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06 July 2019


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Classic movies meh
Golf channel only if El Tigre is featured.


Once upon a time, the USA supposedly had a president who was thought to play four dimensional chess. The Russians have such a leader. I am quite happy that he is a patriot for his own nation, and a honourable man.
It is a sadness that Russia, which was one of the few nations that supported the rebellious nation of 1776 and the only nation to support the Union from `1860 - 1864, was so evilly traduced by Theodore in 1904 and has been so evilly treated by the American Trotskyites (neocons).

Eugene Owens

CK -

Theodore got the blame from both the Russians AND the Japanese. His peace treaty caused riots in Tokyo and the collapse of the government. I'm not sure why Russia cared about losing the southern half of Sakhalin, they only used it for a Czarist penal colony. But neither side wanted to compromise. Serves us right for trying to be peacemakers.

I'm a fan of Russia, the people, literature, music, and their defeat of Napoleon and Hitler (both Wellington and Churchill are overrated IMHO). But whether or not Putin is honorable has nothing to do with his intentions in Turkey and Syria.

I understood Russia was a neutral during the American Revolution. The Tsarina was too busy with Pugachev and keeping an eye on the Turks. As far as support to the Union, it was rhetorical only and probably in reaction to the British support for the Confederacy. Alexander II had a long memory for British aggression in the Crimea.


I once read about Sakhalin that in Tsarist times prisons were established here because once the political prisoner served his time it would take a long, long time, sometimes years, to get back to St. Petersburg or wherever. There were a lot of revolutionaries who stayed on Sakhalin knowing they couldn't handle the hard journey back. After the revolution the Bolsheviks realized they were going to need to establish a large prison system of their own. So they used the Sakhalin model to get the Gulag up and running. It was the one they knew best.

I wonder if that is true?

Chekhov visited Sakhalin and wrote about the prison system and the place quite brilliantly, I have heard. There may have been a medical connection to this.

It's a mysterious place to me, particularly the Kurils. Thanks for the comment.


Well, if sea level rises twenty-five feet, does that make more waterfront property, or less? Wouldn't that make less waterfront property in Florida?


That shiny new AD system would have been sold to the Sultan with the expectation that he will be negotiating the price of a US tech exploitation team to inspect the equipment as soon as it arrives on Turkish soil.
Also I suspect that the software capabilities may be restricted to prevent it's ambitious use against anyone with whom Russia has or seeks productive relationships.
The package won't be the game-changer that everyone touts it to be.


History is often a slippery thing, the English requested troops from Russia and a formal alliance against the colonies. Catherine refused. ( It would make a fine mil fiction/alternative history: Suvorov in the colonies! ) Then there was her League of Armed Neutrality. Elizabeth's Russia might not have been a formal ally, but her actions toward the young states garnered Russia a lot of good will.
As for the Civil war, a lot of oratory, a visit or two by Russian fleets, a completed telegraph line from Seattle and then the Alaskan purchase. Granted not the same as boots on the ground but still much more positive toward the union than either GB or France.


I think you might have misplaced a decimal. .25 feet by the end of this century is more likely.

Eugene Owens

CK -

How would your alternative history of 'Suvorov in the Colonies' handle Pulaski, Kosciusko, Sandusky, and the many other Poles and Lithuanians who fought for American freedom? I expect we would have lost more than we gained. Plus Catherine would never have let him go. I am grateful to Catherine for her neutrality at that time, and also for her great-grandson's in the 1860s. Although I understand she was playing chess with the British and not signing up for a Russian Declaration of Independence for the serfs.

Speaking of her great-grandson, some say Lincoln got the impetus for emancipation from him, but others say it was vice versa? For myself I think the kernel of the idea in Russia came from Poland, the Lithuania, and probably the other Baltics as well.


