Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Trump’ Category

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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Aramco, the world’s most profitable company, is going to go public. Aramco is the Saudi Arabian oil company. Kinda a big deal, but only superficially. Basically when all is said and done, people who already have more money than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes will be even richer. Most of the world’s stock is already owned by the rich, and it’s just getting worse all the time. The petrodollar is the biggest bubble in history, gonna be loads of fun when it all crashes down. I plan on being long dead by the time that happens; it’s a good plan, it’s realistic, and I’m sticking with it.

I do however plan to stick around for the human return to the Moon. In 2024 if all goes well, though honestly that’s pretty optimistic. I came into this world with the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. Humans returning to the Moon makes a logical endpoint to my run. And if we haven’t returned to the Moon by 2024, why, I’ll live longer! I always try to have flexibility in my life plans. Makes it more believable when one says “I meant to do that!

For a bit of a different view on Trump’s current troubles, I recommend this read. I would have to agree with most of it, certainly far closer to the truth than CNN or Fox. I know it must be weird living in a country where the mainstream news narrative is simply a government propaganda organ. In America, we’ve done even better, we have two mainstream medias delivering a propaganda narrative to their respective watchers. Even George Orwell didn’t see this one coming. In any event, I have no idea how Trump’s troubles will turn out, but guaranteed the USA people will get the short end of the stick no matter what happens. Here’s one more good article on our endless wars, depressing.

Less depressing, more fun. The image at the top of the page, a Sailor’s Eyeball. One of the world’s largest single celled organisms. AKA Ventricaria ventricosa, it’s a type of algae. It can grow to the size of, well, an eyeball. And if squished, it just forms multiple eyeballs. Unlike most cells, Ventricaria ventricosa has multiple nuclei. Learn something new every day. For example, I just learned that nucleuses is an acceptable plural form of nucleus. Well, not to my spell checker apparently.

Cosmology has run into a little problem. OK, a big problem. In fact some are calling it a crisis, which is unfortunate. More on that in a second. The problem is that the Universe is expanding much faster than our understanding of the Universe can account for. Hopefully cosmologists and astronomers will figure out why. I say calling it a crisis is unfortunate, because in these days when science and reason are under assault, this is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The cranks and religious science deniers will both use that term to claim that it means all of science is unreliable. If scientists can’t even figure out the basics of the Universe, they might be wrong about everything! And the woo and religious myth come marching in. Hell, the Universe’s extra expansion is probably driven by the ever expanding bubble of hot air and ignorance emanating from Washington.

I think I’m getting more cynical as I get older. Moving right along, no one complained about my Halloween Horror  post. Now I have to come up with next year’s, but one thing at a time. I did think of a good post for next April 1st. It involves, cats, DNA, treason, prison, and royalty. Lots of fun. Have a great week everyone.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Ventricaria ventricosa Credit: Haplochromis “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.”)

Written by unitedcats

November 4, 2019 at 3:39 am

BLEACHING LAMPSHADES

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The cat got my frozen dinner roll the other night. I was distracted because I was bleaching a lampshade. It ran under my housemate’s bed, much yelling. The cat, not the lampshade. Finally driven forth, sans partially eaten dinner roll. My life.

In the entire history of the human race, the above paragraph will likely never be written again. I find that astounding. It’s why card games are fun. Get a deck of cards. Shuffle it well. Lay it out. That particular order of cards has likely never been shuffled before, and likely never will be again. Keep shuffling if you don’t believe me.

So, yes, I really was bleaching a lampshade. It had coffee stains on it. My housemate processes coffee constantly, there’s almost always coffee stains after he passes through the kitchen. He’s like Pigpen on Charlie Brown, except it’s a haze of coffee droplets, not dirt. And he was near the lampshade once apparently. The shade looked good when done, matches the newly waxed floor. Still, my cleaning jag may be getting out of control.

