War, and Rumours of War in 2012

There always seems to be war somewhere on the planet. A decade ago, the seeds of Afghanistan and Iraq were sprouting. Now it’s Syria and Iran. Some people need war to be relevant, the military-industrial complex and politicians.

  • Does Obama need a good war to distract voters from domestic issues? He was elected on the basis of ending a predecessor’s war. If he becomes despairing enough, will he provoke war in the Middle East again? Fortunately, the Republicans seem in disarray. If they come up with a strong candidate who rattles the saber, will Obama have to preempt them?
  • Syria continues to kill its people. Syria is on the verge of civil war. Any intervention by USA or Turkey or Israel will trigger a real mess. The Arab League is conflicted but may lean to war with any escalation.
  • Iran is a very dangerous situation with nuclear weaponry being added to the mix. Closure of the Gulf with the world economy being fragile is a powerful lever for war. For now the war is a cold one. Israel/USA is assassinating scientists working on the nuclear weaponry. STUXnet was aimed at Iran. Warriors have a powerful argument that war commenced sooner will be less painful than later. It all boils down to whether or not war with Iran is inevitable.
  • The Arab Spring is unfinished. Still democracy is tasted but not seized around the region. There is a possibility that a hot war anywhere in the region could trigger civil wars to overthrow corrupt/illegitimate regimes. There are plenty: Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan… How convenient will it be for one side or another to assume assistance from the outside will help them or that outsiders will be too busy with another matter to intervene?
  • The world used to be provoked to war by ideology. Now there are no lies left thanks to Cablegate. War is about money/power. Getting it and keeping it. 2012 will have plenty of opportunities to destroy others’ power and to take their money.

I believe the world will be motivated to enter yet another hot war in 2012. All or most of the situations mentioned above will be involved. It’s too bad that leaders have the skills to arouse people to kill other people for some cause. It’s too bad the USA feels the need to meddle in the affairs of others, to call revolutionaries terrorists etc. all the while doing everything possible to destabilize non-clients even murder and torture. While we look back on history and pronounce ourselves morally superior, this tendency to throw off any semblance of civility in order to punish those who disagree with us shows the lie. I wish Canada had the intestinal fortitude to follow its own foreign policy and base choices on reason and morality not money and power. Canada could start by throwing M$, the FBI and the CIA out of Canada. They don’t work for us.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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40 Responses to War, and Rumours of War in 2012

  1. Dr Loser says:

    @ch:

    What was that Pakistani nuclear scientist’s name again? I forget. Nothing to do with Iranian nuclear tech, obviously.

    I might get around to looking into the potential Iranian delivery systems, which afair are based on SS-13s or some similar Russian tech.

    They probably don’t import the centrifuges, either.

    It’s just a side-issue, really. One extremely fine and admirable thing about Robert is that he almost never censors the comments here (and frankly I think I’m 100% behind him when he does. It’s a proper version of editorial control). The nice thing about this is that you can ignore his occasionally ignorant ravings and actually discuss the point he makes.

    Still, in an attempt to do his points justice…

    @Robert:

    “The Suez Canal was built in the 19th century to speed shipping between the Indian Ocean and Europe.”

    Absolutely correct. I believe you mentioned the 20th century in this particular regard, though.

    “When the Gulf became oily in the 20th century, the canal was a hot property.”

    A more interesting point, but I think you’ll find that an awful lot of the point was international trade in general; ie precisely the same purpose for which it was built in the 1850s and 1860s. But you could still be right.

    “Why the Hell do you think Hitler sent Rommel there?”

    Once again, Robert, you betray your inability to read maps. Rommel spent almost all of his time shuttling backward and forward between Italian bases in Libya (or Tripolitania if you prefer) and the Nile frontiers of Egypt. There are all sorts of reasons for this (including depriving the Allies of bases from which to support Malta and general Mediterranean activities), but oil was barely a blip. Strategic communication between the British Army in India and the homeland was certainly one. Interestingly, stragetic communication to Iran was another one … for oil? No, not actually. For a southern supply line to the USSR, through which the Allies channeled food, materiels, jeeps and trucks to help the Soviets fight back against the Nazis. A rather easier route in than Archangel, apparently.

