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07 December 2015

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CaliHalibut

Fair point col. I wasn't born back then.

The point I was trying to make was that Vietnam took a pretty good beating during that war and yet we didn't have any Vietnamese gunmen shooting up nightclubs here.

Islamic terrorism in the West is possible today because they are here, while we are trying to fight them over there.

The point i am trying to make is that its not smart to import people from certain region of the world and then proceed to bomb those regions. This whole thing is crazy.

Mark Logan

All,

I suspect the Borg to be convinced that the Saudis are key to the position of the US dollar. It has been referred to as the US/Saudi petro-dollar by some scholars. A recent book about the W. Bush administration tells there were three things which W. insisted he brief the new President on personally and alone: The status of relations with other nations in regards to the two theaters of operation, the status of a classified operation (assumed to be Stuxnet), and the importance of the US relationship with the Sauds.

I would gladly be corrected, but moreover it struke as a possible key to the mystery of our public stance in the "troubles"by our current President and the apparent contradiction of that narrative in many of his actions. It's as if we are terribly frightened of directly and publicly contradicting them, as much or perhaps even more so than of the Israelis.

Chris Chuba

Do the Russians really loathe Iran that much?
1. They supported Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war not so much because Saddam was secular but because Iran purged the one remaining communist / socialist party and that was back in the USSR days when they actually cared about communism. That overlapped with the Afghanistan adventure didn't it? Perhaps they thought it might drain what little support Iran might offer to their faction that was in that fight as well.

2. During the stand off between Iran and the IAEA over the nuclear program, they weren't especially hostile. True they did ultimately come down on the side of sanctions but that was only after the moderate Rouhani was replaced by Ahmadinejad who was well, lets just say not someone who encouraged trust.

Chris Chuba

Charley, thanks for your service in Iraq against ISIS.
Since you were their, I'd like to ask you if it is true that the U.S. will not provide air cover to Shiite militias even if they are working with the central Iraq army. I have seen this casually mentioned in several articles. If so then I think this is a mistake; the decision of which forces are worthy of air support should be left to the central Iraq govt. Yeah, we want Sunnis to retake Sunni areas but they are not available.

Sherman's march to the sea wasn't pretty but we had to prioritize retaking the South and then worry about re-integrating the South later and it did take a while. I know that there are some Shiite militias that might be very tainted but the central govt must be aware of that but surely there must be some who have a better reputation among the Sunni than others. My view is that it's better for the Shiites to retake the Sunni areas quickly and learn how to reintegrate them rather than wait for a perfect alignment where the Sunnis themselves accept this. In any case I'd be curious if you know what our policy is regarding U.S. air support or if you would like to offer any other opinions.

different clue

William R. Cumming,

I think that if the Coalition Of Lawful Authority ( the R + 6) can achieve the comprehensive destruction of rebellion within Syria to the point that no member of the Axis of Jihad can find any jihadi pets on the ground in Syria to even be able to give aid to, then Russian intervention can shrink to whatever role the legitimate government of Syria requests Russia to shrink it to.

Probably Russia, China and maybe others would be involved in the rebuilding of those parts of Syria which the SAR government chooses to see rebuilt. Those parts of Syria which were most enthusiastically pro-rebel may well be kept in a permanent state of "scorched earth" to make sure that no pro-rebel refugees are able to return and begin the cycle all over again.

Probably Russian assets would be invited to remain in Syria for some years to come, most of all to weld the Syria-Turkey border firmly shut. Probably Russia would be invited to help SAR rebuild its secret police services and modernize them to the point where any trace of pre-rebellion will be exterminated fast and hard.

different clue

J,

It would probably take as long or longer to reverse it as what it took to build it patiently into place to begin with. One step is discussing all different particulars of the effort on blogs like this. Another step might be for legal action groups to bring plausibly winnable suits against particular groups of government personnel for particular government information operations. Enough such information spreading and enough such lawsuits (especially winning ones) might elevate the concern high enough in the minds of enough people that one or another political party or movement might adopt the goal of forcing the re-illegalization in practice as well as in theory of government IOs against the citizens.

(Part of learning the historical background of government IOs against the citizens might be studying examples of such from before 9/11. Didn't President Wilson engineer a vast Federal IO against the citizens up to and during WWI? To go along with the vast wave of anti-germanitic persecution he also engineered and whipped up? For example?)

mistah charley, ph.d.

