Cold Wars, and How to Survive Them

Ahead of our show with Elaine Scarry this week, we’re reminding ourselves of how we got into the nuclear standoff called the Cold War, and how Ronald Reagan dreamed we would get out of it:

The danger of a nuclear weapon being used, whether against us or against somebody else, is actually greater now than it was in the Cold War. But the big difference is that it’s only going to be one or two, and it’s not going to be five thousand or seven thousand … We have to take this very seriously, but at the same time, it’s not a Cold War scenario.

John Lewis Gaddis on Open Source

Ronald Reagan dreamed of disarmament. A final, total abandonment of nuclear weapons…

He and Gorbachev would come to Iceland, and each of them would bring the last nuclear missile from each country with them. Then they would give a tremendous party for the whole world…. The President would be very old by then and Gorbachev would not recognize him. The President would say “Hello, Mikhail.” And Gorbachev would say, “Ron, is it you?” And then they would destroy the last missile.

John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev

With a nuclear cold war taking rhetorical shape between Israel and Iran, with Pakistan and India ever in range of the brink, it is no academic or merely historical question: how did the US and USSR get out of their four-decade staring contest without a single one of their many thousands of nuclear guns going off?

Richard Reeves’ revisionist appreciation of Ronald Reagan, subtitled “The Triumph of Imagination,” compounds the impression in Gaddis’ history that part of the answer was Ronald Reagan’s Hollywood intuition that the picture of two cowboys each pointing 10,000 six-guns at each other — forever — made for a lousy screenplay. The script needed a doctor, Reagan realized. Around the same time Mikhail Gorbachev remembered saying to his wife, Raisa, “We can’t go on living like this.”

Gaddis writes that to break the human habit of escalating violence, and of using all the tools that worked: “It took visionaries — saboteurs of the status quo — to widen the range of historical possibility.”

The heroes of his story are: Pope John Paul II, who “set the pattern by rattling the authorities” throughout the Soviet bloc. Margaret Thatcher, “who relished being tougher than any man” in reviving the reputation of capitalism in the world. Ronald Reagan, who used his theatrical skills to rebuild confidence at home, to spook Brezhnev and enlist Gorbachev. And Gorbachev himself, who put his private instincts ahead of the party line in softening communism’s emphasis on the class struggle and its old claims of historical infallibility.

But most of the other players in the last half-century — including Truman after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Stalin and Eisenhower and most assuredly Reagan — came to realize, each in his own epiphany, that the damned nukes were un-usable.

The lesson among all of us Cold War survivors, Gaddis writes, was that “war itself — at least major wars fought between major states — had become a health hazard, and therefore an anachronism.”

First of my questions, awaiting yours: do the nuclear players and wannabes on the 21st Century stage know the futility of those weapons as well as, say, Reagan and Stalin did?

Second question, especially for Richard Reeves, who recruited me for the New York Times in the late 1960s: as Ronald Reagan’s reputation is revalued upward, what needs to be said of Reagan’s worst enemies in the Republican power elite (figures like Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger) who envisioned “limited” nuclear conflicts but successfully labeled Reagan for most of his career as the “extremist.”

And which of those Republican forebears — Rockefeller’s imperial personification of oil power and Wall Street, and Ronald Reagan’s cowboy populism — is the true ancestor of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crowd that rules our roost today?

John Lewis Gaddis

• Robert A. Lovett Professor of History, Yale University
• Author, The Cold War: A New History

Richard Reeves

Journalist and Presidential BiographerVisiting Professor,Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern CaliforniaAuthor, President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination

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  • tbrucia

    Do the nuclear players know the futility of these weapons? Since none of us can read minds, we will need to wait and watch. If one of them uses a nuke, we will have one answer. And non-use may not mean understanding; it may simply mean later use… Those who envision ‘limited’ nuclear conflicts probably do not think they will be on the receiving end of any such action. I’m not sure why they have this belief in their own invulnerability, but it certainly falls into the ‘Foreign Policy By Faith Alone’ mentality that is runs rampant in Washington. Both Rockefeller and Kissinger were realists. I don’t think either is the ‘forbear’ of the irrational convictions or immanent certainties that seem to hold such a tight grip over the minds of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crowd. Ignoring the elephant in the living room (how does one know ‘who detonated the weapon?’) is simply one aspect of denial.

  • The statements above, by Gaddis, that Stalin, and by implication the USSR had decided that “that the damned nukes were un-usable.â€? is historically inaccurate.

    “Washington D.C. May 13, 2005 – The Soviet-led Warsaw Pact had a long-standing strategy to attack Western Europe that included being the first to use nuclear weapons, according to a new book of previously Secret Warsaw Pact documents published tomorrow. Although the aim was apparently to preempt NATO “aggression,” the Soviets clearly expected that nuclear war was likely and planned specifically to fight and win such a conflict.â€?

    And, President Reagan enlisted Pope John Paul as an active agent in fighting the USSR.

    “”Anything that we knew that we thought the Pope would not be aware of, we certainly brought it to his attention,” says Reagan. “Immediately.”

    “The key Administration players were all devout Roman Catholics–CIA chief William Casey, Allen, Clark, Haig, Walters and William Wilson, Reagan’s first ambassador to the Vatican. They regarded the U.S.-Vatican relationship as a holy alliance: the moral force of the Pope and the teachings of their church combined with their fierce anticommunism and their notion of American democracy. Yet the mission would have been impossible without the full support of Reagan, who believed fervently in both the benefits and the practical applications of Washington’s relationship with the Vatican. One of his earliest goals as President, Reagan says, was to recognize the Vatican as a state “and make them an ally.”

    The major decisions on funneling aid to Solidarity and responding to the Polish and Soviet governments were made by Reagan, Casey and Clark, in consultation with John Paul II.

    So for Gaddis to somehow imply Pope John Paul’s efforts were somehow independent of Reagan’s is also disingenuous – the Pope may have been uniquely suited for the role as a moral force against Communism but without the active support, in money an intelligence, from the US / President Reagan the Pope’s hopes would have been in vain.

  • And which of those Republican forebears — Rockefeller’s imperial personification of oil power and Wall Street, and Ronald Reagan’s cowboy populism — is the true ancestor of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crowd that rules our roost today?

    There are now 50 million Muslims, who have voted today that had never voted before – Reagan et al brought down the USSR and Bush et al are bringing down, one country at a time (first Afghanistan then Saddam’s Bathist Iraq), that formed the “Veiled Wallâ€? of Islamic medievalism left over from the Ottoman Empire.

    Iran is one of these and if it is allowed to develop Nuclear Weapons, will endanger the entire world. Just like a nuclear armed Russia untied the West, the potential of a nuclear armed Iran is united the EU and US.

    Europe Gets in Step With US Policies in the Middle East

    In 2003, most European nations were at odds with the US over its invasion plans for Iraq. Now, with a new set of challenges in the Middle East, Europe is increasingly aligned with Washington on the Hamas and Iran issues. »,2144,1907743,00.html

  • Here is a link to the Democracy Now! archives June 7, 2004 wherein Dr. Helen Caldicott tells Amy Goodman about her private interview with Ronald Reagan.

    Helen Caldicott on the Nuclear Race: Reagan Was the “Pied Piper of Armageddon�

    and who says we’ve survived the cold war…

    “America and Russia still target with each other with 3,500 hydrogen bombs. Nothing has changed except the animosity has disappeared, and the two countries are friends, but they still hold the world as nuclear hostage ready to blow us up at any second of any day.� Dr. Caldicott

    Dr Caldicott’s book: The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex

  • nother

    Does this administration have the capacity for the personal diplomacy that Reagan used so effectively? I’ve always been fascinated by those private walks that Reagan took Gorbachev on. It’s possible that those walks prevented the devastation of civilization as we know it – the path they walked led to a survival of the Cold War. Edwin Meese writes about the power of Reagan’s personal diplomacy here Does W have it in him to engage Khatami and others, eye to eye – literally. He must start by getting down from his high moral horse and stand on equal ground with these men. The Rhetoric is similar, “evil empire�/ axis of evil, what’s different is a lack of respect for our adversary

  • nother
  • Winston Dodson sez: “Iran is one of these (Islamic states) and if it is allowed to develope Nuclear Weapons, will endanger the entire world.

    The reason statements like this seem confused to me is that Iran doesn’t even have the bomb whereas just down Sound from me is a whole fleet of Trident Nuclear Submarines each one of which could blow the entire planet to smitherenes many times over. Plus, the United States is the only country that has ever used a nuclear weapon against another country.

    If you ask the question, Who is endangering the entire world?… I don’t think it is Iran.

  • Nikos

    peggysue: you rock.

  • I hope you are playing the devil’s advocate Mr. Dodson just to provoke some discussion here. Otherwise you should wake up to the fact that the nation most of the world’s population fears is the U.S.. Do we fear U.S. democratic ideals? No! We embrase those. Rather we fear those political and business elites who have hijacked such ideals for the sake of their own greed and sense of self importance (and we fear those in the American public and media who support such “terrorists”). One only needs to look at global defence production and spending to see which nation is the biggest bully on the block.

  • No, I am not playing the “devils advocate”. The facts are that the people of Iraq do not think that the war is, as some here say, a disaster. But I am challenging poeple’s slopping arguements

  • Read “sloppy” in last comments.

    And to the hackneyed argument regarding the US possession of nuclear weapons, it falls under the weight of reality.

    While the US has had nuclear weapons we have built a world that many benefit from. I lived in Germany for a while and all of Western Europe evolved in the protective hothouse provided by the US nuclear umbrella. If you don’t think so just ask the Germans. The former East Germans flocked to the West and the only difference between East and West Germany was the reality that peggysue pointed out in the missiles in the Trident subs. And I should point out that Germany is the 3rd largest / wealthiest healthiest and free-est nation in the world, as a result.

    Then, as far as the “first and only use on nuclear weapons� in concerned, I will point to the same successes – Japan is the 2nd county is the same respects. And, it would be now, if the US hadn’t ended that war with a bomb. We would have either killed many more than the few hundred thousand that died in those attacks, if we took the country with conventional means, and the Soviets would have participated in order to pace portions of Japan behind, what would later be the Iron Curtain. Either way, there is no argument that they are better off.

    I can’t think of a single realistic, based on facts rather than idealistic fantasies where in general, the world isn’t a better place for the fact of US military supremacy.

  • This is not the string for this arguements but even the European nations agree with my opinion re: the Iranians as my links shows.

    I guess its easy to “rock” when you don’t have to support your views with anything but opinion. And since I am sure that this will be a “serious” show with serious discussions I think that all would benefit if people brought “facts” to the discussion. I read the link above to Dr Caldicot article. I tried to learn something. But I can add something to the dicussion that isn’t contaiend in that article: The actual number of US and Russian nuclear weapons is actually ~ 11/3 cited by the good Dr. Her tired arguements are often reftued by facts.

  • read 1/3

  • Nother asks does this administration have the personal diplomacy skill required? Good one since Bush “looked into Putins” heart 5 years ago and “liked what he saw”. So it seems that it failed there but in regards to results, there is only one administration that has reduced the number of nuclear weapons by more than the current one and that is Reagans. See link to wikipedia above.

  • fiddlesticks

    Iranian ayatollah: Use of nuclear arms sometimes permissible

    By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press

    A religious leader in Iran has said that in certain situation it is permissible by Muslim law to use nuclear weapons.

    Ayatollah Muhassan Jarbian was quoted by the Iran News as saying that according to Muslim Shariya, “When the world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to make use of these weapons in order to stand up against this threat.”…

  • digitalcommuter

    Does this count?

    Russia’s first gay parade vetoed by ‘outraged’ city

    By Andrew Osborn in Moscow

    Published: 17 February 2006

    “Earlier this week Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin warned that Russia’s Muslims would stage violent protests if the march went ahead. “If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that – Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike … [The protests] might be even more intense than protests abroad against those controversial cartoons.””

  • All nuclear weapons are suicide bombs and we are all on the same bus.

  • As I said above peggysue, don’t tell the former Eastern Europeans that becuase they lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain becuase we had the nuclear weaposn needed to keep the Russians on thier side and Western Europe on this side.

    And don’t tell the Japanese beucase they were kept from being sealed off on the other side of the Iron Curtian because of our use of nukes against them and they are now the 2nd largest economy in the world.