    FWIW, control of petroleum products was certainly important to Hitler. The relevant areas in the 1940s were, however, Rumania and the Caucasus. It’s arguable that if Hitler had concentrated more on the Caucasus he would have been much more successful in terms of resources.

    It isn’t really arguable that he was thinking particularly hard about the oil-fields in Iran, let alone those in the Gulf States and Saudi.

    “Modern wars run on oil and everyone spent blood and money to control it.”

    I think we can all agree that modern wars run mostly on stupidity, which is hardly a break with the past.

    I think what you are trying to say here (and I apologise if I am putting words into your mouth; I’m honestly trying to avoid it) is that “modern wars are run in an attempt to control oil supplies.”

    That’s a rather difficult assumption to back up. It’s true that vast amounts of effort are spent by (say) the USA in an attempt to _stabilize_ oil supplies. But this generally, if not universally, falls short of war. War is pretty bloody expensive, if you hadn’t noticed, and these days rarely produces the results intended. Otherwise the USA would have annexed Venezuela twenty years ago.

    “Within this generation, the Egyptians fought Israelis repeatedly for the canal.”

    Not since 1973. Your definition of “this” differs from mine. It also assumes that Egypt didn’t have control of the canal, which they did (from 1956 onwards, cf my comment above). Much good it did them, since the thing was filled with deliberately sunken junk that only got cleared out in the 1980s, as I recall.

    Didn’t seem to make much difference to the oil supply, did it?

    “Thousands of people, tanks and planes were destroyed in the process.”

    You don’t say.

    “Remember the oil embargo? Maybe you are too young.”

    Well, there were two of them. And no, I remember both of them. And it’s a reasonable assertion that the oil embargoes were a temporary but painful blip, and that the most important consequence was the rise of OPEC as a negotiating cartel, which is still going today.

    Then again, you’re not a trained Historian, so I suppose you’re trying to do your best.

  2. ch wrote, “that’s why they use all that foreign-build stuff”.

    Israel even killed a Canadian once, Gerald Bull, because he was helping Iraq create long-range artillery out of European made plumbing.

    Israel has killed a few non-Arabs but these days they mostly kill Iranians in Iran. There’s a reason for that. Iranians are doing the work and they just work harder in difficult conditions. Iran fought Iraq to a standstill after 8 years of war despite US aid. They will not be stopped and may be more stubborn just because of the foreign intervention.

  3. ch says:

    “Sounds like bigotry to me, assuming Iranians are lunatics.”

    Dr Loser never said that ALL Iranians are lunatics – but if you take off your haterglasses and look again at Ahmadinejad et al, you might notice a certain “weirdness” about them, and his talks about there being no homosexuality in Iran are rather his good points 🙁

    They seem to really believe that the Mahdi (savior) will come anytime soon, and the best way to speed up his arrival would be to do God’s work – like, say, destroying the Yewish state.

    “If they want nuclear weapons for whatever reason, they will get them and they don’t need to rely on foreigners to get them.”

    Sure – that’s why they use all that foreign-build stuff, with Bushehr build first by Germans (unfinished because of revolution) and then finished by the Russians.

    [The USA] “unable to tolerate diversity” ?
    Please try to organize a Christopher-Street-Day parade in Teheran. Don’t forget to have your ghost report back the result.

  4. ch says:

    “Why the Hell do you think Hitler sent Rommel there?”

    To save the Italian’s sorry asses. Mussolini had tried to build his own little empire, so he invaded Albania (successfully), Greece (the Germans had to save him) and Egypt (-> Rommel). The German war plans didn’t exactly include the Suez channel (apart from the bit that the ultimate goal was world domination). However, before El Alamain the SS had their priorities right as usual: They set up a team to organize killing the Jews in Palestine.

