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10 Feb 2018 15:10

I don't trust the Israelis to report accurately on their losses if they can hide them. I also doubt the Russians shot them down. Question is if Bibi is in diversion mode from his legal issues and will look for a way to escalate things.
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12 Feb 2018 08:22

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5105364,00.html
Israel Diamond Exchange launches digital coins

One of the world’s largest diamond centers, the exchange hopes its virtual currency will make trading more efficient and less opaque.

Current transactions are “often carried out anonymously, with the shake of a hand and minimal documentation”, according to a recent report by Israel’s Justice Ministry. That murkiness has led the FBI and Europol to target the trade as a vehicle for money laundering and crime financing.


Lev Leviev, Moshe Lax , Jared Kushner ... so much "funny money" and now virtual! :)
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User avatar Robert5091
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12 Feb 2018 14:34

i expected the downing of the israeli plane by syria to escalate. it did not. what's going on ?

both sides (israel vs iran/syria) have claimed a victory and a 'strong message sent'. who came out better is of course a matter of the side one supports. i support neither but , quite frankly, the israeli arrogance and militancy irritate me.

a lot re. the escaltion depends on the us and russia positions..while the dept of state squarely came down on the side of israel blaming iran, the russian position seems more nuanced..1stly, b/c they have a de-conflicting agreement with israel and 2) b/c they are a main sponsor of the assad govt.

it is an open secret that in the past russia quietly let the israeli planes bomb the iranian activity in syria. they may no longer...from one of the articles below, it appears they are growing irritated by israel. in fact, this morning their foreign office claimed they are UNAWARE OF THE IRANIAN FACILITIES in sysria that israel claimed bombing....

here are 2 articles from 2 sources that claim neutrality and are quite informed on the middle east. in bohh articles one can detect a slight bias towards one of the sides. Still, neither is a simplistic spin imo...

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/what-are-hidden-messages-behind-shooting-down-israeli-fighter-over-syria-2055458809
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/israel-netanyahu-syria-clash-airspace-idf-iran-russia-putin.html
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User avatar python
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Re:

12 Feb 2018 16:22

python wrote:i expected the downing of the israeli plane by syria to escalate. it did not. what's going on ?

both sides (israel vs iran/syria) have claimed a victory and a 'strong message sent'. who came out better is of course a matter of the side one supports. i support neither but , quite frankly, the israeli arrogance and militancy irritate me.

a lot re. the escaltion depends on the us and russia positions..while the dept of state squarely came down on the side of israel blaming iran, the russian position seems more nuanced..1stly, b/c they have a de-conflicting agreement with israel and 2) b/c they are a main sponsor of the assad govt.

it is an open secret that in the past russia quietly let the israeli planes bomb the iranian activity in syria. they may no longer...from one of the articles below, it appears they are growing irritated by israel. in fact, this morning their foreign office claimed they are UNAWARE OF THE IRANIAN FACILITIES in sysria that israel claimed bombing....

here are 2 articles from 2 sources that claim neutrality and are quite informed on the middle east. in bohh articles one can detect a slight bias towards one of the sides. Still, neither is a simplistic spin imo...

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/what-are-hidden-messages-behind-shooting-down-israeli-fighter-over-syria-2055458809
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/israel-netanyahu-syria-clash-airspace-idf-iran-russia-putin.html


Other than get really mad and do a lot of yelling, there's not much for Israel to escalate. They just learned that a really old (like 50 years old) S-200V is enough to take down an F-16 when assisted with modern radar and ground support. Syria has the more modern S-300, and Russia has a good plot of land secured by the S-400. So basically, the party is over. Syria has chosen to show its hand, which might actually be a message to the US that there are limits to what can be done in Syrian airspace.

So, really, what's Israel to do? The skies are now closed and there will be no lobbing missiles across the border from "safe" Lebanon. Making a ruckus in the Golan will have to be done without air support. Or... Israel will have to commit to a full-scale war and hope to neutralize Syria's air defenses in the early stages. But to what end?