  • But Winton, I think the Japanese already know. (And I don’t buy it for one second that our bombing them improved their circumstances)

    link to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum…

    link to Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum…

    Here is a quote from the Mayor of Nagasaki addressing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the UN.

    “I can never condone the existence of such weapons, for whatever reason……It is my heartfelt desire that your decisions, guided by wisdom, may allow this NPT Review Conference to forge a tangible path towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.â€?

  • Gaddis writes, was that “war itself — at least major wars fought between major states — had become a health hazard, and therefore an anachronism.â€?

    Was there ever a time when war was not a health hazard?

  • Nikos

    peggysue: LOL, as usual. You gotta post more often neighbor.

    I’m consistenly humbled by the way you can make your points in just a few smart words: “Was there ever a time when war was not a health hazard?”

    Brilliant. Thanks!

  • Potter

    Winston Dodson, regarding sloppy arguments:

    “No, I am not playing the “devils advocateâ€?. The facts are that the people of Iraq do not think that the war is, as some here say, a disaster. But I am challenging poeple’s slopping arguements”

    I think this is your rewording of a recent poll which ( I believe) indicated that 65% of Iraqi’s polled said that it was worth what they went through to get rid of Saddam. As well I think you are mistaking Iraqi resiliance and outlook ( hopes for the future) for what is actually happening there and whether the American occupation ( most Iraqi’s feel they are being occupied according to one poll) can end ( or will end) soon.

    The Poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Sunni’s are unhappy and pessimistic.


    Iraqis overall have a positive view of the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Asked, “Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?� 77% say it was worth it, while 22% say it was not.

    Gallup asked the same question in April 2004. At that time, 61% said that it was worth it and 28% said that it was not.

    However, here again, the ethnic divisions are very sharp. Ninety-eight percent of Shia and 91% of Kurds say the hardships were worth it, while 83% of Sunnis say they were not.”

    This is NOT to say that Iraqi’s think that war is not a disaster. Do not forget that those who gave their lives have nothing to say about it.

  • Peggsue – He Japanese are the one of hte US’ biggest military allies. After Iraq, Europe and South Korea, there are more US military stationed there that anywhere else in hte world and unlike most places in the world, the Japanese pay for the bases. The Japanese are also in Iraq. War not being a health hazard? – Well I would say that 6 million Jews would say that not having WWII was a health hazard and ~ 1million Iraqis say not having a war in Iraq is a health hazzard. How clever is that Nikos? Also, I’ve been to Nagasaki and the Peace Gardens, have you? I’ve also been to Tokyo where more people were killed in one night of convential bombings than in the blast at Nagasaki and where estimates of dead if a convnetial invasion would have been ~ 500,000. (The USSR killed ~ that many taking Berlin). And, if the bombing didn’t improve their circumstances then please explain history for me – Japan before war, non-democratic backwards, everywhere USSR kept behind wall after war backwards now, Japan not behind wall after war because of bomb and subsuquent occupatiion, Japan now 2nd largest economy in world with all assocaited benefits of healthcare, education etc. Germany / West Europe same. I’ll stand behind reality anyday peggysue.

    Potter – how can my siting a poll, that you say is true, be a sloppy arguement? The figures that you sited only prove that point that the war was even more justified – if 83% of the Sunnis don’t think that it was worth it means that they shouldn’t have been in charge since they are only ~ 20% of the population. And since the ruleling policial party, of the Sunnis, was the Bath party and since it was founded on the “Principles of National Socialism of Germany” – Nazis. So, if you ask me if a poll was taken of the Nazis of Germany and asked them if WWII was worth it then I would guess that they would have said no.

    Then, as far as feeling that they are being occupied, who is surprised by that? The same polls that indicate that Iraqis described as being occupied also say that the want US troops to go home – as soon as possible but not before condittions are ready for it. Sounds like the policy of some administration that I know?

    The US occupied Germany and Japan after WWII and wrote the Constitutions of both countries (in the case of Japan litterally as the original draft of the constitution came directly off of the typewritter of McArthur) and actually handpicked the first batch of candidates in both elections. Both societies, to thier core, still show the signs of the US militaries post war occupation.

    Do I think that the Sunnis lack of “buy-in” is a problem? Yes. But I think that it may become a bigger problem for them and they are recognizing it. If they do not quickly join in the new nation they will be surrounded by two other groups (Kurdish to North and Shia, mostly to South but in Sunni central Iraq also) who will be both numerous as well as wealthier. They will suffer greatly if they do not form a govt within which they can live. And, you have to remember that there were ~ 40k number of “revenge killings” in post war France where the French killed Vichy and Nazi supporters.

    There have been many mistakes and will be more but the psot war scenario in Iraq is unfolding jsut about as history would have said it would, plus or minus.

    And, eventhough I think that the NYT times is one of the worst sources of info on anything having to do with the war in Iraq, even some truth comes through sometimes:

    “According to Iraqis and Western diplomats, Ambassador Khalilzad is orchestrating an extraordinarily ambitious power play: coaxing Sunni political leaders into the government while splitting the more moderate Iraqi insurgents from the beheaders and suicide bombers of Al Qaeda. If he succeeds, Khalilzad could remake the political landscape, curtail the insurgency and give the Iraqi government a bit of solid ground to stand on. If he doesn’t succeed, the possibilities are endless, few of them good. Still, the ambassador’s strategy is bolder than anything yet attempted.”

    Strategy Tragedy?

  • nother

    Winston Dodson – I commend W for his personal diplomacy with Putin, it’s endearing indeed. But tell me Winson, would W dare to “look into the heart” of an Arab leader? Would he dare meet Ahmadinejad on neutral ground, a “summitâ€? if you will, and engage him eye to eye? No, you might tell me, the leader of Iran is not worthy of a “summitâ€?- a “summitâ€? is only for the leaders of superpowers. I might ask you, how do you become a superpower? You might tell me, you become a superpower the minute you have the capacity to destroy me. Well therein lies the rub Winston, to be worthy of a face to face with W, one must have muscle; one must be a big guy on the block. By engaging in personal diplomacy with Iran W would show the world that you can still be the big guy on the block without nuclear weapons. You can be worthy of a summit for other reasons, like say, I don’t know, your country is thousands of years old.

    What is the cost of a one on one meeting? What was the cost of Reagan taking a walk with the leader of the “evil empire�? Let’s face it, the reason most of this country still thinks there is a link between Saddam and Osama is a deep seeded feeling that all those Muslims are alike. We feel deep down that there is a “link� between all of them. Saddam and Osama wanted us destroyed and that probably goes for all Muslims. The Bush administration had enabled this dangerous idea of the “other�.

    During the Open Source program on “Iran’s nuclear ambitions�, Christopher Lydon said: “This is what makes the world dangerous brother, when people completely misread each other’s positions.� It doesn’t take a diplomat to know that the best way to avoid a “misread� with someone is to sit down with them and ask them what they really mean. How is our administration attempting to “read� Iran now? Through the newspapers? This is downright silly. W needs to climb down off his high horse and engage our adversaries face to face– a real cowboy would.

  • nother

    Hey Brendon – thanks for mentioning my post on the Samba show. You referenced me as a female and pronounced my login “notherâ€? as – “not herâ€?. Interesting interpretation. I was thinking of “notherâ€? as just aNOTHER opinion, just aNOTHER voice. I think it’s cool though that my writing has a femininity to it.

    Thanks for all the hard work Brendon and that was a great article you wrote in the Times

  • Nikos, hey thanks neighbor – same to you.

    Winston, If I understand you correctly it seems to me you recognize threats of violence in the world and see the bomb as a counter threat that will keep violence at bay. Certainly, there are atrocities going on in the world that we wish to stop. I think you and I can agree on that much. Where we disagree is on how to stop them.

    The problem with nuclear deterrence as a strategy is that it keeps everybody under threat. Violence is avoided only by the threat of even greater violence. The bomb even if never used generates pollution, poverty and fear. Ronald Reagan ended the cold war (if we credit him with that) by spending so much money on nuclear arms that the Soviet Union went bankrupt trying to keep up.

    It is a system based on violence and fear.

    You accused me of having idealistic fantasies. OK Dr. Strangelove, here is my fantasy: The antidote to violence and fear is courage and love.

  • Potter

    W. Dodson war is always a disaster. Whether or not the Iraqi people overall in this poll at this point feel what they had suffered since invasion was worth it, there is no stability, and more importantly no prospect of stability with the continuing threat of civil war especially if we leave. Thus no date is set when we might leave IF we wanted to leave.

    When people here say the war in Iraq was a disaster ( a disasterous decision) I would guess that it is the costs of all kinds in relation to our own overall well being and security.

    Iraq has become a “terrorism incubatorâ€? ( Juan Cole) producing more sophisticated attacks also spreading to Afghanistan. Any “drawdownâ€? of troops in 06 would still leave 1/4 of all US forces in Iraq. What do Iraqi’s think about permanent US bases there? What do Americans think of this at the cost of several billion of US tax dollars? What are we buying for ourselves in terms of security?

  • Nother – In reponse to Bush’s relationship with Iran. Bush / the US’s position on this doesn’t really matter at this point. It is the “European Triumverate” (?) who are the ones that are giving up on diplomacy with Iraq. If you saw the Sunday talk shows wtih the 3 abasdors of those soutries they all said that with Iraq’s obvious intentions of aquiring the materials needed for a nuclear weapon there is nothing more to discuss. This is Bush being a cowboy it is Europe.

    The Europeans all agree that the only rational strategy the Theocracy has is to obtain Nuclear weapons in order to stay in power. Iran has one of the youngest societies in the Muslim world and they very oppossed to the current religous regime there. Remember, the current president there wasn’t democratically elected becuase the Council of Supreme Elders decided who could run. So there was a limited choice of candidate to choose from and, in general the younger / post Islamic Revolution generation, didn’t vote.

    Time in Iran is not in favor of the Theocracy – as the younger generation becomes more influential they become more Western Oriented. And to this socio-politcal description we shold add to the fact that the economy is in a shambles.

    So, the only reason for the current Theocracy in Iran to have nuclear materials is to have a bomb to keep them in power and Europe knows this. A person to person meeting will do no good because it is not in thier self interest to talk or comprimise.

  • peggysue – I don’t undertand how making unsubsantiated statements like “The bomb even if never used generates pollution, poverty and fear.” The entire world has undergone the greatest DECREASE in poverty for the enitre history of the world since the dawn of the nuclear age. This isn’t soley due to the bomb but it is due to the “Pax Americana” since the end of WWII. There is no measurement / study that doens’t show that deaths due to war have decreased since the dawn of the nuclear age. For an example, but there are many others and any rational estimate will confirm it – 15 million in WWI and 50 million killed in WWII, and not even 20 million in the last half of 20th century. It is an acedemic FACT that nuclear weapons have made wars less deadly. And the fastest decrease in world povery has occured during this period see World Bank figures (some reason link won’t work). And as far as pollution goes, the amount is actaully lower because of the existance of nuke becuase if it weren’tfor them, we would ahve fought more and deadlier wars and there would have been more pollution.

    Nukes are bad but like most realistic situations, the only choice is between bad and worse.

    A complete state of “Courage and love” is desireable but that outcome is idealistic because it never has existed and never will. All we ahve are choices on the spectrum from – almost none to almost everwhere – and realistic actions are what detirmines where on the spectrum we are at the moment. And I make the claim that, although we don’t have enough of them now, there are more of both in the world at this time than anyother in human history.

  • Nikos

    Winston: please google Human Rights Watch for evidence that may well belie your belief that: “The entire world has undergone the greatest DECREASE in poverty for the entire history of the world since the dawn of the nuclear age.�

    South Asia provides many examples that seem (to me) contrary to your post.

    You probably know by now that I’m not baiting you.

    I worry, however, that you might be cherry-picking facts to support a pre-existing ideology – yet I believe equally that should you accept the possibility that the same fact sets can support a radically different interpretation, you’re open-minded enough to accept it.

    Good luck googling.

  • Nikos

    On second thought, forget Human Rights Watch for the moment. (It’s worthy, but will take too long.)

    Instead explore these:

  • Nikos

    or this — whose first paragraph must be the living definition of ‘inhumane poverty’:

  • Potter – The war in Iraq is by no measure a diasaster.

