Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Art of Betrayal

The recent history with the Syrian Kurds has shown that the United States can betray absolutely anyone, regardless of personal relationships or official promises and guarantees. It’s nothing personal, you know, strictly business…

For example, what do the Ukrainians have in common with the Syrian Kurds? At first glance, their people, geography and history are completely different. But then what about the panicked tweets from former Ukrainian foreign minister Pavel Klimkin, in which he wonders in forlorn trepidation whether the US can betray the Ukraine just as it has betrayed its key ally in Syria. But what about the endlessly promised eternal friendship?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ayatollahs Jump for Joy

At the recent United Nations General Assembly there was one person who appeared noticeably happier than the rest, especially in comparison with the rather glum Europeans. It was Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. He positively beamed with pleasure and good humor. While his speech was harsh, containing terms such as “economic terrorism” and “international piracy,” of which he accused the Washington regime, his entire demeanor belied pure joy. Along the way, he dashed Boris Johnson’s hopes of brokering a rapprochement between Iran and the Washingtonians, clearly seeing any further attempts at negotiation with them as utterly pointless.

Rouhani is certainly not alone in espousing this position, although he may be unique among national leaders in doing so openly. The Chinese have been dragging out trade negotiations without any intention to actually reach an agreement. The Russians see arms control negotiations with the Washingtonians as rather pointless, promising a symmetrical (but much cheaper) response to any US escalation.

Indeed, what’s the point in negotiating with Americans if, as experience has shown, they can later renege on whatever agreement has been reached on a moment’s notice? They do so either without any justification (as was most recently the case with the Syrian Kurds) or based on any sort of whimsy that happens to sound good to them at the time (as with the abandonment of the INF treaty between the US and Russia).

This point still seems worth repeating a few more times, although it has been made many times by numerous analysts and is becoming rather glaringly obvious. (The Russians even coined a new word to describe this condition: недоговороспособный (“nedogovorosposóbny,” literally “non-agreement-capable.”) But there is another point to be made, which most geopolitical observers so far seem to be missing, and which, by the way, explains Rouhani’s joyful mood at the UN, and which I am equally happy to make.

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Greta and the Deep Green State

In recent weeks the Greta Thunberg phenomenon—the fifteen-year-old climate change campaigner— has swept the Western hemisphere, culminating with her impassioned speech at the UN. The rest of the globe, including the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter (China) has felt it beneath their dignity to react to an overwrought, psychiatrically abnormal child that appears to have been stage-managed by shady oligarchs pursuing a globalist agenda. Some people even went as far as calling this phenomenon “political pedophilia” and calling for her handlers’ prosecution. But the West, where dignity is currently in short supply, has seen major youth protests: in 156 cities, with 100,000 marching in Berlin, 60,000 in New York and four million participants total. They called for a “Green New Deal” which would eliminate all fossil fuel use by 2030. I believe it to be a sort of enforced stupidity—forcing simple and unworkable solutions to complex, unsolved problems.

I have been unsure whether I should respond to the Greta phenomenon at all. After all, she is only one in a long series of children paraded in front of the mass media as part of a political ploy. There was, for instance, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, David Suzuki’s daughter, who at age twelve spoke at a 1992 UN climate conference in Rio about the danger of holes in the ozone layer. Since then the ozone layer has pretty much stayed the same and nobody can prove whether this has much of anything to do with the Montreal Protocol. Severn went on to study at Yale and then on to a career in environmental activism and journalism, so all’s well that ends well, ozone holes notwithstanding. Perhaps Greta will do just as well, carbon emissions and global warming notwithstanding. After all, her native Sweden is rather well insulated from climatic fluctuations. The onset of the next ice age (due any millennium now) would make it unlivable for tens of thousands of years, but this is not a big worry as far as Greta’s great-great-grandchildren are concerned.

But then I thought that all’s not necessarily well with Greta, who appeared distraught, if not to say emotionally disturbed, in her monomaniacal focus on an issue she I am sure doesn’t understand (because nobody does). This sort of obsession is contagious, and if left unchecked could lead to mass psychosis among young people. Those of us who have achieved a modicum of wisdom and perspective have a responsibility to talk to young people and to try to counteract the hysterical influences of those who would lead them astray for their own political ends. And so I decided to write an open letter to Greta (open to all Club Orlov members, and, of course, to Greta, should she wish to join).

Dear Greta,

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