In other news, apparently Trump is considering pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty. Who cares about preventing nuclear war when you’re as great as the US I guess. On the plus side, by the time Trump is done no one will ever negotiate a treaty with the US again, why bother if someone like Trump is going to come along and cancel it? I’m missing the greatness in this, but I’m having trouble seeing the greatness in anything Trump has done lately. Still waiting for infrastructure spending, withdrawal from Afghanistan, health care for all, and taxes on the rich. Snort. On the other hand, our media is so messed up now that who can tell. I recommend this article on the failure of the American MSM.

In other sagging greatness news, the once great National Geographic has issued a “Science of the Supernatural” special that any scientist or right thinking person will find appalling. They were always a sexist, racist, and colonialist publication, but at least they fostered an appreciation of science. No more, it’s just another sensationalist rag now writing for its chosen demographic. Which apparently no longer includes anyone who appreciates science. RIP old friend.

Lastly, the Golden Rice saga. Misguided environmentalism may be the death of us all yet, I swear to God.  Global warming is going to end civilization as we know it, and so much activism is aimed at side issues like GMOs or glyphosate. Or worse, fighting against nuclear power, our last best hope for shutting down the coal fired plants that are destroying the climate. The good news is that claiming global warming will be the death of us all is no longer alarmism. That’s because it’s already happening, it’s not some nebulous future threat as the MSM likes to pretend. Fun times.

For Halloween viewing pleasure, watch this movie. Under the Skin. It’s on Netflix. Wonderful movie, but definitely not the typical Hollywood sci fi schlock. It’s about an alien on Earth. I guess. Reminded me of “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” Sort of. Or maybe “Being Human.” Or unlike any of them, idk. It’s a thinking person’s movie, atmosphere, subtlety, etc. No giant robots duking it out, no explosions, nothing bursting from anyone’s chest.

There will be a Halloween horror post, there may or may not be a Friday post. Happy Halloween Eve. Thinking of starting a new Halloween tradition in my home. Roast cat. Goes good with dinner rolls.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Scarlett Johansson in “Under the Skin.” Credit: Various parties involved with making the movie I guess. Used without permission. Since I’m enthusiastically promoting the movie, I hope I can be forgiven.)

Written by unitedcats

October 30, 2019 at 2:54 am

SURVIVED ANOTHER WEEKEND

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Survived another weekend. The weather is getting a little chilly, but still hitting 50F (10C) during the day, so good enough for me. Lots of fall colour showing up, which sucks for me because I have to rake up the leaves. I suppose I should be happy because I did say that exercise in chilly weather is a good way to lose weight. Most of the lake’s docks have been pulled out for the winter. The Lady of the Lake has gone to wherever it goes in the winter. It’s basically a barge with a bar built on top of it, powered by two tractor motors. Iowa through and through, like pocket corn strippers. I spent thirty years making fun of California, starting to hit my stride in Iowa.

I will be posting on Thursday, as that is Halloween. Used to be a fun holiday where kids wore costumes and went trick or treating. Now commercialized and child-proofed to the point of sadness. Kids aren’t even allowed to go trick or treating in my little town, no, they go to some police run function in downtown Clear Lake while it’s still light out. An entire kid’s holiday helicopter parented out of existence. The next step will be moving it all to virtual reality where the risk to the kids will be even lower. I digress. I came across a true story that is so freaking horrific that it beats anything Hollywood would dare film. In other words, the perfect Doug’s Darkworld Halloween post, brace yourselves.

In California more mass evacuations and power outages. Welcome to global warming. A one-two punch in this case. Global warming has lengthened and intensified the fire season in California (and around the rest of the globe.) And since our infrastructure was built and designed for the stable climate regime we enjoyed since the last Ice Age ended over ten thousand years ago, it is being overwhelmed by the new more extreme climate. The negative effects of global warming are starting to really kick in now, gonna be a fun ride.

