Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bar Stool Op-Eds

One of the problems is the "think tanks". These are often portrayed as independent dispassionate institutes offering scholarly opinions when in fact they are lobby groups purveying propaganda. A flagrant example is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Terminator-like resurrection of the Project for a New American Century.  A recent Globe and Mail article quoted an "expert" from this Institute without offering any alternative views, such as those published by the Middle East Report and Information Project, an institution that has trouble getting air time in any MSM including the Globe and Mail.

A second problem is complete ignorance of history and the law. Recent examples are Samantha Power, who apparently has no grasp of what just happened in Libya, and Obama himself who seems unaware that the US was complicit in Saddam's use of chemical weapons, and who is now busily not noticing the coup and return of a police state in Egypt by means of an American-funded military oligarchy  (>$1 billion/year) that apparently sees the massacre of peaceful protesters as a sound beginning to a new constitutional democracy. Apart from the fact that the Egyptian military is running a scam for its own benefit, it's worth remembering that the Muslim Brotherhood candidate was democratically elected, and the MB was around providing social services at times when previous versions of the oligarchy were enriching themselves at the expense of the peasants.

This is the background to fatuous opinions about "red lines" and "international norms" (good name for an Ultimate Frisbee team) as if we were making this up on the fly without even knowing about the existence of, say, international law.

The only guy making sense about Syria is Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.  You can argue that Russia has supported a repressive, tyrannical regime in Syria, but that really doesn't distinguish it from American support for repressive, tyrannical regimes like Bahrain. Also, Uzbekistan. And of course, if we cast are minds back centuries to the 1970's and 80's, Argentina and Chile.  And Honduras. El Salvador. Then there's Indonesia. And of course the Philippines. Wait, there's Libya...

Bring me an Alberta vodka, bartender, and keep them coming.