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August 21, 2008


JM hanes

“The only statement I think somebody in a position like this can responsibly make is that it obviously depends on the conditions and how much risk one is willing to take.”

I don't know if this specific passage inspired your Galileo citation, but it would be my pick. That's the only statement that needs to be made, because it really says it all. I've always that controvery over the war was fundamentally a controversy over risk: What risks do you see coming down the pike, and what risks are you prepared to take to change the equations?

Danube of Thought

Couldn't help but notice this one: "Civilian deaths, which peaked at more than 100 a day in late 2006,..."

But wait! I thought that as of a year ago there had been 600,000 civilian deaths, for an average of over 400 a day. Didn't somebody like Lancet give us that figure? Does the Grey Lady take issue with the worthies at Lancet?

Danube of Thought

You nailed it dead solid perfect, JMH.


"But wait! I thought that as of a year ago there had been 600,000 civilian deaths, for an average of over 400 a day. Didn't somebody like Lancet give us that figure? Does the Grey Lady take issue with the worthies at Lancet?"

Insurance jobs.


This is very clearly a victory for the Obama campaign.

Hey, did you know Eric Cantor is a JEW?!


"Hey, did you know Eric Cantor is a JEW?!"
Is he still singing?


Good mistakes? Heroes. Using lucifer to save when God's goal is the opposite because they use.

No one will improve your lot because it's a conspiracy to keep you poor, stupid.

Danube of Thought

Vons? Vons? Say, are you by any chance related to our neighborhood grocery store?


Vons says no chance relation to your hood store.

Charlie (Colorado)

Anyone see the thorazine? I think we may have a customer.



Would you please update your links to reflect the new address of The Internet Radio Network. We are now at

Thank you!

Jim Rhoads aka vnjagvet

It appears Von is practicing his english.

He needs a bit more practice, Charlie. I don't think Thorazine will help much.

Cecil Turner

What, no withdrawal timeline? I'm surprised the Times published.

M. Simon

"Hey, did you know Eric Cantor is a JEW?!"
Is he still singing?

Depends on who is grilling him.

M. Simon

Vons says no chance relation to your hood store.

I've heard of sock stores. Never a hood store. Where do you live?

M. Simon

Vons says no chance relation to your hood store.

I've heard of sock stores. Never a hood store. Where do you live?


Don't worry, the NY Times will find a new way of defining failure in Iraq
In Iraq, a Failure to Deliver the Spoils

the wolf

I've noticed that Obama likes to preface many of his comments with the annoying "Let's be clear..." to sound like he is the authority on the matter. In this case it's particularly funny because he's basically admitting he was dead wrong on the issue from the beginning.


Re Wolf --

Not only does he start so many things with "Let me be clear ..." (WARNING WARNING Obfuscation to follow!) He has repeatedly said that he has consistently said that whatever you are questioning him about he has made clear numerous times. (Subtext: Why are you asking me this question, Stupid?)

It's you and I and they who are so thick as to not understand the version of American English Obama is speaking. Or our IQs are too low to get it.

Somewhat like John Kerry's style.

His definition of CLEAR is something questioning minds would like to know more about.


Over on the Mais Oui thread I posted a link to Patrick Casey's piece today. Among other points that Casey made was this one:

Our actions [those of the US] during the 90s showed that our word, at least on an economic and business level, could not be trusted.

That observation is a handy jump-off to this piece: Washington Is Quietly Repudiating Its Debts. The author notes:

Will the U.S. Treasury repudiate its obligations to its creditors, be they citizens or investors around the world? Most observers would answer "no" without hesitation. But Congress, with the complicity of the White House and the Fed, has arguably embarked on a stealth repudiation.

In his famous treatise, "The Wealth of Nations," Adam Smith noted there had never been a "single instance" of sovereign debts having been repaid once "accumulated to a certain degree." We may have reached Smith's threshold.

