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Anthropogenic global warming, anthropogenic Mexican earthquake

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a matter of scale, scale, scale ]
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Amnthropogenic — lovely word. But until recently, I’d only ever thought of it in terms of anthropogenic global warming, which is to say on a global stage.

Here’s the DoubleQuote:

**

Mexico is a little less than global.. yet here again we see human activity registering on a scale studied by the natural sciences…

I found that intriguing..

Sources:

  • Environ. Res. Lett., Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming
  • Washington Post, Mexico delivers a World Cup earthquake with defeat of Germany
  • Max Boot on a subtly strategic game..

    Thursday, July 12th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — by thinking of soccer as strategy I see how to make it relevant here ]
    .

    That time when Germany and Argentina faced off in the final of the World Cup 2014 —

    — Germany’s Mario Götze scored the match-winning goal in the 113th minute. That’s drama for you. That was last time..

    **

    France will face off against Croatia Sunday for the World Cup, soccer’s peak and pinnacle — but that’s not to say all the excitement this year is yet to come. Strategist — well, military historian — Max Boot has been unexpectedly riveted by the lead-in to the Cup Final, and explains why:

    I have thrilled to every dramatic turn:

    The 70th-ranked Russian side getting to the quarterfinals by beating Spain on penalty kicks, only, in a bit of poetic justice, to lose on penalty kicks to tiny Croatia. South Korea, another underdog, defeating top-seeded Germany, thereby allowing Mexico to advance. (Delirious Mexicans showed their gratitude by buying drinks for every Korean they could find.) Lowly Japan leading mighty Belgium by 2-0, only to have the brilliant Belgians storm back and win on a last-second goal. (The well-mannered Japanese players were heartbroken but still meticulously cleaned out their locker room and left a classy “thank-you” note.) Powerhouse Brazil, the favorite after Germany’s defeat and the winningest team in World Cup history, losing its quarterfinal match in part because of an improbable own goal. England, a perennial disappointment that won its only World Cup in 1966, exceeding expectations by advancing to the semifinals — only to lose to Croatia (population 4.1 million ), which became the second-smallest nation to reach the final.

    This, of course, only hints at the drama that has enthralled much of the world’s population

    **

    Boot backends his power paragraph, as you see, with the word “drama” — and goes on to speak of poetic justice, an undergog, delirium, gratitude, lowly Japan, mighty and then brilliant Belgians, a last-second goal, powerhouse Brazil the winningest team, an improbable own goal, a perennial disappointment — that would be England — and Croatia, the second-smallest nation..

    Drama, which is emotion.

    Underdog is the key word here, indicating that which we instinctively support as decent humans. And decent humanity is the inner nature of the game here, as subtle strategy is its outer formalism.

    With all your elbow pads and helmets, America, you failed to make the true “World” Series, the World Cup — oh yes, Boot is suitably humble about that:

    I assumed that, as the greatest country in the world, we must have the greatest sports. It never occurred to me there was anything commands my attention, sympathy and praise. about using the term “World Series” for a contest in which only U.S. competitors (plus one token Canadian team) take part, while disdaining the true World Cup.

    Me? I’ve probably never written about sports since I was forced into produce an essay on “goalposts” in my painful youth. But Boot’s conversion touches me. Amen, or its secular soccer equivalent!

    **

    I mean, there’s something in the tone here, an emphasis on emotion, with ecstasy even at least hinted at..

    And then you see the New York Times today commenting on body language in Brussels, again an emphasis on irrepressible emotion. Right at the heart of the NATO fault line..

    President Trump kicked off his trip to Europe with a biting critique of the United States’ longtime allies, declaring at a breakfast meeting that Germany “is captive to Russia.” Next to him, three of his senior officials seemed uncomfortable at times, pursing their lips and glancing away from the table.

    I mean, at breakfast.. pursing their tell-tale lips.

    We really need to focus our attention on the factor sometimes called “morale”. Call it esprit, spirit: it’s the better half of the battle, or of any contest.

    And then, here we go with the “underdog” again, in today’s WaPo:

    The Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, inhabited by 173 people, may seem unassuming, with homes made of wood and tarpaulin and surrounded by animal pens. But its strategic location puts it at the heart of the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

    What taste does that paragraph leave in the mind, the heart, decision-making?

    **

    And Boot didn’t even mention the small artificial earthquake detected in Mexico City “possibly due to mass jumping” when Mexico scored against Germany..