    You say that there is no stability after the war. YES OF COURSE, before the war they lived in a country ruled by a totalitrian regime. By definition, if you go from a state of total submission where torture and brutality are routinely used to ENFORCE STABLITY to any other state where there is no one enforcing this stability you will have LESS STABILITY. That is the trade-off in the real world. Remember, no less than omnipitant being has the ability to control all variables and have unlimited resources to prevent all bad trade-offs. I hate to go to the same well too many times but I will for WWII again. During the war, ~ 60% of the men between the ages of 16 and 60 were killed. Was it worth it? I say yes. Was Germany “stable” afterwards? Not at stable as when Hilter was in power but more “stable” than in Iraq becuase there were fewer people (% wise) to cause trouble.

    Everyone in the US military knew when the war plans changed from the original plan (which was more conventiaonal one where we basically line up against the Iraqis and bomb them and fight them front-to-front) to the later one where we went straight to Baghdad to “Cut off the head of the snake” and not really fight the Iraqi military, that we would leave alot more of the men in the Iraqi Army alive than we would if we chose to fight them. That would leave many men alive that someone would probably have to either fight and kill later or convince that further fighting is futile.

    In essence, the choice was a trade-off. Fighting and killing them now (in the “active” part of the war) or ignoring Iraqi Army and toppling govt thus greatly reducing causulaities on both sides but leaving a greater risk of, what you call “instability” for later. That is what we are seeing now.

    Someone has to either kill everyone in Iraq that thinks that they can use violence for politcal purposes or convince them that it is futile. Both are happeing now. There are numerous reports of Sunni insurgents killing Al Queda and other foriegn fighters and the increased attacks the you and Cole speak of are on Iraqis and this a failing strategy. They are “eating their own” and the tide of public opinion in Iraq is turning against Iraqis that use violence against their own.

    So, I agree with your point that war is “always a disaster” but I can, and did, point out where the lack of wars is a bigger disaster.

    Fighting and winning required wars well is a good thing.

    And Potter, you should listen to people like Hart who tried to say this on ROS when he was last one but couldn’t quite get it out but the US military never ahd any intention of going to Iraq and leaving anytime soon. We’ve been in Europe, and Japan since WWII and in Korea since the mid 1950’s and I would bet a good meal in the Norht End that our troop levels in Iraq will not go below 20k in my life time. We will “arrange it” so the govt there will never “ask” us to leave. The only way that we might reduce it more is if there is another major engagement that requires another occupation and I think that we would only greatly reduce from 20k.

    Twenty Nine Palms and the Assciated National Training Center in CA is where all desert training for US ground forces are conducted. Now, while the war is still “hot” and before the Iraq military and police can take all the load, then we will still use those bases to train before deploying to Iraq. But afterwards, when any insergency is beaten down (notice I didn’t say eliminated) to a sporadic level, the US military will retire to well protected bases away from major cities in Iraq and use those places to train – it kills 2 birds with one stone. Train and deploy.

    If you don’t beleive me or want more info read the book “The Pentagons New Map” I know that discussion will re-open the whole can of worms regarding the war etc but here I am suggesting that the ENTIRE leadership, both cilvilain and military leadership beleives what this book says. And so, using this strategy we will never really leave Iraq. If you beleive that the NeoCons provided the “Why” of the latest war then this book tells the “How and Where”.



    “Since the end of the cold war, the United States has been trying to come up with an operating theory of the world and a military strategy to accompany it. Now there’s a leading contender. It involves identifying the problem parts of the world and aggressively shrinking them. Since September 11, 2001, the author, a professor of warfare analysis, has been advising the Office of the Secretary of Defense and giving this briefing continually at the Pentagon and in the intelligence community. Now he gives it to you.

    LET ME TELL YOU why military engagement with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Baghdad is not only necessary and inevitable, but good.

    When the United States finally goes to war again in the Persian Gulf, it will not constitute a settling of old scores, or just an enforced disarmament of illegal weapons, or a distraction in the war on terror. Our next war in the Gulf will mark a historical tipping point – the moment when Washington takes real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalization.”

  • Nikos

    Winston, I must take issue with this: “A complete state of ‘Courage and love’ is desirable but that outcome is idealistic because it never has existed and never will.�

    Not because it’s demonstrably untrue, but because it’s an unverifiable ideologically-based assumption.

    You don’t know any better than do I whether or not the earliest Homo sapiens of 40,000 years ago lived in a state of courage and love.

    But both of us know that YOU did it – in the Corps.

    Which means it’s a part of human nature.

    Which means it has probably happened countless other times in our species history – at least until the current European-borne dominant paradigm parasitically gobbled up most every other culture.

    Don’t sell yourself short. You LIVED it.

    So did many other anonymous humans before you.

    And many of us, like me and probably peggysue too, want our next cultural/societal evolution to be BASED on it.


  • Nikos

    A nightcap to Winston:

    When economists conflate averages of world poverty into self-absolving statistics that support their rose-colored-glasses view that ‘capitalism is improving everyone’s lives’, they’re conveniently omitting something.

    Something vital.

    Vital, as in ‘life and death’.

    People living in places like Manila’s Smoky Mountain can’t feel your American economist’s rosy view.

    They’re eating GARBAGE.

    They’re not part of the statistical ‘improvement’ of poverty since the introduction of nuclear weapons.

    And just because their countries don’t allow them to vote, and just because they’re part of their countries’ labor-surplus doesn’t make them any less human than you and me.

    They DEFINE poverty.

    When we lose jobs or go bankrupt, we can thank folks like FDR for not having to mine garbage dumps.

    They can’t.

    Night, all.

  • Potter

    W Dodson- Thank you for reply to make the case for war.

    I thought this was an astonishing statement:

    During the war, ~ 60% of the men between the ages of 16 and 60 were killed. Was it worth it? I say yes. Was Germany “stable” afterwards? Not at stable as when Hilter was in power but more “stable” than in Iraq becuase there were fewer people (% wise) to cause trouble.

    Young Germans would have been better off alive and leading productive peaceful lives. Your assumption is that if they were alive- they would have caused trouble. It was the political ideology that caught Germany, the “disease” that took hold of the German people, the militarism that spread it that was dangerous.

    From one point of view war is a must for it kills off an excess of people on this planet.

    I do remember a point during this Iraq war, in the beginning, where many people polled said that they wished for Saddam again because the instability was so great that it was unbearable. So we have to be there to enforce the measure of stability and the unity( increasingly false unity) of the country and to ensure that terrorists do not use this as as base of operations. This is in conflict with Iraqi’s desire to see us leave as soon as possible.

    I don’t believe that we had the choice to line up army to army and fight it out or “cut off the head” in Iraq if I understand what you are saying. Their forces split up and would not fight us. So presenting this as a rational trade-off on the part of our war thinkers seems like revisionism. If I understand you correctly, you are saying we asked for this insurgency on purpose. This is new to me. All the criticism and hindsight from both sides that I have heard and read speak of lack of planning for this “choice”.

    The big question is how do you convince people that violence is futile especially when you are invading and using violence. The Palestinian insurgent movement has become stronger, note, most especially in the face of Sharon’s policy of total defeat since 2000. Finally Israel had to change tactics and leave Gaza.

    Terrorism works. The response to 9/11 made Al Qaeda movement and similar movements stronger.

    I do believe that this administration has no intention of leaving Iraq anytime soon. This is good for terrorist recruiting. To stay in Iraq indefinitely are intentions. Circumstances may change that. Israeli’s had no intentions of leaving Gaza either

    I do not think the American people, when they wake up, will support increased global militarism Barnett describes especially when they see it does not work, nor will the rest of the world stand for it. We are bound to see “blowback�, an appealing case made for attacks on us.

    This proposed US plan quoted from Barnett,dated March 03, probably written well before the war in Iraq, before any consequences, in full blown hubris, is a prescription of the path to disaster:

    “When the United States finally goes to war again in the Persian Gulf, it will not constitute a settling of old scores, or just an enforced disarmament of illegal weapons, or a distraction in the war on terror. Our next war in the Gulf will mark a historical tipping point – the moment when Washington takes real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalization.”

    I doubt that we will have the strength, no less the popular will to forcefully bring globalization to the “gaps” through military action in Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen Brazil, Morroco etc etc. without fear of an increase in terrorism against us, war, nuclear proliferation, overall insecurity. Could we deal with what we would be bringing upon ourselves? We will have bitten off a lot more than we can chew.

    He speaks of the right Gorbachov coming along in Iran for instance, when now in 06 we have Ahmedinejad. Are we planning regime change to install a Gorbachov?

    –as if we could.

    Perhaps the Iraq war has sobered us up a bit more since this was written and we understand our limitations and the problems in a different light. I can hope.

  • Nikos – I didn’t live “in a state of courage and love” while in the Marine Corps. Nothing close. It was a cricible or pressure and self sacrifce and ultimate that taught me the trade-offs required in life.

    I wish that I could see any facts / data indications that a “TOTAL state of courage and love” had ever exhsted but I ahven’t.

    And anyone who wished society to be based on those principles are, of course, to be commended.

  • Hey, thank Zeus for war or we’d have only peace to screw up. And personally, I’d rather we spent our efforts screwing up war than peace.

    That aside, another great saviour in the demise of MAD was St. Chernobyl. The dismal failure of the USSR to protect itself from their own nuclear fallout had a profound effect on their politics. You can credit Reagan, (I mean, he did get our hostages back from Iran, didn’t he? or didn’t he?) but don’t underestimate the impact of actual radioactivity descending upon one’s homelands to change one’s perspective from the highly abstract Risk game of placing warheads on rails to the stark reality of childhood leukemia.

    Reagan’s strong arm stance was highly stylized to please the cold war hawks who were chafing from all the damn peace. But it took a truly great actor to paint Gorbachev’s embarassingly quick retreat as a grand military victory. He really deserved an Emmy.

    Is the reemerge of Nuclear Power, safer, cleaner, gentler, a dim pressage of the future? Will a better technology fail to enlighten us at a crucial juncture one day?

    How will the prevailing winds factor into the determination of when an where we will conscience a limited nuclear exchange?

  • gosh… there has been overnight activity on this thread. I’ll have to read it at work (don’t read that part on the radio please) – just a note before I dash off.

    I think George W inherited more from Ronald RAY GUN ZAP than a phoney folksy cowboy routine. I think W took some of the rottenest eggs out of Ronnie’s basket. I’m thinking of Negroponti, during the Reagan era being down in Honderus with the CIA and all those death squads and torture and all.

    Now Negroponti is in Iraq… seems like death squads and torture follow that guy around. Then there’s Wolfowitz, Powell…

    gotta run…

  • nother

    Winston Dodson – You’re supposed to be the right-wing realist here, right? And here your are telling me your ideals – in regards to Iran. I love it – when you talk about Iran you sound more liberal the most leftist person on this site. “Iran has one of the youngest societiesâ€? and “they are very opposed to the current religious regime there.â€? Sounds Michael Moorish to me. “Remember, the current president there wasn’t democratically electedâ€? Is that George Soros speaking? “So there was a limited choice of candidates to choose fromâ€? Could be John Stewart I’m hearing. No, those are all quotes from one your posts above.

    My mother told me that my father’s biggest mistake before they divorced was that he had a gambling problem and how he was always “betting on the come.� Winston, sounds like you want to bet on the come – this younger generation of yours in Iran is going to rise up and praise all things Britney Spears and Calvin Klein. In your “idealist liberal� world, they will see the capitalist light and revolt against their leader. Well, what if you lose your bet Winston? What if you’re wrong?

    You write: “A person to person meeting will do no good because it is not in their self interest to talk or compromise.� Come on now Winston, I may veer a little to the left, but it’s been more than a couple of days since I fell off the turnip truck. I know you’ve come prepared with a lot of “polls� and “links� to this thread and that’s great. But now you want to write that you know what is in Iranians “self interest.� And you tell me it’s “not in their self interest to talk or compromise.�

    There will never be a “state” where we all live – based on courage and love. It’s personal – we can choose as individuals to strive for a life based on courage and love. The best we can hope for is that people will feed off of that courage and love – it will become contagious – it’s the golden rule. I commend Winston’s self sacrifice in the Marines, but he was misguided if he thought that one of the “tradeoffsâ€? was self sacrifice in exchange courage and love. It sounds sadly like he also sacrificed his capacity for courage and love. I was in the Navy during the first Gulf War and amidst the pressure I managed to strive for a life built on courage and love.