The bond markets are certainly not protecting creditors from the risk of what Smith called "pretended payment" through inflation. Nor did they do so until far into the great inflation of the 1970s. Not until late 1977 and into 1978 did the bond market fully incorporate the reality of the debased dollar, by demanding higher long-term interest rates.


The markets have long assessed the debt of Fannie and Freddie at AAA because of the Treasury's guarantee, now explicit. But no one has ever seriously assessed the Treasury's creditworthiness with Fannie and Freddie on its books. The public guarantee is entirely open-ended and unbounded. The appetite of the two companies to balloon their balance sheets and take on risk has not been curtailed. Meanwhile, Congress spends apace with new programs for constituents in an election year.

We are at a Smithian moment, in which the temptation for the Fed to spend its last dime of credibility may prove irresistible. Investors are already being taxed by inflation and can rationally expect that tax rate (the inflation rate) to be raised going forward. Wages are not keeping up. Main Street is being taxed to fund Wall Street excess. Anyone who works, saves and invests is exposed to confiscation of his capital and earnings through inflation.

If the Fed maintained its independence of action and said no to the inflationary finance of Congress's profligacy, we wouldn't have reached this point. But the Fed has forsaken that independence amid an absence of leadership.

Perhaps, as rarely happens, Adam Smith will be proven wrong. Let us hope so, because hope appears to be all we have.

This phenomenon of "stealth repudiation" is one reason why the US may get little or no credit (pun) for The Surge. Other nations, including vast numbers of foreign investors, will respect our military but the excellence of our armed forces will not be enough to guarantee future cooperation, let alone respect. It is a combination of our word and good judgment and our willingness and ability to stand by it that will accomplish that. The author of this article doesn't go into the foreign policy implications of our economic/monetary policies, but others are duly taking note.

Yesterday I linked (Mais Oui) to the excellent Dimitri Simes piece on "Losing Russia." In that article Simes addressed the question of Iran at some length--the dynamics of our Russian and Iranian policies. I meant, but forgot, to link this article from the WSJ: Iran Buys Wheat From U.S. For First Time in 27 Years. "Poor Harvest Spurs Tehran's Rare Move; Limited Options." Food for Iran but also food for thought.

Finally, an unrelated matter, but one with implications for the internet and its users: Judge: Copyright Owners Must Consider 'Fair Use' Before Sending Takedown Notice.


This just in from Tbilisi:

Tbilisi admits misjudging Russia

By Jan Cienski in Tbilisi

Published: August 21 2008 19:21 | Last updated: August 21 2008 19:21

Georgia did not believe Russia would respond to its offensive in South Ossetia and was completely unprepared for the counter-attack, the deputy defence minister has admitted.

Batu Kutelia told the Financial Times that Georgia had made the decision to seize the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali despite the fact that its forces did not have enough anti-tank and air defences to protect themselves against the possibility of serious resistance.

Cecil Turner

Over on the Mais Oui thread I posted . . .

A bunch of crap everyone else stopped reading. So you thought you'd come over here and post another long off-topic anti-American screed?

Another shocker . . . Pravda also cited Simes approvingly on the subject:

Russia has won the war in Georgia. US-based scientist of politics at Nixon Center, Dmitri Simes, told ITAR-TASS that Russia would now need to win the world in cooperation with the USA. The expert means that Russia currently needs to try to turn the past events in South Ossetia to advantage of US-Russian relations.
Stay on message, comrade.


"By the time he leaves for the United States next month to assume overall command of American forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan..."

Wow, he's so worn out and exhausted that they're doubling his work load.


South Ossetia? Fannie Mae? This car is swerving outta control.....I thought we were talking about Iraq.

One of the thought processes in the original decision making process by the White House was to try and leave Iraq as a stable, moderate state in the place of Baathist Iraq. Hopefully, that stability would help an overall peace in the Middle East. Taking one of the major terrorist players (I'm including his invasions of Kuwait and Iran into account)off the table was important, but just as much so was to leave things better than they were before.

