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12 December 2013

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David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

You say I am not going far enough in my conclusions. So let me try to go a bit further.

As to Jack Straw, what he is doing is uttering in public thoughts which a lot of people here have thought for a considerable time, but which it has not been ‘politically correct’ to say openly.

It is material here that, increasingly, Zionists are responding to the problems Straw pinpointed in confused and contradictory ways. You have people like Ari Shavit, Tom Friedman, and even Goldberg finally making an implicit acknowledgement in public of the obvious fact that colonising the West Bank was always liable to be suicidal for Israel.

But Straw’s accurate description of key reasons why it has been impossible to divert Israel from committing hara-kiri in this way causes him to be accused of being a crypto-Nazi.

Whether Straw has any very good grasp of the religious undercurrents of these conflicts is a separate issue. Commonly, elites in the modern West are ‘tone deaf’ in matters of religion. And in recent years, they have embraced the notion that everyone is heading towards ‘modernity’ – without grasping that this belief is crypto-religious, or reflecting that their conception of ‘modernity’ has limited relation to the actual empirical reality of contemporary Western societies.

Accordingly, they are largely incapable of understanding the ‘soft totalitarian’ nature of their own political projects, and the implications of the implicit premise that everybody can be turned into clones of what they think they themselves are, particularly in relation to people’s reactions to what is inherently liable to be perceived as an assault on the fundamentals of their identity.

Babak Makkinejad

A few years into the first presidency of George Bush II, Ambassador Chas Freeman gave a speech in which he said that US hand, in effect, identified the enemies of Israel to be the enemies of the United States.

I think that policy has continued under Obama.

Crucially, EU also has adopted that policy; an insanity which being tone-deaf to religion does not account for it.

EU leaders are tone deaf to the "Other"-side's religion - in pursuit of the religious agenda of those whom you call Zionists.

This is the only thing that explains the apparent US and EU policies in the Levant and the Persian Gulf - Security for Israel at all costs - to them and others.

Now, what I find curious is how England, the country of eminently and ruthlessly pragmatic people has fallen into this rut.

Is it because UK leaders feel that they have to be on the right side of the United States at any and all costs?

Do you know how one can account for this degeneration in UK policy circles?

Castellio

Babak, just to say I'd be happy to read your attempt to answer your own question.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

Part of the explanation is a simple collapse in the political intelligence of the elites. If you want to get some sense of this, a good starting point is an article entitled ‘How Iraq and climate change threw the right into disarray’ written in 2007 by Gideon Rachman, not long after he moved from the Economist to become chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times. An excerpt brings out the sheer intellectual shoddiness which has become common:

“When the cold war was won in 1989, the right embraced an exuberant universalism. The cheering crowds in Prague and the Baltic states – and even the martyred students of Tiananmen Square – seemed like clinching evidence that all men do indeed desire the same things, and that a western formula for freedom and prosperity is infinitely exportable.”

(See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2ebaf5d0-aa55-11db-83b0-0000779e2340.html#axzz2HwkskfC7 )

Some of would have expected that at any point since the Red Army brutally reimposed Soviet rule in 1944 the prospect of its removal would have brought out cheering crowds in Tallinn, Riga or Vilnius. The notion that it provided any information whatsoever about whether the ‘western formula for freedom and prosperity’ was ‘infinitely exportable’ was, quite patently, a howling non-sequitur.

confusedponderer

On a related note, it appears that the Israelis have their own Morgenthau Plan for Gaza, and the de-development of Gaza appears to have contributed to the Palestinians inability to deal with recent floods:

"As thousands in the Gaza Strip remain displaced and streets across the coastal enclave are still flooded Tuesday, it is increasingly clear that the devastation caused by storm Alexa was not a purely natural phenomenon.

Emergency response crews have been crippled by a lack of electricity to pump water and a lack of fuel to operate generators. But these conditions of scarcity are not a result of the storm. They were a fact of life even before the rain started falling, due to the Israeli-led siege and the severe limitations placed by Israel on imports and exports.

The severity of the storm’s effects and the seven years of siege the region has endured are connected by a near-total economic blockade that has led to a slow but steady collapse of infrastructure as well as a deeply weakened capacity for emergency response, a United Nations official charged Sunday.

"Long term de-development of Gaza is the context in which (the storm) occurred," Chris Gunness of the UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA said in an interview.

"It's fairly obvious that it's a combination of man-made problems and natural problems" that produced the latest disaster in Gaza, Gunness added.

He pointed out that despite the tremendous amount of work being done to relieve the crisis, it is an "overwhelmingly grave situation."

"Before the rains, there was sewage flooding in the streets because sewage pumps did not have electricity to pump waste water," Gunness said, referring to a number of incidents in recent weeks.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who's responsible for that."

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=657294

Barry

"This argument has, to me, the benefit of supporting Robert Paxtons observation that no country has adopted Fascism without first being a failing democracy. We should also perhaps remember that Germany's total experience of democracy was from 1919 to 1933 - Fourteen years is not a long time to instil democratic traditions."

And the more I read, the less I think of it as a democracy. It was under military government until just before the end of WWI, so the democratic government got the defeat dumped upon it. During the 20's, right-wing paramilitary forces were killing a lot of people, with nominal punishment; leftists who broke the law were severely punished. The Army and judiciary were clearly in the far right; they weren't Nazis only because Nazism hadn't been coined yet, and was a fringe party.

Barry

"Looking at the matter in purely Machiavellian terms, however, it seems to me that this could well have been a more sensible strategy for Stalin to have pursued than that which he did actually pursue."

Under the circumstances, I could see *any* Soviet or Russian government doing its d*mnedest to seize as much of Eastern/Central Europe as possible, in 1944-45. Better to fight the next war in Germany or Poland than Ukraine or Belarus (and better in those than in Russia itself).

Barry

It didn't get that much, but it was on top of what the Germans had, which was sh*t, so it probably made a massive difference.

Also, the Marshall Plan gave preferences to international trade aid, which helped Europe, both in terms of rebuilding trade networks, and taking advantage of cross-European efficiencies.

Barry

" Let´s not forget that young elites in academia, esp law schools, had been the driving forces of Nazism, esp in places like the SS and their Reichsicherheitshauptamt."

This is important - Nazism was a 'wave of the future'.

Also, what's interesting about the original article was that in 1945, Germany had invaded their neighbors twice in twenty odd years, and had caused incredible devastation. And that was on top of their invasions in the mid/late 1800's.

The view that Germany was a deep problem, and had to be 'dealt with' in a serious manner, was not unreasonable. The only question was what that manner should have been.

Iran, last I heard, has not invaded other countries for centuries.

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