I have not been to Iraq. As stated in the third sentence of my posting, I was merely passing on a reporter's observations - the "I" is Rukmini Callimachi. Today's NY Times has an article expanding on what Callimachi tweeted yesterday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/world/middleeast/us-strategy-seeks-to-avoid-isis-prophecy.html?login=email

Barish

Anyone read of this yet?

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/riyadh-talks-aim-unite-syrian-opposition-positions-151208062408102.html

Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham included...frankly, I am prone to vomit, also given AJE's phrasing and wording. Which, of course, is no real surprise, given their constant shilling for the takfiris.

Babak Makkinejad

There is a history of bad blood; the loathing is mutual. But I also think that the Russian Federation, that step child of the Enlightenment Tradition, also has negative perspective on religion.

On your number 2, that is not how it is has been perceived in Iran. Russia, like the rest of P5, wanted to take sovereign rights from Iran and other states at any price.

The price they paid was the sever wounding if not out right destruction of the Non-proliferation Regime.

Nobody talks about the costs of P5+1 confrontation with Iran to them. NPT was among those costs, in my opinion.

Patrick Bahzad

joining "Jaish al-Islam" and "Ahrar al-Sham" ? Not gonna happen unless current Jaish al-Islam has a weird car accident ... like car exploding for example.
Either that, or they are really in deed deep shit in the South, which wouldn't be a surprise as such.

Valissa

Thanks David for the link to the Guardian article by Giora Eiland. Fascinating to read that 12+ years ago a Russian think tanker predicted today's events re: the caliphate. If they could do it, certainly analysts in the Western world should have been able to do it as well. But even if they did, I'm sure such thinking would not have made it's way up the food chain. To whom would it have been relevant?

I found the statements about Turkish ambitions also very interesting:
'About a year before that meeting with the Russian, I met a senior Turkish official. That was at a time when relations between Jerusalem and Ankara were excellent. At that meeting, the Turkish official spoke openly about his country’s world view. “We know that we cannot get back the lands that were under the control of the Ottoman empire before 1917,” he said, “but do not make the mistake of thinking that the borders that were dictated to us at the end of the first world war by the victorious countries – mainly the UK and France – are acceptable to us. Turkey will find a way to return to its natural borders in the south – the line between Mosul in Iraq and Homs in Syria. That is our natural aspiration and it is justified because of the large Turkmen presence in that region.”'
--------------------

Long term trends, as have been in place in the ME, can not be easily redirected. We moderns have this idea that we can "do something" about trends we don't like, but that is just a delusion. We're lucky if we can manage a slight nudge, and even that would require massive efforts.

Thanks to FB Ali for the very insightful comment that triggered this post, and to CP for the thoughtful additions!

FB Ali

The fact that the US (or others) use IS for their own purposes should not be taken to mean that IS is a "tool" of the West (as many say). IS has its own aims and agenda, and pursues them relentlessly.

As the West has discovered, it doesn't pay in the long run to try to 'use' the IS and other jihadi outfits. You tend to end up a loser ultimately.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

'Russia a step-child of the Western European Enlightenment Tradition and its leaders also share the same attitude towards religions.'

But this is simply wrong. The total abandonment – indeed reversal – of the communist attitude to religion is one of the most significant aspects of recent Russian history.

On this, see a paper published in March by Nicolai Petro, under the title 'Russia's Orthodox Soft Power', available at

http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/articles_papers_reports/727#_ftn1

But there is nothing so very surprising in this – once one grasps the roots of the essentially anti-religious nature of the Bolshevik Revolution, it becomes very easy to see how grandchildren of the revolutionaries could return to religion.

A central problem which Putin has confronted however, has precisely to do with the need for a religious revival not to precipitate 'wars of religion'.

This generates imperatives which are, to a considerable degree, in tension. On the one hand, it is absolutely vital for him to combat Wahabism. (On this point, incidentally, his reading of Russian interests coincides with my reading of British: I have long thought that our 'devil's pact' with the Saudis was liable to blow up in our faces. It has done.)

So Putin needs to see the 'Islamic State' destroyed. This gives him a strong common interest with the 'Shia Crescent'. However, this is qualified by the fact that it is evidently not in his interests to appear to be siding with the Shia in a religious war against the Sunnis.

This is why a leitmotif of his approach, over the past years, has been to try to argue to all kinds of diverse people – including the Saudi and other Gulf leaders, Erdogan, the Israelis, and Westerners – that they need to accept that jihadists are, as it were, a scorpions that bite both ways.