    “Within this generation, the Egyptians fought Israelis repeatedly for the canal.”

    Apart from the brilliant idea of the Brits and French in 1956, Israel and France fought there two times: In 1967, Israel took the Sinai to gain more defensive depth. In 1973, Egypt attacked and set foot on the east side of the channel – to set things up so that there could be peace talks later. The peace talks were successful, and Egypt got the Sinai (and the channel) back.

    In short, apart from the ’56 debacle, the main issue in the region since 1947 was not the channel but the question whether Israel would ever exist/survive or not. The war of 1973 made clear that Israel could not be defeated militarily by the Arabs, so there was no open military attack on Israel since (except for the Scuds that Saddam launched 1991).

  5. Dr Loser wrote, “Lunatics should be prevented from getting anywhere nuclear weapons. Period.”

    Sounds like bigotry to me, assuming Iranians are lunatics. I have met many Iranians and some are crazy but many are quite rational. They’ve also been studying nuclear physics and engineering around the world for a generation. If they want nuclear weapons for whatever reason, they will get them and they don’t need to rely on foreigners to get them. It’s their problem if they accept the costs and the consequences. Remember, the first nuclear weapons were created by people using slide rules, paper and pencil and crude computers. Much of the design work was done by trial and error in laboratories and extrapolated to a working model. The computing power of a modern PC is more than capable of designing a gadget. The chief bottleneck for any country to obtain the weaponry is to separate the isotopes and that technology is really old-school and well understood. Uranium itself is a widely dispersed element and anyone willing to spend time and money can sort the atoms out to get what they need.

    The only country to actually have used nuclear weapons in warfare to me seems quite unstable, unable to balance its budget, unable to tolerate diversity, and willingly accepting a corporate monopoly from M$. Talk about lunacy…

  6. The Suez Canal was built in the 19th century to speed shipping between the Indian Ocean and Europe. When the Gulf became oily in the 20th century, the canal was a hot property. Why the Hell do you think Hitler sent Rommel there? Modern wars run on oil and everyone spent blood and money to control it.

    Within this generation, the Egyptians fought Israelis repeatedly for the canal. Thousands of people, tanks and planes were destroyed in the process. Remember the oil embargo? Maybe you are too young.

  7. Dr Loser says:

    Then again, Robert, you lived in Saudi for three years.

    You have made your own accommodation with clerical fascists.

    Please allow the rest of us to demur.

  8. Dr Loser says:

    Actually, and I rather hate to admit this, but Ron Paul is OK by me.

    Shame about the Teapot Party, though.

  9. oe says:

    Well stated most US citizens seem to be uncritical drones when it comes to elections assuming you must pick a “D” or an “R” come election-time, when you have Libertarians, Greens, Socialists, Constitution and true Indepedents who speak much more rational policy. Those few D and R’s, like Dennis Kuchinich or Ron Paul, respectively, are labeled as “crackpots” and “loonies” by the corporate media despite having sound policy, including non-economic-imperialist-tendencies. The so-called “mainstream” choices to include Obama, McCain, Romney, Santorium, etc. are truly pretty dismal. Good are the ones like Bernie Sanders, Alan Graysen, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Cynthia Mckinney, and a few others but the corporate backers don’t like them – they have too much adherence to the Constitution as opposed to raw power cloaked in the media-wrapped fantasy.

  10. Dr Loser says:

    @Robert:

    I do so hate to be a didactic History Professor here, but:

    “The Suez canal was the fulcrum for a lot of fighting in the 20th Century. They were getting oil through it one way or another.”

    You’d have to quantify “a lot” here, considering the two thousand or so conflicts, including minor rubbish like genocide in Rwanda and various fighting in SE Asia and even the three or four major wars in the area of the Suez Canal.

