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It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 4

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — manufactured, seized, slammed, gagged, shot down, bled, died — more marvelous & terrible metaphors &c ]

Here we go again..


Melber, The Beat:

0 This is going to be a metaphysical, legal, rhetorical debate we’re going to be having for a while..
7 You have the hammer being dropped on Paul Manafort ..
11 You are saying we can do the over under with anyone who wants to play ..
13 Look, I think the judge’s instruction has shown she is quite serious about not turning her court into a circus.
You can’t go onto the steps of the courthouse, where witnbesses might be coming in, or prospective jurors, and turn it into a circus by holding big press conferences ..
And we’re not going to turn it into some kind of reality show set ..
19 More people in the mosaic are coming together
32 Ralph Peters: So many people have died and bled for that Constitution, the least the Republicans can do in the Senate would be to risk a Primary challenge. It’s not exactly Omaha Beach..
Ari: How can I say it fairly? Making the case against this being an emergency at his announcement of the emergency .. [paradox, ourob]
41-2 Malcolm Nance: I think he {Sen Menendez] was signaling what people have been asking for about three years now. Listen, you know, that it’s finally filtered its way up to the halls of Congress, ton where questions like this, which we have been talking about every night for two and a half years non-stop, to where it can be put into the Congressional Record the query, What does a foreign power have over our President? now will lead out into the investigations which must happen. Clearly Donald Trump is in debt to Russia for something.
Well, you mentioned the way information and politics, and I’m sure to some degree in the work you focus on, Where do people’s ideas about things come from..
This is very serious pool ..


00-1 Trump: Everyone knows that walls work .. Everyone knows — that, Nancy knows it, Chuck knows it — it’s all a big lie, it’s a con game — if we have a wall we won’t need the military, because we’d have a wall ..
Noah Rothman: The Maadisonian scheme is falling apart. No longer is Congress a jealous guardian of its own authority ..
I don’t want a ‘two can play at this’ game type of political maneuvering that’s happening right now ..
The wall is a McGuffin ..
Power is a one-way ratchet ..
Ann Coulter re AOC: She’s off the reservation, but everyone understands that ..
Jeremy Bash: That meeting was a Russian government delegation meeting with the high command of the Trump campaign to talk about sanctions relief ..
Their histories {Stone, Manafort] sort of follow around each other.. [dbl helix?]

All In, Chris Hyes:
California is prepared to call this what it is, which is Theater of the Absurd. California is prepared to continue to remind the American people this is a manufactured crisis ..
We don’t want to participate in this show any more ..
We don’t want to play. We don’t want to be part of this. We don’t want to be part of this theater. We don’t want to be part of this political misdirection ..
maxine waters: He’s up against the wall ..
coulter: forget the fact that he’s digging his own grave ..



Tecovas western boots ad: Value is one of our values .. [ourob]

Ralph Peters Finds the Deep End….and Keeps on Going

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

It’s not every day I hear a military analyst hope for the execution of one of our own soldiers captured by the Taliban. Even the FOXnews anchor babe, psuedo-journalist looks like she’s trying to find her jaw on the floor when Peters finishes his rant.

Was Peters on crack during the taping of this segment? WTF?

Pushtunistan Rising?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Steve Hynd at Newshoggers made the intriguing suggestion of an independent Pushtun state as a solution to the strategic problems of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The Pushtuns, like the Kurds are one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state:

The Punjabi and Sindh populations have always regarded the Pashtun as mountain wild men, bandits and reivers. The Pashtun have always regarded their neighbours as prey for their raids. It’s been that way since before the British arrived and shows no sign of abating anytime soon. The Pashtun were only forced at gunpoint into accepting the splitting of their traditional tribal ranges by the Durand Line in 1893. The situation is entirely analogous to the old border reiver clans of the English/Scottish border – another bunch of inter-related hill country wildmen who raided their neighbours irrespective of nationality for over 300 years before finally calming down and accepting imposed nationality. That territorial stramash was only solved by exiling the worst offenders to the American colonies.

….More, with the Pashtun in their own homeland free from outside overlords their reason for supporting the Taliban politically would disappear and the incompatibility between the Taliban’s extreme form of Islam and the Pashtun’s own traditional religious forms would put the two at odds more often than not.

Rather than insisting on fighting the Pashtun, the amswer in Af/Pak may lie in giving them back the independence they once had.

Read the rest here

Sort of like Ralph Peters famous re-drawing of the Mideast map a few years ago, Steve’s suggestion is provocative.The Kurds took decades to get beyond the Talabani-Barzani rivalry and seize the de facto independence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq made possible and “frontier agents”, whether British or from the ISI , have always succeeded in playing off one Pushtun group against another with only the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 creating even semi-unity among Pushtuns – and then temporarily. This is the stuff of Pakistani nightmares but a latent sense of Pushtun nationalism lurks in the shadows, with Afghanistan being thought of as a “Greater Pushtunistan”.