Of course, Putin's motives in so doing have not always been, as it were, the 'purest of the pure'. It has, rather obviously, suited him to portray the immense complexities of political conflict in the Caucasus and Central Asia in ways that fit in with the narrative of the 'war on terror'. And, not entirely surprisingly, in so doing the Russians have cut quite a few corners.

There is an immense buried history here, of Machiavellian intrigue on the part of many different actors, which is a long way from seeing the 'light of day'.

But, ironically, it is partly because of the adherence of so many among Western élites to naïve Western views about religion that they cannot begin to make sense of that history.

In relation to some of the religious aspects, I have just come across another paper by Nicolai Petro, which I have not yet had time to read, but you might find interesting. It was published in June 2012, and is entitled 'Islam and Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus: From Antagonism to Partnership.'

(See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2076720 .)

From the Iranian point of view, it would seem to be that an accurate assessment both of Russian and Chinese policies is critical.

Accordingly, I would suggest that there are two elements that need to be the object of very serious thought.

It seems to me that Russian policy towards Iran, prior to the Ukraine crisis, was not the product of any particular hostility towards your country. Instead, that policy was subordinated towards what had been the overriding objective of Russian élites: to find integration into the Western 'sistema', on terms which both offered them concrete advantages and some possibility of salvaging national respect.

As it happened, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Victorian Nuland – all the 'Treaty of Versailles' types, who learnt nothing at all from twentieth-century European history – made that impossible. The 'Eurasian consolidation' they have inadvertently created, however, changes situations in fundamental ways, and people in Iran need to reflect on the complexities involved.

(Do not collapse into that familiar Middle Eastern sense of comfort, when you can find a conspiracy theory for everything. If you do, you are your own worst enemies – or at least, among the 'nearly worst'.)

Critically important is the fact that Russia now has very strong interests in collaborating with China in a 'Eurasian consolidation'. The question of what roles Iran might play in this system becomes, I think, a very interesting one. And here, it is the Chinese who are in the 'driving seat'.

David Habakkuk

F.B. Ali,

'As the West has discovered, it doesn't pay in the long run to try to 'use' the IS and other jihadi outfits. You tend to end up a loser ultimately.'

This is the absolute crux of many matters. However, at the risk of being indicted of a verbal quibble, 'discovered' is not quite right.

If people had 'discovered' this – rather basic – truth, they would have had to have realised it, in which case they would be able to learn from it.

Unfortunately, the 'imbecile clerisy' which makes up the major part of our ruling élites has not realised this, and cannot afford to realise it.

It is the belief in their own intellectual mastery which, for them, is the indispensable fantasy.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I have been aware of the rather recent undertakings in Russia at the rehabilitation of the Russian Orthodox Church and even more recent formulations of Putin's in regards to the role of that Church as a crucial historical element or ingredient in the composition of the Rus as well as in the Russian Culture.

My sense of the Russian leaders and thinkers is that they view a "normal state" as one in which the religious establishment is firmly and completely under the suzerainty and control of the state - completely subordinated in its pronouncements and policies - as was the case for much of the Russian History prior to 1917.

This is somewhat different than the Enlightenment Project in areas West of the Diocletian Line which sought to purge the influence and presence of religion from the state over the centuries (barring UK which conforms to the Russian historical).

In fact, this (partly) explains their comfort with General Sisi of Egypt - among other things - it conforms to the model they have experienced and have certain level of comfort with. The Al Azhar scholars are at the mercy and beckoning of the state, they will endorse any position that the state demands at any given time.

In Islamic Iran, they are dealing with the anti-thesis of the end-state of Human Society as envisioned by the Enlightenment Project ( "Year Zero". "Goddess of Reason". "Tremidor" etc.); they are dealing with a situation in which the state and the religion have been amalgamated. That this was the case under the Safavids does not bring them any comfort.

They are uncomfortable with this new phenomenon as their counterparts in the so-called West. It is, for them, going against the grain, against the very thrust of what Modernity means.

I understand the plausible reasoning behind the change in Russian posture vis-à-vis Iran; it was forced on them; "Hold your noses and work with Iran." should just about sum it up. I think that is an acceptable stance to take but that does not alter the fundamental proposition that they share with West: "Religion as retrograde, inhibitor of science, progress, etc...)"