This now seems to be slowly happening. What we need is to stay the course and perhaps get some of the billions invested back in an "invasion/deposition/nation building" for oil plan. perhaps a 25% discount for a fixed period of time.

If the Bush plan works, I think the history books are going to be very differently written so long as they're not written by the looney left democrats who seem to running much of th media these days.


Willis, at least he gets to go home to his family at night...And the guy is a very hard charger....I doubt he would want to be anywhere else.

Cecil Turner

Oh, he's probably gonna get fired anway:

"General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, via his unadulterated and shocking public endorsement of a book touting both Christian supremacy and exceptionalism," Weinstein told Military.com Aug. 16. [. . .]

"He should still be relieved of duty and court martialed," he said.

(H/T Blackfive)


"In July, fewer Americans were killed in Iraq — 13 — than in any month since the war began."

For the record, although the conclusion is accurate, the number is both wrong and misleading. Misleading, because it includes deaths from both hostile and non-hostile actions. Five of the thirteen deaths were the result of accidents. One of those involved the death in Pennsylvania of a sailor injured on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier, Theodore Roosevelt, in December, 2005.

Wrong, because it also includes, as deaths in Iraq during July, the discovery and identification of the remains of two soldiers listed as missing in action since May of 2007.

There were a total of ten actual deaths of American Servicemen, in Iraq, during July 2008, from all causes. There were a total of six deaths from hostile action.


Pretty hilarious! Cecil seems to have done a mindmeld of sorts with Pravda--he accepts their slant on Simes utterly uncritically. Mind you, Simes' advice to Russia:

Russia has won the war in Georgia. US-based scientist of politics at Nixon Center, Dmitri Simes, told ITAR-TASS that Russia would now need to win the world in cooperation with the USA. The expert means that Russia currently needs to try to turn the past events in South Ossetia to advantage of US-Russian relations.

is pretty unexceptionable. Turn events in South Ossetia to the advantage of US-Russian relations--what a concept...although it's a strategy that could prove a bit tricky to execute.

Nevertheless, some JOMers may be wondering what Simes' advice is to the U.S. Some of you have may even have beaten me--and, all too obviously, Cecil--to the punch by firing up Google with "dimitri simes georgia". If you did, you found this link: What Exactly Did Saakashvili Think Would Happen? A good question.

However, after analyzing the shortcomings of Georgian and US policy towards Russia, Simes proceeds to offer his advice for responding to Russia. After first noting that

Notwithstanding this background, the United States has no good choices in dealing with the crisis. There is no realistic way to remove Russian forces from Abkhazia and South Ossetia short of a major war with Russia, which no responsible American political leader would advocate at this point.

he quickly adds

But whatever Saakashvili's responsibility is for the confrontation, America cannot allow an ally to be soundly defeated or especially overthrown by an insurgent Russia.

So here we see the full depth of Cecil's naivete in accepting Pravda's account of Simes' views uncritically, as Simes takes a hard line. Simes next offers these recommendations, which extend to military aid to any developing Georgian resistance (the blog was written on 8/12):

Accordingly, the first priority for the United States should be to make abundantly clear to Moscow that any attempt at forceful regime change in Georgia will have severe consequences for the U.S.-Russian relationship and that the United States would help Georgia to resist on the ground.

Though the U.S. will not send troops--and Moscow knows it--we can provide significant military assistance to Tbilisi and greatly complicate a Russian military advance. Bringing Georgian troops back to their country from Iraq is one step on this path.

While the Georgian army is no match for the much larger Russian forces, it is potent after years of double-digit budget increases and American equipment and training. Also, unlike in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where most of the population is friendly to the Russians, any Russian attempts to occupy Georgia would likely encounter massive popular resistance.

Moscow disavows any plan to conquer Georgia, and the Bush administration should hold them to their word, both through diplomacy to the extent possible, and a display of resolve if necessary.

And then Simes concludes with more excellent advice:

When this has been accomplished, however, we should look for ways to work with Russia in the name of essential American interests. We should also disregard the hysterical diatribes of Saakashvili's American champions, who protest too much--perhaps because their irresponsible encouragement of the Georgian president was a contributing factor on the road to the war.