Sadly, even though almost everyone agrees that global warming is a reality, they are still mostly missing the point. Even if global warming isn’t being caused by humans, it is still the biggest planetary emergency the race has ever faced. The freaking planet is warming at a frightening rate folks, and it’s just going to get worse, not better. And except for the Pentagon, we are doing nothing to prepare for it. Great, our economy will be destroyed and hundreds of millions of people will be homeless world wide, but America will still be able to continue its endless wars on poor brown countries. So much greatness, brings tears to the eyes.

And speaking of greatness, Trump claimed the US military killed the leader of ISIS. Some have claimed this is a cynical attempt to distract the media from his impeachment issues. Seems farfetched to me, like the people for whom Jeffrey Epstein’s murder is a “fact.” Doesn’t matter how suspicious circumstances are, minus actual evidence, they are just suspicions. That being said, the US and Israel routinely announce the killing of some insurgent leader or another. We’re all supposed to cheer, and not notice that this never seems to bring the situation closer to a solution. That’s because when the leader of an insurgent organization is killed, he is almost always replaced by a leader more inclined to violence and less inclined to compromise. If ISIS killed Trump or any prominent American, what would be the typical American’s response? Safe to say there would be few calls for compromise and negotiation. Basically the “War on Terror” is just an endless gang turf war.

One last point from items in the news. An old painting found in a woman’s house, a long lost piece from the thirteenth century, sold at auction for nearly $30 million, far more than expected. And Curt Cobain’s dirty sweater, right from his body to the buyer’s, sold for nearly $350 thousand dollars. The high end collectibles market has exploded since the 1970s, with new records being set all the time. Isn’t it great that the super rich have taken such an interest in preserving art and history that they are spending staggering sums of money on it! Snort. No, it’s another symptom of the rich having far more money than they could possibly need, and how worthless our money is really becoming.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: My life. Credit: Anonymous Facebook meme, used without permission. I will properly attribute or remove as needed should I become aware of the copyright holder.)

Written by unitedcats

October 28, 2019 at 4:57 am

I SPOKE TOO SOON, AGINCOURT, TRUMP, AND TREASON

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In a recent post I commented that I couldn’t think of a major battle where the victor was really badly outnumbered by a technologically equivalent foe. And then looking at historical events that occurred on 25 October, oops. In one of the most famous battles in English history, 25 October 1415, an English army defeated a French army that likely outnumbered them at least three to one, maybe considerably more. This would be the Battle of Agincourt, near modern day Calais in Northern France. It’s an interesting battle, so here we go. I should mention though that as this was over 600 years ago, the records we have are fragmentary and unreliable, so a lot of the details are still being debated by contemporary historians.

This was during the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) between England and France. Which was really a string of wars, or one war with occasional bursts of violence, which finally ended with England giving up their claim to the French throne and losing all their lands on the continent except Calais. At this point in the war King Henry V was marching through lands he was claiming in France, and not necessarily seeking battle at all. Showing the flag as it is called. He only had maybe 6-9,000 men, and most of those were archers. Archers were cheaper to hire than other types of soldiers, which may be the reason why Henry had so many of them. At the time of the battle Henry was trying to get his army to Calais, and himself back to England. However, there was a large French army between him and Calais …

A French Army not commanded by the French King Charles VII, who was psychotic at this point and in no condition to lead an army. At one point he thought he was made of glass, so he was afraid to move for fear he would break. That was just one of many unpleasant instances, he “reigned” for 42 years and was called “Charles the Mad” by his subjects. Not to his face though, then he was Charles the Beloved. In any event the French army was considerable larger, 12,000-36,000 men. And most of them were armoured knights, including several thousands with horses. They were very confident of victory should battle be joined. And while they had some good commanders nominally in charge, they were outranked by many of the French nobles present, so they did not have a central effective leader in the battle. King Henry was not only the leader, he actually fought in the battle. And as one might imagine, that was very inspiring to his troops.

