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15 October 2015


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I doubt it will happen but the EU membership ploy (unlikely to happen) and Visa free travel for Turks including IS members (likely) is not to stop the refugees but to get Taycip re-elected. The guy that made the deal is a deep pro european atlanticist who also "helped" Ukraine. But i wouldn't be surprised if the deal was killed a few days before the election to maximize AKP electoral hurt

alba etie

Is there anyway to know from your vantage point how much the R2P/neocons grip on our strategic foreign policy has been stripped away by the Pragmatist in the USG ? There seems to be a subtle but definitive shift in the MSM messaging noise these days here . Is it telling that the Ukraine noise has died down - and looks to be rumbling in fits and starts to actually implementing the Minsk agreement? I have a a former USG officials ground transportation customer here in Central Texas that has told me that there is a a whole lot more cooperation going on with Russia & the US regarding Syria then is being reported .This former official states that the 'contretemps' with Putin over bombing the FSA etc is just window dressing to keep "Anne Marie Slaughter's pals " off balance , as the BHO administration behind the scenes is trying to effectively deal with all the jihadis. This same former official also believes that behind the scenes that the BHO administration is telling the GCC countries as well as Turkey to cease and desist from assisting the jihadis in Syria. This former official told me eighteen months ago that the Nuclear Deal with Iran would be successful , and also stated that we would reopen our Embassy in Havana , and that he would be bone fishing in Cuba before the end of 2015- all three assetions came true . But WTFK 's right ?



In high school ice was something we brought in buckets full of bear for the tourists on the beach! (Key West). Tore up a knee on subs and went to college after. Had to have Canadian's explain hockey to me after I came to Detroit for a job. Ovechkin's good. The Redwings have Datsyuk on board, a joy to watch. I think he still has a couple of good years in him. I'm looking forward to that match up here in November. Should be a good game.

alba etie

Babak Makkinejad
From your lips - to God's Ear ! The first cats to be beat IMO should be in Riyahd .



The "WarNerd" has always struck me as an opinionated blow hard.


Count me in on such a thread. ;-)

After the Hawks game the Caps seem to have hit their stride. Benching Ovie for the Sharks game-- where they got routed-- because he overslept should've been troubling to Caps fans. But the Oshie acquisition was phenomenal and the Caps will be the team to watch.



Thread entitled "Hockey Night" is now on The Athenaeum. pl

The Beaver


I am a Montrealer and the good people of Vermont and Maine love us crossing the border from Québec. They are not happy when the $C is too low - one good example is the owner of the cottage we rent from for our fortnight in Maine every summer. She is worried that we may not show up next year but we enjoy that place and will still go. As in every population, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. :-)

The Beaver


Good for you :-)
Félicitations et Bienvenue, cher compatriote.



Welcome to my world now.



I always appreciate the bits of history you share with my young self, and when you twist the knife with Fat Norman - even better.



Gotta wonder how many analysts in Langley say that coming.



Lemmee guess; Wells Beach, Ogunquit or York Beach? pl



Yes, President Putin has come to embody the ideal of Western masculinity in "speak softly and carry a big stick" as well as be physically and mentally adept.

Compare this to the court eunuchs who currently run the levers of government in Western Europe and the USA - all of them have the same low testosterone 'gay face' with no upper body definition to speak of, and use the same kind of nanny shaming language you'd expect to hear from schoolmarms like Psaki or Rice.



War Nerd has gone full NeoCohen lately I think, but seeing as he's likely an alternate of Russophobe Mark Amis or Matt Tabbibi (taking a break from bragging about buying underage Russian prostitutes in the 90s I guess) I can see why he'd make these wild claims.


It seems established that the Ward Nerd was/is actually John Dolan from the same crew who ran The Exile/Exiled http://exiledonline.com/
He probably choose to use a pseudo because the tones of his two writing personnas were quite different.

Babak Makkinejad

I am reposting that which I had posted earlier on this forum - starting in 2014:

The Persistence of the Past & the Makkinejad Thesis

I think there is a thing called Persistence of the Past.

One such instance of it is the old Diocletian Line which divided the Roman Empire into 2 parts; the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (a.k.a. Byzantium) in the 4-th century.