    Guest Post: Hays on From Matamoros to Managua

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

    [mark safranski / “zen“]

    See the source image

    “Jack Hays“. Mr. Hays has considerable experience in a number of political and policy positions inside government and out and shares with the ZP readership our appreciation for history, strategy and other things further afield. Mr. Hays also has extensive time south of the border. He wrote this brief essay elsewhere and gave permission to share it.

    From Matamoros to Managua live just under 170 million people. Their societies are coming apart. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily poor — especially in Mexico — though they frequently are. It does mean that for various reasons, be it the stresses of global trends, misgovernance, societal pathologies, historical causes, or beyond, their institutions are failing. It is likely no accident that this comes to pass in the generation after the era of autocratic parties and strong men. The succeeding era of democracy and pluralism is both liberating and rapacious: for many it has exchanged the danger of being killed by the state for the danger of being killed by nearly anyone. What arises in the aftermath is therefore exceptionally violent. It is not unfamiliar in human history: even at the most glorious moment of the Siglo de Oro, everyday Spanish life was also exceptionally violent. But that isn’t the right comparison: what you see in, say, northern Mexico or urban Honduras is less 16th-century Spain than 17th-century Germany — or 21st-century Damascus. It is a terrifying and brutal existence, and people quite rationally flee.

    They especially flee when they are trying to protect children they love.

    There is nothing — nothing short of murder — that deters flight and migration in those conditions. Therefore, there being still some things we won’t try, the questions arises: what will we try? If we aren’t going to take them in, what do we do?
    What are you willing to have America do to stabilize these societies? The probable answer probably includes things like open or preferential trade. It probably includes aggressive engagement with local politics. It probably includes forcible imposition of our own law-enforcement institutions upon theirs. It may even include the use, in some form, of the United States military. None of this is speculative. All of it has happened before. All of it also ended in mostly the same way: there was a desultory clash of arms, the United States demanded certain things of local sovereigns, and events resolved when someone assumed autocratic control of the southern reaches.

    None of this is consonant with our postwar models of American behavior. Yes, we are the country that conquered Panama in 1989; we are also the country that was turned away by a mob from Haitian shores in 1994. We are also the country that doggedly tries to inculcate democratic civic norms in places like Afghanistan when a monarch or a warlord would quite suffice. We have an aversion to nation-building and then we do a great deal of it badly.

    But nation-building is precisely what is needed from Matamoros to Mexico. It is for their sake, and ours. The task is gigantic, and before the real crisis is upon us — which will involve millions on the move, not mere thousands — we still have time to undertake it. But we think it is about ourselves, we think they can govern themselves, we imagine we have anything more compelling to pressure them with than the things they fled in San Pedro Sula, in Ciudad Mier, in San Salvador, in a thousand over violent corners of an ancient and bloody land. We are wrong on all counts.

    We act, or action is forced upon us. So what are you willing to do?

    Metaphors, more ii

    Monday, June 18th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing from Metaphors, more — which has become seriously overloaded and is listing to port ]
    .

    This one’s from Cass R. Sunstein, It Can Happen Here, in the LRB:

    What matters are “we anonymous others” who are not just “pawns in the chess game,” because the “most powerful dictators, ministers, and generals are powerless against the simultaneous mass decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.”

    That’s worth reading and (critically) pondering in its entirety — partly because Sunsttein’s a writer worth pondering (I was particularluy taken with his exploration of Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures), but also because the comparison of developments leading up to Nazi Germany and events here in Trumpian USA is both a significant topic and one that is all too easily and often marred by hyperbole, and therefore demands deliberative elucidation in long form, rather than brash assertiveness or denial in short.

    **

    Okay, now here’s a doozy.

    I’m more used to questioning “prophetic” explanations of earthquakes and the like as literal acts of God, but some seismologists in Mexico have an altogether more engaging explanation:

    Did Mexico’s Revelry in World Cup Win Over Germany Cause an Earthquake?

    Late Sunday morning, seismic sensors in Mexico City detected what was reported to be a small earthquake. But it was triggered in an “artificial manner,” according to the group monitoring the gauges.

    “Possibly because of mass jumping,” said the group, the Institute of Geologic and Atmospheric Investigations in Mexico, which said that at least two of its sensors picked up the activity.

    The cause of that mass jumping? Moments before, the Mexican men’s national soccer team had scored a goal against powerhouse Germany in their group-stage match in the World Cup in Moscow.

    I’ve heard of the idea that soldiers marching across a bridge might cause it to collapse — but an entire earthquake? I stand impressed..