    What you basically have is one asinine, and relatively minor, episode of late colonialism in 1956 (stamped upon by John Foster Dulles, as I recall), and not much else apart from threats.

    Jeez. Ask most Egyptians where the Suez Canal is, and I bet you they couldn’t even point in the right direction.

    Go and read a history book. A proper one. Right now.

  11. Dr Loser says:

    This moral relativism of yours is bordering on the insane, Robert. It is not necessary to applaud the fact that Israel (or indeed absolutely anybody else I can think of) has nukes in order to be deeply worried that a bunch of unaccountable clerical fascists are about to acquire them.

    “Iran has been an enemy of Saudi Arabia for generations. That enmity has nothing to do with nukes.”

    Leaving aside your normal historical ineptitude, does it really matter? Who cares who started calling who nasty names in the playground? The sudden acquisition by one side of nukes (and I might add a reliable middle-distance delivery system, which is slightly trickier) is not at all the same as buying a shiny new hunting rifle with night scopes and all.

    Lunatics should be prevented from getting anywhere nuclear weapons. Period.

  12. ch says:

    “The point was made”

    You mean that Israel was acting as a promoter for the US military industry ? Sorry, that story seams a bit far-fetched.

    Yes, I know that the Saudis don’t care for Yews, but the nukes Israel has never really bothered them – it is the prospect of Iran getting nukes that scares them. So do you really believe that more nukes in a place like the Middle East are a good idea ? More like a recipe for disaster, I’ld say: One of the Iranian ayatollahs already thought aloud years ago that one nuke would suffice to destroy Israel while Iran could easily survive one or a few nukes.

  13. ch wrote, “especially Saudi-Arabia: They seem to have never worried much over Israel’s nukes, but the idea of Iran getting nukes had them announce that they would/might start their own nuclear programs.”

    I was living in Saudi Arabia for three years. The hatred of Israel runs deep there. There was a story that Israeli jets flew to Riyadh once to drop fuel tanks on the airbase. The point was made and Saudi Arabia bought fighters, trained pilots and had AWACS in place… The Saudis have one powerful lever to move US policies, oil.

    Most countries assume nuclear weapons are too expensive and not useful because of global reaction, but still many have them. Nuclear science and IT are mature/capable enough that any wealthy country could afford them. Korea figures the value of nukes is high enough to starve the country. I would not be surprised to see Iran develop and test nukes within a few years. Iran has been an enemy of Saudi Arabia for generations. That enmity has nothing to do with nukes.

  14. ch says:

    Just for clarification: Yes, I agree that getting rid of Saddam was a good thing but on a whole the war against Iraq was a Bad Idea, and it’s aftermath should have been handled better. However, I don’t think that the Iraqis themselves would have done that much better.

  15. ch says:

    “It’s not living in the real world to supply Sadaam whatever he needed to fight Iran”

    Please check who actually supplied whom with weapons – you might be surprised. (Hint: Iran-Contragate).

    “The Iraqis are the right people to sort the mess out.”

    Yeah, the various factions are really good at it now. Of course, the Sunnies are only killing Shi’ites, and the Shi’ites are only killing Sunnies because the USA made them do it.

    “From time to time the Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Russians etc. would attempt a great takeover but they never last. You cannot push water or people up hill.”

    What is the official language/one of them in Lybia, Algeria, Morocco ? Why ?
    Where do the Turks come from ?
    Since when is Wladiwostok Russian ?
    Who is the head of state of Canada ? And what is your native language ?
    Some changes hang around for really long times.

    “Iran has as much right as anyone to nuclear weaponry.”

    Minor correction: They have as much right as the other signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (save the big five), which is: None at all.

    “With a neighbour like Israel around the corner reputed to have them, I can understand the Iranians wanting the same.”

    Calling Israel a neighbor of Iran seems to me like calling Mexico a neighbor of Canada. Besides, look at the reaction of some Arab countries, especially Saudi-Arabia: They seem to have never worried much over Israel’s nukes, but the idea of Iran getting nukes had them announce that they would/might start their own nuclear programs. Some of the cables released by Wikileaks show that quite some Arab leaders would like the Iranian program to be stopped, even by Israel. (Of course, they can’t say so in public.)

