Donald Trump’s early fascination with Russia and the Russian President Vladimir Putin led to some absurd comparisons that claimed to show that somehow the two men are ‘alike’. Whether you like either of these men or no, it is clear that they are very different individuals with different personalities, styles and capacities. I responded to of these supposed comparisons that came to my attention recently as follows:Read more
There are 2 schools of thought about what is happening in Syria. One is that somehow this vicious war on the Syrian State and the Syrian people is being fought to save the Syrian people from some demonic force, to free them from oppression, and the organizationally fragmented extremist jihadi fighters who are driving it and their sponsors in Qatar and Saudi Arabia will somehow make an idyllic populist democracy there – if they suffer from poor taste that isn’t our problem.
The other is that the United States in her allies are attempting to destroy the last secular republic in the Middle East because popular governance is inconvenient, and they will persevere at any cost to do so. We need to look at the realities because the Syrian Arab Republic, however imperfect, is just that, the last secular republic in the Middle East with functioning (albeit weakened) public utilities and resources, and a government and military populated by people of all sects, regions and ethnicities across the country including a reasonable proportion of women. Furthermore, Russia and Iran are on the sidelines giving more or less support and weighing the risks of a bold confrontation with the United States. No sane person wants to trigger another world war. How far should they let this go?
While the Mainstream media is bleeding over endlessly looped one sided stories of the misery of war and analysis that ignores the behavior of what are essentially occupying forces in many towns and cities of Syria, this is what is really going on in this war – right now. As Americans, is this what we want our country to be doing?Read more
Pray for Syria, a concert for a country and a people who can use all the prayers we can pray. On May 4, conductor Valery Gergiev, and the Russian Mariinsky Theater Orchestra played a benefit concert for the UNESCO site at Palmyra, and a tribute to the men who liberated the city from ISIS a few weeks before, in Palmyra’s historic amphitheater. The concert was played before an audience that included Syrian and Russian soldiers who have remained in Palmyra to clear bombs left behind by ISIS to destroy the site and the nearby town of Tadmor. They dedicated the performance to Aleksandr Prokhorenko, a Russian Soldier who sacrificed his life during the retaking of the city, and to Aleksandr Prokhorenko, the Syrian proprietor of the Archeological site there who was beheaded by ISIS and hung from a column in the main square at the historic site.
I finally found time to listen to the concert last night. I can attest, after listening, that Gergiev and his orchestra put on a brilliant performance. Moreover, the outdoor setting, the splendor of the ancient ruins in the midst of open desert under a cloudless blue sky, where the audience sat on the same bleachers as members of the Roman Empire more than two millennia ago was an austere space, but also a sort of dreamscape where past and present overlap in simple perfection. And the music, the music was exquisite, During intermission, children with wreaths of flowers in their hair sang a patriotic song. What a lovely and gracious gift to the people of Syria!
View the concert below:Read more
President Obama . . .
Speaking of a ‘theater’ of war – this language was common in the 50s and 60s when I was growing up. Apparently Drones have not only made the language obsolete, but they have erased the history of ‘theater’ or, more specifically ‘battlefield’ based warfare. I participated in Debate: US Drone Action Plan, on ‘The Debate‘ a show on PressTV over the weekend. My opponent, Michael Lane, the founder of American Institute for Foreign Policy, took the stance that there never really was a battlefield, so the constraints of international law are purely abstract. It would be odd if this entity referenced in western law going back hundreds of years never existed.Read more
Russia Today carried an article today saying that the Russian Duma is outraged because the United States refused to provide a visa to a high level member of the Russian government to enter the U.S. to meet with Ban Ki Moon and attend a UN sponsored conference. Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko was not given a requested visa so […]Read more
Syria ** Iraq ** Pakistan ** Afghanistan ** Venezuela ** Ukraine ** Russia Obama has requested an authorization for war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While Congress is gearing up to talk about it, the U.S. is already bombing there daily. We have several hundred ‘advisors’ on the ground, who admit to engaging in battle at times. The U.S. […]Read more
The press has been repeating for weeks that there is a massive buildup of the Russian military on the Russian Border with Ukraine. They talk occasionally about how the Russians have promised to, or may be retreating, just a little bit. On April 1st, a week and a half ago, I saw an article on the NBC website that was […]Read more
It looks like they are finally giving up on the Malaysian plane that disappeared once and for all. There seems to be a consensus that the plane, for whatever reason, fell into the India Ocean. And, it’s unlikely that the wreckage will be found. And, if it is found, it will most likely be too late to retrieve any information […]Read more