The modern world was created by 3 states west of that line – UK, France, Italy and Western parts of what became Germany (and their off-shoot in US centuries later).

No other state or area of the world has ever reached the levels of the civic virtues, political organization, productivity and innovation and inventiveness of those historical and ancient areas – Italia, Gaul, Britannia, and Germania.

One major reason was that the Platonic Academy and its offshoots and incarnation continued on in the areas West of Diocletian Line. The Platonic Academy has been the embodiment of the Rational Approach to the world which the Ancient Greek Thinker like Plato & Aristotle initiated. It has stood for Reason (as opposed to Religious Faith or Emotion).

In the Eastern Roman Empire, in the 4 century, the Life and Light of Reason was extinguished in Alexandria by the viscous attacks of the Christian mobs against non-religious Greeks there. 200 years later, the Roman Emperor Justinian banned the Academy. There were many academicians who fled to the areas controlled by the Persian Empire and that tradition there supplied the initial impetus to the Muslim Civilization to try to reconcile Faith and Reason.

4 hundred years later, Muslim Thinkers were largely killed, crucified, burnt etc. and thus, excepting among the Shia Muslims, the Light of Reason was extinguished in the World of Islam. At the same time, in Western Europe, the so-called Medieval Flowering was in full swing – the Christian Thinkers from the 9-th century onward were in the process of reconciling Reason and Faith – to varying degrees of success.

The monks and priests on Britannia (UK), Gaul (France), Italia (Italy), and Germania were vigorously developing new theories of the Universe based on the old Greek Rationalist Tradition. In Muslim lands, especially among the Arabs, Reason died and Faith predominated. It was for this reason that Spain, which was occupied by Muslim Arabs, never caught up with the rest of Western Europe even though she was another inheritor, like Italy, of the Legacy of Rome and the Classical Civilization.

That is, Arabs left no legacy of intellectual development in Spain after the early centuries of Islamic conquest there. Spain lagged and even when she was restored to the bosom of Christianity and re-joined Western Europe, she could not catch up. She had never participated in the Life of the Mind between 9-th and 14-th centuries which were formative in the creation of what later became the Western Civilization. And when she discovered and conquered America, her colonies, and former colonies to this day, suffer from that comparative backwardness.

Russia – under successive waves of Revolution-from-Above starting from Ivan the Terrible to Boris Yelstin – is the only state East of the Diocletian Line to have become a pale reflection of what France is – for example.

Why is there not a “Left Bank Intellectual Set” in Bucharest – just like what existed for several decades in Paris; after all there is a river running through both cities?

[The distance between France – the central state of the Western Civilization and Romania enormous.]

[Do not tell me about Communism in Romania – it was not a cause, it was a symptom.]

I think there is also an analogue that Diocletian Line in the lands of Islam – the old boundary of Seljuk Empire. Please see: http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~fisher/hst373/Maps/Seljuk.html

This is what I call the “Makkinejd Thesis” – after the Pirenne Thesis of yore – please see ttp://faculty.webster.edu/corbetre/personal/reading/pirenne-mohammed.html .

Seljuk where barbaric Turkic people who invaded the lands of Islam. And just like the barbaric Germans who invaded the lands of the Roman Empire and set up their own barbaric kingdoms and thus created a new civilization, the Seljuk’s also caused a new civilization to be created. Iran – the one and only central state of Muslim civilization – Turkey, parts of Afghanistan and Central Asia, Eastern Iraq and parts of Western Syria as well as the Azerbaijan Republic are all within the former Seljuk lands and share the same basic elements of Culture and Civilization.

It is my theses that the Seljuk period witnessed the creation of a new culture and civilization distinct from traditional Islamic civilization – Arabs, Pakistanis, and Indonesians etc.

Why is it important?

For one thing, I think a revival of a rational approach to Islam – an effort to reconcile Faith & Reason – is only possible within the lands of former Seljuk Empire. Largely because these lands encompassed Shia Muslims among a tiny minority of which Life of the Mind (Philosophy for example) have survived over the course of the centuries.

