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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On Exploratory Wars

IR specialists are confounded today by the actions of nations not following their national interests. This is especially required, they say, in cases of war. But now and in the future, war will happen for a different, non-rational reason. 

Instead war will be exploratory. It will be waged to shake things up. Because the postmodern age offers no grand ideals, not even nationalism, to fight for (yes I know of Ukraine so don't contradict yet). There is little to guide big moves in a postmodern world. Random shocks can arrive but they will not be new. Progress as Hegelian rationality is well done.

Postmodernism is a fast world but a slow one too. Change becomes the result of accretion of mass, of events unrelated which gather but which press history forward in no particular direction. Postmodernism condemns us to repetition of familiar events that pop out of the mass briefly (witness the terribly derivative Hong Kong occupy movement). 

Wars are now efforts to effect desired change in an era that works against such desire. In the face of the ongoing, massive accretion of many, less weighty, events, then wars will be waged to shake loose the status quo in a favorable direction. But be assured that national interests will not be served by it today.      

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obama's World War preparations

Don't believe for one minute the narrative that the USA is threatened by ISIS and seeks to destroy it. The real target is Assad's Syria, a Russian ally. (Why? some say that Assad/Russia is what prevents a gas pipeline running from Qatar to Europe but that seems farfetched to me).

The stupid concentration of NATO/Saudi forces plus Israel is going to provoke Russia and Iran to concentrate their forces there too. They are not going to let Assad get Gaddafied.

And the compelling national interest reasons for this buildup are nonexistent.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ferguson as the end of politics

Ferguson: An event that signals the emptiness of a political system. One of the most surprising features of this event was the escalation of force. Much has been made of the use of military hardware by the local police. But that has been known for awhile and merely accelerated since the Patriot Act. But it was shocking to see this duel on the streets at night grow and grow. Like a cancer it had no rules to regulate its growth.

Is this the kind of duel envisioned by Baudrillard, the seduction of a new politics born of a politics that otherwise proceeds nowhere?  You could say that local police provoked a population under siege to rise in anger; a siege that had become too blatant to be tolerable. Race issues too. That narrative was part of it.

But I was taught that martial law, which this was, is always the signal of the failure of politics and I read Ferguson as such. There was nothing left to say or rather nothing left to represent or believe, for both sides. I think more of such unexpected events, based upon the same premise, will be forthcoming. It will not take the same form of an uprising...that’s done. But they will surprise.

War on Islamic State: What is President Obama really up to?

[Just heard the O. speech...yes indeed Syria/Assad/Putin is THE target NOT ISIL, stopping the 'bad guys' is just an excuse to get more involved there. Proof? Obama's claim to arm the Free Syrian army and other 'moderate' Syrians to take on ISIL...but they are ISIL] 

Prediction: The United States government will push Islamic State back into its hole in Syria so it can wreak its terror there. It is not that the US cares deeply for Iraq, mind you. Iraq for US policymakers has now been classified as lost to Iran, a part of their growing Shiite empire. Expect the US Air Force to 'persuade' IS to go back into Syria and do its pro-Sunni thing there. It will be a tricky move because Saudi Arabia probably likes what is happening, more or less. But Kerry will have to convince them to give up on their dream of a Sunni recovery of Iraq, for now. Expect more refugees, more distraction from domestic problems, and more US sales of armaments. In short, what was once called a jolly good war.

This is the zeroth degree of politics. The hateful but prescient Carl Schmitt said politics is defined by the friend-enemy distinction. But the Islamic State is not the natural enemy of the US the way France was for Schmitt’s Cromwell. And moving against IS has little to do with national interests of the US. So this seems to be ‘play politics’ or politics for its own sake with NATO opening up a new Southern front against Russia, to best Putin perhaps.