating. Thus we can expect what pass as the present elites to behave as they have and as they do. This is not unnoticed around the world.

Some in the traditional American "remnant" remain to take a stand and to resist. SST is a manifestation of that resistance. The Freeman case an an example.

A close late friend of mine was in the French Resistance. We had many interesting discussions over the years.

Here the spirit of resistance is not yet quite extinguished.

Despite present adverse circumstances, I do hope that scores are settled at some point down the road with the alien Zionist element. It will have to be rather firm. Perhaps not "final" but firm nonetheless. I won't live to see that day, but considering history it will, no doubt, come. Perhaps in three or four more decades? Who can say?


I would recommed you look more carefully at the "Protestant" element in the US. It is not generally pro-Israel as a bloc.

The Fundamentalists of course are Zionist as it is part of their cultic apocalyptic ideology. This ideology was manufactured in the UK in the early 19th century and came here about the 1850s or so. I have written a book about this which may be of interest. There are walls of books on US church history and so on.

Mainline Protestant churches, which are dwindling in their flocks as the Fundis grow in theirs, tend to support the peace movement and Palestinian rights.

Of course, when these churches do this, they get hammered by the Zionists. Generally, they do not resist the Zionists. They could but they don't because they are moral cowards I imagine.

I can't speak for Roman Catholics, but it seems to me the traditional position of the Vatican and the present Holy Father is clear on Middle East issues. I am not aware of the details of the Orthodox position but would think it similar to the Roman Catholic in a desire for peace and justice.

different clue

Richard Armstrong, actually I think Pakistan, or at least powerful chunks of the Pakistani government, may well be playing an outside sponsor role for the Taliban. A few days ago I heard on BBC that some London School of Economics people wrote a report claiming that the ISI organized and conducted various kinds of military training, support, etc.; for the Taliban; viewing them as Pakistan's war-proxy against Indian influence in Afghanistan. Here is a link to an article about that report.

The Pakistani government said it was very very false.
Maybe that is so, or maybe the civilian Pakistan government may be embarrassed over how very little power it has over military and security policy in Pakistan.

If this report is true, then that would mean we are fighting Pakistan itself when we fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. We are better off not doing that. If what Ahmed Rashid once said in a talk I heard is true...that Russia, China, Iran, and the Central Asiastans all dread a re-Talibanized Afghanistan as a springboard for Talibanoid
insurgencies in their own countries; then all these countries under their SCO umbrella should be close enough and concerned enough to suppress the Taliban and perhaps even suppress the ISI's support for it better than we could ever hope to.

FB Ali

Different Clue,

I would not put much credence in the London School of Economics report you cited. It is either based on flawed information or deliberate misinformation. Pakistan’s ISI does maintain relations with the Afghan Taliban (and the Haqqani group), but it is very doubtful that they would provide them with actual military training and support. At the most, they provide elements of the Taliban leadership with sanctuary and may facilitate some logistical support for them and the Haqqanis. As to why they are doing this, I would refer you to my article End Game in Afghanistan which Col Lang recently posted on SST.

It is nonsense to suggest that the danger of radicalization of the Muslim populations of the countries of the region arises from the possibility of the re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. When they ruled Afghanistan they never showed the slightest interest in anything of the sort. That danger arises from the gross misrule within these countries by corrupt elites (often supported by foreign powers), as well as the feeling that Muslims everywhere are under siege or attack. These conditions are exploited by al-Qaeda and other jihadis to win people over to their cause and recruit followers.

Babak Makkinejad

clifford kiracofe:

Thank you for your replies.

I think where we differe is in the degree of accountability of the electorate.

I do not credit a vast Zionist machinary with determination of the outcome of the electoral process; rather, I choose the simpler hypothesis that the electorate is responsible for the selection of its representatives.

Countries deserve the governments that they have. In case of US, one could let her leaders and her electorate indulge in their fantasies were it not for the very real danger that her actions would bring about something that has not existed for 800 years; namely a religious war between Christianity and Islam.

Babak Makkinejad

Different Clue:

I agree with FB Ali.

And there is zero chance of SCO being of any help here. SCO is a Russian-Chinese project for the disposition of Central Asia and its proto-states.

I want to point out that all of this are relevant only to Sunni Muslims and not to the Shia.



As long as you speak of the Church divide something should be said of the mega-churches, TV evangelism and prosperity theology. Any suggestions since I'm essentially ignorant of where they stand.

Adam L. Silverman

Different Clue: Mr. Ali is correct, the report is really bad. And while it was released through the LSE, its author is at the applied policy center at the Kennedy School, which is where the politically connected practitioners go when they decide to retire from people's staffs in DC. A contact of mine in the actual government department (the polisci department) at Harvard, when I once asked him if he knew a specific person at the Center, said something to the effect that he didn't know anyone there and that almost no one in the department had anything to do with them. Basically, the real professional researchers and scholars were separated from the folks at the Kennedy Center - and it shows in the work! Also, I'm pretty sure I threw a link to the report up in a previous thread. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll put it back up in here in comments.

different clue

Adam Silverman, Babak Makkinejad, and F. B. Ali...

If you are all correct about the questionable value
of that report (and also perhaps the questionable value of Ahmed Rashid's separate thesis on how the SCO neighbors would view a reTalibanized Afghanistan); then I would suggest we announce a schedule for gracefully throwing up our hands and walking away. Afghans who trusted us to stay the course and who would be endangered by our departure should be granted immigration rights to our countries. We should understand Karzai making his own arrangments for his government's post-Nato future if any. And we could still explore whether the Northern Neighbors care enough about al Quaeda sanctuary denial to support a Northern Alliancestan from
which burndown raids against
new jihadista camps could be conducted. If they don't, then I don't know what else we can do except walk away completely.

