Tuesday, September 29, 2015

American “allies” in Syria: their shameful performance is perfectly explainable

[En français]

[The recent American failure to train and equip anti-Assad forces in Syria is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom of a systemic problem. This article, which recently appeared in the Russian press, explains why.]

Yevgeny Krutikov, Vzglyad

The scandal around the “30th Divison,” which was prepared by American trainers for war against Assad, and which immediately surrendered to the Islamist An-Nusra Front as soon as it crossed the border from Turkey, is now resounding around the entire planet. There will be many such scandals. They have been predetermined by the methodology of American training of “allies”—in Syria, in Georgia and in the Ukraine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

America's Latest Foreign Policy Fiascos, Part I

[Les derniers fiascos de l’Amérique en matière de politique étrangère , Partie I]

[Gli Ultimi Fiaschi nella Politica Estera Americana – Parte I]

Some 15 months ago I published a piece on American Foreign Policy Fiascos, in which I summarized the significant negative progress that has been achieved through American involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia, among others, and then went on to boldly predict that the Ukraine is likewise going to turn out to be another American foreign policy fiasco. Since then it certainly has turned into one.

US meddling in the Ukraine has produced none of the results it was intended to produce:

• It didn't isolate Russia internationally
• It didn't destroy Russia's economy
• It didn't pull Russia into a futile, unpopular, bloody conflict
• It didn't produce regime change within Russia

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trump for Prezz

Steve Cutts
[En français]

Go ahead, elect, appoint, anoint—whatever it is you do with Prezzidents. It won't matter. Because it didn't matter who was President, and will matter even less who plays “The Prezz” on reality TV for the next four years.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Design Improvements

Over the past month I have spent some 150 hours sailing—moving south for the winter. This has given me plenty of time to rethink some elements of the QUIDNON design, and to introduce a few improvements. While some are purely products of reflection, others resulted from direct experience with a sailboat design which I found to be inadequate. Here, I will explain the changes in prose. I will come up with updated drawings as time allows.


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Financial-Industrial Revolution's Origin and Destiny

Mark Bryan
[En français]

The industrial revolution made the modern world. Before it took off in the late eighteenth century, most people in Europe and elsewhere lived sustainably on renewable resources in traditional societies. Such limited energy as was available came from wind (sailboats, windmills), hydropower (waterwheels), wood (heating and cooking fireplaces and stoves), and muscle power (human and animal labor). There was no electricity, little or no heavy machinery, no modern medicine, virtually no appliances or other labor saving devices, and no telecommunication. Travel was laborious and slow. Almost everything had to be made by hand with simple technology. Death and birth rates were high, mostly because of infant mortality.

Imagine a world without fossil fuels or electricity and you begin to come close to what it was like. Life was simpler, to be sure, more natural, anchored in traditional wisdom and reliant on herbal remedies—since widely disparaged—and certainly without the stresses associated with modern life. Ritual and community were strong; most people were embedded in an intense network of social relations.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Eventual Consequences

Mark Bryan
[En français] [Em português]

The US empire has murdered some 40 million people since World War II (according to John Stockwell), has suppressed popular social change in dozens of countries, has overthrown and assassinated their leaders and has organized and trained right-wing death squads that murdered and tortured their citizens. Both Al Qaeda and ISIS are largely US inventions. Meanwhile, the US enjoyed nearly the highest per capita income in the world, peace, harmony, and consumerism for decades—until recently—while sowing chaos abroad. But there have been no negative consequences for the US—until its recent economic decline.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Howling Wilderness of the Mind

[En français]

I grew up in a tiny town of less than 1500 people in western Montana. It is a land of breathtaking natural beauty, and for 18 years I lived in the same house in a form of bucolic perfection. We prided ourselves on living 100 miles from the nearest stoplight. I smile to imagine that many young villagers from all over the planet share a form of kinship enforced by the laws of small communities and big mountains.

It was my home and they were my people, but after traveling, education and 13 years of living elsewhere, I can see what a strange accident of history small town America actually is, a residue left by a frontier that has moved on and twisted inward. This is a report from a correspondent embedded for 18 years and a hundred miles behind the front lines of the American frontier.