[ by Charles Cameron — the spontaneity and consequent unpredictability of cats surely stems from their complexity, though I doubt the level of complexity described here is sufficient to account for their ornery individualisms ]
[ by Charles Cameron — Soleimani’s death prospects — does my title sound like the title of a Ludlum novel? Good! ]
I’ll do this all, or mostly, in tweets — things are happening fast enough that just watching my twitter stream is keeping me pretty busy.
Okay: there’s a whole lot of mirroring going on. Commenting on the assassination of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, President Trump tweeted:
Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have…..
….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
In both cases, we have threats, which we might say fall half-way between words and deeds, and which may also be pure bluster. It’s a thriller, to be sure, given President Trump‘s propensity to exaggerate in both speech and action.
Trump promises to blast 52 Iranian sites for the 52 American hostages held over 40 years ago. Does Iran respond by threatening 53 US sites for the US backed coup of Iran’s democratically elected leader Mossadegh in 1953?
Iranian military official Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan: “We will not enter into an all-out war with America under any circumstances and we will respond appropriately to the U.S. strike. Iran’s response will be based on wisdom and reason and will be deterrent and influential.”
No mirroring there — no ping-pong, no tit-for-tat, just restraint — an “appropriate” and “restrained” response.
But look, there’s more going on there — there’s death mirroring life. And if you’ll take a moment to break from national security concerns, death mirroring life is precisely what Jean Cocteau shows us in his great film Orphée:
“Soleimani has taught us that death is the beginning of life, not the end of life,” one militia commander said.
And that may be the wisest mirroring comment of all.. though Soleimani surely intended it in the context of that other quote I cited yesterday:
The war-front is mankind’s lost paradise. One type of paradise that is portrayed for mankind is streams, beautiful nymphs and greeneries. But there is another kind of paradise. … The war-front was the lost paradise of the human beings, indeed.
Mirrorings found, but paradise lost, I fear — not Soleimani‘s war-front, but its mirror-image, the paradise of hoped for Middle Eastern peace. That’s a mirror undone, when you consider the letter from Soleimani to the Iraqi PM that Brasco Aad tweets about:
raqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi: “Hadj Soleimani was in Baghdad at my invitation. He was scheduled to visit me and carried a letter with him from the Iranian leadership on how to de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.”
[ by Charles Cameron — a DoubleQuote that suggested itself to me today, posted here for your contemplative enjoyment ]
Stage one was provided by my opening screen, which contained three or four questions against a background of countryside and waterfalls. The question which caught my eye was this one:
I’ve isolated it from a screen grab and placed it in the upper panel of my DoubleQuotes board, leaving the lower panel open for possible answers: Question and Answer, like Call and Response, would seem to be elementary forms of DoubleQuote play, just as DoubleQuotes are the elementary forms of HipBone Game moves, and HipBone Games elementary essays in rendering Hermann Hesse‘s fictional Glass Bead Game playable.
I then used Google to find the correct answer to our question, and placed it in the lower panel:
That’s my play.
And why do I trouble you with such a trifle?
Because asking a logophile what the word logophile means is an ouroboros — a serpent that bites its own tail — another of the elementary forms of the HipBone Games:
you might think of it as the Good Friday version of the great cathedral, central to France’s spiritual and national life, devastated by the fire that swept through the 800-year old structure in the heart of Paris in April this year.
Today is Christmas day, however, so here’s a joyous Christmas version — from last year’s Christmas Mass, a great organ peal leads into the carol Adeste Fideles, here sung in Latin, but known in English as O Come, All Ye Faithful:
Here’s wishing you a Merry (and if you don’t mind such things, a blessed) Christmas and Happy New Year!
And for those of you who prefer jazz to the classics, here’s a taste of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Church of St John Coltrane, held in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco this July:
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, happy holidays of your choosing!
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.