And recall that the great vizier of the Seljuks - Khwaje Nizam al Mulk - established new schools - known as Nizamiyah - in various cities of the Seljuk Empire. [The most famous being the one in Baghdad.] He had tried to revive the Platonic Academy in Muslim lands of Seljuks but, over time, the masses of unthinking Muslims saw no need for them and they atrophied and died. But perhaps not before they gave a further impetus to the Life of the Mind in Seljuk Lands.

The other reason is that it seems that almost all the jihadists and terrorists come from outside of the Seljuk Lands! That is why – just as Bucharest will never become another Paris – Lahore and Cairo would never become another Istanbul or Tehran.

In my view, the entire economic & cultural development theory and practice has been snake oil.

Regardless of what the recipe for development has been, no country in the world has been able to replicate the experience of Italia, Gaul, Britannia, and Germania.

Not even Japan.

It is time we accept the empirical evidence and conclude that the best that most states could ever hope to be is some middle-income country which is dependent on new ideas, techniques, etc. on Italia, Gaul, Britannia, and Germania and now America.

The best of the best would be analogues of Korea and Japan – high-income but never with the intellectual, political, technological vitality of Italia, Gaul, Britannia, and Germania and US.

Africa in this manner will be condemned to live for centuries in a lower-income status.

Arabs and Muslims outside of the old Seljuk Lands will meander hither and thither and their societies always being what they are today; their only hope being that the two Muslim states of Turkey and Iran can assimilate and native-ize enough of the Western Civilization to give provide these non-Seljuk areas of the World of Islam a shot-in-the-arm, as it where, so that they can cope with the world as they find it today.

Without the Doctrine of Ijtihad - invented and developed in Iran over 200 years ago - and the Doctrine of Absolute Guardianship of the Jurist over the Secondary Rulings of Islam - also invented in Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini - Muslims will remain backward, ignorant, stupid, violent, and anarchic.

This is how I see the world and why Muslims states (or African states etc.) are the way they are – that they remain weak, divided etc. For most of the world, life in something approaching US or EU or Canada in unachievable in less than a few centuries of concerted effort.

Depressing, I suppose.

In Iraq, in fact, you can see what I meant about the Persistence of the Past.

France and UK created new states from old Ottoman Provinces; Turks had given up trying to pacify the Arabs and had to deal with Allied Invasion etc.

They gave up their claims and UK and France moved in to establish new states.

Which they did and they operated the new states sometimes overtly sometimes covertly and kept the social peace.

[Did you know that in 1950s the only neighbor of Iran more backward than Iran was Afghanistan?

Iraq was in pretty decent shape.]

In Iraq, the backbone of the state was the old Ottoman Army that the English incorporated into the new state.

And when the English left, Iraqis revolted, murdered the King and his family, the Prime Minister, and showed their bodies on the Iraqi TV – dragging the body of Nuri al Saeed in the streets of Baghdad.

And all of that with massive support from the people who welcomed this supposed revolution – in reality another military coup.

And analogously with Syria – coup after coup, murder after murder – until Assad le Pere brought stability to that country.

Likewise for Pakistan, for Indonesia, for Bangladesh, for Algeria, for Egypt.

Muslims did not want or could not understand or did not know how to build upon the governing structures that Europeans bequeathed to them.

And they were not alone – Africa was another example.

[Look at us in Iran; 110 years of constitutionalism, search for Rule of Law, Freedom and Democracy and we have this restricted representative system.

Because we did not know, collectively, how to develop a national consensus, to maintain it, to build institutions of representative government and to support and run them.

But at least in Iran and in Turkey we tried on our won to develop more Western European-like governing structures – no one else was there telling us how to do it.]

I expect the Central Asian states, in time, to decay and follow the same fate like Arabs as the Soviet-built structures decay.

All of this was a flash of insight - induced by the slow accumulation of tidbits of historical and contemporary facts over time.

One such tidbit was this:

A European friend of mine who had travelled overland from Istanbul to New Delhi mentioned to me that during that Journey he really liked only Esfahan in Iran and Amritsar in India. It was only recently that I came to see his observation not as an accident of history but rather as another manifestation of Seljuk Transcendence - the Makkinejad Thesis.