Hey, Cecil--use both hands, buddy!


he accepts their slant on Simes utterly uncritically

Then either your irony detector or mine requires calibration. That Pravda supports Simes POV seems more like dig to me.

M. Simon

Cecil Turner,

It looks like America has decided to defend the pipeline in Georgia. We are going to have a permanent base in Georgia. It is a former Russian base. Heh.


boris, I'm not sure that I grok what you're saying--perhaps your words aren't registering on my irony detector. It seems apparent to me that Pravda--allowing for their execrable English translation--has quoted Simes very selectively. His advice to Russia--that they try to mend fences with America and hopefully behave better while using this as a learning experience for both sides--is predictably acceptable to the Russians. However, Pravda neglects--no doubt intentionally--to quote Simes' advice to the US, which I'm sure is not at all acceptable to the Russians.


not sure that I grok what you're saying

Simes is mostly BS, more stopped clock than font of wisdom. Pravda and I are unlikely to ever agree on "when" the stopped clock is "correct".


Oh. Not very enlightening. I'm not terribly interested in when you and Pravda agree re Simes--since they don't even quote him but simply summarize a minor aspect of what he has to say it seems a rather pointless exercise in any case. Scarcely any material to work with.

On the other hand, I quoted the entirety of his quite hardline recommendation to the US, and linked to his entire blog. None of that fairly extensive material was quoted, summarized or alluded to in Pravda. Feel free to explain why you think any or all of that is BS. Reasoning, not mere assertion or dismissal.


Do they have promises from Turkey, who would also benefit from our defense of the pipeline?


the hysterical diatribes of Saakashvili's American champions, who protest too much--perhaps because their irresponsible encouragement of the Georgian president was a contributing factor on the road to the war

BS to me, reasonable to you. Again, agreement is unlikely.


Why BS? BTW, while researching the BTC pipeline, I ran across this Debka article that may explain the flurry of activity the last few days involving Russia, Israel and Syria: Israel backs Georgia in Caspian Oil Pipeline Battle with Russia


kim, gas going through Turkey isn't as big a deal to Russia you might expect--the point of the pipeline, wherever it is routed, is to sell the gas to the West, so sooner or later it has to leave Russian dominated or influenced areas. The sticking point for Russia was the pipeline going through Georgia, which is hostile to Russia. The easiest and most direct route for the pipeline is through Armenia, which happens to be a close ally of Russia, and then to Turkey. The Russians have developed several major alternatives so that there's plenty of gas running through their zone. The BTC took gas out of Russia's backyard and did an end run to avoid Russian control. Whatever you think of Russia, you can hardly blame them for viewing this as an attempt to freeze them out, since the best routes do go through their areas. Russia is also working hard to get Azerbaijan closer within their orbit.

History ensured that the pipeline would follow a tortuous route. To get the oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey meant passing through Iran, Georgia or Armenia. Hostile and unpredictable Iran was out of the question. The long, bitter dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and the lingering historical feud between Armenia and Turkey over claims of genocide during and just after the First World War, also ruled out Armenia. The route through Georgia, circuitous and physic- ally challenging, was selected as the most practical.
JM Hanes


Since you've apparently decided to ride this hobby horse headlong through yet another thread, I'll intrude briefly to ask who brought up Russian intentions in the Black Sea and suggested that rumored Russian interest in Mediterranean ports in Syria was worth watching? Why, I believe that would be me, wouldn't it? Considering your oft repeated dismissal of people's views here, it's hardly surprising that you ended up talking to yourself over on Mais Oui.


1. If you can show where I dismissed your views on Russian interest in Syria, I'd be interested to see that. The point of my link was not to dismiss such views but to explain the phenomenon.

2. Obviously, you're reading everything that I write. I have reason to believe you're not alone in doing so. I'll continue to perform my service, since there is clearly interest.