Henry set his army up in a narrow strip of land behind a recently ploughed and muddy field. There were thick woods on either flank so he couldn’t be surrounded. His men had long wooden stakes to set in the ground in front of them to protect against charging cavalry. Nothing happened for a few hours, then Henry had his men pull up their stakes and advance, before replacing their stakes. The French cavalry should have charged while Henry’s men were moving, but for whatever reason by the time they did charge, Henry’s men were behind their stakes again. The French Knights charged into a hail of arrows. Between the arrows and the stakes it was a disaster. While the knight’s armor made them virtually arrow proof, the horses only had armor on their heads. So horses went down in large numbers, or worse, maddened by their wounds, raced back into the advancing French unmounted knights, wreaking havoc. Unable to penetrate the English barricade of stakes, the cavalry charge was a fail. All they did was make the ground in front of the English lines even more churned up and muddy.

Then came the dismounted knights. Marching through gumbo mud. Heads pointed down which was both exhausting and made it hard to see. The vision holes in their helms were one of the few real weak points in their armor, so they had to keep heads down marching into a hail of arrows. And not only were they marching through horrible mud, they increasingly had to climb over the bodies of their fallen brethren as they advanced. They were basically utterly exhausted by the time they reached the English, and worse, they were so crowded together they had difficulty even using their weapons. (A documentary I saw credits this as being the main cause of their defeat.) And if they fell or were knocked down, covered in mud and armor, getting up again was problematic. Many appear to have actually drowned in their armor this way.

The English on the other hand were lightly armored or unarmored, nor covered in gumbo mud. And they weren’t exhausted either, so when combat was joined they were able to slaughter the French knights almost at will. And the French just kept pushing forward from the rear, not realizing that this was just making it more impossible for the crowded French knights at the front to fight. It was a disaster. Perhaps as many as 6,000 killed, and several thousand captured. English losses were trivial in comparison, 100-600 killed.

And then Henry ordered all but the most valuable prisoners slaughtered. This was uncool under the laws of chivalry, and many of Henry’s knights refused to join in. Also some were no doubt dismayed to be killing prisoners who could be ransomed for goodly sums. Henry’s decision made sense though, he had thousands of prisoners scattered among his now disorganized army. And there were enough French knights nearby to easily outnumber his army still. If the French attacked again, and the prisoners joined in, he could still lose the battle after all. The French army fled from the field though, and the killings stopped. It’s not actually known how many prisoners were killed, it may not have been all that many.

In any event Henry returned to London and was hailed as a conquering hero. He didn’t really gain any new lands from the victory. So many high ranking French nobles were killed that the defeat did cause a lot of problems in France. I highly recommend the book “A Distant Mirror” by Barbara Tuchman for a wonderful narrative about the times and the 100 Years’ War. Lastly, it’s rumored that the “V for Victory” hand gesture originated in this battle. Apparently before the battle the French threatened to cut off three fingers from any captured archers so they could never draw a bow again. And so the English archers used the gesture as a sign of defiance, showing they still had their fingers. Unlikely, but not impossible.

I know, I did say I was going to write about Trump. Not much to say, if he really did tell Ukraine that American aid was contingent on Ukraine investigating the Bidens, it’s treason. Nothing to debate or discuss, that’s about as serious as “high crimes and misdemeanors” get. Not sure if I can get a whole post out of that, but might be fun to try. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “Morning of the Battle of Agincourt, 25th October 1415” Credit: Sir John Gilbert 1817–1897. Public Domain under US and other applicable copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 25, 2019 at 4:07 am

Posted in History, Trump, War

23 OCTOBER, REAGAN, THE WAR OF JENKIN’S EAR, ETC

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Some interesting stuff happened on 23 Oct. Well, I suppose there’s always interesting stuff on every date in history, just not of interest to me. On October 23rd, jackpot. So, we’ll start with The War of Jenkin’s Ear. In 1731 a Spanish privateer captured a British ship, accused them of smuggling, and cut off Captain Jenkin’s ear. The ear was exhibited in British Parliament, people were outraged, and the British declared war on Spain. That’s the story, and a great story it is. It is however, just a story. Yes, the unfortunate Captain Jenkins did have his ear cut off. And he may have testified in Parliament. There is no evidence he waved his ear around. And while there was outrage over the incident, the war didn’t start until 1739. And Jenkin’s ear had little or nothing to do about it, it was mainly about trade conflicts with Spain in the New World. In fact it wasn’t even called ‘The War of Jenkin’s Ear’ until over a century later. One wonders what future historians will rename current events.

