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12 February 2016


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When I was an undergraduate, I took a cheapo charter flight back to DC from California after visiting my parents. I was seated next to a young Englishman. We talked and like your "British officer" he was puzzled by how much I knew about British literature and history. He asked and I told him that before 1775 their literature, history and law was ours as well. He was shocked that I would have such an outrageous idea. He was met planeside by a limo from the UK embassy. This was, for me, the beginning of the end for an old romance. pl


That lack of knowledge and appreciation will be one of the causes of World War III.
“The real gap between two camps is one of knowledge…irresponsible criticism is generally self-confident: but no one cares to be told:”I am holier than thou”, especially by anyone who does not know their facts…. And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia. This gap has to be filled, or it will cost us dear.”
Bernard Pares, pages 571-573, "The History Of Russia". New York, Alfred Knopf (AMS Press), 1966

I concur, sadly contemporary field of "Russian Studies" in the West, with some few exceptions, is dominated by people who are utterly incompetent or pursue their own (or somebody's) agendas. This "academic" disaster has global ramifications. The results are in already. For the most party "elites" have no situational awareness when it comes to Russia. Actually, those "elites" did buy their own narrative of American exceptionalism (US is an exceptional country but for a very different reasons), especially in military field and they are not ready to face strategic reality--this may lead to a catastrophe. Remarkably, it could be up to Russian and US military professionals, through their channels, to try to resolve some important issues. After all, remember Mike Jackson, British paratroop general who exhibited true professionalism, leadership and common sense during events in Kosovo.


I heard some Englishmen marched in Moscow.

Not only they marched, together with Americans, Serbs, French. But British veterans of the Allied Convoys were seated during parade next to President Putin in a place of David Cameron, who chose to ignore the invitation. No worries, British heroes were way more important for Russians than some scumbag of a politician.


RE: "not simple arithmetic," "a very complex doctrinal calculus"

Reminds me,


Col. Lang, what think you of this, sir?

Machiavellian 'genius' or mere (self-promoting) old windbag?


Aye, to the Veteran soldiers of Great Britain: from the Second World War to the likes of Mike Jackson,

God bless them all...



Windbag pl


Merci beaucoup, Monsieur...



"Who is Hispanic..." That's the political understatement of the decade. The democratic party seems to be taking Nixon's observation about political party affiliation trends after 1965 as a recipe to change the definition of "American" in an effort to win this presidential election.



Yes we're not having a civil war now only a revolutionary one in that the leftists of the '60s and sundry successors is still trying to fundamentally transform America, much to the Republic's detriment.


"If the Chinese don't trust their government and currency, they'll get out of it.”

Can’t “get out of it” if renminbi required in China for taxes, and all goods are priced in Yuan (renminbi), which they are.

Capital controls are to protect China’s USD holdings, which as of Nov 2015 stand around $1.3 trillion. They haven’t changed much since 2009. If anything up since Nov 2014.


Quebec's secession bluff got called over the Meech Lake accords. Better to be the largest and best organized, if resented, single political constituency in a large and wealthy state than a much smaller and poorer independent state.


It's amazing that the zombie idea of a unipolar world continues to be entertained. 150 years ago it was understandable on the part of the Brits. It was their historical experience. The neocon advocates of unipolarism since 1990 don't have that excuse. Its artifice and contrivance should be obvious. The conditions that fostered unipolarity - great disparity in social and political organization, technology, and economics fostering the unstoppable power of one state - are long gone. Britain's blindness to the inexorable nature of the challenges to their position towards the end of the Nineteenth Century put the world on the path to war. Precious few are heeding that lesson as it applies to the US.


I am keenly aware of what is going on--I live in the US and, sometimes, am taken aback by what is going on. But, believe me, you don't want any real war, revolutionary or civil.

Babak Makkinejad

Ancient Iranians invented the idea and practice of the Universal Empire - to which US as well as USSR eventually became inheritors.

Empirically, such an empire usually decays and dies in a relatively short period of time - say about 200 years or even less.


"Mike Jackson"

Interesting. Smoothie, I vaguely recall that Pristina airport was still an unreliable departure place when it forced me into overtime in a successful attempt to get a colleague back to Germany in time nevertheless.

Wasn't aware of Russian troops there earlier. The German and English account of events on Wikipedia is slightly different. But in both versions he looks like the type of Machos I respect.



Jonathan, I don't think this was a good idea.

I disliked the psycho-analytic method in one my field in the humanities, when I encountered it immediately. I suppose I still have rigid defense mechanisms against it. Which doesn't mean the passage does not deserve attention.

The only time I adopted it was from a changed perspective. I worked with a prof in the psychology department and with his support created something like a psychological profile of the interpreter, in other words me.

Existence determines consciousness or the other way round? Of course these are only the extreme poles.

I was grateful to Lacan for explaining to me my own defensive reactions (anger?) while reading the no doubt great writer Freud. And this statement is not meant to devaluate the work of the man. ;)



"my field in the humanities" What field is that? pl

William R. Cumming

The environmental movement and doctrines of sustainability IMO!

William R. Cumming

IMO subtracting atomic weapons, the ignorance of Americans in how close run the war was in fact in 1940-41 [before the Americans entered] and credit to be given the U.K. and Soviet Union was the starting point for Americans misunderstanding.

What I never will really will get is why those FP realists, Nixon and Kissinger, continued the fight in Viet Nam for five long years.



They could not figure out how to get out suddenly without admitting defeat. pl

William R. Cumming

LeaNder! I always enjoy your comments. IMO German and US elections may be the "tipping point" [Malcome Gladwell's concept] for global chaos the rest of this Century. November 8th in the US. Not sure about Germany.

The Germans clearly understand FP is their outcome determnative grasp on world events. The Americans have yet to understand that almost $12 Trillion spent on the GWOT [Global War on Terror] largely mispent.

And while most politically astute observers are unwilling to predict it or announce it, neither HRC or Bernie will be the next US President.

Political contributions now flowing to Joe Biden astounding now IMO! But if he runs predict he will not be the next President either.

William R. Cumming

The English Bill of Rights [1689?] foreshadowed our Bill of Rights!

William R. Cumming

I agree and they will admit defeat. Wasn't Upton Sinclair the first Presidential SOCIALIST candidate in US history?

William R. Cumming


Wiki Extract:

Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968) was an American author who wrote nearly 100 books and other works across a number of genres. Sinclair's work was well-known and popular in the first half of the twentieth century, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1943.

In 1906, Sinclair acquired particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle, which exposed conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. In 1919, he published The Brass Check, a muckraking exposé of American journalism that publicized the issue of yellow journalism and the limitations of the “free press” in the United States. Four years after publication of The Brass Check, the first code of ethics for journalists was created. Time magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence." He is remembered for writing the famous line: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon him not understanding it."

He attacked J. P. Morgan, whom many regarded as a hero for ending the Panic of 1907, saying that he had engineered the crisis in order to acquire a bank.

Sinclair was an outspoken socialist and ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a nominee from the Socialist Party. He was also the Democratic Party candidate for Governor of California during the Great Depression, but was defeated in the 1934 elections.


Professor Brenner,
"as the citizen of a republic, nothing is above your pay grade" is a great response to avoidance and apathy.
The other side of the coin is another illness we are afflicted with - the idea that any incompetent blowhard (politician or talk show host) can solve all the world's problems with 'common sense'.
Thank you for writing this.

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