    Israel didn’t threaten Iran before the nuclear program – why should they have bothered ? They even send ammo to Iran in the 1980ies, as you have already fond out if you followed my clue re. Iran-Contragate. It’s the nutcases in charge of Iran who want to wipe “the Zionist entity” from the map. And sorry, but they clearly are nutcases, or can you find any rational reason for their obsession with “the larger and the smaller devil” ?

    “The US also supplied Al Qaeda in the war against Russia.”

    Here’s where we probably agree: The way the USA has behaved towards Islamism was and continues to be a complete, unmitigated disaster on a scale that I ask myself if it really can be explained only by stupidity and ignorance.

  16. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser I do look at this from a broader point of view.

    What do you need to run a war or suppress people.
    Weapons-Ammo-Fighters
    Without Ammo you are restricted to short range fighting where you normally require to out number to win.

    Without Weapons against you need to out number to win. But if the other side has weapons with range it might be a million to 1 required to out number.

    Weapon makers have a lot to answer for how bad iraq and others are. Did Iraq make there own tanks and guns. Nop Same with many of the other hot spots.

    They don’t make there weapons. Russian, EU and USA weapon makers are fuelling the battles. This is what must be addressed. Lot of the worst fueling happened in the cold war.

    USA idea that everyone has the right to arms is incorrect. Its only valid when everyone has arms.. If a country is oppressive selling them arms should be an offence. This would slow down hot spots.

    Why lets say the ammo make factory had to be in the country where the conflict was going on. The ones without arms could target it so levelling the playing field.

    Yes if you are dictator you will want your ammo made in another country where your people cannot destroy you means to produce more.

  17. Ray says:

    Or they can disarm all nuclear weapons….

  18. Iran has as much right as anyone to nuclear weaponry. With a neighbour like Israel around the corner reputed to have them, I can understand the Iranians wanting the same.

  19. The Suez canal was the fulcrum for a lot of fighting in the 20th Century. They were getting oil through it one way or another.

  20. Dr Loser wrote, “Seriously. It looks and sounds like radio silence to me.”

    Nope, just quality time with Netflix. It may not run on GNU/Linux computers but a new TV has it built in.

  21. Dr Loser says:

    @Koz:

    Considering that ethnicity was hardly important at all, you may well have a point. And I’m not suggesting that oil had nothing to do with it; merely that Robert’s assertion that the Germans and Italians had a choice in the matter is pig-ignorant.

    Oh, and that the straight lines in question have nothing to do with it. Although, upon reflection, the borders of Transjordania might be relevant. Buggered if I know how.

    The entire partition had been planned since well before oil became important: say, around the Crimean War.

    Should you wish to look into the matter, may I recommend the Sykes-Picot agreement? Agreed to in secret, and basically a total mess, but I don’t believe it had anything to do with oil. Don’t ask me why, but the colonial powers of the time had other things on their mind.

    In passing, I should point out that this is one of the geographical areas where Wilson, one of the more stupid American presidents, was particularly dense. It’s hard to read what he said about it, post WW1, without feeling queasy. His exhortation to the Armenians to be nice to Turkish refugees rather encapsulates his limited ability to comprehend the horror.

  22. Kozmcrae says:

    “I’m not heavily into geopolitical history, but no, I haven’t.”

    After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI, the borders of Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran were determined by the Allies at the Treaty of Sèvres. Wikipedia doesn’t say but I believe the task of drawing up the actual borders was given to a Colonel in the British Engineers. Access to oil was as important as ethnicity in how land was apportioned.

  23. Dr Loser says:

    When every single stupid argument you come up with is trashed, Robert, what do you do?

    Seriously. It looks and sounds like radio silence to me.