Mumbai Musings

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Some heavy hitters reflect on the Mumbai Massacre:

John RobbURBAN TAKEDOWN: MUMBAI,  JOURNAL: More on Tactical Innovation, JOURNAL: Off the Shelf Leverage

Ralph PetersDevils in Mumbai ( Hat tip Morgan)

Thomas P.M. BarnettThis attack will work against them

DNIImplications of Mumbai

Robert KaganThe Sovereignty Dodge (Hat Tip NYKR in DC)

On a related note, here is Shlok Vaidya’s radio interview with John Batchelor.

Pakistan is a ramshackle state whose Punjabi military elite have a remarkable talent for brazenly playing with fire, given the fragility and artificiality of their country and their previous loss of Bangladesh (West Pakistan) through genocide and military incompetence. The Pushtuns are quasi-independent, the Baluchis would like to be and the Kashmiris are loose cannons. If any regime is vulnerable to the tactic of state sponsored terrorism and granular insurgency, it’s Islamabad.

Barnett on Peters analyzing Putin

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Ralph Peters has written a remarkably restrained ( for Peters) overview-analysis of Russian Prime Minister/strongman Vladimir Putin:

Why Putin should scare us

Putin has a quality found in elite intelligence personnel: the ability to discard all preconceptions when scrutinizing a target. And when he decides to strike, he doesn’t look back. This is not good news for his opponents, foreign or domestic.

Among the many reasons we misjudge Putin is our insistence on seeing him as “like us.” He’s not. His stage-management of the Georgia invasion was a perfect example: Western intelligence agencies had been monitoring Russian activities in the Caucasus for years and fully expected a confrontation. Even so, our analysts assumed that Russia wouldn’t act during this summer’s Olympics, traditionally an interval of peace.

Putin had been conditioned to read the strategic cards differently: The world’s attention would be focused on the Games, and key world leaders would be in Beijing, far from their crisis-management staffs. Europe’s bureaucrats and senior NATO officials would be on their August vacations. The circumstances were ideal.

It has also become a truism that Putin’s foolish for relying on oil, gas and mineral revenue while failing to diversify his economy. But Russia’s strongman knows what he’s doing: He prefers a wealthy government to a wealthy society. Putin can control a handful of oligarchs whose fortunes flow from a narrow range of sources (once Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky sits in prison for crossing the Kremlin), but a diversified economy would decentralize power.

Dr. Barnett, himself, like Peters, a former Cold War-era Sovietologist, critiqued Peters article:

Peters on Putin: nationalist and pragmatic, mystical and cold, and plays by own rules

I tend to underappreciate Peters’ gushy over-estimation of Putin’s “brilliance” (he just acts boldly in ways that excite this former intell officer), and note his lack of any mention regarding the economic price Moscow has so far paid over Georgia (mil analysts tend to downplay financial repercussions in general).

It’s just the conclusion that I find clearly overwrought: Putin is possibly problem #1 for the next prez.

In sum, a very traditional analysis of a guy who exploits tradition nicely at home but also indicates he “gets” the current world fairly accurately and takes advantage only where we let him through our choices. No clear analysis of how our strategic interests are actually harmed, but no matter. A quick comparison (favorable) to Osama, but at least he skipped the usual Hitler one. No sense of Russia’s poor long-term economic trajectory.

I think Tom largely pegged it. Peters overshot on “mysticism” and “brilliance” but did a pretty good analysis, minus the blindness toward economic factors that represent the long-term definers of strategic, though not tactical, options for Russia.  The chances of Putin being even culturally influenced by traditional Orthodoxy are approximately zero, though Putin the shrewd politician probably appreciates the the mystical and romantically sentimental streak in Russia’s national psyche where affronts to Mother Russia are concerned. Putin’s nationalistic gestures are keyed to the Russian equivalent of Nixon’s “Silent Majority”. Putin is always “going to the people” with his foreign policy or domestic law and order crackdowns.

One departure for me from Peters and from Tom ( at least in the sense that he did not mention it) is that I do not see Putin as consumed by anger or temper in his moves against Saakashvili, though Putin may very well have a temper. Instead, I see a ruthless calculator who decided, some time ago, that Saakashvili was too intransigent and too egomaniacal to ever cut any kind of a deal with Russia, in open or secret. More or less the way the United States viewed Saddam Hussein, that the man had to go once and for all – not that Saakashvili is morally akin to Saddam in any way, just intolerable from Moscow’s perspective. 

Putin is driven to “win”, IMHO, because racking up those kinds of wins teaches good geopolitical lessons. That said, Putin did not know when to quit while he was ahead. After making the point by humiliating Georgia and Saakashvili militarily and the EU and the Bush administration diplomatically, Putin only gained great hostlility for Russia by dragging out troop withdrawal and by using belligerent rhetoric. A prompt departure would have retained the sense of awe and confidence that Russia’s military campaign had projected. So much for infallible “brilliance”.

Putin puts his pants on like the rest of us and makes mistakes. The difference between him and other statesmen is that Putin more often than not is thinking strategically when he makes a move.

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