  • Nikos

    Winston: “ I didn’t live ‘in a state of courage and love’ while in the Marine Corps. Nothing close. It was a crucible or pressure, self-sacrifice, and ultimate that taught me the trade-offs required in life.�

    I stand corrected. I was giving the benefit of my civilian’s doubt to the (suspiciously) idealized picture of comradeship in all those Hollywood military-romances. I nearly joined the Air Force out of high school (for their offer of college-funding, but went directly to college instead, because college, though pricey, was then still affordable for poor kids) but backed away on realizing that the image of ‘the benefits of military life’ given by my recruiter was probably hogwash. (Which your reply more or less confirms to me.)

    None of that has to lead necessarily to this, however:

    “I wish that I could see any facts / data indications that a “TOTAL state of courage and love� had ever existed but I haven’t.�

    The reasons for the apparent absence of evidence pointing to societies based on love are multiple, but hardly complex.

    The first reason hits hard in the face: tens of thousands of human societies based on love likely existed – but you can’t study a living society after it’s been swallowed up by an empire. Here’s a short list of big culprits: the Incas, the Aztec, the Chinese, and those pesky Indo-Europeans, whose spread from the Caucasus left an unmistakable archeological record of fire and ruin everywhere they went. (No joke, and no exaggeration.)

    Even so, anthropologists have studied dozens of pre-European cultures, and many of these are – or were – pacific and barely hierarchical. It’s tantalizing to wonder how much hierarchy the anthropologists extrapolated into their study too. As in: “That man wearing the costume and talking must be the king.� – never mind that this culture might not have any concept of royalty. Who knows what the guy might have really been? When Europeans made contact with other peoples, they translated all the other-culture’s facets into their own pre-existing assumptions – which often meant that the new people began unconsciously to mimic the Europeans, from a combination of awe at the Euro-technology and just to make conversation. If the Europeans wanted to talk to the ‘king’, how many actual ‘queens’ might have been ignored and written out of the society’s brief ‘history’ before the European-borne diseases killed them all a couple of weeks later?

    And then there’s cultures like the Bushmen, who Europeans hunted for SPORT until the early 20th century – how do we know how THAT might have ruined their societal love?

    The Tasmanians were hunted to extinction fer chrissakes!

    To leave this on a potentially happier note, perhaps now that most of the world has been gobbled up by imperial cultures, we imperialists are settling back into our instinctive human nature: of peace and love. After all, Europe went, in less than a couple of decades, from the worst war in anyone’s history to one big warm fuzzy of peace and commonwealth. That’s the ticket, pal.

    And if we can work out a semblance of peace and understanding with the other big civilizations – like Iran and China to name but two – maybe the whole dang world can settle into an era or enlightened love.

    It might seem impossibly naïve, but the Europe of, say, 1997 would look impossibly naïve to its c.1943 inhabitants too.

    So thanks for this:

    “And anyone who wishes society to be based on those principles are, of course, to be commended.�

    We’re working on it. And thanks for helping – your arguments, even when we disagree, help us all to better frame our thoughts.

  • nother

    Winston Dodson is like the single conservative on Bill Maher’s programs. All the liberals gang up and vent their pent up frustrations. Good man Winston, it takes a strong will to face it all. Now I hope you have seen the light. Just joking.

  • Potter

    Here is a quote:

    “I do not say that we ought to prefer the happiness of our particular society to the happiness of mankind; but I say that by exerting ourselves to promote the happiness of the society with which we are most nearly connected, and with which we are best acquainted, we shall do more to promote the happiness of mankind than by busying ourselves about matters which we do not understand and cannot efficiently control.”

    -Thomas Macaulay, speaking in the House of Commons in 1845 ( as quoted by George F. Kennan in his book “Around the Cragged Hill”)

  • Potter

    “The management of our society, and this in a creditable way, is for us an unavoidable responsibility as well as a privilege. Unless we meet this responsibility, no one else will; for there is none who could. And unless we meet it creditably, there will be very little we can do for others- very little that we can do even to serve global interests.”

    “… the American people have it in their power, given the requisite will and imagination, to set for the rest of the world a unique example of the way a modern, advanced society could be shaped in order to meet successfully the emerging tests of the modern and the future age.”

    -George F. Kennan, from ” Around the Cragged Hill”

  • John

    Isn”t there a Western logic here that presumes that nuclear weapons…and by extension weapons of mass destruction…’don’t make sense?’ But as a communication of last resort, by people who have nothing else to lose, they do. Or, by extension, a means to wipe out the infidel of choice, they do. Why does the US have battlefield nuclear weapons? Because even we think they make sense. Regardless of the impossibility of containing the use of such horror. Even we delude ourselves that they have a use…and with this administration…a use we, like any rogue state, would be willing to employ.

  • Potter

    “Our Handling of our own problems is going to be carefully watched by others, no matter what we do. But if the example is only one of failure- of the evasion of challenge, of the inability to cope with our own major problems- this will be for others, aside from the loss of respect for us, a source of discouragement, a state of mind which can have far-reaching consequences, and for which we will bear a measure of responsibility. It is because no country can hope to be, over the long run, much more to others than it is to itself that we have a moral duty to put our own house in order, if we are to take our proper part in the affairs of the rest of the world.”

    – George F. Kennan, from “Around the Cragged Hill” 1993

  • Winston, I may be an idealist but I’m not an absolutist re: “Complete state of courage and love” these are your words not mine. I believe we all have the capacity for violence, fear courage & love. My fantasy is that through our capacity for love & courage we will not let fear and violence get the best of us.

    You seem to be a person with a great capacity for courage and love. What I am questioning is the use of violence and fear, ie war and nukes, as a means to gain peace and prosperity.

  • cheesechowmain

    My capacity for love keeps wailing on my capacity for violence. And my capacity for courage worries about it to the point fearful paralysis.

    Sorry, I really enjoyed peggysue’s post.

    Anyway on to the following: Gaddis writes that to break the human habit of escalating violence, and of using all the tools that worked: “It took visionaries — saboteurs of the status quo — to widen the range of historical possibility.�

    One of the Promethean characters at the dawn of our nuclear weapons age, J. Robert Oppenheimer, spent time at the beginning of the cold war working to try to corral these weapons. He was working from within the system, notably, chief advisor to the AEC. Of course, the proverbial genie was out of the bottle by this time, one he had played no mean role in uncorking. Thus, his lobbying efforts for non-proliferation were rewarded with a scorching both politically and professionally. Karma perhaps?

    Just a reminder, it’s a mixed bag on this front and the efforts of people of exceptional talent have not always been rewarded for trying to avert a proliferations course.

  • Ok, another fascinating thread here. I’m surprised to find that anyone still argues that it was good for Japan that we dropped atomic bombs on them. And surprised to read that we are only measuring the cost of war (or lack thereof) in deaths. Those who die don’t care anymore. Its the devastated lives that are the true cost of war.

    And then there’s how it affects the cultural psyche of the ‘winner’. Since WWII, it seems that, as a country we simply don’t know how to solve problems except through violence. Our ‘aura’ for lack of a better word is so black. I can’t say that I like what we’ve become. We’re all about being a superpower and imposing our values on the rest of the world. And our values don’t look very attractive when you’re living within it. We pray to the $. We refuse to take responsibility for our impact on others. We think that if someone has plumbing now, we’ve done a good thing. No matter that we’ve destroyed their culture, enslalved their people in sweatshops, devastated their environment, etc.

    And we love to hate. We relish in the idea of an Evil Axis. We see everything as OUr Ally or The Other. The Other is expendable because, of course, its evil.

    But I digress. What of the question at hand: is there a way to shift gears and find non-violent, non-fear mongering ways to resolve conflicts? Do we have any visionaries on stage right now who can turn down the drama quotient?

    I don’t buy this retroactive naming of Reagan as some great strategist for peace. But do we have one now?

    I wonder if we even want one. I don’t hear a hue and cry from the masses for a leader who is an arbiter of peace. The single thing that propelled Bush to high approval rating was his posturing as a war president. He didn’t even go after the actual architects of the offense committed against us. But we love the “cowboy’ image, so we rallied behind him. I don’t hear the Democrats starting campaigns that are about brokering peace around the globe. About listening to what we might do to lessen the muslim rage against us and seeing if we can de-escalate relations. All the politicians are jockeying for who can position themselves as the stronger war manager.

    But let’s say we are seeking to move the human race towards a peacful existence. Who’s out there to lead the way? I see Carter. He’s not young any longer, though. Anyone else? Anyone outside the US who would lead this mission internationally? There used to be a man who might have pulled it off – Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. He was a spiritual leader. He was recognized by the UN as a person to seek advice from because his spirituality embraced both eastern and western systems. It may require a spiritual leader – like MLK, Jr – but I don’t think this country is open to that. (Unless he’s a fundamentalist christian – which won’t get the job done.)

  • Brendan

    Winston seems pretty lonely here among our regulars, but it looks like he’s holding his own.

    I’ll throw in my two cents here anyway; I spent the winter of 2002-2003 in Germany. It was not a particularly America-friendly time to be there, and I endured many long discussions about what was wrong with my homeland. Germans like to talk about what’s wrong with America. They like it almost as much as they like soccer.

    Germans liked to tell me that they bore a particular responsibility to ensure that there were no more wars. This seems true enough, but it’s only half of the lesson we can take from the World War II; the other half is that sometimes violence is necessary to limit the appetites of evil men. Regardless of what you think about the current Iraq war, you have to agree that there’s at least a case that can be constructed for war. To simply delcare war evil and walk away from it is to abdicate a moral responsibility we have — that the Germans have — to protect the innocent and to protect ourselves.

    The idea that we can achieve a state of courage and grace that will make war unnecessary makes me itch a little, because it’s predicated on the assumption that people can get better. Really? Do we really believe, in the face of all of recorded history, that we can breed — or encourage — a better human? This is the sort of thing that even Augustine couldn’t square, the reason he had to take the best parts of man and make them wait for us in heaven.

    We can argue about this war, and I have in fact argued about it with none other than Winston Dodson, many times, several of them in fact while sitting in a biergarten in post-war Germany. But it’s hard to believe, when discussing war, that we’re capable of moving beyond it, and the attempt to make man better has proven to be one of the more dangerous ideas of the not particularly peaceful twentieth century.

  • Allison, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama & Thich Nhat Hanh are some of my living heros.

    “True peace is always possible. Yet it requires strength and practice, particularly in times of great difficulty… Practicing peace, especially in times of war, requires courage.”

    Thich Nhat Hanh, from his book, Creating True Peace

  • cheesechowmain

    Regarding Brendan’s post, how about a sort of homespun appeal: War takes a sales job to persuade and motivate others to particiapte in it. It requires legal protections. Peace can happen by justing sitting on your butt or going about your normal daily activities. This tells me that peace is closer to our natural state of equilibrium than war, merely from an expended effort point-of-view. Given a choice, most people would rather conserve their effort and expend it on matters of personal interest. If your personal interests are something akin to separating a fly’s body from its wings, then perhaps war is a suitable career choice.

  • brosenmass

    Fellow Bush basher here – But I agree with the analysis that Bush will be looked upon as a great strategist of the 21st century.

    Democracy is not the end game. There are no lofty ideals here. Our manoeuvres will be seen as a last ditch attempt to secure our addiction to oil. That is how history will see it, and win or lose, Bush will likely be seen as a hero.

    Now somebody please give me the Heimlich manoeuvre….

  • cheesechowmain

    Tangental side note: I was but a mere wee child in April of 1968. The Oakland Athletics were playing their opening series at the Alameda County Coliseum. Governer Ronald Reagan participated in the opening ceremony, I believe he threw out the first pitch or something. He received a loud, lengthy, rancorous, unambigious Boo. And brother, it was lengthy. This is the beloved Ronald Reagan I remember. That and his administration’s position in the 1980s that ketchup is a vegetable. Perhaps this is all urban myth?

  • Reagan did proclaim ketchup a vegetable. It was about school lunches. I thought of it just the other day as I was squeezing ketchup onto my tofu dog.

    While governor of California he was also famous for saying “If you’ve seen one Redwood you’ve seen them allâ€?.

    It’s Central America you don’t hear people talk about much when they are canonizing RR as the Cowboy Saint who saved the world.