    **

    Ourob, New Yorker:

    The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation

    Bell Pottinger’s work in South Africa included the covert dissemination of articles, cartoons, blog posts, and tweets implying that the Guptas’ opponents were upholding a racist system. As the brothers’ influence over Zuma’s government fell under increasing scrutiny, Bell Pottinger’s tactics were exposed. More details of the Oakbay account became public, including revelations about the inflammatory economic-emancipation campaign. Soon, one of the world’s savviest reputation-management companies became embroiled in a reputational scandal. Bell Pottinger could not contain the uproar, and, in September, 2017, it collapsed.

    **

    Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan:

    [Coming 8/31] When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies.

    Ah, yes, “a deadly game of cat and mouse”.

    **

    I’ll add more good or odd ones as they occur..

    Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern

    Monday, April 30th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — a quick dip into the news, the Koreas, Gaza and Israel, Tijuana and San Diego ]
    .

    At the Korean border, axes as weapons:

    In 1976, American soldiers guarding the border between North and South Korea were given what seemed like a simple task: trim a poplar tree blocking the view of a United Nations command post within the demilitarized zone, or DMZ, that had separated the two countries since the end of the Korean War.

    [ .. ]

    But after 10 or 15 minutes, a North Korean officer ordered the tree-trimming to stop. When the Americans refused, the North Koreans sent for reinforcements.

    “When they arrived … the North Koreans suddenly attacked, killing the two U.S. officers and injuring four Americans and four South Koreans,” Don Oberdorfer reported for The Washington Post. “Witnesses said the North Koreans used the axes intended for tree-trimming as their weapons.”

    The poplar incident nearly started a second war between North Korea and the United States, which launched a massive military operation that involved hundreds of troops, B-52 bombers, fighter jets and an aircraft carrier. It was dubbed Operation Paul Bunyan, after the giant lumberjack of American folklore./>

    **

    At the Israeli border, death is equal to life?

    Say what you will about root causes and immediate ones — about incitement and militancy, about siege and control, about who did what first to whom — one thing is clear. More than a decade of deprivation and desperation, with little hope of relief, has led thousands of young Gazans to throw themselves into a protest that few, if any, think can actually achieve its stated goal: a return to the homes in what is now Israel that their forebears left behind in 1948.

    In five weeks of protests, 46 people have been killed, and hundreds more have been badly wounded, according to the Gaza health ministry.

    [ .. ]

    “It doesn’t matter to me if they shoot me or not,” he said in a quiet moment inside his family’s tent. “Death or life — it’s the same thing.”

    **

    After 3,000 miles, the American border:

    A long, grueling journey gave way to what could be a long, uncertain asylum process Sunday as a caravan of immigrants finally reached the border between the United States and Mexico, setting up a dramatic moment and a test of President Trump’s anti-immigrant politics.

    More than 150 migrants, part of a caravan that once numbered about 1,200 and headed north in March from Mexico’s border with Guatemala, were prepared to seek asylum from United States immigration officials.

    But in what was likely to be one of many curves on the road, the migrants were told Sunday afternoon that the immigration officials could not process their claims, and they would have to spend the night on the Mexican side of the border.

    **

    When I was yet a boy, I was sent out with a companion, both of us armed with .303 rifles dating back to World War Zero, to guard the grounds of our school, Wellington College, named for the Iron Duke, from Frank Mitchell aka “The Mad Axeman”, named for his murder rampage, who had escaped a couple of hours earlier from Broadmoor Hospital for the Criminally Insane, named for its location and inmates, whose grounds were near our own in the scrublands near Sandhurst, the British West Point, with some sort of common geist haunting the three establishments.

    My mild afright patrolling for the Axeman — if I confronted him, should I cry out “Stand and deliver” or “Who goes there”?? — can hardly compare with the terror inspired by North Korean troops equipped with axes..

    Nor can my six year term as a boarder at Wellington, where I was once beaten — four, I think, with a bamboo cane — for doing the Times crossword puzzle in preference to my maths homework, possibly compare with the sense of confinement experienced by the Gaza Palestinians..

    San Diego beaches, however, I have some little experience of — that’s San Diego beach, US of A to the right of the border wall in the photo above; to the left of the wall, however, it’s Tijuana beach, Mexico — and as Rudyard Kipling might have said, “seldom, if ever, the twain shall meet”.

    **

    Sources:

  • WaPo, At Korean summit in DMZ, ‘deranged’ ax murders still cast a shadow
  • NYT, For Gaza Protester, Living or Dying Is the ‘Same Thing’
  • NYT, Migrant Caravan, After Grueling Trip, Reaches U.S. Border. Now the Really Hard Part
  • See also:

  • Zenpundit, The Korean border / no border dance
  • Zenpundit, Sunday surprise: thinking of the Koreas, more

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