  24. Dr Loser says:

    @KozMcRae:

    “Ever wonder where all those straight border-lines come from?”

    I’m not heavily into geopolitical history, but no, I haven’t.

    Have you ever tried to draw a border-line in largely unpopulated desert? On the whole I suspect I can offer a good guess as to why those lines are straight.

    What, precisely, do you expect? Fractals?

  25. Dr Loser says:

    @Robert:

    Well, OK, one more item:

    “When are you going to allow Iranians to run their own show? Iranians could deal with their own nutcases. Israel as much as anything is the cause of problems there and Israel was a creature of UK and USA largely.”

    When is Clarence going to allow Iranians to run their own show? I don’t know, really. Do you have any evidence that Clarence is personally responsible for standing in their way?

    And do you have any evidence that the Iranians have not been running their own show since 1979? Of course, it depends upon which Iranians you mean.

    Presumably not the dirty rotten universally corrupt and westernised Iranian diaspora, who number about four million and amongst whom I count several of my friends.

    I hold no brief for the current incarnation of the Israeli state, but it’s rather difficult to see what benefit they have derived from their involvement with an insane clerical fascist state two thousand miles away from their borders.

    And you can certainly argue for Israel being dependent upon the well-organized Jewish lobby in American politics (and why not, I would ask?), but it’s difficult to see where the UK comes in to this. Other than the Balfour declaration and several hundred dead squaddies in the late 1940s, you basically have nothing at all to go on, there.

    But wait! Wait! I see some horrid act by Microsoft being wielded as justification!

    I wonder what it’s going to be …

  26. Dr Loser says:

    I’m quite impressed that you manage to bring Microsoft in to absolutely any topic at all, Robert: even this fantasy you have of Global War in 2012.

    I’m rather less impressed by your sketchy and woefully inaccurate understanding of history. Practically everything you said about events in the twentieth century was wrong, sometimes absurdly so.

    “Have you forgotten the 20th century where Germany, Italy, Britain and USA carved up the region for oil?”

    It’s hard to forget something that never happened. Where does Italy come into this? Libya? The first large-scale drilling for oil in Libya came in 1955. What of Germany? The only significant contribution to colonization of the Middle East made by Germany (other than roping the Ottomans in to World War I and thus paving the way for the break-up of their empire) was the Berlin to Baghdad railway, which had nothing at all to do with oil.

    The Arab world in general was carved up by Britain and France. Are you a secret admirer of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys? I notice you missed them off your list.

    France got little or no benefit in terms of petroleum products, nor was that a motive for their colonialism. Britain certainly did in Iran (which is where BP started), but hardly as a carve-up with America, which essentially took over their position after World War II. And the remaining bits of British colonialism in the area, the Gulf States, didn’t really start gushing until about the same time that Britain decolonialized there.

    You are hopelessly off on all of this, Robert. Pretty much all the rest of your history is at best a misunderstanding and at worst a conspiracy theory. I would go into detail, but unlike Mr Oiaohm I prefer to concentrate on one part of an argument at a time, rather than to go off in all directions at once.

  27. Clarence Moon says:

    Re: “Drinking Kool-Aid”

    Events in the past 24 hours seem to suggest that the Iranian military, at least, are far less radical than the civilian and religious government elements. No showdown in the Strait of Hormuz looks to be in the current cards being played.

    Still, it was the Iranians that fomented the tempest over their adamant insistence on having a nuclear capability. You can suggest that the whole shebang is some kind of abusive practice by a monopolist USA, but you are ignoring a lot of reality, Mr. Pogson.

    If you stand back and think about how Japan reacted with its Kamikaze forces in a last ditch effort to keep its goals intact. You can see how extremism in a government leads to crazy behavior. Consider that the kamikaze was a surprise because of the suicide angle and then consider who is performing similar acts today. Then consider what such a group might choose to do with a nuclear weapon.

    If that is drinking Kool-Aid, it may be necessary to order up another round.