    Here’s Amy Goodman on the Reagan years and Central America… with numbers for those of you who enjoy statistics…

    “We’ll look at Reagan’s legacy as seen from the target end. The 8 years Reagan was in office represented one of the most bloody eras in the history of the Western hemisphere, as Washington funneled money, weapons and other supplies to right wing death squads. And the death toll was staggering – more than 70,000 political killings in El Salvador, more than 100,000 in Guatemala, 30,000 killed in the contra war in Nicaragua. In Washington, the forces carrying out the violence were called “freedom fighters.” This is how Ronald Reagan described the Contras in Nicaragua: “They are our brothers, these freedom fighters and we owe them our help. They are the moral equal of our founding fathers.’â€?

  • Nikos

    Reagan also, with the peerless assistance of James Watt, his wholly inappropriate Secretary of the Interior (someone might wanna fact-check this – I can’t cause I’m eating a sandwich with the vegetable mustard on it) blamed air pollution on trees.


    Nobody can make stuff like this up.


  • Brendan,

    I do agree that there can come times when you have to starve a destructive appetite and it requires physical force. The problem I have with this argument is that we wait so long to start starving that appetite. I’m no history buff (so, tell if I’m wrong) but I’m seem to recall that there was awareness of Hitler’s dangerous actions long before we decided to stand up and face off. We always seem to wait until things are atrocities. Even then, self-interest outweighs protecting the innocent. Look at how many people are enabling Michael Jackson.

    I do agree that we have never seen a time in human history where mankind, on the large scale, has manifested a better humanity. Does that mean we should give up? I do like to live with realism. And I like to lead with idealism. That is: we might as well at least aspire to something better. We can use that vision to point toward a better way.

    I’m not sure I get how the 20th century proves that it is impossible to work towards a grace-full humanity. I see the 20th century as only proving that we must stop waiting to take action. We must be vigilant about peacefull pushing people away from destructive behavior. It has to start at home. Never allowing name-calling to be acceptable. Never allowing hitting to be acceptable. Always addressing the dishonesty we see in ourselves and others. Its a daily, mundane thing we must do if we are to impact a society. Its not something you can preach. You must live it and let it emanate from you.

    Do I believe I will see the end of violence and wars in my lifetime. Not likely. Do I believe it is imperative that we continue to work for that vision. Absolutely. Do I itch? I’d be sore afeared of myself if I didn’t.

  • To pick up on Brendan’s thread about humans never getting over, under, around, through or even beyond their tendency to wage war, I both agree and disagree. While it is probably hardwired into our DNA to be both as aggressive as a FOX announcer and as passive as a couch potato, and though it will take the next hominoid type after Sapiens (and the right environmental circumstances) to restrict or transform the anger “gene”, this does not mean that societies can’t create a set of circumstances and a practice that promote peace and real social security (not one based on fear and torture) and severely curtail in/out group violence. Together, institutional (e.g. human rights) and technical (e.g. information systems) transformations have created the conditions for a more lasting peace. It may sound trite, but the key ingredient to make these forces work for and not against human betterment is education. Of course this is not a nation-building style of education based on cultural and political indoctrination–the kind of mass education that united disparate peoples under one vernacular, one rule and one flag. It’s an education based on the question mark and not the period. An Open Source education, so to speak.

    I think (though I don’t have any data in front of me Winston) it is pretty certain that more educated societies will not go to war. Sure, some of the educated will join their knowledge with their urge to aggression and seek an opportunity to attack the other. But it won’t work if nobody goes along because they know the reasons and the consequences. Why are recruitment goals now not fulfilled? Families are becoming more informed about battlefield conditions and the real reasons for occupying Iraq. Recruiters then have to seek enlisted from regions with high unemployment and little other choice. If the money spent on the war machine went into education and caring for the poor in society aggression could become something we don’t necessarily move beyond but a desire we keep in check.

    What do you think? Too idealistic?

  • Nikos

    I think the last segment of peggysue’s 10:06 PM post nicely details why I think objectionable the ‘Reagan the Peacenik’ hagiography.

    And I’m confused: after beatifying as a peacenik the same man who, to name just two policies of questionable humanity, demonized welfare mothers and busted unions with every iota of Blame The Victim he could muster, why did Chris then blow it all up by calling Reagan’s ‘success’ in ending the Cold War a happenstance of providence? So he wasn’t the responsible saint after all? Or was Chris throwing a belated bone to us Reagan-the-saint skeptics?

    What did I miss?

    Maybe I need to listen again, but I know nothing of ‘podcast’ – what’s the software? – can anybody suggest anything appropriate?

  • Nikos, I don’t think the podcast, which is put out in Mp3 form, is available yet for this show. To listen to Mp3 files, there are many applications you can use. I have downloaded Itunes from the site and in itunes you can subscribe to various shows, besides Open Source, and have them automatically downloaded to your computer. The podcast for Open Source usually arrives a day later than its live broadcast and a few hours later that when a link to the Mp3 file is posted on the website. If you don’t want to bother with Itunes, you can just download the free Quicktime player, again from Apple, and click on the link to the Mp3 file when it is posted on this website. That should start up the application and either play the audio file in a separate window or inside your browser.

    Hope this helps.

  • Nikos

    Re Brendan, Allison, & sidewalker: if limiting victimization – including violence – is the goal for a humanist society, then it seems to me that the best way to frame it is by calling the goal: the abolition of violence and victimization.

    Sure: realistic expectations imply that you’ll probably never fully meet the goal, but at least you’ve never room to relax and rest on your laurels. Make the goal absolute, and then never flag in your efforts to teach the state of mind and heart necessary for peace. It won’t be easy, especially early on.

    But I’ll reiterate this: Europe of 1994 would seem an unrecognizable paradise to its inhabitants of 50 years earlier. So, it’s possible.

    As for the widely believed-in ‘human love of violence’ – I stand firmly beside the substantial anthropological evidence suggesting that violence is rare in human environments low in stressors.

    Of course, that’s not our culture, because of normalized and sanctioned inequity.

    Moreover, violence seems common to us because of relentless media depictions.

    Yet how many fights do we actually see with our own two eyes on a daily basis?

    The violence filling our video screens results from our hierarchical and exploitative societies and cultures much more than it does from human nature. That violence also influences kids, who are like sponges for societal and cultural cues.

    I know the studies that seem to ‘prove’ that boys are inherently prone to games of battle, but that can be molded into something more benign instead of normalized, I should think. We ought at least try it.

    Ridding our media of violent imagery and of icons of hierarchy strikes me a good place to start.

    But, like sidewalker, I feel compelled to close with: What do you think? Too idealistic?

    (I don’t. Too many other, older cultures offer contrary evidence. But true ‘peaceniks’ are fighting uphill if for no other reason than: violence sells.)

  • cheesechowmain

    Re: Brendan’s post. I was a little cheeky in my conclusion, so I thought I ought to dial it down a bit and really give it honest consideration. I’ve noticed some of my ideas are echos of similar notions already posted. Independent thinking coming to similar conclusions. I can think of at least three good bar jokes about that, but I’ll stop myself short. I’ve enjoyed the thoughts on this matter.

    I’d like to address the notion of how do we improve the human being, make the better man. This seemed a sort of precondition to address the issue of war.

    Another point-of-view that is available requires an unasking of this question. I’d offer that we don’t need to breed or make a better human and that it is likely that this approach creates an unsolvable problem. It locks us into an answer that we struggle to release ourselves from. I suggest, we may already possess the ability for a complete and total peace within ourselves. I mention this only because the meditations of a person of great insight, ability, and clarity like St. Augustine were grounded in a western spiritual tradition. The question frames the answers sought and what is found. You can cast this issue into other workable frameworks.

    peggysue has mention several mentors/teachers from other traditions. From these practices, the questions are not premised upon making the better human, the questions are about awakening to the better human being within, right here, now, in the present, not at some other metaphysical location. From this flows: war behavior is not reality, it is part of an illusion, if not perhaps the illusion. The awakened mind can glimpse and manage multiple views. This is a hopeful perspective; that we have the capability to see the illusion for what it is.

    I offer this as an alternative to a western metaphysical framework. If you were to consider the rich and complex history and metaphysics of the people in an area like Papua, New Guinea you will find the questions and answers resemble something entirely different. The idea behind war and their rituals are vastly different from ours or our friends to the east. A cable news commentator will offer a framing of the question and provide answers accordingly. I’d conclude this line of thought by suggesting that there are excellent contributions from the secular canon to this area too. I suppose the point I’m working towards is the frame of the question informs the answer and creates the context for necessary preconditions for possible solutions. It creates the available options.

    Let me get slightly personal. Let me make note that I live in what might be plausibly described as a militarized society. And yet, I haven’t embraced militarization as a core value. This is an interesting exception, if war is self-evident. I am surely not the better man. I may honestly suggest, I may be the worse man. Perhaps, a worse human is what’s needed to achieve equanimity; a down right scoundrel may be even better. One person unwilling to countenance militarism, is one counter-example to the pantheon: humans can be persuaded to become dogs-of-war in times of distress and crisis. How many people are necessary before the idea of war as vital intrinsic core value is no longer considered to be a credible common sense wisdom. Is it a numbers game? Are we playing the game of advertisers, insurance agents, and poll hucksters on a matter of such weight. Okay, I’ll give it a try to the best of my ability.

    Let me note, I’m not framing my response around matters of right or wrong. This is addressing the question that war is an intrinsic part of the human condition. One way to look at the numbers game is that if one person, growing up inside a cage of militarism can consider an alternative, this may mean something is wrong with the assumptions that created the cage. I suggest that one counter-example is likely to a disproportionately huge fly-in-the ointment. The pantheon may not break down, the cage will continual to hold, but with enough individuals it will shudder and strain, show signs of wear and degradatioin. I read Brendan’s post and internalized my own consideration of it to be a speculation as to whether war is pantheon, the final single means when other means have been exhausted. That our efforts to avoid it have failed with a high degree of repetition. Incidently, I’m not suggesting there is an alternative pantheon of peace. Simply that peace as strategic confrontation to negotiating and navigating through difficult problems has not been eradicated. It could be. So could the pantheon of war. Opportunities abound.

    I’ll attempt to broaden this out a bit beyond my the end-of-my-nose. The impression that war and mass violence are intrinsic to our DNA, neurological architecture, ontological, or historical make-up are notions that have seen considerable exploration. Not unreasonable in an effort to understand ourselves. Evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, metaphysics, theology, divinity studies, poetry, art, literature, history, military training, military history are valuable and fascinating fields of inquiry. They have served us well and provide much wisdom. I have a bit of a mile-wide-inch-deep notion about them. But, I do have an outer skin of the onion grasp about some of the ideas. But I really wonder if they are able to have a direct conversation about war. If one were to consider the amount of actual, tangible violence that occurs in their life, one may find violence is more of an occassional spike over the data points of one’s lifetime and not a consistent, frequently occuring event. I’m talking physically, large scale violence, and I’m assuming away some things in an effort to save space and make my thought quasi-consistent.

    For the sake of a back-of-the-envelop gedanken, assume away your media outlets. News, sports, entertainment. The whole caboodle. If you can’t envision this base step, you really can’t run the experiment. Now, how often is mass violence occuring in the sphere of your life. Try to lay out some numbers of occurrences and think about how to define their intensity. Note the numbers and form a percentage or proportion against the moments of peacefulness and their intensity. What’s the number look like? What sort of threshold do we want to agree upon? How high would the number have to be before we can agree that we are stuck with war as a normal course of action to solve disagreements? How low would it be before we can agree that peace can be the normal course of action to solve disagreements?

    I’m aware there are low hanging fruit from which one draw from to make a contrary case. Obviously, one’s mileage will vary in regard to frequency and intensity of personal engagement with mass violence. I would expect petty and felonious criminals, law enforcement, fire personnel, military personnel, war lords, and other high risk occupations to have higher percentages associated than others in the population. I would not be surprised if the people living in certains locations Iraq, Chechnya, Darfar to have high percentages. We can dig out other locations right here in the U.S. and types of work, but please no web links. A deluge won’t help clarify.

    When making a collective consideration, what sort of threshold are we looking for to answer the question about war? What qualifies for outlier status or a reasonable deviation from the norm? I’ll offer a cursory thought about some criteria. If two percent of the history of the earth’s population were to reveal that organized, mass violence of significant intensity had occurred in the range of 25% to 35% of their life’s experience, then I speculate that war is the way we work things out. Obviously the dead cannot talk to us, but they can speak to our hearts and minds. I believe the number is likely to be under this threshold when consider humanity’s path over time. But it’s a guesstimate. And, it could be that this threshold can be surpassed soon. But please, no polling data, no wiki links, no assaults with statistics. I will not offer my reasons on this thread about my deep distrust of data arguments other than to say, I won’t consider them. Another thread, another time perhaps. It’s a very fertile line of inquiry. People who know me have heard my beefs ad nauseum. I have stood toe-to-toe with professional statisticians to the point they cringe when they see me. My heels are dug in, and from this spot I cannot be moved.

