Charlottesville- ISIS and Us – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“AL UDEID, Qatar — I’ve been on the road since the Charlottesville killing. I am traveling around the Arab world and Afghanistan with the chief of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. David Goldfein; his civilian boss, the Air Force secretary, Heather Wilson; and their aides. We’re currently at the giant Al Udeid Air Base, from which America’s entire ISIS-Syria-Iraq-Afghanistan air war is run.

With all the news from Charlottesville, I was feeling in the wrong place at the wrong time. And then I looked around me here, and the connection with Charlottesville became obvious. Just one glance at our traveling party and the crews at this base and you realize immediately why we are the most powerful country in the world.It’s not because we own F-22s. And it surely isn’t that we embrace white supremacy. It’s because we embrace pluralism. It’s because we can still make out of many, one.

I am a pluralism supremacist.”

Excellent op-ed. It is not clear that we have a clean mission in the middle east that is worth the cost in blood and treasure. The comments are good. Here is one I liked a lot.

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Verona NJ 5 hours ago

One of the greatest contributors in tearing apart the Middle East is Saudi Arabian Wahhabism, the puritanical perversion of Islam that made suicidal martyrdom fashionable.

That same Wahhabism brought down the World Trade Center in 2001, which then resulted in Bush-Cheney’s Iraq massacre of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and their exported Wahhabism and fossil fuels are the primary culprits of Middle East misery and global destruction.

On a slightly smaller scale, America’s Whites R Us Wahhabism and their Greed Oil Petroleum shepherds march in spiritual lockstep with their puritanical, power-mongering, suicidal brothers in Saudi Arabia as they sow dissension, chaos and racial superiority in the United States and try their consistent Confederate best to tear the nation apart in the name of White Spite.

America’s White Wahhabists and Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabists are two peas in a destructive pod flushing the world down their puritanical toilets.

Modern minds must defeat the medieval minds who consistently create their own religious ‘end times’ and hell on Earth for the rest of us.

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Gandhi Won’t Leave India – by By GOPALKRISHNA GANDHI – NYT

“. . . Democracy is about majority rule, not majoritarian tyranny. What is under attack in India is not just Hindu-Muslim concord, but the right of all minorities — ethnic, linguistic, regional, political, social and cultural — to be themselves, to be equal, to be free. Dissent, free speech and the freedom to choose with confidence and without fear are under strain.On Gandhi’s 75th birthday in 1944, Albert Einstein wrote in a book of felicitations, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” When Einstein said “will scarce believe,” he had in mind Gandhi’s distinctive capacity for nonviolent resistance.Einstein knew of Gandhi’s having been pitched out of a train in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, because of the color of his skin. He knew that Gandhi led the subsequent resistance by Indians in South Africa against discriminatory treatment, and he knew of his nonviolent ability to suffer persecution and humiliation without physical retaliation.

Gandhi bore no hatred for his oppressors, did not speak or write a harsh word about them but, with his large and growing band of associates, offered the toughest resistance through what he called satyagraha, or soul force. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela found this capacity in Gandhi compelling, exemplary and even sublime.

Gandhi’s satyagraha was famously illustrated in the Salt March in 1930, when he walked 240 miles with his followers to the village of Dandi on the Arabian Sea in western India. . . . “

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China’s Intellectual Property Theft Must Stop – The New York Times

“For too long, the United States has treated China as a developing nation to be coaxed and lectured, while tolerating its bad behavior as merely growing pains. There has been an expectation that as China’s economy matures, it will of its own accord adopt international standards in commerce, including protection for intellectual property. There has also been a tendency to excuse mercantilist behavior, including industrial espionage, as a passing phase, and to justify inaction as necessary to secure Chinese cooperation on other, supposedly more important, issues.

Chinese companies, with the encouragement of official Chinese policy and often the active participation of government personnel, have been pillaging the intellectual property of American companies. All together, intellectual-property theft costs America up to $600 billion a year, the greatest transfer of wealth in history. China accounts for most of that loss.”

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Before You Rip Up That Iran Deal … – The New York Times

This is a good editorial, which ends:  “Iran is too big to be ignored. And if Washington pursues regime change, as some officials seem to favor, the risks will be huge. This is a crucial moment for Iran as revolutionary leaders die off and competition heats up between hard-liners with a strict anti-Western Islamic ideology and pragmatists who back the nuclear deal and international engagement.

In the balance is a population of 80 million, mostly young, Iranians who have in recent years elected relatively moderate leaders inclined toward evolutionary reform. As it has done with adversaries such as the Russians and the Chinese, America can make progress by engaging the Iranians and avoiding the kind of escalation that empowers hard-liners.”

via Before You Rip Up That Iran Deal … – The New York Times

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Be Strategic- Not Impulsive- on North Korea – Thomas Friedman – NYT

Inconvenient News .Wordpress.com

“Bader, who has served multiple administrations in diplomatic and policy jobs related to China and is now a private consultant, begins by asking the best question any American strategist could ask when thinking about how to deter a nuclear-armed foe: What would George Kennan do?

Kennan was the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union, which had tens of thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us for roughly half a century.

Kennan, argues Bader, would grasp that “while some situations may be unacceptable, they do not lend themselves to short-term fixes. The North Korean challenge is one of them.” ”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval at NYT comments.