China probably cares what happens around its emerging copper mine. Let China protect its own copper interests without our help.

Babak Makkinejad

different clue:

Your usage of the pronoun "we" ("...we... throwing up our hands") reminds me of this:

One day the Lone Ranger & his Indian side-kick, Tanto, we surrounded by hostile Indian braves.

Soon the duo was down to their last bullets. The Lone Ranger looks at Tanto and says, "Well Tanto, I think this time we have bought it."

To which, Tanto replies: "What do you mean by "we" pale-face?"

Each state in the area around Afghanistan will charter its own course. Some will choose to support a re-constituted Northern Alliance which most likely can be sustained indefinitely while others will cultivate the Taliban. And some will do both, no doubt.

In regards to refugees; Iran and Pakistan will be absorbing them and not NATO states, not the Arab states, and not anyone else – as has been the case for the last 30 years.

The way I see it, the Afghan state was based on dynastic acquisition and conquest; like the Hapsburgs. With the dissolution of the Monarchy and the absence of any notion of an Afghan Nation and its acceptance by the populace, an Afghan state cannot be rebuilt to where it was in 1975. This is like trying to put Austro-Hungary back together again. There is no source of legitimacy; even Mullah Omar had to wrap himself in the Mantle of the Prophet to claim legitimacy.

That the state has to be rebuilt in Afghanistan is not the question; the issue is how can it best be done and who is going to pay for it. Clearly, the Christian states of the NATO Alliance with their sand-box approach to Afghanistan have not been able to do so beyond rudimentary insinuations and the country is back in a state of war.

I think the war in Afghanistan should end now– 30 years of it has been enough to destroy a peaceful backward but functioning country. I think the best option for Afghanistan as well as other international actors is for other states to agree to it being a neutral state – India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, US and other states ought not try to change the orientation of that country and its state (when there is one) to suit their aims.
I also think that it will be a good idea to declare unilateral cease-fire or at least an end to offensive operations there. Get NATO out of Afghanistan and let the Organization of the Islamic Conference deal with it. I think due to affinities in culture and religion as well as the existence of factions in Afghanistan that are supported by other Muslim states, it is more likely to bear fruit. You can even try to introduce Muslim peacekeeping troops into Afghanistan but no neighbor of hers must have troops there.

In terms of costs, some Muslim states – that are threatened - have money and can contribute. Other enemies of the Jihadists can also help defray the costs.

I do not expect these ideas to find traction. I, like most commentators in this forum, am a problem-solver. But I know that there are many people in this world that are not only incapable of solving problems but also go out of their way to create problems for pleasure and profit.

different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

Thank you for replying. My use of "we" was in its very narrowest sense of America, Britain, and the NATO allies. Your ideas seem as good as any and better than most. Our announcing our orderly timed departure would have to be the first step before the other steps could be applied. And yes, many people, especially those in power and authority; create problems for fun and profit and also to sell themselves as being indispensible for management and containment of the problems they themselves engineered to make themselves indispensible towards the management and containment of.

FB Ali

Different Clue,

This is another canard: that an Afghanistan under the Taliban would inevitably mean the return of al-Qaeda to the country. The former’s main interest is to re-establish their rule there, and they aren’t stupid enough not to realise that allowing that to happen would jeopardise it, as happened last time. This canard is perpetuated by those in the US, including many in the establishment, who want the Afghan war to continue (indefinitely, if possible!).

Russia and China are quite happy to have the US bleed itself white in this quagmire. Both have scores to settle (Afghanistan and Korea). Don’t wait for them to push for a solution to this war.

Adam L. Silverman

Different Clue: I think that Mr. Ali's remarks about Russia and China being quite happy to tie us up are correct. Babak Makkinejad's remarks are also spot on. Given the internal social divisions within Afghanistan I think it likely that the Taliban, as we originally understood them, would return to power over parts of Afghanistan while different groups would establish control over other parts. While a unified Afghan state may one day emerge, it is not going to happen because we try to forcibly graft the Western (Westphalian) concept of State and Society onto Afghanistan. There is a well developed Islamic understanding of the social contract and of civil society; parts of it are very similar to what we're familiar with other parts not so much, but the Afghans have the right to try to chart their own courses. The only thing I would add is given what our, our here meaning US, actions and interventions have cost the Afghans, what moral obligation do we have to help in non-military fashion.

different clue

FB Ali,

If we can trust that the Taliban are this-worldly enough to think in those terms, and not next-worldly enough to bring back the al Quaeda with them
in order to attain merit; then the case for totally withdrawing very soon and very fast is even stronger. I agree that China and Russia would like to see us bled white in Afghanistan. Just as Russia (and possibly
China) would like to cause a war between America and Iran...if they could avoid being blamed for it.

Adam L. Silverman,

Our help has not been helping Afghanistan as far as I can tell. Our intentions to help were self-cancelled by our interference with ex King Zahir Shah's efforts to convene a Grand Jirga where all the leaders and notables could work out their own solution to governance and authority. That opportunity won't come back unless there is another Zahir Shah type figure who is respected by all sides who could emerge and not be interfered with.

I read somewhere that in the practice of medicine there is the principle: First do no harm. I think we first have to stop doing harm in Afghanistan and since everything we are doing there is turning out to be somehow harmful this context; we should first stop doing anything. If a stable totally neutral Afghanistan emerges with its own government which is generally respected by its subjects as being its own government; then we may someday give them such aid as they might overtly request. In the meantime, I
think that high level Afghans...governors and professionals and such...who overtly identified themselves as welcoming us and working with us in public view should be allowed to come here to escape threats to their lives or freedom. That is a moral obligation to individual high profile persons who took the risk of working with us.

Finally, I am honored that you three find my mere layman's comments worthy of being replied to. Again, thank you.

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