In 1812 one French General Claude François de Malet launched an attempted coup, claiming Napoleon had died in Russia. This was a new one to me. The general recruited others into his plot, and made some progress, but Napoleon loyalists quickly determined that despite the good general’s claim, letters had been received from Napoleon that post dated his supposed death. The general and a number of his co-conspirators were tried and executed by firing squad. They had planned on returning the monarchy to power, though honestly it seems like it was a pretty harebrained scheme to begin with. Napoleon was very popular, and I can’t imagine support for the coup doing anything but collapsing once it was discovered that Napoleon was still very much alive.

Harebrained is the correct spelling by the way, but hare-brained is also acceptable. Not hairbrained though, even though lots of people apparently labor under the impression that this is the correct spelling. Nope, hares, not hair. IE rabbit brained, hares not being known as particularly smart animals. Oddly enough hare (the rabbit) was once acceptably spelled hair, in Scotland particularly. So at one point hair-brained was acceptable, but no longer. English, fun language.

In 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont flew the world’s first heavier-than-air aircraft in front of hundreds of witnesses in France. The first person to invent and fly an airplane! The fact that the Wright brothers preceded him by some months took awhile to sink in. Who cares. Both parties independently built a flying machine, a remarkable achievement for the era. Mr Santos-Dumont was a pioneer in both lighter and heavier-than-air craft and worthy of the fame he has. Sadly he killed himself at 59, partly because of the use of aircraft as weapons in World War One. Yikes.

In 1942 the 2nd Battle of El Alamein began. This was a British offensive against Rommel and his Afrika Korps in North Africa. The British had such an overwhelming advantage in men and equipment that the outcome was not in doubt. Sometimes great generals have won battles when outnumbered two or three to one. Seven plus to one, not aware of any large battle won at those odds. At least with reasonably well matched opponents technology wise. The battles of Guadalcanal and Stalingrad were raging as well at this time. Basically in late 1942 it became clear that the Axis were not going to win World War Two.

And in 1944, after it was clear the Axis were going to lose World War Two (The greatest martial arts contest ever held) on this date the Japanese launched their Leyte Gulf offensive. This was an attack on the US forces invading the Philippines, occupied by Japan since the start of World War Two in the Pacific. The attack caught the US by surprise, since their intelligence branch had concluded that Japan was no longer capable of large scale offensive operations. The War in the Pacific version of the Battle of the Bulge. While possibly more realistic than Hitler’s lunacy in The Bulge, Japan’s Leyte Gulf attack was also a fail.

Lastly, and nicely timed, Reagan. On October 23 the Marine barracks in Beirut Lebanon was attacked by a truck bomb, killing 241, 307 including a simultaneous attack on French troops. God rest their souls. So much to say, huge event at the time. Pre-Internet days, my wife and I were living in our truck. We saw the headlines in a newspaper in a newspaper box. The US was there as part of a peacekeeping mission. Forgotten by most now.

By most. Came across an article titled “21 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan Was a Terrible President.” I was so horrified by it I refuse to link to it. Principles and all. I didn’t read it all, but what I did read basically said Reagan was a terrible president because he didn’t launch the “War on Terror” after the Marine bombing in Lebanon. Right. Not launching the most pointless, destructive, expensive, and counterproductive “war” in American history makes him a terrible president? I’m no fan of Reagan, but pulling out of Lebanon after the bombing was the wise thing to do. The Lebanese Civil War was a horrible mess, especially then after the Israeli invasion. When your soldiers aren’t achieving anything positive, and they are coming under attack, time to bring them home. Good going Reagan, wish today’s leaders had as much sense.