Erdogan has been chafing over the stalwart banking principles of his Central Bank heads because they have refused to manipulate interest rates. Erdogan has long complained about the international "interest lobby" that harms Turkey's economy that he and his son-in-law have been messing up all by themselves. [Many in Turkey understand this term "interest lobby" to be a thinly disguised characterization of Jewish financiers.] The lira has also dropped two points in recent days. Economist Ali Babacan, one of the early AKP figures and responsible for the major successes in the early years has complained loudly about the mess. Rumor has it that Babacan is contemplating the launch of a new party.


"How would your alternative history of 'Suvorov in the Colonies' handle Pulaski...". That is a beautiful question.
George 3 requested troops from Russia.
So: Had Catherine acquiesced to that request it would have been Suvorov the greatest western general of all times against Washington. Suvorov was 63-0 in his career. Washington was not quite that good at war. So, if Catherine agrees with George 3, the colonies enjoy The Reconstruction 90 years early. The nooses from lampposts party would have had to import Russian hemp ropes.
But: Catherine did not acquiesce. So she could have sent Suvorov to fight along side the Rebels, the USA would have taken all of Canada, the English colonies in the Caribbean, and British Guinea.
Either way it would have been a rip-roaring good entertainment for those well away from the fighting.


How to handle the Polish and Lithuanian and French mercenaries in the Revolutionary war? With the same disdain that we treat the German mercenaries in that war or the American mercenaries in the Spanish Civil War, or John Paul Jones who went on to a command in the Russian Navy.



That is a lot of nonsense. People who serve in other countries' armed forces are NOT necessarily doing it for the money.


I understand that Rahm Emanuel served in the Israeli army not in the army of his birth country. ( as have so many other dual nationals )
I understand that George Orwell served on one side and Ernest Hemingway on the other in the Spanish civil war. ( and received lucrative book deals from their service ).
I understand that if one has a criminal record one can "find a new home" in the French Foreign Legion.
I understand that some find the exhilaration of the lead bees singing their lullaby to be an unshakable addiction. ( https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/through-a-glass-darkly-4/ )
I know that there is always a convenient rational to involve yourself in other people's fights.
And yet the call of the wild geese is always lubricated with coin.


My apologies, I used an abbreviated version of Patton's poem.
This is the full version: https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/05/through-a-glass-darkly-george-patton.html

Eugene Owens

CK -

Now you are just trying to yank my chain. I've never been a fan of the alternative-history genre. But Suvorov would never have gotten past the Royal Navy. And as it turned out the only help we needed in the end was de Grasse and Rochambeau. And neither of those were mercenaries, they were fighting for France against England on one of many fronts.

Pulaski and the Hungarian born Kovats fought as part of the Continental Army and are considered the Fathers of the US Cavalry. They were both KIA wearing American uniforms. And Koskiuzko is the Father of our Corps of Engineers.

In the Spanish Civil War it seems you consider the Lincoln Battalion as mercenaries. Does that extend to all volunteers in the International Brigade, which was organized by the Russians? Or do you just regard the anti-Franco Americans as mercs? What of the many Soviet Army, AF, Navy, and KGB officers there? Do you consider the half a billion dollars in Spanish gold reserves pilfered by Stalin to be payment for mercenary services?

Do you hold the same disdain for the Wagner Group mercs (or should I say PMCs) as you do for the Europeans who fought for General Washington? I understand many of the Wagner PMCs are now in Madagascar enjoying the mining profits given to them for their services there.

Barbara Ann


Patton's line "[I have] Fought for belly, shame, or country" itself refutes your argument. Sure the list is not exclusive and of course should include money, but if you really think Orwell's motivation was to secure funds for the future Homage to Catalonia you are delusional.


I had no way of knowing you disliked the genre.
If they were not Spaniards fighting for their own country, why were they there? For the joy of battle testing new machines? I am fairly sure Franco did not invite the Russians, win or lose the mercenary wants his pay.
I think that what I disdain is the rationalizations offered after the fact for wanting to go off to far away lands and kill people.
Had the Crown won instead of the rebels, Lafayette and all those others who fought for the rebels would have been executed and their names would be forgotten by history.
The Wagner Group reads very impressive as mercenaries for hire or as a deniable SOW group for Russia or as another Bellingcat fantasy.

