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27 November 2017


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English Outsider

Colonel - in the comment above that you were kind enough to print I mistakenly referred to the New Yorker as the NYT. Apologies for the error.


I agree that it appears that Erdogan will make some small gains here and no doubt will be gleeful at his own cleverness in a way that is insufferable to justice loving people.

In the bigger picture, the turcpolier is quite correct... I doubt that Trump cares, he is looking inward with his MAGA philosophy. Putin probably worries about the next gaz pipeline, or how much gold he is stacking, or what to do with the Chechens who come home from Syria. Assad will do what he is told to do. The border will form in some natural way, or it won't, but that's what happens in the Middle East, no one is every happy with how it turns out.


thanks for the hint.

I checked and I saw that the US were occupying, err, not-conquesting, parts of the Eifel area down to Koblenz, having troops in Bitburg (which had a big US air base till 1994).

These are Bitburg F15 flying over the Moselle river.


US then also had troops in the big, old prussian fortress of Ehrenbreitstein.


When the US left the fortress in 1923 they were replaced by the french. It is IMO amusing and telling that the French liked to portray the "peaceful nature" of the occupation of the 'demilitarised part of Germany'.

Well, so to speak, demilitarised it only was of german military. Anyway, when I did my military service in Koblenz and then there were again german soldiers stationed in Ehrenbreitstein. The fortress is an impressive place.


Eric Newhill, may I?

Although yes, "'Dr' Puck" as aka is somewhat weird. Might even have something reflected in it. I surely do have my own chain of associations connected to it.

By the way, did you ever watched the Don Camillo and Peppone series? Must have been one of the absolute highlights in movie history for me as kid on TV. Strictly might have been the whole family.

but more seriously, I could understand some of your professional concerns versus the interfering commentariat around here, on the other hand? In hindsight I wonder. Would they classify as trolls?

Not that I would want to get rid of you or Dr. Puck, quite the opposite really.


For the US remake: I can see the colonel making an appearance as a grizzled old veteran of troll hunts from all across the world....


FK Dahl
This would a role reminiscent of the appearance of the White Hunter in "The Ghost and the Darkness?" I couldn't have Masai followers so I'll take a band of hunters and trappers from West Virginia. ("Mountain Monsters" reference). pl

Eric Newhill

I begin to feel guilty and mean for renouncing Dr Puck as a troll.

He/She is useful in presenting a more clever than usual leftist perspective.

I assumed the AKA was related to Shakespear's Mid Summer Night's Dream.



Our friend passed away and this one showed up about a year later. Still hasn't posted that picture of the Solar Clock in a Cologne Cathedral he promised. Ah, cyber infiltrators these days, they just can't get their ducks in a row.

Martin Oline

I watched 'Troll Hunter' with my granddaughter a couple years ago. I was concerned at the time that something gory might unexpectedly happen but it never did. I was told later that I should be sure that there is always an adult in the room when I'm with her. I suppose the Hallmark channel would be okay...

different clue


I can't remember exactly when, but I believe I remember reading/ hearing that China did some against Vietnam sometime during the Pol Pot period. I remember reading that Vietnamese forces fought back very hard. I don't remember whether China "won" that engagement. If they did, the Vietnamese must have made them pay a Finnish Price for it.

( Of course if this is all mistaken fake memory, I expect I will be corrected).

different clue


Wouldn't it be interesting if somebody could exert electronic control from a distance against one of those missiles and get it to do that very thing? Leaving precisely zero traces and raising no suspicions, of course.

"Plunkum me one more time, and it be your last plunkum.


Martin Oline

Was this the director's cut? pl


Wait for a new launch, then manipulate the destination with new data where it lands in the young leader's lap (literally).

Martin Oline

I don't know. The offering on Netflix, which I watched, has about the same run time as the movie referred to on Wikipedia (103 min. vrs 104 min.).


different clue,

You are correct. they fought a minor border war in 79 where the Chinese had their azzes handed to them by the combat experienced Vietnam troops. It woke them up to the fact that practicality far outweighs ideology and change was needed all around which Deng proceeded to do.


Agree Harry. The electoral college is there for a reason. It is and was a specific remedy/prophylactic for a "tyranny of the majority." It works. Without it national policy would be solely and forever determined by NY and CA. No attempt would be, or would need to be, made to merge the interests of a very large and diverse country.

Your opinion is not worthless. Just the opposite.


It's also reasonable to infer that the US wants bases in Syria for whatever use it may put them in the future. That region is a current gap in the anti-Iran ring of coverage. That seems to me to be a broadly-shared US national security consensus.

You're right though, it's probably (almost certainly) not completely about the oil except as a funding mechanism to preserve permission to stay by supporting Kurdish separatist tendencies.

English Outsider

David Habakkuk,

Your comment was such a useful corrective to the "Sir Humphrey" way of looking at Government. We all watched the programme or read the book and thought we were the enlightened. Maybe we were, to a superficial extent, but "Sir Humphrey" wasn't the whole of it. And the greater part we therefore missed.

I have one quibble - this notion that Blair was "the worst Prime Minister since Lord North". That's unfair. He may have mislaid the odd colony but there were at least some who thought North a man of principle.


Thomas -

Some western sources say PAVN troops outperformed the PLA in battle.

But both sides claimed victory. The Chinese claim was bolstered by the fact that the Viets ceded bits of territory at Nam Quan Pass and Ban Gioc Falls. Viet claim of victory was supported by their continued occupation of Cambodia, which was why the Chinese invaded Vietnam in the first place in order to get them to withdraw from Khmer Rouge territory.

Casualties were probably about the same on both sides.



Is Israel afraid of another bird strike?

As most of us likely remember, a couple of weeks ago Israel said one of IAF brand new F-35 jets was damaged by a bid strike. However, some people were off the opinion that Israel's claim of a bird strike was likely masking a hit of the Syrian Air Defense. See here eg South Front:


Yesterday night Israel attacked Syria again, but, according to SANA, this time the Israelis used ground-to-ground missiles. (SANA claimed two of them were intercepted.)


To me it looks a bit like as if Israel is afraid of another bird strike.

If true that the Israelis used missiles instead of jets I find it a very interesting development, suggesting that the era of total Israeli air superiority in the region may have just ended.


They fought since then against India, Vietnam and had some not so minor altercations with the USSR. They beat India, lost tactically against Vietnam (but won strategically because USSR showed to be an unreliable ally)

ps. Also some issues with Birma, Hainan was only captured in 1950, China and Taiwan fought for many small islands, China also captured some South Vietnam occupied islands and in the last decade they become an important supplier of blue helmets.


"But both sides claimed victory."

Nothing new under the sun.

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