Archive for August, 2013

Quote Notes (#13)

Richard Fernandez on the importance of the Israeli-Palestinian ‘peace process’:

Perhaps the saddest thing about President Obama’s Middle East peace initiative is how tangential it is. R[e]uel Marc Gerecht and Anthony Cordesman examine the upheavals in the region, focusing on Egypt and Syria respectively, without even mentioning Palestine, the jewel in Kerry’s crown. It is as if one were diagnosed with cancer, but the doctors says “I can’t cure the cancer but I can manicure your nails.”

August 6, 2013admin 2 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Part 4)

The story that follows was stolen from somewhere, but I’ve not been able to recover the source. It has a definite neoconservative edge to it, which isn’t surprising given the early-nullities brain-feed it was no doubt extracted from, but it’s neat enough to be passed on.

If Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires in space, the First World War was the equivalent burial ground in time. The German Second Reich, the Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) Empire, the Russian (Romanov) Empire, and the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire were all interred by it. In their place arose new geopolitical entities based upon an unstable mixture of ethno-nationalist self-determination and moral-universalist internationalism. The role of American ideas in the New Order – most immediately conveyed by the vehicle of ‘Wilsonism’ – was both substantial and ambiguous. A tight swirl of Americanization and Anti-Americanism would be essential to everything that followed.

If Austro-Germanic imperial collapse can be considered one thing, for the sake of elegance, the true narrative marvel of this story can unfold, because each dead empire was the germ of a world war, structuring history in its fundamentals up to the present day. From each imperial grave, in succession, came a challenge to the Anglophone global order, distinct in certain respects, but also displaying common, recognizable features.

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August 5, 2013admin 41 Comments »
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Criminals at Work

“… if the people that are supposedly running the country aren’t actually performing any of the functions of governing, who is?” asks Foseti. Anybody who follows his writing will recognize where this is coming from. It belongs to a consistent (and thus informal) critique of formalist illusion. To confuse government  with constitutional structures, legislation, or political offices, is to be blind to the real machinery of power.

Steve Sailor offers a pointed example of this reality in the field of higher educational administration, whose authorities are adamant in the determination to pursue systematic racial discrimination against Asian candidates (in particular). ‘Constraining’ legislation, which explicitly criminalizes these practices, is treated as a formal obstacle course, rather than a prohibition. It complicates anti-meritocratic racial profiling, but is utterly incapable of preventing it.

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August 4, 2013admin 26 Comments »
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Quote notes (#12)

Mark Langfan at Arutz Sheva (via):

The reason Obama doesn’t want the truth of the Benghazi-to-Syrian Rebels gun-running operation to come out is that all of a sudden the “al Qaeda attacked Benghazi” narrative doesn’t make any sense.  For, why on earth would al Qaeda attack a gun-running operation to the Syria rebels when the Syria rebels themselves are al Qaeda?  Al Qaeda wouldn’t be attacking their own al Qaeda weapons pipeline.

So, Obama’s real fear is not that he ran guns to al Qaeda, but that if this were know[n], al Qaeda would be removed as the possible suspect in the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three Americans.

August 4, 2013admin 4 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Part 3b)

“This time is different” is a slogan designed for derision. Greer set me back onto it again, but it’s familiar background hum, and could have come from anywhere. In it’s most typical usage it applies to the psychology of business cycles, as the epitome of bubble denial, which is to say: investor hubris. (This book might be the best known example.) With blunt irony, it is placed in the mouth of a fool, who is prompted to declare that things won’t turn out the same this time around (so of course they will). It’s what somebody is expected to say shortly before losing their shirt.

There are a few quite simple things that can be said about the presumption, whether learned or instinctive, that things will almost certainly not be different ‘this time’.
— It is a cognitive stance that conforms almost perfectly with the dominant sense of ‘wisdom’.
— It is strongly aligned with the heuristic that history has important lessons to teach us (and that the lessons of deep history are especially profound).
— It is skeptical with respect to Utopian schemes of improvement.
— It has an emotional correlate, in aversion to enthusiasm.
— Every civilized (or even merely cultural) tradition has an identifiable version of it.
For all these reasons, it has a reactionary bias, due to its affinity with everything that resists the progressive impulse and its fantastic illusions. It remembers that change has happened before, and what happened when it did. Even when explicit, relevant memory is lacking, it assumes that tradition incorporates wisdom, and thus provides a bulwark against reckless enthusiasm. It is unmistakably biased, because there has been enough past to make it so.

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August 3, 2013admin 21 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Part 3a)

This series was preparing for the flight out from Cairo International Airport, to go WMD hunting in the Crescent, when a call arrived – from Fotrkd (on this thread) – turning our plans back around. It was hard to pick out the exact message from the stream of excited babble, but it was basically: “You’re not going to believe what Kerry just said to the Pakistani’s …” (who, we have to remember, are next in line for A New Beginning®.)

I’m guessing you’ve already heard it – since it’s all over the media. The Israelis string it together well (notice the encrypted message to Kerry in the URL: Ufu02Kzk2-k (!)):

“The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of descendance into chaos, into violence,” Kerry was quoted as having told Geo.

“And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment – so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy,” he added.

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August 2, 2013admin 17 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Part 3)

The cartoon would look something like this:

An Egyptian (or it could be a Pakistani) walks into the Bank of America, with a hand-grenade daubed ‘Radical Islam’ taped to his ear, and shouts out: “Hand over the money or my head gets it!”

The teller looks up and says: “You don’t have to keep doing this. There’s a standing order to pay you $1,500,000,000 a year.”

Offended, the Egyptian replies: “But the grenade is the only reason you respect me!”

We could try to update the joke (… “then the black lesbian bank teller says: ‘Why are you repressing that grenade?’”) but there’s going to be more than enough torture in this story already. It suffices to note that in the Egyptian version of the cartoon, the grenade was provided by the bank, and its inscription read: ‘Democracy’. We can fast-forward straight through the explosion stage, and begin on the far side of the ‘Arab Spring’.

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August 1, 2013admin 24 Comments »
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