I am not sure what you mean by conspiracy theories or the absence of any "particular (Russian) hostility" - they supported Iraq to the hilt in her war against Iran, joining the Vatican and NATO states and the rest of the Arab World minus Syria. And they were the ones who, with the rest of P5, attempted at nothing less than taking sovereign rights away from a sovereign state.

I suppose that is not, in the parlance of Godfather movies, something that can be called "any particular hostility", it "is just business".

I agree, however, with you on a single item, which is that all along the atheistic Chinese have had the most accurate assessment of Iran.

(Perhaps some Italian analysts have also had a correct assessment, but who listens to them, Italy is not rich and I suppose their opinions are worthless.)


Babak Makkinejad

Upon re-reading my statements, I sense that I might be able to clarify views a bit more by observing that there could be a lot of empirical historical truths in views of the Enlightenment Thinkers on the Role of Religion in Human History.

It is my view, however, that the Enlightenment Program cannot be carried out among Muslims or Hindus - and hardly even much East of the Diocletian Line among the Orthodox or in South America.

One has to know, when to fold them and this is one such instance.

bell

i realize ISIS has an agenda of there own.. even saudi arabia - another ISIS supporter recognize this fact and know it can come back to bite them in the ass.. the usa and sa still like to think they can use ISIS for their own geo-political purposes... turkey is another case in point and in a much more dangerous position in terms of location..

Eugnid

Perhaps some of the Wiz Kids in Obama's NSC think that there's a "cheap & clever" way of killing "bad guys" so they jumble up all sorts of more clever by half solutions for beating ISIS on the cheap. This may explain why the White House has chosen to manifest "America's global leadership" by announcing that ISIS "will be destroyed." by our forces. Do any of them remember what happened to AlQaeda in Iraq or the Taliban in Afghanistan? The more you kill, the more step up to avenge the dead. As a result, we've got Jihadis crawling out of the woodwork, now that it has become a great way to become heroic if you had been a total looser all your 20-30 years of life. Hell, all the sex and glory and, above all a CAUSE, what could be better than joining up?

But our army is made of soldiers long trained and long experienced, relatively speaking, that cost us a hell of a lot and are over time INVALUABLE and IRREPLACEABLE. Our kind of war is highly technical and good technicians are hard to find, thus to develop. That is why "boots on the ground" is out of the question: the stochastic losses during a bullet or shrapnel rain is totally unaffordable to us. What we do have an inordinate amount of is potential National Security Agency prospects with freshly minted polici PhDs who can no longer find a job. Alas, they are not ready to participate in the combat they advocate. Not that they should, but they-- and the old combat veterans in the Administration for whom every asset is a hammer and every problem a nail-- should note the times we're in. We fight with all sorts of bots that blow up but they seem to miss their targets a lot. Consequently, the only thing they achieve is the inevitability of "boots on the ground."

To be sure Obama has turned down boots on the ground, but he has doubled down on blowing hornets' nests that anger the hornets and drive them ever closer to our homeland. Let us note that before we intervened in force in the Middle East out of consideration for Big Oil's interests, there were none of these homeland threats on whose behalf we are decimating privacy and freedom, the basic pillars of our democracy. And now, like the hooves of a poor wildebeest stuck in the mud, every step disables us more while attracting the carnivores to sit and wait until we are exhausted.

We developed nuclear weapons in order to be a threat to one and all who would think of doing us harm. Now we are suffering adrenals the size of watermelons in fear of "radicalized ladies" and their dragged-along husbands. Do we realize that this is due to our self-denuclearization and commitment to full employment of old MacArthur like cavalry generals who are expert at throwing men at problems and when they fail diagnose their problem as simply "not enough"?

The result is the USA looks like GB at the turn of the 20th Century. So, now we insist on "going in" assumedly WITHOUT boots on the ground, to prove that "America is the leader of the world" only to invariably withdraw, claiming that it ain't worth the candle? All we then do is put a target on our "shop until you drop" civilians for any loser in need of illumination to make him/herself immortal by massacring a dozen or so Americans. So, do we really need to be there *(before answering think about the falling price of oil)? And if so, why don't we just NUKE THE BASTARDS with an appropriate weapon that pulverizes them without poisoning ou neighboring "allies"?

In truth, my Trumpish advice is really a way of forcing the question: DO WE REALLY NEED TO GO AFTER ALL THOSE JIHADIS?

