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Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 520

by NicBenjamin (#47553975) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

He is a politician. So no.

But when judging whether a pol's statement is true, the best policy is to try to figure out what would be most convenient for him. If he's telling you what he wants you to believe then it's difficult to figure out whether he's lying. If he's saying something completely different, for example he's trying to justify cutting the defense budget he probably wants you to believe the world is a safe place and we have too many troops.

Which is directly contradicted when he says that Ukraine is being attacked by the Russians.

Therefore he's almost certainly telling the truth about the Russian military in Ukraine.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 520

by NicBenjamin (#47553959) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

They Nuland videos are quite interesting if you insist that everything the United States does is by definition evil. Otherwise they're good examples of how easy it is to over-complicate things when discussing foreign affairs.

The first, for example, says nothing about subverting anything, despite the fact that is the Youtube headline. It says we've spent $5 Billion trying to prepare Ukraine for the EU. That's not necessarily subversion even if you think Ukraine should not be in the EU, because "ready for the EU" includes a lot of things everyone likes (ie: reduced corruption, somewhat fair justice systems, democracy that only sucks a little, etc.).

It's very interesting that the second video you included was the same woman working around Europcratic ineffectiveness. She's not saying "fuck the EU"because she thinks the EU should go off and die, she's saying "fuck the EU" because she's pretty sure whatever plan they come up with in their ginormous 28-Excellency committee will suck, and therefore the US should go ahead with it's plans regardless of the EU.

Which makes me curious:
Are you a fan of the EU?

As for Obama, he's President. He IS US policy. Pretty much the entire reason his job was created was that when we let our ginourmas committee of 13 run it it was a fucking disaster. I'm always skeptical of someone who uses the phrase "Imperialist" because it stopped meaning anything several decades ago, and people started throwing it at any political movement they happened to disagree with. See every political movement has a foreign ally, and if you like the movement the ally is clearly a benign state promoting good things. If you dislike the movement it's all an Imperialist front for the foreign ally.

In this case there is literally no logical reason to oppose Obama's policy on grounds of Imperialism. He has done nothing to Libya's internal politics except blow up the guy who wanted to massacre a bunch of protestors. He doesn't pick a militia leader for Secretary of Defense. He hasn;t gone over their Constitution looking for areas where it differs from ours, and then trying to force them to fix it. He just blew the shit out of an asshole and went away.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 520

by NicBenjamin (#47553419) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Yeah, but if we send a battalion or three it'll be even harder to convince the Republicans to go along with force cuts.

More importantly for Obama, if Obama's demanding we fire a substantial portion of the Army while he's mobilizing troops to rattle their sabres in front of fucking Russia, it looks really bad. And in a few months we have a midterm election.

What Obama wants right now if for Putin and Bibi to shut the fuck up, go the fuck home, and stop talking foreign policy so Obama can get everyone talking about how evil the Republicans are for opposing a major minimum wage increase.

Comment: Re:This is patently false. (Score 1) 520

by NicBenjamin (#47553399) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Are you high?

The tactic the civilians're describing would only work if Malaysia Airlines agreed to fly right over the Ukrainian Air Force's target area. And if they did that, and the Ukrainians repaid the favor by destroying their plane, why the fuck wouldn't they be all over CNN with the betrayal?

Sensor data is really easy to fake.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 520

by NicBenjamin (#47545989) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

The easiest way top tell the BS propaganda from reality is figure out who has a motive to lie.

In this case a) Putin obviously has a motive to shell Ukrainian military units fighting ethnic Russian separatists, b) Putin would have clear reason to lie about that shit, and c) Obama's trying really hard to convince everyone foreign policy is perfectly fine.

I wouldn't be totally shocked if it turns out some idiot is misinterpreting satellite photos in DC. But I would be totally shocked to learn that the photos themselves are fake.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 3, Insightful) 520

by NicBenjamin (#47545949) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Great, more Mericans who believe whatever the media-military complex tells them.

I don't believe everything they tell me. But generally when they're making shit up (ie: Saddam's WMD) it's because somebody important has a real interest in promoting the lie.

Putin has an interest in promoting the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. He's using them to counter-balance the pro-Western forces in Kiev. We know this because he actually promotes the separatists. Which means having his artillery nail the Ukrainians who are fighting said separatists is plausible. More plausible then that, some low-level artillery officer who happens to be stationed in the region thinks his boss will be very pleased if the Ukrainian Army has trouble retaking Donetsk.

Obama making this shit up is not particularly plausible. He wants foreign policy to go the fuck away for a few months so he can make an economic case for firing Boehnor to the American people. If Putin is actively operating in Ukraine, bordering Romania (which is in NATO) deserves to know we'll send troops to Bucharest on short notice. But Obama's latest budget includes force reductions. One of Hillary Clinton's foreign policy initiatives was a reset of relations with Russia. That actually worked pretty well, for her term as Secretary of State.

Comment: Re:War that cannot be settled (Score 1) 480

We agreed to support Israel when we made them a "Major Non-NATO Ally" back in the 90s.

So pretty much the only thing we can do is cajole the hell out of them, and pray that someday the EU makes itself a cohesive enough block that the threat of an EU blockade will actually get them to the negotiating table.

On the Palestinian side Abbas would already be at the table, if he thought Netanyahu had any intention of making a single concession. Since all Bibi seems to want is zero terrorism within Israel, and he seems to have achieved that solely by relying on military force, he'll continue to create ridiculous distractions like "the Palestinians won;t recognize us as a Jewish state,*" and invades Gaza whenever the assholes running the place figure out a new chink in Israel's armor.