    What I’m trying to capture with this gedanken exercise, which has no reasonable way to be carried out, is to show how difficult it would be to ascertain whether war is an essential part of our species. The framing of the problem is the exercise, not pounding through tables of data about the past, present, and future. It is intended cause pause and reflection on the degree of difficulting in considering this matter.

    Let me swerve a bit and me suggest two possible simple alternatives to think about war. We could posture that humans are peaceful and those activities are disrupted by occasional periods of mass violence. Or, we could posture that human beings are intrinsically violent and those peaceful periods mask a deep seated violent streak awaiting manifestions on as large of a scale as possible. Point-of-view is essential in my opinion. It determines what is considered a passing phase and what is considered equilibrium. One point-of-view would suggest an accord with peaceful ways of behavior, the alternative would suggest we truly find our harmony when giving vent to blood lust? My spouse, an extremely wise person, insists the need to aggress is a powerful elixir from our brain chemistry, a necessary tonic to satisfy some deep seated need we don’t quite understand; perhaps something from our evolutionary development that causes tension with our neo-cortex. That would suggest we’re masking our violent tendencies until the need to erupt occurs. Honestly, I believe it’s inconclusive either way. This creates options, not closes them. We may or may not be dogs-of-war at our core. The fact that Brendan gets itchy suggests no clear answer.

    From a strictly practical point-of-view, contrary opinions about our predisposition to war can at least serve as a buffer zone where we can cool our heels and take a longer consideration of our actions and their effects. Call it a waiting or cooling off period of sorts. In a world of options, peace is a good one to have on the table from my perspective. As long as it’s still a plausible consideration and a bone of contention, we’re not locked into a state of continually destructive behavior without break. Incidently, I do not confuse survival violence with war violence. They are different in kind, degree, scope, and objective. I do not think they are necessarily linked.

  • Nikos

    Hey sidewalker, thanks for the tip. But here’s what happens: it plays for three seconds, and then rebuffers for three seconds, which makes it virtually unlistenable. I know this is due to our cheap rural 28k phone lines.

    So what I was hoping for is to download the whole thing, and then play it when complete (instead of trying this impossible ‘live’ stream).

    So, I still need help.

    How do I *download* a podcast?

  • Nikos

    Re cheesechowmain’s weighty contrubution (and thanks for it too):

    His post reminded me that I ought to have supported mine with a very different body of evidence: John Keegan’s ‘A History of Warfare’

    which flatly de-glamorizes its topic even while explaining the differences between the ritualized (and not very lethal) warfare practiced by those we think ‘barbarians’, and the insanely destructive ‘total war’ practised by we self-named civilized types.

    He’s a very peculiar military historian, because he describes war for what it IS, not for what its jingoistic makers claim it to be.

    I recommend it highly — ESPECIALLY to ‘peaceniks’.

  • Cheesechowmain, outstanding. Thanks for stepping outside the box and bringing us along with you. Your food for thought provided a multi-course dinner that will take several days to fully digest.

  • Nikos, just as I told you, if you download the free Itunes software and subscribe to Open Source, then when you click podcast “update” in Itunes the full file downloads and you can then listen at your leisure or labour.

  • OMG – THAT show was HARD to listen to! That was like having Chritopher Lydon try to tell me that Darth Vader is really my Dad.

    Please pass the ketchup. If not because I need to eat my vegetables then because I need those mellowing agents.

    (I’m dashing out the door again this morning but look forward to reading the above posts WAW – while at work)

  • nother

    Brendon writes “Regardless of what you think about the current Iraq war, you have to agree that there’s at least a case that can be constructed for war.� With all do respect my good man, I do not have to agree that there is at least a case to be constructed war, in this case. I joined the military at the beginning of the first gulf war with the idea that there was a case for war at that point. The man had just invaded Kuwait and I figured he was after Saudi Arabia next, and who knows after that. When the wheels were in motion for this gulf war however, I marched and protested in Boston Common. Sadaam WAS CONTAINED Brendon. “Ideally� in a perfect world this “evil� man would go away, but the “reality� is that we had bigger fish to fry, i.e. Osama.

    The laws in our country make violence illegal only to a point. You can use violence in the case of self-defense or in the case of protection other people. This coincides with your statement about “a moral responsibility we have — that the Germans have — to protect the innocent and to protect ourselves.� With that in mind WW11 was legal, Bosnia was legal, Sudan was legal (wait we haven’t gone there) Vietnam was not legal, and this Iraq war is not legal.

    You tell me that I have to agree that there’s at least a case that can be constructed for this war and I tell you that you no, you’re wrong, there’s not. The case for violence in this case would have been thrown out of any courtroom by any judge in this country.

    Brendon would you send your child to fight in Fallujah?

    John F. Kennedy told us: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

    “In response to this quote by JFK, Martin Luther King said: “Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken — the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.â€?

    These quotes are from a speech about Vietnam by MLK:

  • Nikos

    It’s worth noting the post-times above:

    Cheesechowmain and Nikos contributed back to back posts that reinforce one another within eleven minutes of each other. 5:22 and 5:32. Which means we posited the same conclusions without having been influenced by the other, ’cause ccm’s is obviously the work of an entire evening, not eleven minutes.

    Thanks, bud, great post!

  • Nikos


    You have no idea how many scathing reviews of last night’s show I drafted then scrapped.

    My sarcasm is a problem enough already.

    (God help me.)

    Suffice it to say I agree with your diplomatic but unmistakable sentiment.



    Now I’m off to Safeway. I’m out of the vegetable called 1000 Island Dressing, and need it for my air-polluting lunch salad.

  • Nikos: I know what you mean… I could not respond last night I was speechless.

  • Potter

    We need more Winston Dodson’s. Thanks Brendan. Sorry Winston. Did we bury you?

    Regarding changing human nature: We should accept that some people are more prone to violence, violent reactions, than others. Some cultures, societies, are more prone to it, or emphasize it more than others.

    But these are states of mind that can be changed over time. Why can’t we make war taboo?

    We can find ways of satisfying our aggressive tendencies in video games and sports and psychotherapy.

    This is not to say Brendan that we do not have to be prepared to go to war when there is no other obvious choice. But how do we avoid the unnecessary wars and all the unintended disastrous consequences?

    One way is to encourage, cultivate, nurture, different frames of mind, more peaceful tolerant ones. We can and should organize ourselves is ways that promote peace and and well being.

    There are many ways to promote peace globally or avoid war if we have the will, as Francis Fukuyama suggests at the end of his excellent article in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine ” After Neoconservatism” which falts the militarism of this philosophy


  • Potter

    I don’t buy the Reagan revisionism, and barely endured the 8 years of his administration. So add me to the group, though I enjoyed the program. I was astonished by “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down that wall” and winced when he called the USSR the “Evil Empire” but as was said on the show Reagan knew that the country was imploding. As Reagan played victor, we have to remember Gorbachov and Yeltsin.

  • Nikos

    Potter: Right, right, and right again.

    Crediting Reagan for peace is pretty much akin to crediting the USA for defeating Nazi Germany.

    We didn’t do it.

    The USSR did it, and would have prevailed in the end even if that end came in ’47 or ’48.

    Invading Nazi-held France in ’44 only shortened the war. It didn’t win it.

    Gorbachev ended the Cold War.

    Reagan fueled it with what we Ronnie-dissenters rightly termed a massive tax dollar giveaway to the defense industry.

    While acquiring the ‘vegetable’ matter necessary to smother those air-pollutants out-gassing from my lettuce, I had an epiphany: perhaps last night’s show was Chris’s ‘welcome-to-ROS’ dowry to our new token centrist, Winston.

    Potter’s right, Winston, we need you!

    Don’t vanish on us now like Shriber and ALYB.

  • jazzman

    After downloading this thread during lunch and spending most of the afternoon reading it between work crises, I have to chime in. 1st to Winston who believes that accomplishing his “idealâ€? end justifies any means. This philosophy is responsible for ALL the atrocities committed by human beings since Cain killed Abel (metaphorically – not literally.) All committed by people who were pursuing their/or their leader’s vision of the “idealâ€? and were pessimistic that this could be accomplished peacefully or believed that it would take too long. In principle this is NO different than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Reagan or GW. These leaders believed they were doing the “rightâ€? thing for themselves and their cause. Since most of the educated secular world believes in the Darwinistic Model of “Survival of the Fittestâ€? – read dominators of their environment (which presupposes a competitive rather than cooperative paradigm in nature and by extension humankind), it makes it even easier to justify survival at the expense of everything else. That is the true danger of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea Daniel Dennett’s musings notwithstanding, that without a “moralâ€? compass, humans are free to behave in any way that they see fit and rationalize that behavior as their “naturalâ€? right to enhance the chance of passing on their heritable characteristics (eugenistically speaking.)

    As I have posted in other threads, a sense of morality (right/wrong) is a personal belief and without absolute moral standards (independent of religion and society) that a “tooth and claw – might makes rightâ€? existence is seen as the natural (evolutionary) order of things. What constitutes “evilâ€? is it like the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography, “I know it when I see it?â€? Whose good? Whose Evil? Was the atomic bombing of Japan “goodâ€? in that possibly many American lives were spared? For Americans maybe, but I doubt that you would find the same opinion among the Japanese, despite Winston’s equating economic success and the adoption of western values with “good.â€? Violence perpetuates violence; did the War to End All Wars stop warfare? This sort of reasoning is like parents that believe they are justified in beating their “badâ€? children because their parents beat them when they were “bad.â€? The only way the cycle will stop is when we consciously stop it.

    If we believe as Brendan does (pessimistically) that there is no hope for human’s becoming “better� and it’s proven to be a dangerous idea to even attempt to encourage (my word – make implies force or eugenics) humankind to become a more ideal representative of its species, the outlook is indeed bleak.

    BTW Brendan, pessimism needs its presumptions to fail short of the ideal to justify its gloomy outlook, optimism is sanguine even if the ideal is not achieved. Pessimists win by losing; I’d rather be optimistic and dead wrong than be pessimistic and dead right. One also avoids a lot of stress by being optimistic.

    Back to the actual topic: In my mind Cold Wars are far preferable to Hot Wars. In a cold war a sort of balance or equilibrium is maintained and bellicose energy is canceled out, however stalemate by MAD only works when both parties believe that survival is paramount and they have more to lose than to gain by exercising the neucular (that’s hard to spell) option. The legacy of Ronald Reagan (besides fostering a resurgence of jingoistic nationalism and tripling the national debt – a supply side canard – only rescued by the freeing up the stashed assets of the greedy (and not so greedy) attempting to cash in on the tech boom of the feel good Clinton – dot com era) was to largely destabilize the world by hastening the transition of USSR from Communism into chaos. This created a power a vacuum in which the USA was the only “Super Powerâ€? and removed what was for many the focus (black hole) for their personification of “evil.â€? Now people needed another scapegoat on which to channel their fears and mistrust and now they can pick and choose (the bete noire (Russian bear) of Communism has largely been replaced by Islamism. The USSR thru intimidation and oppression (I don’t justify this) had kept a lid on the simmering pot of the Balkans, Middle East and most of Asia. When this was no longer the case, ethnics wanted their identities back, the suppressed religions wanted their gods back and old grudges avenged. They didn’t want to take the time (we’ve been held down too long) to use peaceful means to rebuild their societies and resolve differences, so again a short circuit “ends justifies the meansâ€? mentality prevailed and we have an unbalanced situation arguably far more threatening to the world than the USSR. Gorbachev realized that if the transition was not managed, the potential for tragedy was palpable and to his credit he tried to control the transition but failed. Again (and I realize that I’m kind of a 1 trick pony on this issue – ROS will undoubtedly see this repeated redundantly over and over again) – “Ideal Ends do NOT justify less than Ideal Meansâ€?

    Kudos to Nikos, Allison, Peggysue, nother, sidewalker, and Cheesechowmain whose hearts/souls are the “right� place (my value judgment) and well meaning even if their heads get a little hot from time to time. Aggressive (adamant) action/words in pursuit of one’s ideals is laudable, violence is not.