Before answering, remember that those 3 million refugees from Syria were born and grew up in Syria. They are not now decrying how little we offer and how good, by contrast, they had it back home. That's 3 million that made a lot of traffickers quite rich as each had to pay thousands of dollars a head. What, they forgot their money at home? Are they now destitute because of Asad? Or is it because of the Sunni Jihad that is a desert forest fire fed by Saudi oil sheiks?

I'm not inhumane. On the contrary, saving lives is what I used to do for a living. I am only saying that if you realize that the only way to win is through mass murder, you might just wonder if getting involved at all with "boots on the ground" is worth it. This Christmas let's think about the alternative of us NOT killing people because, maybe, we just don't have to get involved. If the saudis knew that we would leave them on their own, they might not have sought to retaliate against our turning Iraq to Shias by trying to impose a Sunni massacre on Syria. N'est pas?

FB Ali

David, I agree with your interpretation of the Russian policy towards Iran. I think BM is completely wrong in believing that Iran's religious orientation and organization has anything to do with this (and certainly not that strange obsession of his, the "Diocletian Line", whatever that signifies).

As for China, Iran is certainly not trying very hard to befriend it. It has recently entered into an agreement with India (China's rival in Asia) to develop its Chabahar port as a rival to China's development of the nearby Gwadar port (in Pakistan). Chabahar will provide India with links to Afghanistan and Central Asia, thus further challenging China's One Belt, One Road plans.

For China, India's moves in this region are seen as proxy actions on behalf of the US. Iran getting mixed up in them will put it in the US camp as far as China is concerned.

FB Ali

You are correct, of course. That fantasy of "intellectual mastery" makes it easy to ignore reality.

Eugnid

Ten years in and out of Vietnam are full of memories of so many soldiers from so many countries-- Russians, Chicom and Cuban included-- whose job it was to stop Communism's march over the most vulnerable place in the world, SE Asia. Well, we "trained" the South Vietnamese to exclusively use our weapons and then by 1974 we left them short on bullets so that we could feed an endless war in the Middle East. Soon, Cam Ranh Bay became a Soviet port!

Finally, the Cold War ended with USSR collapse and we could finally focus on our rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure. Ahha! That's when the Neocons were born, as a PR crew of ex-Communists, cum ex-Anti-Communists who wanted an "American Century," as best as I can tell, that consisted of eternal warfare in the Middle East: Iraq....Iran....on to "World Domination"!!!

Except, that now, they were no longer peddling more nukes-- does anyone remember that Northrop Corp. ad with a picture of a VC next to his recoilless rifle and above it it said: "THIS MAN IS PREVENTING US FROM GOING TO THE MOON!"? Well, we've stopped going to the moon, despite no longer needing strategic weapons because the "race" with Russia is over. In fact, we use Russian rockets to supply our occasional visitor to the RUSSIAN space station!

The Neocons scrambled for war-toys contracts and at the same time did their ethnic duty by demanding that we bomb-->invade--> occupy and "democratize" Iraq....so we gave it to the Shia majority, screwing our Saudi paymaster. We then screwed them again by signing a non-nukes deal with Iran. But they had warned us back when we gave Iraq to the Shia and left, that they would help Sunnis cut up Iraq because, afterall, they are the Wahhabi leaders of the Muslim World, self-appointed!

In the meantime, the "ally" we disarmed South Vietnam to support, Israel, is now telling our former head of Viet Vets for Peace, Sec. of State Kerry, than NOWAY, a Palestinian state and no way an Israel that doesn't keep growing. So Palestinians are murdering and getting murdered in Israel, which can only put Palestine and the Palestinians on the moon or kill them all.

And so, dear friends, here we are with lists of young men we sacrificed to the God of War Mars while only facing a mess in every place we "saved." And still, Saudi Arabia, the birth-mother of ISIS and Russia, the birth-mother of Communism as allies of unknown intentions in our yet another compliance with the Neocon admonition: "SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! because jetbombers and armored cars are worth a hell of a lot more than fallen bridges and crumbling cities. Don't worry, the Chinese will take care of those as they need them to get their manufactured goods to your local Wal-Mart!"

I know the Neocons, I knew them for decades. Most died or are dying their suns are running magazines that nobody reads. They're getting fat and developing atherosclerosis from sitting all their lives and writing war articles. Trump is playing a game because he can afford to; but did you ever hear him present a policy that tops "Nine, Nine, Nine"?