Great column Thomas Friedman. I loved your proposal. “What should the American proposal say? It should tell the North Koreans, says Bader, that in return for their complete denuclearization and dismantling of their missile program, we would establish full…

View original post 213 more words

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It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – by Susan Rice – NYT

“We carefully studied this contingency. “Preventive war” would result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties. Metropolitan Seoul’s 26 million people are only 35 miles from the border, within easy range of the North’s missiles and artillery. About 23,000 United States troops, plus their families, live between Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone; in total, at least 200,000 Americans reside in South Korea.

Japan, and almost 40,000 United States military personnel there, would also be in the cross hairs. The risk to American territory cannot be discounted, nor the prospect of China being drawn into a direct conflict with the United States. Then there would be the devastating impact of war on the global economy.”

“. . . By most assessments, Mr. Kim is vicious and impetuous, but not irrational. Thus, while we quietly continue to refine our military options, we can rely on traditional deterrence by making crystal clear that any use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies would result in annihilation of North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck this tone on Wednesday. The same red line must apply to any proof that North Korea has transferred nuclear weapons to another state or nonstate actor.

Second, to avoid blundering into a costly war, the United States needs to immediately halt the reckless rhetoric. John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, must assert control over the White House, including his boss, and curb the Trump surrogates whipping up Cuban missile crisis fears.

Third, we must enhance our antimissile systems and other defenses, and those of our allies, which need our reassurances more than ever.”

I posted the following at the NYT:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Excellent analysis and reporting by Susan Rice. I would add, I read a good idea by a commentator at the NYT who suggested, the US should woo North Korea into a de-escalation. We could, for example. offer to pull our military forces out of South Korea in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons program. It would be useful if talks could start, aimed at giving both countries what they want or need. I add to the commentators idea, it might be necessary to let the North Koreans keep the nuclear weapons that they have. This might be acceptable, if we could get them to allow verification that they stop all further development. I continue to be depressed by most of the discussion. It is arrogance for the US to think that it has to be in charge of North Korea, when they are China’s neighbor and vassal state. We should remind ourselves continually, that this part of the world is not our backyard, but China’s.

David Lindsay is about to publish his book, The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam.

via It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – The New York Times

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Fears of Missiles- and Words – The New York Times

“Tougher sanctions, coupled with Mr. Tillerson’s continued efforts at a diplomatic solution, are the best path to a peaceful end to this conflict. That is what Mr. Trump should also be focused on. Engaging in a war of words with North Korea only makes it harder for both sides to de-escalate.”

via Fears of Missiles, and Words – The New York Times

Excellent editorial. Here is my favorite comment so far.

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Verona NJ 9 hours ago

Donald Trump doesn’t know much about history, geography, vocabulary or science…and he speaks terrific 5th-grade English.

If Trump had a sliver of interest in history, other people, or even the basic hard work and preparation that a real Presidency demands, he might learn to speak and even think like a real President facing a missile crisis:

JFK’s Cuban Missile Crisis Address – October 1962

“My fellow citizens, let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead — months in which both our patience and our will will be tested, months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.

The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.

Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right; not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”

…versus “fire and fury” a la Donald Trump

Sad.

 

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The Movie Dunkirk is gripping- excellent- homework. by David Lindsay

Kathleen Schomaker and I went to see the movie Dunkirk, because after some research I discovered that it got a score of 94 at Metacric.com, and got some rave reviews, and it was not criticized for tampering with the history.

It was criticized for not saying more about the heroism of the French, who held the perimeter, keeping the Germans at bay for the 8 needed days, or the 2.5 million Indian soldiers that were in that British army, but, we thought the the film was excellent. It wasn’t fun, but gripping, and exhilarating. Not to be missed by anyone who loves small luxury yatchs. Think of it as valuable, unpleasant homework.

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Trump Defends McMaster as Conservatives Seek His Dismissal – The New York Times

“President Trump defended Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, his embattled national security adviser, on Friday in the face of a full-bore campaign by the nationalist wing of his political coalition accusing him of undermining the president’s agenda and calling for his dismissal.

General McMaster has angered the political right by pushing out several conservatives on the national security staff and cautioning against ripping up the nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by President Barack Obama without a strategy for what comes next. His future has been in doubt amid speculation that Mr. Trump might send him to Afghanistan.

But after two days of unrelenting attacks on General McMaster by conservative activists and news sites, complete with the Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster, the president weighed in to quash such talk. “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement emailed to The New York Times. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.” “

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Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion. – By JOHN SIPHER and STEVE HALL – former CIA – NYT

It is entirely plausible, for example, that the original Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers was an effort simply to collect intelligence and get an idea of the plans of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate. Once derogatory information emerged from that operation, the Russians might then have seen an opportunity for a campaign to influence or disrupt the election. When Donald Trump Jr. responded “I love it” to proffers from a Kremlin-linked intermediary to provide derogatory information obtained by Russia on Hillary Clinton, the Russians might well have thought that they had found an inside source, an ally, a potential agent of influence on the election.

The goal of the Russian spy game is to nudge a person to step over the line into an increasingly conspiratorial relationship. First, for a Russian intelligence recruitment operation to work, they would have had some sense that Donald Trump Jr. was a promising target. Next, as the Russians often do, they made a “soft” approach, setting the bait for their target via the June email sent by Rob Goldstone, a British publicist, on behalf of a Russian pop star, Emin Agalarov.”

via Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion. – The New York Times

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