I read most of it, anduril; you are thought provoking, just don't be so prickly. Turkish interest in the pipeline will encourage their allowing us to defend it.


The activity that I was referring to, and to which I made no earlier reference, was this:

1. The Israelis, who had been major arms suppliers to Georgia (including an advanced rocket system), and therefore also presumably trainers, very quickly pulled out of Georgia and disclaimed any involvement or interest.

2. Earlier this week Russia made a direct contact to Olmert, apparently with reference to Russian intentions to sell large quantities of "defensive" armaments to Syria. Israel has concerns about the defensive nature of the arms, which are said to include missiles.

The issues were too murky for me--I don't have independent sources on the ground--and that's why I made no earlier reference to this angle. However, the Debka report suggested to me that there may have been a connection between the Russian arms sale to Syria and the Israeli support for Georgia--the Georgia angle came up in most of the reports about the arms deal. The direct call to Olmert was unusual, too.


Looks like a Dagwood Sandwich:


with a slice of Lebanon on the side.


See why I don't have to think before I type?


kim, one way or another, Turkey is an extremely logical terminus for pipelines. Some would originate in Kurdistan, but an Iranian pipeline for gas is also, I believe in the works and might run through Armenia this time. Russia has set up a route that runs across the Black Sea to Bulgaria and Greece--two NATO allies who are very happy to accommodate Russia in this regard (the regard is this--that route bypasses Odessa in Ukraine, with the likely extension up to Poland). There's all kinds of geopolitical jockeying going on here, all centering around pipelines, and you can imagine that every side is trying to get the best position.

That is part of my sympathy for German opposition to NATO membership for Georgia--with so much at stake in so many different directions, we can't afford to have a NATO member going it alone against Russia. The same goes for Poland, for whom I have lots of sympathy. When Kaczynski addresses the nation before signing the defense guarantee with the US and basically says in so many words, now no one can push us around, the worry (fueled by centuries of history that I'll spare you now) is that Poland may attempt to throw its weight around under the American umbrella.

Look, Russia knows all about the Polish national anthem, Dabrowski's March. Dabrowski led Napoleon's elite Polish Legion that invaded Russia two centuries ago. The words to the song say that the Poles will reclaim their lands with the sabre, and they still sing it today. Well, in 1920, that's exactly what Poland tried to do, except there definition of "their lands" was a little different than what you might think--they invaded what is now western Byelorussia and Ukraine and wrested those areas away from Russia (areas which had been historically part of the Polish - Lithuanian commonwealth, centuries before). The Russians haven't forgotten because Russia has historically relied on its vastness to slow down invaders from all directions. Attempts such as NATO membership for Ukraine and the Baltics make crucial areas of Russia much more vulnerable by those traditional standards. I could go on...


Except Poland didn't say 'Now we can push someone around'; they said 'Now no one can push us around'. It's what needs to come from Russia, too.

JM Hanes


1. You offered up a flip remark about nervous Turks, but the oft-repeated dismissals I had in mind are those you've applied more liberally.

2. So much for acumen, although I did have to go back for the URL in order to suggest a more approriate thread after Semanticleo brought the subject up elsewhere, so it's conceivable you have your hoped-for base of lurkers.


This is a rather unbiased assessments of the state of active and proposed pipelines
circa2002:href<http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/caspgrph.html> They all pose problems of one kind or another. The Russian lit a
match in a pool of gasoline with Chechnya;
which Le Carre was one of the first to notice, before he went all moonbat, in "Our Game" referencing the Ingush and the Ossetians. Dagestan, was the trigger for the Second Chechen War; where Zawahiri, is first identified operating out of the Hindu Kush. Dagestan, runs into Azerbaijan; the fiefdom of the Aliev clan; with major activity at Baku. Most details seem to suggest that Baku (which should get Armitage, Scowcroft,Powell, and Baker to be properly indignant) would be the likely next choke point. Which is why thoseopening
credits in Crimson Tide, about that town in Southern Dagestan; (and tribal grouping)
Rutul, and Belokany, in Northern Azerbaijan
seem prophetic. I really started paying attention to Georgia; when I first heard of what was happening in the Pankisi Gorge, my ears really perked up when I discovered an
Ilkwan elder; from the Ghamdi tribe, was operating there; stirred up by turmoil in Chechnya. Needless to say, Azeibaijan in the side door to Iran; Iraq being the front,
Afghanistan, the back door.

