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Istigkeit, approximately

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — classification, impropriety, and a concept pretty much unique to Meister Eckhart ]
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First, here’s what I call a DoubleTweet, juxtaposing two tweets for the resonance between them — and juxtaposing two thoughts for the resonance between them is about as simple a way of demonstrating the whole being greater than the sum of its parts as I can think of.

Take 1, Obama is slippery with words:

Take 2, the Europeans outbid and finesse him:

I don’t actually know if you can outbid and finesse while playing Bridge, but you can in metaphor.

**

There was also a DoubleQuote that sprang to mind, but Patti Brown got to it first, so I’ll just copy her tweet here:

Lawyers — the Clintons & POTUS.

Compare philosophers, poets, native speakers, natural language processors.

**

Also worth taking into consideration here:

  • Mark Stout, War on the Rocks, Were Hillary Clinton’s emails classified? Where you stand depends on where you sit:

    the uproar about the Clinton email server ignores the reality that, for very good reasons, the CIA and the State Department have different approaches to classification and classified information. These different approaches result from the different functions of the agencies.

  • Cory Bennett, The Hill, Clinton emails reveal murky world of ‘top secret’ documents:

    The watchdog [IG] said it found a number of Clinton’s emails that currently contained “classified intelligence community information.” But the State Department has said it did not consider that language classified at the time those emails were sent.

    Both sides can be correct, said several former officials.

  • And that’s enough hipbonish excitement for one post.

    Watch out, or the DoubleTweets will get you

    Friday, April 8th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — Hillary Clinton hoist as the contrapuntal mind springs into action ]
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    Hilary Clinton recently tweeted:

    That was March 26th this year.

    I have a certain fondness for the Medici, who sponsored the Platonic Academy under Marsilio Ficino, and more or less gave us the Florentine Renaissance, and for Paul and Mary Conover Mellon, who sponsored the magnificant Bollingen Series of books, starting with Where the Two Came to Their Father: A Navaho War Ceremonial, Joseph Campbell‘s collaboration with Jeff King and Maud Oakes..

    But then I’m also highly appreciative of St Francis, the poverello of Assisi.. go figure.

    Thing is, Bernie Sanders had tweeted pretty much the same thing just a week earlier:

    **

    But hey, wait a minute, Hilary had also tweeted in June of 2015:

    — so now who has the “first mover” advantage? — plus she had graphics!

    — and hold on, even that tweet drew an almost immediate tweet-back in refutation:

    — from the redoubtable Marc Andreessen, no less.

    **

    Nor are those the only ways those tweets of hers can bounce back on the Clinton campaign. Here’s another:

    I suspect, btw, Xavier Perez swiped that from Kevin Tulppo on Facebook a couple of days before..

    **

    I’m not really much of a political animal — feeling powerfully drawn to Justin Erik Halldór Smith‘s remark today

    some questions have complicated histories and there might be no right side to take

    — but in this entire by turns provocative, hilarious, sad, infuriating, and by now deeply fatiguing campaign season thus far, there has only been one image giving me a sense of quiet delight in one of the candidates..

    Bernie Sanders reads Rimbaud

    On the left, Bernie Sanders as a far younger man — I can vaguely recall being a far younger man myself — and on the right, the book he was about to read, or had just been reading..

    Rimbaud, poetry. Ah, youth.

    Birds of a feather

    Monday, December 14th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — in this case, Trump / Clinton ]
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    Friend of a friend or two Corey Robin on FaceBook — as quoted by Michael Degerald — pointed up an illuminating DoubleQuote between Trump and Clinton, which I’ve dropped into my usual graphical format:

    SPEC DQ Trump Clinton

    Whatever diagnosis you might be inclined to make of one of these two persons on the basis of their quote, perhaps you’d like to consider affixing it to the other one likewise..

    **

    It’s that old liberty / security paradox, chestnut, koan or trade-off again, isnh’t it?

    US Foreign Policy, Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

    Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

    The Obama administration, though they would not characterize it as such nor have much desire to acknowledge it at all, have attempted  a strategic detente with the “moderate” elements of political Islam.

    This policy has not been entirely consistent; Syria, for example, is a quagmire the administration has wisely refrained from wading directly into despite the best efforts of R2P advocates to drag us there.  But more importantly, under President Obama the US supported the broad-based Arab Spring popular revolt against US ally, dictator Hosni Mubarak, and pushed the subsequent ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Libyan revolution against the entirely mad Colonel Gaddafi. These appear to be geopolitical “moves” upon which the Obama administration hopes to build.

    I would like to emphasize that there is one legitimate and valid strategic pro to this sub rosa policy; namely, if everything went well, it would provide the United States with powerful triangulation against revolutionary, apocalyptic, radical Islamism as expressed by al Qaida and various Salafi extremist movements. There are reasons, rooted in takfirism, strategy and the politics of lunacy that our terrorist enemies frequently hate and revile the Brotherhood as traitors, apostates or whatever. Isolating the most actively dangerous and violent revolutionary enemies from a large mass of potential allies is, at least, a good strategic goal.

    It is also my view, that this “outreach” is as politically sensitive  to the Obama administration as was the China Opening was to Nixon and about which they have been equally opaque and misleading for fear of a domestic backlash. The weird, foot-dragging, dissembling, embittered, kabuki drama inside the Beltway about public statements and intelligence on whether Benghazi was caused by obscure crackpot Islamophobic film makers or a well-orchestrated terrorist attack  is in my view due to a major foreign policy strategy never having been framed in public for what it is. I’m sure people will differ strongly with me on this (which is fine), but I would characterize detente with Islamists as a strategic shift on par with the “Pivot to Asia”.