  28. oiaohm says:

    There are a lot of countries that are mess due to cold war stupidity. Items like Iraq would have been overthrown by there near by countries due to insane leadership without USA aid in the Cold War.

    Home come the USA was sure that Iraq had Bio-weapons. The USA had provided them so Iraq could win against Iran.

    Usa weapon culture is also another major problem.

    Go from country to country in that area and you find trade without consideration of the suffering of the people behind that trade.

    USA and many other countries have a lot to answer for because without them these countries would not have operated the way they did.

  29. oldman says:

    “No need to discount that ginned-up example of American militarist adventurism either; it was fundamentally an opportunity for an early media scumball to sell newspapers.”

    And the moral of the story kiddies is that the real world is neither a nice nor a clean place.

  30. gewg_ says:

    @Pogson 60 years (if we skip the Spanish-American War) of abuse of power
    No need to discount that ginned-up example of American militarist adventurism either; it was fundamentally an opportunity for an early media scumball to sell newspapers.
    USS Maine; coal dust; Hearst

  31. Ray says:

    And yes, the US did supply the Allies via the Lend-Lease Act in 1941.

  32. Ray says:

    Just to point something out, the US didn’t do anything in 1939 because it was bound to not go to war by the Neutrality Acts. They supported by lending supplies to the Allies, but until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the US didn’t really do anything as sending troops.

    And cutting off ties US isn’t economically realistic, politically realistic, nor fiscally realistic. You see, we are dependent on the US to trade our goods for their goods to support industries here. Plus, the US pays some of our defense budget by defending Canada when some country attacks. And lastly, we don’t live in a bubble country, as countries after countries begin to trade more via globalization since the 1900’s

    And lastly, about the instability in the Middle East, I believe that this is caused by religions clashing each other, claiming that the other wants to wipe out their religion. Extremism on both sides are making this problem worse.

  33. The US did turn its back on Europe in 1939. A shipload of Jews fleeing Europe were forced to return to their deaths (Canada could have accepted the refugees but did not as well). It was not until an ally of Germany, Japan, attacked that USA entered the war in 1941 in spite of the demonstrable evil of Hitler’s regime. Germany even sunk some US ships. The USA, to its credit, did ship supplies including ships to UK.

    It’s not living in the real world to supply Sadaam whatever he needed to fight Iran only to have to take the toys away at horrible expense. It’s thoughtless if not purely evil behaviour. The US also supplied Al Qaeda in the war against Russia. That’s not pragmatism but promoting bloodshed. History is long: Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines, Guatemala, Mexico, Viet Nam, all places where USA invaded displacing local control with great disruption. What’s that about?

  34. oldman says:

    “I know a bully when I see one.”

    And I know a double standard when I see one.

    It is one of the tragedy’s of history that even the most well intentioned of people can run afoul of the realities of the world. Principles become compromised, and the shining city on the hill starts to accumulate a cesspool of the compromises that come from living in the real world.

    It is always easy to look down from ones moral high ground and judge the actions of others. It is far more difficult to act.

    Perhaps the US should have turned its back on Europe in 1939. Eh, Pog?

  35. Yes. The traditional borders were obstacles like rivers and seas and mountains. Nations controlled land they could easily reach and with common languages and customs developed. From time to time the Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Russians etc. would attempt a great takeover but they never last. You cannot push water or people up hill. Pressure will build and wash the oppressor away. Individuals, families, communities, and nations matter and can endure for a full span but artificial alliances forged by force are brittle and temporary. The first thing that happens when one nation invades another is that the invader is weakened and prone to counter-attack. The clever invader who induces surrogates to fight and conquer can do better but when it all is sorted out blood is thicker than money.