Cecil Turner

So here we see the full depth of Cecil's naivete in accepting Pravda's account of Simes' views uncritically . . .

Well, maybe I was "attribut[ing] to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" . . . because critical reading obviously ain't your strong suit.

Why BS?

It's based on the faulty assumption that Russia's aggression was a response to Georgian actions in Ossetia (rather than a pre-planned invasion with a paper-thin legend of Georgian aggression). Georgia's crime was conducting a fair election, and conducting diplomacy with the West, nothing more.

Attempts such as NATO membership for Ukraine and the Baltics make crucial areas of Russia much more vulnerable . . .

Idiotic. Defensive systems don't make anyone "more vulnerable," and Russia has absolutely no threats from that direction anyway. No current or planned alliance in Europe has any chance of meeting Russia on an even basis in conventional weapons, let alone a nuclear exchange. Anyone who thinks Poland or Ukraine would dream of launching an offensive against them obviously can't count. No, the implicit Russian position is that they should be able to launch offensive operations (a la the Prague Spring and now Georgia) in their area of influence to keep the lid on unruly democratic tendencies. There's no legitimate security concern here, and pandering to Russian paranoia on the subject is counterproductive.


kim, it's not a question of what Kaczynski said, but of how all Poland's neighbors heard it. The Lithuanians remember that Poland in 1920 took Wilno away--that was the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius (more long history). The Czechs remember that Poland took a slice of their territory when the Germans took the Sudetenland and helped the Soviets in 1968. The Ukrainians remember that they had to learn Polish in school in Western Ukraine (while those in Soviet Ukraine died by the millions in Stalin's engineered famine), the Russians remember centuries of Polish disdain for them as Eastern barbarians. And then the Poles have their own martyr/messiah self concept, as do the others. Americans simply don't understand the dynamics. If you want to get an idea of what it's all about, read Anne Applebaum's book on what are called the "borderlands." She happens to be married to Radek Sikorski, Polish Foreign Minister who's been in all the pictures with Condi, and she knows what she's talking about.


1. You offered up a flip remark about nervous Turks

JMH, I flat out don't believe you. You're gonna have to make me eat my words by showing me your post and my reply. Got that? I want you to show me a "flip remark about nervous Turks." If you do, I'll eat my words. If you don't...


And anyone else who wants to make me eat my words should feel free to join in. I don't remember any such exchange and don't believe I would ever have made a "flip remark about nervous Turks."

Cecil Turner

If you don't...

Let me guess: you'll trash another relatively interesting thread with a deeply stupid defense of Russia's indefensible actions? (Talk amongst yourself.)


Cecil, Ballard, Gmax, boris--this is your chance to really shove a big hunk of humble pie down my throat. With mustard on it, if you want. Anyone who's clever with a computer, I want to see that "flip remark about nervous Turks."

Cecil Turner

Might want to look up argumentum verbosium. And have fun with your thread.


It's not what Russia said, it's what its neighbor heard; the rumble of tanks.

Way too prickly, bud; it ruins the conversation with ennuying rhetoric.


I'm not gonna look, not because I don't care, but because I don't want to participate in this Great Black Carp, but you made some reference to the desire of Turks not to piss off the Russians about letting our Navy into the Black Sea. You may choose not to characterize that as 'nervousness', but others have a case to consider otherwise. Now chill, and think before you put anger on the record; it's hardly ever persuasive.