John Swanson
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Re: Re:

12 Feb 2018 19:51

ScienceIsCool wrote:
python wrote:i expected the downing of the israeli plane by syria to escalate. it did not. what's going on ?

both sides (israel vs iran/syria) have claimed a victory and a 'strong message sent'. who came out better is of course a matter of the side one supports. i support neither but , quite frankly, the israeli arrogance and militancy irritate me.

a lot re. the escaltion depends on the us and russia positions..while the dept of state squarely came down on the side of israel blaming iran, the russian position seems more nuanced..1stly, b/c they have a de-conflicting agreement with israel and 2) b/c they are a main sponsor of the assad govt.

it is an open secret that in the past russia quietly let the israeli planes bomb the iranian activity in syria. they may no longer...from one of the articles below, it appears they are growing irritated by israel. in fact, this morning their foreign office claimed they are UNAWARE OF THE IRANIAN FACILITIES in sysria that israel claimed bombing....

here are 2 articles from 2 sources that claim neutrality and are quite informed on the middle east. in bohh articles one can detect a slight bias towards one of the sides. Still, neither is a simplistic spin imo...

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/what-are-hidden-messages-behind-shooting-down-israeli-fighter-over-syria-2055458809
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/israel-netanyahu-syria-clash-airspace-idf-iran-russia-putin.html


Other than get really mad and do a lot of yelling, there's not much for Israel to escalate. They just learned that a really old (like 50 years old) S-200V is enough to take down an F-16 when assisted with modern radar and ground support. Syria has the more modern S-300, and Russia has a good plot of land secured by the S-400. So basically, the party is over. Syria has chosen to show its hand, which might actually be a message to the US that there are limits to what can be done in Syrian airspace.

So, really, what's Israel to do? The skies are now closed and there will be no lobbing missiles across the border from "safe" Lebanon. Making a ruckus in the Golan will have to be done without air support. Or... Israel will have to commit to a full-scale war and hope to neutralize Syria's air defenses in the early stages. But to what end?

John Swanson
no one knows if israel, in clear violation of international law, will stop attacking syria. my hunch is they will NOT STOP. even if the risk of getting shut down is clearly high now. my reading of the zionist state rule book is they are drunk on their supposed military superiority and the american bipartisan support for their adventurism. hence the complete oblivion to the feeble european protests about the illegal settlements expansion, the continued oppression of the gaza arabs etc

when almost an entire nation still confuses the widening protests against the israeli policies with antisemitism, the govt elected buy such people can easily get complacent.

one fact i will agree with - the general trend of power projection in syria and iraq is clearly in iran's favour. whatever israel may do or fear...via the shia militias, via hezbollah, via the shiah leaning govt of the syrian alawites.

it is a zionizt hope that iran under sanctions and facing their domestic discontent may get too weak at some point to vigorously oppose israel...we'll see.
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13 Feb 2018 06:35

Mr & Mrs Bibi have domestic problems too ... nothing a little military action can n't distract from -
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5110564,00.html
The police have been considering delaying the release of the recommendations in the wake of the weekend's escalation in the north.

On Wednesday, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh met with the police's senior brass to discuss the recommendations, with seeming consensus forming on recommending charging Netanyahu on the illicit gifts affair, as sufficient evidence exists to indict him for receiving bribes.

Several hours later, Netanyahu launched an unprecedented attack on Alsheikh, after the police chief accused "powerful" elements of trying to collect information about police officers involved in the investigations against the prime minister.

Over the weekend, Netanyahu and his aides have considered petitioning the High Court of Justice to prevent the publication of the police recommendations until the police chief's accusations are looked into.
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13 Feb 2018 09:26

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43040619
North Korea's leader has called for a "further livening up" of the "warm climate of reconciliation" with the South created by the Winter Olympics.