David Habakkuk


Coming, belatedly, into this argument.

You appear to think that nationalism is the only thing for which people can fight, except self-interest.

In relation to Spain, I can perhaps refer you to two poems by Rupert John Cornford, a British volunteer for the International Brigades, who died in August 1936. As it happens, both my late father, and an old lady who I got to know in my days as a Cambridge (UK) student, knew him quite well.

(See https://thestringer.com.au/poetry-from-the-front-john-cornford-and-the-spanish-civil-war-5044 )

She once said I reminded her of him. But both of them, from very different perspectives, were fundamentally opposed to his – communist – politics.

And yet, the first of the two poems reproduced on the site to which I have linked is I think one of the most beautiful love lyrics written in English in the last century.

As to the second, the phrases ‘the dialectic’s point of change’, and ‘We are the future. The last fight let us face’ sum up everything which, tutored by my father and the old lady who knew Cornford, I have thought nonsense throughout my adult life. Nonsense, moreover, which was in no sense harmless, but which it was absolutely necessary to fight.

With time, I have come to think that the ‘Fukuyamist’ version of this nonsense is actually materially worse than the Trotskyite or Stalinist.

But one needs to understand the complexity of reasons for which people will fight for causes, even those one thinks are very bad ones.

Eugene Owens

CK -

" For the joy of battle testing new machines?" Right!!! The International Brigades had mostly 1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles, but also a collection of old Arisakas, Mausers, Winchesters, Berthiers, Ross's, Springfields, Lee Enfields, Lebels, & Steyr/Mannlichers. Then some Hotchkiss 1909 LMGs and 1914 Mediums. The Russian T-26s provided to the Spanish Republican Army had been battle tested in China, plus the Republicans had some old WW1 Vickers tanks. The ones battle testing new machines in Spain were Franco's buddies Hitler and Mussolini.

"I am fairly sure Franco did not invite the Russians" The legal Republican government of Spain invited the Russians. That was after Franco's second coup attempt when he invited in Hitler, who was glad to battle test his Panzers and Stukas. Franco also begged support from Mussolini, who provided him with tanks, planes, artillery, thousands of MGs, plus 50,000 troops. Il Duce's air force also provided transport planes to bring 60,000 Moroccan infantry to Spain to help Franco overthrow the government.

Eugene Owens

David H -

Thanks for the poetry link.

It says Cornford first went to Spain as a journalist. Was he a communist at that time, or did that come after he joined the resistance against Franco?

Barbara Ann

Not forgetting the Condor Legion testing its machines & new tactics - the ones that inspired a rather famous painting.

Eugene Owens

Barbara -

I believe Il Duce's Aviazione Legionaria worked together with the Condor Legion on that.

We, the UK and US, did worse in Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo. But von Richthofen showed us the way.


Thank you for this mention of John Cornford. I knew that there were a lot of his contemporaries who were saddened, even a bit rocked at his death. I didn't realize,though, that he had published as much as he seems to have, nor had I read this poem. I had an odd thought reading it that the poem reminded me of Ezra Pound's (translation of Li Po) 'The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter.'

While I am aware that it might be a bit of a stretch ... Maybe you could simply say that both poems have the quiet voice of someone who is deeply affectionate towards, more than affectionate, really, deeply loves the one who is being addressed. And there is a journey involved. To a distant place the speaker, or the one spoken to, scarcely know. There is danger to each traveler, much more so in one case, but fear is there for both. There is aloneness, solitude, in each. Both voices have a very gentle, dignity. It's just someone quietly talking to someone else... Maybe that's a great rule for a love poem/love letter...

The River Merchant's wife: A Letter. By Ezra Pound. After Li Po.


Von Richtoven was a fighter pilot and did not command a strategic bombing force targeting cities.

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