All that's left is a lot of old guys who don't want their dead buddies to have been a waste and lots of young guys who ask: "WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?"
Guys like the good Colonel who seek to give historic perspective to where we're stumbling in a drunken stupor in search of hope or , at least, entertainment, are probably deep into anti-depression. Me, I came half-way around the world seeking the magic of "America" only to discover that those who care are turned into hamburger for those who're bored. And so, it's a close race between Trump and ISIS for who can best increase the dying ratings of TV "news." How else would you explain MSNBC showing hours of Trump "press" (sic) conferences (sic)? Certainly not to help Hilary, who unfortunately looks as embalmed as Lenin.

Point is, you can't look forward without looking backwards...and whom the Hell remembers A Shau Valley or the near catastrophe at Fulda Gap?

No, TV is showing 1970s movies when women went out of their way NOT to look feminine in order to sell horrible Medicare Complete hoodwinks and products that cost more in "processing-charges" than in price to the Cold War oldies and other show Japanese cartoons that depict having fun going insane. But no real history of an era that in sum may have cost us a lot more in dollars and blood than WWII. As, Dimitri Simes said, we're recycling our way into WWI using weapons that no longer scare us as did the nukes.

So don't worry about Neocons, worry about the national dementia that makes us forget the history of mixing high-tech and warfare. Trump, the bankruptcy king, is counting on our national inability to remember the recent past we all lived and bled through so we have no excuse for forgetting. If you don't like him, you always have a choice:
1) the lesser brother of a f--up President
2) Two Cubans who want and end to immigration
3) A neurosurgeon whose hands don't shake when he realizes that he's making no sense
4) A lady who thinks: "A Hell, I went through so many near death experiences, what's another suicide dive?"
5) An evangelist who made an admirable loss of weight, only to regain it trying again to "run" for the Presidency
6) A governor seeking immunity in the White House
7) A governor trying to become the VP candidate
8) An elderly lady who, at best, is clearly absolutely exhausted
9) A sweet old guy who wants a job for everyone when most people juast want to retire to watch old movies from the 70s.

We leave our kids with no future, no pension and "Healthcare" that consists of miracle drugs that, each capsule, costs the price of a car and an economy that is 1/3 real and 2/3 Wall sTreet never learning "too big to fail" nonsense.

Now, can you get our kids to go out there and sacrifice life and limb for all that when they see that we learned NOTHING from our own bloody experience?

Jack

David

China is a very interesting case and as you note they are in the driver's seat of the "Eurasian consolidation". There is a universal consensus that it is the next global superpower. They are clearly using their money and industrial ability to invest in infrastructure in Africa, Latin America and their ambitious vision around One Belt One Road. I am in the minority in my skepticism.

I recall the 80s and the projected dominance of Japan with their hybrid keiretsu and government alliance capitalism. Japan with only 120 million people became the second largest economy and a developed nation in terms of per capita income. They overcame the "middle income trap" and moved up the value chain into high value-added goods. But then they started believing in their own BS and got into zaitech and the resultant financial bubble where the price of the land area of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo was worth more than the value of all California real estate and Japan had the top 3 banks in the world by assets. We know how that movie ended. Now, despite decades of massive government spending, money printing and zero interest rates they have not been able to regain the momentum they had in the 80s.

China has had the biggest misallocation of capital we have seen since the beginning of the industrial era. There's a lot betting that the communist politburo can prevent the squaring of the books forever with no adverse consequence. Unfortunately those multi-trillion forex reserves can vanish in a hurry when insiders flee with their capital. It's not yet Defcon 1 but capital flight over the past 18 months is staggering.

Babak Makkinejad

Indians come and Indians go and nothing happens or will happen in Iran from all those comings and goings.

There is no practical content whatever one reads about India-Iran joint projects etc. All of that died in 2006 when India voted against Iran and with that single vote destroyed all the prior strategic understandings between Iran and India.

Indian leaders - like the Russians and EU and US - underestimated the resilience of Iranians; they expected the Iran Nuclear File to be settled to US advantage. When that did not occur, they joined the others in that strange wilderness called Nuclear Negotiations with Iran.

To this day, Indian PM has not travelled to Iran; as though that country does not carry any significance to India.

Significantly, Iran is strategically isolated and will remain so for the immediate future, it seems to me.

In regards to the Diocletian Line, I am sorry that in spite of my repeated efforts to explain it you still do not grasp what I am saying. That is the reason that Pakistan is Pakistan and UK is UK.

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