Well, thank you very much, kim. Mystery solved. You're wrong about the details of what I said--in fact I suggested that the Turks aren't all that worried about the Russians--but your lead allowed me to locate the exchange between JMH and myself, which I'm reproducing below. It's from the "Read His Lips..." thread. (Why a thread on Georgia was given that name is anyone's guess.)

Because the posts are somewhat long, I'm only going to reproduce them in relevant part, but I'll include the date stamp so anyone can look them up, reread them, savor them, memorize them, recite them to friends and neighbors, etc., etc.

It starts with JMH:

Reported Russian activity in regard to refurbishing Syrian ports on the Mediterranean is also worth contemplating as a reflection of the underlying strategic imperatives here. The idea that Georgian membership in NATO provoked the Russian bear discounts the essential pragmatism at the heart of Russian policy. NATO membership is an very practical obstacle to Russian ambitions, which clearly include control of the Black Sea -- with implications which cannot be understated, but which have being largely ignored in the pop-psyche diplomatic analysis which has charaterized assessments of Russian reaction to U.S. incursions on its fabled near abroad.

Posted by: JM Hanes | August 19, 2008 at 01:20 PM

Then I end a long post by saying:

At last word, the Turks continue to resist American demands for passage through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. Why aren't the Turks worried about a new "imperialist" Russia?

Posted by: anduril | August 19, 2008 at 02:13 PM

JMH responds to that statement, first quoting me:

"At last word, the Turks continue to resist American demands for passage through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. Why aren't the Turks worried about a new "imperialist" Russia?"

Just to be clear: you're suggesting this indicates that Russia doesn't make Turkey nervous?


Posted by: JM Hanes | August 19, 2008 at 05:10 PM

END OF THREAD. I don't respond. That's it. All further exchanges re Turkey occur between kim and me on the "Mais Oui..." thread.

So there it is. JMH was the one talking about "nervous Turks"--not me. To the contrary, even if you want to characterize my remark as "flip," my point was that the Turks are not particularly worried about the Russians. And here's my delayed response: that's right, I don't think the Turks are all that worried about the Russians. FWIW, here's a link to a somewhat dated Turkish assessment of Turkish-Russian Relations and Eurasia's Geopolitics. It's from 2005 and is still worth reading for its balanced assessment of the fundamentals in the region.

JHM seems resentful because she thinks that when I referred to Turkish unwillingness to allow US Navy vessels to transit the Bosphorus I was somehow ripping off her ideas, that I couldn't possibly have been independently cognizant of what was happening between Turkey and the US with regard to the ships. Her resentfulness rests on the erroneous assumption that I write down every idea in my head as soon as I have the idea, and that if I haven't written some idea down it's because I haven't thought of it yet. Contrary to what some (many?) may think, that is not the case.

Because I like to think the best of my fellow man, I'm willing to accept that JMH mistakenly but innocently attributed her own ideas to me, rather than that she did so maliciously.


Been making friends again I see Anduril


Comes natural. I mean, how else do you explain it?


alls fair in love, war and politics in the arena of ideas I suppose


And there's nothing like an injection of truth and accuracy, Bobbo.

For all you Pravda readers out there, here's a good article "on the ground" in Georgia: A Visit to a South Ossetian Village Illuminates Georgians' Views.


Now Anduril, you are misrepresenting what you and I talked about, which distinctly gave me the impression that you thought the Turks were nervous about letting us into the Black Sea because of concern over Russia's reaction. So I would say that you are being sophistical to win the 'flip' and 'nervous' points.

Now, just why wouldn't the Turks be nervous of Russians? Well, a great natural border, the Black Sea, and because they hold the choke point for the only warm water port the Russian Navy has. Is it any wonder that Russia has not been a great sea power? Struggling against the riptide to get back on point, the Turks do have strong interests in the Caucasus as do the Russians, and there is that big pipeline. It's not as if Turkey's eastern provinces are ethnically quiescent, either; they also are a patchwork of disparate communities, at least in parts.