Basically the whole article was neocon propaganda, the “all war all the time” philosophy that has taken over Washington. Moving right along, in today’s news, Trump has been credibly accused of treason. I guess I will blog about that Friday. Vaguely interesting in the pulling off a bandage way, right? Washington just keeps getting weirder.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983 created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away.” Credit: USMC. Pictures taken by Federal employees in the course of their job are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 23, 2019 at 5:35 am

TRUMP, SYRIA, WILD SPECULATION, AND A VACATION NOTICE

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Some Democratic primary debates are going on. I can hear my housemate screaming, so, someone is scoring points. Woohoo! Political-ball! Smiles. I’m pretty cynical about the American political scene at this point. Trump has shown us the truth, a gerbil could occupy the Oval Office, and it would make little difference. It’s just theatre, POTUS is the perfect job for a narcissistic reality TV star.

Last post for a little bit. A week maybe. Some life issues to deal with. And the Middle East stuff is exploding, I can’t write posts fast enough. Syria, with Russia’s backing, is going to contest Turkey’s incursion into Syria. Showdown at the OK corral. Trump didn’t get us into this mess, but so far unimpressed with his response. Some symbolic sanctions on Turkey. More bluster. Moments of frightening clarity, like the above tweet. Think about what that money could have done if spent in America. Or not, it is both terribly sad and infuriating to think about.

Yes, Trump betrayed the Kurds. A few years back when he pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris global warming treaty he utterly betrayed our allies and the entire globe respectively. Crickets from the Dems. So it’s hard for me to take Dem righteous anger about the Kurd thing as anything more than American partisan politics, post Reagan style. All image, no substance. Politics as a team sport, something bad happens on the other guy’s watch, score! People don’t actually die on Superbowl Sunday though, people are dying in Syria.

So, wild speculation time. Worst case scenario. Trump in Syria ends up even more of a debacle than Obama giving Crimea to Russia. This time Russia gets the whole Middle East, the petrodollar collapses, the American economy goes into a tailspin. Or even worse, somehow this leads to a nuclear war, limited or no. Would Trump use nuclear weapons if he thought the alternative was a personal humiliation and the loss of the election? Hope not. And I hope such orders wouldn’t be obeyed if Trump did lose it.

My actual guess? Same as day one, the second Trump got elected, really smart people the world over said “We can checkmate this guy with a bit of preparation.” And now the chickens are coming home to roost. Frankly the world will be better off without Washington calling all the shots. What’s good for Raytheon is not good for America, or the world. Could be an ugly transition though.

How is it that being an adult means every question distills down to “Hell if I know.” If I die before I post again, my executor is instructed to publish my draft posts. There are hundreds of them. I assume this means a lot of people will wish me a long life. See, being a writer does have an up side. Have a great whatever everyone, I will return on the flip side.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Trump tweet. Credit. POTUS Trump. Pretty sure Trump’s tweets are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

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Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2019 at 4:08 am

Posted in Politics, Russia, Syria, Trump, Turkey

TURKEY, SYRIA, TRUMP … SHOES, SHOES, EVERYWHERE. AND A CORRECTION.

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Turkey has launched a full scale invasion of the Kurdish controlled region of northeastern Syria. This link has a good map, not a trivial bit of real estate, about a third of Syria. Serious fighting, dozens to hundreds dead. Tens of thousands of refugees, hundreds of thousands is possible. The operation is very popular among Turks, among ethnic Turks at least. In the US Trump’s political opponents are pillorying him, claiming that by pulling out of Syria he gave Turkey a “green light” to attack. Claiming Trump is betraying our allies, the Kurds, who we supported in their war on ISIS. Yes, Turkey’s leader Erdogan was undeterred by Trump’s threats to destroy Turkey’s economy. It’s unclear to me just how true these claims by Trump’s opponents are, the Turks would likely have invaded sooner or later. The presence of a tiny handful of US troops wasn’t going to stop them.