    The downside here is that first, things are not likely to come out well at all, as unfinished revolutions tend to give birth to monsters; and secondly, any detente with “moderate” political Islam is an uncertain gamble based on certain exceptionally optimistic conceptions of not only what the Brotherhood might do, but about it’s very nature.

    While the removal of Arab dictators resonated with American values , it was questionable realpolitik while the administration’s de facto support of  Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood faction over poorly organized secular liberal modernists was an act of realpolitik that required a compromise of the democratic values so recently invoked to justify abandoning Mubarak. This was cynical diplomatic flexibility worthy of Talleyrand.

    Unfortunately, the most democratic thing – perhaps the only thing – about Mr. Morsi and his Brotherhood supporters was his election.

    The Egyptian people who are subjected now to thuggery from both Morsi’s Islamist stormtroopers and from the security forces of the Egyptian military are less sanguine than are the Brotherhood’s cheerleaders inside the administration. The Egyptian people, in fact, seem to be in revolt against domination by the Muslim Brotherhood’s shadow government.

    The first question to ask in assessing if the Obama administration policy here is wise would be “What is the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood?” Americans love to personalize foreign policy, but if  Morsi were to be toppled or die, the Brotherhood will remain what it currently is, the best organized political force in Egypt and one widely influential throughout the Arab world and the West itself.

    I am not an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, nor am I an Arabist by education. Most of us aren’t – a group that I fear includes most of the Obama administration officials involved in shaping this policy. Almost fifty years after King Faisal determined to export Wahhabism, more than thirty years since Khomeini’s Revolution and more than ten years since 9/11 the USG still has less in-house expertise related to Islam than it did about the Soviet Union and Communism a decade after the Berlin Blockade.

    Perhaps we all should begin learning more?

    Here is an analysis from FPRI; it is extremely critical but it touches on organizational aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood that I have not seen elsewhere (hat tip to David Ronfeldt). Feel free to suggest others, both for and against. The Brotherhood is a very large group with a long history that includes violence , terrorism and subversion on one hand and peacefully representing expressions of pious, middle-class, social conservatism in other places and times:

    Lecture Transcript: What Every American Should Know about Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Delivered by Eric Trager 

    ….Two years ago when I was doing my dissertation fieldwork in Cairo, I sought out interviews with leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood, and I was referred to a man named Muhammad Morsi, now the President of Egypt. At the time, President Mubarak was ill and had gone off to Europe for operations amid a lot of mystery surrounding his health. I asked Muhammad Morsi whether the Muslim Brotherhood would run a presidential candidate if Mubarak died tomorrow. Here is what he said:

    [From an audio file played by Trager]

    Eric Trager: You don’t see the Muslim Brotherhood nominating a presidential candidate [if Mubarak dies tomorrow]?

    Muhammad Morsi: No… because society is not ready… Our society is not ready yet to really defend its worth. We want a society to carry on its responsibilities, and we are part of this society. Another thing, if we are rushing things, then I don’t think that leads to a real stable position.

    When he made that statement, I don’t think he was lying, and I don’t think he was being coy. I think that he didn’t expect that he would be faced with this reality in a mere six months. He did not expect that Mubarak would step down six months later and, to be completely honest with you, neither did I. My dissertation was entitled “Egypt: Durable Authoritarianism”—until the revolution.

    What did Morsi mean when he said that the Brotherhood was trying to build a society? Let me give you some background on the Muslim Brotherhood. It was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, who was a schoolteacher in Ismailia. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal was then—and remains now—to establish an Islamic state in Egypt. The way it pursues this goal is by trying to Islamize Egyptian society. Through social services, education, and the mosque, it sought to make Egyptians more religious and more Islamic as a grassroots strategy for building an Islamic state. That’s very, very different from a strategy that says, “We’re going to run for president, run for the Parliament, and use that power to transform society.” Rather, the Brotherhood says, in effect, “We’re going to Islamize society to build towards power.” It was a long-term strategy; it took them 84 years before they ran for and won the presidency. So Morsi told me in 2010 that the Muslim Brotherhood was not going to run for the presidency because it was not done Islamizing Egyptian society….

    Read the rest here.

    One quick illustrated quote from Secretary Clinton

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

    [ by Charles Cameron — sometimes i post things so obvious they might actually be useful ]
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    One quick annotated quote from Sec. Clinton‘s speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace China Conference, March 7th:

    Now when I say “we,” I do not mean only our governments, as important as they are. Every day, across both of our countries, executives and entrepreneurs, scientists and scholars, artists and athletes, students and teachers, family members and citizens of all kinds shape and pull and add to this relationship. Together, they represent a vast range of priorities, concerns, and points of view. And they are all stakeholders in how we build toward a shared future.

    It’s really that list I’m after…

    There are seven billion individuals bouncing up and down on our trampoline, some of them holding hands, some of them in gangs that want to trip up rival gangs, or make a clearing for themselves and themselves alone, some too weak to bounce much at all…

    and each time each one of us lands, we impact the trampoline from a different angle, stretch it a different way – tugging it to the will of the artist, the entrepreneur, the child, the retiree, the curious, the aggressive, the meek…

    As we know, the earth is round, which is to say three-dimensional – but the tugs on it, the tensions, are more complicated than that, in fact they’re complex, n-dimensional – and constantly shifting.

    Hilary Clinton wants to wake up in the morning, have coffee – and model that! – along with, and in balance with, her counterpart in another huge mass of population, half a globe and at least six philosophies away…

    The coffee’s good, but it’s not enough — what we all could use is a new mode of thinking.

    *

    Maps courtesy of www.theodora.com/maps used with permission


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