For Amritsar is a city built by Sikhs, whose scriptures is written in the form of mystical Persian poetry that embody many of the understandings of the Seljuk culture. For example, this idea of transmigration of souls in Sikh religion - now considered un-Islamic - was an accepted doctrine among post Seljuk thinkers - like Rumi:

I died as mineral and became a plant,

I died as plant and rose to animal,

I died as animal and I was man. Why should I fear?

When was I less by dying?

Yet once more I shall die as man,

To soar with angels blest;

But even from angelhood I must pass on ...

A Chinese friend also wrote this to me on my theses:

"I definitely agree no nation in East Asia has come close to the enlightened state achieved in the western European history. The reason however is too complicated. A few days ago I was musing about the same point, that it will be a long way before any country in Asia could catch up with the West, when I thought about what I was seeing in the news: Someone in Italy developed a technique to hypnotize sharks in the water, and another one in the US succeeded in walking tight rope strung between 3 sky scrapers.

In the mean time every one in China is studying to become a doctor or a lawyer. There is NO WAY China can catch up with the West by doing this! Stupid of them! I don't know if China has always been like this. Maybe it has. No one will ever know.

The most enlightened time of China happened during the Sung Dynasty, a period of great interest to Sinologists all over the world these days. No one knows where it would have gone because of course it was crushed by the Mongols just like everybody else. Still I don't think it was on a trajectory of the kind taken by Western enlightenment anyway. Maybe something interesting, but different."



Two weeks into any conflict these days, you get a version of that article. I think they just cut and paste it and change the names.



You paid a high price for that health care.

different clue

Patrick Bahzad,

I have a strange feeling that the current "WarNerd" is a different person than the originator of the persona and the column. At some recent point Mark Ames's mentor, a professor of English Literature (I believe) named John Dolan, took over writing the WarNerd columns. Before that is was someone else. After the Dolan takeover, certain stylistic and political-orientation changes seemed to appear in the columns.

Paul Escobar


Did you see Tampa Bay's Kucherov in the playoff's last year? The guy took some of the biggest hits I've ever seen. He never complained. He came back and scored. A talented and genuine stand-up guy.

Near the end, he and his American line-mate Tyler Johnson played injured. They lost in the finals to Chicago, but boy did they give it their all. I think the "Triplet" line of the American Johnson, Russian Kucherov, and Swede Palat...is one the the most fascinating things in hockey.

You won't see such a thing in any other pro sport.


Odin's Raven

It may not be one way traffic. It's alleged that Erdogan himself has profited from the carrying away to Turkey of whole factories from northern Syria.


I wonder if a seam is created along the battle lines of the various rebel groups. For example would IS help or hinder if its neighbor rebel group were attached along the territorial divide between the two groups. R+5 might turn out to be more coordinated that the rebels.


could poke your hypothesis w/many contrafactuals but will stick w/ the Andalus and North Africa for limited space


It is no accident that every university in Europe had a professor of Arabic and the European Renaissance started in in Italy close to formerly Arab Sicily and Southern Italy, or France that was close to Hispania. It was no accident that the ships that discovered the rest of the world launched from Hispania. It was quite an anomaly that a Jewish astronomer versed in Arabic celestial navigation was inducted in the Portugese Order of Christ- testimony of the high regard Andalusian knowledge was held.

Consider the monumental effect on our civilization of Fibonacci's book in 1202 of Liber Abaci (Book of Calculation), describing calculations using the Hindu-Arabic numerals that he learned in his father's counting house in Tunis.

My hypothesis is that of interaction- Hegelian: thesis, antithesis, leading to synthesis.

Babak Makkinejad

I am familiar with all of that and more; like this poor scholar who invented logarithms before Napier did in Isfahan - which died on the vine.

All of that stuff that you have in your response is 800 years old or more...

You have not poked any holes in the Makkinejad Theses.

In fact you have furnished examples of how an entire civilization seemed to go into intellectual slumber and remained so for centuries until our Western Diocletian friends came and kicked it hard in you-know-where and thus awakened it rather rudely.

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