    My favourite example of a foreign invader is M$. It has no better plan for doing IT than anyone else but managed to induced millions of “partners” to sell out local industries and to pay homage to Redmond. M$ is now so over-extended and attacked on all sides that the inevitable decline is imminent even when revenues are at their highest point. There’s no growth left in M$. It has no legitimate plan. The competition is growing in double digits while M$ is flat. It’s last desperate measure is invoking software patents. That will not fly. It’s a lead balloon. Even a book-seller is counter-attacking.

  36. oldman wrote, “I hadn’t thought you were an an anti American bigot Pog.”

    The USA has done a lot of good in the world. The GNU system began there for instance. However, the USA deliberately misled the world into believing Iraq was an imminent threat to the world and caused the deaths of 100K+ people and thousands of US armed services people. There were no weapons of mass destruction, except in Israel, as far as I know. Why didn’t the USA invade Israel instead? It was probably a good thing to depose Sadaam but it could have been done at much lower cost with a quick thrust and withdrawal. The Iraqis are the right people to sort the mess out. The loss of life would have been tiny if the Iraqi military had been left intact. Replacing it with chaos was deadly. Iraq will remain in chaos despite many years of effort and $billions wasted. Now, the USA wants to “tune up” Iran. Why cannot the leaders of the USA learn from history? The USA has meddled in central/south America, Middle East, Asia and accomplished little that is a lasting benefit to humanity. They’re still intent on punishing Cuba for overthrowing a dictator, Vietnam for wanting to get rid of foreigners, and they wonder why muslims are skeptical after hundreds of thousands have been killed by airpower in Afghanistan, Iraq, and many isolated incidents. The USA which enshrines democracy in its constitution resorts to terror and torture around the world. What’s Guantanamo about, eh?

    I know a bully when I see one.

  37. Kozmcrae says:

    “Have you forgotten the 20th century where Germany, Italy, Britain and USA carved up the region for oil?”

    Ever wonder where all those straight border lines came from? I suspect Mr. Pogson knows.

  38. oldman says:

    “See? You’ve drunk the Koolaid.”

    So Iran is run by sans sober people eh?

    I hadn’t thought you were an an anti American bigot Pog. It is a sad thing to contemplate.

  39. Clarence Moon wrote, “Iran seems to be in the control of religious nutcases”

    See? You’ve drunk the Koolaid. The enemy the USA needs to justify outrageous behaviour always seems to be crazy or communist or downright evil. They are never real people trying to cope with difficult situations not of their making. Have you forgotten the 20th century where Germany, Italy, Britain and USA carved up the region for oil? When are you going to allow Iranians to run their own show? Iranians could deal with their own nutcases. Israel as much as anything is the cause of problems there and Israel was a creature of UK and USA largely. Instead of leaving well enough alone, USA continues to play one against the other in order to weaken nations and maintain the US monopoly on power. Obama cannot discard 60 years (if we skip the Spanish-American War) of abuse of power. The USA depends on it economically, militarily and politically.

  40. Clarence Moon says:

    This post goes far afield from the techno-issues of Linux and Windows or FLOSS in general, Mr. Pogson. It is an interesting topic, though.

    I personally believe that Mr. Obama is not likely to resort to any subterfuge to “provoke war in the Middle East again” as you say. For one thing, he didn’t provoke a Middle East war to begin with. Obama has done what has been needed to get out of Iraq and is on a course to do the same in Afghanistan. He managed to remain pretty much on the sidelines in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, limiting US participation to the bare minimums needed to honor our commitments to NATO.

    Syria has an abusive regime in power, but no one seems overly concerned. Events in Syria are not disruptive to world commerce and are easily contained within its borders. Even the Arabs do not seem to care.

    Iran seems to be in the control of religious nutcases who are still pissed off over the US support for the Shah’s abusive regime decades ago. The world is mostly not on their side and if they do something like sink tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, then the US Navy, in the convenient guise of NATO, will operate to correct that situation. But not until Iran itself crosses the line. Obama is smarter than Bush.

    Wikileaks has pretty much played its last cards, I think. Realistically, there was nothing all that embarrassing that was leaked and nothing much has happened in response.

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