    Peace to all – Jazzman

  • nother: When the wheels were in motion for this gulf war however, I marched and protested in Boston Common.

    me, too!

  • Sorry that I missed the show and follow on discussion. I scanned threads and I guess that all I ahve to say is that war is just another tool that we will outgrow when we no longer need it.

    – “War is . . . an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.”

    “War is an extension of politcs by other means”

  • cheesechowmain: Now, how often is mass violence occuring in the sphere of your life.

    First let me say that I love your post. I think we all try to be concise most of the time, but it was a please to read through a more fleshed out thought process.

    Then let me put foth a thought that disrupts that process. You seem to put forth that experiencing mass violence is what leads to the acceptance of war as a dispute resolution tool. I’m not sure it requires experienes of “mass violence”. A child that grows up in a violent home, is inculcated with the idea that differences are resolved by exerting power over another. This is the same mental construct that leads to using violence to solving problems. Bring that construct into problem solving between large groups of people and you get war.

    So, you would have to remove more than exposure to media outlets. You would need to remove the dynamic of using physical power to exert one’s will. As much as I dislike the media, I’m not convinced that the blame for misguided people can be laid at their doorstep. It has been proven over and over that parents are the single biggest influence on children. Then it is the immediate societal interactions.

    To address the problem of changing an entire culture’s approach to problem solving we need to find a way to break down the sovereignty of the parent over the child. We must have a way of intervening in what the child is experiencing and being taught at home. This is tricky ground. Balancing the right to privacy and individuality with the need to foster dramatic psycho-emotional improvements in our society.

    I believe that given the will we can do anything. I believe that the will can be generated. It takes one person at a time. Then we just have to wait for the 100th monkey.

  • Mr. Lydon,

    If you broke a tooth on Professor Gaddis’s assertion about W. Bush, then you can appreciate that many of your listeners (see comments by Peggysue and others above) now need extensive dental work after listening to this show.

    Revision, reevaluation: these terms are far too limp for the cleansing effort you and your guests did on Regan and Gorby as you placed these 20th century Giants of Reason up on their pedestals. Let’s not reduce the sum of cold-war history to the doings–or, rather, only some of the doings–of Kings, Queens, Dictators, Generals and, especially, US Presidents.

    And Chris, please stop fawning over your esteemed guests and ask some hard-hitting questions, or at least bring in more of the questions and comments from the blogosphere if you don’t feel you can challenge your guests out of respect. You say the way into the conversation is through the website, and yet it seems in many shows you just pay lip service to what is being said out here.

    I only make these comments because I really like the ROS effort to let the public determine some of the topics and suggest possible guests. ROS cracks open the window. How about letting a little more of the breeze in?

  • Thanks to you all for this very thoughtful and passionate discussion.

    I’ve been mulling it all over throughout the day and remembered that when I was in 6th grade I had a teacher who was very taken with a popular anthropology book, I think it was Robert Ardrey’s, ‘Territorial Imperative’. The theory was that violence was integral to the evolution of man the hunter, man the toolmaker, something like that. After talking about the book, our teacher Mr. Young polled the class. He obviously supported the theory. I’m not sure exactly how he worded the first question but it was something to this effect. Is mankind basically greedy & violent? Lots of kids raised their hands. Then he asked how many thought that mankind was basically good? I raised my hand. I looked around and realized that I was the only kid in the classroom with my hand up. My conviction was strong in spite of the fact that I was in opposition to my teacher and all my classmates. I do not know where, at that young age, my conviction came from.

    Now, many Peace Marches later, plus several years of teaching nonviolent theory and strategy to young activists, I wonder if the jury is still out on this question. I love a Hong-Kong Kung Fu movie as much (OK probably more) than anyone. But whatever our evolutionary inheritance, are we not intelligent beings in possession of free will? We have a choice.

    Thanks again to you all for a lively exchange.

    I’ll sign out tonight with another quote from Dr. King…

    “And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is pre-existent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends�.

    –Martin Luther King, Jr. 24 December 1967

  • And I sure hope Christopher Lydon’s evil twin lets him out of the basement pretty soon.

  • nother

    Allison, we were probably side by side. And we still are. I will always remember coming down Tremont Street with the hordes of people and turning right onto Boylston. I was mesmerized (and still am) by the silhouettes of office workers in all the windows peering down at us from the windows of the tall buildings, some in quiet solidarity, some frozen in a downward gaze. I wanted to scream, Come down! Walk with us! Instead I just moved forward with our rumbling wave and looked up and gazed back with my head held high.

    This exuberant feeling I had was a feeling of freedom, of Democracy in action – in real-time. I was living a freedom that I had wanted to defend when I joined the military – it had come full circle. More than that though, we knew that we were right. We knew that the president had not proved his case for war, but it didn’t matter – many many people were about to suffer. We knew that President Bush was taking us for a ride, maybe the train was not stopping but we sure as hell were going to stick our heads out the window and scream – together.

    Allison what was your experience?

  • Nikos

    Winston: I’ve a question that you might help me to consider. I thought of you this afternoon while chopping wood to NPR’s All Things Considered.

    This isn’t a trick or a trap and I’ve no firm opinion on it, so I won’t be exploding in DISBELIEVING CAPITAL LETTERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT JUST BEFORE I GO TO BED AND LEAVING 30 QUESTION MARKS LIKE THIS: ????????????


    (I know I’m a jerk sometimes. I’m working on it. So don’t be cowed from letting me know when I step beyond the acceptable – I’m also very contrite when I recognize my idiocies. Just ask Jazzman and Digital Commuter. But I couldn’t bear the political double standard thing that I know from 2004 is a Fox News favorite smear tactic…okay, let’s forget it and proceed, if you’re willing…)

    It’s this port contract for the Dubai company – I wonder how a centrist Republican (you: who will someday I’m sure come over to the humanist side!) views it.

    As a starter here’s my incomplete ruminations:

    It seems on first hearing absolutely nuts. Two of the 9-11 hijackers were from the U.A.E., if not Dubai itself, and as Steven Flynn said today on NPR: how can we know if the blueprints for US ports won’t find their way into the hands of nuke plotting terrorists? It could happen entirely by accident: I’m Greek, so I know a thing or two about how middle eastern peoples love their families.

    One of the company’s executives might have a cousin, brother, son, or daughter that they trust, but who secretly is an informant for a terrorist ring. Personal computers hold easily hack-able secrets. It’s not only possible – it’s undeniably possible.

    On the other hand, Bush’s stance is that this is (now) a global economy, and we can’t discount the lowest or most qualified bidder just because their country has some questionable people in it.

    Heck, OUR country has some questionable people in it!

    And that disallowing the Dubai company is essentially hypocritical and racist.

    So, what’s YOUR take?

    Curiously yours,


  • Nikos

    Allison: it’s postulated (and I find it intuitively convincing) that before the patriarchal ‘nuclear family’ childcare was a group endeavor, not a parental one. I suspect from your post that this isn’t news to you.

    And it only magnifies the need for tax-supported childcare.

    Yeah, I said ‘tax supported’. (I’m not speaking only to you here, allison.)

    Taxes, for all those (not Allison, I reckon) puckering in sour reaction, are how WE PAY FOR THE COMMONWEALTH.

    Taxes aren’t Satanic.

    Do you like paved roads? Libraries? Ferries? Cheap gasoline?

    I rest my case.

    Peggy Sue: This is not news to you, I’m sure, but it’s worth pointing out to others that ‘peace’ isn’t simply ‘the absence of war’.

    When nonviolent-peace-force folks —

    speak of peace, they mean a state of heart and mind that flinches from aggression – even passive-aggression – let alone out-and-out violence.

    It’s another (nother!) emotional state that’s easy to internalize precisely because it’s much more humanly ‘natural’ than aggressiveness.

    It’s also why peace activists seem to preach their message to walls instead of to ears – because this society is founded on a cultural acceptance and even a sanction of violence.

    Hopefully not forever.

    btw: Chris Lydon’s evil twin let Chris out of the basement tonight, I think. Hope you got to hear the show.

    Chris’s last-act skepticism mirrors mine – and I WANT to believe Perkins’s tale, for cryin’ out loud!

    Ramen, all.

  • cheesechowmain

    allison, thank you for your comment. You went right to the core of something that troubled me. I think it’s a critical issue. You described the situation beautifully.

    While working through this little exercise, I could not dig the claws of violence directed towards children and animals from my thought process. These are precious beings, they’re in our care and we are charged with shepherding them.

    This is an issue that needs to be up-front and center in any consideration of this type. To assume it away is to miss something of monumental importance. Yet, I could not make flesh these shadows of thought. It was not an oversight, just unskillfullness. There are many other open issues and false starts for contemplation. Thanks again for taking the time.

  • cheesechowmain

    BTW, in my scouring this thread several times, somehow I missed this between two slightly larger posts:

    peggysue: All nuclear weapons are suicide bombs and we are all on the same bus.

    May I have a transfer? I would like to get onto a different bus? It’s getting pretty cramped anyway. Destination is of no particular importance.

  • Nikos

    ccm: missing a peggysue offering is like throwing away 24 karat gold coins.

  • bft

    not her: go ogle!

  • Potter

    Nikos -I just wrote a couple of posts in the suggestion thread asking for a show on the port security issue. My own t ake on it is that it is being used as a political football by both sides and the facts are being grossly distorted in the media and by our reps who should know better. Yahoos on the left blogs are jumping up and down about a juicy issue they can use some knowing that this is a strawman but wanting to use it nevertheless.

    There was a great informative report this AM on NPR’s Morning Edition by Adam Davidson which you should listen to:

  • Potter

    Thanks Jazzman for the following:

    The legacy of Ronald Reagan (besides fostering a resurgence of jingoistic nationalism and tripling the national debt – a supply side canard – only rescued by the freeing up the stashed assets of the greedy (and not so greedy) attempting to cash in on the tech boom of the feel good Clinton – dot com era) was to largely destabilize the world by hastening the transition of USSR from Communism into chaos. This created a power a vacuum in which the USA was the only “Super Powerâ€? and removed what was for many the focus (black hole) for their personification of “evil.â€? Now people needed another scapegoat on which to channel their fears and mistrust and now they can pick and choose (the bete noire (Russian bear) of Communism has largely been replaced by Islamism. The USSR thru intimidation and oppression (I don’t justify this) had kept a lid on the simmering pot of the Balkans, Middle East and most of Asia. When this was no longer the case, ethnics wanted their identities back, the suppressed religions wanted their gods back and old grudges avenged. They didn’t want to take the time (we’ve been held down too long) to use peaceful means to rebuild their societies and resolve differences, so again a short circuit “ends justifies the meansâ€? mentality prevailed and we have an unbalanced situation arguably far more threatening to the world than the USSR. Gorbachev realized that if the transition was not managed, the potential for tragedy was palpable and to his credit he tried to control the transition but failed. Again (and I realize that I’m kind of a 1 trick pony on this issue – ROS will undoubtedly see this repeated redundantly over and over again) – “Ideal Ends do NOT justify less than Ideal Meansâ€?

  • Things Reagan actually did that I like:

    He took naps at work.

    He didn’t overwork himself.

    He served as president while in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

    He got along with Tip O’Neill.

    He put the “pub” back in Republican when he had a brew in Ireland (even if it was a Killian’s.)

    He said, “NATO is the world’s greatest peace movement” (Radio Address while on in Europe June 2nd, 1984.)

    He told a good joke.

  • Nikos: I did miss the Hitman show. I am trying to download it into ipage right now. Like you I have a ssssssssssssllllllllllllllllllooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww connection. I have heard Perkins on Democracy Now! I believe it.

    Dubai – it does conjure up conspiricy theories doesn’t it (like the one that George W planned 9-11 and his buddy Osama is hiding out at Crawford) Not so sure I believe this one but there is some plausability to it.

    Glad to hear CL escaped the basement of his evil twin. And thank you again for your generous coments.

  • Nikos

    Potter: I agree — Jazzman Rocks. And so do you and about 30 other regular contributors. Gooooooo….ROS!

  • jazzman

    Potter: Apologies, I meant to include you in the kudos clause, I must have been groggy, to allow such a slip and deserve to be rakud over the coals for the omission – I must be going to pot. BTW How do you get italics?

  • jazzman

    Winston writes:>> war is just another tool that we will outgrow when we no longer need it.>>

    Nobody “needsâ€? war – tools (witting or unwitting) will outgrow war when no one wants or believes in it.