Good news ... Just get the guy a nice place in the States and a basketball season ticket and the problems will be over. :)
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13 Feb 2018 22:20

Altogether now - Lock him up! Lock him up! :D

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5112585,00.html
Police recommends indicting Netanyahu for bribery

After more than a year of investigations into alleged misconduct by Netanyahu, police publishes its findings, notes there is sufficient evidence to indict the prime minister for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.
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15 Feb 2018 21:56

today, many events dominated the international, west centric news agencies. most, of course, had placed the yet another mass murder in america at the top. understandable. my personal focus today was on the events i consider indicative of a wider world...specifically the 2 events:

a. the president of south africa zuma was kicked out today...lots of international (and domestic) implications there . from the relatively modest racial policies the country followed since the apartheid was abandoned, to the country's poor economy and its growing economic inequality to its role in the brics geopolitics as an alternative to the west-established word order. anyways, i am quite curious about that part of the world having witnessed in my life time a relatively bloodless transfer of power from the whites to blacks w/o the due revenge orgy frequently followed by the oppressed in such cases.

b. tillerson just ended his meeting with erdogan in turkey. 3 hours of talks have not even merited the official communique typical in such cases. means: they haven't really gotten much progress to report on. it appears the turkish demand to america to get out of the kurdish areas in syria (manbij) and stopping to arm what turkey considers terrorists (ypg) went unheard.

frankly, i feel erdogan is overplaying his relatively weak hand having achieved little in the 3-week assault on afrin...not that the us has got a coherent reason to antagonize the turks in their own hood other than sticking to the usual american unimaginative my-dijk-is-bigger approach.

i remain an observer of where these 'allies' end up.
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19 Feb 2018 11:04

http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-army-to-help-kurdish-forces-repel-turkish-offensive-in-afrin-reports/a-42638366
Damascus will deploy its militia fighters to Afrin "within the next few hours" to reinforce Kurds against the Turkish offensive, Syrian state agency SANA reported on Monday morning.

The move aims to "support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region," SANA said, citing its correspondent in Aleppo. Syrian state television also announced that the deployment was imminent, without providing details.

The reports come a day after a senior Kurdish official told Reuters that the Kurds had reached a deal with Damascus.

The agreement, supposedly brokered by Russia, further complicates the conflict in Northern Syria as rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russia become more entangled.

:confused:
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Re:

19 Feb 2018 11:24

Robert5091 wrote:http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-army-to-help-kurdish-forces-repel-turkish-offensive-in-afrin-reports/a-42638366
Damascus will deploy its militia fighters to Afrin "within the next few hours" to reinforce Kurds against the Turkish offensive, Syrian state agency SANA reported on Monday morning.

The move aims to "support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region," SANA said, citing its correspondent in Aleppo. Syrian state television also announced that the deployment was imminent, without providing details.

The reports come a day after a senior Kurdish official told Reuters that the Kurds had reached a deal with Damascus.

The agreement, supposedly brokered by Russia, further complicates the conflict in Northern Syria as rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russia become more entangled.

:confused:


This could be fantastic news. If the Kurds have *finally* caught on that limited autonomy is better than getting stabbed repeatedly in the back, then everyone wins. Syria effectively contains the Kurds, which to a large extent causes Turkey's problems go away. What this does to the US ambitions for NE Syria is an interesting question, but this is really great news.

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19 Feb 2018 12:54

^personally i dont know how to take the news..it could be good but it also could be a source of more armed action and more suffering for the civilian inhabitants of afrin

the situation in northern syria is so complicated and convoluted that there is no way to sort thing out on their inherent merits. to make some sense of the news when i read it on my rss this morning, was to seek some analytical comments on my regular trusted sources..there were none. the news is too fresh, i guess. then, i decided to check the prime source -the official syrian govt news agency sana. indeed, they said, within hours the 'popular forces' (note, they are not talking about a regular syrian army !) were to arrive in afrin to help the locals to repel the turkish aggression
https://sana.sy/en/?p=127837
this bolded quote posed the biggest question in my mind: how will the official turkey react ? for some answer i turned to trt, the official tv news. their commentary focused on the statements of the turkey fm..who claimed that turkey will not be deterred and will fight whoever 'renders any support to the kurdish terrorists including the regime'.