I very much like your ideas, and the presentation. Your attitude is pissing me off. I tolerate it because I spend a lot of time on much rougher boards with generally much less cogent criticism. It's actually kind of nice to suffer snark that is well directed as opposed to much of the scattershot garbage you can see elsewhere. But this prickliness is unnecessary. Obviously, your ideas and logic are attractive, but it distresses me that you so damage your persuasiveness with anger and pettiness. Is there a reason you shoot yourself in the foot?

Now, I'm serious; straighten up or I going to have to be reduced to ridicule.


I misrepresent YOU? I think not--in fact, it is quite the contrary that is the case. Show me one thing that I've written that suggests that I think that the Turks are "nervous" about allowing US ships into the Black Sea for fear of offending Russia. I spoke of Turkish "interests," and especially about the Turkish interest in having their adminstration of the Montreux Convention remain above criticism. The Turks have no interest in a Black Sea that is militarized with two competing superpower navies. One superpower in the sea is plenty for the Turks. The Russians don't use their navy to threaten the Turks because they Turks command the choke point, the Bosphorus. A US navy presence would provide no benefits to the Turks and would call into question their administration of the Montreux Convention.

By all means, don't tolerate my attitude.


NATO deploys to the Black Sea, but goes out of its way to delink from Georgia: NATO ships enter Black Sea for exercises:

BRUSSELS, Belgium: NATO warships entered the Black Sea on Thursday for what the alliance said were long-planned exercises and routine visits to ports in Romania and Bulgaria.

The move is not linked to the tensions over Russia's invasion of Georgia, which lies on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, about 900 kilometers (550 miles) from the Romanian coast, said officials at NATO's military command in southern Belgium.

Three warships — from Spain, Germany and Poland — sailed into the Black Sea on Thursday. They are due to be joined by a U.S. frigate, the USS Taylor, later this week.

They are "conducting a pre-planned routine visit to the Black Sea region to interact and exercise with our NATO partners Romania and Bulgaria, which is an important feature of our routine planning," said Vice-Adm. Pim Bedet, deputy commander at allied maritime headquarters in Northwood, England.

However, the move risks increasing tensions with Russia which has deployed ships from its Black Sea fleet to the Georgian coast.

The NATO flotilla includes Spain's SPS Adm. Juan de Bourbon, Germany's FGS Luebeck and the Polish ship ORP General K Pulaski. Romanian and Bulgarian ships will join them for exercises during a three-week deployment which NATO says has been planned for over a year.


Montreux Convention, Monroe Doctrine, pfah. Russkies on the move ignore conventions. That's the problem, and it is Turkey's too. And I do see how we came to misunderstand each other; you believe throwing a near irrelevancy into a real power conflict argument is a winning tactic. Like the Polish National Anthem. Anduril, I hate to break it to you, but you are a sophist of the highest order. Now let's examine the truth for awhile. Back to a question I laid a small trap for you with. Why shouldn't the Turks be nervous about Russia? Remember, they're the middle of the sandwich.


Well, thanks for the last post. If the Turks aren't nervous, I sure as Hell am.


Which means if the Turks aren't nervous they ought to be and all your sophistry to the contrary doesn't change that. Now, off with the tricks. That's irritating, the abuse is just boring.

Mike Renzulli

I disagree with the sentiment that the surge has worked.

At best, I would dare to argue that the Iraqis and insurgents just got plain tired of the violence and decided to lay low or bring it to a complete halt since Iraqi civilians and not just American military were being injured or killed.

At best the terrorists that made their way into Iraq to help the Iraqi insurgents are regrouping and laying low for the time to strike.

Heck I am sure many of them are seeing better fortunes in Afghanistan which is just as much as quagmire as Iraq.

Not that I have any personal knowledge of this, mind you, but if I was an insurgent laying low and regrouping is exactly what I would do or conduct attacks that are less frequent but deadlier in their outcome.

We had no vested interest invading or occupying Iraq and to remain does dishonor to our military since they are seen by the populace as occupiers and not liberators.


I will thank for my friends bringing me in this world. I am not regret to buy Hellgate Palladium .

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