  • Nikos

    Osama’s in Crawford, huh?


    Hadn’t heard that one before.

    I stick too closely to ROS, I guess.

    Thanks, Peggy Sue.

  • nother

    It’s too bad that the “military-industrial complex” was not discussed on the show.

    Here is the speech by Eisenhower:

  • cheesechowmain

    Thanks nother for that ike speech. I too think this is an extremely important part of the discussion. Also, leaving out the role the scientific community is to miss a significant player making contributions to the game.

  • cheesechowmain

    This is somewhat off topic, but did nother, or anyone else for that matter, see the film “Why we fight” yet? I’ve not, so no major spoilers please. I was just wondering your general impressions. From a either a semi-objective or matter-of-taste point-of-view. I did enjoy Mr. Jarecki’s “The Trials of Henry Kissinger” which is probably a whole thread or ROS show unto itself.

  • jazzman

    Allison writes:>>To address the problem of changing an entire culture’s approach to problem solving we need to find a way to break down the sovereignty of the parent over the child. We must have a way of intervening in what the child is experiencing and being taught at home. This is tricky ground. Balancing the right to privacy and individuality with the need to foster dramatic psycho-emotional improvements in our society.>>

    Someone said “It takes a village.â€? I seem to remember a level of vilification rivaled only by a Universal Health Care proposal. However as tempting as it may be to inculcate children to think as you believe they ought for the sake of a “betterâ€? society is more than “tricky groundâ€?. This is a fundamental violation of the sanctity of the individual of the highest order (Orwellian and Huxleyesque.) I adamantly refused to allow my 3 children exposure to formal religion of any sort until they were 18. In a theocratic society they would have been forcibly removed under your philosophy. In a communistic society I would have been a comrade furthering the cause. In a pluralistic society I would be considered (and was by some) either a strict authoritarian who was raising atheists or a godless, irresponsible liberal existentialist raising a bunch of nihilists and would live to regret my foolishness. I provided an environment in which the tenets of my “absolute moralityâ€? were espoused and they were never corporally punished (as I was) and “because I say soâ€? was never the reason for anything. All my children are now over 21, pacifists, reverent of life, productive, and have never been a problem to anyone including me. I wouldn’t presume to usurp any parent’s authority over their children and doubt that in our lifetime you could muster a consensus of a majority as to what constitutes “correctâ€? (that pesky value judgment bugaboo) child raising. Children will emulate adult behavior, so the only way to achieve your (good hearted/hotheaded) objectives is to start with oneself and lead others by example. If your children provide what you consider to be a good example to the rest of the world, you have done your job to the best of your ability, and no matter how wrong one considers the examples others set for their offspring, people have to be allowed to make their own errors and live with the consequences. “Rightâ€? ideals must be something that the individual chooses for the belief that they are right – no matter how misguided the beliefs seem. Peggysue believes that humankind is basically “goodâ€? and so do I despite the “evidenceâ€? to the contrary. All atrocities are committed in the name of someone’s good and that includes the “sovereignty of the parent over the child.â€? I’ll probably squander any good will that I may have gained through my postings with the following support for parental sovereignty. (I wouldn’t do this and don’t recommend anyone does) but I would not interfere legally with a Jehovah’s Witness parent or Christian Scientist’s decision to withhold “medical treatmentâ€? from a “sickâ€? child in favor of prayer and God’s will – even though I am not religious per se and would urge other options, I believe it is their decision (the innocent child argument notwithstanding.)

  • Potter

    Nikos: To get italics you put before what you want to italicize. Then at the end of what you are italicizing do the SAME THING BUT put a forward slash like this: / BEFORE the i

    Try it.

  • Potter

    Hey that was funny. I could not show you how to do it because it italicized and hid the marks.

    Let me try again: To get italics enclose the letter i between this mark .

    To end it enclose a forward slash and and i like this: /i between those same marks.

    I will try to find a web site to link for you that will show you how to do it.

  • Potter

    The above also would not let me show you the enclosing marks.

    More later.

  • Potter

    Okay Nikos here it is. ( It was impossible for me to show you here so I found a link)

    When you go to this page look under the column HTML and down to the second line which shows what you do to get italics. To the right it shows you the effect.

    It also shows you how to do bold and underlined text. Just put your text inbetween those marks that are appropriate for what you want to do. You can also combine the marks to do for instance bold italics. Just encase again what you have encased.

    Try it.

  • Nikos – I agree with Potter re: the Port issue. Not to use “old sea stories / Marine tall tales” but both times that I was in the Gulf, the ships that I were on, stopped in the port of Jubal Ali in Dubia UAE. And those ports were are owned by this same company. Its the ME and, as you know, everything is owned by the Sheiks or thier families and in Dubia it the Maktums (?).

    From what I know, I am not to worried about the securoty aspects becasue I think that basically all this is is a place for them to put all of the oil money that we are sending them. The comapny will only “run” the operations will not own any assets etc. There is some risk but I agree with the “pro-business” position that it is important to allow ME business access to US and Dubai / UAE seem to be cooprating. And, once we get there money we have a lot of leverage over them. After all, they are going to invest this money and more and then, if they go weird and start letting Jihadis run amok all we have to do is pass a law and take the ports back?

    If Coast Guard or what ever, my cousin Vinny, doesn’t like the way that the latest inspection goes, change the laws and then wham.

    But I think that it may be politcally risky for Bush. If he loses he starts his slide towards lame duck and its about time that the Repubs who want to run to start to find their own way. But McCain is acting very cool / cagey on this one. He is supporting hearings but says that he thinks the idea is cool to go ahead and sell them. I think that he is going to try and save the deal, save Bush’s cohones and look like the next “real deal.”

    But if we are attacked, using ports even if its not these then Bush et al are cooked.

    But I do find it strange in what the Dems are doing. I can’t find a single knowlegable commentator who thinks that it helps them. I mean Hillary is already close to driving away true Libruls being pro Iraq war and now, playing with potential “red bating” while not really scoring any “US security points” with anyone. I mean, who watches Fox that will vote for Hillary?

    By the way, Nikos, don’t miss the wood and hit your foot when you are chopping wood.

    And you are not a jerk. I have been told (by people whose feedback I value like our buddy Brendan the all-mighty-blog-demigod) that I can tend towards jerkish comments on line and he is right.

    But I do enjoy interacting with you guys.

    So, after this Port thing simmers a while I will be curious to know how you feel and if, you read the liberal / left leaning blogs what they are saying. I skim kos a few times a week but confess that I don’t “dig down deep” to the juicy stuff.

  • Nikos

    Winston: I think Potter’s position is a reasonable as you do — which means you and I share yet ANOTHER position!

    (What’s this website DOING to me?)

    Maybe you’re not as far ‘right’ and I’m not as ‘liberal’ as we might have at first thought, huh?

    (I might not be much of a liberal — but I AM a dedicated progressive — which I think most centrists are too without realizing it. But the two party system doesn’t address the center until the political money is already allocated to the choices of the far wings.

    Which is gonna ruin Hillary, I think.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Obama — or even a Hackett — emerge from the pack in ’08.

    See ya.

  • Potter

    For us this has been sort of a litmus test, this port brouhaha. If you listen to or read those who are knowledgeable on the subject you understand that the Dubaians (?) know how to manage ports better than we do. They supported the Taliban yes but BEFORE 9/11. They have been helping us since. We need friends in that part of the world, no?

    In this instance we are talking about a small percentage of the TERMINALS folks! NOT THE WHOLE PORT as has been reported in so much of the media. And as far as security goes- the US is responsible for it as before. But some reporters and columnists are using this to distort the issue by saying we are selling our ports ( and security).

    If a terrorist wanted to get through in this way, it matters not who is managing the terminal either. They have to get through several layers of security and customs. The real issue is the level, the thoroughness, of our security- and the funding for it.

    Also I understand that the terminal employees are Americans not foreigners. We are ready to disssociate ourselves from both sides.

    What knee-jerk reaction based on not knowing a thing. I mean if I know more than Clinton there is something wrong or she is incredibly cynical. She has been disappointing. So too Schumer on this one.

  • Potter

    this audio piece from Talk of the Nation NPR yesterday was quite good. The fellow from the Washington Post was excellent and then there was a caller who had firsthand experience with how well Dubai runs things in Dubai and elsewhere. Why would they want to jeoprodize their worldwide business and reputation?

    NPR Q & A on the ports issue:

  • jazzman

    This is a test

  • jazzman

    [u]Trying Again[/u] and [i]again[/i] and [b]again[/b]

  • jazzman

    I give up

  • Potter

    Go Jazzman! The first tests you were using the wrong brackets.

    Don’t give up!

  • jazzman

    Potter: I see you got bold and italicized. Can you underline?

  • cheesechowmain

    I’m declaring a cold-war on italics! If I begin to use italics, then pretty soon, I’ll be underlining, then bolding, then crossing out things, next thing you know, I’m tweeking my font weights… it’s the domino effect.

  • cheesechowmain

    Add to previous post, a smiley face…

  • Potter

    I don’t think so

  • Potter

    Italics are a good way to separate quotes from what you are saying. I could not underline.

  • cheesechowmain

    Potter, I was being completely silly. When I’m at the apex of the coffee curve, I hit the nadir of my ability for relevance. In a world of calculus, I still rely on pebbles. See, I just can’t stop myself sometimes.

  • ccm, I just figured out the bold, the italics and the bold italics and had to try the underline and the red text. My disappointment at not being able to underline red text was soothed by the relief that my compulsion to play with text will not be further enabled.

    potter, thanks! (I did my initial test on the hip hop list)

  • Nikos

    ya’ll are a bunch’a charmers, you know that?


    and thanks.

    I’m sinspired.

    (That was not a typo.)

    But not tonight.


  • Nikos

    This is a test designed to see whether script composed in Word and then cut’n’pasted to ROS will carry over the italics-code typed into the original Word document:

    Italics are to hobbyist-bloggers what scissored-out pictures from Playboy are to twelve-year old boys.

  • Nikos


    So you can draft your post in Word, typing in the italics and bold codes as you go, and then the cut’n’paste works just fine.

    btw: the boys sneak those pictures into school.

    Well, they did in 1968, anyway.

  • bobbydoo

    This was one of the best shows I’ve heard on Open Source radio so far. I must congratulate you all on an outstanding effort. Great treatment of Reagan and the cold war. Very, very informative. I hope you continue to do more shows on similar topics. 🙂

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  • David

    No more subsidies. Wait, give the stuff away.

    1. Think policy through so you don’t come off passive aggressive.

    “So the IMF came in and said Look, you borrowed money, you’ve got to pay. We’re going to insist you stop subsidising the price of gas to your people, you have to remove the gas subsidy and begin charging them more. And so they said Well, if we do that they won’t have enough money to keep stealing at the rate we’re stealing, so we’re going to stop paying for the gas. So Mr Obama and the Secretary of State of America said Russia must give its gas free to the Ukraine. It must give a half-a-billion dollars a month free and not charge anything so that Ukraine will have enough money to buy military arms and invite NATO in to put hydrogen bombs on our border, so we can bomb you if you don’t do what we say.

    “This is the most despicable misrepresenting in the public media of anything that I’ve ever seen. Material has been coming out today, the Americans trained a group of neo-Nazis, wearing Nazi symbols, wearing Nazi uniforms, in Poland to be trained for two or three weeks as snipers, brought them in to the Maidan Square and had them begin shooting at the police and their own people and then trying to blame this false flag operation on the Russians, when actually it was all done by the Americans. And all this was caught on the telephone, the Americans said ‘We want our thug to take over the country’ [David guesses in so many words], their thug being Yatsun, the bank lobbyist that they put in. So they put in a thug and they’ve been sending these neo-Nazi assassination groups out to the West to get American sympathy. The neo-Nazi’s published anti-Semitic pamphlets, pretended that they were given by the Russians, even though most of the Russian speakers in the Ukraine are Jewish. That’s where Trotsky came from, from Odessa. Ukraine has huge Jewish communities.”

    Do check the “has been coming out today” link.

    2. Contemplate what it would mean to lose.

    “However, the drama that is under way is none other than the shifting fault-lines of the contemporary imperial system in which we live and the relative power-shift in Eurasia in which powers like China, Russia and India, at least economically, are beginning to persuade people that they represent the new, rising powers, whereas the west represents the declining ones.”