While I agree this is a terrible thing, I really wonder where all these people who are enraged by Trump’s “genocide” and “betrayal” of the Kurds have been for the past 20 years. The US has been waging war on half a dozen countries for a decade, where’s the outrage? Where was the outrage when Obama illegally sent troops into Syria with no coherent mission and no exit strategy? Or more precisely, when Obama’s disastrous blunder in Ukraine handed Crimea to Putin, why no outrage at Obama? To be suddenly outraged by Trump, when the US has been conducting and supporting invasions for decades is the height of partisan hypocrisy.

A couple of points. The Kurds are not our allies, they are people we support when they are fighting people we don’t like. Granted Trump’s bizarre rant about how the Kurds “didn’t help us on D-Day” was surreal. We’ve betrayed the Kurds before and we will betray them again. And like Vietnam, it would be harder to find a region of the world less important to the US. The Kurds are in no position to help us protect American interests in their sphere, because there basically aren’t any. Turkey on the other hand, is absolutely a key US ally and NATO member, with key US military bases inside Turkey. So I’m not sure what Trump’s critics thought we should do, stay in Syria forever? Go to war with Turkey?

Basically the world is run by 300 or so armed gangs, and the US is one of the worst, despite our lip service to freedom and democracy. And most of them are rational actors, ruthless in protecting their own interests. And that is exactly what Erdogan is doing, a Kurdish enclave in Iraq would certainly act as a supply base for Kurdish separatists operating in Turkey. If part of Mexico was being run by people inimical to the US, you better believe the US would intervene. That doesn’t mean it’s right, but it does mean to criticise it while accepting and supporting the international order that creates these situations in the first place is absurd. As long as there are over 5,000 ethnic groups on the planet but only 300 or so of them have nations, this sort of thing is the reality. The Kurds may be one of the larger stateless peoples in the world, but there are hundreds of others equally deserving a state of their own. As long as this elephant in the room  is unaddressed, the US is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

God help the Kurds, nobody else will. We have failed as a species. As for what will happen now, I suspect it won’t be pretty. Efforts to set up a Turkish occupied neutral zone in Syria will likely prove unstable in the long run. Like the Israeli occupation strip in Lebanon, it may create more problems than it solves. Maybe it will drive the parties involved to the negotiating table and something will be done. It would actually make sense for parts of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria to be made into an independent Kurdistan. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

A sad week all around. I admit I overstated my case in my last post. I claimed there was a period of global peace after the Vietnam war. It was something I read decades ago, and it was only partially true then. A warning, once again, that so much of what I think I know is wrong. Yet I can’t double check every single thing I write. C’est la vie. The number six chart on this page shows battle deaths over recent decades. There was a big downtick in the late seventies, that is what I was referring to. Then horrible butchery taking off in the eighties, mostly in Africa. Battle deaths are low in recent decades, but they are only part of the story. And fodder for another blog.

I write to try and understand the world. My current take: Claiming Trump is a ‘monster’ for ‘betraying the Kurds’ is using the Kurds for domestic political points. That colonial mindset is far more a betrayal of the Kurds than Trump’s blundering, it’s what made the world a dystopian nightmare for people like the Kurds. I rest my case. Even blogging about it is a betrayal by those standards I guess. The more one knows, the more one hates oneself.

Good chance this will get edited in the AM. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Polish cavalry during the German invasion in 1939. Credit: Unknown, wikipedia image, appears to be Public Domain under US copyright law. From Wikipedia: “Battle of the Bzura: Polish cavalry in Sochaczew in 1939.”)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2019 at 4:10 am

Posted in Kurds, Syria, Trump, Turkey, War