*This is ridiculous because the phrase "Jewish state" is meaningless under international law. If you're a state you set your own religion. The whole point of Westphalia was that states don;t judge other state's religion Which means if Abbas recognizes Israel as a state, and it's head of government (currently Netanyahu) says ISrael is Jewish, Abbas has already recognized Israel as a Jewish state. This is why no country has ever recognized Israel explicitly as a "Jewish state," in those terms.They frequently go on with long sentences about the Jewish people setting up their own country, but under international law the phrase Jewish state is meaningless BS so none of them will ever use it.

Comment: Re:The Muslim world cares so much for the Palestin (Score 1) 480

Bullshit.

Jordan is majority Palestinian. Lebanon has a huge Palestinian minority.

They don't give the refugees citizenship, but the refugees generally aren't asking for citizenship. They're asking to be allowed to go home. And home is currently controlled by Israel (mostly in Israel proper, but the rest of the former mandate created a lot of foreign refugees, too).

Comment: Re:Meta-problem (Score 1) 480

You can say the same about literally any conflict.

If only the UK had been willing to give up six counties, or Irish Catholics had been willing to abandoned those counties en masse; or Lebanese Muslims had not minded that they were second-class citizens, or Lebanese Christians had been willing to recognize that the majority changed; or Iraqi Sunnis/Sh'as were willing to give up everything they hold dear; etc. It's really easy to sit in air conditioning and write peace proposals which would make everyone better off, the trick is convincing them that said proposal is better then continuing to fight. Which is fucking hard because if there was some obvious compromise then neither side would have bothered fighting in the first fucking place.

The intractable issues ion the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are that a) Israel demands an unrealistic level of security in return for peace, and b) the Palestinians really hate acknowledging that they aren't gonna get all of the East Jerusalem. The problem with a) is that all peace deals result in an immediate uptick in terrorism as assholes seek to murder their way back to full-scale war, which means if you want long-term peace you have to put up with an Omagh Bombing. But whenever that happens the Israeli's fire the PM who just signed the damn peace agreement and elect Netanyahu. Which feeds into b), because Netanyahu gets a lot of votes from the 180-190k people who live in territory Israel would have to cede.

The current hold-up seems to be that Israel honestly believes that they can keep virtually 100% security forever, as the rest of the world won;t call them on abusing Palestinians and whenever anybody on the other side figures out a way to break through the bars and kill a Jew they can just "mow the lawn." If you offered Abbas the deal that Arafat took home from Camp David (technically he didn't reject it, he said he was gonna consider it back home) he'd immediately take it, but there's no way in hell Netanyahu would ever make the offer because Netanyahu want's 100% perfect security.

Comment: Re:Meta-problem (Score 1) 480

International law is pretty vague on whether you actually have to kill every member of an ethnic group in a territory for it to be called "genocide." The reason is pretty simple: if you insist everyone actually has to die for it to be genocide that creates a huge loophole. The bad guy simply has to kill enough of them that the rest know they damn well better run and it's not technically genocide because almost all of them successfully ran.

But since a lot of inter-ethnic conflict involves one asshole threatening to kill every member of another group, succeeding at some much less evil goal (ie: getting them evicted, beating up a couple hundred activists, maybe a mass rape campaign, etc.), which convinces everyone to run away rather then be killed, scholars have a continuum of evil, starting at ethnic cleansing and running up to actual genocide.

What actually happens in Israel is frequently on the low end of ethnic cleansing. There's a lot of unofficial, and officially deplored Jewish violence against Palestinians and suspected sympathizers that the authorities never seem to be able to stop. In '47 and '48 it was really bad. At Dier Yassam 107 civilians were massacred by the Israeli military, which released numerous press releases claiming that was evil, but never actually charged anyone with a crime for it. Similarly the first UN envoy to the region (Count Bernadotte af Wisborg) was murdered by Jews in the Lehi. Their military formation was disarmed, and a couple were charged with membership in a terrorist organization, but everyone was immediately pardoned and sent off to war. It created an atmosphere in which Arabs made the fairly logical assumption that some Jewish asshole would murder them and get away with it when the Israeli Army won, which in turn meant almost all Palestinians living within what is now the Green Line fled the Israeli War of Independence. That's textbook ethnic cleansing. You make an ethnic group feel unsafe, and they go away.

Today it's quite a bit better, but there's still a very influential section of Israeli society dedicated to ensuring that the Palestinian population knows they are non really wanted. Price tag attacks, the Israeli Courts total inability to protect the only Palestinian in the country with paperwork proving he owns land there, etc. prove it. Somebody in Israel wants Palestinians to think moving out is a real good option, the rest of the country ain't stopping them, and if they succeed it will be (by definition) ethnic cleansing.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that Hamas are wonderful saints, or freedom fighters, or that they would not do worse to Israeli Jews then the Israeli Jews are currently doing to the Palestinians, or even that they wouldn't end up treating Palestinians worse then the Israeli government does. Same with the PA. But none of that has any bearing on whether the Israelis are being honorable.

Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 480

But it's not new so nobody cares. It may not be right, but that's how it works.

Think about it. In the past year or so South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and the Israel-Palestine-Gaza-mess have all been on the news. Most of these will have annual casualties well above the Israel-Palestine-Gaza-mess, but most of that does not matter on the 27th of July, because only Israel and the Ukrainians are currently new.

More importantly if you;re a Westerner the only one of these crises where anybody will actually care about your call to action is Israel, because Israel is the only one that participates in the global economy. Syria isn't going to spawn a Tesla anytime soon, so if the west threatens to prevent Syrian electric car companies from selling vehicles the Syrians won't give a shit. They'll actually like it, because that gives them one more excuse for when they fuck up.

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