sounds like an ominous turkish resolve to open another front against the regime. but does it really mean it ?

i view it as a too cavalier attitude by a a country (turkey) that achieved very little militarily after a full month of a full blown intervention in northern syria. another explanation is needed :Question: logically that explanation can be a looming yet a fragile compromise that turkey and russia are testing out. obviously, with kurdish concurrence. that is, the arrival of the pro-regime troops would a welcome alternative for turkey IF they replace the kurds along the turkish syrian border. curiously, this was EXACTLY the russian proposal (supported by iran) that turkey rejected down right immediately after the invasion. is turkey backpedaling ? we dont know, but i just cant see the limited pro-regime contingent moving into the war zone without some sort of either the russian guarantees or the turkish silent approval. the louder the official turkish indignation, the more likely the covert diplomacy is being given a chance.

unfortunately, i dont have the ability nor time to explore the official russian reactions. their english language sources are just reporting others w/o any commentary. the us reactions are also exceedingly important. atm, i tend to think the pro-regime move is designed to put pressure on the us. if so, it is right along the russian-turkish axes...but it could also be done with the us concurrence being a compromise worked out by tillerson and erdogan at their personal meeting 2 d ago. then, turkey is getting a partial satisfaction of their goal of driving the kurd from the border in return for their toning down the anti-us rhetoric.

in any case, the winner appears iran, b/c the militia that is moving to the border was reported pro iranian...

what a forked up place that corner of the world is :rolleyes:
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20 Feb 2018 13:21

https://meduza.io/en/feature/2018/02/14/vladimir-putin-decided-to-annex-crimea-in-a-paranoid-huff-late-at-night-believing-the-cia-had-just-tried-to-kill-him-says-the-one-russian-lawmaker-who-voted-against-it

“The decision was made on the night of February 23, 2014, at a meeting between Vladimir Putin and four senior Russian state officials. A few hours earlier, Viktor Yanukovych had fled Ukraine, and Putin had nearly been in a helicopter crash, after a very rough landing in Sochi. Putin believed this was an attempt on his life by foreign intelligence agencies. Having decided that he was ‘surrounded by conspiracies,’ he proposed annexing Crimea. Most of the men around the table were against it, but that didn’t stop Putin.”

This is the version of events former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev presented in Ukrainian court on Wednesday at a treason trial against deposed President Viktor Yanukovych. Ponomarev wasn’t present at the meeting he described, saying he heard the account from an “officer in the Federal Protective Service” and “another participant in the meeting with Putin.” Ponomarev, who was the only Duma deputy to vote against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, did not name either of these people.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later denied Ponomarev's account, adding that the alleged incident with Putin's Sochi helicopter landing never took place.
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User avatar Robert5091
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Re:

23 Feb 2018 14:53

python wrote:i expected the downing of the israeli plane by syria to escalate. it did not. what's going on ?

both sides (israel vs iran/syria) have claimed a victory and a 'strong message sent'. who came out better is of course a matter of the side one supports. i support neither but , quite frankly, the israeli arrogance and militancy irritate me.

a lot re. the escaltion depends on the us and russia positions..while the dept of state squarely came down on the side of israel blaming iran, the russian position seems more nuanced..1stly, b/c they have a de-conflicting agreement with israel and 2) b/c they are a main sponsor of the assad govt.

it is an open secret that in the past russia quietly let the israeli planes bomb the iranian activity in syria. they may no longer...from one of the articles below, it appears they are growing irritated by israel. in fact, this morning their foreign office claimed they are UNAWARE OF THE IRANIAN FACILITIES in sysria that israel claimed bombing....

here are 2 articles from 2 sources that claim neutrality and are quite informed on the middle east. in bohh articles one can detect a slight bias towards one of the sides. Still, neither is a simplistic spin imo...

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/what-are-hidden-messages-behind-shooting-down-israeli-fighter-over-syria-2055458809
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/israel-netanyahu-syria-clash-airspace-idf-iran-russia-putin.html


The US making it possible for Assad to continue to kill his citizens(and children)..way to go USA USA.

ISIS defeated, just what Assad and Russia wanted..so assad is now free to kill Syria's own children.

Meanwhile a bumbling US state department run by a bumbling president.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics/us-state-department-syria-violence/index.html

The US has "had conversations with the Russian government and reached out to the Russian government to implore them to stop enabling the Syrian regime to do what it's doing to its own people," she said. "Is Russia listening? I'm not sure that they are."


Why would putin 'listen', he plays donnie like a cheap banjo..
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26 Feb 2018 10:39

among the flood of the past weekend news, this one imo got under reported and frankly surprised me:

Polish government freezes controversial Holocaust law
https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/02/24/Polish-government-freezes-controversial-Holocaust-law/4311519502498/

my own thoughts are multiple and in all, not necessarily tied directions..among the questions in my head:

1. the law was poor to begin with but how the zionist lobby was able to freeze it while the 'powerful' eu criticism was just ignored ?
2. wouldn't it be nice if the similar genocides (like the turkish against the armenians) get as much of much attention?
3. is poland's nationalist-leaning govt, refreshingly so imo, showing a welcome sensitivity to some of their 'independent' actions ?
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26 Feb 2018 13:44

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2134624/china-will-scrap-limit-presidents-term-meaning-xi
China will remove the constitutional restriction on the maximum number of terms the president and vice-president can serve, Xinhua reported on Sunday, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay on beyond 2023.

The official news agency said the ruling Communist Party had proposed removing the line that the president and vice-president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms” from the constitution.

Xinhua later released the full 4,480-word proposal in Chinese. The document, which will be considered by the legislature next month, was dated January 26 – a week after the party’s 200-strong Central Committee met to discuss revisions to the constitution.

Xinhua did not say why it took a month to release the document to the public.

Xi, 64, was re-elected as general secretary of the party in October and is expected to be handed a second term as president by the legislature during its annual full session starting on March 5.

The party has in recent decades largely observed an unwritten retirement age of 68 for its top leaders, but its charter does not have any limit on terms. That means there are no restrictions on the general secretary position, but the Chinese constitution does limit presidents to a maximum of two five-year terms.

unday’s announcement follows a Politburo meeting on Saturday and comes ahead of Monday’s three-day Central Committee plenum to discuss personnel and other proposed institutional changes to be tabled at the upcoming parliamentary gathering in Beijing.

Xinhua also reported that the party proposed to write Xi’s political theory – Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era – into the constitution.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/world/asia/china-xi-jinping.html
The timing of the announcement startled even experienced observers of Chinese politics: Mr. Xi completes his first term as president next month and could have waited until late in his second term to act. He also could have stepped down after his second term and run the country from behind the scenes, as some of his predecessors have.

The move alarmed advocates of political liberalization in China who saw it as part of a global trend of strongman leaders casting aside constitutional checks, like Vladimir V. Putin in Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.

The Constitution now limits Mr. Xi, who became president in 2013, to two terms in that office, amounting to 10 years. But the party leadership has proposed removing the line that says the president and vice president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms,” Xinhua, the official news agency, reported on Sunday.

By moving so early in his tenure, Mr. Xi, 64, is in effect proclaiming that he intends to stay in office well past 2023, overturning rules of succession in Chinese politics that evolved as the party sought stability following the power struggles to replace first Mao, and then Deng Xiaoping.
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26 Feb 2018 17:27

Interesting piece about one Russian political intellectual named Alexander Dugin. Considering that this is well read among the military elite of Russia, it gives a different angle to their interference with the 2016 election
The chief aim of Foundations is to revive Evola’s fascist idea of traditionalism, which calls for the eradication of any trace of modern, polyethnic, egalitarian, feminist, and democratic cultures—“American globalism”—in favor of a vast, Eurasian, authoritarian empire of racially pure regimes in which women are confined to the home and breeding. That empire would unite regimes across Europe and extend to the United States and Latin America.
“It is generally important,” Dugin wrote, “to introduce geopolitical chaos within the American daily experience by encouraging all manner of separatism, ethnic diversity, social and racial conflict, actively supporting every extremist dissident movement, racist sectarian groups, and destabilizing the political processes within America.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-far-right-book-every-russian-general-reads?via=newsletter&source=AMDigestOrig_ABTest
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Re:

26 Feb 2018 19:31

python wrote:among the flood of the past weekend news, this one imo got under reported and frankly surprised me:

Polish government freezes controversial Holocaust law
https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/02/24/Polish-government-freezes-controversial-Holocaust-law/4311519502498/

my own thoughts are multiple and in all, not necessarily tied directions..among the questions in my head:

1. the law was poor to begin with but how the zionist lobby was able to freeze it while the 'powerful' eu criticism was just ignored ?
2. wouldn't it be nice if the similar genocides (like the turkish against the armenians) get as much of much attention?
3. is poland's nationalist-leaning govt, refreshingly so imo, showing a welcome sensitivity to some of their 'independent' actions ?

In fairness, the holocaust did directly take place in Poland and is much more relevant to them than the armenian one is. That is an issue for turks mostly, whose govt still basically deny it happened.

What do you mean by 3?
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Re: Re:

26 Feb 2018 23:22

Brullnux wrote:
python wrote:among the flood of the past weekend news, this one imo got under reported and frankly surprised me:

Polish government freezes controversial Holocaust law
https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/02/24/Polish-government-freezes-controversial-Holocaust-law/4311519502498/

my own thoughts are multiple and in all, not necessarily tied directions..among the questions in my head:

1. the law was poor to begin with but how the zionist lobby was able to freeze it while the 'powerful' eu criticism was just ignored ?
2. wouldn't it be nice if the similar genocides (like the turkish against the armenians) get as much of much attention?
3. is poland's nationalist-leaning govt, refreshingly so imo, showing a welcome sensitivity to some of their 'independent' actions ?

In fairness, the holocaust did directly take place in Poland and is much more relevant to them than the armenian one is. That is an issue for turks mostly, whose govt still basically deny it happened.

What do you mean by 3?

lets be more accurate wrt to the bolded. the holocaust took place all over europe, including poland. fact. yet, to my knowledge , only poland (pls inform me better if i am wrong) passed a holocaust law absolving itself of the nazi crimes...no other nation in europe but poland decided to attach a criminal responsibility to what is widely understood was a horrendous nazi crime. while the crime was clearly a nazi responsibility, it is also widely known that many europeans locally engaged in both saving and betraying their jewish compatriots. i am not in a position to assign the numeric values to how many were low types vs. the noble-minded...but attempting to criminalize mentioning the local polish betrayals is what seems to excite the critics. i can associate with it b/c to me the nazi crime has never been associated with poland. sweden, russia etc. to put it shortly, the polish law was kicking a dead horse too blatantly as if the perceived guilt was real...too protective as too aggressive sticks out to preclude questioning..

the armenians were mentioned in no regard to poland but in regard to their own tragedy which is very similar yet far from the center of attention the jewish questions dominate the western media. all i question is the jews are unique in their human tragedy... and the antisemitic tag so readily attached if one isn't sensitive ENOUGH to the their tragedy. the israeli/jewish indignation, to put it mildly, is often misplaced or an overreaction. that the turks need to own up like the germans did i agree entirely.
re. the #3,i thought it was obvious i was welcoming the polish govt reflection by freezing the controversial law despite their hard stance on several other issues that have not caused a similar backpedaling. a refugee eu quarters would be an example that poland is adamant about to NOT respect. that is, the poles are more flexible than their public rhetoric and it's agood thing in the eu context when the eu sanctions against poland are a reality as a punishment for other issues. like the judicial power distortions....
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